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Melissa roGNE is taking her business nationwide








Meet Some of our Area's Most Impactful Young Professionals

// AUGUST 2021





Sponsored Content: Finding Advantage in Business Liquidity


Sponsored Content: TF Powers: The Power of Mentorship & Learning


Sponsored Content: Bringing AllSports to New Places


Sponsored Content: Cornerstone Bank: A Place Where Culture Meets Business Banking


Young Professionals!


Melissa Rogne is Taking Her Medical Aesthetic's Business Nationwide


Remote and Hybrid Work Arrangement: Key Issues Employers Should Address


The COVID Pandemic and Entrepreneurs's Social Networks


Awesome Grantee


Innovation Will Lead North Dakota to Become the Nation's First Carbon-Neutral State


10 Questions With John Machacek


Ladyboss of the Month: Jackie Maahs


Academic Insight






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

Young Professionals


hether you like it or not, the future of your business will one day rely on those that are young right now. You may think that these individuals spend too much time on tik tok or that it's unholy for them to be putting that weird green spread on their toast (whatever happened to good old Smuckers!), but the truth is, their success is tied directly to yours.

up. Invest in their professional development, let them take on projects, let them fail and help them learn. Try to remember that you were once young and inexperienced. You may have even made questionable decisions professionally and personally in your 20's, but you took those experiences and made yourself and your business better.

If that notion is scary to you, you should do one thing, build them

Give your young professionals a chance to do the same

The young professionals featured in this magazine are accomplished, connected and involved in the community. However, they aren't the norm. If you rely on finding only blue chip prospects like them, you'll miss out on late round steals and won't have enough pieces to build out a competitive business roster. Take your time to work with and create the late bloomers that will drive your business forward. -From a 25-year-old that is

thankful for the grace he has been shown in his young career.

Brady Drake Fargo INC! Editor

Brady Drake, Fargo INC! Editor


KRISTINA HEINLANDIN Lead Content & Public Relations Strategist





Moore Holding Company

FM Area Foundation

FMWF Chamber of Commerce

What is “young”? At my age, it’s hard to argue I’m young, although I’m definitely not “old,” either. Right?

Our region is one of the best for young professionals to be a part of and grow. There are opportunities, connections, and support for young professionals trying to navigate their way in the workforce. But there are challenges. Where to work, what benefits do you take advantage of, how much should you save, buy or rent…many decisions that can effect your future trajectory. Be glad you’re only young once!

Young professionals are the heart of our organizations, neighborhoods and community culture, and they play an integral role in the future of our region.

President & CEO


"Being listened to and heard is one of the greatest desires of the human heart. And those who learn to listen are the most loved and respected." - Richard Carlson

Dakota Business Lending


United Way of Cass-Clay

Finding solutions to our community’s biggest challenges is United Way’s commitment to this community. Our community has many job opportunities in highdemand careers like nursing and manufacturing, and we know that employers are in high need of employees for their workforce. Yet barriers like job training, transportation, and even child care stand in the way between people in need and a career that would provide a better life for themselves and their families. We saw the gap and worked with our community partners including M State and CAPLP to create a long-term solution that would bring more trained employees to our workforce and lift families out of poverty. The answer was Career Coaches that help individuals in need become valuable employees and navigate a path to success. We invite you to join us on September 14 for our Community Kickoff to hear how your investments in United Way are changing the lives of local people and bringing muchneeded employees to our workforce. Learn more at 12


At our most recent ACTIVATE Women session about coaching and development, our presenter shared the importance of listening and validating our employees. The simple action of asking “What’s on your mind?” and giving others the space to speak can truly help us connect and empower those around us. This month, let’s find opportunities to put this to practice and hear what is really on the minds of those we work with.

A 30-something (definitely young) friend put an entirely different spin on it. He recently told me he expects to live until at least 130 years old, believing medical and scientific breakthroughs will make that age easily achievable. If that future comes to pass, what will it mean to be a “young professional”? And at what age would he retire, if there is such a thing? Existential questions, indeed. Social programs, career arcs, employer benefit programs and all kinds of other things would need serious reconsideration.

My challenge to our young workforce: Start thinking now about how to give back to the community. How can you impact our region, not just with your employment, but with your time, talent, and treasure? Consider volunteering for one of our local charities. Decide early what causes you connect with and get involved. Decide if you would like to be involved by serving on a local board or donate a portion of your income. The FM Area Foundation can help. We can help you maximize your philanthropy to create a vibrant community full of opportunities for everyone. If you are looking for ways to get involved and give back, reach out to us today!

President and CEO

In my early 20s, I started engaging with my local chamber as a member and volunteer. This involvement allowed me to form meaningful relationships with peers and leaders throughout the community, and I was eventually approached by the chamber president who insisted that I apply to take over her president/CEO position. I didn’t feel ready or qualified in the slightest, yet she took me under her wing for six months of mentorship, and at age 24, I was officially running that chamber of commerce. I share this story because it was her commitment, mentorship and investment in me as a young professional that shaped and elevated my life and career path. I’m sure that many of you have a similar story or memory, and we must emphasize our commitment to the young leaders in our organizations and community.





Emerging Prairie

The Executives Club of Fargo - Moorhead

Greater FM Economic Development Corporation

The Nice Center

Growing up in the country in Puposky, Minnesota, I had an unparalleled view of the stars. I remember my grandpa got me a telescope and I'd be fascinated by looking up at the stars and dreaming about what's up there.

This month we feature young professionals, the best advice that I could give…

For thousands of years, space has fascinated mankind to think about what's possible. As Grand Farm hopes to solve the biggest problems in agriculture, our eyes go upward to think about how mankind will continue to grow food as we become an interstellar species.

Never be too busy to meet someone new.

That's why I'm so excited to be hosting a Space Ag Conference at Grand Farm on Thursday, Aug. 19. We hope to have three outcomes from this conference.

Love the people who never look at their schedule when you need them.

The Young Professionals Network (YPN) had a big impact on my career and personal development. When I joined the then brand new YPN in 2004, I did so because small talk & networking was not easy for me. A nice thing about the YPN is that members know they are there to develop relationships so the reciprocal nature of networking made it easier for me to get out of my comfort zone.Then, joining the planning committees helped me take it to the next level. Other opportunities then snowballed from there. Too many to mention here.

Director of Ecosystem

1. Show how space technologies are reshaping agriculture (e.g. Starlink) 2. Create excitement around agriculture in a new generation by looking at how we will be farming in space. 3. Dream big about what's possible for humanity in space. Learn more about the conference at We're also helping bring Go For Launch program to Fargo August 16-18. This is a workshop that aims to provide students in STEAM with teamwork, communication, and leadership skills by interacting with astronauts and professionals from Science and Engineering fields. Learn more at events/go-for-launch-fargo

Founder and Director

Never be too busy that you can’t take time to have lunch with a friend.

Never be too busy to hand write thank-you notes. Respect people who always find time for you in their busy schedule.

Live intentionally…and stay that way.

Chief Innovation Officer

If you are a “young professional” looking to get further engaged, develop relationships and push yourself, I highly recommend participating in the YPN. I am a much different person from 17 years ago and the YPN was a major instigator in that.

Program Manager

A big part of our work at The Nice Center is promoting entrepreneurship for all. That’s why we are so honored to announce our newest employees who joined our team this summer. Marié Bitzan, Kyle Bylin, Jennifer Melom all took the leap to help form our inaugural Nice Corps, an experience designed to bring entrepreneurship into schools, clubs and communities across North Dakota. It’s not a traditional role - and, because of that, these young professionals are going to accelerate their ability to connect with people from all backgrounds as they work to solve problems. They’ll leave the experience with a stronger understanding of coaching, facilitation and collaboration. Learn more about them at We would love your help to connect them with students who need help, businesses who want to support entrepreneurs, and organizations looking to support creativity.



AUGUST 2021 Volume 6 Issue 8

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

Publisher EDITORIAL Editorial Team Lead

Mike Dragosavich Brady Drake

Graphic Designer

Kim Cowles

Creative Strategist

Josiah Kopp

Contract Photographer Contributors

INTERACTIVE Business Development Manager Videographers

Jeremy Albright Shontarius D. Aikens, McKenzie Schwark, John Machacek, James Leiman, Brandi Malarkey, Josh Marineau, Kristy Albrecht Nick Schommer Tommy Uhlir

Business Development Associate

Kellen Feeney

Digital Marketing Lead

Emma Bonnet

Graphic Designer

Ben Buchanan

ADVERTISING VP of Business Development Sales Representative Sales Assistant Client Relations Client Relations Manager Marketing Designer ADMINISTRATION VP of Human Resources Account Strategist DISTRIBUTION Delivery

Paul Hoefer Al Anderson Zach Willis Jenny Johnson Christy German Colleen Dreyer Cassie Wiste John Stuber

Fargo INC! is published by Spotlight LLC, Copyright 2020 Fargo INC! & All rights reserved. No parts of this magazine may be reproduced or distributed without written permission of Fargo INC!, and Spotlight LLC, is not responsible for, and expressly disclaims all liability for, damages of any kind arising out of use, reference to or reliance on such information. Spotlight LLC, accepts no liability for the accuracy of statements made by the advertisers.

Spotlight LLC 4609 33rd Ave S Suite #304 Fargo, ND 58104 ADVERTISING: 701-478-SPOT (7768)


EMMA - Social Media

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“We have been working with SWL for 8 years. They help us with HR practices, contracts, and other legal issues that come up. I love how progressive and proactive they are. They have always felt like a partner and not just a law firm we call when we need something.” MIKE DRAGOSAVICH

Founder, Spotlight


In this magazine, you'll be treated to wonderful photography of some of the cutest felines and canines in the area. What's more, they could be your newest companion! Every animal you see in this issue is up for adoption and many of them have been longterm residents of their shelters.

There is simply something magical about a day at the lake. In this magazine, we hope to bring you some options to spruce up your own lake escape. Coming Soon!

Look for us in September.


FINDING ADVANTAGE IN BUSINESS LIQUIDITY Not all businesses were affected by the economic turmoil of 2020-2021 equally. Some businesses will require careful nurturing to recover. Others saw a drop in expenses, increase in business , or both, and may have more cash and liquid assets on hand than normal.

efficiency cost many businesses dearly. As a result, some are using excess liquidity to pre-purchase inventory, bring on new suppliers, or re-write their inventory assumptions to hold more goods on hand, which may even mean paying for space to store and manage it.

