Fargo INC! January 2024

Page 1

january 2024


What do you support?

// JANUARY 2024



Sponsored Content: Providing a Haven for Families


Sponsored Content: Bridging the Leadership Gap


Sponsored Content: Creating Unforgettable Experiences


Ask The Expert: Key Considerations When Selecting the Right Cyber Insurance Coverage


What Do You Support?


Dr. Karla Wolford


Weiwei (Vivian) Fellman


Erik Hatch




Maddie Craig


Tyler Holland


Peter Chamberlain


DJ Colter


Patrick Metzger


Maple Family Dental


How to Attract Gen Z to Your Workforce


By The Numbers


Midwest Energy Summit Breaks Viewership Record


I Didn't Know You Could Make a Living Doing That!


Nine Places for Meetings, Conferences and Events!


Financial Fitness For Entrepreneurs


How To: LinkedIn


Know Your Rights!


10 Questions with John Machacek: AdShark Marketing


Women You Should Know: Melissa Oberlander & Teresa Gulleson


New Year, New Review


Awesome Foundation Grant Award Winner: Benjamin Ockert









All our stories in one place

Business events calendar

Read all the past issues

Extra video content

E d i t o r ’s n o t e

Building Stronger Communities Together


he adage 'It takes a village to raise a child' highlights the importance of community. However, a more encompassing perspective is that it takes a village to build a community itself. The strength of a community lies in its collective spirit—the idea that by working together, we can achieve greater things than we can alone. This issue makes that evident.

To shape the world to be what we want it to be, we must collectively strive to enhance every aspect of our community. This involves not only nurturing our children with love and care but also extending support to our neighbors in times of need. It's about creating an environment where everyone, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to thrive and contribute to the greater good.

In this issue, we feature in-depth conversations with various entrepreneurs and organizations, exploring the nonprofits and causes they endorse. Through these discussions, we gain insights into how these leaders are not just running successful businesses but also playing pivotal roles in building our community.

These stories are not just narratives of success and generosity; they are a call to action. A call for all of us to find some way to help make the metro better. Sincerely,

Brady Drake Fargo INC! Editor

Brady Drake, Fargo INC! Editor





JANUARY 2024 Volume 9 Issue 1

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

Publisher Mike Dragosavich EDITORIAL Editorial Team Lead Brady Drake Brady@SpotlightMediaFargo.com Editors Geneva Nodland, Grant Ayers Art Director Kim Cowles Editorial Graphic Designer Ty Betts Creative Strategist Josiah Kopp Contributors John Machacek, Ladyboss Lifestyle, Brandi Malarkey, Julia Hinker INTERACTIVE Business Development Manager Business Development Associate Videographer Director of Creative Strategies Graphic Designer Web Developer

Nick Schommer Kellen Feeney Tommy Uhlir Megan Suedbeck Ben Buchanan Austin Smith

ADVERTISING VP of Business Development Paul Hoefer Paul@SpotlightMediaFargo.com Sales Representative Al Anderson Al@SpotlightMediaFargo.com Sales & Marketing Advisor Tori Helland Tori@SpotlightMediaFargo.com Business Development Representative Austin Cuka AustinCuka@SpotlightMediaFargo.com Client Relations ClientRelations@SpotlightMediaFargo.com Client Relations Manager Jenny Johnson Marketing Coordinator Jessica Mullen Operations Assistant Miranda Knudson DISTRIBUTION Delivery John Stuber

Fargo INC! is published by Spotlight LLC, Copyright 2024 Fargo INC! & FargoInc.com. All rights reserved. No parts of this magazine may be reproduced or distributed without written permission of Fargo INC!, and Spotlight LLC, is not responsible for, and expressly disclaims all liability for, damages of any kind arising out of use, reference to or reliance on such information. Spotlight LLC, accepts no liability for the accuracy of statements made by the advertisers.

