Interviews with the Lamoureux Twins, Chris Coste and other local star athletes.
2020 WAS FULL OF TURMOIL
FROM THE TAX EXPERTS
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// FEBRUARY 2021
Sponsored Content: JLG Architects' 15-Year Impact On The Fargo Community
Sponsored Content: 5 Tips For Organizing A Virtual Event
Sponsored Content: Cash Reserves for Business: How Much?
Sponsored Content: These Businesses Know The Importance Of Giving Hearts Day
Former Athletes Making A Difference In The Real World
The Executive's Club Of FargoMoorhead's Must Read Books
There's A New Podcast In Town
CEO Conversation With Tom Astrup
Diumerci Christel Is A Tech Star
Spotlight's Paul Hoefer Is Working For More Than Just Himself
What's The Best Way To Market To Gen Z? IDK Ask a Gen Z'er
Faces Of Business: Cindy Tyo
Faces Of Business: Eric Wilkie
Ladyboss Of The Month: Saree Reveling
The Gig Economy
COVID-19 Vaccine: The Employer's Conundrum
10 Questions With John Machacek
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E d i t o r ’s n o t e
Jesse Hoorelbeke I
f You've been reading this magazine over the years, you've had the opportunity to appreciate the photography of Jesse Hoorelbeke and his company, J. Alan Paul Photography. Jesse has been with Spotlight from the very beginning and there's no way our publications would be where they are today without his artistic vision and talent.
Recently, the former Fargo Moorhead RedHawks standout and all-time independent league leader in home runs was dealt some bad news. Jesse has been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. However, he has already begun treatment and is ready to fight like hell to beat this.
thoughtful, caring and overall kickass human being. If you would like, you can also help out financially by purchasing a print from Jesse's gallery at jalanpaul.shootproof. com. Here are just a few examples of what is available.
As most of you know, fighting cancer isn't cheap. If you have the ability to, please donate to the fund at jessecancerfund. com. You will be donating to help a
Brady Drake, Fargo INC! Editor
United Way of Cass-Clay
“Setting goals is the first step to turning the invisible into the visible.” -Tony Robbins As we enter a new year filled with hope and possibility, setting goals for ourselves, our companies, and our community is more important than ever. Each night, more than 1,000 of our neighbors are homeless - without a goal to strategically help, they will remain invisible. A few months ago, we announced our goal of preventing 90% of children and families from becoming homeless by 2023. By focusing on innovative solutions and inviting you, our community, to be a part of the work to move this goal forward, more families have a warm, safe home this winter. Which results in a better future for families becoming visible.
President & CEO
Dakota Business Lending
Well, we’re 1 month in to 2021…how are you doing? This past year has opened my eyes to the importance of checking in on each other and having the courage to ask for help. The community of Fargo is filled with hundreds of people who want nothing more than to help others succeed and thrive around them. Not only that, but they are a wealth of knowledge, support, and resources that we can rely on to move forward, even when times are tough. This month, I challenge each one of you to check in with a friend and ask if there are any ways you can help or support them. In addition, think of the ways that you may need resources or support from others and don’t be afraid to ask them. Let’s make 2021 a year focused on depending on the great people in our community and the ways that we can provide a helping hand and make the world a better place.
Moore Holding Company
Do you like pancakes and cooking shows? Then check out FargoPancakes.com for details on Fargo Kiwanis’s first-ever Virtual Pancake Karnival. Three wonderful local chefs are showing off their creativity and knowledge crafting the perfect pancake. It’s going to be a fun, unique online event. Watch the program live on Saturday, February 20, at 10 a.m. If you miss the live event, watch it anytime on the Fargo Kiwanis Facebook page. As always, Fargo Kiwanis is “flipping for kids,” as all proceeds from the event go to local nonprofits supporting our children. As you can imagine, needs are greater than ever this year. If you’d like to support the event through a sponsorship or donation, go to FargoPancakes.com. Thank you for your consideration.
Communications and Marketing Officer
FM Area Foundation
Scholarship applications are now open for the 2021-2022 academic year. The FM Area Foundation manages more than 50 scholarship funds available to students in our area. These funds have been created by generous individuals, families and businesses to provide financial assistance for students pursuing higher education and training. You can visit areafoundation. org/scholarships to see our full listing of scholarship opportunities and for information on how to apply.
SHANNON FULL President and CEO
FMWF Chamber of Commerce
In my second month here, I have learned that this is one tremendous, unique place. We are a region filled with passionate thought leaders that truly believe in working together to accomplish common goals. In order to achieve those goals, it is important to convene business and community leaders, stakeholders and the public to learn, provide feedback and engage in the issues. For this reason, I want to share with you a personal invitation to join us for The Chamber’s 2021 Economic Outlook. Our economy has been impacted by so many factors this past year. Two national speakers will dive into these factors and deliver relevant information in a fascinating manner. Rob Engstrom will lend his expert analysis and shed light into the 2020 elections. Then, Ron Wirtz will take us into the pandemic’s ongoing impact, and the broader North Dakota and Minnesota economy. As we all know, now more than ever it is critical for us to support our local businesses. So, to do our part, every attendee will receive a $20 gift card to a local participating restaurant. Learn more at fmwfchamber.com. I hope you’ll join me in tuning in on February 18.
Director of Ecosystem
Agriculture is facing big problems that will have an impact on humanity going forward. If these aren't addressed head on, the potential loss to life could be devastating. From growing population to increased environmental strains and productivity demands, growers are forced to do more while experiencing agriculture labor shortages, volatile markets, an aging workforce and a number of other pressing constraints. At the end of the day, if the growers needs aren't being adopted, innovation won't occur. We must focus on the fact that growers need to be profitable and more productive as new technology is adopted. This makes me think that all innovation must focus on the end-user. Do you know whose pain points you're trying to solve and how to best meet them?
Founder and Director
Chief Innovation Officer
The Executives Club of Fargo - Moorhead
Greater FM Economic Development Corporation
Let’s get together, for cryin’ out loud. Remote work. Zoom calls. Virtual teams. I get it. I understand the need for it in today’s world. But nothing will replace the power and effectiveness of the face-to-face meeting; there is where the real work gets done.
With the national annual SBDC Day coming up (3/17) to celebrate their impacts, I want to thank (and bring awareness to) some important partners in our entrepreneurial ecosystem.
In-person is still best, because: 1) it’s off the record 2) it ensures engagement and drives participation 3) not all small talk is small 4) body language is communication 5) it makes a lasting impression And sometimes it makes more sense and is more efficient to meet face-to-face even if there is more time, cost, or inconvenience involved. So let’s get together, shake hands, have a drink and talk. Meet me at Grindstone, home to The Executives’ Club of Fargo-Moorhead. with love, Kurt
Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) are often one of the first referrals we make for things like business planning, financial forecasting, market research & more. Our regional ND office is at the NDSU Research Park. The MN office is on the Concordia College campus. Our SCORE office taps into a national volunteer mentor network to help entrepreneurs talk through their ideas and plans. The ND Women’s Business Center has a Fargo office to help provide programs to support entrepreneurs from business start-up to expansion through a variety of services and resources. The above guidance is often taken and utilized to visit with local SBA partners for financing needs - Dakota Business Lending and Lake Agassiz Development Group. To easily find orgs like this, check out the Entrepreneurs section of the GFMEDC website. www.gfmedc.com/ entrepreneurs
KODEE FURST Program Manager
The Nice Center
With the new year underway, we continue to be reminded of the power of community. Ten student changemakers were selected for our inaugural Digital Impact Fellowship and have been challenged to create projects for positive change. High school and college-aged students from across the region have joined the Fellowship to help non-profit organizations accelerate their impact in preparation for Giving Hearts Day. Partnered with charities diverse in cause, Fellows have taken on digital marketing efforts that have included social media management, email campaigns and logo design. They’ve brought big imaginations, an innate understanding of the digital marketing landscape and an energy that is contagious. If you’re looking for talent to help your organization, join us online on February 25 for the Digital Impact Showcase to meet these incredible fellows.
BETHLEHEM GRONNEBERG Founder
March ushers in Spring, National Women's History Month and International Women's Day! Throughout the month and especially on March 8, the world takes time to honor and celebrate the achievements of women, through out history and all across the globe, who paved the way in social, cultural and economic spectrum. "A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world. We can choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequity. We can choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge. #ChooseToChallenge" ~ United Nation's Women - 2021 International Women's Day. I choose to challenge the status quo for women in tech.
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FEBRUARY 2021 Volume 6 Issue 2
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We all have a sugar craving every once in a while, a hankering for something sweet and delicious. We're here to celebrate those sugary delights provided by local bakeries, pastry shops and candy companies. The next time you have that sugar craving, look no further.
Everyone loves a good underdog story in sports. Look up and down Bison rosters and you'll find a host of student-athletes who could be considered "underdogs". In the face of adversity, these student-athletes made the most of their opportunities and are finding themselves competing and succeeding at the Division I level.
Why go out when you can bring the entertainment in? There’s a certain charm to entertaining at home that can be even more appealing than a night out. In your home, there are plenty of opportunities to turn unused space into an entertainment hub. From home bars and theaters to basement remodels, innovative technology and surprising amenities, you can make your own home the go-to spot on Saturday night.
We sit down with American Crystal Sugar CEO Tom Astrup in a profile of one of local agriculture's most important companies.
JLG Architects’ 15-Year Impact on the Fargo Community or a community that is only 150 years old, Fargo is home to some of the most influential companies in the country – including JLG Architects, U.S. Architecture Giant and one of Inc. Magazine’s Best Places to Work. While JLG’s 150 employee owners are working coast to coast on everything from hockey arenas to healthcare centers, the firm attributes much of its 32-year success to the community building they have helped drive forward in the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo area. Let’s take a look at some of their recent high-impact spaces that have helped shape our region. 26
Loretta Building We take a great deal of pride in shaping the communities we work with," said JLG CEO Michelle Mongeon Allen. "Fargo is no different. It really is amazing to see how the community has blossomed over the years and it feels even better to be a part of it. Positioned directly across from the new Broadway Square and Block 9 development, the Kilbourne Group’s Loretta Building is a beautiful and eye-catching structure that boasts 48,000 square feet of office, retail, and commercial space. JLG has worked on several projects with the Kilbourne Group, including the recently-completed renovations to the Black Building, and mixed-use developments under construction at The Mercantile and The Landing at 1001 NP. JLG will soon be developing their own space at the corner of Broadway and Main because the firm is expanding their service offerings and needs more room to grow. FARGOINC.COM
aWARDs RECEIVED BY JLG
• ENR Top 500 Design Firms • LUXlife Winter Sports Awards – Best Ice Hockey Arena Architects, Upper Midwest USA • INC Top 5000 FastestGrowing Privately-Held Companies in the US • Building Design + Construction Giants 60 Design Firms
• Architectural Record Top 125 Architecture Firms in the US
The newly-erected Aldevron Tower at North Dakota State is a 74,000-square-foot building that creates a collaborative and unified, career-focused learning environment for students in the ever-increasingly important fields of pharmacy, nursing, respiratory care, medical lab sciences, radiologic sciences and public health. The architecture at Aldevron Tower directly supports the team-based real-world applications it serves.
• ENR Mountain States Design Firm of the Year
The learning environment will increase the number of healthcare professionals in the region - a contribution towards better healthcare for generations to come.
• Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal Top 10 Firms
• Best Place to Work Top 50 by Prairie Business • AIA North Central States Region, Emerging Professional Friendly Firm Award
sanford medical center fargo JLG has collaborated with Sanford Health on a number of facilities in the region, including Sanford Clinics in Moorhead, West Fargo, and South Fargo at Veteran’s Square, as well as work at the Sanford Broadway Medical Center. Shown here is the only Level I Adult Trauma Center between Minneapolis, Seattle, Denver, and Omaha.
WEST FARGO SPORTS ARENA One of the region’s favorite sports, ice hockey, was at the center of a JLG project that added two ice rinks to our community in November 2017. The West Fargo Sports Arena is home to the West Fargo Packers, Sheyenne Mustangs and West Fargo United hockey teams. The facility is also a mainstay for the West Fargo Hockey Association. The main sheet of ice on the south side of the building allows for a total of 1,100 to 1,200 spectators and the second rink can host about 400, making the West Fargo Sports Arena a great place for human connection.
5 Tips for Organizing a Virtual Event n April 2020, our subcommittee of AAF-ND began to meet to discuss the 2021 American Advertising Awards Show. Despite being a month into a pandemic at the time, we were feeling optimistic for a couple of reasons: (a) we were planning an event ten months in advance and were ahead of schedule, and (b) we thought there was no chance we’d have to have a virtual event at the end of February 2021. But if the live events world has taught me anything over the years, it’s this: nothing ever goes as planned. By mid-November, it became pretty clear that our event would not be safely done in-person, and we made the tough choice of switching it to a virtual format. It involved us discarding old ideas for themes, canceling travel plans for our out-of-state judges, and making amendment upon amendment to our budget document. The most pressing question became: 32
“how can we still pull off an engaging event worth attending in a virtual format?” With our virtual awards show taking place on February 26, we’re in the home stretch of our planning, and I thought it would be a wonderful time to provide guidance for how to organize a virtual event through five pieces of advice we learned along the way. #1: Lean on a team for support. We’re fortunate to have a subcommittee of six individuals who have been with us all the way, even back when we thought it was going to be an in-person show. I’ve also solicited advice from past showrunners and frequent show attendees to get their opinion on how we can keep the event engaging, and what they would like to see. Involving others in the process of your virtual
By Jack Yakowicz
event planning helps relinquish some of the burden you may feel, while also getting diverse perspectives that will mold your event for the better. #2: Find partners that roll with the punches. I’m refraining from using the word ‘pivot’ here, because I know you’ve heard it enough. Find partners that will move in a different direction with you. We have been blessed with a great cast of characters (from our production company, Livewire, to our emcee, Zuel, to our event sponsor, Avalon) who have all rolled with our punches and made adjustments to help turn our in-person event into a virtual one. Make sure to communicate with your vendors early & often so they’re in-the-loop on any necessary changes or hesitations so they can be a part of the process with you. #3: Identify ways to still make it engaging. Your event doesn’t need to be a pinned screen on Zoom. You can find ways to tie in fun & engaging games, chat rooms, social hours and other ways to still increase the amount of connectivity that someone feels at a virtual event. I won’t give away too many of the secrets of what’s to come for our event, but look into games and offerings from Crowdpurr and Jackbox to get people engaged, and consider making breakout rooms at the beginning (or end) of your event to facilitate conversation.
allows us a branding opportunity for our American Advertising Federation club, while also being able to still provide an experience to attendees that may make the ticket price even more worth it. #5: Don’t try to reinvent the wheel - create a new one. At first, it was hard to escape from feeling like we needed to pull off our traditional event in a virtual environment. Same scripts, same bells and whistles, same feel. Once we started to embrace the notion that this was a year that allowed us to be fully creative with the event, and we could shape it however we wanted, the ideas started flowing. I’d encourage you to not worry too much about your virtual event replacing your in-person event, but see it as an opportunity to try out a variety of new things that you’ve thought of but never implemented. One of the most important things to remember is that everybody has had to adapt in some way or another due to the pandemic. You want to pull off a great event, but you also need to understand that people will be extending their grace during this time, given the context. As long as you approach the event planning in an intentional way, your hard work is bound to pay off. If you’d like to see how we do with our 2021 American Advertising Awards show, feel free to sign up or follow along at aaf-nd.org/ american-advertising-awards/.