Businesses anywhere on that spectrum should consult with an advisor as they plan for what comes next, but for those businesses that find themselves with excess liquidity, there are some general things to consider. As always, your specific situation will call for a tailored solution, but you can start by:

Exploring banking and investment moves to strengthen your position

Revisiting your mission and strategy before earmarking funds

Many companies engage in annual strategic planning, but with the rapid changes occurring in the economy, it may be worth revisiting this year’s plans with your advisor. If you’ve skipped some strategic planning during the upheaval, it’s the perfect time to get back on track. Revisiting your business plan, purpose, and strategies will help you focus on the best way to use funds. It can be exciting to consider new opportunities, but make sure any moves reflect priorities.

Considering expansion and what it would mean

Many firms have growth as a long-term goal, but what that looks like can vary by business, industry, and situation. Some possibilities: Geographic expansion into new territories; vertical expansion, like acquiring a supplier to add stability; increasing market share through the acquisition of competitors or added capacity; or investing in technology to improve efficiency or add capabilities. Each carries its own challenges and will require different funding tools, so plan carefully.

Looking at options to adjust your supply chain A recurring theme for many manufacturing and retail businesses has been supply chain issues, which have proven challenging to untangle and restart. Earlier shifts to “just-in-time” supply chains to gain

Excess liquidity can be used in many ways. Before letting money burn the proverbial hole in your pocket, explore other uses that may improve your business’ balance sheet and medium- and long-term planning. These include retiring debt, adjusting or refinancing debt under more favorable terms, or finding investment vehicles that offer better returns, or tax advantages, and can be used to finance future strategic moves, making your plans even more secure.

Seeing how liquidity can help you invest in people

The labor market is in flux.Some changes may be short term (such as worker scarcity that may ease as job seekers come off the sidelines) and some may be long-term (such as the shift to work-from-home.) Excess liquidity can be used to help manage the people side of your business – maybe bonuses, increased salary or enhanced benefits programs, or new systems and workplaces to support new work styles.

The business advisors at Alerus are ready to help you think through the opportunities presented by liquidity. We offer a full range of banking, lending, investment and benefit services, and our experienced advisors can provide new ideas and fresh insights. Our goal is to help businesses develop plans to realize their full potential while managing the realities and uncertainties of today and tomorrow. 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.

NDSU Veterinary Diagnostic Lab




Dakota Carrier Network

As a company, TF Powers Construction works on some of the most prestigious projects in the industry. But internally, TF is so much more than its projects; it's a place that facilitates growing, learning, and thrives in mentor/mentee relationships.


...If I can help them out in telling them about my past mistakes and successes, that's rewarding."

e sat down with TF Powers Field Superintendent Rock Rude to discuss his relationship with not only the company as a whole but also his role in facilitating learning with new and younger employees. "I love watching these younger people learn and develop," says Rude. "[I love] sharing my experiences and knowledge with them – they're always going to find their own way of doing things, but if I can help them out in telling them about my past mistakes and successes, that's rewarding." Having been in construction his whole life, Rude knows the ins and outs of what makes not only a company successful, but also how the internal culture of a business can thrive with the right employees and creating a place where excellence is goal and growth is the journey. Rude loves seeing all the right hands come together to help complete a finished product. "It's always rewarding to see a finished product – see the building and see the people occupying it and enjoying it," says Rude, who has been with TF Powers for over five years. "... Also knowing what it took to do that– it wasn't me, it was a lot of hard work from a lot of good people – and with TF Powers, they love to do the job right." FARGOINC.COM



I suggested Cyril for that [project], and he did quite well at it"


RESPONSIBILITY TF Powers fosters learning on its job sites by pairing up the more experienced workers with the younger ones who are looking for a leadership role. In turn, this gives them experience in setting up job meetings, dealing with subcontractors, owners, architects, and project managers. "I do appreciate them giving me that responsibility," says Rude. "And I enjoy it; I love watching these younger people learn and develop." One of Rude's personal experiences as a mentor is with fellow Field Superintendent Cyril Lavoie, with whom Rude had worked on projects in the past. During a project for the Grand Forks Air Force Base, there became a need for quality control, and Rude knew just the man for the job. "I suggested Cyril for that [project], and he did quite well at it," says Rude. "He was there the whole time I was there – he was always my number one guy on that project." 28


Cyril Lavoie Field Superintendant at TF Powers



As a mentee, Lavoie has grown and learned a great deal having worked on many project sites. Lavoie's approach is taking the time to work through each task on a personal level with each team member on the project. To Lavoie, great communication and listening skills are essential to ensuring a project is completed successfully. "[Rock] taught me a lot on how to better interact and communicate projects with my team," says Lavoie, who works hard to create synergy at all levels of each construction project. Lavoie, who has been with TF Powers for over ten years, credits Rude with helping develop great communication skills, which in turn has significantly helped increase efficiency and productivity within projects. Lavoie's hopes are to carry on what he has learned from Rude and be a mentor to younger team members in the future. "My goal is to do what [Rude] did and take them under my wing, listen to what they're saying and try to help them in every way," says Lavoie.

Dakota Pediatric Dentistry

Rude and Lavoie's implementation of great communication paired with strong team relationships results in more synergistic projects with some beautiful end results. Here are some of the striking projects TF Powers Construction has completed. FARGOINC.COM



NDSU Wallman Wellness Center

Come join our talented, hardworking team at TF Powers! 910 6th Ave N, Fargo, ND 58102 (701) 293-1312



NDSU Wallman Wellness Center, Aquatics Addition

BRINGING ALL-SPORTS TO NEW PLACES The Journey of the SCHEELS Store Development Team

Opened 331,000 square foot store in Colony, TX in Spring of 2020

The Store Development team at SCHEELS has been hard at work in the last year and a half opening three new locations, expanding the team and growing as a company.



he Store Development team at SCHEELS is responsible for construction, building, and opening new stores. The Store Development team oversees planning and development for all phases of construction for projects. They then determine each project schedule and collaborate with architects, engineers, city leaders, and developers to build a strong customer experience. Additionally, they support existing stores with new renovations and daily maintenance.

During the challenges faced throughout the 2020 pandemic, SCHEELS safely opened three new stores. SCHEELS remained focused, adapting to the change while simultaneously building and growing. In spring of 2020, they opened a 331,000 square foot store in The Colony, TX– the largest All Sports Store in the world. Some of the features include a 65’ Ferris wheel, service shop, saltwater aquarium, baseball and golf simulators, a wildlife mountain, Ginna’s Cafe, and Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory.


Opened 254,000 square foot store in Eden Prairie, MN in Summer of 2020


The construction of the wildlife mountain inside the Colorado Springs, CO location

In Summer of 2020, just four months after opening the SCHEELS location in The Colony, TX, another flagship store was opened in Eden Prairie, MN. "We actually stripped [the old Sears space] down, expanded it, and made it our own," says Project Leader Josh Remer. "Today, you would never know that it was a previous building, other than a SCHEELS store." A new 220,000 square foot location opened in Colorado Springs in March 2021. The building features a Sage Glass ceiling, which is e-chromatic glass that tints ahead of the position of the sun. There are two panes of glass that have a gap in between them. A low voltage wire runs to each piece of glass and charges the gas for tint. The glass, which is made in Faribault, MN, has gone into 5 SCHEELS buildings to date. The construction of the Colorado Springs store also included 1,592 tons of steel, 5,888 light fixtures, 136,000 bricks, 20 semi loads of insulation, and 165,000 lbs of HVAC ductwork.

"The entire building process takes two to three years before we open our doors to the public," says VP of Store Development Jason Loney. There are a lot of questions that have to be considered, including the location of the store, the design, and working with the engineers and architects. "Internally, we're working with our buyers who have researched what products will be best for that specific market," says Loney. "We work a lot with our developers, who are partners, whether they're [helping us find] land where we can build the store, or pre-existing space for renovations and expansions. Once we get rolling, it's all about working with the local contractors and the city officials to have a smooth process– so the minute we announce our Grand Opening date, we're going to hit that date and have a good experience for the customer.”

When it comes to the process of opening a new store, there are many moving pieces that help bring everything together for the Store Development team.




SCHEELS continues to lead the way in creating a unique experience for customers, from elegant aquariums to modern shoe departments. 34


A look at the Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory in the Eden Prairie location

MORE LOCATIONS IN THE FORECAST Currently, the Store Development team is working on a 110,000 square foot store in Missoula, MT, which will open in October 2021. Additionally, the Store Development team has started the construction process for a new store in Minot, ND, replacing a smaller store . Two more stores in the forecast are 220,000 square foot locations opening in Wichita, KS and Chandler, AZ in 2023.

The construction of the Colorado Springs location, which opened in March 2021

To top it off, SCHEELS is in the midst of moving its corporate office to a new headquarters in Fargo. That move will create more space for the Fargo SCHEELS store to expand. "We've definitely been busy," says Remer. "To help navigate through these projects, we've added a co-project leader, an office assistant, and also a corporate maintenance lead. [We] certainly had to work creatively and carefully through the pandemic to make it all happen."





"[We] make sure that everything is overbuilt to last the retail environment." - Wood Shop Leader Luke Picard

Choosing where to open a store next requires a great deal of research and teamwork for the Store Development team. "The market decision is a pretty lengthy process because we're only building one or two new locations a year," says Loney. "It includes a lot of research, looking at the MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) demographics, and identifying if it’s a good fit for SCHEELS." Once the Store Development team knows the market is going to be good for the company’s future, they send buying teams



to look at the proposed location and start digging in. During this time, they address hundreds of questions that help them solidify the market and location within the market. Some of these questions include: What makes this location unique? What developers can the Store Development team work with? What land or buildings are available for them to renovate?

Additionally, SCHEELS has a woodshop within the Store Development team, which plays a major role in the new store construction process. The woodshop is one of SCHEELS' best-kept secrets. "Our main focus is on new stores or stores that are going through a major remodel, as well as supporting existing stores with their fixture needs," says Wood Shop Leader Luke Picard. "The guys in the shop are master craftsmen who can build anything. By keeping it in-house

we're able to control costs as well as ensure quality." The Store Development team at SCHEELS has been hard at work designing and building beautiful new spaces for you and your family to enjoy. As new locations open and visions for more are on the horizon, the Store Development team hopes to create memorable experiences in every SCHEELS store.


Cornerstone A Place Where Culture Meets Banking

Bank As the business industry progresses through the 2020s, 'culture' is becoming a trending topic, and the importance of culture within business is growing rapidly.

ulture looks different for the DNA of every business, yet universally culture is an important pillar that creates a lasting impression, not just for the business itself, but also the customers. Cornerstone Bank is a great example of utilizing culture to strengthen its organization. We sat down with five individuals at Cornerstone to get an inside look. How important is culture to a business, and specifically within your role at Cornerstone Bank? "Culture is very important since it shows we are inclusive, approachable, and open-minded," says SVP Retail Banking Manager Michelle Byrum. "As managers, we have to lead by example and embrace change to grow as an individual and an employee." "I'm especially proud at Cornerstone Bank that we live and breathe our Vision every day in that we will be who people turn to when they are making important decisions about their money," adds Fargo Market President Jim Hambrick. "A positive & supportive culture is very important for a business, and it flows from the top of the organization down," says SVP Business Banker Ryan Grussing. "When team members understand the culture of their organization and truly buy in, it creates a stronger team and empowers the individuals to make the right decision, not just the easiest decision."