Spotlight, LLC 4609 33rd Ave S Suite #304 Fargo, ND 58104 or info@spotlightmediafargo.com ADVERTISING: 701-478-SPOT (7768)


Bison Illustrated is your number one source for all of the behind-the-scenes action inside the North Dakota State University Athletic Department. bisonillustrated.com facebook.com/bisonillustrated X: @bisonmag Instagram: bisonillustrated

Home by Trendsetters Magazine is dedicated to covering all of the beautiful homes, home trends, and amazing professionals driving the industry forward. @homebytrendsetters /HOMEbyTrendsetters



Fargo Monthly is an award-winning publication dedicated to highlighting Fargo-Moorhead and what makes it a truly enjoyable place to live. fargomonthly.com facebook.com/fargomonthly X: @fargomonthly Instagram: fargomonthly

You may already be familiar with our Faces of Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo publication which we publish once per year in order to highlight the faces behind all of the great businesses in the community.

Future Farmer is our farming publication which brings great tech-focused content to readers across North Dakota and Minnesota. futurefarmermag.com facebook.com/FutureFarmerMag

Are you in need of a new career? The Great Places to Work Fargo-MoorheadWest Fargo Annual Career Guide highlights amazing businesses in the area that provide great growth opportunities, benefits, and more!


Providing a Haven for Families

By Josiah Kopp provided by Ronald McDonald House Fargo

How Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley is warming hearts and hands of families during challenging times pened in December of 1982, RMHC is celebrating its 41st year in Fargo, providing housing and support for families with hospitalized children. The organization operates two main programs. The first is a Ronald McDonald House, akin to a hotel, open to families with children in the hospital, particularly those from outside the Fargo-Moorhead area. Families are connected with Ronald McDonald House through referrals from hospitals such as Sanford, Essentia, and Prairie St. John's. 22


Each family has its own guest room and access to a large kitchen. Volunteers help cook meals and bake goods for the families. The house also features a playroom, game room, exercise room, and other amenities to create a home-like environment. Families can stay as long as necessary without charge, though donations are welcome. In fact, about 90% of families stay for free. The second program is the Ronald McDonald Family Room within the neonatal intensive care unit at Essentia Health. It serves as an expanded waiting room with a shower, kitchenette, play area, and lounge. Volunteers stock the room with snacks and coffee and are available

to answer questions and offer support to those with a child in the hospital. The Ronald McDonald House ensures families can stay together, rest and recharge to remain strong for their child, interact with families going through similar experiences, communicate with their child’s medical team, enjoy homecooked meals, and receive compassionate hospitality from staff and volunteers. They can focus on the health of their child, rather than grocery shopping, cleaning, or cooking meals. This is all done to reduce stress and financial burden when families must travel far from home to access medical care for their child.

Ronald McDonald House exterior.

A look inside the spacious kitchen, equipped with everything staff, volunteers, and families need to stay nurtured.

One of the greatest partnerships RMHC has is its wonderful volunteers. Over 2,000 volunteers a year, consisting of businesses, churches, families, and more help out by making meals, baking goods, cleaning, and outdoor projects. Some of these individuals come in every week. "These regular volunteers really add to our capacity," CEO Jill Christopher said. "The hours they put in equals more than two

A play area for developing young minds.

additional full-time staff members. It is amazing!" Jill also noted that while there may be a lot of negative things in media and the news, her perspective is to focus on the good that is in the world. She believes there is much of it to share, especially what she's able to experience every day through Ronald McDonald House and the continual generosity of volunteers and the community.

things you may not know about Ronald McDonald House Because McDonald's is a franchise, every McDonald's is individually owned. This ensures that when you donate through Round Up or the donation boxes in-store, your money stays right here in Fargo to support our Ronald McDonald House.

A look inside the bedroom suites.

Every child that stays at the Ronald McDonald House gets to visit the "Magic Room." A secret password opens the door to a room filled with toys and surprises, where they can pick out a special one to keep. For families with infants in the NICU, Ronald McDonald House has a "Petite Boutique," which offers clothes, blankets, diapers, and other supplies for their new little one.