#4: Provide a keepsake. Since we aren’t able to do meals in the same fashion we ordinarily have at this year’s event, we’ve been ideating a “supplies box” to provide that goes along with the show and offers some keepsakes for our attendees. This
Cash Reserves for Businesses: HOW MUCH? Most people have heard the personal finance adage that they should have cash equal to 6 months of expenses on hand, in case they lose their job or have an emergency expense. But should businesses? And is it realistic or wise to have that much capital sitting around? The short answers: Yes, and yes. How much you need will depend a lot on your business and cash flow, so talk with a banker or business advisor who can draw on experience working with many businesses like yours.
Don’t guess; dig into your financial records Records aren’t just for taxes – they also help you make strategic decisions. You can find patterns in your financial statements, old orders and payroll records. Math not your strong suit? Bring in an accountant or banker to help sort it out. These records will give you baselines, and those baselines will help determine a smart reserve.
Create a plan to get to your reserve goal Building a reserve can be daunting. Just start. If you wait until you have a big surplus to establish your reserve, it might never happen. Start now if you don’t have one. Once again, an advisor can help you create a plan to build your reserve
Rule of thumb is three to six months of expenses… Factor in your size, cash flow and liabilities. Cash reserves
gradually, so you have a clear goal and manageable steps.
Lines of credit may provide flexibility when used right
aren’t one-size-fits-all. To get to your best number, talk to an advisor. If you are the only employee, work from home, don’t
Debt shouldn’t be your primary reserve, but it can be a
need raw materials and have personal reserves, the amount
bridge. Unexpected things happen. Sometimes, even with a
you need is less. If you need to pay salaries and rent, or build
reserve, you might need a loan to carry you through. Setting up
inventory ahead of a seasonal rush, you may want more.
credit to tap into when needed on short notice is a smart move. Get it from a bank that knows you and your business personally – you’re likely to get better terms.
…but not all expenses are equal
One other thing: Reserves don’t need to be stuffed under a mattress.
Split ongoing monthly expenses from production costs. Salaries, insurance, rent and regular ongoing expenses need to be covered whether it’s a slow month or busy month. But for manufacturers or builders, raw material costs will be higher when you are busy, since you have more stuff to make.
Depending on the reserve size and how quickly you may need to access it, some might be held in higher interest earning but still safe and liquid products. If it seems more complicated for a business than a person – that’s because it is. Want to learn more? Come talk with an Alerus business advisor or visit alerus.com
THESE BUSINESSES KNOW THE IMPORTANCE OF
GIVING HEARTS DAY GATE CITY BANK For a Better Way of Life® Gate City Bank strives to create a better way of life for customers, communities and team members, which ties in perfectly with the generosity of Giving Hearts Day. Indeed, giving hearts are at the core of who Gate City Bank is, and it shows every day. The Bank has participated in Giving Hearts Day for the past eight years, and recently reached its $1 million milestone in donations. In 2021 alone, the Bank pledged to donate more than $250,000 to Giving Hearts Day charities.
This commitment includes $75,000 for charities chosen by community members as part of the Bank’s annual Giving Hearts Day nomination contest. More than 214 charities have received Gate City Bank donations on Giving Hearts Day, and 230,000 nominations have been submitted. This year, Gate City Bank also provided a new and innovative way for people to get involved by donating a 2021 Chevy Silverado for the first-ever Giving Hearts Day sweepstakes contest. The Bank brings even more fun to Giving Hearts day by offering matching gifts and making surprise boosts. (Boosts are bonus donations given to charities randomly drawn from the list of nominations.) Additionally, Gate City Bank team members have contributed countless volunteer hours to nonprofits that play critical roles in our communities,
and the Bank matches team members’ volunteer time with a donation to the charity. The Bank believes empowerment is what makes this giving possible. “Seeing so much passion and support for regional charities is nothing short of inspiring,” says Amanda Torok, Senior Vice President of Culture at Gate City Bank. “Giving Hearts Day is testament to the goodness that is present in our communities, which is why the Bank empowers team members to give back each year.” At the end of the day, the Bank recognizes that there’s something truly wonderful about a giving heart. It insists on putting others first, it inspires kindness and generosity – it brings out something better in all of us. To learn more, visit GateCity.Bank/ GivingHeartsDay.
MATT'S AUTOMOTIVE SERVICE CENTER Be a Pillar It may be the first year Matt’s Automotive Service Center is coming aboard as a GHD partner, but the business is no stranger to charitable giving. Over the years, Matt’s Auto has continuously shown creative ways to give back to the community. Their acts of generosity range from free repairs for Ronald McDonald House residents to an annual Day of Service granting 10 individuals up to $2,000 worth of services on their vehicle. Currently, they are hosting a year-long food drive, offering a free oil change for every donated bag of non-perishable food items. Being a new GHD partner, the business will be taking their charitable efforts to the next level, in hopes of further strengthening partnerships with both customers and local nonprofits. They are viewing this first year as a prime opportunity to ease into the excitement and build the framework for years to come. As an organization that is consistently finding opportunities to give, there couldn’t be a better year to join the Giving Hearts Day collection of business
partners. In alignment with the annual fundraiser’s new push to help beyond just monetary donations, Matt’s Auto is demonstrating that there are countless ways to be a giver. Matt’s Automotive already exemplifies what it means to be a GHD business partner. Giving is not just an occasional formality to them. Simply put by Director of WOW Latha Swenson, “It’s who we are.”
their first GHD. Taking the opportunity to bolster that generosity is reflective of the program’s mindset that there is always a way to help someone one step further. By going that extra mile, Matt’s Automotive Service Center is securing their position as one of our community’s greatest, most durable pillars.
A core value of Matt’s Auto is to be a pillar within the community. To them, this means building and maintaining relationships with those who play an integral role in their business. It also means making a difference that goes deeper than providing a service. Charitable giving is a vessel to give back to the community that supports them. There is an immense joy that comes with a new business joining the GHD crowd. This new beginning signifies even greater impact ahead. Matt’s Auto has laid the groundwork to build on during
BUSINESS INVOLVED AT
1. INVITE EMPLOYEES TO GET INVOLVED 2. ENCOURAGE GIVING BY GIVING 3. PLEDGE TO VOLUNTEER FOR A GHD NONPROFIT 4. SPONSOR A GIVING HEARTS DAY AWARD
VISIONBANK A Vision for Change In fulfillment of their core value to serve communities through their role as leaders and to volunteer their time and talents, VISIONBank has been an active GHD partner since its beginning in 2008. The organization’s involvement has been nothing short of commendable. They have managed to round up 100% employee participation across the board, with many options for them to do their part. Every employee is challenged to recruit two new people to share in the joy of giving. VISIONBank also hosts four Jeans Days leading up to GHD as a way to raise extra money for four nominated nonprofits. Probably their most notable contribution to GHD has been the cherished video contest. This creative competition gives nonprofits another platform to share their mission. All submissions are shared on a single platform for all to see. Then, viewers vote for their favorite video. The top three winners receive a donation from VISIONBank. It’s an exceptional way to spread awareness and channel
greater contributions. VISIONBank’s participation is driven by the important role of nonprofits in our community. They see it as a chance to give back to the sources that strengthen our region and serve as voices for those in need. Partnering with GHD allows them to be more connected with these charities and the community itself. This year, VISIONBank is most looking forward to seeing the unity of our region following the unexpected events of 2020. With the fundraiser’s continual growth, they are hopeful that this year will bring even more substantial aid to the backbone of our community, at a time when it is most needed. As an original Giving Hearts Day business partner, VISIONBank has seen that the impact of the fundraiser goes beyond just 24 hours. It supplements our region to be the strongest, kindest one possible, all year round. It proves that a single vision for change can go a long way.
ENTER THE GIVING HEARTS DAY
BELL BANK Paying it Forward Bell Bank has been a Giving Hearts Day business partner from the very beginning, which is fitting given that the GHD mission works cohesively with the Bell Bank mission to help people. Involvement in GHD is a source of pride for them, with their volunteering opportunities and Pay It Forward gifts. Pay It Forward has transformed into Bell Bank’s biggest initiative, where charitable giving is directed by employees. Full-time and part-time employees are given $1,000 or $500, respectively, which can be put towards individuals, families, or organizations in need. Many choose to use them on Giving Hearts Day because they know the impact of their dollars will reach even further. Bell Bank also works closely with Impact Foundation to make the most of donor dollars and volunteer hours. Since 2008, more than $18 million has been donated through Pay It Forward. One thing that keeps the organization committed year after year is the energizing quality that comes with making a difference. They find it in the humility that comes with seeing the tremendous need and also the growing unified front that steps in to
answer the call. Having both servant hearts and leadership has brought about positive change for their collective team and those they serve. Bell Bank emphasizes that there are ways for every individual to contribute. Pay It Forward is a prime example of that. By putting the funds into the hands of employees, they each have the liberty to put it towards a cause that speaks to their own heart. It is reflective of just how inclusive GHD is, and it shows that every business has the capacity to join in. Not only does Pay It Forward give employees the freedom to fund causes that resonate with them, but it also opens their eyes to the needs around them in unexpected ways. Through their program, Bell Bank has seen one of the most compelling ways to understand the urgency and need for charitable works. Their active engagement in passing along good deeds within the community is what makes our region one of the most generous.
YOU COULD BE ENTERED TO WIN ONE OF FIVE PRIZES BY:
• SCHEDULING A DONATION FOR GIVING HEARTS DAY 2021 OR BY MAKING A REAL TIME DONATION ON FEBRUARY 11, 2021 • PLEDGING TO VOLUNTEER WITH A GIVING HEARTS DAY CHARITY • PLEDGING TO DONATE GOODS • COMPLETING A GHD TESTIMONIAL AT GIVINGHEARTSDAY.ORG
FORMER ATHLETES MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE REAL WORLD 40
The reason one can go on and on about the value of life lessons learned through athletics is because those old adages are true. In the realm of competition, athletes face the sorrow of loss, experience the elation of victory and develop strategic thinking, analytical thinking, leadership skills and goal setting strategies all along the way. Sports really do build character. It's no surprise that the six former high-performing athletes we featured in this magazine have used the character they have forged during their careers to continue making a mark beyond their playing days. FARGOINC.COM
Jocelyne LamoureuxDavidson and (Right) Monique Lamoureux-Morando (Left)
JOCELYNE LAMOUREUXDAVIDSON AND MONIQUE LAMOUREUX-MORANDO, FORMER OLYMPIC HOCKEY PLAYERS, CURRENT AUTHORS AND FOUNDATION COFOUNDERS
J. ALAN PAUL PHOTOGRAPHY
“That’s electrifying. That’s as good as you’re going to see anywhere.” That is how NBC Analyst Pierre Mcguire described the shootout goal by Jocelyne LamoureuxDavidson that helped the US clinch gold in 2018. FARGOINC.COM
JOCELYNE LAMOUREUXDAVIDSON 2018 Gold Medal Winner 2x Silver Medalist 6x World Championship Gold Medalist 1x World Championship Silver Medalist 2012 Patty Kazmaier Award Top-3 Finalist 2012 NCAA Scoring Champion 2012 Capital One Academic AllAmerica Division I Women's At-Large Second Team 2012 All-American 2009 All-WCHA First Team 2009 WCHA All-Rookie Team
ith just over six minutes remaining in the third period, her twin sister, Monique Lamoureux-Morando scored the game tying goal to force overtime. Now, with the duo firmly solidified as national hockey heroes, they’re moving on to a new chapter in their lives. However, just because they’re hanging up their skates does not mean that they are done making an impact. Far from it. The Grand Forks natives and former University of North Dakota athletes are set to release their first book, Dare to Make History: Chasing a Dream and Fighting for Equity which chronicles their rise to the world stage and their fight for equity with USA Hockey which gained national attention in the runup to the 2018 Winter Olympics, on February 23. They have also launched the Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux Foundation which is working to help underserved children and communities. Already with the foundation, the twins have begun donating to schools in the Grand Forks area to help students in need have access to the internet. And they are just getting started.
Jocelyne celebrating her game-winning shootout goal in the gold medal match against Canada. USA HOCKEY 44
To learn more about the path they are on, we caught up with the Olympic heroes. https://www.hockeycanada.ca/en-ca/teamcanada/women/world-championship/history/allstar-team
MONIQUE LAMOUREUXMORANDO 2018 Gold Medal Winner 2x Silver Medalist 6x World Championship Gold Medalist 1x World Championship Silver Medalist 2x Patty Kazmaier Award Top-3 Finalist 2012 Second Team All-American 2012 All-WCHA Academic Team
Monique celebrates her game tying goal against the Canadians. USA HOCKEY
Will you have any involvement with hockey clinics or anything going forward? Monique: Jocelyne and I will still be involved in the girl’s hockey camps that we put on. Down the road, if there’s an opportunity to stay in the sport, especially at a high level, I think we’d both want to. Right now, we’re both obviously in Grand Forks so we don’t have a ton of opportunity. But I know we both want to stay engaged in the sport. Jocelyne: I’ve been helping out with the 15U team once a week here which has been really fun. The time away this year has really given us a chance to have some perspective on what we want to do moving forward without hockey in our lives.
What do you want to do moving forward? Jocelyne: I think first and foremost we want to give more time and attention to our families. We’ve been so focused on hockey for so long. We went to Shattuck St. Mary’s when we were 15 years old. We made the national team when we were 18 or 19 years old and for the last 10 to 12 years we’ve been completely committed to showing up at camp and being in the best shape we can be and being the best players we can be. We’ve been doing that for so long and stepping away and giving more time and attention to our families is our first priority. We also want to try to make a bigger impact through our foundation which we’ve been giving more time to over the last 46
few months. I also think we are looking for something else that we are equally passionate about outside of the rink. I’m not sure if we’ll find something like hockey, but we will find something that fulfills us.
