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april 2019

THE NEW FACES Meet the Chamber's

OF BUSINESS New Professionals of Color

// APRIL 2019


23 Professionals of Color

The demographics of Fargo-Moorhead are changing before our eyes. This change can already be seen in the workplace as more people from across the world come to Fargo-Moorhead. To celebrate this growing diversity, the FMWF Chamber of Commerce recently launched a new program called Professionals of Color. We talked to four of their members to see why this is a needed addition to the business community.

FEATURES 10 Editor’s Note 12 Editorial Board 36 5 Requirements to Avoid Non-Compliant Signage Fees 38 Business, According to Tyrone Leslie 42 10 Lessons for Fargo Leaders Last month, the FMWF Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2019 Annual Economic Outlook Forum at the Delta by Marriott, here in Fargo. Rich Karlgaard, keynote speaker and publisher of Forbes, sat down with us and talked about his journey, the local economy, future outlook and the advice for local business owners. 47 Faces of Fargo Business Wendy Waalen, Financial Advisor / Wealth Manager - Gardner Financial Services


48 A Conversation with Scott Meyer Why the FM business scene should care that NDSU now has an Ozbun Director of Entrepreneurship 53 Community Engagement: The Key to Unlocking Your Organization’s Talent Find out how Dawson Insurance has prioritized a culture of community engagement for their employees for decades. 56 Sponsored Content: What Happens When Two Companies Combine?


60 Local Online Reviews – Are You Getting Them? 64 Is Your Business Owner-Dependent, Multigenerational or Marketable? 68 4 Business Books to Help Grow Your Business 71 Ladyboss of the Month: Jessie Rock 73 Business Events Calendar


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APRIL 2019



All our stories in one place

Business events calendar

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Extra video content

editor's note

Be The Light


have been a part of many different sized companies. One thing that always holds true is the need for a positive and unified culture. Regardless of your size, your people must work together in a cohesive force for a common cause. But how do you accomplish this?

In March, I attended the100, inc. event which talked about "Conflict." The discussion in the room was fantastic and it brought to light that every business experiences conflict in some degree. The fashion in which it is addressed and managed can make a large impact on

how your employees preform, how they treat your customers and how long they stay with your company. One thing I think we all can agree on is that we are all influencers. Yes, one bad apple can ruin the bunch. But who's to say that one strong positive influence can't turn things around? Mike Meagher, President at Sagency, referenced a tale about a Cherokee man who was telling his grandson about the two wolves that live inside all of us. We all have a good wolf and a bad wolf that are in battle. Which one wins? The wolf you feed, he

explains. The same is true in our offices. Be an example. Feed the good wolf. Acknowledge good behavior. Encourage positivity. Is there someone in the office who is consistently pointing out the negative? Try to help them find the light in situations. Is there a sales person who is stuck in a rut? Help them out of it. Encourage them and help them find a new fire. Spring is finally here and the sun is shining. Be the light in your office as well. It will rub off on those around you.

5 Ways I have seen others lead by positive example:

1. Leave a thank you note Notice that someone consistently stays late? Did one of your employees participate more than normal in a meeting? Maybe they did an excellent job at a sales pitch - regardless of if they closed it. Leave them a note and let them know you appreciate their hard work and dedication.

2. Be humble You're human. It is refreshing to hear a leader admit when they do not have all the answers. We are all growing all the time. Don't be afraid to ask for help, admit a wrong and express humility. Your team will appreciate your honesty.

3. Share your excitement If you go into every meeting and interaction with excitement and joy for your service and/or products, your people will be more likely to follow you. People are more likely to get excited about your product or service if you are excited about it as well.

Jennifer Gades, Associate Publisher 10

APRIL 2019

4. Lead by example Tired of the gossip? Make sure you aren't calling out specific team members behind closed doors. Want your team members to put in extra effort or hours? Show them what that looks like. They are looking at you to show them the way. No one knows your business better than you. As they say - Show. Don't tell.

5. Show empathy I'm sure you've heard it before. "You just don't understand how it is." Listen to what your employees are telling you. You don't have to agree. Simply acknowledge that you understand where they are coming from and why they may feel that way and then proceed to explain your point of view and why they should look at the situation in a different light. They will be less likely to dismiss you if they feel you are listening to them.

EDITORIAL BOARD We at Fargo INC! want to make sure our content is unbiased and reflects the FMWF business community. That's why we meet regularly with our five-member editorial board to discuss local business issues and trends and ensure we are living up to our core values.



Dakota Business Lending

Greater FM Economic Development Corporation

President & CEO

As Fargo INC! features professionals this month, I am reminded of the following quote by Robert K. Greenleaf — “The servant-leader is a servant first.” It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. As professional leaders, we all have a strong desire and commitment to serve others. Others in our businesses we lead. Others in the community. Others in our churches or volunteer groups we are part of. Oftentimes, we confuse leadership with dictatorship. One gives orders and does not take into account the wants and needs of others. A servant leader is the exact opposite. A servant leader cares about those they lead, works hard to develop his or her people, and is always focused on what they can do for others. As we move forward in 2019, who do we prefer to be most like?


APRIL 2019

Chief Innovation Officer

The warmth of our temperature cycles is obviously seasonal, but the warm nature of our people knows no season and is something that helps differentiate our community from others across the country. While some of this comes natural to many of us, we also need to be intentional about continuing to cultivate a genuine and inclusive manner. Our organization, GFMEDC, is hosting our next FM Welcome Party on May 7 in downtown Fargo. Our Welcome Parties exist to welcome new residents and those wishing to become more connected in our community. Being welcomed, included and connected play a big role in our well-being and feeling of belonging. Please join us at the Party for a night of welcoming but also join all of us in welcoming others EVERY day.



Moore Engineering, Inc.

FMWF Chamber of Commerce

Communications Manager

I teach marketing as an adjunct at Concordia College. By the time you read this, the students will have presented their marketing plan for a new product concept to a group of real-world industry experts. The creativity and drive to develop a workable idea are infectious, even when it’s an academic project. If you have an idea, keep at it. Shape it. Make it better. Be smart and informed about what you’re doing. Get some advice, if necessary. And when you’re ready to launch it into the world, go for it!

President and CEO

We take our chamber’s role seriously when it comes to working in the best interest of the majority of local businesses. While there are a range of opinions regarding the FM Diversion, and ours does not reflect our entire membership, The Chamber remains firm in our support of the Diversion as the best way to protect our community. All reports show that this year is one to take seriously. One only needs to look back 10 years in our own community, or to Grand Forks 20 years ago, to see how imperative it is to control the waters of the Red so they don’t shut down our city, damage homes and close businesses. Recent government funding decisions give us great hope. Our work will be tireless. Already we coordinated with the cities of Fargo and Moorhead, as well as Cass County, to arrange volunteers at Sandbag Central. We hosted press conferences about the need for permanent protection and wrote letters to influence legislators to secure funding. And now, I ask and urge you to prioritize permanent flood protection for our region through the FM Diversion Project. It will take time, funding and much energy to see this project through, but we’re confident it will be more than worth it.


United Way of Cass-Clay

An engaged workforce is a powerful differentiator for businesses today. As organizations look to attract and retain employees, providing opportunities for individuals and teams to participate in volunteer engagement programs is crucial. Millennials continue to make up the largest generation in the U.S. workforce and social impact is a key part of their decisions about where they work and which businesses they buy from. Deloitte’s 2018 research reflected the attitudes of younger workers, stating they “are eager for business leaders to be proactive about making a positive impact in society.” An efficient and effective way for organizations to offer their employees an option to make a positive impact is the United Way of Cass-Clay’s Emerging Leaders program. United Way has a unique ability to connect partners and resources to solve complex problems. This year, the Emerging Leaders program will rally over 730 change-makers from over 100 companies across the community, making this the largest young- professionals group in North Dakota.


Executive Director

FM Area Foundation

The FM Area Foundation is now accepting grant applications for its community grant rounds. Grants will be awarded in the areas of Arts, Culture & Creativity; Basic Human Needs; Community Building; Education and Women in Leadership. The community grant rounds aim to address needs throughout Cass and Clay counties. For eligibility requirements and deadlines, visit nonprofits.

April 2019 Volume 4 Issue 4

Fargo INC! is published 12 times a year and is available at area businesses and online at

Publisher Chief Operations Officer

EDITORIAL Editorial Director

Art Director Graphic Designer Director of Photography

Mike Dragosavich

Steve Kruse Andrew Jason

Sarah Geiger Sarah Stauner Hillary Ehlen


J. Alan Paul Photography


Andrew Jason, Jennifer Gades, Kristi Huber, Rylee Wznick, Jamie Maguire, Laura Caroon, Justin Bumann, Josh Christy, Karl Barlow


Business Development Manager

Creative Director Digital Marketing Strategist Videographer Client Relations Administrator Executive Sales Assistant


Nick Schommer

Simon Andrys Tommy Uhlir Patrick Thompson Alex Kizima Kellen Feeney

Associate Sales Director

Neil Keltgen

Senior Sales Executive

Paul Hoefer

Sales Executives

Ross Uglem

Zach Olson

Client Relations Administrators

ADMINISTRATION VP of Human Resources

Office Manager


Jenny Johnson, Gigi McColm

Colleen Dreyer Wendy Kalbrener Bruce Crummy, John Stuber, Craig Sheets

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Here at Design & Living, we see the melting of the snow and the unveiling of grass beneath as a perfect opportunity to freshen up the home. We've curated a collection of on-trend products to help you freshen up your home just in time for warmer weather and longer days.

This month, we are diving forks first into all the hottest brunch spots. Whether you are looking for a birthday brunch with the girlfriends or some carb-filled fuel to break a hangover, Fargo restaurants have you covered. We hope that after reading through this, you'll think about becoming a "morning person," after all.

In what was intended to be a possible "developmental" year for the young North Dakota State Bison men's basketball team, they ended up proving their doubters wrong. Battling through a tough nonconference schedule, the Bison could have just as easily caved in. They did not, streaking through the Summit League slate all the way to the conference's tournament championship game. The result? North Dakota State's fourth NCAA Tournament berth since 2009. Who says they're not ready now?

Special Basketball Issue

The demographics of FargoMoorhead are changing before our eyes. While U.S. Census data still states that the population of Fargo is predominantly white (86.2 percent), according to demographic information from Fargo Public Schools, 28 percent of the students there are nonwhite. In fact, from 2011 to 2015, Moorhead Public Schools increased from 19 percent to 25 percent of its student population being a person of color.