What does the phrase "culture trumps everything" mean to you? "[It means] embracing and bringing to life the values and the culture of the bank," says Byrum. "Simple, it means doing what's right every time," adds AVP Business Banker Jake Lind. "An organization needs a well-defined culture to have a clear vision of what it wants to achieve and how to achieve it," includes SVP Business Banker Ray Grefsheim. "A well-communicated and shared culture engages and unifies team members to work together to achieve a common goal."

What does "EXPERTS" mean to you to at Cornerstone?

Michelle Byrum, Ryan Grussing and Jake Lind

"It means being a person whom people turn to when making important decisions about their money," says Grussing. "It's being dedicated to what you do, feeling comfortable and confident with what you know, and having the desire to continually grow and know more." "You can't just call yourself an expert just because it sounds nice; you earn it by doing the work you are responsible for and doing it well," adds Hambrick. "We don’t expect our team members to be an expert and know everything, our expectation is we work together as a team sharing our knowledge and expertise with each other to help serve our customers and find the best possible financial options to fit their needs. Our team members truly enjoy their jobs and helping customers make important decisions about their money.”

Describe how Cornerstone is "PROACTIVE" and what that means in your role "The 2020 pandemic was a great example of how we practice being proactive," says Lind. "We proactively reached out to keep customers informed about the Paycheck Protection Program. Some weeks that meant sending daily updates and information to customers that were shut down and in need of financial relief."

Jim Hambrick and Ray Grefsheim

"Proactive means we don't wait for the customer to come to us," adds Byrum. "We make care calls, ask questions, look for opportunities to strengthen relationships, and proactively educate our customers and team members. We want to be the first person they think of when they are making a purchase or in need of financial advice."



SPONSORED CONTENT How is Cornerstone "ACCESSIBLE" and what unique value does that accessibility bring to customers? "One of our key values is we value our customers' time more than our own," says Hambrick. "Our customers have a business to run, a family to care for, and a life to live. So we work with a high level of respect for their time." "It also means that our customers have access to all levels of leadership within our organization; this level of accessibility allows our organization to serve our customers when, where, and how they want to be served,” adds Grefsheim.

The Magic of Cornerstone's Culture:

Voted Prairie Business top 50 places work 5 years in a row

2021 Live United Leader of the Year Award (United Way of Cass Clay)

What do you love most about your role at Cornerstone, and what are you most looking forward to?

Top 50 Most generous workplaces 6 years (United Way of Cass Clay)

70 team members located in the Fargo Market 2 locations in Fargo: 45th street and University Drive

Over $145 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans during the pandemic 40


"I enjoy partnering with businesses and entrepreneurs, helping them achieve their goals," says Grussing. "I enjoy working with my team and the customer to determine the best strategy for success and then seeing the customer experience a positive final outcome. I look forward to continuing to nourish our existing banking relationships as well as opportunities to partner with new businesses, helping them make important decisions about their money." "I really enjoy getting to know my customers personally; it's not just a banking relationship," adds Byrum. "I am fortunate to see customers purchase their dreams whether it's a vehicle, a pool, a home, save money for college, or consolidate debt to make life more enjoyable. I'm able to watch new employees learn their bank position and how they develop their own style to meet the customer needs."



By Brady Drake Photos by Josiah Kopp

It sounds corny, but young professionals really are the backbone of our business community. Not only are they the future, but their unique perspective and ideas can also greatly impact a businesses NOW! The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce understands this and helps to promote our area's up and comer's with their Young Professionals Network (YPN). Each month, YPN puts on a host of activities for its members to help them stay informed, involved and networked in order to make the most positive possible impacts. In celebration of this, we teamed up with YPN to introduce you to some of its highest achieving members.



licensed at the age of 21 and have never looked back.

Commercial Sales & Leasing Property Resources Group

Justin Gustofson was born, raised, and currently lives in West Fargo. Prior to joining Property Resources Group as a commercial real estate agent, Justin was active in the construction and aviation industries. Through these experiences, he gained a variety of traits and skills that contribute to his success today. Early on in his career while working with his father in construction, he learned quickly the importance of being a hard worker, and an advocate for all clients and customers. As a commercial pilot and flight instructor, Justin learned the importance of being patient, detailed oriented, and proactive. This combination of experiences and learned skills helped to create the patient, knowledgeable and clientfocused agent he is today.

What are some of the intentional steps you took along the way to get there? I understood that a life of real estate was not going to be the easiest. Because of this, I worked towards making intentional connections with a variety of mentors who have and continue to be so giving of their time, knowledge, and experience. I cannot express enough gratitude for these mentors as they are critical in my journey of seeking and finding success.

What advice do you have for other young professionals out How did you get there aspiring to the position to achieve their you are currently goals? in? Network. Network. Network.

I always knew I wanted to be in the world of real estate. With that goal in mind, I became

How has YPN helped you?

Looking back on your earliest years of professional employment, what do Are there any trainings you wish would've been available to you or events you have that wasn't? attended that have been instrumental in your professional life? YPN has helped me meet like-minded individuals who share similar work-ethic, goals, and values.

I select a variety of events, programs and webinars that are centered on commercial real estate and the economy as a whole. I have always been appreciative of the opportunities that the FMWF Chamber brings to our community such as topics covered at their business training events, Eggs and Issues, and the Economic Outlook.

Are there any books, podcasts or TED talks that have helped you? There are a variety of resources I use daily to support my continuing education and understanding of the work I do today. This includes simply being informed on what is happening within the community and the world as a whole. In previous years, I had not paid much attention to podcasts, but as of recently, I have become interested in a variety of different ones that have industry-related discussions.

Overall, this is a difficult question for me. Based on the career path that I have taken, most of my early success has been based on the connections that I have made. This brings me back to the importance of networking. The more people you know, can get to know, or even have a brief conversation with, the better. I think the FMWF Chamber does a great job at planning a variety of events that provide young professionals with these networking opportunities.

Why do you do what you do? I do what I do simply because I love it! I enjoy meeting people, knowing the ins and outs of every street corner, and being a valuable resource for anyone who comes to me for guidance.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? In 10 years, professionally, I see myself continuing on my current career path but on a larger scale.

completed a judicial externship with Magistrate Judge Becky R. Thorson for the District of Minnesota. Upon graduating summa cum laude with her Juris Doctor from St. Thomas, Erin returned to WJPC as an associate attorney.

Erin Larsgaard grew up on her family’s century farm in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, a small town of about 2,000 people. Knowing she wanted to pursue a career in the legal field, Larsgaard attended Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor's Degree in Paralegal in three years. After a year as a paralegal at Wold Johnson, P.C. (WJPC), Erin went to law school having earned a full scholarship to the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, Minnesota. However, she continued to work at WJPC on weekends and during breaks, as well as at St. Thomas for Professor Gregory Sisk as a Research Assistant.

Associate Attorney Wold Johnson, P.C.

During law school, Erin served in a variety of law school roles, including Student Government President and Publications Editor for the University of St. Thomas Law Journal. She was on the Dean's List each semester of her three years in law school and received the Dean's Award for the highest grade in Lawyering Skills I, Lawyering Skills II, Property, Lawyering Skills III, Professional Responsibility, Civil Procedure II and Evidence. In addition, Erin

Erin's developing practice focuses on estate planning and probate, real estate, collections and business and corporate. She is currently licensed in both the federal and state courts of Minnesota and North Dakota. Erin also serves as the Secretary for the CCRI Board of Directors and as Vice Chair of the Leadership Committee of YPN. In 2019, the Chamber honored Erin with the Young Professional of the Year Award. Erin was also named a Rising Star on the 2021 Great Plains Super Lawyers list. Erin currently lives in Horace with her husband, Matthew, and their rescue dog, Millie. When she is not working on house projects, Erin enjoys reading, hosting get-togethers with friends and spending time with her family.

How did you get to the position you are currently in? I began my career at WJPC as a runner while attending MSUM. While this was only a foot in the door, I immediately

knew I loved working in the legal field. After graduating from MSUM, I was promoted to a paralegal and thoroughly enjoyed the new responsibilities. I gained a tremendous amount of hands-on experience that I would not have otherwise had without this exposure. As I was preparing to attend law school, one of the WJPC partners approached me about returning to the firm after graduation. With that in mind, I continued working weekends and breaks at WJPC, so I could hit the ground running upon graduation.

What are some of the intentional steps you took along the way to get there? Consistently doing more than what is expected was vital to my succession at WJPC. Going to the next step without having to be told or checked up on made me a valuable employee, especially since I came straight from college with little experience. In the legal field (and most workplaces quite frankly), no one has time to make sure others are doing their work or to spoon-feed them instructions. Not only did this impress my employer, it also gave me a better understanding of the process as a whole when I had to work through the steps myself. It was trial by fire at times, but I am grateful for all that I learned through it.

What advice do you have for other young professionals out

there aspiring to achieve their goals? Be intentional about doing what is right, even in the small things: be on time; smile a lot; go the extra mile; be kind to everyone no matter the circumstances. These are the little things that matter more than we realize in the moment, both professionally and personally. We don't know who is watching or how these small actions will affect us later on. I also strongly recommend seeking out mentors. In every aspect of life, having someone to look up to and ask questions is crucial. Some of the most successful people I know point back to one or more mentors that helped them along the way. In my own life, having mentors has been both an anchor to hold onto in the challenging times and a motivator to go higher in the successful times.

How has YPN helped you? YPN has been a great organization for me to be involved in! I have found both professional connections and good friends. Since I am not originally from this area, it was initially difficult to build a business network. And let's be honest, large crowds of people are intimidating when you do not know a soul there. YPN provides so many options for everyone to feel comfortable: from large group gatherings to more intimate morning coffee meetings. Not only are there opportunities to expand meaningful connections, YPN also provides ways to become more involved in the community itself. Book clubs, volunteer efforts for a local organization and training sessions are only a handful of what is offered beyond merely networking opportunities.

getting a real answer is invaluable when starting out. I was fortunate to have these relationships, but I know there are many who do not.

Are there any trainings or events you have attended (doesn't have to be Why do you do what you through the chamber) that do? have been instrumental in your professional life? There is not one specific event that comes to mind. However, continued training and education is vital, regardless of the profession. We always have something new to learn. Red River Valley Estate Planning Council has been a great way for me to remain knowledgeable as an estate planning attorney.