What is the time commitment like to the foundation currently? Monique: Right now it kind of varies. We’re taking a class through Emerging Prairie that has really helped to narrow our focus on what we really want to do. Jocelyne: We have a fundraiser with the Grand Forks Foundation for Education which is coming up in February for Giving Hearts Day. We’ll put a lot more time in around that. But between being moms, our book coming out and trying to get the foundation a little more organized, we’re having to find time where we can.
Do you both plan on continuing to be involved in negotiations with USA Hockey for 2021 even though you are retiring from the sport? Jocelyne: Negotiations are going on right now and we are part of the player representation. The contract ends at the end of March. This is something that Monique and I wanted to commit to and let out teammates know that if they wanted our voices in the room we wanted to be there to set the stage for the next group of players that’ll be on the national team. We believe this new contract will help grow Women’s hockey and that’s something that we wanted. It’s the last impact we can make for the national team.
What is your book about? Monique: Our book is about our journey from the frozen ponds of North Dakota to the Olympic stage and what it takes to get there. However, our journey is so much more than that. Jocelyne: The importance of winning the gold medal has been so much more important than just the achievement itself. It has given us a platform and a launching point to do many more important things than just winning hockey games. We believe there are so many ways to give back because of the careers we’ve had. We want to be examples of how you can positively impact your teammates and your community. Monique: We think our book isn’t just for girls. It’s not just for hockey players. It’s for parents. It’s for kids. We feel like the lessons in the book transcend sports.
Jocelyne and Monique will release their book February 23. Pre-orders are available right now on Amazon.
The Lamoureux twins signing bookplates for fans. What was it like writing the book? Jocelyne: It’s a pretty daunting process when you start out. We had to get a publisher to agree to take us on which was a process in and of itself. The amount of edits and time spent working with our collaborator was pretty monotonous at times with having to read the same pages over and over again. Monique: It’s another thing trying to find the right stories for the book. Some things that Jocelyne and I might find very interesting about our lives might not be interesting to the reader. And things that we might not find interesting might be very interesting to the reader. It was a fun process, but the editing is very difficult and can get boring. But seeing it come to life with the cover and everything is pretty special.
Why write the book? Monique: We were really encouraged by a mentor and friend of ours. He really believed that our story was book worthy. We also really want people to know that our career is about more than trying to win hockey games and score goals. Jocelyne: If our career was only about that, the difference we would make would be very short lived. I believe everyone can make an impact on the world and I think it’s important to share stories that show people that.
for the one that was behind. We have a platform to do that for kids that may not have had the opportunities that we’ve had growing up. Not necessarily in sports, but in school and life.
Why was right now the right time to retire? Jocelyne: After the Olympics in PyeongChang, we were both committed to getting back on the national team. We did that. We would have played in the Four Nations had it not been canceled due to COVID. It would have been easy to retire and be done, but we wanted to see what we could do after we had kids. Having kids also opens your eyes to a whole new world though. Last February, the day we were supposed to go to camp, our Grandma passed away. We had to leave for her funeral in the middle of our trip for camp and go back and play in a game the next day. It was an eye opening life event that provided a lot of perspective. Then, COVID happened. My husband and I had the loss of a pregnancy in the summer. Life events like those make you really question what you’re doing and reevaluate your priorities in your life. For me, those things made me reprioritize what I wanted to give my time to. Being a mom is the most important thing I’ll ever do. Whether I played in three or four Olympics at the end of the day doesn’t really matter. Medals don’t go to the grave with you. I feel like what we can do moving forward is more important than just playing more hockey games.
Why did you want to start the foundation? Monique: After the Olympics, Jocelyne and I had the opportunity to work with Comcast and travel around the country to low income schools, communities and inner cities. It really opened our eyes to the struggles that so many kids face not just in urban America but also rural America. Jocelyne and I were using our voice and our platform to make a difference around the country, but we needed to do something for our home state. Jocelyne: That really inspired us to fast track starting our foundation. Our mission is to cheer for the one behind. That came from our mom. Back when we were playing individual sports growing up against one another, she would always cheer FARGOINC.COM
Monique: It just kind of put everything in perspective. Having that experience and realizing we lost out on time with family during a loss, it didn’t really sit well with us. We also missed our dad’s reunion for the UND 1980 National Championship team. We were in Philadelphia playing and that was one of the first times I really felt like I was missing out because of hockey. Our perspective has really shifted in the last year as far as what’s important to us.
Are you at peace with it? Monique: Yes, for the past four years we’ve trained by ourselves. We skate by ourselves four to five times a week. Most of the time we don’t have a goalie. It’s monotonous hard work. Day-to-day it’s not much fun. We enjoy training. We enjoy the process of getting better, but COVID really took away those things that you look forward to during training. Camps were postponed and games were cancelled. All of a sudden, those things to look forward to are taken away.
What lessons have you learned through athletics that you think will help you going forward in the professional world? Jocelyne: I don’t know if there’s any profession where you don’t have to work with people. Even if you work at a desk, you still have people to answer to. You have to collaborate with people. The biggest lessons that will propel Monique and I forward are teamwork, accountability, leadership and work ethic. We’ve prided ourselves on those things as hockey players and people. We try to do that every day to be as best as possible.
What do you want the next chapter of your life to look like? Monique: I think it’s yet to be written. Hopefully there are opportunities that come with the book coming out. We’re really passionate about our foundation. I think winning a gold medal gives you a platform to make a positive difference. We’re really passionate about giving back to underprivileged youth in the State of North Dakota. With COVID, our schedules have really opened up and allowed us to really shift our focus towards what we want to do.
What is your dream for the foundation? Jocelyne: I think we’re in the middle of figuring out what our long term goals are but I think if we can keep continuing to make a positive impact on youth in North Dakota for kids who need more equal resources we can make a difference. We want to continue making more impacts like that.
Was working with a nonprofit always something that was a goal of yours or is this something you’ve realized more recently you wanted to do? Monique: After we won gold, we were talking to a meteor of ours, David Cohen, and he was asking us what was on our list of what we wanted to do next. We had our foundation on that list, but that was originally more a part of our five-year plan. He helped us realize that we don’t need millions of dollars to make an impact. That gave us the push to get it started even though we didn’t really know all the ropes and would be learning as we went.
Jocelyne: Through our work with Comcast we got to know Jackie Joyner-Kersee and we’ve gotten to see how the work she has done in St. Louis has impacted thousands of kids. We knew we wanted to make an impact after seeing that.
What has the experience with the Emerging Prairie Cohort been like? Monique: The experience has been awesome. It’s really gotten us out of our comfort zones and made us get more direction with our foundation. It’s really helped us as far as getting a to-do list going with things we want to accomplish in both the short term and long term. Going into it, we were really flying by the seat of our pants when it came to our foundation. Now we have more of that
focus. It’s really cool to be part of a group where everyone is trying to make a positive impact.
What’s something from your book that will benefit those who read it? Monique: The assumption is going to be that the book is a hockey book. We don’t see it as a hockey book. We see it as a book that can inspire people to make a difference. We hope our story inspires others to put their best foot forward in whatever they do.
CHRIS COSTE Former MLB Player Current Manager
BY BRADY DRAKE PHOTO BY J. ALAN PAUL PHOTOGRAPHY
hen Chris Coste stepped to the plate against the Milwaukee Brewers on May 26, 2006, he made his major league debut, the climax of a grueling 11-year journey through the minor leagues. During that journey, Coste made stops in Brandon, Brainerd, Fargo-Moorhead, Buffalo, Akron, Pawtucket, Indianapolis, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Obregon before finally catching on at the game's top level. However, that debut was really only the beginning of Coste's professional career. The former Fargo South Bruin would go on to play in three different major league seasons before calling it quits before the 2010 season. During those three seasons, Coste was able to capture a World Series championship in 2008. Since his professional playing career ended, Coste has wasted little time making an impact in the professional world. His first job after was as a pregame and postgame in-studio analyst for the Philadelphia Phillies. More recently, Coste has moved on to his alma mater, Concordia College, where he is the head coach. This past summer, he also served as the interim manager for the FargoMoorhead RedHawks.
ACCOLADES 2008 World Series Champion First former MIAC athlete to win a World Series 3x All American 299 MLB appearances Concordia College Hall of Famer Dallas Green Special Achievement Award Recipient Member of the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame
What are some of the responsibilities you walked into at Concordia that extend beyond baseball? For me, it was maybe a little bit tougher than it was for some other coaches that transitioned from being a professional player to a coach. I went from the major leagues where money and budgets are not an issue to a Division III budget that can be really tough. It was tough getting used to that change. Things need to be planned out at the Division III level. I went from being spoiled to having to live within my means.
Were there any mistakes you made along the way because of that? Learning the system was the hardest part. I have a fantastic mentor in Bucky Burgau, but once I became the head coach, everything fell on me. It took me a while to figure out how to fundraise. Fundraising is still my greatest weakness. I'm not great at asking people for money, but that's part of the deal. We have to fundraise to go on our spring trip to Florida which is an incredibly important part of our athletes' experience. Staying within the allotted budget isn't the toughest thing in the world because Concordia has always made sure that we got what we needed and you can get creative with what you have, but fundraising is tough.
through our advancement department so it's not like I have to make things up on the fly.
What from your athletic career has prepared you to take over in a management role that you're in? To be a successful athlete at the highest level you need to be able to make adjustments and adapt and evolve. As a coach, it's incredibly important as well because you're having to adapt in so many different. We're not dealing with a University of Minnesota budget and we're not dealing with a Philadelphia Phillies budget so you need to be able to find ways to overcome obstacles.
What tips do you have for other former athletes? No matter what you do, nothing happens overnight. Whether it's making the majors, building a championship team or a successful business. Not even LeBron James was born as good as he is. He had to work at it.
Is there anything you've done to try to get better or develop that skill set as far as fundraising goes? Not really. Thankfully, the bigger fundraising projects are handled FARGOINC.COM
RYAN SMITH Former Professional Football Player Current Financial Advisor
BY BRADY DRAKE PHOTO BY J. ALAN PAUL PHOTOGRAPHY
uring his time at North Dakota State, Ryan Smith was as explosive as they came. He holds school records for punt returns (82) and punt return yards (945) and tied the record for longest kickoff return for a touchdown in program history (100). The Wahpeton native also put up strong receiving numbers during his collegiate career. He is currently 10th alltime in receiving yards (1783) and 7th all-time in receptions (147). After graduating, Smith continued his football career in the Canadian Football League, spending two seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and one with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Since 2017 Smith has been back in Wahpeton working for Edward Jones.
When did you realize you wanted to get into financial advising? By the end of my freshman year of college, I knew I wanted to do some sort of financial advising. In my hometown, Wahpeton, my dad has been an advisor for about 40 years now with Edward Jones, so I always knew there would be an opportunity to work as a financial advisor. However, I didn't realize how much I missed home until after my freshman year of college. After that realization, I knew I wanted to come back.
When you retired from the CFL in 2017, I think it seemed pretty sudden to a lot of people given the success that you were having up there. Was returning home the driving factor behind your retirement? One of the main reasons I retired was the hits to the head and the injuries started to add up for me. During my second year in the CFL, I had a really bad concussion that kind of scared me a little bit. I knew that if I wanted to raise kids and be able to remember my name when by the time I was 50, I needed to do something different. I love football. I love the game. I love what it has brought to me. It has taught me a lot of things about life, but there's more
out there. As soon as I retired, I started the hiring process with Edward Jones.
So can you talk me through what that transition was like? Obviously, playing football and working a desk job are two completely different things. Right away, the transition was a little tough. You go from a locker room where you're around your teammates all the time, you're around a whole bunch of people and you can kind of thrive off that energy. In the office, I'm around my dad and my dad's assistant. So, it was a little challenging at first, but I'm very fortunate to have worked with my dad. He has been a great help to me and a great mentor to me as far as helping me realize what I need to do to be successful at this business.
Can you tell me a little more about some of those struggles you had early on? Football is obviously different than the real world. With football, you wake up in the morning and your schedule is set for you. You know what lifts you're going to do in the morning. You know when you're going to watch film, go to meetings and go to practice. Then, you watch more film and FARGOINC.COM
ACCOLADES 2X 2nd Team All-Conference Wide Receiver 3X 2nd Team All-Conference Return Specialist
do recovery stuff and by the time you get home, your day is pretty much wrapped up. It took me a while to transition that into a business room. I realized I needed to do the same sort of thing in business, but I needed to be the one doing it. Now, I take time to plan out my day ahead of time.
What does that plan look like for you on a typical day? I wake up at 6:15 a.m. in the morning, have a cup of coffee when I wake up and take my dog to my parent's place. I like to do the same thing every day. I get to the office around 7:45 a.m. and start to make a call list. Then, I look at who I have appointments with that day. From there, I'm usually on the phone from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and then from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. I'm meeting with people for appointments. From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., I catch up on the stuff that I missed during those appointments. As long as you can have that oriented process in your business, I think it makes life a lot easier.
In addition to that, what advice do you have for other athletes that are looking to transition to the real world? No matter what level you are transitioning from, there's going to be a transition period. Even though the real world is different from any college or high school sport, there are so many things that you can take from your sport that will help you in the business world. The discipline is going to be important. Trying to stick to a schedule is going to be important. It's going to be tough right away, but if you just try to get better every single day, you will be successful. Hard work always pays off.
When you hear people talk about the success of NDSU football, they talk a lot about the culture. How do you try to contribute to the culture at Edward Jones? The culture here is actually a reason I wanted to be a part of Edward Jones. Everyone is here to help everybody at Edward Jones. I got to learn
from my dad here and at NDSU you rely so much on the older generation to ingrain the culture into the younger generation of recruits, freshmen and sophomores. You don't learn a culture right away, it has to be taught.
DERRICK LAPOINT Former Professional Hockey Player Current President/CEO
BY BRADY DRAKE PHOTO BY J. ALAN PAUL PHOTOGRAPHY
n highschool, Lapoint was the Wisconsin high school player of the year. In Juniors, the Eau Claire, Wisconsin native was an All-USHL performer. At the University of North Dakota, he was an All-Conference Academic and a team captain. Lapoint graduated and played one season of professional hockey in the NHL's minor league system before transitioning to a role in the real world as a city planner for Fargo. Eventually, he interviewed for and accepted the position as President and CEO of Downtown Moorhead Inc. Can you take me through what a typical day of yours looks like?
development and business community has been crucial. We still have a ways to go but we are starting to see more and more investment and growth.