PROFESSIONALS OF COLOR This change can already be seen in the workplace as more people from across the world come to Fargo-Moorhead to work. To celebrate this growing diversity, the FMWF Chamber of Commerce recently launched a new program called Professionals of Color. We talked to four of their members to see why this is a needed addition to the business community. By Andrew Jason Photos by Hillary Ehlen



IBY 24

APRIL 2019

This is one of the first groups of its kind in the area. Why do you feel this program is needed? Due to the local area having increasing diversity, it is important for all aspects and demographics to be recognized and feel a part of the community. What feedback did you receive after the initial launch meeting? Exceptionally positive feedback with people asking how they can get more involved and what they can do to promote the program.

Mortgage Specialist Caliber Home Loans Committee member of Professionals of Color

As the demographics of FargoMoorhead change, why do you


think this organization is good for the business community? This organization is great for the business community and will help businesses learn about the diversity in our area within a fun informal setting while offering professional development and education. What do you hope will come as a result of the group? Education, professional development and opportunities for members to serve in our community by giving back, volunteering and being immersed and involved. Have you ever felt discriminated against in the workplace? Not in the workplace, however occasionally in social

interactions. The way people perceive me due to looking and sounding differently, but this doesn’t happen often and people are usually welcoming and friendly. How can businesses get involved and support the mission of Professionals of Color? By attending our social events, promoting diversity and by being a host for one of our events if possible. Are there any businesses, community leaders or organizations in town that you admire? Mayor Jonathan Judd (Mayor of Moorhead). Mayor Judd is not only a great personality in our community but has an inspirational life story of how he got to where he is today. Business owners and businesses often have a tendency of hiring people similar to them. Why do you think it’s good to have diversity in a workplace? Innovation, ideas and adaptability. Having a workforce with a multitude of backgrounds and diversity can help with problem solving, improving processes and so much more. A workplace with diversity usually includes people with a different thought process, different experiences and different points of view. In my opinion, a company which is diverse with different ages, sex and backgrounds will have an advantage due to having varied opinions and experiences. The businesses may also be more creative and adaptable to change by having dissimilar voices heard and learning from diverse cultures and experiences to solve problems and adapt to an ever-changing globalized economy.




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Marketing Technology Specialist

This is one of the first groups of its kind in the area. Why do you feel this program is needed? Professionals of Color will provide a few valuable resources to the region. This group will be a way for professionals to connect with each other to develop and flourish as the business community grows and prospers. Networking with other professionals of color will help to create a community and support system that is currently absent for many individuals throughout the region. Many people don’t know where to turn for support and development. The Professionals of Color will provide business development and educational

Choice Bank Member of the Steering Committee

who were not able to attend the event as well. It feels like we have a lot of momentum building. As the demographics of FargoMoorhead change, why do you think this organization is good for the business community? I think Fargo-Moorhead is a lot more diverse than people imagine it is. If you asked what percent of Fargo-Moorhead is white, I think most people would say something like 95 percent. And honestly, if I didn’t think about it too hard, I probably would have guessed a similar number as well. We have this idea of what race represents the FM area. But that is no longer true.

MATHEW opportunities that members can use to continue their personal growth. And we will offer service opportunities for members to give back to the community. The region is becoming more and more diverse. This group will provide a way for businesses and professionals to form a community and understand how nurturing diversity is important for everyone. What feedback did you receive after the initial launch meeting? There was a lot of positive energy in the room during the launch event at the Plains Art Museum in February. You could really feel the support for the program. For one thing, having a charismatic speaker like Mayor Judd really brought a feeling of excitement to the event. I saw a lot of support from people

At a meeting the other day, someone mentioned that 27 percent of Fargo school kids are of color. I immediately wrote that down because I was shocked by it. Think about that. About one out of every four kids is not white. I grew up in Fargo, and when I was in school, it wasn’t like that. We are becoming more diverse. And that means our customers are becoming more diverse. Understanding your customers is essential for a business. Professionals of Color can connect businesses to a growing, diverse workforce. Hiring and interacting with people who represent and understand some of the fastest growing demographics in our area can be incredibly valuable. Another benefit to businesses is that diversity of race also provides a diversity of thought and culture.

Many studies show that diverse teams perform better and provide greater innovation and creativity. A diverse team is a high performing team. It’s just good business. What do you hope will come as a result of the group? I hear stories from people who do not feel like they have a place in our community. They haven’t found their support network yet. I really hope we can provide that network for them to have a sense of belonging and purpose. The more people feel connected to the community, the more they will put into improving it. It will hopefully create a positive feedback loop. And I hope we can help businesses connect with professionals of color to help build those high performing, diverse teams. How can businesses get involved and support the mission of Professionals of Color? Businesses that already hire diversely can encourage their own professionals to join the Professionals of Color. And for that matter, white is a color too. You don’t have to have darker skin to join Professionals of Color. Businesses and business members can be advocates for why diversity in the workplace is important and why it’s helped them. Companies that currently have a workforce that might underrepresent the growing diversity in our region, think about your own customers and how they are changing. Think about what a diversity of thought and culture can bring to your organizations. Are there any businesses, community leaders or organizations in town that you admire? Microsoft. In fact, Professionals of Color was really born from what is happening on the Microsoft campus with Blacks at Microsoft. Not only does Microsoft have a diverse workforce but they have communities within their workforce to support each other. FARGOINC.COM


Operations Program Manager Microsoft


APRIL 2019

How you’re involved in the group? I was one of the members that proposed POC to the Chamber of Commerce’s Board and now I am a committee member. This is one of the first groups of its kind in the area. Why do you feel this program is needed? The Fargo/Moorhead/West Fargo area has seen growth in diversity over the past decade. Professionals of Color will encourage a diverse business community and foster a community of inclusion.

Have you ever felt discriminated against in the workplace? What? Being a woman and, to double down on that, a woman of COLOR? Absolutely! How can businesses get involved and support the mission of Professionals of Color? 1. SHARE, SHARE, SHARE with employees, potential employees and other businesses 2. Come and participate at our events. Get uncomfortable and grow. 3. Become a sponsor and support POC.

GORDON What feedback did you receive after the initial launch meeting? Excitement! A lot of comments stating “FINALLY” and “This is needed for our community!” As the demographics of FargoMoorhead change, why do you think this organization is good for the business community? To keep diverse talent in this area, we need to have groups like POC to bridge gaps and to cultivate a culture intended to blend into the fabric of the local landscape. What do you hope will come as a result of the group? To help create a more inclusive community!

Are there any businesses, community leaders or organizations in town that you admire? Emerging Prairie. The work they are doing is great! They are true change agents!

Business owners and businesses often have a tendency of hiring people similar to them. Why is it good to have diversity in a workplace? We all tend to gravitate to individuals who look and act like us, however to be successful, we have to let go of that general premise. We have to be open to our differences, to understand different cultures and backgrounds and our different upbringings and approaches to doing things. We also need to bring people of different backgrounds and life experiences together to strengthen their culture and their overall business.


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Director of Career Development Center MSUM Member of the planning team

This is one of the first groups of its kind in the area. Why do you feel this program is needed? We want to retain the best professionals. We don’t want to lose out to the competition based on individuals feeling like other communities are a better place to work and live. Most often, I am the only person who looks like me in my workplace or space. I grew up in Climax, Minn., so that isn’t a new experience – being the other. Unfortunately, being the other can sometimes have you feeling like an outsider. Even worse, others can perceive you as an outsider.

opportunity I don’t get often in our community. Here’s a challenge: take 48 hrs of this week and count how many times you are the minority in a public situation. What is that like? Reflect on how that may impact your life. I know that being perceived as different has only made me more resilient. How does that make you feel? As the demographics of FargoMoorhead change, why do you think this organization is good for the business community? A vibrant business community is about a commitment

MICHAEL Building networks, collaborating with other professionals, passionately volunteering with awesome organizations in our community is the recipe to building a good life. We all want these things. We all want places to connect and grow. This organization is providing a great first step for a portion of our community to connect with vibrancy of our regional economy.

What feedback did you receive after the initial launch meeting? Very positive feedback. Networking with other professionals in an environment where my racial or ethnic background doesn’t separate me from the group is an

to democracy through the promotion of free enterprise and individual opportunity. With the creation of this organization, The Chamber is finding a way for all professionals to connect with community and engage in citizenship. Success isn’t just about excelling in the workplace, but also continuing our professional development, networking with other professionals, volunteering in our community and spending time with our loved ones. What do you hope will come as a result of the group? I want to be in less rooms where I am the only person who looks differently. My hope is that all kids in our community will grow

up and consider completing their education or training here. I hope all graduates will consider our community as a great place to work and live their best life. I want our community to be a place that can attract and keep all types of high quality professionals from all kind of backgrounds. Are there any businesses, community leaders or organizations in town that you admire? The Sons of Norway – Kringen Lodge 25. The Sons of Norway was founded in Minneapolis by 18 members in 1895. These men formed the organization to insure each other when they were unable to secure life insurance on their own because as immigrants they were viewed as distrustful. Their membership was originally open to males of Norwegian descent between the ages of 20 and 50 who were capable of giving proof of being morally upright, in good health and capable of supporting a family. As an immigrant myself, I connect with their history. Resilience, perseverance, the quest for free enterprise and individual opportunity. Business owners and businesses often have a tendency of hiring people similar to them. Why do you think it’s good to have diversity in a workplace? Diversity in a group increases viewpoints. Increased viewpoints increase potential creative outcomes, increase success. When making important decisions, you want to hear a variety of ideas. Innovation in business requires imagination, vision and risk taking. Our differences can make our teams better. “If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking.” Gen. George S. Patton



The Chamber had their initial launch in February at the Plains Art Museum



rofessionals of Color stemmed from Microsoft. The company has a variety of programs for their diverse young professionals, including Blacks at Microsoft, Asians at Microsoft and Military at Microsoft. After initially launching a Blacks at Microsoft program at the Fargo campus, their leadership team approached the Chamber about launching a program similar to this to the whole community. The Chamber agreed that this is something that would benefit the entire community and that it fit the Chamber’s mission perfectly. Last month, they had their initial launch of the Professionals of Color program at the Plains Art Museum. “The reaction was very positive,” said Alyssa Ralston, Professional Development Coordinator for the Chamber. “We were really excited about the turnout. … To see that we’ve been working on this in the background not really knowing all the individuals

who would be interested in this and to see so many come out to an event just to hear what this organization will do for our business community, it was really exciting to see. It also reinforced that this was the right step for our community to be taking inclusion efforts.” While the program is just getting off the ground, it has four main goals. 1. Networking: Social events with the sole purpose of providing members an opportunity to interact 2. Professional development: Learning and development opportunities and resources members can apply to their daily work 3. Education Opportunities: To learn about the diverse populations in our community 4. Service Philanthropic opportunities for members to serve in our community Ralston who has been helping facilitate this event along with the many volunteers,

acknowledges that this is an important addition to the FM business community. “It’s important to acknowledge the make up of our community is changing and that with every individual who comes in, they’re going to have different needs,” said Ralston. “It’s important to create a program where there’s an intentional effort to include people of diverse backgrounds in the business community. … Our diverse community members have different needs and not all community members are going to know where those needs can be met but hopefully our Professionals of Color program can help those individuals find the organizations that are going to help their specific needs be met.” It is important to note that Professionals of Color is open to everybody. The program is available thanks to Microsoft and Bremer Bank as sponsors. If anybody is interested in participating, it is $45 per year for membership and is open only to Chamber members.






