Fargo INC! April 2022

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interviews with

heat transfer warehouse

interviews with

eventide PG.50


great plains transport




The ladyboss retreat


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// APRIL 2022



Sponsored Content: Your GreatGo-To for Commercial Insurance


Sponsored Content: Business Banking Trends in 2022


Sponsored Content: Rice Companies: Over 60 Yes of Building and Design Cool Stu*f


Sponsored Content: The Benefits of Joining a Community Board


Insuring Company Culture


Turning up the Heat on Company Culture


Combatting the Great Resignation; Helping Those With Disabilities


Taking the High Road to Employee Recruitment and Retention


Dale Carnegie Training, Who? And How to Combat The Great Resignation


Perficient: A Global Company a Local Impact


From the Concrete Up


Ladyboss "Flow" Retreat


Unique Places to Get Your Work Done


Leader Perceptions of Personal Relationships at Work: Do They See Things Clearly?


Overcome Workforce Shortages in Sales


10 Questions With John Machacek: Nature of the North


Ladyboss of the Month: Char Gust


Awesome Foundation Grant Award Winner: CAPLP


Unfortunately, During a Pandemic, Everyone Should Think About This: What You Need to Know About Your Parents' Estate Planning



Academic Insight

APRIL 2022






All our stories in one place

Business events calendar

Read all the past issues

Extra video content

E d i t o r ’s n o t e

The Great Resignation W

hether or not you believe "the great resignation" is an accurate label for recent hiring phenomena, you have to, at the very least, concede that employee habits have changed since the onset of the pandemic.

It's way above my pay grade to pretend like I know why that is happening. However, I believe part of the shift has to do with the opportunities employees had to push the pause button during quarantine. For the

first time in, maybe forever, the American worker was able to really pause and take stock of where their life was at. They got to look around and ask themselves, "Is this what I want to keep doing? The last five years have really flown by. If I don't stop now, will I ever?" Those are powerful questions that can lead to, and already has for many, the conclusion that it's time for a change of pace. Work is only work, right? So, what good is it if it's not fun and fulfilling or worse yet, doesn't allow for flexibility to explore all of the other great things that makes life worth living.

As employers, it's your job to make sure they come to the conclusion that they want to stay. How that is done probably varies from company to company and industry to industry, but something has to be done to ensure that your place of employment offers fun and flexibility for your employees. Otherwise, they are probably

going to leave to do something that offers more of those two things. That's just my take though.

Brady Drake Fargo INC! Editor

Brady Drake, Fargo INC! Editor




Lead Content & Public Relations Strategist

United Way of Cass-Clay

More than ever, companies are looking for ways to stand out and attract that next amazing employee and keep current valuable employees happy and productive. What are ways you can facilitate a great workplace? · Positive workplace culture. · Boosted employee morale. · Increased well-being of employees. Providing opportunities for volunteerism is proven to help! Companies are recognizing how important it is for employees to feel connected not only to their employers, but also to their teammates. Even in a remote or hybrid work environment, we have heard from many companies that volunteer events and opportunities to give back through fun, virtual events bolstered the morale of their employees. The good news is that our United Way will continue to be an innovative partner to provide meaningful opportunities to engage your employees and our community. Learn more at unitedwaycassclay.org – just click on “Get Involved” and get started!


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KURT MCSPARRON Founder and Director

The Executives Club of Fargo - Moorhead

Dream big. Focus small. Follow through. Oh...and, be nice.



Moore Holding Company

FM Area Foundation

In conversation, segues transition the participants from one topic to the next. Classic Midwest segues: “So, how ‘bout them Twins?” “Sure is windy today, eh?”

We live in one of the most generous parts of the world here, where individuals, families, and businesses invest into both our local economy and our local charities. There are so many options available to make a difference in someone’s life.


Organizations can have segues, too, which are defined as uninterrupted moves from one thing to another. Sometimes organizational segues happen when an employee leaves or gets reassigned. Sometimes they happen when you restructure. It’s important to remember the job tasks and communication needs of the organization do not stop when there is change. People create their own segues (uninterrupted moves from one thing to another), based on the best information they have available. If leaders communicate effectively, employees can quickly adapt and reroute their activities in the new configuration. When leaders provide the guidance and direction employees need to make optimal segues when change demands it, new and optimal paths emerge.


If you own a business and are looking for a way to support your employees during an emergency or traumatic event, consider opening an employee emergency relief fund with the FM Area Foundation. We can create a fund where you and your employees can make financial donations, realize a charitable tax deduction on that gift, and build a fund to support your fellow employees. If an emergency should arrive, your business can utilize the fund to assist employees with some of their expenses as a result of an unexpected event. Whether a business, individual, or family, the team at the FM Area Foundation can help you find a charitable giving plan that is right for you. Call us today and remember, giving should be easy, let us help!




FMWF Chamber of Commerce

Greater FM Economic Development Corporation

Founders Programs

It fills me with humility and pride knowing how many great people we have living and working here, driving FMWF forward.

Between what we continue to hear from visiting/relocating businesses and, for example, what I recently heard from visiting guests of the Fargo Film Festival, people REALLY take notice of their time here in the metro. It’s not uncommon to hear the term “blown away”.

President and CEO

Someday, far in the future, our community will look back on the 2020s as an impactful and critical time in FMWF’s history. The work we are doing today will live on for decades. Seventy years in the future, our residents may not think twice about having a metro that is protected from the Red River flooding, but they will experience the positive benefits in many ways. Twenty years from now, visitors might not know that tax incentives helped give rise to the vibrant community they are enjoying. Ten years from now, our high school students may not fathom a world in which career academies weren’t a staple in student education, yet they will go on to succeed in their careers and endeavors. The future will hold many new opportunities and challenges for our region. I look forward to continuing our work together for a vibrant future.

Chief Innovation Officer

What blows them away is a combination of aesthetics, amenities and people. With aesthetics, I’m talking about the thoughtful design and developments of our downtowns, and surrounding areas. A lot of this has been in the works for 20+ years, thanks to many local visionaries and team players. With amenities, it’s obvious with the MANY great restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, shopping, hotels and more. And tons of activities of varying types, if a person bothers to even put in minimal effort to find them.


Over the last two years many people reevaluated their role in the workplace. In fact, The Census Bureau reported 5.4 million businesses started in 2021, up from 4.4 million in 2020. As we rebuild post-Great Resignation, our economic and community success hinges on several factors: ensuring resources and opportunities are available to all who seek them, encouraging worklife balance in the workplace, and working together in our communities. Based on the number of new businesses starting in the FM area, and resources available to founders, I'm confident we'll continue to build a vibrant, healthy economy and community.

And with the people, that’s what we hear the most. They comment on how friendly, genuine and collaborative people are. And often the quality and density of our talent. When you add all the above to the friendly and positive biz environment, as well as available resources, it should be no surprise that we continue to work with more and more people choosing to be here. I mention all of this to remind you of all the things that our community is intentionally doing right.



Meet the team MIKE





















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APRIL 2022 Volume 7 Issue 4

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

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We all rally behind “shop local” so why not eat local too? But how do you, the consumer, start? The answers to that are most likely things that you already know. Eating locally can look like markets like the Red River Farmer’s Market or Pride of Dakota, local and federal programs like Farm to School, and food from local gardens, farms, or ranches. People eat locally for different reasons. Some people want to know where their ingredients come from for personal health, some people identify with a brand's story and some look at the negative economic impact of nonlocal products. Let’s take a look at some of our local farmers and growers and their impact on our community in eating locally.

Plug and Play's agtech accelerator is back. Meet the 9 startups that could be making waves in the world of agriculture very soon.


Your Great-Go-To for Commercial Insurance By Josiah Kopp Photo by Josiah Kopp Since Great North Insurance was founded in 2010, Zach Bosh's heart has been to develop relationships and help clients find the best insurance that fits their needs. Bosh specializes in commercial insurance and prides himself in the fact that Great North can create and customize insurance packages that fit every need out there. His goal is to provide the best service possible to clients by working hard to uncover the needs they have and provide insurance cares for their needs on a daily basis—and ultimately for their business to stand the test of time and thrive for years to come.


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Meet Zach Bosh, Commercial Lines Agent at Great North Insurance. Bosh co-founded Great North alongside Nick Killoran in 2010, and together, have earned awards and recognitions for outstanding insurance and customer service.

"I tailor each policy to the individual customer to make sure it fits their needs properly." If I don't know what type of insurance/packages my business needs, how can you help me decide? Asking questions is the most important thing for me in understanding your needs. I think insurance is one of those things that people feel like they have a good idea of what's going on and what they need. There can be a lot of gaps in coverage if you don't know what you're looking for. When I started here, I had my insurance at just a captive carrier here in town. I got the insurance when I was 22 years old, bought my first house and I thought I was covered for everything. It wasn't until I actually got

my license and understood what I was actually looking for that I realized how bad my first policy was that I had.

How do you help me understand the risks of my business (and the industry it falls under) and help me choose the best insurance for that? My biggest philosophy has always been to ask questions. I can always tell people what I think are the most important things but a big part about insurance is figuring out what's important to you, the customer. The first thing I'll ask is where their risk aversion is at and what coverages are important to them. I always preface by asking about things that have come up in the past that have been hot button topics for the client. When I look at someone's policy, I'm going to guide them by making recommendations and making sure they know what are some good options to have. I tailor each policy to the individual customer to make sure it fits their needs properly.

What elements of GNI's commercial insurance are you most passionate about? As far as elements about commercial insurance, I'm most passionate about the fact that we do a really good job of connecting with the customers that we have. I tell everyone that I want to be more than just an insurance agent to them; if I'm just someone that's going to collect a bill or a check at the end of each year, it's the wrong relationship for both of us. It's important for customers to find value in

what we're providing them, not only from the insurance perspective but also from an advice and resource perspective; we try to be a resource for whatever their business needs. There are even situations when someone may need something like a payroll service, and although we obviously don't do anything like that, we will refer them to different people in the community that may be able to help them out. And that's what I feel is another part of my job; this helps bring value to the overall relationship.

"I'm most passionate about the fact that we do a really good job of connecting with the customers that we have." FARGOINC.COM



"Adding in things like security cameras and telematics for your vehicles are also a couple of great ways to keep your premiums down." What are some things I can do for my business to keep my premiums low?

What hallmarks of your commercial insurance and its packages do you pride yourself in the most?

What does GNI provide that other agencies often miss? What makes GNI stand out?

Inflation affects everything, including insurance. Things like property values keep going up and so naturally insurance costs to cover those properties go up. The good news is there are steps you can take to help keep your premiums low.

We do a good job of getting a comprehensive policy for the customers. I tell everyone that I want to make sure that in five or 10 years if a major incident happens, it doesn't derail their business; I want to make sure that they're able to keep moving forward.

When Nick (Killoran) and I started Great North, our whole thing was we wanted service to be at the forefront of everything we were doing; being involved in the community, making sure that we were accessible to our customers.

One thing you can do to keep your premiums low in today's world is to have a good risk management program to try to negate claims that can be easily avoided. There are always going to be those situations that can arise that you can't stop from happening (e.g. weather, car accidents, etc.)—and that's really what insurance is for. The ones that can be avoided are the easiest ways to help keep premiums down. Adding in things like security cameras and telematics for your vehicles are also a couple of great ways to keep your premiums down.


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I feel like oftentimes, insurance agencies focus on the first six months and making a good impression with the customer. For me, it's what you're able to do the second six months, the second and third year after that which really makes a difference in what you're able to provide.

It comes down to providing the customer with something that maybe they don't have currently. The risks are changing within our society; there are things like cyber insurance and EPLI that are becoming more prevalent in today's world where they need to have coverage. 10 or 15 years ago nothing like that was even offered, so it's important to explain to them the value. Your true cost of insurance is the cost of your premiums, deductibles paid and unpaid claims—so it's important that we try to minimize that overall cost leave on a yearly basis as much as possible.

• Contractors • Auto Mechanic & Car Washes • Retail Stores • Restaurants & Bakeries • Lawyers & Accountants • Salons & Barber Shops

I think everyone always says that they have great service, I feel like service is one of those things you only truly understand once you experience it. That's something that I always want to make sure of; I always want to ensure I am meeting clients' expectations.

• • • • • •

Chiropractors & Dentists Wholesale Distributors Manufacturing Truck Insurance Building Owners Janitorial Services


Great North is ready to serve you. To get a quote, visit greatnorthinsuranceservices.com or call 701.239.4647.





As we exit the pandemic, many businesses are revising business plans with a renewed focus on their path forward. This may mean new opportunities for expansion, a shift in products or client base, shoring up operations for longevity or launching completely new ventures. While every business has its own unique considerations, a few common trends are emerging among business owners who are proactively pursuing opportunities while preparing for the unexpected.

TREND: Improving your balance sheet with good debt. Interest rates are rising but there is still time to

restructure debt at potentially lower rates. Businesses are using good debt to increase liquidity, reduce payback timelines, buy back stock, or as an alternative to issuing stock.

TREND: Expansions and upgrades. Necessity is the

Business Banking Trends in 2022

mother of all inventions, and the pandemic forced many businesses to rethink the way they do business, creating opportunities to grow and improve their operations. The key is to have a good plan for using funds to ensure the expansion or improvement will generate cash flow to cover your loan repayment.

TREND: Planning for future disruptions. The

pandemic was a wake-up call for businesses to prepare for the unknown and refresh their plans frequently to stay prepared. This includes financial safety nets. Strategies include establishing lines of credit or refining balance sheets to increase reserves or cushion cash flow.

TREND: SBA lending. The U.S. Small Business

Deposit products offered through Alerus Financial, N.A. Member FDIC


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Administration has had a bad rap for lengthy paperwork and clunky processes, but the Paycheck Protection Program spurred a resurgence in interest in the good things the SBA offers, like low interest, long-repayment periods and a willingness to lend to small businesses based on cash flow compared to collateral. Preferred SBA lenders like Alerus have dedicated SBA teams who guide businesses through the loan process and provide strategic advice for long-term success.


Blaine Anderson Senior Business Advisor 15 years with Alerus Specialty area: Agriculture and agribusiness Advice for clients: Know your cost of production and breakeven and consider the impacts on working capital before making big decisions. Favorite fundamental belief: Do the right thing! Everything we do is centered around the client. The advice and service we provide is driven by one mission: to do the right thing for our clients.

Alerus Fundamental Beliefs

• Do the right thing • Cherish people • Empower with knowledge • Serve with passion • Respect everyone • Embrace change

Dan Doeden

Deposit products offered through Alerus Financial, N.A. Member FDIC

Southern Valley Market President 18 years with Alerus Client focus: It’s rewarding to watch our clients grow, from opening their first checking account to transitioning business ownership and entering retirement. I enjoy working with clients in all stages of their financial journeys. Favorite fundamental belief: Serve with passion. When you are passionate about the company you work for, the clients you serve and the employees you work with, you also enjoy a career with purpose, not just a job.