My role with Downtown Moorhead Inc. and economic development for the City of Moorhead is a mix of business advocacy and business development. COVID has certainly presented challenges but I spend many hours on the phone and in virtual meetings working with businesses. I listen to their needs and challenges and work to connect them to federal, state, and local assistance. We have made a lot of changes in Moorhead over the last few years and building trust and confidence in the
How did you know it was time to make the transition to the business world at the end of the 2012 season? Was it the injury or something else? I had a serious injury my sophomore year at the University of North Dakota. It was Valentine's Day and I broke my tibula and fibula while playing against Mankato. It was
ACCOLADES 2006 4th Round NHL Draft Pick 3x WCHA All-Academic Selection
a difficult rehab and I pushed to come back. Ultimately during my second year of professional hockey, I reinjured my leg. I had a difficult time recovering and had to make the difficult decision to retire.
How did it feel retiring? It was extremely difficult. I had given everything I had to the game of hockey. The sacrifices you make with your friends and family and all of a sudden it is done. I had a great support system around me and they helped me with the transition.
Did you know what you wanted to do immediately? I had an idea but really did not know where to start. Hockey was everything and I did not have a ton of outside work experience. After my injury, I ended up in Indianapolis where my, then fiancee, (now wife) was finishing her graduate school. I remember getting to Indy and thinking, 'now what?' Thankfully, I had the chance to coach a U14 boys hockey team and even made it to the national tournament that year but I knew I needed more to do. My degree from UND was in Geography with an emphasis on Urban Planning and Community Development and I enjoyed all of the classes I took. I ended up sending an email to every municipality within driving distance of me and asked if they would take me on as a free intern. I got a couple of responses and ended up working for the town of Speedway for the year. That was a wonderful exposure to city government, planning and economic development. I am also thankful to the University of North Dakota for giving me
the opportunity to pursue my Masters the following year.
Is there anything you struggled with during the transition? Oh definitely! My mind still wanted to play hockey but my body couldn't. That was a mental struggle for a number of years. I was also learning a ton of new things with my new work experience so that kept me busy and my competitive nature kept me wanting more.
How did you handle those things? I constantly wanted to better myself not only in hockey but in life so I was not afraid to ask questions and challenge myself. I think that determination and hunger helped me accelerate my career.
What is something you learned through athletics that you think the average business person out there might be able to learn from? For me it is time management, work ethic, and professionalism. Looking back at my college and professional hockey career, I was juggling all sorts of things. I learned that to be successful you have to manage your time effectively. I am a morning person so I am up very early still to this day, working out and getting a head start on my day. I also believe that how you handle yourself is extremely important. I try to find common goals and figure out ways to work together as a team to achieve success.
JODEE BOCK Former Concordia College AllAmerican Basketball Player Current Coach, Speaker and Business Consultant
BY BRADY DRAKE PHOTO BY J. ALAN PAUL PHOTOGRAPHY
oach, author, speaker and business consultant are just a few of the titles Jodee Bock currently holds. However, during her playing days at Concordia College, Bock collected quite the list of titles as well. She was a two-time AllAmerican, a conference MVP, threetime all-conference performer and a national champion.
I've read that coming out of college, it took you a while before you found your calling? Can you take us through that journey and talk about how you did finally come to the conclusion about what you wanted to do? I thought I knew what I wanted to do when I graduated, and that was be a sports information director at a university. I had a double major in English Writing with an emphasis on journalism and broadcasting and communications, so it seemed like a great fit. Right out of college I got a job as news and sports editor at a small weekly newspaper in Rolla, ND. Three years later I got my dream job as Women’s Sports Information Director at NDSU … and I hated it. It turned my love of sports into a job and I found I just didn’t enjoy it. Now what? What do you do when you get your dream job and that’s not it? It’s not that different from what happened when we won the national basketball championship my freshman year. There’s nowhere to go but down from there. So I got a series of jobs that worked for a while but just didn’t fill my bucket. I ended up starting my own coaching and consulting business in 2005. I considered myself an accidental entrepreneur. Now I work to help others find that fulfillment in themselves first so they can enjoy whatever they do for a living.
Did you have any struggles when trying to make that mental shift from athletics to the real world? I think the struggles I might have had were being with and around others who didn’t share the focus it takes to be part of a winning program. I learned that if you want a certain result, there are things you need to do to get that. Not everyone has that mindset in the world of work.
How did you go about addressing those struggles? I’m still working on that! Awareness is not a finished process … it’s a lifelong pursuit. What I’m realizing is that while sports give you pretty immediate results, at least on the surface, real life doesn’t always work that way. That’s been a process of undoing for me. I never in my entire high school or college career ever had a losing record, so I understand a lot about mastery and determination and, if I’m honest, a bit of luck. I saw early on that my effort produced a desired effect. We didn’t win every game, but we never had a losing season. But there were leadership struggles, interpersonal struggles and cultural struggles. When you are learning about yourself by being part of a team – and when you’re the only freshman on that team – you acclimate quickly, and could end up losing your own autonomy. Success these days is much less about external validation and rewards and more about a core desired feeling. I never really learned how to identify FARGOINC.COM
ACCOLADES 2x All-American MIAC MVP 3x All-Conference Concordia College Athletics Hall of Famer Concordia College Hall of Famer National Champion
the feelings I wanted. I just knew wins felt great and losses felt lousy. It wasn’t until years later I realized that I learned more from the losses on the basketball floor than I did from the wins. As a life purpose and career coach, I shine a light on other peoples’ mindsets and show them options for making a positive impact on their worlds no matter what they are doing in the world. The doing comes from the being, and I’m focused there to help them be the kinds of leaders and workers who can change the world for the better.
What advice do you have for athletes out there looking to do the same? It’s about a harmony between external validation and internal confidence. It’s knowing the distinction between confidence and arrogance. Confidence is inside and arrogance shows up outside. It’s knowing how to be present on the court or the field so you don’t get derailed by a bad play but also being able to see the big picture. There’s something about focusing on the game you’re in – including the individual plays inside that game – and being unattached enough to the outcome that it doesn’t throw your world off if you lose. You can be committed to a certain outcome without being attached to there only being one certain way to get there. Lots of things happen in a game that are outside your personal control. A personal example for me is fouling. If a ref calls a foul on me, I can either be really upset because I don’t agree with the call, which will take me out of the next few plays, or I can adjust the way I play to the way the game is being called. I can be stubborn and attached or I can be smart and see the bigger picture. Understanding that bigger picture sooner than later is a gift on so many planes that will serve athletes who are still playing their games and those who bring their awareness to the next “game” they play at work.
What are some things you think former athletes can use to their advantage in the professional world? There’s a mindset we learn as athletes that has us step up and contribute in ways others may not understand. In most professions, it’s all about relationships, which then lead the transactions. If we get that mixed up, we might win in the short term, but the experience of playing the game has a very different feel to it. If you consider your career or your job or your business playing a game, you will see similarities to a sport. There is certainly planning and strategy and desire and practice and mastery to both. And we do the best we can with what we know. Athletes know how to navigate those parts of the game.
What are some blind spots to be aware of? Business and work and careers are enough distinct from athletics that if athletes try to use the mindset that got the wins on the field or court, they will be limiting their opportunities for the bigger game. In sports there are rules. There is a clear endpoint. The difference is that in sports winners and losers are easily identified. Not so much in business. If you play an infinite game – the game of life or business which doesn’t have the same simple outcomes in mind (W’s and L’s on the scoreboard) – with a finite mindset, you will be operating in a culture that values the W’s over the culture. You might run the risk of missing the journey for the destination, and get attached to outcomes like “beating your competitors” and “closing deals” rather than being innovative, inspirational, resilient and lasting. When you remember that businesses and workplaces are much bigger than simply making a profit, you recognize the huge opportunity and responsibility you have to change the world for the better, not just win the next point.
MIKE PESCHEL Former Professional Baseball Player Current Managing Broker and Asset Manager
Former RedHawks pitcher Mike Peschel was making a name for himself locally long before he graced the mound at Newman Outdoor Field. In highschool, Peschel was an all-conference quarterback and an American Legion standout before committing to play for NDSU. With the Bison, Peschel became the school's all-time leader in wins (24),, starts (38), complete games (25), shutouts (5) and strikeouts (265). After college, Peschel continued his career with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, putting together his best season in 2004 when he went 7-2 with a 2.86 ERA. That season, Peschel was named the starting pitcher for the Northern League All-Star Game. Overall, Peschel would go 36-17 while posting a 4.33 ERA across six seasons with Fargo-Moorhead, winning two championships and doing enough to be named to the club's 10th anniversary team. Now, Peschel is the Managing Broker and Commercial Asset Manager at Kilbourne Group!
Did you have a career plan while you were at NDSU? Was making it to the bigs part of it?
BY BRADY DRAKE PHOTO BY J. ALAN PAUL PHOTOGRAPHY pinnacle of their profession. I believe in plans, and having a backup plan is technically part of having a plan.
Making it to the “bigs” was realistically the only plan. Obviously, that’s somewhat of an immature approach but at the same time, that age is when you should dream the biggest and take the most risk I guess. In the end, I lacked the talent to accomplish that plan. Luckily, I didn’t know that while in the moment so I was able to appreciate every second of the journey while trying to achieve the goal.
I know from our past talks you told me you were working during your playing days as well? Can you tell me about that? What were some of the challenges? Why did you do it? How do you think it prepared you to transition our of baseball? Let’s be honest, there isn’t a lot of money to be made playing baseball in the Independent Leagues. The talent is much better than many fans realize, and I knew that I was multiple steps away from (and many great players between) me and Major League Baseball. The decision was easy, start a professional work career and also continue to play baseball for as long as someone will let me.
Do you think more athletes should get a head start like this?
What lessons have you taken from the game that you use in your professional life? The lessons are endless, so I will just name a few. But things like being a team player, adjusting to adversity, being driven to succeed and sportsmanship (translates to ethics and integrity in business) are all great starters. Also, specific to my scenario in baseball, being teammates with people from all over the world and learning about them, their background and their perspective on things. I don’t know how old I was before I realized I didn’t ask enough questions of people and their perspectives. But regardless of the age, when it hit me, I realized how ignorant I may have been in the past and decided to spend more time with my eyes and ears open to consider a perspective from all angles.
If you were giving advice to someone leaving athletics, what would you tell them? To realize that during their life of being involved in sports, no matter what level they made it to, they already have every tool that is needed to be successful in the rest of their life. Obviously, we all need to continue to learn our specific industry and craft, but the basic tools learned from sports and being on a team, carries over into every aspect of life. The trick is to realize it and utilize it.
I was a fringe athlete, so my scenario is quite a bit different. I wouldn’t be qualified to give advice to an elite player that had a high chance of making a dream living (financially) and reaching FARGOINC.COM
The Executive's Club of Fargo-Moorhead's Must Read Books
At Fargo INC!, we've always tried to supply you with great suggestions on books to read. However, our efforts left a little to be desired in 2020. That's why we teamed up with the Executives' Club of FargoMoorhead to bring you their mustread books for business professionals looking to improve their businesses and themselves. 66
How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Rich Dad, Poor Dad
by Robert Kiyosaki
Some of the lessons included in the book are: • Six ways to make people like you • 12 ways to win people to your way of thinking • Nine ways to change people without arousing resentment
Rich Dad Poor Dad is Robert's story of growing up with two dads — his real father and the father of his best friend, his rich dad — and the ways in which both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing. The book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you.
Get A Grip
by Gino Wickman and Mike Paton
Get A Grip tells the story of how Swan Services resolves its issues by implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System®.
by Stacy Perman
In-N-Out Burger is a keenly observed narrative that explores the evolution of a California fad that transformed into an enduring cult of popularity; it is also the story of the conflicted, secretive, and ultimately tragic Snyder family who cooked a billion burgers and hooked a zillion fans. As the story of In-N-Out Burger unfolds so too does the cultural history of America as influenced and shaped by car culture and fast food.
by Gino Wickman
In Traction, you’ll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business. You’ll discover simple yet powerful ways to run your company that will give you and your leadership team more focus, more growth, and more enjoyment. Successful companies are applying Traction every day to run profitable, frustration-free businesses—and you can too.
by Mike Michalowicz
The author of cult classics The Pumpkin Plan and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur offers a simple, counterintuitive cash management solution that will help small businesses break out of the doom spiral and achieve instant profitability.
Built to Last
Good to Great
Detailing the mindset and principles that enable SEAL units to accomplish the most difficult combat missions, Extreme Ownership demonstrates how to apply them to any team or organization, in any leadership environment.
Filled with hundreds of specific examples and organized into a coherent framework of practical concepts that can be applied by managers and entrepreneurs at all levels, Built to Last provides a master blueprint for building organizations that will prosper long into the 21st century and beyond.
Built to Last, the defining management study of the '90s, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning.
by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Start With Why by Simon Sinek
Start with Why shows that the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way - and it's the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with why. 70
by Jim Collins
by Jim Collins
But what about companies that are not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness? Are there those that convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? If so, what are the distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?
Getting Naked: A Business Fable by Patrick Lencioni
Getting Naked tells the remarkable story of a management consultant who is trying desperately to merge two firms with very different approaches to serving clients. One relies on vulnerability and complete transparency; the other focuses on proving its competence and protecting its reputation for intellectual prowess. In the process of managing the merger, the
consultant is forced to learn life-changing lessons that prove to be as relevant as they are painful.
How I Built This
This book presents Dave’s playbook for creating work that matters; building an incredible group of passionate, empowered team members; and winning the race with steady momentum that will roll over any obstacle.
Based on the highly acclaimed NPR podcast How I Built This with Guy Raz, this book offers priceless insights and inspiration from the world's top entrepreneurs on how to start, launch, and build a successful venture.
by Dave Ramsey
Leadership and Self Deception
by The Arbinger Institute
Leadership and Self-Deception uses an entertaining story about an executive facing challenges at work and at home to expose the subtle psychological processes that conceal our true motivations and intentions from us and trap us in a "box" of endless self-justification - even when we're convinced we're doing the right thing. Most importantly, the book shows us the way out.
by Guy Raz
The Spark, The Flame, and the Torch by Lance Secretan
The Spark, the Flame, and the Torch is Lance Secretan's masterwork, representing 35 years of intellectual property which he calls Higher Ground Leadership® developed through his research, client engagements, coaching and teaching experience.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies.
By forcing us to apply a more selective criteria for what is Essential, the disciplined pursuit of less empowers us to reclaim control of our own choices about where to spend our precious time and energy - instead of giving others the implicit permission to choose for us. Essentialism is not one more thing - it’s a whole new way of doing everything.