With so many different networking groups out there, we thought we’d shed a light on several of the many options out there.

American Advertising Federation – North Dakota

1 Million Cups

Meets most Wednesdays at 9:15 a.m. and usually meets at The Stage at Island Park


The100,inc. is a Fargobased business initiative built exclusively for owners, executives and entrepreneurs with the simple purpose of connecting people to people, connecting people to projects and helping leaders lead.

American Advertising Federation – North Dakota

Upcoming events


50 Experts In 50 Minutes Wednesday, April 16 from 11:30 a.m. -1 p.m.


Sandro Miller, Photographer Tuesday, May 21 from 3:30-5 p.m.

BNI Beyond Business and Wednesday Morning Originals

BNI is the world’s leading business networking and referral organization and has two local networking groups. Wednesday Morning Originals meets at Wednesday mornings at 8:15 a.m. at CCRI and Beyond Business meets Tuesdays at 7:30 a.m. at Dakota Business Lending.

Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce

With several different networking opportunities, the Chamber has something for everyone. Below are a couple of their different networking groups. Professionals of Color Young Professionals Network Upcoming events

| | |

Lattes with Leaders: Stephanie Schroeder Wednesday, April 10 from 7:30-9 a.m.

Off the Clock Wednesday, April 17 from 5:15-7:30 p.m.

Networking to Business: StrengthsFinder Tuesday, April 23 from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Women Connect Upcoming events

| |

Work-Life Fusion Tuesday, April 23 from 3:30-6 p.m.

Say Yes to Self Care Tuesday, May 28 from 3:30-6 p.m.


APRIL 2019

Young Professionals Network

Women Connect


This group is about creating honest conversation with a diverse group of thinkers to introduce and interact with essential questions and divergent points of view. GROUPTHINKfargo

Ladybosses of Fargo-Moorhead

Ladybosses of FargoMoorhead

This group is full of empowered women who are confident in her abilities and instinct, boldly leading with heart and integrity. Upcoming Events


Fashion Revolution Week April 22– 28

HÜRD ProNetwork

This new networking group is all about innovating business networking. With a downtown location, they have regular networking events.

Inspire Networking

This networking organization was created by two local business professionals and meets every week. chapters/fargo-founderschapter

Master Networks

Master Networks mission is to lead a movement of learningbased, service-oriented, entrepreneurs and business leaders. Fargo-Moorhead has four different chapters that meet on different days of the week so you should always be able to find a time that works for you.

North Dakota Women’s Network

The North Dakota Women’s Network works to improve the lives of women in North Dakota through communication, legislation and public activism. Their core areas of focus speak to our values of leadership, opportunity and equality for all. Upcoming events


Strong Women, Strong Coffee

Hosted by the ND Women’s Business Center, Strong Women, Strong Coffee meets quarterly and features a discussion with women in leadership roles. Upcoming event


Friday, May 10 from 8-9:30 a.m.

Feminist First Fridays Friday, April 5 at 5:30 p.m. at Gastropub


POW-ER Hour is more than just another networking group, but also includes so much more, such as “No Fear/No Fail Zone,” group mentorship, skills enhancement, “Guided Focus,” shared wisdom, plus professional development and mastery opportunities.

Women in Networking

The mission of Women in Networking is to connect businesses for women by fostering mutual success in the areas of profitability, leadership and personal/professional growth in a non-competitive arena. Meetings are held on the first and third Tuesday of every month at Applebee’s in Fargo. (2350 45th St. S, Fargo)





et’s take a stroll back to the 1990’s, shall we? Almost 30 years ago, the United States Congress passed “The Americans with Disabilities Act” in order to follow the regulations required of the physically disabled. This law helped to ensure that there was equal opportunity for disabled individuals as far as employment, public accommodations and transportation, to name a few. This Act, which was amended and revised as necessary in later years, was a stepping stone towards becoming a more inclusive and accommodating society. That being said, there is still much action required in order to be true to that law. One of the requirements that fall within The Americans with Disabilities Act and directly


APRIL 2019

affects your business involves proper signage. Failure to accommodate these regulations can result in a substantial fine (upwards of $75,000!) from your inspector. Yes, we are in fact trying to frighten you into understanding the necessity behind ADA compliancy. Fret not; there are ways to avoid that looming and terrifying fine, and your local signage shop would be more than happy to help you with your order! Signage industries that offer ADA Braille Signage will be an excellent resource to ensure you meet the requirements of the law, and some regulations may vary depending on your state’s laws. It’s best to be thorough in this type of sign purchase. Knowing these five requirements will give you peace of mind in ensuring your business is up-to-code!

1 FONTS There are three things to keep in mind with the font you choose for your sign: keep it sans serif (a font without “feet”), all uppercase and keep it at 15 percent maximum stroke. These requirements will ensure readability.

2 COLOR Contrast is key! There must be contrast between the lettering and the base of your sign, meaning light lettering against a dark background or vice versa. If you’d like to see the typical range of color options offered at signage companies, visit officesigncompany./ADA-braillesign-colors to gather ideas for consistent signage around your office.

BY Rylee Wznick PHOTOS BY Office Sign Company

3 MATERIAL The material and material thickness are major proponents with proper ADA compliant signage. Be sure to use nonglare material (ADA wood, plastic or metal), domed Braille beads and tactile (raised) lettering that is 1/32 inch thick.

4 SPACING/HEIGHT The art team designing your proof will take the proper spacing and height requirements into consideration while preparing your custom sign, but we’re about to throw a lot of numbers at you regardless. Reference the image for a visual of said requirements! Behold, the nitty gritty of signage: The pictogram height (raised symbols on the sign) must be no more than 6 inches high. The lettering must be between 5/8 inches and 5 inches tall with a minimum of 1/8 inch spacing between lettering. The sign should have a 3/8 inch margin around all tactile elements and a 1 inch high space is needed for each line of Braille. The Braille beads should be 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch below the last line of text. Along with that, the line spacing should be within 35-70 percent of character height.

5 BRAILLE The Braille on your sign must be dome-shaped. It cannot be flat or pointed and it must follow the spacing guidelines above and be lower case (with the exception of proper names, acronyms, or when acting as a letter in a room number – i.e. B12).

These requirements are general requirements which you can find comfort in knowing upon placing your signage purchase. However, we highly encourage you to visit to further your understanding, learn more details from or be sure to check with you state’s laws associated with signage requirements.

Before you start gathering ideas for your office signage, it’s imperative to be aware of these guidelines. It’s also important to know that not all signs need to be ADA compliant. These regulations apply to the permanent rooms or areas such as restrooms, staircases, kitchens and rooms of that nature. If you are at all overwhelmed by the requirements above, be sure to reach out to your local signage company! We will work with you to make sure your sign is just as sleek as it is compliant.





ay 11, 2018 was a special day for Tyrone Leslie. After 24 years of hard work and dedication in business, he was awarded the ChamberChoice Entrepreneur of the Year award. With the 2019 ChamberChoice Awards happening on Friday, May 17, we thought we would sit down with him to see what business lessons he’s learned over the years. Here are the six insights we gained from him. BY Andrew Jason PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen


APRIL 2019



In Jim Collins’ business book “Good to Great,” Collins cited a study in 2001, which went through nearly 1,500 Fortune 500 companies over a 30-year period. Collins and his team of researchers went through and looked at the companies, which saw growth after a transition in leadership. The team found two characteristics among the leaders of the companies that saw significant growth: humility and a determination to do the right thing for the company, no matter how painful.

Heritage Homes 1815 38th St. S, Fargo

“I still think about winning the award to this day. It was a very humbling experience. If I had the opportunity to say, ‘You know what? This isn’t for me. This is for my team and my company,’ I would do that in a heartbeat. My goal is to infuse fun in everything we do while ensuring customers and our team are met with professionalism and respect during every interaction. We are dedicated to making our clients’ dreams come true through an enjoyable journey and unparalleled service by not only our team, but the talented and skilled trade partners we have chosen. As I tell them all the time, our team isn’t about one person. It’s about a team of people who are passionate and love what they do. When you have that, it’s not a job. It’s a true hobby.”



It’s a cliché in business, but the mantra of hire slow is true. Leslie and his team have developed hiring committees to ensure they are getting the proper candidates who fit their culture. Many companies, including Google, have enacted hiring committees. Google states they use hiring committees because it “reduces individual unconscious bias in the hiring process, ensuring the candidate is the right match for the role”. “The success of an organization is based on the talent and skills of our staff,” said Leslie. “Recruiting qualified employees and being able to keep them happy at an organization is an investment of time and resources. In strong economic times, finding capable applicants is a challenge and keeping them is an even greater challenge. At Heritage Homes, employees are the greatest source of finding talent. There is little to no turnover because employees are retained through a culture of empowerment, training, accountability and praise. A business plan is developed, goals are set and successes are celebrated. The environment is attractive to professionals because of the opportunities to grow and be recognized. Another large part of this process is that new potential team members are not just interviewed by one person; it’s a team of people interviewing. The buy-in needs to be by the team and not just one person. This is not just a benefit to our team, but the interviewee. Doing this really secures the culture and maintains the solidarity in the office, which simply just works.”






“We’ve had to overcome adversity with the labor shortage in construction with the market rebounding. Part of our solution to this problem is through our culture. Our company practices the lean philosophy, which means finding ways to get rid of waste in any process because waste does not give value to the customer.


Heritage Homes isn’t afraid of change. In fact, they openly embrace it, as evidenced by their use of technology. They continue to grow while staying aware of the needs of the city and changes in the market. Technology also plays a major role in their homebuilding journey with interactive plans, 3D experiences and an oculus program where homeowners can virtually walk through their future home. In 2018, they introduced Matterport, a camera and building scanning, which creates a 3D virtual tour of their model homes. This enhances the user experience and their customers can tour their homes from the comfort of their home. They constantly strive to keep their technology cutting edge. “You can call me the dream maker. A lot of ideas that I come up with can be somewhat silly and drives our team crazy. Every company needs that guy that creates these ideas and hopefully gets some feet on it. I’m the visionary. I like to be able to look down the road so that we’re always on the cutting edge of the services we provide. “The building industry is changing at a rapid pace. If you’re not ahead of the curve, what does that tell you and where does that leave your company down the road? That’s not an option. I’m a guy who embraces change and teamwork. I’m a fast start.”