Your Biggest Business Threat Could Be Cyber Fraud Here’s what to do about it. Remote working and conducting business online has increased dramatically over the past two years. And so has cyber fraud. Reduce your business’ vulnerability by doing these three things.

address. If a coworker sends a request to meet using a virtual meeting platform that isn’t normally used in your internal office, confirm the request with a phone call.

1. Beware of business email compromise (BEC). In BEC, a criminal impersonates a coworker or partner

2. Cover your back with backups, tests, checks and software. Start with internet security

and requests payment to an account, or they might pose as an employee and ask HR to change their direct deposit.

One of the newest methods of attack exploits the frequent use of virtual meetings among remote workers. The FBI has confirmed several methods of attack, including hackers posing as executives and scheduling virtual meetings on their behalf. When the meeting starts, they claim their video/audio is not working properly, then proceed to instruct the employee to transfer funds in the virtual meeting platform or via email. They may also covertly insert themselves into workplace virtual meetings to collect information on the company’s day-to-day operations for future attacks. They later pose as an executive and instruct employees to initiate a transfer of funds with the false claim that they are in a virtual meeting and unable to conduct the transfer on their own computer. You can help prevent having your email account hacked by keeping passwords secure, first and foremost. Keep an eye out for red flags in emails, including misspelled hyperlinks and discrepancies between the sender’s name and their email Deposit products offered through Alerus Financial, N.A. Member FDIC


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software and data backups, then test your data backup and make sure it can’t be infected from the network. Check your bank accounts daily for unusual activity. You might even test your employees with fake phishing emails to increase awareness. Employee education can effectively stop an attack before it starts. Your financial partner should provide additional protections like multi-factor authentication and Positive Pay and have the capability to enforce dual control processing of transactions, among other measures.

3. Check your insurance policies. Does your

policy cover cybercrime, fraud and ransomware attacks? Some companies also provide fraud recovery assistance. Insurance brokers and business advisors can help identify the best level of coverage for you. If you discover you have been the victim of cyber fraud, contact your financial partner immediately for assistance. The FBI encourages all victims to file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), regardless of the amount lost, at ic3.gov.


Bill Carlson

Lead Business Advisor 34 years with Alerus Industries served: Manufacturing, wholesale, transportation, contractors, agribusiness. I’ve had the pleasure of helping many types of businesses, owners, and employees throughout my career. How Alerus adds value: Financial service providers all do things a little differently. Alerus focuses on the entire life of a business or client and provides help at each new point along the way, compared to only addressing the current issue or request.

Cole Keney

Senior Business Advisor 19 years with Alerus Specialty area: Midto-large businesses, construction and industrial firms, professional services What business owners should know: Your business plan is a working document. It will change, and we expect your goals and needs to evolve. Think of your business advisor as your financial quarterback who helps call the plays and loops in the right specialists at the right time. Deposit products offered through Alerus Financial, N.A. Member FDIC




5 Things To Consider Before Selling Your Business Contemplating a sale? Conditions may be ripe—many buyers have excess liquidity and are hungry to get ahead of upcoming economic growth. Before you plan your exit, here are a few important items to consider.

1. Valuation may be challenging

Determining the value of a business is always tricky, but it’s especially hard now, when businesses may have been unusually impacted positively or negatively by the pandemic. Get a valuation specialist’s input to set a realistic starting point.

2. Stakeholder impacts

A business sale can have wide-ranging effects. What future do you want for your employees and customers? Are you ok with Deposit products offered through Alerus Financial, N.A. Member FDIC


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your business being folded into another company? Would you prefer a buyer who will keep your company’s name? These questions can’t be answered with dollar signs and need to be considered before negotiations.

3. Identify the end goal

Visit with your advisors and build your ideal transition plan. This will put you in the driver’s seat and open options for action, rather than being reactive.

4. Don’t forget about you

As an owner, selling your business will have a ripple effect on your personal finances. Work with an estate planner and tax experts when considering a sale. There are many financial tools and ways to structure a sale that can profoundly impact your bottom line for years to come.

5. Start planning early

If you think you might sell in five years or more, there are steps you can start taking today to prepare. If you’re envisioning selling sooner, there is no time to waste. Most owners have only bought or sold a business once, if ever. Build a team of experts who can contribute their collective experience to guide your way.


Caileen Heuretz

Business Advisor 14 years with Alerus Client focus: Small, mid-size, and large businesses and professional services Advice for startups: There is no such thing as a stupid question. Share your vision with your financial advisor and lean on them for guidance. The better you both understand your business and finances, the more successful your business can be.

Brad Loween

Senior Business Advisor 1 year with Alerus Industry focus: Commercial/ industrial sectors, real estate Advice for new business owners: Build a team of advisors and use their expertise. Attorneys, tax professionals, business finance experts, and insurance specialists can all provide valuable insights. Deposit products offered through Alerus Financial, N.A. Member FDIC




3 Questions To Ask Your Retirement Plan Provider As the war for talent rages on, your retirement and benefits package is more important than ever. A retirement plan is now a must-have just to remain competitive in attracting workers. If you want to stand out, your retirement plan provider can help.

diversified mix of investments for the participant based on their personal needs and goals. Alerus’ investment experts monitor each account’s performance and periodically rebalance portfolios as needed.

Here are three questions to ask your retirement plan provider to make sure they are keeping you on top of your game.

Are you able to customize my plan and integrate other services?

How do you support my employees’ overall financial wellness? Saving for retirement is just one component of financial wellness. Your retirement plan provider should also provide your employees with financial and holistic wellness tools to help them manage their overall finances. For example, Alerus provides access to its interactive My Alerus tool — a personalized financial wellness hub which allows users to set personal financial goals, create a budget, and track their progress in areas including debt management, retirement savings and emergency funds.

Alerus experts also host monthly webinars on retirement and other financial topics, providing plan participants a unique opportunity to engage with experts and have their questions answered in real time. Employees who would like assistance in developing a financial plan can utilize Alerus financial guides for more information at any time.

Can you demystify retirement investing for my employees?

Saving for retirement is complicated. No two employees’ personal finances or goals are the same, so providing onesize-fits-all investment options may not serve employees’ best interests. Alerus offers a personalized retirement strategy, known as a Managed Account Program*, that assembles a


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Just as no two employees’ retirement goals are the same, employers have unique situations and needs. Make sure you’re working with a reliable provider that has the experience to identify solutions, streamline processes, and create a customized plan. Diversified service providers like Alerus can also provide full-service plan administration and compliance as well as additional benefits such as health savings accounts, flexible spending accounts, and health reimbursement arrangements, which can help set your benefits package apart from competitors. Alerus has been administering retirement plans for decades and is a valued partner to thousands of employers, advisors, and brokers across the country, making it one of the top retirement plan providers in the nation. Combining national resources with a local focus enables Alerus to uniquely help companies develop dynamic solutions to aid employee attraction and retention while supporting employees’ long-term financial wellness goals. *Alerus will act as the investment advisor with full decision-making authority over the investments in the account without having to consult with the participant in advance. We will have no responsibility or authority over those assets that are subject to Plan Sponsor restrictions, those assets held in a self-directed window account if available under the plan, employer securities; real estate (except for real estate funds and publicly traded REITs); self-directed brokerage accounts; participant loans; non-publicly traded partnership interests; other non-publicly traded securities (other than collective trusts, unitized models and similar vehicles); other hardto-value securities or assets; other non-standard investment options held in the account(s); and any assets held outside of the account(s).


Cary Parkinson

Senior Business Advisor 20 years with Alerus Clients served: Small businesses, professional services, construction firms, commercial real estate, agribusiness, ownership transitions What business owners should know: Your banker is your business partner and advisor. We are there to understand your business and deliver what you need to achieve your goals.

Jessica Hoppe

Senior Business Advisor 10 years with Alerus Client focus: Small-to-large businesses, commercial real estate development How Alerus uniquely serves businesses: We are so much more than loans and deposits. We have a full suite of solutions to support businesses — treasury management products, retirement and benefits plans, employee education and financial management tools, and wealth management solutions. We’re able to meet our business clients’ unique needs now and as they grow. To learn more, visit alerus.com

The information contained herein is general in nature, is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Alerus does not provide legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation. Deposit products offered through Alerus Financial, N.A. Member FDIC





! F * U T S L O CO D Established in 1953, Rice Companies is a 69-year-old third-generation, family-owned construction firm. Helping to pioneer the design/build delivery method decades ago, Rice Companies has evolved into one of the only firms in the Midwest to have the capability to offer true singlesource construction services, including in-house real estate and brokerage, development services, architectural design, civil and structural engineering, construction management, selfperforming field crews, facility maintenance and service.


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Their involvement in projects can include everything from master planning, design, permitting, and municipal approvals through construction, owner’s representation, close-out, and beyond. Rice Companies has extensive experience in tax increment financing and tax abatement applications, development and multi-phased projects. "We view each project as an opportunity to solidify our core purpose to earn our

customer's unwavering support to do business with us again and again," President and CEO Chris Rice said. Over 85% of Rice Companies' projects annually are repeat customers. Their team of architects, project managers and skilled field crew allows them to provide a single point of contact for their customers.


• General Contracting • Construction Management

• Architecture and Engineering

• Self-Performing Field Services • Facility Maintenance and Service • Real Estate and Brokerage • Property Management FARGOINC.COM



SUPERINTENDENT Tell me about the most memorable project you've worked on?

Three years ago, there was massive flooding in Fremont, Nebraska and I was asked to be superintendent of the cleanup and remodel of the Border States Electric warehouse and offices there. They had 2 feet of water in their building and the whole surrounding area was devastated. We had them operational within two days of the water receding. This helped them get electrical components out to places like hospitals and nursing homes. The support from the home office was exemplary and the subcontractors we worked with were also outstanding. It showed that in times of strife, people can pull together and help each other out. That project was complete in around two months and it was very rewarding for that to happen.


PROJECT MANAGER What is it like building cool stuff with Rice?

Building with Rice is like riding a bike. When you start out, everyone surrounds you, offers advice and a stabling hand. As experience sets in, training wheels come off and your first solo ride happens. You begin to go with a larger group which takes your rides further and higher. Finally, you find yourself straddling a Harley Davidson, a well-oiled machine that catches people’s eyes as you go by, realizing whether you're the leader of the pack or bringing up the tail, everyone is part of the same ride.



What's the most gratifying thing for you in being a part of these beautiful, massive projects?

It's fun to build in our own communities and be a part of the local development. I love to hear clients and citizens, locally, discussing the projects we are working on. It's very rewarding.


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Rice Companies goes above and beyond industry standards with almost everything they do. "Rice provides the support and training that I need in the field," Superintendent Kris Clark said. "They provide everything from new trucks, tools and great places to stay on the road, be it hotels or apartment rentals for me. In short, if there is something I need, they see that it gets provided." Those high standards also extend to the company's selective hiring process. They don't panic to fill an open position, they instead wait for the right candidate that fits their family atmosphere, their value system and one that they see as a long-term employee. "With the extreme labor shortage we are seeing right now, coupled with the influx in work at Rice Companies, you would think we would feel pressured to complete projects faster and let the quality slip," Glencoe General Manager Michael Donnay said. "But with the team we have, we are able to maintain the high quality that has been the standard Rice Companies has been known for, for over 60 years, having a crew able to handle the pressure and maintain high quality makes it easy to land the next project."

According to the team at Rice Companies, that culture is built on fun, genuine care for the work and strong, long-lasting relationships with their partners. "It is a blessing and makes it fun to come to work every day. The people I work with daily are so talented," Donnay said. "I am grateful to be a part of the team, but really it all boils down to the fact that the crews in the field are as good as it gets. Whether it is one of the steel erectors or maintenance techs, they are truly the best and I am happy that I can claim to be a part of their team."

At Rice Companies, commitment to safety is a top priority. In fact, their Safety Manager is active on job sites, working side-by-side with OSHA to ensure that they're doing everything they can to prevent accidents. Proactive measurements such as recording all "near misses" are used to help avoid potential hazardous situations in the future. All of this is done in addition to their monthly safety trainings and meetings.





As one of the few firms in the Midwest that offers true single-source construction services, Rice Companies utilizes their skilled crews to offer ongoing building repairs, facility maintenance and renovation services. From minor repairs to ongoing roof maintenance to major remodels, Rice has the equipment, staff and experience necessary to keep your facility maintained for the future. Their experience includes retail, healthcare, office, warehouse and foodservice facilities.












LINKEDIN: Rice Companies, Inc.

RICECOMPANIES.COM 701-809-7187 38

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4141 38th St SW Suite 1-E, Fargo, ND 58104 150 St Andrews Ct Suite 510, Mankato, MN 56001 3301 11th St E, Glencoe, MN 55336

SAUK RAPIDS 1019 Industrial Dr S, Sauk Rapids, MN 56379

ADVANCE YOUR CAREER GRADUATE PROGRAMS Accountancy (MAcc) Business Administration (MBA, MBA in Agribusiness) Business Analytics (MSBA, Certificate) Digital Marketing and Innovation (Certificate) Enterprise Resource Planning—ERP (Certificate) Leadership and Managerial Skills (Certificate) Supply Chain Management (MSCM, Certificate) Transportation and Logistics (PhD)






was 22 years old when I was asked to join my first Board of Directors. At the time, I honestly didn’t know what a “Board” did. Dayna Del Val asked me to join the advisory group for The Arts Partnership, in part to provide some perspective from a recent college grad.

for The Arts Partnership, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Carlsen Cup, Creative Mornings, The Alzheimer’s Association and American Advertising Federation of North Dakota. I also started a young alumni and student committee called Cobbers Mean Business with a friend.

This small ask from a friend and business partner catapulted me into a young career that’s been enriched by community involvement. I’ve served on boards and advisory committees

When I first got involved with community boards, I felt like it was a good opportunity to boost my resume and expand my network. Now, my perspective has changed.