Gaming and entertainment area for family fun. FARGOINC.COM


SPONSORED CONTENT When asked about her favorite part of being CEO of Ronald McDonald House in Fargo, Jill broke it down into two aspects. The first is witnessing the immense generosity of people from all walks of life. This experience offers a refreshing contrast to the often negative news, showcasing the goodness in the world demonstrated by individuals of all ages and generations. "This aspect of the job is incredibly fulfilling for me," she said.

The Magic Room where kids can pick out a donated toy to keep—but they have to say the magic word first!

Her second favorite part is observing families leaving the hospital with their children. While it may seem ordinary, for families who have endured prolonged hospital stays due to serious conditions like cancer, the moment of departure is profoundly significant. The joy of these families, especially when they ring the bell signaling their departure, is heartwarming. It's particularly moving to see them proudly introduce their baby to the staff, a moment many take for granted in normal circumstances. "This experience, being a small part of these families' journey, is deeply gratifying," she said.

Save the date!

The two biggest fundraising events that Ronald McDonald House hosts are Giving Hearts Day as well as the Sweetheart Ball, which is on February 10 at the Delta Hotel in Fargo. The event will include dinner, dancing, a live silent auction, and more.

How to give to Ronald McDonald House On the McDonald's app or in the drive-thru, customers can choose to donate $1 or $5 to Ronald McDonald House, and all of the donations go straight to the house in Fargo. Want to donate your time? Jill and her team are always eager to welcome any volunteers to help out so that they can better serve the families who are in their care. Visit rmhcfargo.org or call 701-232-3980 /RMHCRRV @rmhcfargo

About Jill Christopher Jill Chrostopher's story with Ronald McDonald House goes back to when her nephew's family was receiving support while he was getting a kidney transplant. Jill fell in love with the organization so much that she joined the board in 2008 and later became CEO in 2010, where she has proudly served for over 13 years. "The wonderful part of my job is I get to see the amazing generosity of this community," she said. "We are super fortunate to live in such a giving city. I get to go out, visit with people, and make sure that we're raising money."



Stacy Kennedy Photography


Bridging the Leadership Gap Allegro Group Creates Innovative Approach for Business Transformation

Kara Jorvig Founder/CEO Allegro Group

The capstone session of the Level Up Mastermind is a full-day experience at ConBrio, Allegro Group's lakeside leadership destination. The property provides an immersive environment to allow leaders to break pace from their day-to-day work to focus on gaining clarity, new perspective, and leadership development.

eading a business today is more complex than ever before. The pace of opportunity, change, and technological advancements is intense. Plus, workforce challenges mean many businesses simply don’t have enough strong, effective, valuebased leaders in place. Businesses feel challenged in two areas as it relates to their leaders: clarifying their business vision and strategy, and identifying the leadership skills needed

to support those goals. The problem is so widespread that some surveys show that more than three out of every four organizations today are wrestling with a leadership gap. The results can be devastating. Leadership gaps can lead to poor decision-making, breakdowns in culture, and financial loss as organizations struggle to strategize, innovate, and adapt to changing market conditions. Gaps take a toll on the leaders, too. Without the right competencies and experience, leaders often feel tremendous responsibility, stress, and frustration, leading to executive fatigue and burnout.

To help teams, businesses, and leaders accelerate through their gaps, the Fargo-based talent and leadership transformation company Allegro Group Inc. created its A-Framework. The A-Framework exposes gaps, creating clarity around leadership competencies, experiences, and strengths to support the business goals and strategies needed for team success.

A Transformative Experience All of Allegro Group’s leadership experiences, talent acquisition work, programs, and courses leverage the

What it’s like to join Allegro Group's Level Up Mastermind "There were some gaps in my approach, and the A-Framework that this program lays out helps to identify where those gaps are and how to fill them. You’re then able to look at your development plan holistically and forge a clear path forward." - Ryan Koffler, Manager of Project Management Office, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota 26


“This program allowed me to do a selfaudit and identify areas where I needed more clarity while providing tools to help break it down and create action plans to move forward.” - Jenny Johnson, Director of Client Management, Spotlight