Simply put, I love my job. I enjoy coming to work every day and helping people problemsolve. Whether it is creating an effective estate plan unique to that client, guiding heirs through the probate process after the death of a loved one, or facilitating a real estate transaction, I thrive on being a knowledgeable resource to my clients. I am able to use the talents I have been given to better enhance others' lives and work towards their goals and dreams. It does not get much better than that!

Where do you see Are there any books, podcasts or TED talks that yourself in 10 years? have helped you? Although good business advice can be found in many books, there is only one book that describes how to build a successful career and life. There is no greater wisdom than what is found in the Bible. Particularly, the book of Proverbs contains some of the most basic principles that set people up for success if we could only put them into practice: be diligent and hard-working, exude humility and not pride, always communicate honestly, plan and prepare before taking action, seek wise counsel out, the list goes on and on.

Looking back on your earliest years of professional employment, what do you wish would've been available to you that wasn't?

Professionally, I consider it a great success to enjoy what I do every day. If that is still the case, I will be grateful and satisfied, regardless of where or what that entails.

Is there anything else we should know about you or is there anything else that you would like to say? The FM area is such an amazing place to live and grow professionally. I am thankful to have found a community like this to invest back into! I do not take it for granted and am always willing to help out other young professionals connect and develop strong relationships.

Facilitating community mentor relationships are instrumental to helping young professionals succeed. There are so many things education cannot teach; yet, professionals are expected to know. Having someone to ask the "dumb" questions and FARGOINC.COM


Marketing Director Light Consulting Coaching CoreCounts 50


Drew Sannes, MBA, joined Light Consulting & Coaching in May 2020, a big shift from her previous job as a professional basketball player in Germany. She runs the marketing for Light Consulting as well as for Sarah West’s new venture, CoreCounts. Drew chairs the Young Professional Network’s marketing sub-committee for The Fargo-MoorheadWest Fargo (FMWF) Chamber, is a BIO Girls mentor, and volunteers her time with Gigi’s Playhouse. In whatever she is doing, Drew strives to live out the core values of authenticity, mindfulness, meaningful relationships, faith and service.

How did you get to the position you are currently in? As with so many things in life, it’s all about connections! I

was introduced to Sarah West (Owner of Light Consulting & Coaching and Co-founder of CoreCounts) by Matt Baasch (Co-founder of CoreCounts) and Karla Nelson (MSUM Women’s Basketball Coach). At the time, Sarah didn’t have a full-time position open, but Matt knew we needed to meet each other anyways. The rest is history… Sarah created a position and here we are working together with Light Consulting as well as with Corecounts!

What are some of the intentional steps you took along the way to get there? I don’t believe in going halfass with anything in life. If I am passionate and believe in the WHY behind what I’m doing, I am going to work as hard as I can to reach success. Throughout my life, I have been intentional about being a good person, working hard in all I do, and forcing myself into uncomfortable situations in order to grow.

What advice do you If so, please list as have for other young many as possible. professionals out Books: there aspiring to achieve their goals? Do your best, be true to yourself and put yourself out there even though it can sometimes feel intimidating. Reach out to somebody new every month for coffee, a beer, or lunch. You never know; that person could end up being your future mentor, your future client or maybe even your future best friend!

How has YPN helped you? YPN has allowed me to get directly involved in our community in a different way than before and has helped me grow exponentially as a business professional and leader. It has given me the perfect platform to make meaningful connections and help further the growth of YPN by leading the marketing subcommittee.

Are there any books, podcasts or TED talks that have helped you?

• The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek • Dare to Lead by Brene Brown • High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard • Toughness by Jay Bilas • Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo • The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz • Wolfpack by Abby Wambach


• Dare to Lead - Brene Brown • Raging Workaholics - Myles Montplaisir and Sarah West • The Goal Digger Podcast - Jenna Kutcher • Marketing over Coffee - John J. Wall

TED Talks:

• The Power of Vulnerability - Brene Brown • How Great Leaders Inspire Action - Simon Sinek

Looking back on your earliest years of professional employment, what do you wish would've been available to you that wasn't? Our community is doing great things for young professionals right now. One thing that could better the business community is getting individuals introduced and involved even before they enter the business world, whether it be in high school or college. Helping to bridge the gap between students and business professionals will help individuals as well as our entire community.

Why do you do what you do? I do what I do because I’m passionate about the underlying mission and values for both companies I work for. I’m able to go to work each day knowing I’m making life easier for others with our products and services.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? In 10 years, I would like to be in a leadership position at an organization with a mission I’m 52


passionate about. My goal is to be in a position that allows me to capitalize on my strengths and lead others to do the same so they can reach their full potential.

Is there anything else we should know about you or is there anything else that you would like to say? I love growing and strengthening my network, so let’s get coffee or a beer sometime and learn more about each other! Reach out to me on LinkedIn and we’ll set something up.

How did you get to the position you are currently in? Meagan McDougall is an Account Manager at High Point Networks in West Fargo, which means that she helps clients in the region buy and use technology to achieve their organizational goals. McDougall has been with the company as an employee for seven years, and as a supportive bystander since 2003, when her dad, Tom McDougall, founded High Point Networks with his business partner, Justin Fetsch. Meagan also co-directs the Miss West Fargo Scholarship Organization, volunteers with the United Way and is newly involved with the Prairie Family Business Association.

Account Manager High Point Networks

When not working, Meagan can be found listening to audiobooks while walking her dog, drinking brews at Junkyard with her fiancee and planning her next trip.

Nepotism! Just kidding. Sort of? I was looking for a job change in 2014 and received a call from my dad, who asked if I would consider joining the team at HPN and learn the ins and outs of the Inside Sales team. At the time, the primary leader of that group was going to be out on maternity leave and they needed support in her absence. I thought it would be a great way to learn if there could be a place for me at HPN and if I could be passionate about the world of technology. Clearly, it was a fit, because I have been here ever since!

What are some of the intentional steps you took along the way to get there? I clearly got the job at HPN because of my last name. I don't deny that in the least. But, I can also say with 100 percent certainty that I have earned every promotion I have received since joining the team in 2014. When you share the last name of the CEO, you have two

options – use it or prove it. I chose the route of proving that I could succeed in this organization and on our sales team by working hard, looking for areas I could improve our organization for the benefit of everyone, learning as much as I possibly could and earning the respect of those in my department and beyond.

What advice do you have for other young professionals out there aspiring to achieve their goals? Find an organization to work for that exists in the community and world in the same way you want to. When I started at HPN, I came in with zero educational background in technology. You would probably be horrified at my Google searches from early on – for example, I vividly remember the day I searched "what is a network switch?" I never thought technology would be a world I would find I was passionate about, but because HPN exists to help companies in our communities perform at their absolute best, I quickly got on board and work to make a difference every day.

How has YPN helped you? The Young Professionals Network, and the FMWF Chamber of Commerce, as a whole, do a

remarkable job connecting individuals across industries, job roles and years of experience. I specifically enjoy the opportunities they provide for continuing education in the many trainings and workshops they offer for young professionals and professional women.

Are there any trainings or events you have attended that have been instrumental in your professional life? I had the honor of being in the 2019 class of the United Way 35 Under 35 Women's Leadership Program, and my six months in that program truly helped me "level up" in my personal and professional life. I found confidence in the unique strengths I bring to the table, I was encouraged to form healthy habits around wellness, balance and boundaries and I made 34 really awesome friends who span industries, backgrounds and interests from our community.

Are there any books, podcasts or TED talks that have helped you? Oh wow. This is a super hard question, as I have a personal reading goal of at least 52 books a year. Of recent favorites, I recommend are Daring to Lead by Brene Brown, Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell, The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek, The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein and I Think You're Wrong (But I'm Listening): A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations by Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers. I also read a lot of memoirs, which are a great way to understand the lived experiences of people and what makes them tick. The same can be said for reading fiction, so really, just read anything – it all helps your brain and your ability to connect with humans! For podcasts, I binge Skimm This, Call Your Girlfriend, How I Built This, Work Life with Adam Grant, The Stacks, Pantsuit Politics, and Armchair Expert.

Looking back on your earliest years of professional employment, what do you wish would've been available to you that wasn't?

and outs of mentorship when I was in my earlier years of employment. Even today, it is a very common comment from professional women especially that they wish they had a professional mentor to help guide them throughout their career, either within their organization or outside of it. I think it would be remarkably valuable to find a way to educate both mentors and mentees on the value of building mentorship relationships and find ways to help individuals seek out these relationships.

Why do you do what you do? I love getting to know people and getting to help them do what they do, but better. It is so rewarding to be a part of the thriving business community in the Fargo-Moorhead area and beyond and know that my work and the work of my colleagues has a small part of that growth and success.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I love my job. I plan to continue to be involved in the sales organization at High Point Networks and eventually become an owner, carrying on both the legacy of my family and the legacy of High Point Networks. I hope to be a part of HPN continuing to be a premier place to work and a premier technology partner not only in the Great Plains region but for businesses and organizations across the United States.

I wish that I had understood the ins FARGOINC.COM


Celine Paulson specializes in cash management for business banking clients. In this role, Paulson provides customers with progressive online banking tools and discusses with them an overall receivables/payables strategy. She is an extremely driven individual with a strong desire to understand and problem solve. In her free time, she enjoys living an active lifestyle – from biking and camping in the summer to snowboarding in the winter, Paulson is always open to trying something new!

Cash Management Officer Choice Bank

How did you get to the position you are currently in? During my final year at NDSU, I applied for and was chosen to participate in a Business Banking Internship at Wells Fargo. Following my graduation, I was invited back and hired full-time to join a two-year Business Banking Credit and Relationship Management training program. This program focused on credit

analysis and underwriting as well as managing a portfolio of business clients. After my program ended, I was promoted to a Relationship Manager where I continued to analyze financials while growing my own portfolio. During this time, I was also working to expand my knowledge of the various partner groups at the bank as well as networks within our community. A year later, I had the opportunity to specialize in an area of banking that I was very interested in, cash management. This opportunity brought me to Choice Bank, as a Cash Management Officer, and is where I have been since July of 2020.

What are some of the intentional steps you took along the way to get there? 1. Be positive and work hard – Your attitude and effort are in your control each day. 2. Find a mentor(s) – Look for those who inspire you. Learn from them, be respectful of their time, and ask thoughtful questions. 3. Get involved in our community – Personally, I joined the FMWF Chamber’s Young Professional Network, served as a volunteer for

NDSU’s Business Connections program, and volunteered for the YWCA. These opportunities helped me grow personally and expand my professional network. Today, I'm proud to serve as Treasurer on the YWCA Board of Directors. 4. Take on responsibilities outside of your job description – People recognize and appreciate those willing to go above and beyond what’s expected of them.