Change or Die
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
Think and Grow Rich
In this inspiring, revelatory book, Deutschman helps deconstruct and demystify five age-old myths about change, including the notions that small, gradual changes are always easier to make and sustain, and that we can't change because our brains become "hardwired" early in life.
In the book, John combines insights learned from his 30-plus years of leadership successes and mistakes with observations from the worlds of business, politics, sports, religion, and military conflict. The result is a revealing study of leadership delivered as only a communicator like Maxwell can.
The 13 Steps to Riches described in this book offer the shortest dependable philosophy of individual achievement ever presented for the benefit of the man or woman who is searching for a definite goal in life. It comes directly from the experiences of hundreds of America's most successful men.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
This beloved classic presents a principlecentered approach for solving both personal and professional problems. With penetrating insights and practical anecdotes, Stephen R. Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity.
by Alan Deutschman
by Ben Horowitz
by John C. Maxwell
by Greg McKeown
by Napoleon Hill
by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles
The Energy Bus
Raving Fans includes startling new tips and innovative techniques that can help anyone create a revolution in any workplace--and turn their customers into raving, spending fans.
The Energy Bus, an international best seller by Jon Gordon, takes readers on an enlightening and inspiring ride that reveals 10 secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward-thinking that leads to true accomplishment at work and at home.
Raving Fans taught managers how to turn customers into full-fledged fans. Now, Gung Ho! brings the same magic to employees. Through the inspirational story of business leaders Peggy Sinclair and Andy Longclaw, Blanchard and Bowles reveal the secret of Gung Ho--a revolutionary technique to boost enthusiasm and performance
Never Split the Difference
Building a Story Brand
by Cy Wakeman
by Donald Miller
In Reality-Based Leadership, expert Fast Company blogger Cy Wakeman reveals how to be the kind of leader who changes the way people think about and perceive their circumstancesone who deals with the facts, clarifies roles, gives clear and direct feedback, and insists that everyone do the same-without drama or defensiveness.
Donald Miller's StoryBrand process is a proven solution to the struggle business leaders face when talking about their businesses. This revolutionary method for connecting with customers provides listeners with the ultimate competitive advantage, revealing the secret for helping their customers understand the compelling benefits of using their products, ideas, or services.
by Chris Voss
The book Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss brings to our attention the fabled and legendary negotiating skills of the FBI hostage team, and how we can practically use those skills in both work and relationships.
by Jon Gordon
by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles
The Richest Man In Babylon
The Energy Codes
by George Clason
by Dr. Sue Morter
To bring your dreams and desires to fulfillment, you must be successful with money. This book shows you how to amass personal wealth by sharing the secrets of the ancient Babylonians, who were the first to discover the universal laws of prosperity.
Bridging ancient healing practices with cutting-edge science, The Energy Codes offers a detailed road map to help you experience deep healing in your life. Grounded in practical, accessible exercises, including yoga, breathwork, meditations, and Dr. Morter’s proprietary Bio-Energetic Synchronization Technique (BEST) protocol.
Becoming Supernatural marries some of the most profound scientific information with ancient wisdom to show how people like you and me can experience a more mystical life.
The Trusted Advisor
No Rules Rules
Bestselling author David Maister teams up with Charles H. Green and Robert M. Galford to bring us the essential tool for all consultants, negotiators, and advisors.
Drawing on hundreds of interviews with current and past Netflix employees from around the globe and never-before-told stories of trial and error from Hastings’s own career, No Rules Rules is the fascinating and untold account of the philosophy behind one of the world’s most innovative, imaginative, and successful companies.
by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters
Rocket Fuel details the integral roles of the Visionary and Integrator and explains how an effective relationship between the two can help your business thrive.
by David H. Maister
by Dr. Joe Dispenza
by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer
Photo by Hillary Ehlen
When Patrick Metzger left his 11year career as a teacher to pursue an entrepreneurial journey, he never though he would add podcast host to his resume. Now, the professional EOS implementer can say that he has. Why start the podcast? The idea for the podcast really came from my own love of information and stories and learning about great people. Especially learning about someone's beginnings. There's so much buried in those beginnings that really help you learn who a person is. Once you learn about a person's journey, the obstacles they faced along the way, the adversity, you really understand a person so much more clearly. To me that's super interesting. I really like to learn how people got to where they are. If you look at the people on the podcast, they're all really high performers. Building brand awareness and increasing connections is another reason I started the podcast, but it's just fun to share stories and help others elevate themselves. I hope to help others not make the same mistakes and all the guests on the podcasts have a lot of challenges they've been through. Educating and coaching is another big reason I started the podcast. It's always truly been what I've been about. So, for me to be able to provide education and tips through someone else's story is pretty cool for me. I've done the entrepreneurial journey and a lot of the guests are entrepreneurs as well. The journey isn't easy and there's a story to every entrepreneur. How can members of the business community benefit from listening to the podcast?
Like I said, in every guest's story there are lessons, ideas and nuggets that are valuable. All the guests on the podcast are performers of some kind and there's so much to learn from like-minded people. Listening to the podcast will be beneficial to everyone because even high performers are people just like everyone else and they go through a lot of the same struggles that everyone else does. How do you choose your guests? Guests really come from all walks of life. They come from connections I have on LinkedIn to friends or even friends of friends. I'm also on a platform that helps me dive into potential guests. That has been super interesting to go through. However, my favorite thing to do is bold reach outs. My first guest, Damon West, is one of the top speakers in the nation right now. He has talked to almost every major Division I college football team in the nation and is making his rounds through that circuit. I reached out to him randomly on LinkedIn and he said he'd love to be on the podcast. What can people expect from the show in the future? Really fantastic stories and great information. There's going to be a lot of local information and local guests as far as business leaders from around the area. In the future, I'd also like to take the podcast down from every other week occurrence to an every week occurrence. I'd also like to increase the amount of great information in the podcast as we go. Do you have any dream guests? I'd love to have John Maxwell on. Ed Milet is my favorite podcast that I listen to. Jay Chevey has a crazy story. Tony Robbins would be fantastic as well. However, what I've found is some of the best stories don't always come from the biggest names. Some of the best stories are in your community and in your own network of people. I'm trying to get those stories out so people can learn from them. FARGOINC.COM
By Brady Drake
Photo by Nolan Schmidt
Tom Astrup President and CEO American Crystal Sugar
om Astrup has worked eight different positions during his time with American Crystal Sugar Company. In 2016, he was given the title President and CEO, putting him at the head of the biggest beet sugar producer in the United States. American Crystal Sugar Company operates sugar factories in Crookston, East Grand Forks, and Moorhead, Minnesota; Drayton and Hillsboro, North Dakota; and Sidney, Montana, under the name Sidney Sugars Incorporated. Needless to say, Astrup is running quite the operation. We sat down with the CEO to learn more.
AMERICAN CRYSTAL SUGAR
American Crystal Sugar employees about 1,800 employees across its network.
Q.Can you take me through your career history? A. I graduated in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of North Dakota. After graduation, I worked as a Certified Public Accountant for an accounting firm in Minneapolis/St. Paul. I began working for American Crystal in 1994 and have held eight different positions in my 26 years with the company. Those positions gave me a range of experience not only in accounting and finance, but in nearly every other department within the company. Q. Did you always want to be a CEO? A. No. It certainly intrigued me, but it wasn’t a specific goal of mine. Throughout the course
of my career at American Crystal, I’ve simply tried to learn as much as I can, add value to whatever position I was in at the time and improve as a manager and a leader. It really wasn’t until a few years prior to becoming CEO, that I decided it was a position I aspired to. Q. American Crystal Sugar is headquartered in Moorhead but has plants all over. As a President and CEO, how do you manage that? A. Specifically, we have sugarbeet processing factories in Hillsboro and Drayton, ND; Moorhead, Crookston, and East Grand Forks, MN; and Sidney, Montana. Our sales are managed through two marketing cooperatives in which we are the largest
member. United Sugars is the second largest marketer of sugar in the United States with a customer service center in Moorhead, MN and a corporate office in Edina, MN. Midwest Agri-Commodities Company is the largest marketer of sugarbeet pulp and molasses products in the United States with a corporate office in San Rafael, California. The simple answer to the question is we have good people in charge at each of those locations who I trust to get the job done right and to frankly do the job better than I could do it. We also have corporate resources in areas like Agriculture, Operations, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Finance, who provide critical technical support and strategic leadership. I personally meet on location with each of those management teams several times per year to discuss current operations and long-term plans. I also hold
of COVID-related paid sick leave. We did not want COVID to be a financial hardship for our employees and wanted to reward them for staying home when it was necessary for the health and safety of their co-workers. Q. What is the worst piece of advice you’ve ever received? A. I don’t have a specific answer to that question. I’ve been fortunate to work for and with a lot of high-quality people over the years. I’ve found those real-world experiences learning from others to be the best “words” of advice. Q. What are three pieces of advice you have for other C-level executives out there? A. 1. Surround yourself with good people and trust them to make decisions, even if you don’t always agree with them. I find they are usually right. company-wide employee communications meetings throughout the year. And then of course there is our approximately 2,600 sugarbeet farmer/shareholders throughout the Red River Valley. We hold communication meetings with them four times per year. Q. How have you tried to mitigate the effects of COVID at the plants? A. We’ve done what so many businesses and other manufacturers have done which includes temperature screening of employees, assigning specific personnel to cleaning and disinfecting high touch areas, minimizing group gatherings, wearing face masks or shields, and erecting barriers between workstations. We also gave every full-time employee an additional 80 hours
2. Ask lots of questions. You never know your business nearly as much as you should or as you think you do.
Q. What’s one thing you do to foster success in your organization? A. I think it’s about establishing the goals we want to accomplish and then consistently communicating them to all employees, along with the unwavering values we are going to live by in pursuing those goals. In our case, the values we’ve identified are safety, quality, teamwork, integrity and accountability. To close the positive cycle, we emphasize recognizing employees for their accomplishments whether that be in the form of a simple “thank you” or catering in lunch or celebrating with employees and their families at a summer picnic. Q. What’s one thing the business community can do to help American Crystal Sugar continue to succeed? A. To advocate for agriculture. We have one of the cheapest, safest, most reliable supplies of food in the world. We should never take that for granted.
3. Don’t become obsessed with profit. Obsess about the things that lead to profit like customers, people, and processes. Q. Do you have any media/ book recommendations for the other business professionals out there? A. I am a regular reader of The Economist and The Harvard Business Review. I think both really force me to pull back from the relatively small world I work in every day and think more broadly about what is going on in the world and in business.
MERCI CHRISTEL By Brady Drake Photo by Hillary Ehlen
IS A TECH STAR What is Techstars? Techstars is a global platform for investment and innovation that connects entrepreneurs, investors and corporations. Started in 2006, the total market capitalization for Techstars companies is $32.3 billion.
In January, local entrepreneur and founder of Enlight App, Diumerci Christel who goes by Chris, was accepted into the Techstars Austin 2021 Class, putting him into elite company as fewer than 1 percent of applicants are accepted each year. By the time I interviewed Chris, the program was already two weeks under way and Chris was already doing a lot of learning. "The best thing has been getting to meet all of these great people that are willing to help," said Chris "They're teaching me a lot of new things that I thought I knew. One of the most important things I've learned is that it's very important to understand your customer and the problem you're trying to solve." The problem Chris is trying to solve is the all too common lack of connectivity that exists between students and their teachers. "When you were a student in high school, you were doing other things besides just school, right? But very few teachers knew those things about you," said Chris. "If they don't know these things it's very hard to make an impact with a student and that's what most teachers got into teaching for." This is where the Enlight App comes in. The app will allow students to share a set number of things that they are interested in while also answering open-ended prompts like, 'What are you passionate about?'
In our November 2019 issue, Chris was featured in an article that detailed his journey to entrepreneurship that started in a refugee camp.
and 'If you could solve any problem in your community, what would it be?' The idea is to allow teachers to connect with students on a deeper level over a medium that is more comfortable to students. All put together, hopefully allowing for a greater impact to be made through our education systems. For Chris, the need for this app was learned through his own experience. "When I was a kid, I was really bored in school," said Chris. "Most of the time I was just chilling. But outside of school I was DJing, doing graphic design, photography and videography. Yet, at parent-teacher conferences, all we would talk about were my behavior and my grades. There was so much more to me than just those things." Now, the young entrepreneur has created enough momentum where hopefully there won't be quite as many bored kids in the future.
SPOTLIGHT'S PAUL HOEFER IS WORKING FOR MORE THAN JUST HIMSELF 86
By Brady Drake Photo by Nolan Schmidt
eing a parent, especially with newborns, isn’t easy. For those who haven’t had the joy of raising a child, imagine sleepless nights, financial stress and a plethora of poopy diapers. Now imagine that times three. That was reality for Spotlight’s Vice President of Business Development, Paul Hoefer, shortly after his triplets were born in 2008. Though that description may seem grim, it is only part of Paul’s story. At the time, Paul and his ex-wife were raising Emma, who isn’t Paul’s biological daughter, however, you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at their relationship. To this day, he still considers her his own and is raising her as if she was his biological daughter. “Emma made me fall in love with being a dad,” said Paul. “We were trying for one more, thinking if it's a boy, we will be done. I remember going into the hospital and them doing an ultrasound. That is when they told me I was having Twins and they thought a triplet had been forming but never actually did. Fast forward a solid five months and probably 20 ultrasounds later, the Doctor looked me dead in the eyes and said, ‘I see it, sir, you may want to sit down.’ I will never forget this moment ever. In those 2-3 seconds, which felt like hours, so many bad things went through my head. I wondered if one had died, if they were conjoined, if they were missing body parts. Eventually, I heard her say, ‘your twins are actually triplets.’ I am often asked by people what did you do when you found out. Most people think you would be nervous, scared or shocked. I felt relief. It was the best news possible when I thought the worst.” When he got the news, Paul was working a job at a call center making
little money. Thankfully, the community rallied around him with his church doing a diaper drive. “Even though we didn’t have much at the time, I never really felt like I was missing out on anything because I had my girls,” said Paul. “Realistically, to make it, I had to put myself second. During that time of my life, most of the things I did for fun were basically free.” The lack of pay led Paul to do what he had to do to survive. He accepted a job with Express Employment Professionals that bettered his situation and eventually parlayed that into a job with Wanzek that gave him a degree of breathing room. From there, Paul eventually found a home with Spotlight where he has been a top sales rep for the past seven years while being surrounded and endlessly supported by his fiance, Wendy. Wendy has two older daughters that are out of the house and a son, who is a senior in high school. Wendy’s son Braydon plays softball with Paul in the summer. Paul often refers to their blended family as a modern day Brady Bunch. Though the position at Spotlight allows him to do things he once thought would be a rarity for his family, like take family vacations, it has also given him the flexibility needed to truly enjoy his day to day. “Spotlight has given me the time and flexibility to be able to leave at 4 to go to one of the girls’ basketball games,” said Paul. “I’ve never been told that I can’t do that here. My favorite thing to do is watch them play sports. If I can go out and watch my kids have fun, I’ll give up whatever.”