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I’ve recognized that the greatest benefit I’ve received is the sense of community I feel in Fargo; a sense that’s rooted not only in what I’ve been able to gain from this area, but what I’ve been able to contribute. Why Should You Join a Community Board? As a young professional, there’s really no better way to feel connected to the community than by giving back. Donating your time and talents to a


who couldn’t use the boost in endorphins? • The skills obtained from community involvement can advance your career. 92% of surveyed corporate HR execs agree that contributing business skills and expertise to a nonprofit can be an effective way to improve employees’ leadership and broad professional skill sets (according to a Deloitte survey). More involvement = more opportunity to grow as a leader! • Your help is needed in our community. In 2022, there were almost 550 charitable organizations participating in Giving Hearts Day. Almost every one of these organizations (and more throughout our community) have active boards, committees, advisory teams, and other professional volunteer needs. Donating your time to these organizations is a great way to bring some good into our community. How to Get Started

cause that you’re passionate about can have tremendous benefits for your career and your overall wellbeing. Let’s break down a few of the top reasons why you should consider joining a board: • It’s an easy way to expand your network and connect with others. In fact, two of the groomsmen in my wedding were contacts I made through a community board. Boards are a great way to find individuals with passions that are similar to

your own, and the time you spend together working on a common cause can naturally lead to friendship. This network will bolster both your professional and personal life. • Volunteering your time has been proven to improve happiness. According to a Social Science and Medicine study, the odds of being “very happy” rose 7% for individuals who volunteered monthly and 12% for people who volunteered every 2-4 weeks. In times like these,

One of the best ways to get started is to identify what you’re passionate about. Are you interested in arts and creativity? Ending homelessness and hunger? Youth development and education? Then, begin researching nonprofits and charities in our community to find one whose mission matches your interest. Reach out to them through their website, social media, or email and inquire how you can get involved. As the President of AAF-ND’s Board this year, I can attest to the fact that helping hands are always needed! If you’re passionate about marketing & advertising, check out aaf-nd.org and give us a shout.



Insuring Company Culture Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota combatting The Great Resignation by putting communication first

With a combined workforce of over 2,500 people between Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) and its affiliated companies, keeping turnover low since the onset of the pandemic has been a major priority for BCBSND. (Left to Right ) Kelsey Roth, VP of Human Resources and Dan Conrad, President and CEO

That isn't to say that they've walked through "The Great Resignation" completely unscathed. According to VP of Human Resources Kelsey Roth and President and CEO Dan Conrad, BCBSND has seen an uptick in employee retirement since the onset of the pandemic as well as an estimated increase in turnover rate of about 2-5%. However, turnover has been "less than expected." "We focus a lot on retention," Conrad said. "And throughout

the pandemic, we really tried to focus on employee wellbeing and making sure that our employees have been well taken care of. So, I would say our turnover has been a lot less than expected." However, that doesn't mean there weren't challenges along the way. According to Conrad and Roth, they, like the rest of the world, faced numerous obstacles during these unprecedented times. The pandemic hit during Conrad's first few months

Did you know? Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota insures and/or administers claims for over 310,000 people in North Dakota. That's over 40 percent of the state's population! 42

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as the company's CEO and he was faced with more challenges than a new role would usually bring. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota had very limited remote work experience because of their industry's security requirements and they had to navigate the sudden change as an extremely large organization.

because we had no direction, none of us had lived through a pandemic before. We were really trying to make decisions that were right on behalf of our employees."

"There were a lot of challenges right away," Conrad said. "We didn't really know the right thing to do

"I'm sure not everyone had every piece of equipment or technology that they needed immediately," Roth

In making those decisions, BCBSND was proactive in getting its workforce remote, acting earlier than many other businesses.

By Brady Drake

said. "However getting them home was of higher importance."

Working From Home As many people around the world know, remote work presents a specific set of challenges. Those extroverts out there are left without much of the face-to-face interactions they enjoy. In the same light, those in office activities that help maintain company culture are certainly gone. Over the last two years, everyone's mental health took a toll at some point or another. So, what did BCBSND do to keep things rolling? According to Conrad, they began with an emphasis on open and honest communication. The BCBSND leadership team made sure that everyone understood that things were fluid and subject to change as everyone tried to figure out the best way to go about things. "I think maybe there were moments where we were communicating too much and stressing folks out," Conrad said. "And then there were maybe moments where we weren't communicating enough. It probably took a couple

of months to find that right blend. But we had to because communication was really important in keeping things running and keeping that corporate culture cohesive. However, through what we've learned about communication, our business is stronger today than it was before COVID." In maintaining the company culture, Roth and Conrad relied heavily on the leaders of individual teams. They went this route because they knew that these leaders would be more tuned in to what the people they work with on a day-to-day basis needed. Some groups chose to have virtual happy hours, others chose distanced outdoor walks over the lunch hour and everyone in the company received a care package, which included things like blankets and coffee mugs. This, of course, was accompanied by frequent check-ins and an increase in communication. What's more, all of this had to happen while BCBSND was experiencing rapid change in the industry. Nobody knew what insurance would cover regarding COVID, but BCBSND had to figure it out and prepare their budget projections for this as well.

"I think our corporate culture was strengthened during the process," Conrad said. "We came together as a team in this moment of crisis. When I was appointed CEO, we had a lot of new leaders in the organization. And I think the crisis allowed us to really get to know each other because we were all going through that crisis together. Because of that, I think people feel more connected to each other and more connected to the company."


Returning From Home Although it may have been a relief or goal to return to the office, BCBSND still faced obstacles. There were three or four instances where a return date was set for employees, only to have that date pushed back due to things like an increase in positive cases locally. "I know for the employees who were really excited to come back to the office, that was challenging for them," Roth said. "Those people were really hanging onto that date because they were looking forward to having some social interaction and their routine back."

Tom Stadum CPWA®, CEPA®, CRPC® Founder & CEO fjellcapital.com 701.491.7600 27 10th St N Fargo, ND 58102 Registered Representative of Sanctuary Securities Inc. and Investment Advisor Representative of Sanctuary Advisors, LLC. Securities offered through Sanctuary Securities, Inc., Member FINRA , SIPC. Advisory services offered through Sanctuary Advisors, LLC., an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Fjell Capital is a DBA of Sanctuary Securities, Inc. and Sanctuary Advisors, LLC.

Even when they were back in the office, there was the question about what to do with the vaccination mandates. Ultimately, BCBSND opted to incentivize employees with a $500 bonus for getting vaccinated. What else has BCBSND done to combat "The Great Resignation"? A lot actually. Below is a bullet-pointed list of a few things they have tried over the last couple of years. • A renewed focus on mental health - In an added attempt to combat the strain of the pandemic, BCBSND pressed hard to destigmatize mental health issues and has placed a renewed importance on mental and physical health. This included making sure employees are aware of

resources available for those facing mental health issues as well as things like relationship issues, insomnia and addiction. • Training for leaders at the company - These focus on things like how to lead in a crisis. Speakers were even occasionally brought in to help. • Extra time off - Employees were given extra time away for anything COVID-related. They could use it when they were sick, they could use it to get tested, they could use it to get a family member tested, they could use it for a child sick with COVID, etc. • New committees - During the pandemic, BCBSND created a diversity committee and an employee experience committee in order to

improve, well, employee experience! • Implemented the "wellbeing" account - Instead of reimbursing employees for frequent trips to their favorite health clubs, BCBSND decided to give employees a little bit more flexibility. Now, every employee gets a certain amount of money to spend on whatever health-related thing they would like. If they want to buy a kayak, they can buy a kayak. If they want to buy golf clubs, they can buy golf clubs.

reimbursement for employees who go back to school. They also offer reimbursements for conferences, licensure and continuing education. Internally, BCBSND also offers extensive training programs for those entering/preparing for leadership. "Ultimately, we want to really try to make this as good a place to work as we can," Roth said. Learn more at bcbs.com

• No meeting guidelines - In order to encourage team bonding. BCBSND implemented a no meeting guideline over lunch or on Friday afternoons. • An increased focus on career development BCBSND offers tuition Did you know? In an attempt to comply to the current administration's vaccination mandate for large employers, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota began offering employees $500 for simply getting vaccinated against COVID-19.


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Turning Up The Heat On Company Culture

According to Heat Transfer Warehouse Co-Owners Kirk Anton and Tricia Huson Barse, they lost only five full-time employees over the course of the pandemic. "We tried to really be proactive in our approach," Anton said. "And that really started with a big increase in communication."

Not many companies came through the pandemic unscathed by "The Great Resignation." However, Heat Transfer Warehouse came close. The local company, specializing in heat transfer vinyl products and with other locations in Cincinnati, Ohio, Las Vegas, Nev. and Jacksonville, Fla., is in a much stronger position today than pre-pandemic.

"We would go on weekly video chats with our team and try to keep that line of communication open," Huson Barse added. "Because we didn't know what was going to happen. Nobody could. We had to really just double down on communication and culture." What does that look like? From the very beginning of the pandemic, Heat Transfers Warehouse doubled down on communication and culture in a variety of ways, including: • Finding the right seat "We really like to analyze our employees and make sure we're putting them in the 'right seats on the bus.' I think that's one way we've kept employees here, is by putting them in the roles they're supposed to be in and allowing them to grow and flourish in their roles. If they're not succeeding, it's kind of my fault. It means I haven't given them the right tools or put them in the right spot." - Kirk Anton Kirk Anton and Tricia Huson Barse Heat Transfer Warehouse Owners

• Accepting their part in the journey - Antong and Huson Barse are adamant that they

Business is Booming! Heat Transfer Warehouse, like many other companies, was left questioning what would become of their business during the onset of the pandemic. Initially, they did experience about a two-and-a-half-month downturn in business. However, they bounced back strong when the pandemic increased the number of DIYers and home crafters. 46

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By Brady Drake | Photos by Josiah Kopp

realize Heat Transfer Warehouse isn't meant to be everyone's place of work forever. They also realize that it's their responsibility to see their employee relationships as a twoway street, meaning they're working to help their employees reach their goals just as much as they're helping the company reach its goals. They've even made a point of accommodating employees in trying to do this. "One of our employees knew she eventually wanted to live in the country," Anton said. "Because we had the lines of communication open, she told us that. And we were able to tell her that we wanted to continue to be part of her plans when she made that move. Now she works for us remotely, comes in a couple of times a month and we were able to keep a really good employee." • Embracing change - Over the course of the last two years, Heat Transfer Warehouse added its sixth core value, "development," which, of course, focuses on growth for employees within the company, but also changes in response to cultural shifts. For example, Heat Transfer Warehouse didn't use to allow its employees to wear headphones while working. However,

"we noticed that's what the younger generation wants," Huson Barse said. "And we want to keep our employees, so, we let them wear headphones now." • More transparency Anton and Huson Barse both say that they've attempted to be more transparent in letting employees know how the company is performing month to month, while also allowing more space for feedback from employees on things that could be improved. • What if days - A couple of times per year, Heat Transfer Warehouse will have a day where everyone has the opportunity to present any idea, any question, any suggestion. "This has given us some of the best ideas in the company," Anton said. • Team building events - Once per quarter, the entire Heat Transfer Warehouse team will participate in one charity event and one culture event, which includes things like bowling, laser tag, etc. The Heat Transfer Warehouse team also has employees participate in miniculture activities every other week. This usually involves the team taking a break in the middle of the day and playing some sort of game.

• The fishbowl - Every new hire, at every location, is subject to the fishbowl; a fun, get-to-know-you activity where the new hire sits in a room with a fishbowl filled with questions. The activity only lasts about 15 minutes, but in those 15 minutes, the new hire will learn something about each person in the room based on a question they draw from the fishbowl. This process is then repeated virtually so the new hire can meet all of the other employees all across the United States. • Testing the waters - In an attempt to ensure that they're hiring the right people, Heat Transfer Warehouse will bring in prospective employees for test days. This means that the employee will work in the business for 2-3 days to see if they're the right fit before getting hired. "Overall, I think communication and culture have been the saving grace for us," Huson Barse said. Learn more at


Combatting The Great Resignation Helping Those With Disabilities

Shannon Bock Executive Director

It's no secret everyone in the healthcare industry has faced challenges over the last two years. This, at times, has been especially true for those serving our most vulnerable populations.

CCRI is a local nonprofit focused on enriching the lives and learning of people with disabilities. Currently, they support 400 people in the community. However, that is currently being done by a lot fewer people than normal. Back in March 2020, CCRI had an employee base of about 600 people. Right now, that number sits at 487 and over the course of the last two years, it dropped as low as 466. According to CCRI Executive Director Shannon Bock, that dip in employee base was originally manageable. "We provide support for people with disabilities and

part of that is helping them get out into the community. However, when COVID hit, we had to shelter in place because things were closed. We needed to keep our population safe," Bock said. "So, we didn't need as many team members. About 60% of our team is college students. So, when the colleges shut down we lost more employees than we anticipated... One of the biggest mistakes we made was to stop hiring during the height of the pandemic. We weren’t hiring for three months and we should have been. It put us behind from a staffing standpoint. But in 2020, nobody knew what was going to happen."

Right now, CCRI could hire 90 to 100 part-time employees. However, they're having a hard time finding the right people. Bock stresses CCRI is always willing to train employees. But they have to have the right people in place. People who are willing to be trained and willing to be consistent. "When you're taking care of people with disabilities, you're helping them with their most personal needs. We need people to be there on a consistent basis,” Bock explained. They've had a hard time hiring full-time positions as well.

"We have positions that rarely come open and when they do, normally it's highly sought after both externally and internally and we're usually able to fill it with internal applicants," Bock said. "Lately, we're even struggling to find external applicants for those roles." What's the issue? That's the million-dollar question surrounding "The Great Resignation" and nobody can say with certainty what exactly is causing the shift in employment preferences. There are, however, a number of identifiable factors.

What is CCRI (Creative Care for Reaching Independence)? CCRI is a local nonprofit that helps people with disabilities live more independent and fulfilling lives. Their team helps people by caring for them, assisting them with daily tasks, and by helping them participate in the community.


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By Brady Drake | Photos provided by CCRI

In Bock's opinion, the current market is allowing prospective employees to be more selective, meaning they may tend to look for employment that compensates better with less responsibility. "We're a nonprofit that's funded largely by the state. So, the state sets the rates for everything we can do. With that being said, over the last year, we've had to go above the rates the state has set in order to be competitive and still pull people in," Bock said. "In the state of Minnesota, the average wage for caregiver positions is $14 an hour. We have stretched our budget to the max to offer a starting wage of $15 an hour. People can make up to $19 an hour depending on which sites they go to. Plus, we have a $2 an hour weekend incentive. And there are still people who don't want these positions. However, you can work at a fast food place right now and make $17 an hour with less responsibility. Our legislature sees this discrepancy and hopefully, they do something about it." What's at stake? CCRI plays a crucial

role in taking care of our community’s most vulnerable adults and children. In fact, they provide 24-hour support to 34 homes in our community. If CCRI can't find adequate staffing, Bock says they would have to consider closing some of their homes, meaning the individuals living in those homes would be forced into different, oftentimes less accommodating, living situations. What is CCRI doing to fight back? Since the onset of the pandemic, CCRI has attempted a number of tactics to combat "The Great Resignation" including: • Selling their culture According to Bock, "Once CCRI gets people in the door, they usually stay. We're really like a second family for people. We try to be very approachable, especially in our leadership. We value our employees and we try to show that as best we can." • Increased pay - Bock and the CCRI team have already upped their pay beyond what was originally allotted by the state's legislature.