A-Framework. In 2023, the company launched the Level Up Mastermind program—a groundbreaking initiative designed to bridge this leadership chasm in a new way. The program offers a unique blend of leadership education, exercises, and tools to empower participants to build clarity on their goals and take ownership of their development within their organizations. “Most people in leadership roles have not had any sort of training,” said Allegro Group Founder and CEO Kara Jorvig. “It is common for leaders to be promoted because they are strong individual contributors or they have technical or subject-matter expertise. We created the Level Up Mastermind to give these individuals an opportunity to break pace from their day-to-day tactical work to focus on advancing who they are as leaders.” The key to Level Up Mastermind’s success lies in its immersive, focused approach. Each cohort is small, comprising around 20 goal-minded individuals, allowing people to get outside their comfort zone, build new perspectives, and make connections. The eightweek program includes four live, virtual training sessions plus a day-long, in-person experience at ConBrio, Allegro Group’s lakeside leadership destination. Each session includes tools and exercises participants use to activate what they’ve learned and prepare for the next session.

Allegro Group’s in-house studio allows Level Up Mastermind members to participate in the first four sessions of the program live from their individual worksites, creating an interactive experience with minimal disruption to the regular workday.

Throughout the program, participants learn how essential it is to build a personal foundation to give them the bandwidth they need for skill-building, behavior modification, and change. They identify the barriers and obstacles likely to get in their way and find proven strategies to navigate them. “Too many leaders are waiting for someone to give them role clarity and development plans that will get them to the next step in their careers,” Jorvig said. “Our mission with this program is to empower every leader to self-audit and build clarity on what, how, and who they need to be to accomplish their goals.”

"What I love about the Allegro approach and Mastermind program is that it's truly a framework to help you personally and professionally. Starting with your personal foundation and the awareness of who you are and how you show up, it provides the framework to continue to iterate and grow. I've already seen it working for me, and I'm excited to continue it forward." - Abby Huebsch, Chief Growth Officer, Tuffy's Treats

Twenty-one leaders from 15 companies completed the fall 2023 Level Up Mastermind. The eight-week program is a groundbreaking initiative to help organizations bridge their leadership gaps.

About Allegro Group Inc. Talent and leadership transformation company

CEO: Kara Jorvig Founded: 2015 Services: Executive and board advisory, talent acquisition, leadership development, and leadership experiences Footprint: Operations in Fargo, Minneapolis, Vergas, MN, and Bozeman, MT that serve clients across the US Contact: allegro-group.com




Allegro Group Managing Director, Leadership Development Katie Munion's leadership development sessions deliver focused, high-impact training for teams on the leadership competencies most needed in businesses today.

Are You Ready to Level Up? The next Level Up Mastermind cohort begins on February 14. Registration information is available at allegro-group.com/level-upmasterminds. Amy Benedict, the director of sales operations for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, describes completing the Level Up Mastermind as life-changing. “If you are looking for just another leadership program, this is not for you because it’s so much more,” Benedict said. “The person who started the program and the person I am now are not the same, and that’s for the better! I am leaving the program with the knowledge, tools, and skills I need to keep a strong personal foundation, which will no doubt strengthen my leadership and how I contribute to my organization.”

Stacy Kennedy Photography

Allegro Group’s commitment to businesses and leaders doesn’t stop there. In addition to its Mastermind programs, Allegro Group Managing Director, Leadership Development Katie Munion offers leadership development sessions focusing on the top leadership competencies most needed in businesses today. These include effective communication, advancing managers to leaders, problem-solving, delegation, and personal productivity.

“We know how overwhelming it can feel to try to build leadership development training while you’re also working to grow your business and teams,” Munion said. “We want to partner with businesses to understand their development opportunities to help elevate culture, engagement, and performance.”

Businesses can sign up for a custom package of half-day or full-day sessions on the topics that best fit their needs. The sessions are a combination of academic learning, facilitated discussion, and exercises that activate growth and transformation.

If you'd like more information about the Level Up Mastermind, leadership development sessions or other talent and leadership services, contact the Allegro Group team at allegro-group.com to schedule an intro call.