Are there any books, podcasts or TED talks that have helped you? • Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday • The One Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan • Lean Out by Marissa Orr • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

What advice do you have for other young professionals Looking back on out there aspiring to your earliest years achieve their goals? of professional employment, what do you wish would've been How has YPN helped available to you that you? wasn't? 1. Stay curious and ask questions

2. Request and be receptive to feedback about your performance

YPN has helped me build a professional network in the FMWF area. It has also given me leadership opportunities through volunteering on sub-committees and leading as the Chair of YPN. Furthermore, YPN has brought me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to grow as a young professional and experience local businesses. 60


More formal and structured training programs that offer a blend of actual work experience and opportunities to advance within the company. These types of programs are extremely beneficial for young professionals who know what they are interested in but need the experience to get there.

steps you took along the way to get there? Danne Doering lives in Fargo with her husband, Trevor, toddler, Bray, and two dogs. Doerring loves going to events and meeting new people. You can usually find her and her family camping or fishing on the weekends.

Retail Location Manager Choice Bank

Networking and professional development. I love talking to people and learning about them, even though it doesn't directly benefit my work, it creates great relationships. I also became very involved with YPN committees.

What advice do you have How did you get for other young to the position professionals out you are currently there aspiring to achieve their in? goals? I have worked at Choice Bank for the last five years. I became interested in Choice, because two YPN members worked at Choice and really showed how great the company culture is.

What are some of the intentional

Get involved. No matter the organization, join the committees and find more ways to contribute to the organization. You will get the most out of your experience.

How has YPN helped you?

Why do you do what you do?

YPN has helped me grow my network, develop my professional skills and gave me great experience to navigate life.

I enjoy helping people and going above and beyond to help people. Choice Bank empowers employees to do that. If I see a need in the community, I can help and I can do something.

Are there any trainings or events you have attended that have been instrumental in your professional life? Eggs and Issues is a great program and Lattes' with Leaders is my favorite event

Are there any books, podcasts or TED talks that have helped you? The Rachel Hollis Podcast 64


John Fisher earned his bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University in Religious Studies and Psychology; he then earned his graduate degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. He is married to Abby and has three wonderful children. He has been the Executive Director at Friends of the Children Fargo Moorhead for the last 2+ years. When he is not with his family or leading Friends he is also a pastor at his Church, Sojourn.

Executive Director Friends of the Children Fargo Moorhead

How did you get to the position you are currently in? My nonprofit story starts as a junior in college when I and my close circle of friends founded a nonprofit youth organization. It was during this time that the entrepreneurial spirit and passion for bettering communities and developing people was first sparked. That passion solidified as I worked with youth in church-based ministries in Tennessee and

Kentucky. This desire to impact communities brought him and his wife, Abby, to North Dakota. I started three churches, grew attendance and recruited leaders to help. All the while, I worked in the nonprofit sector. I was a program coordinator with the YMCA in schoolbased programs for almost six years developing youth, staff and families. From there, I worked in a Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) grant at North Dakota State University as a program director. Before coming to Friends of the Children Fargo-Moorhead, I served as the executive director of CHARISM for three and a half years, a neighborhood nonprofit serving youth through mentoring. I was asked to explore founding the FargoMoorhead chapter at Friends in 2019 and was chosen to be the founding Executive Director

What are some of the intentional steps you took along the way to get there? Being open to new adventures. From the get go I made the point to make sure I didn't shy away from something new, scary or different. Taking opportunities when an opportunity presented itself, I would lunge at it and

made it known to my superiors and mentors that I was open to opportunities to grow personally and professionally.

What advice do you have for other young professionals out there aspiring to achieve their goals? Find a mentor that is double (or close to) your age (or more). Someone that has seen several more decades than you. Someone who will tell you the raw, unfiltered and real truth. Someone that will encourage you but also won't pet your head and blow smoke but will point you to more. Also, read biographies of dead people. I take a real interest in presidential history, and other figures throughout history that were made for "such a time." Outside of studying my Bible, I find being a student of history to be one of the most impactful pieces of achieving my goals. Set your mind to it. Don't give yourself an out but dig deep, put your mind to it and make it happen.

How has YPN helped you? Oh yes! Friendship, networking, practice in building crossdiscipline relationships. It has been terribly influential in my growth as a person and a professional.



Are their any books, podcasts or TED talks that have helped you? I love history and biography, more specifically so anything from David McCullough. I read the Bible daily and find it to be life changing. For podcasts, I like to listen to ones about current events and faith: The Briefing, Breakpoint and Christianity Today. I also love Ken Burns documentaries, and American Experience on PBS.

and oversee the organization forthe people that are changing people's lives daily. The team that is all around me at Friends willfully toil to better the lives of precious children with immense challenges and my job is to give them the resources, and foundation to go do that. It is epic level awesome.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Leading teams, serving my family and my church, and hopefully helping others in meaningful ways.

Is there anything Looking back else we should on your earliest know about years of you or is there professional anything else that employment, you would like to what do you wish say? would've been available to you that wasn't? I wish I had found a coach earlier, a mentor earlier and been able to pursue a pipeline kind of program to leadership earlier.

Why do you do what you do? I love being the one to tell the story, build the infrastructure

If you struggle with discipline in your life really hone in on that. Seek spiritual, personal and physical discipline and watch how so many other areas of your life flourish. I find these three areas as infinitely more important than anything professionally and that by having that mentality my professional life continues to grow.


Monica Millette

Jana Samek




1202 27th St S, Fargo, ND 58103 | (701) 235-2002

Melissa Rogne is Taking Her Medical Aesthetic’s Business Nationwide

By Brady Drake

About Aspen Dental Management, Inc. (ADMI) With more than 1,000 health and wellness offices in 46 states, Aspen Dental Management, Inc. is one of the largest retail healthcare business support organizations in the country. From the Aspen Dental website: “ADMI provides a comprehensive suite of centralized business support services that power the impact of four consumer-facing businesses: Aspen Dental, ClearChoice Dental Implant Centers, WellNow Urgent Care and Chapter Aesthetic Studio. Each brand has access to a deep community of experts, tools and resources to grow their practices, and an unwavering commitment to delivering highquality consumer healthcare experiences at scale.”



veryone’s entrepreneurial dream looks a little different. Of course, nearly everyone who starts a business hopes that their business makes a positive impact on the people it serves but the desire for scale of impact can vary greatly. In the world of retail, some are comfortable with a singular mom and pop shop, while others have their sights set higher. Melissa Rogne has always had her sights set higher, and now she is achieving those heights. Her company, formally known as Rejuv, was acquired by Aspen Dental Management, Inc. in May to launch Chapter Aesthetic Studio, a new national brand of state-of-the-art medical aesthetic. With the acquisition, Rogne now has the resources necessary to go big. In fact, by the end of 2022, Chapter Aesthetic Studio will have gone from one location to 13.

“I always used to joke that we were going to have 1 or 100 places,” said Rogne, who founded Rejuv in 2005. “I never wanted to stretch myself too thin by branching out and not having the resources to maintain the quality of the experience. That was always my big concern with expansion. This partnership allows us to maintain the quality of the experience.” According to Rogne, that really was the deciding factor. She chose ADMI after years of turning down other franchising opportunities for her business, this was simply the right fit. “I knew really soon, after meeting the CEO Bob Fontana, that we shared a common purpose, vision and values,” said Rogne. “I like to have fun and I don’t take myself too seriously. Fontana has a lot of fun and he’s a lot like me.”


However, the ability to maintain the quality of the Rejuv experience was really the most important thing for Rogne. Not much will change as the brand rolls over into Chapter Aesthetic Studio. Each of the new clinics will offer all of the same core services that are currently offered at the Fargo location and longtime employees will be helping train in the new clinics. “I’m most excited about this because of the opportunities it allows me to give to my team members,” said Rogne. “I have team members that have been with me for 10, 12 and 14 years and they’ve stuck with me even though there is somewhat of a ceiling at a small company like the one we have. This now allows them to grow and achieve things that they never thought possible with our company. It makes me smile. These Fargo ladies are the ones that get to go out and take these new clinics under their wing and show them how to do it.” The level of quality employees and services is what led Rejuv, one of the first medical aesthetic clinics in the region, to become the largest in the upper midwest. Rogne maintains that that quality wouldn’t be possible without an amazing team behind her. In order to ensure that she has had an amazing team behind her, Rogne has been very intentional with how and who she hires. At the core of her hiring process is Topgrading. We use a method called Topgrading. Topgrading is really an interesting hiring method because it steps back and lets you get to know the person on a core competency basis,” said Rogne.

What is your favorite service you offer?

That’s like asking me to choose between my favorite child. But, I would have to say CoolSculpting. I was such a skeptic when CoolSculpting came on the market and it’s been on the market for over 10 years now, but the idea that you could permanently freeze fat off your body seems like a gimmick. It really works though! It’s like liposuction without getting liposuction! It’s hands down a game changer. It works for that diet and exercise resistant fat. It’s not for someone looking for a weight loss routine. It’s for those of us that bust our butts, but can’t get rid of that last little bit of the fat. FARGOINC.COM


A Couple Questions With ADMI CEO Bob Fontana

Why is Rejuv a great addition to the Aspen family? We are very excited to form this partnership with Melissa Rogne, who has grown the largest medical aesthetic services clinic in the upper Midwest – one that’s largely acclaimed throughout the entire industry.

How will your customers benefit from having medical aesthetics available through the aspen model as opposed to what was previously available to them? With Chapter Aesthetic Studio, we are poised to make state-of-the-art, non-invasive services and medical aesthetics care widely accessible throughout the U.S., so everyone has the means to feel good, from the inside out. 74


“However, it also really digs into who the person was. We ask about things like what their high school experience was like. We want to really know about the people that we are interviewing. We also do a competency interview about the things that apply to the job they are seeking.”