What's The Best Way To Market To Gen Z?
Idk, Ask A Gen Z'er
When someone thinks of Gen Z, they might be intimidated. The children and young adults born after 1995 are technologically advanced, misunderstood and their spending power is increasing.
Now, Slagle has his focus set on his company, Trend Z Team, a marketing company focused on targeting Gen Z'ers, making him a perfect interview to learn a little more about how to target the newest generation. 88
JIMMY SLAGLE, Co-Founder of Trend Z Team Why target Gen Z? Do you see it as an untapped market? Most Gen Z’ers have never experienced life without social media or smartphones, which is just crazy. Here’s a little math for everyone. If you follow the saying of “it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at something,” here’s how quick teens become masters of their phones. By age 12, 70 percent of 12-year-olds have a smartphone. On average, teens spend seven hours a day on leisure and entertainment. That means by age 19 they are well past 10,000 hours or 416 days spent on their phone. We market to Gen Z because we are the target market. We understand pop culture, the music your kids listen to, the random dances they do at home and the tv shows they watch. These can be difficult things for older people to grasp. Effective marketing establishes trust and a sense of, “you understand me so I trust you," what better way to do that than to literally be a Gen Z’er. So yes, it is an untapped market.
By Brady Drake
Jimmy Slagle, 22, is a Gen Z'er himself and his entrepreneurial pursuits have interesting roots. The Fargo native got his start in high school when he and a friend purchased a sports Instagram account with 40,000 followers. They then worked to grow the account to 80,000 before being acquired and merged into another account. Out of this little endeavor, a love for sharing content was born.
What do most marketers misunderstand about marketing to Gen Z? think the bigger issue is that people don’t market to Gen Z. They aren’t even on their radar, which is quite interesting. When thinking about the lifetime value of a customer, which is a vastly underrated marketing metric, imagine if you were able to secure a customer at age 18 and have them through life? That’s an amazing return on your investment. But when companies do market to Gen Z, they can’t be cringy. Being cringy is the easiest way for Gen Z’ers to lose you right away, and probably not come back. A good way to describe cringy is when parents try to use popular words that their kids use, but use it in the wrong way.
How do they differ from the prior generations: Good question. Here are the most prominent ways that we differ:
1. We are the most informed
generation at our age. Again, most kids are introduced to the Internet/YouTube/social media from the time they can read. By the time we are eight, we can find out anything on the Internet, at any place and any time. We also are the generation with the highest percentage of college-educated parents, which adds to us being quite educated at an early age. We are the most diverse generation.
2. By 2026 we are expected to become a majority nonwhite generation, which is interesting to think about.
3. Lastly, our attention
span is so short. If we aren’t interested in something within the first six seconds, you’ve completely lost us. This is one aspect of why TikTok will become the next mega social media platform.
Five tips to effectively market to Gen Z: 1. Create an authentic brand.
You’ve heard this before, but with Gen Z it matters more than any other generation. What authentic means is that your business has a unique voice. You’re not afraid to speak up on what you believe in, you can poke fun at customers online, you aren’t always super professional with your language or marketing. The brands that do this well are the ones that will win.
2. Influencer marketing. And
we don’t mean professional athletes or movie stars. Social media influencers are huge, especially with the rise of TikTok. We want relatability, and everyday people that created a following on YouTube or TikTok are quite relateable. Odds are your kids have probably talked about wanting to create a YouTube or TikTok channel instead of becoming a professional athlete or movie star. When we see people we trust promoting a product, we become more interested in that product. If you find the right influencers, that can be huge for your brand.
3. Get on TikTok. I might be a little biased here, but TikTok is an insane platform - way different than any other out
there. Gen Z spends a ton of time on the platform each day, and it is becoming a platform where we get our news, see sports highlights, and learn new random tricks. Remember, it’s much better to be “early” on a platform, than too late when your competitors are already established. As Ricky Bobby would say, “If you’re not first, you’re last.” S/O Talladega Nights.
4. Follow current trends. To
capture Gen Z, you have to understand what’s popular. Pop culture plays such an important role in our day-today lives and it is essential for marketers to know what is going on with us constantly. Trends can live and die within a couple of weeks. New artists can drop a song and within a month it becomes overplayed, new words are being used every couple of months. It honestly takes someone within the Gen Z space to really understand it, and that’s why it is essential that you consult with your interns/young employees on what is popular.
4. Have a social mission.
A great way to capture the attention of Gen Z is to make it seem like your company is actually making a difference in the world, not just the community. Become carbon neutral, donate X% of your earnings to a notable cause, offer heavy discounts to military or health care customers, and don’t be afraid to showcase that. Gen Z truly wants to make a difference in the world, so show us that you do too.
CINDY TYO Owner/President, Travel Travel Over the years, Cindy and her staff have always worked extremely hard on behalf of their corporate and leisure travel clients. Cindy has taken her agency in Fargo to new levels thanks, in part, to creating an entire division specializing in destination weddings and honeymoon travel. Cindy, who is originally from Argyle, MN, moved to the FargoMoorhead area after high school, and originally planned to build a career in the medical field. But by the age of 19, after working in a hotel and travel agency in the area, she realized her passion was travel. Beginning in the mid1980s, Tyo worked as a travel agency manager in Crookston, MN, and Fargo-Moorhead. Tyo then spent several years in Los Angeles, CA, before returning to Fargo – first to manage her current agency, then becoming the agency’s owner in 2003.
Cindy has found herself in elite and rarified company, as one of the only people ever to win both of Travel Leaders’ highest honors: Associate of the Year and The Golden Legacy Award. The Golden Legacy Award ranks as the single highest honor any Travel Leaders Associate may receive and celebrates the award winner’s lifetime career achievements. Accompanying those two prestigious honors, Cindy was among the first to earn Travel Leaders’ “Agency of Excellence” award. Only 23 franchisees nationally were honored with that distinction. To earn the “Agency of Excellence” award, Travel Leaders agencies are scored in several categories that reflect business growth; utilization of marketing programs to effectively reach local consumers; participation in key training programs to enhance service to their clients, as well as in local and national business networking meetings, and their overall promotion of the Travel Leaders brand. Cindy has received this award in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019. Travel Leaders “Above and Beyond” Award in 2013, and Travel Leaders “Golden Circle” Award in 2008-2019.
Take us through a typical day in your life. Now, in the last 10 months, it is much different than the rest of my career. Today we're all dealing with shifts and changes, seemingly every hour, due to the current landscape we are living in. Working with industry leaders, business leaders and working to implement the changes for safety and for new protocols has been my day-to-day since the arrival of COVID-19. So ask me this again in the next few years, and I will paint you a much different and hopefully much brighter picture. How does the reality of your job differ from people’s perception of it? Because I travel the world for work: I'm just on vacation. In some ways it makes sense, as I truly love what I do, but I'm putting in 12-14 hour days in meeting rooms and on busses when I travel for work, like most people who travel for work. I just so happen to be having my meetings in Cancun or Prague! What’s your “why”? The moment I see everything I love about travel in someone else's expression for the first time. Like my son when he got done bungee jumping for the first time in New Zealand to observing the transformation of a client as they conquer their fear of heights to go zip lining in Costa Rica. The knowledge and experience gained, and the doors opened through travel is priceless. What’s one way you foster creativity within your organization? Trying to get my team out of their comfort zones and empowering my team to the point where they allow themselves to be ambitious and present new ideas.
ERIC WILKIE Executive Director, Fargo-Moorhead Area Foundation Wilkie grew up in the Red River Valley and has been a part of the FargoMoorhead community since 1997. He currently lives in Dilworth, MN with his wife Rebekah and their four children. He's an active member of the Moorhead Rotary Club and Moorhead Business Association. "I’m most excited about my role with the FM Area Foundation as we are examining new ways to partner with, promote and serve this region," said Wilkie.
Fargo Business Wilkie has been working in nonprofits for 20 years. Half of those years have been spent in the trenches of the nonprofit world, helping to directly impact the lives of those served by the organization. The other half has been spent working in philanthropy; helping donors identify their passions and aligning those passions with an organization for greater impact.
your job” or “I couldn’t go out and try and raise money.” Their perception is that it’s something uncomfortable or awkward when in the fact the opposite is true. Working to promote philanthropy is such rewarding work. Much of my work consists of meeting with wonderful people who are willing and able to share their hard-earned resources to do good in their communities. I simply get to be a conduit for their generosity and then watch the impact of those gifts in the lives and work of so many great causes. I love what I do!
"My current role aligns well with what I’ve been doing in the last 10 years except now I get to focus on helping more donors to impact a variety of charities with their financial support," said Wilkie.
What’s one thing the local business community could do to help your organization?
What keeps you up at night? Not much actually. I believe each of us are called to serve in our vocations. I have a little prayer taped on my computer given to me by a very generous man a few years ago that reminds me that every day is a new beginning and a gift. When tomorrow comes, today is gone forever. I have an obligation to use each day for gain, not loss, for good, not evil, success, not failure. If I work each day as hard as I can, then the results lie elsewhere. I’ve learned I can’t control the outcome, only the input. When I lay my head on my pillow each night, if I’ve given what I can each day, I typically rest easy. I’ve always shared with my teams that if we do the right work, the right way, we’ll get the right results. What would you give a TED Talk on? This is hard because I have so much respect for individuals that get up during these events and speak in front of large crowds. I think I would speak on the power of gratitude and abundancy and how the two are related. Some of the most generous people I’ve met in my career were such grateful individuals and because of that habit of gratitude, they seemed to have abundance in their lives. I recently heard an interview with Deepak Chopra where he talked about how showing gratitude was directly linked to having abundance in your life. I’ve seen so much generosity and gratitude in my career that I think I’d love to explore those topics.
Working in this community for some time, I know that so many businesses are being asked to support a lot of causes every day. I’d love to see all of our local businesses really make a plan for how and/or when they can give back to their community. So many do so already and some may not be in a position to do that tomorrow, but I’d encourage them to start planning today. One of the ways we can help at the FM Area Foundation is to assist businesses and individuals in taking control of their philanthropy so that it’s both a simple and rewarding process. I want businesses and individuals to be confident about their ability to give back and to support those causes that are important to them. If you could thank one person who’s contributed to your success, who would it be and why? That’s hard because I think anyone who has had any success in their life or career stands on the shoulders of giants, but I’d have to say my parents because they taught me the importance of hard work. I come from a small town in North Dakota and a very blue-collar household and community. My parents worked from their teens to retirement and a lot of long hours to ensure I had every opportunity available. I feel obligated to honor that sacrifice by doing the same in everything that I do. Anything less is unacceptable. Thomas Edison’s quote, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work,” has always resonated with me.
How does the reality of your job differ from people’s perception of it? Throughout my work in philanthropy, I’ve heard so many coworkers or community members say “I wouldn’t be able to do
Q. Tell us a bit about yourself.
A. First and foremost, I am a mom. My daughter Breahn is 21 and my son Bryce is 18. I also have a son named Matt who just turned 30. I was a teenager when I had Matt and made an adoption plan with an amazing family in Fargo. We have since reconnected, and even though Matt is a teacher all the way in Thailand, we have been able to have some great conversations over Facetime. I also have two pups, Leo and Allie. They have my heart. My husband, Steve, and I take the dogs out to the park for a walk every morning, rain or shine. I’ve found this daily ritual sets my day off on a good foot. Through life’s journey, I am finding that my purpose is truly to support people in reconnecting with themselves. Life’s responsibilities and stressors have a way of disconnecting us from who we are. When this happens, anxiety, stress and physical symptoms develop. As the director of Fit Elements Women’s Fitness Club, a hypnotherapist, Master Reiki teacher and Core Passion Facilitator, I provide support for an individual’s physical health in addition to their mental and spiritual health. Facilitating workshops on meditation, mindfulness practices and spiritual development light me up! I also enjoy facilitating corporate meditations in business settings to encourage increased focus and attention. Oftentimes, this is an individual’s first experience with meditation and it’s fulfilling to see a person experience that sense of inner calm and peace for the first time. I utilize coaching techniques, hypnosis and mindfulness practices to remove habits that keep people from reaching their full potential. My experience includes personal, group, and corporate meditations in the areas of personal and spiritual development.
Most of us have become all too familiar with stress and anxiety over the last year. Ladyboss Saree Reveling knows a thing or two about highstress environments, and what we can all be doing better to combat those negative feelings.
By McKenzie Schwark, Ladyboss Midwest 94
Q. How did you get involved in your work? A.Out of college I spent 15 years in a high stress, deadline-focused corporate job
that resulted in several stress-induced physical symptoms. In 2009, I went through a traumatic divorce. My daily activities left me completely depleted physically, emotionally and spiritually. I knew I needed to change something in my life because I was headed down the wrong path. I needed to invest in healing myself. During the last 12 years, I’ve invested much of my time in selfdevelopment and personal growth. My idea of a great vacation is a spiritual or personal growth retreat or some type of workshop that expands my mind. My certifications and training are a result of going to classes and workshops for my own growth and healing. I believe we teach best what we most need to learn. By going through the experience fully, we can support others on that same journey. Q. Sometimes hypnosis is associated with a swinging watch and "you're getting sleepy." What is hypnotherapy, really? A. Yes! I hear this from so many people and I had the same understanding of hypnosis in the beginning. What I hear most is, “Will you make me quack like a duck?” My response to them is, “Only if you want me to.” Hypnosis feels like a deep meditation. The difference between hypnosis and meditation is that with
hypnosis, our purpose is to shift a habit. People come to me for stress relief and simply need support in calming their mind. For these people, I utilize meditation techniques. Hypnosis is a powerful tool when someone knows something logically, but their habits seem to control them. A great example would be the person that has trouble losing weight because they struggle with late-night eating. They know it’s keeping them stuck, but they continue to do it. This is a function of the subconscious keeping them stuck and hypnosis can offer relief. There is a misconception that the person receiving hypnosis has no control over the session. In reality, you hear what I’m saying and have total control to come out of the session at any point. The first half of each session involves coaching and dialogue so the individual can share with me what to use in our session. Q. What does it mean to be a Ladyboss? A. Being a Ladyboss means being connected to some of the most growth-minded, forward-thinking women in our area. Several of my Fit Elements employees came from the Ladyboss network. It is my first “go-to” when I’m searching for someone to help with my marketing, when I’m searching for a new employee or even when I need business advice. It’s also a place where I can
share good news about other Ladybosses in my life. It’s a place where I feel supported and also where I can provide support! Q. What is your favorite form of selfcare? A. I am a huge proponent of meditation. It has allowed me to be more present with people, stay calm in the midst of other’s emotional upsets and reduce my anxiety to where I now feel comfortable being in my body. In meditation, you are working a muscle…the muscle of the mind. It takes time to develop, but a mindset of commitment and patience with meditation reaps major rewards. Businesses who commit to supporting their employees by offering corporate meditation have seen an increase in productivity and a more positive outlook from their employees. I’ve experienced similar results in my own life. I also enjoy running and believe it has been a type of meditation for my mind with its repetitive nature. Some of my best insights come when I am running. It has also allowed me to release trapped emotions, boost my confidence and increase my energy levels so I can be my best self. I believe a powerful self-care program requires working the muscles of both the mind and the body. Q. 2021 has already thrown us some major stressors. How can we all resolve to take better care of our mental health this year? A. COVID has been emotionally draining and we have seen an increase in depression and physical symptoms caused by stress. At the same time, it has also given us an opportunity to really look at what things in our life are exacerbating those conditions. Many people have finally had the time to slow down and reflect on what they truly want in life and this is a beautiful thing!