Kara Jorvig is the founder and CEO of Allegro Group, a premier talent and leadership transformation company dedicated to helping CEOs, and executive teams reach their full potential. With over 20 years of experience as a human capital expert, Jorvig serves as an activator and chief advisor to boards of directors, CEOs and senior executives. She has led Allegro Group through rapid growth as it has expanded across the U.S. in tandem with its clients’ growing footprints. In 2020, Allegro Group acquired LEAD 406, a leadership development and experiential learning business based in Bozeman, MT. In addition to leading Allegro Group, Jorvig serves on the board of directors for KLN Family Brands and the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce. 28



Creating Unforgettable Experiences By Josiah Kopp |

provided by WE Fest

E Fest offers an unparalleled opportunity to showcase your brand to a wide audience. WE Fest is unique when it comes to sponsors. Unlike other festivals that offer prebuilt sponsorship packages, WE Fest offers customized packages tailored to the sponsor's objectives. This approach ensures a better experience

for the sponsors and encourages growth by treating every partnership as a connection. In many ways, WE Fest is like a family reunion. The aim is to extend this family-like hospitality to the people who help make the festival possible. According to Mark Bjerke, most of their sponsors are local companies, and they value the ongoing relationship. Becoming a sponsor at WE Fest is accessible with many investment levels and flexible to

deliver just what the sponsor needs. Sponsors can enjoy several exclusive benefits and perks, such as networking with other sponsors in the exclusive areas, including the Prancing Pony Deck, Bacardi Country Club, and VIP hospitality areas. Don't miss out on partnering with one of the country's most innovative and dynamic festivals.

From Mark Bjerke "I'm going to find out exactly your needs. We sit down, we listen to you, and we find out what you want. If this is something that would benefit your business, the best thing to do is get in the door at a level you're comfortable with. Once you’re a sponsor, we will bring you more opportunities when you’re ready to grow with us.”



Exclusive Prancing Pony bar backstage.

Sara Collins COO & Marketing Director sara@wefest.com

Benefits & Perks of being a sponsor at WE FEST Early move-in for set-up Priority on seat upgrades

“Lifestyle Marketing is a powerful tool. Research shows that consumers are more receptive to brands that engage with them during activities they enjoy. People not only associate those brands with fun but trust is built. The impact your brand makes is significantly elevated.” Collins also noted that demand is high and space is limited, so it's an excellent opportunity for people to get in the door while there is availability.

Access to the Prancing Pony Deck Sponsor concierge service Splitting tickets Video commercials on the Jumbotron Exclusive networking opportunities

Meet the Team

Brand alignment, social media, and email marketing

Mark Bjerke

Heather Ware Nelson



Blake Minge





Spotlight Saloon "We were impressed with how dedicated Mark was with ensuring we had a great experience. We didn't know what we were doing and Mark made the process so easy. The WE FEST social media team came out and did a video at our space and pushed it to their followers, which we found valuable. " "We loved that we could check out the space early to tape everything off so we could be prepared. We got to move it early before the other campers arrived, so we were ready when the festival started. We got lots of exposure with signage around the concert bowl and a 30-second commercial that played to everyone in the crowd. We had signage up that we designed and developed websites and we had a few business owners stop by to set up meetings for us to do their websites."

"In 2023, Spotlight launched the Spotlight Saloon in the hospitality area. We had a chance to invite our clients to take part in some festivities before the concerts. It was a great networking opportunity." - Mike Dragosavich CEO, Spotlight

What others are saying

Sponsors like the priority seating and early move-in so they could plan and move in before the festival starts.



Sponsors like the 30-second commercial on the jumbotron and signage throughout the festival.

They appreciate the networking

Sponsors get with other companies in the hospitality area. Business relations are invaluable.

People are having too much fun and won't remember my advertising.

Common Misconceptions Let's debunk some common misconceptions that may be holding you back from being a WE Fest sponsor. You must have an elaborate setup. Spaces vary in size from 10’ x 15’ for a small activation to 30’x 40’ space for room to invite clients. It doesn't have to be a big space. Some sponsors don’t have onsite spaces at all. WE Fest will customize your package to meet your needs.