How did Rogne get to this point? Rogne, a graduate in psychology and communications, will tell you that she was young and stupid when she first made her entrepreneurial leap. However, like many, it was passion that propelled her forward. “I have always loved the skincare industry ever since I was a little kid, I just never thought it would turn into a career,” said Rogne. But it did. In 2000, Rogne started side hustling as the first person in the state to be licensed for medical aesthetics. Shortly thereafter, she changed careers and was working full-time in medical aesthetics. Five years later, she opened her own practice. However, that doesn’t fully explain how Rogne positioned herself to be acquired by a company that was sold for about $500 million in 2010. “My husband used to own all of the Quiznos subs in Fargo. So, I already had an

entrepreneur husband and he really encouraged me,” said Rogne. “I felt a certain sense of security with that support. One thing I learned from him with him being a franchisee is that systems are everything. In a franchise, everything is documented. With Quiznos, there was a big operating manual that would tell employees how to make every single sandwich. So, when I approached the business, that’s what I did. I ran it like it was a franchise because that’s what I knew from being with my husband and seeing what he did. We’ve always been poised for growth because I’ve always worked to ensure that the business would be able to function without me.“ Now, that Chapter Aesthetic Studio is under the ADMI umbrella, the sky really is the limit. We'll just have to wait and see how big Melissa Rogne can go. To learn more, visit


Kristy Albrecht is a Fredrikson & Byron shareholder in Fargo, and a member of the Employment & Labor, Litigation, Transportation and Appellate Groups. She advises employers on a variety of employment law issues, including hiring, firing, discipline, employee leave and accommodation laws, employee handbooks, drug and alcohol policies and separation agreements. She can be reached at




n the spring of 2020, many employers were forced on an emergency basis into remote work arrangements with their employees. Now, more than a year later, the pandemic has calmed down and employers are making decisions regarding employees who wish to continue with hybrid or remote work relationships. Employers should consider these key issues when making decisions on how to proceed. Eligibility. Allowing remote or hybrid work arrangements is not an “all or nothing” decision. Some positions are amenable to remote work, while others are not. Some employees are very productive working remotely, while others are not. Employers should carefully examine the duties of their various employment positions in deciding who is eligible for remote or hybrid work arrangements, taking care to make consistent decisions for similarly situated employees and to consider any reasonable accommodation needs under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Employers should retain sole discretion to withdraw their permission to work remotely, because the arrangement may not work well for any number of reasons. Designated Remote Work Areas. Employers have a duty under OSHA regulations to provide safe work environments, and safety is also important

to avoid work injuries and worker’s compensation claims. Employers should therefore require employees to designate a specific safe and secure work area at their remote location. Equipment and Supplies. Employers should make clear who is responsible for setting up and paying for the employee’s remote worksite, including, for example, any furniture, lighting, utilities and internet connections. Employers should also be clear about which equipment they will provide for a remote working arrangement. Frequently, employers provide laptops that employees can use both at home and at the employer’s main worksite. General Expectations. Remote work arrangements typically do not change the duties or performance expectations for the job. The employer should be clear with remote employees as to performance expectations, attendance and work hours, availability expectations for video conferencing, and requirements to come to or work in the office from time to time. Furthermore, as a general matter, employers should make clear that remote work is not a substitute for dependent care. If an employee needs flexible hours for dependent care, the parties should address that issue upfront so that expectations are clear.

Managing Employee Performance. Employers should consider what means they have of evaluating and managing employee performance. Do the means involve monitoring computer usage? If so, the employer needs to have a policy in place to assure it is not violating an employee’s expectation of privacy. Additionally, employers should also consider how they will keep remote employees engaged in their work and performing as active team members. This may require some planning for in-person meetings and interactions. Security and Confidentiality. Security of data, trade secrets, and intellectual property is an important issue for all businesses. Employers should review their security plans and assure that the remote-working employees are well informed of their duties regarding security and confidentiality, including passwords. If an employer does not have an agreement with employees regarding confidentiality and the protection of trade secrets and intellectual property, this is a good time to put such agreements in place. Wage and Hour Issues. Wage and hour issues can become tricky with a remote work arrangement, particularly for employees who are not exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. If employers have employees who may travel from their remote worksite or have other wage and hour

questions, we recommend consulting with legal counsel to assure compliance with state law and the FLSA. We also wrote two articles on this topic, which can be accessed here: Interstate Issues. If an employer has employees working in other states, interstate issues need to be addressed. Employers should consult with legal counsel on whether they are “doing business” in the jurisdiction where one or more employees are working, so that any applicable requirements are addressed. Employers should also check with counsel on whether they have met the threshold for creating a “taxable presence” in the remote jurisdiction and whether to withhold local or state income taxes under that jurisdiction’s laws. Additionally, employers need to find out whether additional workers’ compensation insurance is needed in the jurisdiction where the employee is working. Other Legal Issues. Finally, there are a variety of other issues that employers should address. Do the employer’s group insurance plans cover remote workers? A quick call to your insurance representative to assure that coverage applies is well worth the effort, particularly if a rider to the policy needs to be added. Employers should also consider the federal and state posting requirements – and a way to assure that the required disclosures have

been provided specifically to the remote workers. Many of us have learned that hybrid or remote work relationships can be a positive experience for many employees. Thinking through and addressing the above key issues will assure that the relationship continues to work well for all, and that employers don’t run into legal problems as a result of these relationships. The Employment and Labor Department of our firm is hosting live seminars in Bismarck at the Radisson Hotel on Thursday, Sept. 30, and at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fargo on Friday, Oct. 1, We will address many of these issues, and more. To attend, you may register here: events/events/

As part of an ongoing project studying entrepreneurs in Fargo-Moorhead I have interviewed dozens of entrepreneurs over the years. Over the last few months in particular, I have interviewed 25 individuals as part of my research with the Challey Institute at NDSU investigating the effects of the COVID pandemic on entrepreneurs and leaders in the FM area. I wanted to share some of my findings so far of the effects of the pandemic on entrepreneurs’ personal and professional relationships. What has been the biggest change? What kinds of things did they find helpful? What ways did they adjust their social networks in light of the pandemic? The first clear outcome of my research shows that most peoples’ social networks – the set of people entrepreneurs interact with on a regular basis – shrunk markedly. The lack of interactions and opportunity to meet with others caused a pruning effect. As one entrepreneur put it, “Your circle just got really small, especially right away when this started. So just that connection to others has gone down to pretty much nothing.” Another founder said, “The ties are weakening… but even the stronger ties, there are fewer of them. So my circles are smaller.” 78


Josh Marineau, Associate Professor of Management at North Dakota State, has had research published in Social Networks, Group & Organization Management, andJournal 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.

The COVID Pandemic and Entrepreneurs’ Social Networks Why have social circles gotten smaller, despite the prevalence and ubiquity of digital media? One answer is that the startup community in the Fargo-Moorhead was built on the values of community, support and collaboration. Many of the collaborative synergies were born out of “serendipitous” interactions at a coffee shop, sidewalk corner or community event. I hear many stories of how rekindled ideas and new ventures spawn as a result of ‘chance’ encounters, where one person runs into another person who introduces them to a third person, and so on, sometimes all the way to a startup. Talking to many individuals over the last few months has shown that these conversations, once the key to sharing knowledge, meeting new clients, and finding resources basically vanished overnight. Seeking out key partners and collaborators this way has almost completely disappeared from the relational strategy tool kit. How did some entrepreneurs respond to this new social reality? My data suggests that while most networks got smaller, some grew and also got deeper. When discussing the importance of close relationships over the pandemic, one entrepreneur talked about reconnecting with people that he hadn’t talked with in years, "A handful of us… have a happy hour on Thursdays because we realized only other entrepreneurs understand the reality of what this is like." Another local business owner talked about her deepening relationships with other local entrepreneurs, “We’ve all had to talk

through things… we share information in ways that we’ve adapted that have been beneficial… things we have tried that didn’t work, and it’s good to have someone to discuss those with too.” She went on to describe how these relationships became stronger leading to more collaboration. Others had similar stories where they reconnected with a small group of likeminded people, even competitors, to share stories, discuss challenges, and sometimes just to have a virtual shoulder to cry on. They not only looked for support for themselves, but found they had a lot to offer others as well. Another entrepreneur said, “The benefit [of the shutdown] being, there’s this intense personal relationship with a small circle of people”. My data suggests that those entrepreneurs that were able to consolidate their key relationships and find creative ways to connect were better able to cope with the fear and doubt. While the regular social channels dried up, enterprising entrepreneurs found new ways to interact, and the most meaningful tended to be as mentors or confidants to others – usually over texts and emails. Not all entrepreneurs and business owners had the same experience. A few focused on home-life completely, with a wait and see approach. But these entrepreneurs reported some positive effects of this strategy, with deeper family ties, more time spent on the business fundamentals, and a clearer perspective on their own goals.

Our social networks are an incredible resource, especially in difficult times. What can we learn from these entrepreneurs? • Take the opportunity to strengthen your close ties when possible. It is ok to take a step back and focus on your most critical relationships, others will completely understand and likely do the same. • Find and engage with a few other people that are experiencing the same stressors and challenges — it can be very rewarding for you and them. They will appreciate it. • Take a brief inventory of your social activity. Should you make an adjustment? Where do you have the biggest impact and the greatest reward? Who needs you right now? What do you need? Recently, the tide has been changing. Stores are open, people are gathering and some sense of normalcy is returning. While the pandemic was devastating to many people’s personal lives and businesses, it is also good to think about how some local entrepreneurs made the most of a difficult time — establishing a stronger, deeper network and in some cases, coming out of the nightmare a bit wiser and stronger as a result. Finding ways to connect where we are contributing to the health and well-being of others, even our competitors, proved to be highly beneficial — and hopefully long lasting.

When we must be selective about how we invest our time in others, we find that those choices can be difficult, but also rewarding. FARGOINC.COM



T HE MOO R HE AD F R IEN DS W R I TI N G G R OUP By Brandi Malarkey



hile summer temperatures and outdoor barbeques are on the minds of most of us this August, the Moorhead Friends Writing Group is prepping for winter with their newest project – The Great White North: A Winter Anthology. Hosted by the Moorhead Public Library, the Moorhead Friends Writing Group is comprised of 30-40 individuals who have built a supportive community through the simple desire of wanting to improve their writing skills. “I think there is a misconception that you have to want to be published to be a writer. Some people do want to, and we work very hard to make sure people understand what they need to do for that process. Now that some of us are getting published, we have a better understanding of the business and can share it,” says Chris Stenson, the founder of the group and Moorhead horror

genre writer. “But everyone’s goals are different. Some people just want to write better for themselves, or for their jobs. We strive to help people, whatever their writing goal. Anyone who wants to write in whatever way is welcome.” The diverse writing styles within the group certainly supports the idea that all writers are welcome. From horror to children’s stories, essays of current events to memoirs, blogs to books meant for law students, the Moorhead Friends Writing Group incorporates as many different styles of writing as the members involved. It is that diversity that members credit with being one of the factors that have helped them improve. "Everyone has such a unique view of how they edit. Some people go line by line, checking grammar and verbiage. Some look at the overall work. They comment on what is and isn't working in the story as a whole. The combination of

perspectives has completely changed my writing. Obviously, for the better," laughs Fargo writer Alexander Bayle, whose first book, Among the Stray, was published in June. “I absolutely love that we are able to get feedback not only from a grammar perspective, but about what makes sense, what is believable, what imagery evokes emotion. By the time a reader sees the finished product, we know our work is fully edited and vetted and the best work it can be,” says member Sadie Mendenhall-Cariveau, a Moorhead writer of poetry and short stories. Editing and providing feedback on each other’s work is only one of the methods used by the group to help each other improve. They also assist each other in setting up reasonable goals, provide accountability, and meet every two weeks on Tuesdays from