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Blue Ocean Strategy

“It’s such a great book because it really defines the importance of business but, most importantly, it defines who Heritage Homes and Berkshire Hathaway is. … They talk about the circus. You’ve heard of Cirque du Soleil and you’ve heard of the other typical circuses that are just dying. Why does Cirque du Soleil do so well? It’s because they define a completely different program that people are paying 10 times the price and having an experience. The other circuses are dying out and fading away. “That’s what this book is about. It’s about creating a blue ocean strategy and getting away from the bloody red sea, which everybody is fighting for.”

“Part of this process was to partner with our trades to discover best practices. Our goal was to create a smoother working environment for the trades to give our customers better value. There was a great byproduct created from this process. Our trades appreciated being involved with a company that values their time and efforts to produce a high quality home. During high demand times, other contractors may offer a more elevated price to have our trades leave us for another project. However, if their job-sites are not work ready, our trade partners understand they will actually make less money and have more stress. Our streamlined, work-ready job-sites allow our trade partners to complete more jobs and be more efficient with their time. “Our number one goal is to continue to create the goal of team work. No matter what happens in business, most companies will not succeed without complete and utter acceptance of a team. When we win, we all win together and when we fail, we all fail together. Whether we win or fail we need to understand the “why,” learn from it, make our adjustments and continue to move on without guilt, fear of retribution or, most importantly, the risk of complacency. When we win, we learn. When we lose, we learn. We continue to move forward.”



Heritage Homes has an impressive track record of customer satisfaction. One hundred percent of their customers have no economic surprises at closings. Ninety eight percent of their clientele would recommend Heritage Homes to friends and family. How do they achieve this success? Well, it’s pretty simple. “One word. Process. It’s well defined with the buyer in mind, not the builder. A lot of times, it’s a skinny company. It’s more ‘me centric’ when it has to be ‘customer centric.’ It has to be well thought through. You have to have the right team to implement it. “I’ve seen policies and procedures that are just awesome, but the people behind them aren’t all in. They don’t care. It’s just a paycheck for them. Both sides of our company work incredibly well together and are united. “Our primary goal is doing what we can to positively influence people’s lives every day. We want to make sure when we are given the honor to build a home, which is still the American dream. We are very passionate about it and we don’t take the task lightly. “Specializing in making the homebuilding journey the most enjoyable and stress-free experience, we have processes in place to streamline the build and take the worrying out of the decision-making. We pride ourselves in building the most livable homes for our clients while working with our passionate, genuine and energetic team to create a homebuilding experience like no other. Our HomeCare/ Warranty program takes our clients beyond closing day and with the premium materials our trusted trade partners use, makes us one of the areas well-respected homebuilders.”



Leslie is originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and while he’ll always love his hometown, when he first moved to FargoMoorhead, he instantly fell in love with the community. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this local community is so tight and all about giving back to the community. Three years of living in this town, I was thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, how can I live here?’ I was living in Winnipeg, a big city. I was going a little bit crazy. I said, ‘Hold on. Let’s backtrack this a little bit and look at this more carefully.’ Not only do I swell with pride when I think of how far the FM area has come in these past years, but I am reassured that we, together, have built a community where I am proud to raise my family and call home.”

1 0 L E S S O N S FOR FARGO LEADERS Forbes Publisher, Rich Karlgaard, lends Fargo business leaders 10 lessons he’s learned along the way.


ast month, the FMWF Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2019 Annual Economic Outlook Forum at the Delta by Marriott, here in Fargo. Rich Karlgaard, keynote speaker and publisher of Forbes, sat down with me and talked about his journey, the local economy, future outlook and the advice for local business owners.


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BY Jennifer Gades PHOTOS PROVIDED BY The Chamber

About Karlgaard Karlgaard grew up in Bismarck and would have never pictured himself where he is today. After all, he says, he had no concept of business at all. “I didn’t know anybody in business except here or there, maybe a parent of a friend. I didn’t really become aware of business until my 20s or late 20s. And then it became really interesting to me because I have always been interested in sports and I saw so many similarities between sports and business. The competitive nature of it, how you position yourself differently in the marketplace, how you go to market, the strategy, all of that,” Karlgaard explained.

Karlgaard’s Lesson


Don’t be afraid to stand out Three years into their new business magazine, Karlgaard and his partner were receiving calls that no other publications were getting. Companies were offering four hours with high profile names such as Bill Gates if they could avoid being targeted in the magazine’s illustrations and unbiased stories when all the other publications were running flattering profiles. “I realized it was a really good lesson that you don’t get people’s attention by sucking up to them. You get people’s attention by standing up to them as a peer. And writing the story that needs to be told, whether that’s good or bad. That proved to be correct.” This attention led to a lifechanging call. Microsoft’s public relations department called and offered them two backto-back two hour interviews on successive days with Gates. This got the attention of Steve Forbes who flew out to Silicone Valley with the intention of purchasing the magazine. Instead, they hired Karlgaard to join their team at Forbes.

Karlgaard’s Lesson


Skip the ladder and create a demand for yourself Being able to join the team at Forbes instead of selling the publication to them propelled Karlgaard’s career forward quickly as he was reporting directly to Steve Forbes. “If you want to, if you can pull it off, rather than working up a career ladder, it’s much better to create a company that somebody has to buy, feels that they have to buy or have to hire you because you could become a competitive threat.”

Karlgaard’s Lesson


Know your market and keep your integrity North Dakota is based off of strong, small business owners. Things are simply different on Main Street than they are on Wall Street. “When you are community based like FargoMoorhead, you can’t run fast and loose with your reputation or you will lose it all. You are here. You are rooted here. People will find out. You don’t honor your warranties at a car dealership or you don’t honor an insurance contract somebody thought they had or you provide a crappy retail experience, that will come back and bite you.” One of the challenges that faces Main Street small-town business today is the battle against the cyber economy. Karlgaard talked about this at the Economic Outlook Forum. The physical economy, our local businesses, have a hard time getting capital for expansion due to regulations whereas the cyber economy has virtually no problems. The digital space has been largely untouched by regulation, which has created a mismatch and a challenging outlook for the physical economy. Although there are talks of antitrust regulations and breaking up companies such as Amazon, we can’t rely on things changing.

Karlgaard’s Lesson


Don’t wait for the change “You can’t sit around and wait. If that’s your great hope, that may happen in a year, it may happen in five years, it may not happen at all. Meanwhile, you have a business to run.” Take advantage of the differences you hold here in small-town America. The retail experience in FargoMoorhead, Karlgaard explained, and like-sized cities like Sioux Falls and Billings is more of a social experience. We tend to run into people we know at the mall or local shops whereas traffic and commutes in larger cities prevent citizens of larger cities from indulging in the social aspect of shopping in a physical space. The social aspect of our local retail economy isn’t the only thing we have going for us. “Fargo is in a great position. It’s historical and is at such a geographical advantage being at the cornerstone of I-29 and I-94 and an agricultural hub. But really it’s the science and the talent coming out of the universities here that give Fargo a credible edge,” he applauded.



Karlgaard’s Lesson


Follow your mission, not your passion Karlgaard warns people against the commonly heard “Follow Your Dreams” mentality. “Be careful when people say to follow your passion. Just because you are passionate about coffee or music, doesn’t mean you should open a coffee shop or start a rock band.” He urges us to follow our missions instead of our passions. “Rather than pushing yourself, respond to when you feel like you’re being pulled to something. Because when you’re being pulled to something, generally you’re being pulled in the direction of your God given gifts combined with the sense of mission that you will sacrifice for. That is what you will work hard for.”

Karlgaard’s Lesson


Make the Big Quit From a young age, we are told not to quit and that quitters never win. Karlgaard references entrepreneurial greats such as Richard Branson who have quit more businesses than they have stuck to. Redefine your view of the word quit. “Don’t be afraid to quit. You, of course, have to make a distinction between quitting at the first sign of adversity or becoming a habitual quitter. But don’t be afraid to make the big quit. Every entrepreneur is a pretty good quitter. They have a lot of grit and perseverance but they know when to fold them too. There is always an optimal use of your time, treasure and talent and I think the job of any business person or of any entrepreneur is figuring out where I am going to get the optimal return for my time, my treasure and my talent and the collective talent of my organization. And it could be over here rather than over there.” Making a big quit, as he references, can take a lot of guts. But you don’t have to have confidence to be successful. Just don’t fake it. Just as in sports, golfers who are confident tend to do worse than those who are more prepared for the match, the same is true in business.


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Karlgaard’s Lesson


Don’t fake confidence “The problem with faking confidence or thinking I am going to act confident and all that is that the minute adversity comes. It just destroys the myth of your confidence and then you’re left in a worse place. What people really need to do is learn how to proceed despite not having confidence, which can be done. It’s figuring out where you can get the win, even if it’s a small win and beginning to develop the sense that you can get things done, no matter how you feel.” Self doubt, he explains, is simply information that you may need more information or you may be misunderstanding the facts. Simply use the information that self doubt has revealed to you and move on.

Karlgaard’s Lesson


Find your other half This doesn’t mean that you need to get married and fall in love to be successful. No, Karlgaard is referring to finding someone who complements and challenges you in business. He credits much of his success to having a business partner who was nearly his opposite. “You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room. In fact, if you’re a good entrepreneur and a good manager, you shouldn’t be the smartest person in the room. You should surround yourself by the smartest people in the room. And people who are differently gifted. People who bring a different point of view to a problem so you can debate it out.” He says that having people who think differently allows you to look at customer service and business opportunities in a different light and remain customer focused. This deeper thinking requires a “whole brain” team approach.

Karlgaard’s Lesson


Find your model “You just sit and kind of deconstruct, well what did they do to scale? And you look at it.” He points to Doug Burgum and Scheels as being great models to watch. Also, find your values and your goals and stick to them. “I think that zone that you talk about going from startup to 50 people is really critical. It is really critical because if you have nay-sayers, sabotagers or people like that at that level, it’s over. You may be around as a company but you have blown your opportunity.”

Karlgaard’s Lesson


Be the model As a leader and CEO of your company, you can’t afford to not follow your own requests. “I think the worst thing you can do for your culture is for a CEO or a founder to be hypocritical about it. To say we are going to stand for this, but I’m not going to stand for it. All you pee-ons must operate like this. People will see through that. Hypocrisy at the management level is an absolute killer.”

Karlgaard's "Late Bloomers" book is available for pre-sale on and will be on stands April 16.