WE Fest sponsors are appreciated by WE Fest fans. The interaction with customers, employers and peers is very valuable. Sponsors can reach the WE Fest audience before, during and after the festival. Will people even notice me with a smaller sponsorship? The vast majority of WE Fest sponsors return every year. Once you experience bringing your brand to WE Fest, you will likely want to return. Many sponsors start small and grow. Space is limited so sponsors are encouraged to get connected as soon as possible.

Previous local Sponsors

1-833-2WE-FEST /wefest |




Key Considerations When Selecting the Right Cyber Insurance Coverage By NorthStar Technology Group

s your organization prepared to face today’s growing cybersecurity threats? Using the latest technologies is extremely important, but it’s equally essential to ensure that your business has the best cyber liability insurance. Think of it as an invisible shield protecting your organization from devastating losses. However, to utilize its full potential and ensure robust protection, it is critical to have a nuanced understanding of it. Read on to learn more about key things to consider when shopping for cyber liability insurance. But first, it’s good to understand the difference between first-party coverage and third-party coverage:



First-Party Coverage vs. Third-Party Coverage Every business today needs cyber liability insurance. To help businesses quickly respond and recover from data breaches, insurance providers have developed two types of cyber liability insurance: first-party coverage and third-party coverage. Here’s how they differ:

Focus of Coverage First-party coverage » Shields the insured business. » Protects against direct losses and expenses resulting from a data breach. Third-party coverage » Focuses on liabilities from third parties. » Covers claims made by third parties who suffered losses because of the insured business' cyber incident.

Costs Covered First-party coverage » Covers only the insured’s direct costs. » Pays for revenue loss, forensic investigations, data restoration, public relations, and customer notification services. Third-party coverage » Pays for business' legal expenses. » Covers cyber-related liabilities, such as data breaches, privacy violations, and defamation.

Third-party coverage » Benefits third parties, such as a business’s customers, clients, and business partners. » Provides direct protection to those affected by a data breach suffered by the insured business.

Key Things to Consider While Shopping for a Policy

vulnerable. That’s why it’s crucial to know what is not covered by your insurance. Incident Response Make sure that the policy has provisions for developing and implementing a cyber incident response plan tailored to suit your business. Without a well-defined response plan, you won’t be able to effectively respond to a cyber incident. Price Before finalizing a policy, compare and cross-check various policies, especially their costs and unique offerings. Although opting for the most affordable option can be tempting, it is crucial to ensure that the coverage you choose is best suited for your business needs.

Reputation Management

Here are some key points to consider when shopping for a cyber liability insurance policy:

First-party coverage

Coverage Comprehensive coverage is key to reducing the impact of a cyber incident. Your business can become the victim of a data breach or a large-scale cyberattack at any time. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure that the policy addresses cyber risks specific to your business.

Reputation It is also important to do your due diligence and research the insurance company’s reputation. Look for an insurer with a good reputation and positive customer feedback. Choose a company that settles claims promptly, as that is a reliable indicator of the level of support you can expect when you need it.

Limits Evaluate the policy to understand the coverage limits. The policy that you finalize should be able to handle the potential costs associated with a cyberattack, including legal fees, data recovery, and business interruption expenses.

Build a Resilient Future Finding the right cyber liability insurance coverage for your organization can be daunting. However, it can be even more challenging to get a payout when you need it the most. That’s where a dedicated IT service provider like NorthStar Technology Group comes in.

» Pays for expenses related to hiring public relations firms. » Aims to restore the brand image of a business after a cyber incident. Third-party coverage » Primarily focused on handling the legal aspects. » More concerned with defending against claims and settling thirdparty disputes.

Beneficiaries of Coverage First-party coverage » Directly benefits the insurer. » Provides direct protection to the insured party against direct losses.