One of the most powerful things you can do for your well-being is to begin paying attention to where you are placing your attention. Where you place your attention shapes your entire reality. My advice would be to treat your attention like a hot commodity. What things outside of you are truly worthy of your attention. When you become consistently mindful of where you are placing your attention, you notice thoughts in your mind that are not serving you. We have goals and we want our attention to be placed on thoughts and things that support us in reaching those goals! Q. What is mindfulness and is there an easy way to fold it into our everyday lives? A. Mindfulness is a form of meditation and is a simple way to become more grounded in your self-awareness so you are not easily swept away by your emotions or the emotions of others. It allows you to see life more objectively. I use mindfulness techniques in corporate meditation environments. There are thousands of mindfulness techniques and most of them are quite simple to learn. When I start people on a mindfulness practice, the first thing I do is have them focus on their breath. When we are stressed, we naturally tend to hold our breath. Intentionally focusing on our breathing (belly breathing rather than chest breathing) allows us to connect more with our bodies and brings us naturally out of that fight/flight reactionary response. Q. What do you think women need right now? A. Women need to know they are enough simply by being them. You don’t need to do anything to be enough. Who you are matters! A former mentor of mine used to say, “In your uniqueness lies your greatness.” I’ve been afraid to share that
uniqueness fully with others for fear of being judged as eccentric or weird. My work is not mainstream, so it would be easy for me to allow other people’s judgments to get the best of me. However, as I’ve released the need to fit in a certain way and started speaking from my heart on subjects that most matter to me, I’ve actually been able to build deeper and stronger connections with people, including my family members.
Bethlehem Gronneberg Founder and CEO, uCodeGirl | Bush Foundation Leadership Fellow | PhD Candidate | Lecturer of Computer Science | YWCA Woman of the Year in Science and Technology
THE GIG ECONOMY HERE ARE THE TOP FIVE FREELANCER MARKETPLACE PLATFORMS. By Bethlehem Gronneberg
In-demand talent on demand,” says Upwork, one of the top freelancer websites for professionals. Whether you are unemployed, or underemployed. Whether you have hidden talents or are a subject matter expert in your field. Whether you want to freelance part-time or full-time, there are clear paths forward to generate income online. Everyone - from developers to designers, writers, finance experts, project managers and product managers alike are giving the freelance marketplace a second look - more than a double take. Major economic players and business owners are also turning to these burgeoning platforms to find and hire top expertise for their small bite-sized projects as well as long term specialized work. It’s flexibility, costeffectiveness and location agnostic nature are its draws. Now more than ever, participating in a gig economy has taken center stage. One of the many side effects of the global pandemic is the strain it imposed on the traditional employment pipeline, which has only 98
The vision of uCodeGirl is to inspire and equip young women to become the future face of innovation in technology. uCodeGirl is uniquely designed to inspire, engage and equip young women with computational design thinking skills, leadership traits, and an entrepreneurial mindset. uCodeGirl strives to remove roadblocks and bridge the gender gap in technology so that young women can confidently pursue opportunities suitable for the 21st century. By building confidence, enhancing skill sets and tapping into their intellect and curiosity, uCodeGirl helps young women chart a pathway to the T of STEM careers. More information here: www.ucodegirl.org | @ucodegirl |
accelerated an already rising online marketplace of jobs. An increase in reliance on gig work has become an integral part of the changing nature of the American Workforce. According to a 2018 Gallup report, 36 percent of the U.S. workforce (~57 million people) are gig workers, contributing to an annual $1 trillion to the U.S. economy. These figures and findings are also echoed by MBO Partners in their The State of Independence in America report which predicted the growth of tech savvy independent workers to be more than 50% by 2023. Growth is only the start of the story. Conversations are revolving around regulations and policies on workers protection and benefits. Some do raise the question though, “what is the appeal of the lack of job security, and fewer benefits?” Others emphasize the priceless value of more flexibility, more income and job satisfaction than traditional jobs. Considering the diversity of the industry represented, it would be more fitting to call this phenomenon a sharing economy or collaborative economy, but as technology is the enabler of this mode of independent work as it is core, it remains a gig economy. If you decide to leap into the world of freelance, here are some of the platforms to suit your needs. 1. Toptal is for freelancers what Ladder is for highest paying job seekers. The company claims to be the place to find the top 3% of freelance talents. If independent gig workers managed to get themselves a spot here, they will have access to big name corporations around the world that post lucrative projects and compete for the best talent. Companies can even assemble a team of talented freelancers to work on specific projects.
3. Guru boasts more than 3 million users as a general freelancer marketplace, anything from legal, business and finance, writing and translation, design and art, programming and development, etc. Its differentiator is flexible payment rates. 4. Freelancer.com and Fivver are both general purpose platforms for small businesses who need logo design, marketing, writing, web development, etc. Companies sign up, post jobs and receive competitive bids within minutes. Freelancers sign up for free and build their portfolio of past projects completed. Tools like live chat and video enhance the collaboration between knowledge-buyer and knowledge-seller. 5. People Per Hour is unique for connecting businesses to an international community of freelancers. Used by 1 million businesses and 2.4 million freelancers, it spans a wide range of job categories. Like most of the gig economy platforms above, it also uses AI to match and contact most fitting talent for the job, within minutes. There are also specialized platforms such as Designhill, Behance and We Work Remotely for designers that commands millions of users per month.
2. Upwork entertains a seemingly unending stream of diverse job posts for professionals, focused on web and software development, data science and analytics, design and creative, sales and marketing, writing (grants/proposal/etc), customer service, admin support as well as engineering and architecture. Freelancers are rated by the quality of service they provided to differentiate them from the competition. Once gig workers establish themselves on the platform, there is a constant flow of short-term, longer-term and complex projects by the likes of Microsoft, GE, airbnb, etc. FARGOINC.COM
Speaking Your Business Language for 45 Years Ser ving the Upper Midwest
For ward Thinking. Reliable Advice. 701-237-6022 wr.cpa
IT’S COMPLICATED! By Beverley Adams Photo provided by Fredrikson & Byron
COVID-19 VACCINE: THE EMPLOYER’S CONUNDRUM
hile the Covid virus continues to rage throughout the world and a number of pharmaceutical makers have received “emergency use authorization” from the FDA to make vaccines available to the public, Americans willingness to get inoculated has slipped. National survey results published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network Open show that the number of people who say they are some what or very likely to seek COVID-19 vaccination fell from 74 percent to 56 percent from April to December. The primary concern is the medication has been developed too quickly and is it safe and/or effective?
Beverley Adams represents employers and executives in the full range of employmentrelated matters, providing guidance on items, such as employment investigations, disciplinary matters, employment contracts and union labor negotiations. She litigates in federal and state trial courts in North Dakota and Minnesota. You can reach her at email@example.com.
Many employers have started considering policies and plans for employees to return to work that ensure their workers’ health, while making possible accommodations to those who object to getting the vaccine. The key to a vaccine mandate or heavily encouraged and supported vaccine program is being prepared, including being prepared to address employees’ distrust of the vaccine.
enforcing federal laws, issued guidance on Dec. 16, 2020, on workplace vaccination questions (https://www.eeoc.gov/wysk/what-you-shouldknow-about-covid-19-and ada-rehabilitationact-and-other-eeo-laws). While the guidance does not outright prohibit businesses from mandating their employees get inoculated for COVID-19, it does make clear, an employer’s policies must comply with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and other workplace laws. The EEOC cautions employers terminating employees who refuse to be vaccinated, as they may be required by law to provide an exception. Exemptions under federal law include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which allows employees to refuse on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which provides exemptions for employees who object as a result of a disability or a medical condition. Similarly, state Human Rights Acts, which provide protections for employees based on religion, medical conditions and other reasons could also prohibit an employer from terminating employees who are not vaccinated.
What the EEOC has to say about workplace vaccine policies The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) the federal agency responsible for
For employers considering a mandate
For any employer who is considering mandating or strongly encouraging employees be vaccinated, the following is a list of legal and practical considerations:
• If the employer mandates vaccinations instead of providing vaccines on a voluntary basis, the CDC does recommend certain health related questions be asked and responded to prior to the vaccine being administered. The ADA only allows an employer disability-related screening inquiry that is “job-related and consistent with a business necessity”. To meet this standard an employer would need to have a reasonable belief, based on objective evidence that an employee who does not answer the question and therefore does not receive a vaccine will pose a direct threat to the health or safety of themselves or others, prior to excluding them from the workplace.
• First start with developing a policy. This will not only help employees, managers and supervisors navigate difficult situations but will also is a good education tool; • Whether an employer adopts a mandate or takes a softer approach to simply encouraging employees to get vaccinated, any refusal by an employee, must be met with the employer understanding “why”. Engaging in a dialogue with employees who refuse could save you a lot of money on attorney’s fees and damages claims for wrongfully terminating an employee; • There are numerous legally protected reasons for employees to refuse a vaccine or refuse to answer health questions prior to receiving a vaccine that may allow the employer to exclude the employee from the workplace, but does not give employers a right to automatically terminate an employee. Employers considering mandating vaccines should give very serious consideration to this issue. If a significant portion of your workforce refuses to comply, the employer will be put in a very difficult position of either adhering to the mandate and terminating or furloughing employees or deviating from the mandate for certain employees. Deviations made for employees who are valued and those who are not due to undocumented performance issues, can increase the risk of discrimination claims. • As part of your policy, create a committee of three or more individuals to decide on requests for medical, religious or other exceptions or consequences for refusals. This ensures legal compliance, consistency and fairness in the decision-making
• A direct threat to justify excluding an employee from the workplace involves an individualized assessment of four factors: • The duration of the risk; • The nature and severity of the potential harm; • The likelihood that the potential harm will occur; and • The imminence of the potential harm. • Even if the employer can establish “a direct threat” to exclude an employee from the workplace, that does not mean you can terminate them. You need to assess whether other options for the employee to work are available and carefully assess other federal or states laws, which protect the employee, before terminating. Consult with counsel prior to firing any employee for refusing to answer vaccine questions or refusing to be vaccinated, even if there are no religious, medical or other obvious legal reasons for the refusal. • If the vaccine is voluntary, and the prescreening, disability related questions are voluntary, and if there are no consequences to the employee for not responding to the questions or refusing the vaccine, a disability
related screening question can be asked without needing to satisfy the “job-related and consistent with business necessity” requirement. Also, the requirement does not have to be met, if the disability related screening questions are asked by a third party administering the vaccine, who does not have a contract with the employer, such as a pharmacy or other health care provider. • Any disability-related information received from an employee by the employer directly or through a third party, with whom the employer has a contract with must be stored in a separate medical file maintained by HR for each employee. This information must be separate from the regular HR file. • The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) prevents any questions about a family member’s medical history. Health care providers can ask these questions, but not employers. • Asking an employee to show proof of receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination is not a disability related inquiry; however, followup questions as to “why” may be. If an employer only wants to request proof of vaccination, the employer may want to warn the employee not to provide any medical information as part of the proof in order to avoid implicating the ADA. For employers considering a voluntary program If an employer does not have a vaccine mandate, but instead adopts a program of strongly encouraging employees to get vaccinated, an employer may want to: • Make the vaccine easily accessible. Offer vaccine clinics at the worksite administered by trained health care professionals; • Cover the cost of the vaccine. North Dakota requires employers who mandate a medical exam or to “furnish medical
records” to pay the costs N.D. Cent. Code § 34-0115. Although a vaccine is not technically a “test” or an “exam”, employers mandating a COVID vaccine should pay for the costs of it.
• Communicate clearly and often with employees and help them understand how vaccinations will make for a safer workplace. Lead by example: management should be vaccinated first.
• Provide education on vaccinations. Recorded video presentations or written materials can be made available at low cost and may be conveniently viewed when the employee has time. Employees will be required to be paid for their time if review of information is required. Consult a legal expert before deciding employees do not need to be paid.
• If some or all your workforce is covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement, you may have to bargain with their union prior to mandating a vaccine program. Review your Collective Bargaining Agreement and consult with legal counsel.
• Provide additional PTO, financial incentives or gift cards to employees who get vaccinated. Incentives should be relatively minor, as generous incentives will affect whether the program is really “voluntary”. Remember the IRS does not have any “de minimis” exceptions for items of value provided to employees, so benefits provided will be subject to withholding. Also to not run afoul of the antidiscrimination laws, if an employee is unable to be vaccinated because of religious reasons or a disability, please discuss with legal counsel before automatically excluding them from incentives. • Provide paid time off for employees who get the vaccine and may need some time off to recover from potential side effects.
There are many practical considerations and legal requirements to developing protocols and policies related to employee vaccines. Careful consideration should be given to medical inquiries of employees in this context. In addition, exceptions for employees who require medical or religious accommodations need to be handled appropriately. Finally, employees who refuse vaccinations for personal reasons should not be immediately terminated, unless they meet the criteria of posing a “direct threat” under the ADA, which is a fairly high standard, and no other working arrangements are available. These are complicated decisions that require thoughtful execution and sound legal guidance to avoid creating business risks.
WITH JOHN MACHACEK
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 Tucker Richardso and Jeff Johnson of Galeo Group, who are creating a producing to prevent bike theft.