Faces of

Fargo Business

WENDY WAALEN Financial Advisor/Wealth Manager

Gardner Financial Services Who she is... I started in the business in 2000 and worked from the ground up. I started as a receptionist/cashier, moved to a client service associate position and then to a registered investment advisor. Now I have my own independent office. I’ve worked at large national firms but wanted to transition to a smaller locally owned broker dealer in the Midwest. Through all these stepping stones I’ve taken, I kept the same goal in mind: to properly SERVICE clients. What her day looks like... I spend my days doing household reviews with my clients and researching the best tools and investment strategies to keep them on the financial path they require. It’s actually my favorite part of my job. I like to get to know my clients. Their families, their likes, their needs and their dreams.

What she would give a TED Talk on... I feel there should be more education out there on investing. Not necessarily how to buy/sell, but to know what you own and your risk tolerance. This goes especially for women. The number one comment I usually received from my clients and prospect is, “I don’t understand how any of this works…” and, “I wish I started to save money sooner!” Especially when employees sign up for their 401k through their employer and no help is given. How does that person know they’re on or continuing on the right financial direction? What she believes every great leader must do... Every great leader must listen. Listen to your clients. Listen to your employees. Listen to any information that might affect your business, even if you don’t agree with what is being said. That is the only way to learn new ideas.



A Conversation With


Why the FM business scene should care that NDSU now has an Ozbun Director of Entrepreneurship


romsø, Norway is the third largest city north of the Arctic Circle and approximately 3,926 miles from Brookings, South Dakota. However, that’s really where the journey to become NDSU’s first ever Ozbun Director of Entrepreneurship began for Scott Meyer. After graduating from Luther College, Meyer attended the University of Tromsø where he graduated with a masters in peace and conflicts. The original plan was to become a diplomat or work in foreign aid. However, once he moved back to the States, he was bit by the entrepreneurial bug and started a marketing company with his brother John called 9 Clouds. Last fall, Scott sold 9 Clouds and that’s when Greg Tehven came calling and his life was uprooted to Fargo. Now with the title of Ozbun Director of Entrepreneurship, Meyer is tasked with connecting the university to the business community and igniting the passion of entrepreneurship in his students.

BY Andrew Jason PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen


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The Conversation How has the Fargo reception been? It’s been fantastic. I grew up in Brookings and I came to Fargo for events on and off. About seven years ago, I came to an event called the Misfit Conference. That was the first time I realized there’s something unique. There are a lot of people with interesting ideas working together. My friend Greg Tehven – who does a lot of community building – basically asked me to move to Fargo every six months for seven years. He finally wore me down. Fargo was a community that I could see myself being a part of. It has the whole package of professional opportunities for myself and my wife, who is a midwife, a dynamic business environment, family amenities and a welcoming vibe. Plus, the food, coffee and beer scene is sneaky great and that made the transition from Saint Paul easier than expected.

“I’m basically seeding the entrepreneurial ecosystem. I’m trying to get students involved in the community, get faculty involved with other faculty and connect NDSU with the state.” – Scott Meyer

So the big question is: what does a director of entrepreneurship do? That’s the fun part. NDSU wants to contribute to the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Fargo, but I’m given the freedom to figure out what that means. I get to be an entrepreneur while promoting entrepreneurship. We are seeding the entrepreneurial ecosystem as our core mission. I’m trying to get students involved in the community, get faculty involved with other faculty and connect NDSU with the state. I see the land grant university mission as having a new importance, which is bringing innovative ideas from NDSU to the rest of the state. We want our students to learn, connect and create. First, they can learn entrepreneurship through a variety of courses at NDSU, including our entrepreneurship certificate and minor. Second, we help connect them with events, opportunities and resources on campus, in the Fargo-Moorhead community and across the state. Finally, we are here to help them create their projects, side hustles and businesses with mentorship, funding and encouragement. Fargo has so much going for it in terms of entrepreneurship, so we really want to be the front door to connect to that ecosystem. Why should the business community care about this? For the business community, we

want to help them connect with campus. We want our students to find great businesses to work with, and we know that the business community can help train and prepare our students for life after the university. That’s why I would love to hear from anyone in town interested in proving mentorship, speaking in classes, leading skills workshops and sharing what we’re doing. We are working towards official certification as a center that we will call The Nice Center. We want to encourage innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship so new students will choose themselves. Instead of trying to decide what degree will get them a job with a company, we want them to say, “I can do this on my own.” I’m sure you know that one of the biggest problems that Fargo faces is a workforce shortage problem. This

seems like a perfect tie-in to help solve that. I think an important way of thinking of entrepreneurship is as workforce development because most people aren’t going to leave the university and start a business but every business needs self-starters. These students might go to a company, start working and say, “I can do this a little faster, a little better,” and either help that company improve or decide to start their own initiative. It seems like a juxtaposition between entrepreneurship and the bureaucracy of a university system. I think that’s kind of fun. I’m making some of the academics slightly uncomfortable with the speed and pace but I think what will make this program unique is the real world experience. That’s where the business community can help out. We want to learn and read about entrepreneurship but the best way to really get

excited about it is to do it. That’s why we have the focus on connecting and creating. I bring almost 10 years of running a business, selling a business, starting projects that have failed and succeeded and I’m encouraging students to do the same. It’s been helpful thus far to have that skill set and have the support of Dean Scott Beaulier to really say, “Go do it and be an entrepreneur in this center.” What do you think the Fargo business community is missing? We’ve identified that capital has been a concern, especially on the smaller side of things in terms of angel investing and having a process around that. We’re looking at ideas like a student venture capital fund that would actually help solve some of those issues. From my perspective, the big picture challenge is getting the With the mission of seeding the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Fargo through innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, the Nice Center will be where you can follow along on Meyer and NDSU’s journey as they promote entrepreneurship to their students.

Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth Last month, NDSU announced the establishment and launch of a research institute focused in areas of global innovation, trade and economic growth. The Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth is possible thanks to $30 million from Sheila and Robert Challey, the Charles Koch Foundation and other benefactors. This institute will encourage studies of questions such as: how do global innovation, trade and institutions advance human potential?; how do structural barriers limit full participation and advancement in economies? and how different policies impact diverse communities in the region and throughout the U.S. economy?

university to be a part of the community instead of a separate entity. For people in the business community, if they come with ideas, we’ll take them and run with them. My job is to be that integrator. The more they can bring, the better. Is the announcement of $50 million for the Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth going to affect anything you’re doing? It’ll create more opportunities. Now there will be more faculty and more researchers thinking about entrepreneurship. I think the gift will grow our potential of developing innovative students in multiple fields, whether it’s social entrepreneurship, business, intrapreneurship or technology. I think the center can be whatever we make it and this gift will help us think bigger. In your first 10 weeks, you have 10 initiatives you want

to launch with the students. Tell us about them. We really think about three audiences. We have our students, our faculty and the community. We wanted to think about what initiatives will really get people engaged and excited. Over the next 10 weeks, we’re going to launch 10 of them.

missing is telling the stories of the researchers and students. You (Fargo INC!) do a great job on the community side. How do we share with the community what’s happening here? We’re going to be launching a podcast, video series, blog and more, all led by student media producers.

This week, we launched the Nice Explorers, which is scholarships for students to go learn outside of campus. Next week, we’re excited to launch a program called CoSearch that will take place April 12-13. It is a 30 hour research competition where faculty share a research idea, form teams around the different ideas and end up with a research proposal that they pitch to judges and the community Saturday night. We then provide funding so they can actually go do that research. It’s helping faculty also be entrepreneurial.

Anything else you want the business community to know about? I would love for people to subscribe to the blog at That’s where we’re going to be launching new initiatives and putting out requests for what’s going on. I know we’ll be looking at expanded mentorship opportunities. That would be a place that we would love to get other businesses involved. As a professor of entrepreneurship, I try to bring entrepreneurs every single day to my class. If someone has experience that they would love to share, we would love to hear it, whether that’s on the podcast or in the classroom.

We’re also going to have a media center here. When you talk about the business community, I think one thing that has been

Community Engagement

The Key to Unlocking Your Organization’s Talent

F BY Kristi Huber, President & CEO, United Way of Cass-Clay

or employers, finding and recruiting an engaged workforce can often seem like a moving target. Organizations that are attracting our community’s best talent prioritize opportunities for their employees to volunteer and give back. Research continues to highlight the motivations that differentiate millennials in their career expectations compared to past generations, and many employers are searching for opportunities to fulfill the expectations of this changing workforce.

Andrea Gemelli is a Business Lines Account Manager at Dawson Insurance, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC Company. Andrea sought out a career at Dawson Insurance because she knew they were a company that encouraged their employees to volunteer.

In Deloitte’s 2018 research, they found that “young workers are eager for business leaders to be proactive about making a positive impact in society.” It is more common than ever for a potential employee to ask about what causes organizations care about and if volunteer time is part of the benefits package. WHAT POTENTIAL HIRES WANT TO KNOW Two common questions being asked by potential candidates during job interviews are: what social issues organizations care about and is paid volunteer

time included in the benefits package? Employers who have been early adopters and implementers of social impact strategies have already seen the benefits to their company’s bottom line. Dawson Insurance is a Fargo-based company that has prioritized a culture of community engagement for their employees for decades. They allocate 16 hours of paid volunteer time for each employee and also make it a priority to organize a variety of opportunities for their



Andrea Gemelli

Tom Dawson

employees to collaborate as a team to serve different nonprofits in the community. Their employees’ presence across the community captured the attention of Andrea Gemelli, now Business Lines Account Manager for Dawson Insurance, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company and a current United Way Emerging Leader, as well as an alumna of the United Way 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Program. “Dawson Insurance caught my eye as an employer due to their outstanding reputation as an employer who cared tremendously for both their employees and the greater Fargo-Moorhead area. Their commitment to their community was one of the main reasons I sought out a job and career at Dawson Insurance.” Andrea’s motivation to give back reflects the perspective of other millennials. “Like most things in life, you get out what you put in; investing our time, energy and resources in making this community a better place 54