Don’t wait until the holidays to check out work from these members of the Moorhead Friends Writing Group: 82


7 p.m. to 9 p.m. for discussions or to learn from one of the monthly guest writers they invite to present to the group. Until recently, meetings were held in person at the Moorhead Public Library. With the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the group has moved online. While the shift was initially difficult, some members feel that the pandemic has strengthened the group’s sense of community. ”We ended up becoming a support group for each other,” says Eileen Tronnes Nelson, a Grand Forks writer of Genealogy based non-fiction. “You look forward to meeting every other week and just sharing and talking about everything.” “Our membership has increased,” Chris Stenson agrees. “And moving to online has allowed people to participate from New York, Arizona, and California. People find us on Facebook, and

T. J. Fier’s (Fargo) first young adult novel, The Bright One, is available through Three Little Sisters publishing, Amazon, Moorhead and Fargo libraries, or to order through a local bookstore.

anyone is welcome to join. As things open back up, we are fortunate that the Moorhead Public Library has equipment for us to learn how to make a hybrid meeting work.” As learning together and supporting each other are the strongest characteristics of the Moorhead Friends Writing Group, it should be no surprise that their latest endeavor, a published anthology featuring their work, is both a learning experience in self-publishing and a community project. The self-published anthology will feature work by the Moorhead Friends Writing Group, as well as a few other local writers, whose wide variety of work will center around the theme of winter. “Who knows snow and cold better than Fargo-Moorhead people?” asks T. J. Fier, a Fargo writer whose first

Chris Stenson’s (Moorhead) short story “Two Bobbies” is included in The Gates Of Chaos: Stories Written During The Pandemic which is available now through Amazon. His first horror novel, Sins of the Mother, will be published by Sage's Tower Publishing in 2022.

Alexander Vayle’s (Fargo) first supernatural suspense book consisting of three novellas and several short stories, Among the Stray, is available through Amazon and All Things That Matter Press.

novel, The Bright One, was recently published in December of 2020. “The anthology will be a great way to cozy up with a book for winter and get exposed to a little bit of everything.”

fortunate to receive funding to help with the costs, and that helps,” says Chris Stenson, referring to $1000 gifted to the group by the Cass Clay chapter of the Awesome Foundation, who named the Moorhead Friends Writing Group their 2021 June grantee. “It also gives us a way to give back to our supporter. A portion of the profits from the sales of the anthology will be donated to the Moorhead Public Library.”

“It will also help raise awareness of our individual, local writers,” says Sadie Mendenhall-Cariveau. “If you go into a bookstore, you don’t always know that a writer is local; that it is someone you may have contact with, or who works at a local college. It also brings more awareness to the libraries. A lot of people don’t realize how many amazing things happen at their local library.”

The Great White North: A Winter Anthology will be available for purchase this winter with a mixture of poems, short stories, fiction and non-fiction from local writers in hardcover, paperback and e-book.

“With the anthology, members who want to participate can learn about self-publishing together. It isn’t just writing. It’s editing, cover design, and formatting. We’ve been

Tina Holland is a North Dakota writer of multiple romance novels available through Amazon.

Frank. M. Oliva’s (New York) first horror novel, Walking Among the Trees, is available via Amazon.

to become the nation’s first carbonneutral state By James Leiman, Ph.D., Commerce Commissioner e are witnessing the next energy boom! Simultaneously, North Dakota leads the nation via a major increase of deal flow that will increase oil and gas production, improve the bottom lines for farmers and attract tens of billions of dollars in direct investment. Carbon neutrality will be accomplished via innovation and not regulation, and companies across the state, up and down the supply chain vertical are contributing to this boom.


A Carbon Sink Put simply, North Dakota hit the geologic jackpot! In effect, several thousand feet beneath where many of us stand, multiple formations will enable our state to store and add value to carbon captured and sent from other states. North Dakota will produce greener oil through enhanced recovery using carbon dioxide (CO2) captured from industrial sources throughout the region. This in turn will maintain and generate well-paying jobs, create a smaller carbon footprint for the state,



reduce industrial CO2 to the atmosphere, accelerate economic development and incentivize industry to invest in smarter and cleaner oil production.

The Benefits to Oil Many of the state’s oil fields are declining in terms of production. When the market is ready, enhanced oil recovery will use carbon to revitalize the declining oil fields and improve production counts resulting in more competitive Bakken oil. These oil reservoirs can then hold the carbon while producing cleaner oil through increased flows via the injected CO2.

New Opportunities for Gas New and increased oil production will come with increased gas emissions. North Dakota can do four things with the gas: use it to continue to enhance oil recovery, permanently store it thereby reducing emissions into the

atmosphere, capture and liquefy it or capture it and add value to it. All four of these options create major economic opportunities for the state. For one, increased oil production pays for new infrastructure in the state as well as operating funds for government programs; two, new oil production maintains and creates more well-paying jobs; and three, North Dakota sets up the next generation with new opportunities. Regarding the opportunities associated with this impact, North Dakota is currently engaged in over $13 billion in clean energy projects at the time of this writing. This is four times as high as where we were in May 2021. By educating the nation and the world on these opportunities, major investment firms and project developers are rapidly engaged in growing North Dakota’s economy. This includes but is not limited to major offtake agreements for future use of North Dakotan energy, the creation of a value-added industry where secondary and tertiary sectors are established, and new money flowing through the state.



Current Commerce Commissioner, spent over a decade fighting terrorism before deciding to focus his efforts on domestic issues. in his most recent position as the Department of Commerce's director of Economic Development and Finance, Leiman was involved in statewide economic development and finance initiatives.

The Hydrogen Hub Recently, Mitsubishi Electric and Bakken Energy made a huge bet on the future of the global economy by announcing the nation’s first blue hydrogen hub. This multi-billion dollar project will lead to major job and wealth creation coupled with the potential for new industries such as fertilizer and synthetic fuel manufacturing by using existing infrastructure, the abundance of natural gas that is produced, and our unique geologic formations. A whole new supply chain vertical and energy sector will be right here in central North Dakota!

Growth in Agriculture Simultaneous with fossil fuel and hydrogen growth, increased demand for clean fuels in California has resulted in major investment decisions by Marathon Oil and Arthur Daniels Midland. These two projects, accounting for over $1 billion in

investment, will use 35-40 percent of the state’s soybeans resulting in a higher basis for North Dakotan farmers. We are seeing similar growth for corn and other commodities that will support clean fuels to include aviation grade production!

Accelerated Investment The nation and globe are catching on to North Dakota’s abundance of opportunity through aggressive marketing campaigns that focus on our state’s geology and business-friendly environment. North Dakota’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2030 using innovation is becoming an accelerated reality with rapidly increasing capital formation! As the nation’s leader, several other energyproducing states and nations have caught on thereby helping us innovate our way through the next energy boom!





ohn Machacek, Chief Innovation Officer for the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, has worked with countless startups throughout our community over the past seven 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 Kirk Anton, Founder of Heat Transfer Warehouse.

BY John Machacek PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen and Josiah Kopp



1 Tell us your Heat Transfer Warehouse elevator pitch? We sell the products that decorate the clothes we wear, which allows us to support the communities we live in – that is our vision statement. We sell heat transfer vinyl products and related items.

2 You sell and distribute all over the country. What do some of the typical Heat Transfer Warehouse customers look like? That is a unique part about Heat Transfer Warehouse. We sell to the crafters, the person operating a shop out of their house, we sell to people with side-hustles, and then we sell to customers that have actual storefronts.

3 Is much of your business e-commerce and if so, how have you found success in getting their attention in the ever-changing & crowded space of online advertising? About 4-5 years ago, we made the switch to 100% online ordering. We found that it helped eliminate errors and enabled a better accuracy rate. As part of that process, we had to transition customers who were accustomed to placing orders by phone; which took patience and some promos to get them onboard.

About John: John Machacek has been helping local startups with the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation since prior to his position with the GFMEDC. Before joining the team, Machacek was the VP of Finance & Operations at United Way of Cass-Clay and a business banker at U.S. Bank.

With our advertising, we really focus on content marketing. Giving the customer help and ideas is key. Always just trying to sell them something is not what they want to see. We do some stuff with email marketing – I love Klaviyo. Back in the day, we used to do 15 trade shows a year. And then we just stopped and realized we could do more with our digital assets. We tinker with SEO, all the time. We look up keywords to make sure we rank well for them. And then in the spring of 2020, we started working with influencers, which has been a game-changer for us.

4 I am really curious about the influencer marketing. Can you tell me more about that? We call it our partner marketing. I knew we needed to get more traffic to our site and realized we were behind in this trend. I just started searching out our products or our name, through YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, you name it. I then reached out to people that had things very similar to what we sold or did, or I thought had potential. I’d set up a meeting to learn more and how we could work together. I wanted to make it more about just giving them a link and a commission. I wanted to treat them like partners and have this fit well with how we are as a company and what we do. This has gone very well and since then, we’ve added a team member just to manage our partner marketing. We have also hired one of the influencers to guide and direct upand-upcoming influencers to help them get better at what they are doing. This person has also helped us with our content ideas.



Kirk Anton, Founder of Heat Transfer Warehouse.

6 That is really cool. Another cool thing I appreciate about Heat Transfer Warehouse is your focus on culture and employee engagement. And, I see the company’s five Core Values posted on the wall. First of all, will you tell me about how you developed those values and how you foster them? Our core values are really what drive and define the company. When you look through them: Connection – I feel this is everything we do. Dedication – it’s what we look for in every team member and how we work together. Embracing Change – I feel like I’m the Zen Master of this. We’ll change in a heartbeat and we get the team on board, as what works today may not work tomorrow. Healthy Living – That means physical and mental, and it’s so important. Sometimes it’s just taking a walk around the block just to stretch and get new perspective on the rest of the day. We also bring in coaches that help with mental well-being and we offer personal financial counseling and guidance. Teamwork – Obviously we aren’t where we are today without it. We thought about them for a long time as a team to develop them and took a viewpoint of values that are not only important for work but your life outside of work.


5 Another marketing question. I noticed Heat Transfer Warehouse has good followings across many platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest). Any advice for the readers on what you’ve done to not only build these up, but also maintaining them? We realized the importance of content, content, content and made it even more of a focus going forward. Like I mentioned, it’s about sharing ideas and tips and we know our customers want that education. We cross promote by using our Facebook and Instagram to promote our YouTube and vice versa. We copromote with our vendors as well when we can and that helps pull in new followers. Hashtags are always good as well.