And they want to do more and are working with legislators to get that done. • Gift cards! - Who doesn't love gift cards? CCRI has started to give them out as a way to show appreciation to employees for their efforts. They've been giving out $5, $10, $20 and $50 gift cards for things like grocery stores, gas stations, and Target. • A referral program CCRI’s biggest source of applicants is employee referrals. If a current employee refers someone who gets hired, they get a $1000 bonus! New team members also get a $1000 bonus.

What can you do to help? As a nonprofit, CCRI relies heavily on donations to fulfill their mission and they are always looking for more help in recruiting and retaining quality employees. They also offer volunteer opportunities for those interested in giving of their time. To learn more, visit CCRIMoorhead.org.

Turning the Tide of the Great Resignation

For Eventide, a local company providing much-needed senior living opportunities, "the great resignation" has become an issue worth attacking from all angles.

According to Eventide's Vice President of People and Culture Kayla Linn, Eventide experienced an uptick in turnover rate across all locations by about 10% between 2020 and 2021. "I think COVID really escalated what I anticipated in our industry," Linn said. "We knew our demand was going to increase over the next five years because of the baby boomer generation. So, I anticipated a staffing shortage over the next 5-10 years but COVID expedited that quicker than we anticipated."


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According to Linn, the issues with turnover have been more noticeable in their rural locations than at Fargo-Moorhead locations, which have a significant talent pool to pull from. However, as the pandemic progressed, Eventide saw increased turnover due to a number of factors including the increase in regulations and rules that came with the territory of being a healthcare business. Imagine the stress and uncertainty you felt at the onset of the pandemic magnified by strict mask mandates and multiple tests a week for everyone

in the company, regardless of whether or not they were direct care professionals. "Our world was changing multiple times a week, sometimes per day with all of the new regulations coming from the state and the CDC," Linn said. "A lot of people chose to instead find a job where they could work from home and not have to deal with all of that."

What is Eventide doing to fight back?

Eventide is trying a multitude of things to combat the great resignation, including:

• Increased salaries - Eventide increased all salaries across the company in 2021 and are continuing to review these to ensure they remain competitive in their markets

• An expedited recruiting process - In order to get people in the door, Eventide has begun to implement a quick application process. Instead of filling out a full application, prospective employees simply have to give their name, phone number and the position

By Brady Drake | Photo by Hillary ehlen

Kayla Linn Vice President of People and Culture, Eventide

they're interested in. Then Eventide calls them for a quick phone interview that usually ends in them scheduling an in-person interview.

• Sharing their story -

in recruiting employees, Eventide has made an increased effort to tell prospective employees about the benefits of working in long-term care. Included in this effort is their "#WorkWithMe" campaign, where frontline staff share why they love working with Eventide. "This has not only helped us tell

our story to new candidates but also helped us uplift our current staff," Linn said.

• A robust referral program - Linn estimates

that right now, Eventide has 230 of its 1,100 staff members receiving referral bonuses. Eventide also separates itself from the other employers in the area by offering referral money to both the person joining the team and the person that made the referral.

• Obsessing over employees - Eventide has made a genuine effort to

obsess over its employees, meaning they dig deep with each individual to learn what is keeping them at Eventide and how they can help them continue to grow and be successful within the company. "The way we are doing this is by having every manager complete regular one-on-ones," Linn said. "This sounds simple in an office setting, but you have to remember, some of our managers have staff that may only work nights every other weekend. In that situation, the manager and the employee may become two ships passing in the night. That's why we need to be really intentional about it." "We really want our employees to feel appreciated here and we will be holding focus groups to see what we can do to further that," Linn said. eventide.org


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Taking The High Road To Employee Recruitment and Retention The transportation industry has always been an industry where turnover is rampant. However, according to bettertruckdrivingjobs.com, the turnover rate in the industry during 2021 was 87%, which is a real problem for employers in the field.

Tyler Holland Great Plains Transport Director of Recruiting and Retention

Great Plains Transport (GPT) is a trucking company out of Mapleton, ND. They specialize in refrigerated freight, cargo and dedicated transportation services, and they have not been immune to these challenges. With an increase in unemployment benefits due to the pandemic, many drivers opted to take unemployment.

This allowed them to make nearly as much money as they would while working, all without having to endure the substantial risk and sacrifices that come with delivering goods. Others stayed, opting instead for the security of GPT salaried positions, a rarity in the industry. Overall, GPT currently sits with 225 drivers and 15 to

Did you know? Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota insures and/or administers claims for over 310,000 people in North Dakota. That's over 40 percent of the state's population! 54

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20 open trucks, which Tyler Holland, director of recruiting and retention, says is the most he can remember seeing in a long time. "While I don't think The Pandemic or The Great Resignation really caused a downturn in our business," Holland said. "It definitely hindered and stopped our projected growth and we

have had a harder time with recruitment and retention over the last couple of years, but it has forced us to grow." And it's apparent that GPT is "growing" through honest self-reflection as a company. How is GPT fighting back? A change in processes - GPT really took advantage of this shift in recruitment



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By Brady Drake | Photos by Josiah Kopp

and retention to look inward and make transformational changes within the business. This included implementing things like an Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). • A focus on technology - GPT has made a concerted effort to ensure that its technology is up to date so drivers can feel as safe as possible when they're out on the road. • Bonuses - In addition to their salaries, drivers at GPT now have the ability to earn anywhere from $300 to $1500 a month in bonuses based on mileage. • Increased opportunities for feedback - One thing GPT has done to give a better experience for their employees is allowing them the opportunity to submit suggestions on an ongoing basis. This has directly resulted in multiple rule changes.


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• Unlimited PTO for in-office staff - "Transportation is a 24/7 365 industry," Holland said. "With that being said, we don't want our employees to have to think twice about taking time if they need it. As long as they're getting their work done, we want them to be able to do that." • Extra benefits - With a renewed focus on employee health and well-being, Holland and the GPT team have added HSA accounts and an Employee Assistance Program to their list of benefits. • Clarity breaks - "We've really pushed our employees who are in-office over the last year or so to begin taking 15-minute breaks as needed to get away from work and do something productive for their health. We call them clarity breaks," Holland said. "It could be something as simple as getting up and going for a walk outside, but it's something we

are really trying to make sure people are taking advantage of." • Employee Recognition - In order to boost employee morale and maintain a healthy culture, GPT has started to give out a weekly MVP award to employees exemplifying the company's core values. • Catering - GPT caters food to the office every Wednesday. • Prizes - Holland the rest of the leadership team are currently working on setting up a system to start a contest that would make most employees out there eager to join the GPT team. They aren't sure on specifics yet, but they will be offering employees the opportunity to have their names entered into a drawing for a quarterly trip with travel expenses all included. Criteria for entrance are yet to be determined.

"Really, all of this is because we want to see the company improve," Holland said. "I want us to get to the point where we can really focus less on recruitment and more on retention." Learn more at


P h o t o g r a p hy b y G e n e v a No d l a n d


Who? And How to Combat The Great Resignation 58

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J o h n s r u d , E r i c a

Dale Carnegie prides itself on teaching the most critical uses of human skills in the workplace. They believe that as automation and technology advances increase, so must a business leader’s skills to inspire and connect



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“With the workforce crisis, automation, supply chain-shortages, global conflict and more, human skills are the most relevant they have ever been in the history of business—human skills still account for 85% of financial success,” Berkeley said

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K a t i e

In many business training and development plans, there’s often an overemphasis on technical skills and abilities.

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With Dale Carnegie having been around for over 100 years, and 20+ years locally, they’ve developed their fair share of experience and insight in business leadership among the workforce. According to Berkeley, “[Dale Carnegie’s] goal is to equip people with the human skills that are required, for every industry. Alongside automation, employees determine the lifespan and overall success of a business. We tend to forget this foundational element and focus heavily on the hard skills and related tasks and execution, without slowing down to understand what motivates and drives people to perform and stay for the journey.”

B e r k e l e y ,


B e t h a n y

The great resignation has taken businesses by storm. The massive exit of people leaving their jobs for different opportunities has forced leaders to reconsider what they’re doing for employees and how they can prevent them from seeking out other offers. After speaking with Bethany Berkeley, CEO and Owner of Dale Carnegie Training ND & NW MN, it’s clear that Dale Carnegie is a major player in workforce and economic development.

S c o t t

The Great Resignation

Photos provided by Dale Carnegie Tr a i n i n g N D & N W M N

H e a t T r a n s W a r e h o u s e P r o g r a m f o C u s t o m e r E

f e r - I n t e r n a l c u s e d o n x p e r i e n c e

others, promote psychological safety, a requirement for not only retention, but the first step toward creativity and innovation. While it may sound challenging, it is meant to be. Without expanding comfort zones, there simply is not long-term growth. Dale Carnegie programs are designed to go deeper by enhancing participants’ EIQ first, and the facilitators are certified over a year-long process in order to deliver transformational and sustainable training experiences with practical application throughout. “Over 50% of people leave their current position because of their immediate manager and, yet, more often than not, new managers are not given the skills they need to lead but are expected to do so because they were performers in a different function,” Berkeley said. “Not to mention, around 74% of our purchasing decisions are based on who we like, trust and respect—the relationships drive sales. The most common and expensive issue contributing to the workforce crisis is simply poor communication, which accounts for significant losses in revenue each year. communication issues account for millions of losses each year. To remain competitive in today’s market, it is a requirement for employees to build trust, credibility and respect with their teams and customers.


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Internal workplace culture should always be consistent with external clients and customer experiences. If you’re treating your customers and partners better than your team, ask yourself why as a starting point.” "We’re all aware the pandemic rapidly changed the course for all businesses, across every industry,” Berkeley said. “This high-pressure demand to evolve is compounded with people facing burnout, change and fatigue. This combination of new stressors in an everyday employee’s life has radically changed how people perceive the value and worth of their time.” A lack of organizational leadership and poor communication are causing many to feel left out, disengaged and more stressed than ever before. And the ping-pong tables and raises aren’t cutting it. Workloads are heavy and the ‘why’ is often forgotten, leaving people feeling undervalued and overworked. "People are jumping ship knowing that they can get paid more now than they ever have, thinking that the grass is greener on the other side,” Berkeley said. “This causes major issues as employers continue to pay above market to keep up with inflation and remain competitive, only creating a cycle more and more difficult to shift. The thing is, tangible incentives are actually proven to do less than we think."

When employees feel valued, connected, and empowered, they are significantly more likely to stay. Many of Dale Carnegie’s clients have noticed that focusing on how to keep their employees feeling valued is equally important to the financial incentive that brought them in. If employees feel as if they’re getting paid but are unable to contribute their ideas, grow or receive any feeling of personal satisfaction from the company, they’re more likely to pursue other opportunities. "The simplest answer for the issue is change,” Berkeley said. “Fatigue is why people are leaving. They’re tired and disconnected. There's a ton of change focused on business profitability and pivoting strategies, but many companies aren’t engaging and activating their workforces." While these are just some of the many things that are causing the Great Resignation, there are plenty of solutions that can help with retaining hard-working employees aside from the previously mentioned respect, appreciation and experienced leadership. One of the largest factors in employee satisfaction that Berkeley has seen is

D a l e

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flexibility, and not just where and when people work, the flexibility to contribute ideas, be part of change, and shift roles are also notable. While it may have been unheard of until recently, younger generations of employees greatly appreciate the flexibility to come in an hour late or leave an hour early if need be. People often have plenty of tasks and responsibilities outside of their careers, and showing understanding and appreciation for that goes a long way. “We can complain as leaders about the discrepancies in perceived work-ethic, and that won’t do anything,” Berkeley said. “At Dale Carnegie, our leadership understands that I have both a family and a career. Sometimes I have to wear both the hat of a professional and a mother simultaneously, but I never have to apologize for staying agile to life,” said Alexis Scott, People Development Strategist. “Flexibility, trust, and transparency have been key to me feeling supported as a professional and a mother.” Another tip that Berkeley offered is to not only have flexibility in an employee’s schedule for their personal needs, but also when hiring new

employees. “It’s important to give people the opportunity to not fit within a predetermined box because the game has changed,” Berkeley said. “Many employers are changing the way they're hiring and crafting roles for people, no matter how big or small they are. Also, I’ve seen a shift with our larger clients moving to a lateral/flat organizational structure because it changes the way the power is perceived and how the business functions as a result.” Dale Carnegie’s team members were hired based on value alignment first, then their merit, passion, and of course, what they can bring to the table. “Rather than conforming to a box of predetermined qualifications and a job description, we collaborate during the hiring process. Dale Carnegie’s team has grown and been retained throughout this difficult time and the entire business has been restructured to adapt alongside clients. Hiring someone for who they are and showcasing that appreciation can encourage them to feel more valued than the average employee. To truly lead strategy and people requires discipline, commitment, and continuous development.”

D a l e C a r n C o u r a w a r w i n n

e g i e s e d e r s

Photos provided by Dale Carnegie Tr a i n i n g N D & N W M N

H i g h I m p a c t P r e s e n t a t i o n s G r a d u a t e s w i t h i n d i v i d u a l s f r o m - K o r b e r P h a r m a , B o r d e r S t a t e s E l e c t r i c , H o u s t o n E n g i n e e r i n g , I n c . , W C C O B e l t i n g , S a n f o r d , L i g h t C o n s u l t i n g , a n d F i r s t I n t e r n a t i o n a l B a n k

“It’s not about the bonuses or the benefits, it’s knowing that I’m cared about and supported as a person,” said Erica Johnsrud, Director of Brand & Community Relations. “Everyone is ‘busy’ these days and taking time to connect on a deeper level, seeing traits and abilities in me that I don’t always see myself means more than anything and motivates me to strive for excellence—and maybe that’s not how we are all motivated! The biggest thing I see that keeps teams engaged is knowing that not everyone is inspired in the same way, and to do that we need to create relationships!” Enrolling in a public training program or bringing training onsite with Dale Carnegie’s team could be the difference between losing employees and solidifying your company’s reputation. Business leaders are sure to benefit from learning new management skills and team cohesion techniques from their proven courses, dynamic facilitators, and experienced full-time team working on the frontlines alongside some of our largest local employers, chambers and EDCs throughout the region on the great resignation (or rather, migration from one job and employer to the next). While employees may be leaving in mass numbers during these uncertain and economically frightening times, leaders have plenty of options to explore. As the landscape of the workforce continues to shift, giving people the proper motivation to feel as if they’re part of the team has never


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been more important than now. Rather than checking the ‘training box’ or ignoring the issue entirely, take a step back, evaluate the current environment and determine ideal outcomes before taking action. Then, act— invest in the most strategic and meaningful way, celebrating employees as they take on training opportunities, go above and beyond, and remain loyal. A few strategies for ensuring development is successful based on client experiences with Dale Carnegie: 1. There are many resources wasted by utilizing un-vetted training and development vendors to check the box, only re-do it or give up as a result of the quality or outcomes 2. If someone hasn’t owned a business, don’t take advice/training on how to run yours from them. If someone hasn’t been successful in sales, don’t take sales training from them. Be thoughtful about who and why you partner with any vendor to assist with the great resignation, get references and referrals and ask for concrete examples of other collaborations. 3. Development opportunities are positive and should be celebrated internally. Many employees are hesitant to go through training because they believe it is representative of a gap or deficiency they have. The point is, the investment is being made because they are valued. The way these opportunities are presented

is very important. Utilize training and development as a benefit listed during recruitment efforts and later. Focus on retention for an employee’s career path with your company. many of our partners have created systems around utilizing training as part of career pathing and the overall talent development cycle. It works! 4. Don’t believe you can fundamentally change a human being. Training is not a fix-it-all solution and the result is largely based on how much an employee and employer puts into the process. If you make the investment, put in the time or expect 0 ROI. 5. Walk the walk. Check yourself first! If you are leading a team in any capacity, your energy and attitude affect every single person around you—google the emotional contagion for more info. 6. Have FUN and don’t let fear get in the way of growth, a crucial and common mistake "Every successful person loves the game. The chance to prove his worth, to excel, to win." - Dale Carnegie “Now is the time to give your workforce the opportunity.”. - Bethany northdakota.dalecarnegie.com or ndmninfo@dalecarnegie.com

A Global Company Making a Local Impact

According to a 2015 study by the National Center for Women & Information Technology, just 25% of computing roles are held by women.