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to live is beneficial on countless levels, some of which is difficult to measure since the impact is direct into people’s lives. I give back because it feels good to be a part of something bigger than myself. This community is a supportive one and our culture is enriched because of that helpful spirit.” A CONVENIENT WAY TO ENGAGE YOUR EMPLOYEES AND GROW THEIR SKILLS In 2014, United Way of CassClay recognized that a program focused on volunteering and networking could be valuable to businesses looking for a convenient way to encourage their employees to give back. Over the past four years, the interest and enthusiasm of the program has been remarkable. Currently, more than 730 local individuals are a part of the Emerging Leaders Program, making it the largest young professionals’ program in the state of North Dakota. Along with Andrea, participants of the Emerging Leaders program, gain access to handson volunteer opportunities to

connect and serve with others, receive invitations to networking events with community leaders, as well as leadership development opportunities. The only requirements to join the program are an annual investment of $300 or more in the community with United Way and a commitment to give back eight hours of volunteer time throughout the year. “Becoming an Emerging Leader is achievable—for me, it is $13 a paycheck—that is something that I can commit to,” Andrea said. “The primary reason I joined Emerging Leaders was to make a commitment financially to my community, but then it has really kept my interest in that I always get emails about different opportunities, events, speakers and volunteer opportunities,” Andrea shared. In 2019, the Emerging Leaders program will continue to host different events via various formats every month. In February, the program hosted a Leader Lunch with Gary Tharaldson, Founder and CEO of Tharaldson Hospitality

To learn more or become an Emerging Leader visit

Management, where attendees had an opportunity to hear directly from him about his philosophy on people-driven leadership. Other events include skills training on financial wellness and advocacy and opportunities to volunteer with other Emerging Leaders at the School Supply Drive and Day of Caring. A POSITIVE RETURN ON INVESTMENT FOR YOUR PEOPLE AND YOUR BUSINESS “What I like about United Way Emerging Leaders is that I can choose the events that are of interest to me and fit in my

work schedule,” Andrea said. Deloitte’s research supports the idea that flexibility in the workplace is seen as a value to millennials. “Good pay and positive cultures are most likely to attract both millennials and Gen Z, but diversity/inclusion and flexibility are important keys to keeping them happy.” Over 100 businesses from across Cass and Clay counties have employees involved in the Emerging Leaders program. Dawson Insurance has over 22 Emerging Leaders from their business currently engaged in the program. Tom Dawson, President and CEO, believes that encouraging his team to be involved with United Way and this program has many positive returns for both employees personally and also the business. “People make all of the difference in our business and when our team members collaborate with the United Way, it helps them make a difference in our community almost immediately. It’s a great way for them to leave a positive mark on where they live,” said Dawson. PERCEIVED BARRIERS TO COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT Time and perceptions of decreased productivity are often the most common barriers for businesses, of all sizes, wrestling with the decision to transition to a culture that allows for flexibility and volunteerism. Companies that have already incorporated volunteerism into their culture

intrinsically know and are seeing the benefits. According to Deloitte’s 2017 Volunteerism Survey, nearly nine out of 10 (89 percent) working Americans believe that companies that sponsor volunteer activities offer a better overall working environment than those that do not. In fact, 70 percent of respondents say that volunteer activities are more likely to boost employee morale than company-sponsored happy hours and 77 percent say, “Volunteering is essential to employee well-being.” Tom Dawson would agree, “The happier our team members are, the more productive they are at work. It’s hard to put a value on the return on investment but we believe it is definitely worth it!” United Way of Cass-Clay will continue to be an innovative partner and provide meaningful volunteer opportunities to engage our community. Each year, we rally a community of change-makers to build connections, develop talents and make an impact. We believe that a thriving community with engaged employees and businesses will create a better tomorrow for all of us. If finding your best employees is a challenge for you today, capture the attention of your future workforce by prioritizing your organization’s community engagement strategy. Instead of chasing the target, you will become an employer of choice and watch talented individuals be drawn to work for you.


(left to right) Nick Killoran, Founder and Managing Partner, Great North Insurance Zach Bosh, Commercial Lines Agent and Partner, Great North Insurance Kane Hanson, Life Specialist and Partner, Great North Insurance



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"Business isn't built by the ownership group. It's built by the people that you have within the agency and the company. I feel like if we have happy people, we are going to have happy clients."

rowth is what we all aim for in business. Great North Insurance built an insurance agency from scratch on the foundation of strong relationships and providing a high level of service to clients. The growth Great North developed in its first nine years of business was slow and systematic. The transaction occurred between Corwin Insurance and Great North Insurance was based on a different style of growth. An agency acquisition involves immediate growth and while still very strategic, this type of business development is uniquely different than organic growth. The main focus during an acquisition is on retention of clients and building strong relationships quickly. There is a proven strategy in agency acquisitions that needs to be followed to ensure a successful transition. Corwin Insurance made the decision to move toward selling to another thriving and locally-run insurance agency, Great North Insurance. As of March 25, Great North Insurance acquired Corwin Insurance in a mutually-advantageous venture. “What is

awesome about this, in my opinion, is that both parties were locally owned and both started as entrepreneurial start-ups without a single client on day one,” explained Nick Killoran, Founder and Managing Partner of Great North Insurance. Positive Conversations lead to Positive Business Growth Great North Insurance was started in 2010 by Killoran and his business partner Zach Bosh. Most agencies find their beginning by either bringing over a book of business they started at another agency or buying a book of business. For both Great North Insurance and Corwin Insurance however, they started their businesses without a single customer. This, among other reasons, was why Kane Hanson, formerly the Managing Partner at Corwin Insurance, approached Killoran about acquiring their company, Killoran was excited for the opportunity. “All the conversations we’ve conducted through this acquisition have been positive. The former Corwin Insurance team members are all really excited, which makes my job very easy,” said Killoran. Hanson is not the only member of the Corwin Insurance group who will be staying on board. Great North is bringing over six people to help with the newly expanded book of business. The familiar staff will help ensure the transition

is seamless and easy for everyone involved, including the consumer. “Unless our new clients need to make a change on their policy, they don’t need to do anything due to this acquisition. If our client needs to make a change to their policy or file a claim, they can call our local agency for assistance,” he explains. More Opportunities As a result of the acquisition, Great North will be able to offer a broader scope of life insurance policies rather than just term insurance policies they offered in the past. “Kane is very knowledgeable in the variety of different life insurance policies, offered by all our insurance carriers,” Killoran says. “He also has years of experience with helping families with estate planning concerns and assisting businesses with retention, succession and buy/sell ideas. These specific lines of business are going to be a big win for our clients and our agency due to Kane’s expertise.” Make it Easy Great North Insurance focuses on their customers having access to local people, whether that be in person or over the phone. If you call the office, you are not redirected to a 1-800 number. You reach someone locally in the West Fargo based office. Killoran expects this will be an advantage






Total Team Members



Now have an agent presence in


of their office the previously Corwin-based employees will enjoy. With a larger portion of the Great North staff dedicated to servicing accounts, their agents are able to spend more of their time doing what they love, working with people on their individual needs. “In our agency, our agents focus on writing policies and educating the client to help put the client at ease. Meeting their insurance needs is front and center during our application process. After that is done, our service team really steps up and takes that client to the next level from a servicing standpoint.” A Great Place to Work The service and care Great North Insurance provides their clients with was celebrated in 2016 through the acceptance of two awards: Small Business of the year from the Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo Chamber of Commerce and being named one of Prairie Business’s 40 Best Places to Work.

They are also conducting business in Omaha, NE

NEW PRODUCTS & SERVICES Business Succession Planning

Estate Planning

Key Person Insurance

Employee Retention Strategies

Universal Life

Disability Insurance

Long Term Care

Group Health Insurance

Whole Life and Term Life Insurance

TIMELINE OF EVENTS Jan. 29 Killoran and Hanson first met to start discussions

Feb. 5

“We talk about our Great North Family and it’s a big deal to me. Family is a big part of what we try to do, not only professionally, but also personally,” he says. Whether it is taking care of a sick child or family member, volunteering at school or attending a special community event, Great North Insurance wants their team members to have time away from work to live their best life. “Business isn’t built by the ownership group,” Killoran expands. “It’s built by the team that you have within the agency and the company. I feel if we have happy people working at Great North Insurance, we are going to have happy clients. If you’re smiling during your day, you are going to take much better care of the client. This will lead to better retention of our clients, which ultimately benefits the entire team.”

Great North Insurance made a tentative offer to acquire the agency pending due diligence

Feb. 27 Great North sent a letter of intent to Corwin Insurance

March 11 Great North entered into an agreed assignment and bill of sale

March 21 Closed on the financial part of the transaction

March 25 Clients of Corwin Insurance began to be transferred to Great North Insurance


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Interested in visiting with Great North Insurance? 701-239-GNIS (4647) 675 13th Ave. E., Ste 101, West Fargo




nline reviews from customers are important for local businesses. We live in a time that is practically run on online reviews, from Google to Yelp to Amazon to nearly every social media platform. In fact, a whopping 90 percent of customers say that their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. So, it makes sense that your ability to manage and get reviews can make your business. Reviews give a business online credibility. If customers have reported a great experience shopping or working with a local business, chances are other customers can expect similar results. The problem that most local businesses experience is that many customers simply fail to leave public reviews. Some customers don’t know where to go to leave a review and others don’t know that it’s important to you. The good news is that with a little guidance and conversation, a customer will usually be happy to leave a positive review.

Metrics Media Group, LLC • 60

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Why Should Local Businesses Manage Customer Reviews? It’s important to understand why you should care about them. As a business owner, your days are filled with the essential day-to-day tasks of running your business! I know many local business owners who would rather focus on improving their business by focusing on providing quality service then managing their online reviews… but consider some of these statistics: • 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses • 50% of consumers visit local businesses’ websites after reading positive reviews • 13% contact a business after reading positive reviews • Positive reviews make 68% of consumers more likely to use local businesses *Source BrightLocal – Consumer Review Survey 2018

Why Do Customers Leave Reviews? It might surprise you to find out that 59 percent of consumers have written reviews for local businesses with 27 percent saying they were open-minded to leaving reviews. Because so many customers are interested in reading reviews themselves, they feel the desire to give back and choose to leave


BY Justin Bumann



reviews to help other consumers. If customers are satisfied with a service or experience, that is added motivation to leave a positive review. Many customers also enjoy engaging with local businesses and taking part in community conversation. I personally love doing this. It allows me to assist the local business, with positive feedback and builds the local business community. Just the other day, I left a five star Google review for my favorite restaurant. The owner is often times at the door, shakes your hand as you enter and the food is amazing! You’ll be Surprised by this Approach, Simply Ask! The best way to start gaining more online reviews is to simply ask your customers to leave them. It seems like a no-brainer, but many businesses fail to take this first simple step. As a local business owner, you already have an advantage - it’s likely that you and your staff interact directly with customers and may even have an existing relationship with them. You might feel funny asking them to leave a review at first but after a few positive experiences, hopefully you’ll get used to it. A lot of customers don’t realize how important reviews are to your business or aren’t sure where to go to post them. When you ask your customers to leave a review, make sure you explain why it matters. Then instruct them where they can leave reviews if they’d like to. It might be helpful to have cards printed out with your various social media handles and business info so that customers can easily find them at home. Recently, I noticed a local pizza shop in West Fargo doing an awesome job of this. On the side of their pizza box, in a large type font it read; “Leave us a Review” with a graphic representing five stars next to it! This business is doing it right, they have 223 reviews within Google My Business.