Next, will you share more about the focus on culture and the intentional employee engagement opportunities you organize? Culture and charity is who we are. It’s how we get to connect and know each other on a different level. We make sure to do our culture events as a team every quarter. We’ve gone to the zoo, the fair, ax throwing – you name it, we’ve done it. Our next one is just hanging at a park playing yard games. The charity part circles back to our vision, we give back. And not just money, but also our time. We look to make an impact here and with our branches.

8 So, with your main office based in Fargo and having your three warehouse facilities in Cincinnati, Las Vegas and Jacksonville, how do you effectively manage and balance the company culture? We organize the culture events like I just mentioned. We travel to the locations to participate in the events but also to just connect with our team there. We share a lot of photos among all the locations so we’re all aware of each other and what we have going on.

9 If you could go back in time to Kirk from several years ago, what hindsight advice would you give yourself? Pay attention to market trends. We had some missteps from not doing this well. Keep on doing-you and don't let vendors influence our company direction. Stick to your values and if they don’t align with something, don’t do it.

10 What can we do as a community to help Heat Transfer Warehouse succeed? Go buy a heat press…lol! Interns, we love having them and we could have more – they’ve helped change the company. Talent; tell us about talent who want to work and have fun. Buy your garments locally from one of our customers.

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Jackie Maahs Owner of The Plant Supply

A. Hi! My name is Jackie Maahs and I own The Plant Supply which focuses on making houseplant ownership fun and easy for everyone. After working for about 10 years in the industries of recycling and sustainability, I recently decided to make the leap into full time entrepreneurship. Now, I spend most of my days caring for plants, making concrete planters and getting to connect with the community of plant lovers in the Fargo/Moorhead area. When I am not working on my business, I love to spend time with friends and family, explore new local shops and restaurants and try out new crafting projects. I grew up in southern Minnesota, lived in the Twin Cities for a while and moved up to the Fargo/Moorhead area in 2017. I now live in Moorhead with my husband and we love being an active part of the community. Q. How did you get involved in your work? A. When I was in junior high, my dad put me in charge of my family's small collection of houseplants, which included a pothos plant, my mom’s African violets, my dad’s prized cactus and a neglected aloe vera plant. I wasn’t thrilled to add another weekly chore to my list, but over time I grew to enjoy caring for our houseplants, and when I went off to college, I started a small collection of my own. Over the years, that small collection slowly grew and I realized that plant care was something that I truly loved, and I decided I wanted to figure out how to spread this joy of houseplants with others. So, in 2019, I signed up to be a vendor at the Red River Market in Fargo with only a rather vague business plan. With the help of my sister-in-laws I quickly began propagating plants and taught myself how to make pots out of concrete in my downtown Fargo apartment. I wasn't sure if anyone would be interested in purchasing them. After our first weekend at the market, I realized that I had found my niche. I loved getting to see the smile on peoples’ faces when they found the perfect new plant and I was so proud of the beautifully modern planters I was able to provide as well. But most importantly, I was so happy to get to chat with people about plants and share my passion for learning and growing through plant care.

By McKenzie Schwark



Now, two years later, I am continuing to grow and develop The Plant Supply into a business that is focused on learning, growth and community. I want people to know that you don’t need to care for each of your plants perfectly to be a successful plant parent. All you have to do is commit to learning and growing from each plant experience. With that mission in mind, I now sell plants, handmade concrete planters and plant hangers, and other plant accessories in stores across the region, at markets, and online to plant lovers all over the country.

Q. Can you tell us what is most rewarding about owning your own business? A. That is a tough question because it is difficult to parse out just one thing. I think the thing that makes it all worth it for me is the people that I have met through my work with The Plant Supply. I have formed amazing relationships with people that I would have never met if it weren’t for this business and I have learned so much from them. The Fargo/ Moorhead community has done so much to support small businesses and I am so grateful for everyone who has been a part of The Plant Supply’s journey. Q. And maybe something challenging? A. The most challenging part is definitely balancing my desire to innovate and grow my business with the need to establish systems and processes to make sure everything is running smoothly. I think a lot of small business owners would say that getting to be creative is one of the best parts of owning a business, but every once in a while you have to reign that creativity in to get things done. Q. Home gardens really had a moment this year. Why do you think that is and what do you see as the benefits of keeping and caring for plants at home? A. The pandemic definitely sparked a houseplant resurgence. When people were stuck at home, houseplants enabled them to bring life and greenery into an otherwise stale situation. As more and more people purchased and shared house plants we also started to see this amazing community of plant lovers develop which built a social connection during the pandemic as well. Plants are great teachers, you can learn a lot about resilience, patience and consistency from plants. I think the thing that I have learned the most from plants is to not be afraid of failure (a.k.a. dying plants). I meet a lot of people who say they don’t want to have plants in their home because they have killed a plant before - but killing plants is all a part of the process. When you kill a plant you learn what not to do, so you can make a change for the next one. Additionally, plants have some very practical benefits. They produce oxygen and help remove toxins from the air in your home. They also are proven to lower stress levels and increase productivity and concentration - a good reason to add one (or five) to your home office.

The pandemic has subsided, but people’s interest in plants hasn’t; if anything, it seems like it is only continuing to grow. Q. Any favorite plants for beginners? A. My favorite houseplant for beginners, and for myself personally, is a snake plant. Snake plants have a really unique leaf shape that looks like a set of green sword blades coming out of the soil. They come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, and are super easy to care for. They can handle most lighting conditions which makes them easy to add to any room in your home (as long as it has some natural light), and doesn’t need to be watered much more than once every week and a half to two weeks. Q. What is the best piece of advice you’ve heard recently? A. Get more sleep. This isn’t really a new piece of advice, but something that I have been embracing more recently. There is so much research and evidence that sleep is vital to every aspect of our health, and I don’t think we give it enough credit. Over the past few months, I have focused on getting more high-quality sleep, and I have definitely seen improvements, especially in my mental and social health. Q. What do you think women need right now? A. It’s difficult to come up with one thing for women as a whole, but speaking from my own experience, something I have been needing and embracing more lately is the permission to rest. It isn’t necessarily that I need permission from others (my husband is a super encourager and supporter of me taking time for myself), but permission from myself. Before I started working on my business full-time I was constantly working, whether it be on The Plant Supply or my full-time job. Now, I am able to have more flexibility in my schedule, but I often find myself feeling guilty for resting, so when I slow down, I don’t end up feeling recharged. I have found that giving myself permission (whether mentally or even saying it verbally) to do something I know will help me recharge, enables me to fully embrace and utilize that time.

Academic Insight


key focus in the management discipline is the effective and efficient allocation and use of resources. Traditionally, resources are grouped into four different types or categories: Physical, Financial, Human and Intellectual. I’ve often shared with my students that another resource that often gets overlooked is the resource of Time. During a typical workday, employees encounter situations that require them to spend significant amounts of time assisting others with navigating and interacting with essential organizational BY Shontarius D. Aikens, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Management at Offutt School of Business at Concordia College 92


systems and processes. And since time is a valuable and finite resource, there’s always a push for new ways to do more in less time. The focus of my article for this month is based on a guiding question I have used in my personal experiences with helping individuals address this. And that guiding question is: “Do You See What They See?” To provide some background and context, consider this scenario. You purchase a product or service that is advertised as “easy to use”, “minimal setup required” or “simple instructions to follow.” But in reality, your experience with using the product or service is cumbersome, takes up too much time and the instructions are complex. When this happens, you get frustrated, experience buyer’s remorse and/ or become less motivated to use the product or service due to the steep learning curve to become competent. In an organization setting, the full potential and capabilities of organizational processes can’t be realized when there is a lack of buy-in


Creating Valuable User Guides and Handbooks

or non-use by users. This results in decreased levels of organizational effectiveness and efficiency and, in some cases, inefficient use of time. Through various jobs and service commitments over the course of my career, I’m often tasked with creating self-help user guides and handbooks to help individuals interact with technology or computer software programs. I strive to take as much guesswork and ambiguity as possible out of the user interaction experience, and the guiding question of “Do You See What They See?” helps me when creating these training materials. And because of this, I’ve been able to help users and managers be more effective and efficient while also saving time. If your organization is looking to improve the quality of its self-help guides for users of your products or services, below are three basic guidelines and factors to take into consideration. The User’s Prior Experience and Future Involvement Frequency Those who utilize a program, service, or process on a frequent basis will have more in-depth knowledge and a higher level of

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comfort when using it. Not so much for others. Think about and take into consideration a) the percentage of users who need to utilize a certain process, b) if this will be their first time using it and c) the level of frequency of their interactions with this process going forward. Balance the use of Pictures, Written Text and Audio Pictures and images are great in helping a user see the big picture or to anticipate how something should or will look like at certain stages of a process. Written text is good at providing additional clarity, especially when in the format of step-by-step instructions. Audio is good at reinforcing and supporting both visuals and written text. Depending upon your objectives, it is important to be intentional about using the best method of communication to help the user. Below are questions and guidelines for each communication method: • Pictures: What should be displayed to give the user cues on what to look for? • Written Text: Are there specific stages where additional clarity and commentary needs to be provided? Can it be written in the format of simple step-by-step instructions? • Audio: Can audio enhance the pictures and written text? Incorporating all three communication methods is ideal. For example, think about how a GPS unit is a delicate balance between the use of pictures, written text, and audio to help a driver navigate unfamiliar roads and highways.

Create and Test the Prototype After creating the user guide or handbook, you have the finished product, right? In the words of famous sportscaster Lee Corso: “Not so fast, my friend!” All you have at this point is a finished prototype that must be tested. A scene from the movie Iron Man (2008) illustrated the importance of testing a prototype. During a test flight of Tony Stark’s Mark II armored suit, he encountered a problem when ice began to accumulate on the suit impairing its functionality. During a postflight analysis session with his artificial intelligence assistant J.A.R.V.I.S., Stark made changes to the metal composition of his armored suit. At the end of the film, that upgrade turned out to be beneficial, as it gave Stark a tactical advantage when fighting the antagonist during a battle. When testing user guides and handbooks, I recommend piloting them with individuals who have no experience or background with using the system or process to see if they can successfully navigate the system or process using the instructions alone. Afterwards, conduct a focus group and gather feedback to determine a) the level of ease in following the instructions, b) any instructions that were confusing that need to be clarified, c) any points where the user got lost or stuck, because the instructions didn’t match the user’s experience, and d) feedback on the actual time it took to read the user guide and to complete the individual tasks. This information will be extremely beneficial when revising to create the final version of the user guide or handbook.

Profile for Spotlight

Fargo INC! August 2021  

It sounds corny, but young professionals really are the backbone of our business community. Not only are they the future, but their unique p...

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