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Technology is the future; a more evident statement has never been made. All we have to do is look at the hyperspeed trajectory at which society and businesses alike have adopted technology to understand this. However, work remains in closing the inclusivity gap of those participating in this industry. Perficient, a global digital consultancy company with a largely autonomous branch in Fargo, is looking to change that.

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Perficient, as a whole, is a global digital consultancy that works with clients on how to leverage technology to deliver their business needs. Most of the businesses and employees they work with are experts in their fields, whether that is healthcare, manufacturing, etc. However, they're not experts in building technology experiences. That's where Perficient comes in, they work with all of the major software including: Adobe, Microsoft, Salesforce, Google and more. NASDAQ: PRFT 2021 Revenue: $761 Million Number of Employees: 5000+ To learn more about the Fargo branch, visit perficient.com/Salesforce-careers

Fargo's Perficient arm, which focuses on Salesforce platform consulting and development services, was originally known as Sundog Interactive before being acquired by Perficient in 2019. Since the acquisition, Fargo's Perficient branch has undergone a number of positive changes in the way of creating a more supportive environment for its female employees, including the implementation of paid maternity leave and its companywide programs: Women In Technology Employee Resource Group and the Bright Paths Program. However, longtime members of the organization say that there already was a good culture in place.

"It was always a collaborative effort working here," said Allison Pankratz. "Our leader was always very much about collaborating. It didn't matter who you were or what your position was. He would ask, 'Who thinks they have an idea for this, who wants to run it?' And at that point in time, whoever would raise their hand and take it would run with it. There's never been a feeling of only men understanding technology here. In fact, our leaders understood, before it was ever researched, that there are some traits that women tend to possess that help our teams perform better." According to a few team members, this was much different than what

they experienced in the past with other companies. "At my past job, I felt like other women were super competitive amongst each other. I had a boss who was a woman and when I was about to have my first baby, she was pushing me to be in the office more before I went on maternity leave so that I could cover everything," said Erin Heinrich. "She also was really pressuring me to come back into the office. She would say things like, 'You're going to take that much time off? I didn't even take that much time off.' There was a lot of pressure around that work-life balance aspect and that's not at all the experience I have had here." FARGOINC.COM


One huge component of Perficient's support of its female employees is its Women in Technology Employee Resource Group (WiT ERG), an internal program with more than 500 members across 35 stateside and international locations. The group meets monthly to discuss an article selected ahead of time. The groups will then participate in breakout sessions where employees across all Perficient locations will be paired up with one another at random. "It's personally made my professional world so much bigger," said Glasow. "To talk with someone with a different upbringing and different experiences has made my world so much bigger. It's more about connecting and networking with other people. When you listen to other people, you learn and create empathy. You create a different level of understanding that allows you to then be a better advocate for yourself, another female or for males who participate. My last breakout session was with three males."

In addition to their efforts with WiT ERG and the Bright Path's Program, Perficient also matches employee donations to Girls Who Code, a nonprofit profit organization dedicated to increasing the number of women in computer science.


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In order to further their mission of making the tech world more inclusive, Perficient hosts the Bright Paths Program. A program that aims to create "relevant learning experiences that prepare students for the workforce, and further drive innovation and growth in the technology industry." In doing so, Perficient hosts a 20-week immersive software development boot camp specifically for women. Their initial cohort hosted 22 women in Detroit. 17 joined Perficient as full-time employees.

Where is Perficient? North America • Allentown, PA • Ann Arbor, MI • Atlanta, GA • Boston, MA • Bozeman, MT • Cedar Rapids, IA • Chicago, IL • Columbus, OH • Dallas, TX • Denver, CO • Detroit, MI 70

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• Fairfax, VA • Fargo, ND • Houston, TX • Irvine, CA • Lafayette, LA • Milwaukee, WI • Minneapolis, MN • New York, NY • Oakland, CA • St. Louis, MO • Toronto, ON • Washington, D.C.

India • Bangalore, India • Chennai, India • Nagpur, MS, India

China • Hangzhou, China

United Kingdom • Oxford

South America • Medellín, Colombia • Bogotá, Colombia • Cali, Colombia • Cordoba, Argentina • Montevideo, Uruguay • Santiago, Chile

Serbia • Novi Sad, Serbia









When Luis Flores was 11-years-old, he worked a labor job on a family friend’s farmland with his uncles and cousins. When he was 16, he started working at American Crystal Sugar. Years later, he would prepare pounds of produce for a local restaurant, putting in hours of time. Next, he would discover a new trade and in the years to come, he would find himself a fresh 30-year-old, a dad, a new business owner and a man all too familiar with hard work.


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Luis Flores registered Northside Concrete LLC in October and is officially starting jobs this month. But as most small business owners know, it has been no walk in the park. For Luis, it was every step that brought him here, and he wouldn’t change his course if it meant missing a part of his journey.

“When you’re walking, there are clumps of mud on your boots. It was hard like that, you walk with that extra weight. But, you know, it taught us a good work ethic, they told us to keep up or get faster. And then, I got good at it. I was good at it.” Luis started working on his relative’s farmland with his cousins, and while they got to spend time together and were getting paid, ultimately it was still a hard job. He continued his career with a similar job at 16 and worked for American Crystal Sugar Co, picking weeds from the beets. He worked for $7.25 an hour. Later in life, Luis had a temporary job at the local restaurant, Mango’s Mexican and American Grill. He worked as their only chef for three, long and taxing months. “That taught me how to cook food with more of the Mexican culture. But, I would chop big 50 pound bags of onions down… making the salsa from scratch and the

tamales from scratch. I was doing all that, and I was the only cook there for three months so that put a big toll on me. I was cooking 20 meals at once… and I got nothing but good compliments on my cooking, but it was fast hard work in that industry.” He was still only making just over a dollar more than he was previously but still working just as hard. That was until he launched into a different industry: construction. Flashback to his school days. Luis became familiar with the value of money at a young age.

“I played football, but couldn't play it anymore because I couldn't afford the equipment. [Same as] wrestling, or when it came to hockey. I would join it and start because there was nothing involved at first or when you’re younger they provided it. But as you get older, it became, you need to pay for this, you need to pay for travel, for these tournaments. And that's where it ended for me.”

Last year Luis created an octagonshaped patio for one of his customers. If you have an idea or inspiration for a project, Luis brings an open mind and years of experience to the table.

That isn’t to say he didn’t have any hobbies, Luis became very interested in art, a passion he still holds today. But that interest alone couldn’t hold his attention through his schooling. “There are a lot of things that shaped me to where I'm at now. I never got to learn many of the talents that I could have been capable of doing and loving and enjoying in maybe a future career. I would have to say that because I didn't go to activities, I wasn't staying busy, I didn't get to do sports—I grew up hanging out with the wrong crowd. And that's just what happened, but I still made it out.” Luis was the first in his family to graduate high school. Flashforward to Luis discovering the industry of construction, uniting the hard work he was familiar with and the worthwhile pay he had been looking for. “When I used to do these patios and side jobs when I had a regular job. I would be going to construction, working from six o'clock in the morning to five o'clock or six o'clock in the afternoon. Right after that, I'm going to my side job. Working from 6 o'clock to 10 o'clock, 11 o'clock at night and depending on the area, midnight. FARGOINC.COM


That was a risk and that was scary. But the customers loved it. They'd say I was doing such a great job and that they were going to refer me. I kept getting more jobs and I just kept pushing it.” Luis found he loved laying concrete, he designed and executed projects that his customers loved. But all too often Luis was doing the job of three workers by himself, and without the equipment that would make it easier. “I didn't have a Skidster, so I would use a shovel. I was out there with a wheelbarrow. Triple the work, but to me, it was everything. I did probably about 85% of my jobs with my shovel when I first started, that was dedication.” Luis kept at it, counting on his years of hard work to support him, both mentally and physically. Although it may not always feel like it, hard work always pays off. A week after Luis’ 30th birthday, he was informed that he could get full custody of his children. At this time, he also had just decided to kick off his concrete business. Now, he is building his family and his business, and he couldn’t be more excited. Luis is passionate about customizable and unique projects. He has experience in specialized projects like a rose patio he is currently constructing. Find out more about Northside Concrete and contact Luis about projects on Facebook at NorthSideConcreteLLC. 76

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Ladyboss Flow" Retreat


By Geneva Nodland & Jenny Johnson

Over the last several years, Fargo INC has partnered with Ladyboss Midwest to help shine a spotlight on local women who are making a difference in our community. Through programming and events, they have created a community of leaders, allies and resources for our business community. This year they hosted their first retreat "Flow" which took place at the beautiful Grand View Lodge, in Nisswa, MN. Spotlight had the opportunity to send two of our team members, Client Relations Manager Jenny Johnson and Editor and Photographer Geneva Nodland. Hear all about their experiences from the perspective of Jenny, a seasoned professional, and Geneva, a young professional just starting her career. You will also hear about their takeaways and lessons learned along the way. FARGOINC.COM


Going into this opportunity I was very excited to get away with some of the most inspiring leaders in our community. I have been building my career over the last 13 years, since I graduated college, and through every experience similar to this I have transformed into a better version of myself.


Coming off the back of the pandemic and having my daughter join our family last year, I was ready to get back out and focus on some professional and personal development wrapped up in a weekend away at a gorgeous location. I was focused on being "Jenny" instead of "Mom" and was thankful I was awarded the opportunity to attend through Spotlight. Working mothers have so many "rocks" we carry and, as Danya Del Val touched on at the retreat, if you don't move the rocks (or things holding you down) 80

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you can't flourish and grow. Another excellent tip from Danya was to "see your life as a geode." You might be thinking, what is a geode (I know I was thinking that)? You might see a geode as an ugly rock on the outside, but on the inside they are sparkly and beautiful. I really liked that analogy and it reminded me to find opportunities to look into myself to see my inner greatness and to make sure that the difficult things that have happened to me don't define me as a person. It reminded me to instead learn how to use those experiences to form a foundation to continue to help me grow.

Women for Women

Another speaker at the event was Michelle Kommer. I have had the pleasure of working with her in the past and I will tell you she has such an infectious personality and an impressive wealth of experience and knowledge.

Her keynote, called “Women v.s. for Women!,” zeroed in on amplifying other women rather than bringing them down and how first impressions aren't always correct. In addition, she really emphasized the impact of messaging. We are bombarded online and it can cloud our perspective and negatively affect our self-esteem. She advised to pay close attention to the messages that are not serving you, to be your authentic self and help lift others up.

Wynning your Way in Business and Life

Going into the retreat, I was feeling very overwhelmed with tasks and felt I had limited time to complete them due to the other responsibilities, meetings, manager duties, etc. I almost felt blocked from my goals to accomplish milestones and finish projects. I know a lot of that was a mental block and I needed to find ways to break everything down in a manageable way. I

really enjoyed a section of the retreat called, "Wynning your Way in Business and Life" presented by Michael Kithcart. She shared a few case studies of some of her clients and if I didn't know any better, I would have thought she had my room bugged as it was so similar to how I was feeling. She shared a story about a woman with two children who was looking to thrive in her career but was overran with tasks and calendar appointments and didn't know how to make it happen. Michael talked about how she helped her break everything down in a manageable way and visualize how to achieve her goals. She spoke on the importance of talking to yourself as the person you want to be rather than the person you are. If you want to be successful in all aspects of your life, talk to yourself like you're already there. Sometimes you can fall into a slump or find it difficult to be motivated, her tips were to celebrate the achievements even if they are small, to acknowledge weekly wins and to say no to

things that don't help you achieve your goals.

Catalyst Leader

While at the retreat I was able to connect with our new FMWF Chamber of Commerce CEO, Shannon Full. Let me tell you something, Shannon is a ton of fun. I felt so empowered seeing a woman in such a high-level role being her true authentic self. It is not often that you find someone of that caliber being so down to earth and unapologetic for being herself. When Shannon was doing her keynote she dove into this more and how to be a catalyst leader. She talked about how to be boundless, resilient, authentic vulnerable, empowering and to live your life with passion.

The Vision Board

In addition to some of the great speakers, we also had an opportunity to look inward participate in an activity to create a vision board. We sat down

and created a long list of goals and then determined the top five to focus on this year. As we went through a huge stack of magazines, we were able to find images that would help illustrate what we wanted to focus on in our life in a visual way. I landed on a blend of professional and personal goals, including working towards a new title and plan to focus more on leadership, management and development at my company, in traveling, making more memories with my kids, more dates with my husband and even exploring opportunities to start speaking at events myself. I could talk about so many more experiences and lessons I learned from how to “Command the Room” from Bethany Berkley and Katie Munion to tips from Saree Janz on “Attracting Abundance” All in all, I was very pleased with the event and the opportunity to gain some knowledge and strengthen relationships with other leaders in our community.



“...in the process of rumination, you are created.”