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Use Emails or Text to Ask for Reviews Another helpful tactic is to ask for emails addresses and phone numbers upon checkout and permission to contact your customers. That way you can send customers a separate follow-up email or text message to interact with them. The message can include a thank you for visiting or purchasing from your business and give them a chance to provide feedback. It’s best to make these follow up communications primarily about the customer and their needs. You want to engage them and begin to build a relationship. Keep the email or text simple while asking them to leave you a review if they were happy with their experience. Include links to Facebook, Google Business Profiles and other sites where you’d like to increase your amount of reviews. Use your Social Media Following If you’re still looking for more reviews after reaching out directly to your customers, turn to your social media audience. A simple request like “Have you been to our store lately? Please leave a review or get in touch to share your experience!” is sometimes all you need. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all great places to post a message like this. You might be pleasantly surprised by how many people respond by leaving a review. It’s Going to Happen - Dealing with a Negative Review The flipside of asking people to provide online reviews is the possibility of receiving negative feedback. In most cases, you can probably expect negative reviews because you simply can’t please everyone. Look at them as a great opportunity to improve. First, it’s important to pay attention to what the customer is saying. Try not to get frustrated or let your feelings get in the way. Is there anything within the negative review accurate or inaccurate to your business? The review might highlight some issues that you need to address within your service or product. If you don’t acknowledge it right away, you could end up with many more negative reviews. Next, you want to make sure to engage with

the person who left the negative review letting them know you have seen their comments and are doing something about it. Make sure to never argue with them, even if you feel they’re incorrect. Always take the high road and strive for perfectionism. And it’s a good idea to leave a public comment in response to the negative reviews as opposed to sending a private response. That way other reviewers can see that you are attentive and sensitive to your customers’ feedback. Lastly, you need to make sure that your responses to negative reviews are timely. Customers expect responses very quickly, especially when it comes to customer service. You need to monitor your online reviews regularly to make sure you can respond promptly. In order to catch negative reviews on review websites or social media platforms, it’s helpful to set up a Google Alert based on your business. This allows you to be notified immediately whenever someone mentions your business. Even a quick note to an unsatisfied customer can let them and others know that you care about their feedback and are working to improve. For example: Let’s say a customer complains about the wait time at your store. Poor Response: Sorry you feel this way, but it must have just been a busy day. Better response: Thank you for your feedback. I’m forwarding this along to management so we can work on resolving this issue. Best response: Thank you for your feedback. We apologize for any inconvenience. We’re scheduling a management meeting to address how we can reduce wait times in the future. In the final example, the business builds trust with the customer by not only apologizing for the inconvenience but actively working to resolve the issue. And it goes without saying that if multiple customers are regularly complaining about the same thing, you need to address it.

IS YOUR BUSINESS OWNER-DEPENDENT, MULTIGENERATIONAL OR MARKETABLE Succession and estate planning will be most effective, if it closely matches your type of business BY Kyle Barlow

Kyle Barlow is an attorney with Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., in Fargo who specializes in estate and succession planning for business owners. If you would like to speak with him regarding a transition plan for your business, please contact


f you own your own business, it likely comprises a significant portion of your wealth and will provide your family’s main source of income when you are gone. The success of your estate plan, and your ability to provide for your family after your death, are dependent upon the plan you put in place now. What Type of Transition/Estate Plan is Right for Me? The first step toward developing a successful estate/transition plan is to identify what type of business you have. Most businesses fit into one of three broad categories: the owner-dependent business, the multigenerational business or the marketable business. The plan implemented for each of these business types varies, because the transition goals of each are different. Owner-dependent business The owner-dependent business is typically seen in service-related industries like doctors, dentists, architects and accountants. The owner in these cases typically has control over every facet of their business, and employees of the business provide support to the owner. There are no real transition goals for this type of business, since there is no expectation the business will continue after the owner’s involvement. Therefore,


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the owner-dependent business is designed to maximize profits while the business is operating, so the owner has current income and retirement savings. The multigenerational business The multigenerational business is the “family business.” In this type of business, one or more generation members of the same family are involved in the operation of the business and rely upon the business as their income source. Owners of multigenerational businesses typically want the business to continue operating and providing income after they are gone. The marketable business Finally, the marketable business is a business the owner hopes to sell to an unrelated person. The owner’s goals for the business are for it to continue, but also to maximize the amount they receive from the eventual sale of it. Estate/Transition Planning for the Owner-Dependent Business If you have an owner-dependent business, you may think you don’t have any estate planning worries because your business will not continue following your death. However, there are still estate planning steps that you should take. While you are living, you should minimize

your personal liability from business activity. The two best ways to minimize this risk is to form a limited liability entity (such as an LLC or Corporation) and purchase liability insurance. In addition, you should be sure to have well drafted contracts that address liability issues and include indemnification clauses when appropriate. Following your death, your family should also be aware of other steps that can be taken to limit liability. First, your family should consider continuing any liability insurance for a reasonable period of time. Second, your family should consider other ways of reducing liability by shortening the period of time (i.e. statute of limitations) in which a person has to bring a lawsuit against you for business activities. This may be possible by starting a formal probate proceeding for the owner, so your family should consult with a lawyer who specializes in estate planning and administration to consider this step. Estate/Transition Planning for the Multigenerational Business If you own a multigenerational business, you

must make tough decisions about dividing your estate while addressing the different roles of the next generation with respect to your business. One or more of your children may be involved in the business; one or more of your children may have no interest in the business at all and/or one or more of your children might have an interest in the business, but they are just too young at this point to participate in it. Dividing your estate fairly, while ensuring the business continues to operate may require several strategies and early implementation of those strategies. First, it is important to understand that you can separate the controlling and non-controlling interests of your business. You can create voting (i.e. controlling) and non-voting (i.e. non-controlling, financialonly) interests for your business. Then you can give the voting interests to your children who are involved in the business, and you can give the non-voting (financial interests) to your children who are not involved. This strategy makes sure that your children who are involved in the business remain in control,

and that those who are not involved can still receive a fair portion of your estate. Second, a buy-sell agreement between you and your children who are involved in the business helps set up the ground rules for an expected or unexpected transition. A buy-sell agreement provides for a series of triggering events (like death) that cause your ownership in the business to be bought by your children who are involved in the business. The agreement also typically includes the purchase price and payment terms for any purchase. Having this agreement in place sets up the rules for your children, so they know ahead of time what is going to happen and can plan accordingly. A buy-sell agreement is especially a good idea if you have identified a child, or children, as a successor, but you are not yet ready to hand them the reins. Finally, if you are ready to hand the reins over to your children, there are a number of wealth transfer strategies that can be used to do this effectively. Discussing these strategies with your financial advisors and lawyers is important, since they all have tax

consequences, which are important for you to understand. If properly structured, these strategies can also result in the transition of your business to the children involved, while making sure your other children receive a fair portion of your estate. Estate/Transition Planning for the Marketable Business If you own a business that you are trying to sell to someone to whom you are not related, there are steps you should be taking now. First, you should get a business valuation. This allows you to get a good idea of what your business is worth from an outside, objective source. The business valuation will also allow you to gauge any offers from potential buyers. Second, you should get your financial records in order. In a typical business sale, the buyer will ask for three years’ worth of financial statements. If you are able to provide formal financial statements (accountant reviewed and prepared), then the due diligence process will go more quickly. As part of this process, it is important to understand and be able to explain non-operational expenses, like

personal expenses paid by your business, since they will affect how profitable your business looks. Third, you should meet with your accountants and other financial advisors early in the process, so that you understand how deal structures may affect your tax situation. Finally, make sure that your corporate record book and other legal documents are up to date and organized. A potential buyer will ask to review these documents as part of their due diligence, so having them prepared and organized will cause the process to go more smoothly and quickly. You also have some important estate planning implications to consider. Since it is more difficult to complete those tasks following your death, if you plan to market your business, you should tackle them sooner rather than later. In addition, you need to carefully consider who will be in charge of selling the business after you are gone. The personal representative named in your will, or the successor trustee named in your trust, will be in

charge of selling your business after you die. If you have not completed the steps mentioned above to sell your business, it is even more important that the person named be familiar with your business. Even if you have your records well organized and your business ready to sell, it is important that the person nominated as personal representative or successor trustee have the business knowledge required to operate and sell your business after your death. Most successful transition/estate plans for businesses can take several years to develop and implement. The type of business and goals of your transition/estate plan may also change over time. Therefore, it is important to review your plan periodically to make sure it aligns with your current situation. Of course, this column discusses these topics generally, and is not meant as actual legal advice. Having the proper plan in place is essential to make sure your family is well provided for following your death.

The Startup Journey A BLOG

By Josh Christy Photo courtesy of "The Startup Journey"

Building a Startup If there is one thing I’ve learned about running a small business, it’s that there is always a new set of challenges that you are facing. Most of the time you don’t have a phone a friend or a life line that has previously been there to help you navigate what you are going through. The one thing I’ve found as a cheap and quick way to learn from others is through books. These are a few great books that will help you no matter your stage of business.

Josh Christy is the Founder and CEO of Codelation, who specializes in making the web work for businesses through web, app and custom software development.


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Read These 4 Books First

THE $100 STARTUP: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future

SPRINT: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

By Chris Guillebeau

By Jake Knapp

In preparing to write this book, Chris identified 1,500 individuals who have built businesses earning $50,000 or more from a modest investment (in many cases, $100 or less), and from that group he’s chosen to focus on the 50 most intriguing case studies. In nearly all cases, people with no special skills discovered aspects of their personal passions that could be monetized, and were able to restructure their lives in ways that gave them greater freedom and fulfillment.

Entrepreneurs and leaders face big questions every day: What’s the most important place to focus your effort, and how do you start? What will your idea look like in real life? How many meetings and discussions does it take before you can be sure you have the right solution?

Why I liked it: There is no complex financials or secret sauce to get started. He shows how you can get a service based business started quickly and without a lot of money.

Now there’s a surefire way to answer these important questions: the sprint. Designer Jake Knapp created the five-day process at Google, where sprints were used on everything from Google Search to Google X. Why I liked it: Sprint teaches you to slow down and have a solid plan before running into making something that no one cares about.

The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)


PROFIT FIRST: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine

By Hal Elrod

By Mike Michalowicz

What if you could miraculously wake up tomorrow and any, or every, area of your life was transformed? What would be different? Would you be happier? Healthier? More successful? In better shape? Would you have more energy? Less Stress? More Money? Better relationships? Which of your problems would be solved?