BY John Machacek PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen
1 Tell us your Galeo elevator pitch? Tucker: Every year, roughly 2 million bikes are stolen in North America alone and only 5% of those ever make it back to their owners. To address this problem, Galeo attaches to your bike and it has a motion sensor in it. So this means it can alert you the second it moves without your consent. If your bike has been stolen you can then remotely activate Galeo’s audible alarm, right from your phone, and then track down your bike with Galeo’s GPS and active Cell connection.
2 What makes it different from other trackers? Tucker: There are plenty of standalone GPS trackers on the market. We’ve taken an entirely different approach and created a system designed specifically to help protect, track, and recover your bike. With respect to other bike trackers, Galeo is one of the few dedicated solutions offered in North America, it has one of the longest battery lives in the industry, and one of the smallest form factors. Galeo is the only tracker to come with a Project 529 shield and it’s also designed, manufactured, and supported in the United States, Fargo ND actually!
3 How and what did you learn about bicycle theft to know this was a good target? Tucker: Discovering the size and scope of the bike theft problem was the first step in our journey into bike theft, but the real tipping point was when we linked up with Project 529. It's so important to immerse yourself in an ecosystem if you want a chance at showing up and making an impact in a problem space. So when we started to build a relationship with Project 529 and our understanding of root cause problems deepened it quickly became evident how well suited our technology was for the space.
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. Machacek was the VP of Finance & Operations at United Way of Cass-Clay and a business banker at U.S. Bank.
4 How does or would the partnerships with police departments work? Tucker: Imagine a world where you can push a button on your phone and immediately request help from the police in the event of a theft. Or, as a police officer who is passionate about the bike theft problem, imagine downloading a free mobile application and receiving an alert with a real time GPS location any time a bike is stolen. Enhance that alert with the information necessary for the police to verify ownership (photos, serial numbers, etc.) and you have an ecosystem that can really make an impact. That’s the system we think needs to exist in order to truly put a dent in the bike theft problem. A community of cyclists and law enforcement, connected and working together to keep your property safe.
What are your goals for 2021? First, we aim to launch Galeo and turn it into a growing, profitable business. As we do that we want to build a great brand. If we do a good job at building a brand it will open other doors, other means of distribution in the cycling world: businesses like bike shops and e-tailers that focus on this market. Later this year, our plan is to release another product under the Galeo brand that will protect other high-value, consumer assets.
Why did you decide to build these products here in North Dakota? Jeff: When you think of high-tech, consumer electronics companies, your first thought is not North Dakota. We want to change that. Creating sustainable jobs in our community and building a lasting legacy is always going to be at the heart of what motivates us at The Galeo Group. I think I can safely say the same about Appareo as well who is our design and manufacturing partner. Bringing a product to production at a facility that is just a few steps away comes with incalculable advantages.The most notable being the simple ability to have a face to face conversation with the people building your product. This will result in better quality control, streamlined communication of production and development issues, a better understanding of Galeo customer value on the production floor, and real sense of a unified mission across the board. In short, a better product.
Jeff Johnson (left) and Tucker Richardson (right) explain their new product to John Machacek Photo by Nolan Schmidt
7 When do you plan to launch and how can one buy Galeo? Tucker: We will be launching Galeo through Kickstarter in February of this year. Production will begin in March and product will begin shipping at that time. If you’re not familiar, Kickstarter is a crowd-funding platform where businesses can launch their products by (typically) offering discounts and early bird deals to their backers (what you call someone who contributes money to your campaign). It’s often used as a source of funding for fledgling startups but it can also be a great place to generate a lot of buzz, build a following, and interact on a personal level with the first people willing to take a chance on your product.
9 If you could go back in time to Jeff & Tucker from any number of years ago, what hindsight advice would you give yourself? Tucker: I would tell myself to continue focusing on experimenting in entrepreneurship, building valuable skills and learning as much as possible from the people around you who have accomplished great things. Jeff: Stay curious, and don’t discount your ideas as unworkable just because you can’t do the whole job yourself. Align yourself with likeminded people who have diverse skill sets. Focus on building trusted relationships. Without trust, things don’t work out in the long-term.
If you’re interested in being notified when we launch, visit FindGaleo.com and sign up for our newsletter!
8 Jeff, you have an extensive and impressive history in technology product management that includes Great Plains Software, BeAtHome, Echelon and Appareo. What advice would you have for others still cutting their teeth in the field? Jeff: Read voraciously in the areas that excite you, and look for inflection points in technology. In our case, we became aware about three years ago of the brand-new cellular networks that were being built across the US that were targeting small, battery-operated devices. They provided the foundation for the Galeo bike tracker.
10 What can we do as a community to help The Galeo Group succeed? Help us spread the word about our upcoming launch and the bike theft problem in general. Every share, like, follow, and conversation is incredibly valuable to us. Visit findgaleo.com to learn more.
ver the years that I have taught Leadership Theory to undergraduate and graduate students, I stressed the importance of developing a personal leadership philosophy that is supported by major contemporary leadership theories. I often tell students that the day will come when someone will ask them the question “What is your leadership philosophy?" and they will need to be prepared to answer that question with clarity and depth. I absolutely love hearing testimonials from my current and former students on how they felt prepared to answer this question when it was posed to them during job interviews.
BY Shontarius D. Aikens, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Management at Offutt School of Business at Concordia College 108
What is your Leadership Philosophy? For this month’s article, I’d like to share some guidelines from my teaching experiences on how you can get started with developing or perhaps refining your personal leadership philosophy. Whenever I talk about this with my students or my colleagues at academic conferences, I mention the importance of looking at the six components of the leadership process and reflecting on each component from their personal experiences. Each leadership process component along with guidelines and reflection questions to consider are presented in the sections below. Component 1: The Leader There is a large amount of research that has been conducted on aspects specifically pertaining to the leader. I would argue that understanding oneself is probably the most important aspect when developing a personal leadership philosophy. This requires conducting an honest assessment of one’s personality, traits, attitudes, and values for the purpose of personal awareness and development. I highly recommend Gallup’s CliftonStrengths assessment tool to help a person
understand their unique innate talents and how they can be used in a leadership capacity. Component 2: The Followers In order for leadership to occur, there must be followers. For this component, I recommend that a person think about the characteristics of the individuals that follow them. Carsten et al. (2014) suggests that followers can be classified into three types: passive followers, antiauthoritarian followers and proactive followers. Based on your experiences, what types of followers do you typically have in your sphere of influence? Which type of followers are you most comfortable with leading? Which type of followers provide you with the biggest challenges? Component 3: The Goals/Objectives When leading, the end result is to accomplish a goal or an objective. Goals are socially constructed, which means that they are defined by an individual or a group. For this leadership component, I ask individuals to think about the process they use to
To submit questions you would like answered in future editions of “Academic Insight”. Email Dr. Aikens at: firstname.lastname@example.org
establish goals/objectives. Do you utilize a Top-Down goal-setting approach, or a Bottom-Up goal-setting approach in which team members are actively involved? Both approaches can be effective when utilized appropriately, and knowing the approach one uses in most leadership situations and being able to explain the rationale is important.
behaviors could be classified into two types—task behaviors (which facilitates goal achievement) and relationship behaviors (which helps followers feel comfortable with themselves and each other). When leading, which type of behaviors are the most important to you? Do you find that you demonstrate mostly task related behaviors or relationship based behaviors?
Component 4: The Relationships Component 6: The Situation/Context The quality of the relationship between the leader and the followers can have a direct effect on whether or not organizational outcomes are accomplished. In the April 2020 issue of Fargo INC!, I talked about these organizational outcomes. And I also discussed in great detail the four dimensions of a relationship (Affect, Loyalty, Contribution, and Professional Respect) and how a leader can use these dimensions to develop positive relationships with their employees. For this leadership component, I recommend that individuals reflect on which dimension(s) are most important and relevant when building strong positive relationships with their followers. One may find that they are naturally better at establishing relationships based on their reputation, skills, and experiences (i.e. Professional Respect), while others may find that they are naturally better at building relationships based on friendliness (i.e. Affect). Component 5: The Actions/Behaviors In the leadership process, the leader demonstrates specific actions and behaviors in order to influence followers. Seminal research conducted at three major universities (The Ohio State University, The University of Michigan, and The University of Texas) determined that leadership
Different situations or contexts require different approaches to leadership. For example, some situations may require more of a hands-on intentional approach, while others require a leader to be more hands-off. For this component, I recommend reflecting on one’s ability and level of comfort and ease in changing their leadership approach when appropriate for the situation. In addition, one should consider whether or not they thrive in high-pressure situations or in low-pressure situations. An honest assessment of past leadership experiences (successes and failures) could provide some insights into those situations that are a better fit for you as a leader. After reflecting on each of these components individually, now it is time to put them all together. I recommend drafting a paragraph that summarizes one’s positions and perspectives (with examples for illustrative purposes) for each component. The end result would be a short 1-2 page document that details your personal leadership philosophy in depth.
FEBRUARY 18 Economic Outlook Luncheon 2021
Thursday, February 18 from noon to 1:30 p.m. The Economic Outlook Luncheon is an opportunity to learn about global economic trends and examine the local landscape and factors that keep us competitive. From workforce issues to regulation and the outlook for the future, speakers discuss the impact of the national and regional economy as well as local trends. Each February, the Economic Outlook Luncheon offers a look into the various factors affecting the regional economy, covering topics such as energy exploration, workforce availability, technology, entrepreneurism and health care, plus how global and local trends affect our business community. fmwfchamber.com
FEBRUARY 16 Virtual Chamber 101: Connect. Engage. Maximize. Tuesday, February 16 at 4 p.m.
If you’re not familiar with The Chamber, are a new member, new contact, new hire, or just want to re-engage with us, this session is for you! Chamber 101 is a laid-back discussion designed to share some of the great benefits of Chamber membership and what opportunities exist that you need to know. Here, Casey Sanders, The Chamber’s manager of membership, will walk you through events, programs, discounts, online tools and more, so you can begin maximizing your membership right away. It’s great way to introduce new faces to what we have available, or to simply say hello and meet fellow business professionals. fmwfchamber.com
FEBRUARY 17 Discuss, Connect & Reflect
Wednesday, February 17 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
The Chamber is excited to highlight another podcast for their February Discuss, Connect & Reflect! For those of you who enjoy listening versus reading, this is a 110
great opportunity for you to join in on the conversation! Please listen to Beyond the Choir: BridgeBuilding For Change and come ready to discuss! fmwfchamber.com
FEBRUARY 18 Virtual Chamber 101: Connect. Engage. Maximize.
Thursday, February 18 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
If you’re not familiar with The Chamber, are a new member, new contact, new hire, or just want to re-engage with us, this session is for you! Chamber 101 is a laid-back discussion designed to share some of the great benefits of Chamber membership and what opportunities exist that you need to know. Here, Casey Sanders, The Chamber’s manager of membership, will walk you through events, programs, discounts, online tools and more, so you can begin maximizing your membership right away. It’s great way to introduce new
faces to what we have available, or to simply say hello and meet fellow business professionals. fmwfchamber.com
FEBRUARY 23 Paralyzed by Perfect
Tuesday, February 23 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Confucius once said, “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” Yet, why do so many women feel confined by our world’s definition of perfect? Why are we so afraid of putting something imperfect into the universe? Perfectionism has haunted Kelsey’s personal and professional life for ever since she can remember. When she was in third grade, Kelsey’s parents went to a parent-teacher conference expecting a glowing review. Instead, her teacher expressed a deep concern: “Kelsey spends too much time perfecting every assignment. This behavior could profoundly impact her education and may keep her from reaching her full potential.”
MARCH 10 Axe These Axioms: Break the Old Rules and Thrive as a Modern-Day Marketer
Wednesday, March 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. By 2007, the way people interact with content, technology and brands changed. Facebook was open to the general public. Google kept growing YouTube as the world’s second-largest search engine. Netflix started streaming content. And we engaged with all this from a device that fits in our pocket. More than 10 years later, marketers and professional communicators still cling to rules and practices - axioms from a different era, which continue to seem more distant every day. fmwfchamber.com
From that day forward, Kelsey’s teachers and parents worked diligently to help her overcome her fear of failure while still pursuing excellence. She has learned simple strategies that have helped her in her personal and professional journey. Kelsey’s goal is to motivate women to overcome their fear of failure as they strive for excellence. fmwfchamber.com
FEBRUARY 24 YPN Book Club: Podcast Edition: Side Hustle School
Wednesday, February 24 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Join YPN for their monthly book club. This month, they are switching things up again with a discussion around a podcast! Looking to earn some extra money? Wanting to pay of your student loans faster, or even save for a house?! Listen to any episode of Side Hustle School and join fellow young professionals for a conversation around the content, and… well, side hustles! Side Hustle School is a free podcast and can be streamed through iTunes or Spotify. fmwfchamber.com
FEBRUARY 26 Network Before Noon
Friday, February 26 from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Join The Chamber for another Professionals of Color entirely virtual Zoom Networking Before 9! Through utilizing Zoom’s breakout room options, you’ll be able to have multiple great conversations in smaller groups to get to know everyone on the call. This will be another networking event you won’t want to miss.
MARCH 2 Agricultures' Economic Impact Tuesday, March 2 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.
The economies within our Fargo Moorhead West Fargo metro, communities up and down the Red River Valley and both Minnesota and North Dakota are heavily impacted by agriculture, but by how much? The phrase “agriculture is the backbone of our economy” is often said, but how do we know this? To what degree does the agriculture industry impact our state and local economies? fmwfchamber.com
Bismarck MARCH 11 Membership Mixer: Baymont Inn & Suites
Thursday, March 11 from 4:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m.
MARCH 2 Tales from a Recovering Jealous Female: What Not Supporting Other Women Taught Me About Myself Tuesday, March 23 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
We hear and see a lot about women supporting other women and in the fabulously perfect world of lifting others up and empowering those around us, it makes sense. But there’s just something about the woman who appears to “have it all’ that can sometimes fill us with the green-eyed monster we don’t care to acknowledge. As a recovering jealous female, Nicole Turchin acknowledges the downward spiral that can happen when we focus on pushing other females down instead of raising them up. Whether it’s someone we dislike, someone we believe is inauthentic, or someone who simply seems to have more than we do, it can be hard to support the females in our own lives when we feel inadequate in our own. fmwfchamber.com
The reason one can go on and on about the value of life lessons learned through athletics is because those old adages are true. In the realm...
Published on Feb 11, 2021
The reason one can go on and on about the value of life lessons learned through athletics is because those old adages are true. In the realm...