When I was first offered the chance to attend a retreat, my excitement barely settled in before it was replaced with nerves. While sometimes it doesn’t feel like I’m still new to the professional world, I’m reminded of it when opportunities like this arise. Luckily, I share this small part of the world with someone who has had professional experience and is willing to not only share that knowledge but take me under her wing while she’s at it. When Jenny and I pulled into the beautiful resort, Grand View Lodge, at the start of the retreat, we could feel the excitement buzzing in the air. Our first night included a welcome dinner and network reception to kick off the weekend. While I was still


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in awe that I was in the same room as so many influential women, Jenny began to introduce us to them. The bulk of the retreat took place Friday, a day full of inspiring stories, empowering activities and opportunities and capped with a dance party. Dayna Del Val was our first keynote speaker. She shared her journey to discovering and rediscovering her spark. Dayna expressed some of her highs and lows and the process of getting through them. She explained how each experience, good or bad, makes us who we are, this quote stuck with me from Dayna’s keynote. Up next we heard from Michelle Kommer, who spoke on women’s

Saturday morning the Ladybosses got the chance to learn some tips and tricks for selfdefense from Mariah Prussia, President & Owner, MPX Fitness & Fargo’s First Sanctioned Professional Female MMA Fighter!

relationships in the workplace. She titled her keynote “Women v.s. for Women!” Michelle explained the importance of valuing and nourishing work relationships, especially considering how much time we spend there. Through different research, it's been found that women often compare themselves to other women, especially those in leadership roles. There are many theories as to why this happens, but either way, it can lead us to have a women vs. women mindset. But as bleak as it may sound, we don’t have to be stuck in this vicious cycle. It takes women to turn this mindset around, and it can be as simple as shifting your perspective. Michelle suggested a few questions to ask yourself to help gain this new perspective around other women; what can you learn from her, and how can you help her? Michelle reminded us of this quote: “Women alone have power, women together have impact.” In the midst of our inspiring morning, we broke for a “Fika break” and when we returned, we were greeted by Michael Kithcart. Michael dove into the topics of

the power of visualizing and how envisioning what you want can lead you to make those visions come to life. As Michael spoke on this process, I couldn’t help but think about the idea of manifestation. While the history of this act is wide, the idea is powerful, simple and an easy everyday task to help you meet your goals. Michael told us stories of her clients, including the achievable, but not small, goals they came up with. She reminded us through small wins, come big achievements, but to be aware of the unsustainability of being an “achiever” and rather aim to be a consistent performer. Michael shared a quote with us that she shares with her clients: “Everything always has been, is now and will always be fine.” Our last morning speaker was Shannon Full, describing what it means to be a catalytic leader. There wasn’t a better way to wrap up the morning than with a lesson on being a leader from one of the community’s experienced. Shannon shared stories and examples for key leadership qualities like boundlessness, authenticity, vulnerability and empowerment.

Upon arrival at the retreat, Jenny and I connected with Shannon and some of her team from the FMWF Chamber of Commerce. They were kind, inviting and hilarious, and I was able to witness and understand what a catalysis leader looks like and the joy that brings. After lunch, we had the opportunity to participate in a number of amazing breakout sessions and reflection activities like a guided hypnosis session for “attracting abundance” and a vision board activity. While I had heard of the vision board exercise before, I had never done it and didn’t quite know what to expect. After a brief reflection, Michaela Schell walked us through a process to come up with a variety of goals to keep in mind while we hunted for magazine clippings for our boards. There was something so refreshing about not limiting ourselves to “realistic” or “not realistic” goals and just being able to be creative with imagery we connected with. Having just recently entered the professional working world, the vision board activity was particularly a challenge for me. I thought, ‘My goal after college

was to get a job, so now what do I do?’ But through Michaela’s questions, I pressed myself further and came up with a creative and encouraging vision board (and one that I wave goodbye to every day on my way out of my apartment). I would be lying if I said the vision board activity was the only challenge at the Ladyboss retreat, in fact just going was a hurdle in and of itself. I think that it’s normal for young professionals to have hesitations about their validity, whether that be in their actual work, their work relationships or in my case, an amazing opportunity like this. But I am extremely glad that I jumped that hurdle and attended this retreat. Having a mentor there with me, hearing from so many successful women and meeting even more from our community encouraged and reassured me and eased my anxieties going into the weekend. I walked away from the retreat feeling nothing but inspiration, gaining plenty of professional and personal skills, and acquiring the confidence to navigate my path.



We wanted to include mention of Katie Pinke, we weren't able to attend her keynote, however, we heard rave reviews of her talk about "Rejoining Through Crisis."

Jenny’s takeaways:


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Geneva’s takeaways:

Just because it doesn't turn out as you imagine, doesn't mean it is the wrong path.

Revise how you not only how you think but talk about your life.

If you don't do something within 48 hours there is a 90% chance you won't do it.

Instead of comparing yourself to women, ask yourself: What am I learning? How can I help?

Anyone can be an achiever, transform and strive to be a high-performer.

You can be humble and still have pride in your accomplishments.

If you're not going to give it 110%, you may well not even do it.

Notice your tendencies and make an effort to stop and realign.

No one is you and that is your superpower.

Create success your way and acknowledge your weekly wins.

By Grant Ayers Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the average workspace has radically changed from what it was a mere three years ago. While many jobs moved to a remote format entirely, others have taken a more relaxed approach that allows employees to choose where they would like to work. Whether it be in the office, at home or somewhere completely unique, opportunities for new work environments have never been greater. Each person has ideal work environment preferences that companies aim to accommodate, as they strive for maximum productivity from each employee. Whether someone prefers absolute silence or a bit of background noise, most companies are willing to make their employees happy to get the best possible work out of them. Switch up your career scenery with some of the many great work environment opportunities in our community listed below.


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The term “coworking,” came from Brad Neuberg, who set up the first coworking space in San Francisco in 2005!


Public coworking spaces have become one of the hottest trends to sweep across the nation. The Prairie Den and Railyard Offices, provide plenty of paid tier options with varying amenities. While each company requires paid membership to a certain extent, some plans are as low as $69/month. For students, The Prairie Den offers membership access priced at $40/month, including unlimited 24/7 access to the space, printing, copying, scanning and much more. Membership levels can extend up to $350/month for the most ambitious of workers. Depending on the plan and location, these luxurious work environments can even include completely private, lockable offices, rather than just desks. If a membership may not be your preference, both companies also offer other membership options including daily punch cards and one-day passes, as well as meeting or conference rooms. These rates can depend on which space is rented, along with how many hours are booked. At both options, the spaces were built with productivity and efficiency for their clients in mind.




Hotel lobbies have long been a staple of business congregation. The addition of the Jasper Hotel to the Downtown Fargo scene offers the same. Having been recently completed in the summer of 2021, Jasper Hotel offers a contemporary, high-end working experience. Complete with a cafe, lounge and bar/restaurant, there are plenty of amenities to keep you occupied, while also having a relaxing time away from the office or home.

Rosewild’s Head Chef, Austin Covert, previously worked at two, twoMichelin-star restaurants!



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The Jasper Hotel offers a fully-functional workspace like few others in the Downtown Fargo area. With free Wi-Fi, spacious community tables and a fireplace to stay warm in the winter months (not to mention delicious food and drinks), the Jasper Hotel has everything you need to feel right at home. Furthermore, the Jasper Hotel is in the heart of Downtown Fargo, which makes it a short walk from plenty of local restaurants and shops in the area. For the workers that prefer to take a lunch break without having to move everything, Rosewild may be the perfect place to treat yourself to an unforgettable meal in the heart of Fargo. Rosewild offers unique cafe breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, all with the promised “comfortable, delicious and never pretentious” dining experience that they advertise.

Downtown Fargo

A p r i v a t e w i n e c e l l a r m e a n t t o b e s h a r e d . Fa r g o ’ s n e w e s t g a t h e r i n g place is one of its oldest. Located in the historic de Lendrecie’s b u i l d i n g , Ce l l a r 6 24 i s n o w o p e n f o r s p e c i a l e v e n t s a n d c u r a t e d wine-tasting experiences 6 24 M a i n Av e # 1 Fa r g o , N D

Ce l l a r 6 24 . c o m


The Fargo Public Library offers more than 165,000 books to choose from!

The Fargo Public Library has been a landmark in the community for more than 100 years. Because many of us haven’t been to a library since our youth, it’s easy to forget the number of opportunities that they offer to all ages. The public library has three branches, offering plenty of locations to find a free, peaceful area to focus in. The library may not offer a high-end dining experience, yet it immensely succeeds a worker’s core needs: peace and quiet, an ideal place to focus and a free Wi-Fi internet connection.


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As the winter season draws to a close, working outside will once again become enjoyable. There are few places better to work in outdoor scenery than the Northern Plain Botanic Garden Society. The Botanic Garden was founded in the spring of 1998, quickly receiving its nonprofit status in 1999. Over the years, people have dedicated themselves to ensuring a clean, expansive and peaceful retreat into beauty for those that need anything ranging from a break filled with scenery to inspiration in the outdoors. The best time to visit is between April and October, as that's when the plants are actively flowering during their growing season. Furthermore, the gardens offer picnic tables, walking paths, seating areas and public garden gates that are also open from April through October.

Whether you’re an artist looking for inspiration, a designer that needs beautiful photos for a website or advertisement, or simply a worker looking to take a short break from the world around them, the Botanic Garden is perfect in the coming warmer spring months. The Garden is open from sunrise to sunset, allowing anyone to take advantage of the meditative opportunity.

Most people need a short-lived break to keep their minds sharp and productivity levels high. The Botanic Garden may not offer Wi-Fi for workers that rely on a steady internet connection. Rather, they offer a place for the creative mind, as well as those that need a temporary disconnect.




Coffee shops have always been a popular choice when looking for a relaxed place to get work done. With big chains such as Starbucks and Caribou Coffee being busier than ever, it can be challenging to be productive and get tasks done. Local coffee shops represent some of the best hidden gems of Fargo and, because of this, may be the better option. Workers can not only get work done in a quiet environment but also feel proud to know that they’re supporting a local, small business. Luckily for us, there’s no shortage of local coffee shops within the community. With 92

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over a dozen coffeehouses in Fargo alone, the F-M area offers plenty of opportunities for the most meticulous of coffee connoisseurs. Some of the most popular among college students include Twenty Below Coffee Co. and Babb’s Coffee House. Students will often bring their class materials, grab a coffee with a friend and study over a delicious coffee. One way to keep a fresh work environment is to switch up the coffee shop you work at. This will keep you from getting too comfortable with the location and give you plenty of chances to find a new favorite coffee from a local coffee shop.

Worldwide, people drink over 500 billion cups of coffee every year!

By Josh Marineau Leader perceptions of personal relationships at work: do they see things clearly? In a recent study, my colleagues and I considered how formal power influences how people see the social world. Specifically, we were interested in whether leaders were able to discern the interpersonal relationships in the organization better than non-leaders. This is important because leaders use their knowledge of social relationships in a manner of ways to help the organization operate more efficiently and perform better. For example, leaders determine others' level of responsibility, work assignments, team membership and performance and promotions. Having a more accurate view of who are friends within the organization might help these important activities. However, not all relationships are positive (friendship), some are negative (dislike), and have deleterious effects on work. Knowing that two people have a personal conflict, or dislike each other, can be critically important. For example, when assigning tasks that require teamwork or determining who to promote, leaders want to make decisions that don’t threaten work performance. Thus, it isn’t just whether the leader knows about relationships in general–it is important to know if the relationships between people are positive or negative. Given the importance of leader knowledge of social relationships at work, one question to ask is 'will leaders pay more attention to positive or negative ties in the workplace?' To answer this, we looked at how power influences the way people think and act—something called situated focus


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theory of power. Power allows a person to ignore some information and focus on other information, while low power individuals have a harder time switching attention. This is because powerful people are less dependent on others to get what they want. You could say they have more freedom to think about some things compared to others. Low power individuals are more likely to focus on the broad spectrum of activities in the workplace because they are less able to control their outcomes, and they depend on leaders to get what they want. Therefore, high power individuals can focus on things that are related to their goals more so than low power individuals. Because formal leaders can focus on their own goals, which pertain to the positive performance of employees and teams, they will be more likely to spend attention on personal relationships that impact their goals. We proposed that formal leaders will be more accurate about some ties than others; specifically, they will be more accurate about personal conflict ties in the organization than non-leaders. This is because personal conflict is disruptive to teams and organizations and can also affect workflow and cooperation— threatening the leaders’ outcomes. This is not to say they won’t pay attention to positive ties like friendships. But because of the disproportionate effects, negative ties have on work, personal conflict is often more important. Our study showed that within the organization we studied, formal leaders were much more accurate about the negative ties in the organization than non-

leaders. Leaders were also more accurate about who considered them to be a friend compared to non-leaders. This means that your boss is probably more aware of who is not getting along than you are and might have a better sense of the social landscape overall. This makes sense, of course, for the other reason that leaders are often the ones who are privy to conflicts due to their position as a mediator or arbiter. This might be comforting in some ways and not in others. If the leader is more tuned in to personal conflicts at work, they are probably better positioned to make informed decisions on personnel. At the same time, they might be more aware of your negative ties than you are, and who dislikes them in the organization. It is important to give two caveats to this research. First, this research was in a specific kind of organization of about 50 people, co-located in a single floor of an office building. Supervisors and subordinates had the opportunity to observe and interact with each other quite often, so not all organizations will have the same phenomenon. Second, even though leaders were found to be more accurate, people on average are relatively inaccurate about social ties at work. Power can improve the fidelity of negative and positive tie perceptions, but we should still be cautious about making assumptions about who are friends and enemies.

Josh Marineau Associate Professor of Management at North Dakota State, has had research published in Social Networks, Group & Organization Management, and Journal of Business and Psychology. He has presented his research at academic conferences around the world, most recently at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, and at the International Network for Social Network Analysis Annual Meeting in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

he Great Resignation has paralyzed sales organizations. Employee retention, job satisfaction, and recruitment are among the highest priorities across all industries. Drawing the attention of top sales talent is increasingly difficult, especially for small to mid-size companies when the competitive landscape demands higher salaries and maximum flexibility. Companies need to continue to build desirable company cultures with attractive benefits and flexible work arrangements to retain and attract top sales talent. That is a given. But, what else can companies do to overcome workforce shortages in sales? The first question sales organizations need to ask is, “do we really need more sales staff or is it time to rethink and revamp our entire sales strategy?” Gartner expects by 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers to occur in digital channels by 2025. According to Gartner, B2B buyers increasingly want to engage with suppliers through digital and selfservice channels.


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for most organizations, it is not only essential to remain competitive and relevant, but also attainable. The key is implementing the right technologies utilizing a strategic and systemized approach. Many of these solutions have great support teams and the implementation process is not as daunting as you might think.