Conventional accounting uses the logical (albeit, flawed) formula: Sales - Expenses = Profit. The problem is, businesses are run by humans, and humans aren’t always logical. Mike teaches us to look at the formula as Sales - Profit = Expenses. Just as the most effective weight loss strategy is to limit portions by using smaller plates, Mike shows that by taking profit first and apportioning only what remains for expenses, entrepreneurs will transform their businesses from cash-eating monsters to profitable cash cows.

Why I liked it: Hal walks you through that setting the stage for success happens in your morning routine. This isn’t a “key to your success is to get up at 5 a.m. and work 18 hour days.” It shows that taking a well planned hour in the a.m. is more beneficial than you would think.

Why I liked it: It is almost the bumper bowling version of managing your finances. By having separate accounts, you are able to have a quick visual of where your money is going.

Find more of our favorite books and resources on our blog at

Special Statewide Agriculture Issue COMING MAY 2019

Mailed to companies with 2-40 employees

Direct mailed to more than 10,000 businesses

Mailed to every ND Farm


Q&A Q In a brief summary, what do you do? A I am a geology lecturer at NDSU where I teach, curate collections, create public displays and coordinate outreach events for the NDSU campus and FM community. Q Tell us about your project to bring a natural science museum to the region. A Like many other community members, I have always dreamed of having something like this available for my family and students, but I didn’t fully understand the present and emerging community support of a science museum until we launched our survey last June.

BY Laura Caroon and Danyel Moe

Local paleontologist Jessie Rock is known for bringing her love of geoscience (and oftentimes a large mammoth tusk) to classrooms across FargoMoorhead. Now, she’s working to bring a natural science museum to the community to spread the love a little further.

Jessie Rock

Geology Lecturer, Department of Geosciences, North Dakota State University President, Fargo-Moorhead Science Museum Project

Last April, I applied for a grant to fund a mobile STEM lab, which I wanted to use to present STEM activities to meet the demand of our local community. … A reporter with the Forum followed me to an outreach event at a local elementary school and quoted me saying that, “FM needs a natural science museum.” The community responded to this statement with an overwhelming amount of questions and offers to help make this a reality. So, I assembled a small team and we created a community survey that we released on social media. Within eight weeks, we had almost 2,400 responses (approximately one percent of the greater FM area). Most respondents (99 percent) indicated that they would support the establishment of a permanent science museum in the FM area. Many respondents commented on the need for more indoor activities for families in winter. They reported that they travel over 200 miles to visit science museums and that they spend a lot of money doing it. We brought this data to the cities of Fargo and Moorhead. Everyone has been supportive. Most recently, the City of Moorhead has shown great enthusiasm and has made introductions that are giving this project traction. We have not committed to establishing the museum in one city or location at this time, but hope to establish our location by summer 2019. The FM Area Foundation is serving as our fiscal sponsor while we await our 501c3 status and we hope to start fundraising this spring.

Our goals are: · To establish a world-class science museum in our community. · To provide access to interactive, hands-on STEM learning experiences for visitors of all ages. · To leverage relationships with the local scientific community in order to design compelling and unique exhibits, which reflect the diverse talents of our local individuals, institutions, and businesses. This is a community endeavor and we plan to leverage the expertise in our community. Due to wonderful local talent, we don’t need to outsource the design to make this project work and we hope to get the support of local businesses, institutions and individuals in our community and feature some of the STEM happening here in FM.

Q Why do you think it’s important for people to learn about the natural sciences? From the amazing natural world in which we live to the products and technologies we use in our daily lives, science is everywhere and is for everyone. Science should inform public policy and be valued. We need to ensure, now more than ever, that we promote science and science learning at the local and national level in order to remain competitive in the world. Q If people are interested in seeing a science museum in Fargo-Moorhead, how can they help? A If you or your organization would like to be involved in this project, please leave us your feedback and contact information when prompted at the end of our community survey. FARGOINC.COM


A P R I L / M AY





Every Wednesday,9:15-10:15 a.m.

Join the vibrant entrepreneurial community of Fargo-Moorhead and Emerging Prairie by participating in an event filled with guest speakers, plenty of coffee, ideas and excellent networking opportunities. The Stage at Island Park 333 4th St. S., Fargo

APRIL 2 Eggs & Issues: A Local Look at U.S. Customs and Border Protection Tuesday, 7:30 to 9 a.m.

Port Director for Field Operations in Warroad, Minnesota, will speak about Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler Programs to include NEXUS and Global Entry. These new technological advancements allow for expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Additionally, Olafson will discuss the Remote Offsite Arrival mobile application that allows travelers to check in with CBP at the Northwest Angle, Minn. and in certain remote parts of the country. Chamber Members: $30 in advance | $35 at the door Non-Members: $40 in advance | $45 at the door Courtyard by Marriott Fargo-Moorhead 1080 28th Avenue South, Moorhead

APRIL 10 Coaching for Success Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Coaching to the other person’s strengths is more effective and produces better results. Attendees at this session will learn the importance of transparency, accountability and communication as it relates to giving and receiving feedback. Coaching is an effective method to build your human bank account within an organization. Jill Berg presents and is the owner/president of Spherion in North Dakota, South Dakota and West-Central, Minnesota with offices in Fargo and Bismarck, Sioux Falls and Perham, Minn. Chamber Members: $30 per person in advance | $35 at the door Non-Members: $40 in advance | $45 at the door Delta by Marriott 1635 42nd Street South, Fargo

APRIL 12-14 Techstars Startup Weekend Fargo 2019

Friday April 12th from 6 p.m. to Sunday, April 14th at 6:30 p.m.

Techstars Startup Weekends are 54-hour events designed to provide experiential education and meaningful connections for technical and nontechnical entrepreneurs. Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through brainstorming, business plan development and basic prototype creation, Techstars Startup Weekends culminate in Sunday night presentations. The weekend is centered around action, innovation, and education. Tickets: $40-$60 Tickets are available on

Prairie Den 122 1/2 North Broadway Drive, Fargo



APRIL 16 The 2019 Arts Partnership Business Breakfast Series Tuesday, 7:30-9 a.m.

Join The Arts Partnership for breakfast to hear from Kyle Carter, Executive Director, Downtown Davenport Partnership (Quad Cities on the border of Iowa and Illinois) about why and how they actively support the arts in their communities and in their businesses. This will be an intimate conversation, so come ready to listen and ask questions. They #supportlocalart, find out how and why you should, too. These events are co-hosted by Sandi Piatz, site lead at Microsoft. Hjemkomst Center 202 1st Ave. N, Moorhead

Thoughts from the experts

“Questions to bring: How can FM businesses support an arts system that improves our lives and the health of our economy? How do the arts stimulate innovation at work? How does my business benefit from sponsoring an event, purchasing art or working with an artist?” - Rachel Asleson, co-owner of Reach Partners

APRIL 16 April AAF-ND Speaker Event: Steven Lance! Tuesday, 11:30

Steven Lance will be speaking on 50 Experts in 50 Minutes, which is a rapid-fire review of key insights by some of the greatest minds in our business. Enjoy three lifetimes of mentoring wrapped up in a 50-minute package! Free (for members), $50 (for non-members) Sanctuary Events Center 670 4th Ave. N, Fargo

* Reach Partners helps organizations hold stand-out events and manage successful projects.

APRIL 23 Work-Life Fusion Tuesday, 3:30-6 p.m.

Should we feel guilty when we check work email during family time? Are we cheating our company when we text our kids during the workday? With technology that connects all aspects of our lives and different expectations from multiple generations in the workplace, it is harder than ever to separate our personal and professional lives and achieve the balance we’ve all been striving for. Join the Chamber for this Women Connect event.

APRIL 18 Business After Hours Thursday, 4:30-6:30 p.m. DoubleTree by Hilton & West Fargo Conference Center 825 East Beaton Dr, West Fargo

Business After Hours continues to set records as the region’s largest networking event. Booth space is often sold out and attendees can connect with their peers and exhibitors ranging from cell phone companies to financial institutions and more. Join the Chamber for a great time over apps, networking and fun! Delta by Marriott 1635 42nd Street South, Fargo



APRIL 24 Treat Your Team Luncheon 2019 Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Join the Chamber in celebrating those who make the workplace easier and more organized. Treat your staff to lunch at the annual Treat Your Team Luncheon on Administrative Professionals Day. Enjoy great food and a relaxing atmosphere, without the wait! Watch for more information.

MAY 8 Mental Health in the Workplace: Supporting Team Members While Reaching Organizational - May 2019 Goals Wednesday May 8, from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Sometimes it is hard to be human in the workplace. We have all had instances where we observe a colleague struggling or behaving different than usual. In these moments, it is common to question ourselves and wonder if you should approach them, what to say and how to help. This Chamber event will help you learn to look for and skills to intervene when you see signs of distress in co-workers, provide a framework for increasing awareness of those around you and more.

MAY 17 ChamberChoice Awards Luncheon 2019 Friday, 12-1:30 p.m. Holiday Inn Fargo

Sandro Miller (born 1958) is an American photographer (working professionally as ‘’Sandro’’) known for his expressive images, and his close work with John Malkovich and the other ensemble members of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

It’s time to honor and celebrate the best of the best in our community. The Chamber is excited to highlight this year’s most visionary and communitydriven businesses and individuals that are leading the way and contributing to the vitality of our community. Join them at the awards luncheon, where we’ll honor this year’s outstanding candidates in each of the categories and name the 2019 award winners. Get your tickets soon as this event always sells out. Sanctuary Events Center Delta by Marriott

3803 13 Ave. S, Fargo

MAY 21 May AAF-ND Speaker Event: Sandro Miller, Photographer Tuesday, May 21

1635 42nd St. S, Fargo

670 4th Ave. N, Fargo

MAY 23

MAY 29

Corporate Cup 2019

Drone Focus Conference

This sold out event from the Chamber is a series of competitive events promoting physical fitness and friendly competition among the business community. Teams will battle for points in activities such as basketball, an obstacle course, tug of war and more! The event is open to all employees and fitness levels.

Drone Focus Conference is a gathering of professionals, enthusiasts, government officials and leaders in the unmanned systems industry put together by Emerging Prairie.

Thursday, 2:15-7:30 p.m. Minnesota State University Moorhead

Wednesday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Avalon Events Center 2525 9th Ave. S, Fargo

1104 Seventh Ave. S, Moorhead



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Fargo INC! April 2019  

The demographics of Fargo-Moorhead are changing before our eyes. This change can already be seen in the workplace as more people from across...

Fargo INC! April 2019  

The demographics of Fargo-Moorhead are changing before our eyes. This change can already be seen in the workplace as more people from across...