As we round out Q1 of 2022, it becomes glaringly clear that 2025 is right around the corner. Forward-thinking companies have already implemented digital platforms. If your organization hasn’t yet made the leap to automate and digitize sales functions and platforms, and simultaneously solved many of your sales staffing challenges, the time for action is NOW. With a staff and budget already stretched thin, the concept of integrating and implementing sales automation tools and digital platforms may seem daunting and insurmountable. The reality is that

Each organization is unique and at a different starting point. Some organizations are starting from ground zero. These organizations should begin by learning what technologies, tools, and capabilities are available. A great resource to begin to understand what technologies exist, what is coming, and what is possible is the book “Tech Powered Sales” by Justin Michael and Tony Hughes. Many organizations have invested in technologies they do not fully understand, were not properly or fully implemented, or are being underutilized. These organizations need to do an audit of what tools and packages have been purchased, determine whether these are the appropriate solutions for their organization, and get help with understanding how to power up their technology machine to achieve and track ROI.

According to the book “Tech Powered Sales”, 70% of what a salesperson does today can be automated. Not only can these functions be automated, but with some of these technologies, you can literally 10X productivity for calls, texts, emails, voicemails and social media outreach. How many more sales team members would you really need if you could 10X the productivity of these functions for each of the team members you currently have on staff?

Once you know what is possible, take a step back, and prioritize in what order it makes sense to implement any new sales automation

tools or digital platforms for your organization. Do your research and ask a lot of questions. Below is a list of recommended questions to ask technology vendors. • What is the term of the contract? • What is the total investment? • How many user licenses are included? • How long will it take to get this technology set up and implemented? • What resources are required from our team to get this done? • How much time will be required from our team to manage this tool going forward? • What support is provided before, during, and after implementation? • What other technologies do we use that will integrate with this technology? • How well do the integrations work?

Shawn Peterson is the CEO of Quantum Business Solutions. He comes with a decade of experience in the technology services industry as an executive. Shawn is a visionary focused on high growth and performance through sales, marketing, and client experience. • What data is shared between the integrated platforms? • How much technical skill do you need to have to understand and use this technology? • Why is this solution better than a competitive solution? A final question you should ask yourself: Is it worth paying more for a more robust solution? The cost for the tools you will need to implement to transform your sales organization will range from free to significant (depending on your budget). You will need to evaluate whether the benefits of a robust tool that might cost a bit more than some of the other solutions is worth the investment. You will want to factor in benefits such as the ability to integrate with other technologies, more in-depth and automated reporting

capabilities, usability, the ability of this one technology to potentially replace several other lowercost technologies, etc. In addition to adapting to a world where buyers will continue to demand sales interactions and purchases that can be handled through digital platforms, top sales talent is going to gravitate towards organizations that provide best-in-class technologies and tools for their sales teams. Implementing sales automation tools and digital platforms will put you on the right path towards solving your sales workforce issues and enable you to create a more productive and rewarding work environment for your current employees.



10 Questions


Questions ohn Machacek, Chief Innovation Officer for the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, has worked with countless startups throughout our community over the past nine years. He knows their ups, their downs, but most of all, he knows the questions to ask them. Here are John Machacek’s 10 questions for Jon Walters, Founder of Nature of the North

By John Machacek Photos by Geneva Nodland and Hillary Ehlen


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Jon Walters

01 Will you please tell us your Nature of the North elevator pitch? Learning a new outdoor activity or skill can be intimidating and frustrating. Nature of the North is an outdoor education and community center that provides a safe and approachable environment for beginners to try new outdoor activities and learn new outdoor skills without judgment. Unlike REI or ‘Youtube University’, we provide an actual roadmap from introduction to education to integration and, finally, to selfsufficiency for each activity. We are the “Outdoors Built for Beginners”.

02 I heard you recently talk about researching and fostering a nature or outdoor community first before diving into your business. In my interview with

John Schneider of 3D-Fuel last month, that was something he said he wished he had done first before starting an early business, that later failed. Will you please tell me a little more about your rationale for that and what you did? When I first started thinking about Nature of the North, my first priority was to simply create a sense of outdoor community in our region. I had met a variety of highly engaged outdoor enthusiasts when I first moved to the area and knew that there had to be more. So, I wanted to start creating fun events that allowed folks to learn new skills, build their confidence in the outdoors and find like-minded people. In this, I was essentially doing market research. What did our community need from an outdoor provider? Education? Events? Private? Public? Rentals? Planning? I wanted to know what our people actually needed from me to help make the outdoor more accessible.

03 How did you then incorporate what you learned into creating a business that starts making revenue off of this? I learned over the first two years of business that there were a variety of barriers preventing our community from getting outdoors. Some had the skills, but were new to the community and needed to know where to go and whom to go with. Some never had the opportunity to try these activities and didn’t know where to begin. Some tried and had a bad experience, so they never went back. Some simply didn’t have the confidence in their abilities to try. Others simply couldn’t afford to go out and buy equipment just to try something they might not use regularly, or even enjoy it enough to be worth the investment. These were the problems and I needed to start solving them. I had to figure out what services or products I had the ability and resources to launch, and what my long-term roll-out plan would be. Essentially, I began building multiple lean business models to figure out which had the lowest



10 Questions hanging fruit with the biggest branches. In order to test these models, I needed to earn income in ways that allowed me to explore my dreams and vision as it came into focus. To make it happen, I was working full-time at Junkyard Brewing slinging beer, playing local music gigs and walking dogs. This happened all while spending small amounts of free-time building my business and hosting the first versions of our outdoor skills workshops and community events. It was an incredibly meaningful, yet tiring fouryear time period.

04 What helped you take that leap into opening the brick and mortar location? Ultimately, I couldn’t wait any longer. I had spent the time building the services, finding partners and collaborators, building a community, and validating the need for what I was attempting; but I was getting burned out from the 80-100 hour work weeks and I needed to find a way to go full-time for myself. I knew that I needed a physical location for my new community to gather, and after living in Colorado for a period, I had learned that outdoor communities were built at the base of a bouldering, aka rock climbing, wall. I needed a bouldering wall


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in our space, not only to give our community a daily opportunity to find friends, build confidence and learn skills, but also for an opportunity to start earning recurring revenue. As I developed the full plan, I eventually secured the pre-seed funding I needed to open our space. By the way, taking on over six figures of personally guaranteed debt is terrifying! Within three months, we had found our location in downtown Moorhead and began building. Another six months later, we were preparing to open our doors when COVID-19 hit the world.

05 Let me get back to the COVID comment, but first a question on your location. It’s been exciting to see all the development and redevelopment in downtown Moorhead, with more coming down the road. How has your experience been in starting a business in downtown Moorhead and do you have any

advice for others who may soon be a part of the growth that is coming for that area of town? Oh my gosh, I honestly can’t say enough good things about opening my business in Moorhead! The community members themselves are incredibly grateful and supportive, which means everything to me. Then, we start looking at the support systems such as Moorhead Business Association, Downtown Business Inc, Moorhead Parks & Recreation, direct access to the City Manager, invitations to local committees and roundtable discussions and honestly just the other local businesses that surround me. Every single person along the journey has been incredibly helpful, informative and supportive. I couldn’t feel more welcome. Advice? Do it! The ‘56560 Proud’ community is a powerful, excitable, and supportive community. There’s a lot of energy building and the new comprehensive 30-year plan has been well thought out. Moorhead should not be overlooked when looking at locating or expanding a business.

06 Let’s talk about pivots. Between just being a

newish biz owner and, as you mentioned, having COVID hit right before the opening of your location occur, you’ve probably had several pivots already. Am I correct in that assumption? You have no idea how correct you are. Before I started creating our location, I thought I had a pretty elaborate plan. About 80% of that plan went out the window months before opening our doors. This meant we had to stop the development of new products, part ways with team members, launch products that we weren’t planning on until further down the line and honestly do anything except sell the shirt off my back… which I actually did sell one of my Nature of the North t-shirts I was wearing because we didn’t have that size in stock– hahaha. We would pivot, test, pivot, test, pivot test. It was painful. I lost a lot of great employees. I confused our followers. I used up every ounce of energy and thought power I had within me. Being too new of a business, we couldn’t receive any PPP or EIDL funding to provide assistance. Somehow… almost two years later, our doors are still open.

07 As you’ve been working it all out, aside from the earlier mentioned Moorhead supporters, who or what are some of the resources that have helped you along the way? Honestly, the biggest resource that has helped me out was ILT Academy. I was accepted into their 20-week Lean Startup Innovation program at the beginning of 2021. We had a class once a week and we worked heavily on truly understanding your target customer, the problem they have and your solution to that problem for that specific customer. Then, actually validate those assumptions. Through this, I realized that I was solving multiple problems, for multiple customer groups, with multiple solutions. Essentially, I was building multiple businesses. This allowed me to simplify my business model and focus my efforts on the most important components of my business. What I also learned is that even though I had an operational business, I needed to take time to prioritize what was most important and work

on my business while also working in my business. This simplified my marketing, my team needs and many other micro-decisions that need to be made on a daily basis and helped me to become a more disciplined and focused entrepreneur. An unexpected benefit of ILT Academy was the variety of resources that were instantly at my fingertips and extremely helpful to improving my business outcomes. ILT Academy has designed tools specifically to help entrepreneurs think differently about their business. The mentors were amazing, the other founders in my cohort, and the other ILT Alumni founders that actually want to come back and help the new founders… that really helped me realize there is something different going on here. I also have to mention the slew of great videos and articles that were curated to help me learn things that I had never been exposed to before. There are lots of free resources, books and videos on the internet, but the way that ILT Academy has designed this whole experience was an absolute game-changer for me. I utilized every single resource I could get my hands on to help me make sense of this massive franchisable vision I have in my head.

08 You’re obviously a believer in their program as I know you’ve been assisting ILT Academy by helping them work with other entrepreneurs, just like they did for you. How did that come about, how are you helping and what type of budding entrepreneurs should check out ILT? I really hit it off with Nick (Nick Tietz, ILT Founder and CEO) and the rest of the team and I wanted to help them with their mission. They helped me so much that I wanted to make sure others can get the kind of help that I received. Before I knew it, I was getting trained to help facilitate future cohorts of entrepreneurs. They say one of the best ways to learn something is to teach someone else. This has allowed me to do exactly that. Who should check it out? Anyone from ideation stages, anyone with a working prototype, all the way up to already having received early funding. The concepts we cover and group

exercises really help focus your hypotheses, and, then, either validate or invalidate them. The biggest help for me has simply been able to truly identify who my target customers and potential stakeholders are. This has allowed me to better market, as well as decide on product/ service launch priorities. I highly encourage those that have “too many ideas, and too little time” to join. The ILT innovation framework is really designed to help give you the tools to run all of those beautiful ideas through the process. Then, at the end, you can pick your best chances for success and start moving forward!

09 If you could go back in time to Jon from several years ago, what hindsight advice would you give yourself? That’s a tough one. Some of the things I’ve learned I simply had to learn over time as the situations presented themselves. So, maybe it would simply be to have patience, give yourself grace, ask for help and read more books! • Everything takes time, and we often get really hard on ourselves as entrepreneurs when things don’t move as fast



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10 Questions

as we’d like them to. So have patience. • We’re not always going to perform at as high of a level as we’d like every single day. So, on the days that you didn’t get as much done or didn’t act in your highest self, just give yourself some grace. • Oftentimes we find ourselves struggling, but don’t want to reach out for fear of looking incapable or weak. So, we struggle alone and are hard on ourselves. Set the ego aside and ask for help. • Lastly, start reading more! Doesn’t even really matter what, just take intentional time from your day to sit down and read. It will help calm your mind and allow you to be more present with your day. I recommend The Art of Stopping Time: Practical Mindfulness for Busy People by Pedram Shojai.

10 What can we do as a community to help Nature of the North succeed?

we can bring to other rural communities in various capacities, but we want our flagship location to be right here in Moorhead, MN. So, help us make Fargo Moorhead West Fargo an actual destination for outdoor enthusiasts!

About John

One of the best things anyone could do is to simply come into our climbing wall in downtown Moorhead! We’ve designed the space to be as approachable to beginners as possible, as we do with all of our outdoor activities. Afraid of heights? Fear not! Our wall is only 14 feet tall, and 12 inches of memory foam flooring to help keep you safe. Outside of visiting our location, I have some really big ideas and plans. So, we’d love to find partners that we can grow alongside. Whether that’s through events or educational programming, outdoor equipment rentals or commercial space sharing. We plan to build a franchisable model that



Q. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Char Gust

A. I am a lifelong resident of the Fargo-Moorhead area. I graduated from Moorhead State University with a degree in journalism. I started my career immediately after in something that wasn’t journalism. I was a technical writer back in the '90s, which took me to product marketing, product managing and product planning and all kinds of areas around that. Later, I worked at Microsoft where I was for 22 years. The bulk of my career was product management and leading product management teams. I had a chance to work in some other industries. Throughout that time I had some side businesses, and most recently it was the fashion business that I have today–which continues to grow. About seven years ago I started to take that more seriously and started thinking of ways I could grow it while working full time and then transition to doing it full time. About 18 months ago, I retired from the software industry, and have been primarily focused on my women’s clothing business. All of the time that I was working full time helped me understand how busy career women are. Even though we don’t like being judged by how we look, we are being judged by how we look. I’ve honed in on busy career women who need to get out the door, but also need to look polished and professional when they do it. The bulk of my business is centered on helping them find the right pieces for their closets. That starts from undergarments to clothing – and making sure they have transitional pieces to go from work to fun time. Q. How did you get the idea for Style with Char?

Over the last seven years, Char Gust has taken Style with Char from a side hustle blog to a fully-fledged business. Now she wants to make getting dressed in the morning more effortless and effective because you’ve got other things to worry about.

Written and photo provided by Ladyboss Midwest 104

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A. I’ve always been a writer at heart. When I started the fashion business seven years ago, I knew I needed ways to get my name out there. I started a blog called “Style with Char” and it

just stuck. That blog has helped me gain customers locally and even nationwide, which was surprising because I had no idea what I was doing! Q. And you started by selling out of an RV! A. I was doing a lot of in-home parties back in the day, and I felt like I could do it more effectively for the people who were hosting and for myself that way. I purchased an RV and turned the bedroom into two changing rooms. I would bring the RV to their home or even meet in a parking lot nearby. They’d bring their friends and shop, and then I was there to help pick things out as needed. I transitioned to a rental space for a while and got rid of the RV. It was an awesome option because they could host a party without cleaning the house or banishing their families to the basement. I recently closed my studio. During COVID, people aren’t doing that kind of gathering as much, so I’m focusing on other ways to get these services to women. So, I’ll do drop bags where I drop off a bag of clothing in your size to try on, or we’ve done virtual parties. I also have a portable rack that I can bring to someone’s home and do one-on-one styling. Q. Did you ever have a moment where you were just like ‘what the heck am I doing?’ A. I had been dabbling in different things for years. One of my friends was working with a company on the side and suggested, “Hey, you should do it too.” So, I signed up and the startup kit was like $100, which came with a ton of clothes. I figured I’d try it, but I just planned to sell to some friends and family and not really put all of my focus on it. I held my first get-together with just about 15 friends and sold $1,500 that

day. That blew me away, and I knew I had something special. It made me wonder what I could do if I was really trying. Q. Do you have advice for women who want to take their side gig full time? A. There are a lot of resources now for people who want to start small businesses across any industry. Don’t be afraid to get out there and go looking for them, or to try new things. I kind of have “shiny-object syndrome” so I have to really work to figure out the best ways to spend my time. Even now when I’m putting more intentional focus on the business, I want to make sure I’m doing the right things to help the customers and to help me grow the business–and give me the free time that I want and was the reason I pivoted to this business in the first place. Q. Why is dressing well something that women should take seriously? A. While we may not agree with this, the world around us is judging us. How you look and the way you present when someone meets you or is first working with you will often impact their impression of you and it can make a difference in how you feel and how they react to you. If you think about an outfit that you know fits great and that you love, it will change the way you interact with the world. It can give you the confidence to approach challenges or take on your day more effectively.

decisions faster. One of the things that I did in my wardrobe when I was working was, I realized most of the clothes I had in brown and tan I didn’t wear as much, so one day I just took all of them out of my closet and donated them. I had fewer items in my closet and it helped me get ready faster. I use something I call the “lazy closet cleanout,” where you identify over a period of weeks or months what you aren’t wearing as much, and can start to get rid of those items. I often tell people to go through accessories too. I love accessories, but it’s a place where you can have a lot of decision fatigue. Q. Who are you outside of your work? A. I used to tell people I’m a snowmobiler, but for the last two years I’ve spent the winters in Arizona. I sold my snowmobiles two years ago, but I’ve been an avid snowmobiler and feel like it’s been a huge part of my personal identity. I love to read. I love to camp and be outside. Lately, I’ve been going ATV-ing. I keep up with fashion and what’s going on with the fashion world. My boyfriend and I have a German wirehaired pointer.

Q. What do you wish women understood better about curating a wardrobe? A. I can offer a lot of tips on how to not make it overly complicated or have to put a lot of thought into what they’re going to wear every day. When you have fewer decisions to make you can make




CAPLP For the first time since 2018, the Lakes and Prairies Community Action Partnership (CAPLP) will be inviting young people from around the country to come to Minnesota to participate in the Group Workcamp Home Repair project. CAPLP has been running the Group Workcamp Home Repair project every other year since 2003. They run the project on alternating years with their sister agency, West Central Minnesota Communities Action, which serves south, west and central Minnesota out of Elbow Lake. Each agency chooses a different location within their area, most recently Breckenridge and Alexandria. This year’s program will be hosted in Moorhead. The Alexandria 2020 workshop was pushed back to 2021 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, which then pushed the Moorhead session back to 2022. They are now eagerly looking forward to the summer construction season when, with the help of about 100 young people, they will perform a number of home repair projects on an estimated 20-25 homes.

BY Brandi


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“It’s such a great program,” says Robin Christianson, the Senior Programs Coordinator at CAPLP. ”The goal is to help older adults, veterans, and persons with disabilities remain in their homes. Some of the repairs may be out of reach for them. Painting your home isn’t always something people have in their budget. It’s pretty expensive, and many people may not be able to physically do it on their own. The same with other home projects, like a wheelchair ramp.” To select participants in the project, CAPLP solicits applications from those they work with directly and through their partner organizations, but they also advertise directly with the community through a variety of methods. They reach out to local Head Start programs, food pantries and put advertisements in various church bulletins. “We want to ensure that people in rural Clay county are involved and aware of the program. So we’ve reached out to Hawley, Barnesville, Glyndon, Felton… this isn’t just a big city project,” Robin states. Home repair projects eligible for the program are geared toward what a supervised youth crew can do in a fiveday working period. This can include

both interior and exterior painting, repair or replacing steps and small porches, removing crumbling concrete and bricks, installing wheelchair ramps, and help with weatherization projects like insulation, weather stripping, or caulking around windows. In addition to partnering with Group Mission Trips to advertise and solicit young volunteer groups, CAPLP is also partnering with Moorhead Public Schools this year, with Horizon Middle School to host the volunteers for the week. “Kids will eat, sleep and shower at the school,” Robin explains. “They set up cots and mattresses in classrooms, eat in the cafeteria and use the gym for programing. Foodservice staff, maintenance engineers, and custodial staff work for the week to help accommodate the individuals while they are participating in the camp, and the organization putting on the camp reimburses the school.” Youth volunteers will arrive on a Sunday in June and stay for five full days. They are broken into groups of four or five workers, each with various experience levels. However, each team of workers is matched with an experienced supervisor to help explain and teach. The teams

work from 8am to 3pm each day, except Wednesday when they get the afternoon off to explore the Moorhead area. With the increase in prices for many construction supplies, home repairs can be even further out of budget than before, making the recommence of the camp timelier than ever. On average, the estimated cost to repair each home is between $800 and $1000. CAPLP seeks out various funders to help pay for the supplies needed for the camp. One funder this year is the Cass Clay chapter of the Awesome Foundation, which awarded CAPLP’s Group Workcamp

Home Repair project a $1000 gift, naming them as their February 2022 grantee. Funds will go toward materials for the camp, such as paint, lumber, railing, skirting, and basics like screws and nails. “Hearing the impact with homeowners at the end of the program is my favorite part,” admits Robin. “Their eyes just light up. They’ve formed relationships with the kids at their house for the week and they are so grateful for the help they’ve received. It’s literally building community.”

The Cass Clay chapter of the Awesome Foundation awards a $1,000 gift each month for awesome ideas of all sorts. Grant recipients do not need to be associated with a non-profit. Applications can be made at awesomefoundation.org/ en/chapters/cassclay.



VALUABLE INSIGHT STRATEGIC ADVICE We help individuals and business owners navigate complex estate planning decisions.



Trusts & Estates Attorneys: Katie A. Perleberg F. John Williams III William L. Guy III Jessica L. Foss Kyle A. Barlow


By Jessica Foss


irst, it is important to understand that your parents may not want to share any of their estate planning information with you and, if that is the case, you should respect their wishes. However, if your parents are open to discussing the topic, here are some questions you might want to discuss: 1. Have your parents done any estate planning? The three basic documents that every individual should have are a 1) will, 2) health care directive and a 3) power of attorney.

Jessica Foss is an estate planning attorney and shareholder with Fredrikson & Byron. She’s a regular resource for Fargo media on estate planning topics. You can contact her at jfoss@fredlaw.com.

2. Have the documents been updated or reviewed recently? While I typically tell my clients their documents are usually good for up to 10 years, it is a good idea to have your estate planning documents reviewed with an attorney every three to five years. More often than not, within 10 years there will have been enough little changes in your personal life and the law to require some changes to your documents.

3. Where do your parents keep their original estate planning documents? When your parents’ documents are needed, it is important to know where they are, or who to contact to get them. With respect to wills, there is only one original. Things can be more difficult than necessary if an original will is lost or damaged, so it is important that the original is kept in a safe place. I often recommend that my clients have me send their original wills to the county auditor for safekeeping. The wills are kept safe and secure in the county’s vault. If your parents aren’t willing to share their documents with you, they may be willing to provide the contact information for the attorney who prepared the documents, so you know who to contact when your parents are in poor health or pass away. Attorneys are bound by confidentiality rules that will not allow them to share information with their client’s children without having a legal right to the documents or the required consent from your parents. 4. What is a health care directive? Your parents’ health care directive should identify their wishes



if they are in a terminal condition and if they cannot act on their own behalf. It should also state who they designate to act on their behalf with respect to medical decisions. It is important that whomever your parents have named in this document is aware of it and, even more so, is aware of your parents’ wishes. Keep in mind that you can list more than one individual as your health care agent. This is sometimes a nice option, so that spouse and/or children can share the responsibility in helping a parent or loved one.

only option may be going to court to get a guardian and conservator appointed for them. This process is lengthy and can be expensive and can be completely avoided if they have a power of attorney document. 6. If you are to receive an inheritance, will that inheritance be outright or in trust? This is a topic your parents may be less willing to discuss, but it is still important. There are many reasons to leave assets in trust for children. Trusts may provide greater asset protection for a child who gets divorced or has creditor issues than if the child receives their inheritance outright.

Think about it. Do you know if your parents want life support? Do you know if they want to be cremated or buried? If cremated, do they have any specific wishes as to the handling of the ashes? Do your parents want to be organ donors? Do your parents’ doctors have a copy of their health care directive? While these aren’t everyone’s favorite topics, having this information makes things easier when the time comes.

In addition, trusts can provide potential tax savings if the child has a taxable estate of their own. However, trusts aren’t always necessary, and if the inheritance is to be distributed to a child in trust, it is important that the parties know both the advantages and disadvantages. Keep in mind, it’s important to recognize that this is your parents’ decision, not your decision.

5. What is a power of attorney? Your parents’ power of attorney should identify a person (known as the attorney-in-fact) who can handle their legal and financial affairs on their behalf, whether they are competent or not. It is a very powerful document, but if your parents don’t have one and they get to a point where they are unable to handle their own legal and financial affairs, their

7. Are your parents aware of the new tax laws related to gift and estate planning? For 2022, the federal estate tax exemption is $12.06 million for a single person or up to $24.12 million for a married couple with proper estate planning. Also, this year the annual gift tax exclusion increases from $15,000 to $16,000 per individual or $32,000 for a married couple. (The annual


APRIL 2022

gift tax exclusion is the amount you can gift to a single donee every year without using up your estate tax exemption and without having to file a gift tax return. If you gift more than the annual gift tax exclusion amount, you are required to file a gift tax return.) 8. Conclusion. Of course, estate planning can be a difficult topic to discuss with parents, and I can’t stress enough that whatever your parents decide, the decisions on what to share is completely their decision to make. But, at a minimum, I believe it is important to have the contact information for your parents’ estate planning attorney and that your parents keep their plan updated by regularly reviewing the plan with their attorney. Dealing with a parent’s health issues or losing a parent to death are some of the most difficult things a child will ever experience. Having these discussions while your parents are still healthy and have sharp minds can be extremely beneficial and eliminate much stress down the road. Finally, this article should also make you think about your own estate planning.

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Academic Insight


n the February 2020 issue of Fargo, INC!, I shared my perspectives on what managers and leaders can do to be intentional and purposeful when using technology within organizations. For those who have not read the original article, I’ve summarized the main points below:

BY Shontarius D. Aikens, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Management at Offutt School of Business at Concordia College


APRIL 2022


What Motivates Your Employees? If you have been reading the news lately, you have been hearing about The Great Resignation. And as business owners, perhaps you have direct experiences with this event. I’ve taken a keen interest in understanding this phenomenon, which involves reading various articles in popular business magazines and reading the academic literature on this topic. An article that I came across published in INC magazine written by Jessica Stillman (2022) caught my attention. In this article, the author points to new research that suggests 6 different types of workers in the workplace and how understanding the different types can help organizations respond to The Great Resignation. I highly recommend reading the resources at the end of this article in their entirety, but for now, I’ve summarized the definitions and descriptions of the 6 different archetypes below: • Operators: “find meaning and selfworth primarily outside of their jobs… they see work as a means to an end.” • Givers: “find meaning in work that directly improves the lives of others… least motivated by money.” • Artisans: “seek out work that fascinates or inspires them…motivated by the pursuit of mastery.” • Explorers: “value freedom and experiences…seek careers with a high degree of variety and excitement.”

• Strivers: “have a strong desire to make something of themselves… they are forward planners who can be relatively risk-averse.” • Pioneers: “identify profoundly with their work…are the most risk-tolerant and future-oriented.” It is common knowledge that workers are motivated by different things; therefore, a one-size-fits-all motivational approach will not suffice. The Stillman article is one of the first articles I have seen that reinforces that line of thinking while also providing concrete descriptions that managers could use when determining individual and companywide motivational approaches. For this month’s article, I’d like to provide some suggestions on how a manager could use this framework going forward. The suggestions will be posed in the form of questions.

Question 1: What type of workers are in your organization? Think about a coach of a sports team. They have a good idea of the types of players they have–their strengths, weaknesses and their goals. Out of the 6 different archetypes, what is the makeup of your team and/or your direct

Dr. Aikens can be reached at: saikens@cord.edu

reports? Think about each of your employees and try to determine which archetype(s) describes each of your employees best.

Question 2: Would your employees/direct reports confirm your assumptions? While you (as a manager) have initial assumptions of the archetypes in your organization, what would your employees or direct reports say? Would they confirm your initial impressions? Why not ask them. In addition to any other self-evaluations or self-assessment initiatives conducted in your organization to help employees become more selfaware (e.g., CliftonStrengths, etc.), provide them with the 6 archetype descriptions and have them to self-identify which archetype(s) they resonate with. There are two benefits to this. First, your employees’ responses will confirm your initial thoughts. Second, it will help your employees to have a better understanding of what is important to them when it comes to finding purpose at work.

Question 3: What adjustments should be made to the company’s strategic human resource strategy? Understanding the makeup of your workforce will give you some insights into what truly motivates your employees. Now it is time to determine if the current motivational approaches and policies (extrinsic and intrinsic rewards) are in alignment with the current and future needs of your organization. This would suggest re-evaluating a firm’s strategic human resource strategy. According to Daft and Marcic (2020), an organization’s strategic human resource approach centers on three major activities: • Finding the right people:

Includes tasks such as recruiting, selecting, forecasting, and HRM planning. • Manage talent: Includes tasks such as training, development, and appraisal.

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• Maintain an effective workforce: Includes tasks such as competitive wages and salary and benefits. The general recommendation would be to look at what other companies are doing to motivate their employees. For example, identify companies that have received recognition as a great place to work (e.g., Fortune 100 Best companies to Work For) that are in similar industries as your company. In the context of the archetype framework presented at the beginning of this article, I propose some additional considerations. First, determine if there is a need to recruit a different type of employee archetype based on the future goals and direction of the organization. For example, let’s say that your organization will need future employees who are more autonomous and who can solve complex problems. Based on the archetype descriptions, this would suggest that your organization might need more workers who selfidentify or that could be classified as Artisans. Second, when it comes to your existing workforce, inquire from your employees and/or direct reports their level of satisfaction with their current positions. Several strategies that are currently being used by companies include reviewing pay equity in the organization, offering benefits that emphasize the importance of mental and physical well-being and providing educational benefits to support those individuals who want to progress in their careers.

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