Exclusions Study the policy outlines to understand what is excluded. Any limitations in your policy can make your business

We can help you improve your chances of securing coverage. Reach out today, and let's build a resilient future together. northstartechnologygroup.com /NorthStarTG


866-337-9096 @NorthStarTechno






SUPPORT? he adage 'It takes a village to raise a child' underscores the importance of community. However, a more encompassing perspective is that it takes a village to build a community itself. To shape the world according to our aspirations, we must collectively strive to enhance every aspect of our community. This involves nurturing our children with love and extending support to our neighbors. In this issue, we feature conversations with various entrepreneurs and organizations to explore the non-profits and causes they endorse. Our aim is to highlight the commendable efforts underway across the metro area, enhancing its quality of life. We also hope to inspire our readers to support organizations that might not have been on their radar previously.




Dr. Karla Wolford

K Geneva Nodland 38


arla Wolford is a Doctor of Chiropractic, holds a Masters in Sports Science and Rehabilitation, is a Licensed Chiropractic Acupuncturist, a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and the owner of Elevate Human Potential and EHP Performance in Moorhead. She has competed at the CrossFit regionals four times. She was named the "fittest female doctor in the world" by CrossFit in 2017 and 2022. The most recent honor came after she finished second in the World for the 35-39 year old Master's Quarterfinals and 13th in the Masters Semininals.

By Brady Drake

What do you support? BIO Girls "We started hosting their strength and conditioning cross-training component in 2020. Since then, I've actually started writing the strength and conditioning programming that goes out to their additional host sites as well. We're working with them to host their teen version coming up this summer. We believe in and support their mission. We think that if we can help work with girls on their physical, mental, and emotional health, they're just going to be so much better off coming into this community. We want to support that." "I grew up in a smaller area, and there was bullying, and a lot of name-calling and cattiness that was happening in some of those later elementary school years. It definitely took a big toll on my confidence and the way I thought about myself. I never had any serious bouts of mental illness, but I look back and there were definitely bouts of depressive times and things that I went through. And I think having a mentor, maybe other than my parents, that could have helped me through that and led me through some of those tougher times and made me realize that I am worth it and that I was beautiful inside and out, would have been a good message to hear."

Heroes Compass "They really help support both veterans and different service personnel like police, fire rescue, and dispatch with mental health and suicide awareness. We did a 22K ruck, which is where you walk with at least 22 lbs on your back or with a vest on. It's 22 lbs to represent the average number of veterans who commit suicide each day. We went from the military cemetery up in north Fargo all the way to EHP back in October and helped raise funds. We're allocating those funds towards veterans or service personnel who want to come to EHP who might need adaptive equipment or might need adaptive programming, depending on whatever they're dealing with." "We're also looking forward to working with Heroes Compass in our upcoming Row-a-thon as well future events. From these funds, we can provide scholarships so that they can come in every day of the week. We want to help them find a place of camaraderie. We have a number of military service personnel who currently come to EHP and we definitely know how big of an impact it's been on them. It's a stress outlet." heroescompass.com

ABLE Games "This is another one we contribute to. Connor McGovern's Organization, ABLE provides programming in local schools where they have able-bodied athletes or kids work with kids who are showing what their abilities are. The ABLE Games are really about bringing that competition floor and that spirit to everybody, no matter their ability level." "At their competitions, they have coability divisions where everyone can compete against one another. I was pregnant last year and I competed with a gal who goes to our gym. She's got a cognitive disability, but she also has cerebral palsy. She is also extremely fit. She actually competed in the scaled division, and she did awesome." "We just really love their mission and want to support it. One of our coaches, Jenny Benesh, was the head of judging and really helped lay out the format for them on a volunteer basis. She does an excellent job of running events." "EHP stands for Elevate Human Potential. And it doesn't matter what ability or disability you have—we want you to reach your full potential. So we do that." ablegames.org



Did you Know? The Moorhead Police Department Pals Program "We had 16 kids come in to workout with a few officers in the group throughout the summer. The officers provided mentorship and they worked out together to show them that they were on the same team and that they wanted them to succeed. A lot of the kids that were coming in were good kids, but they made bad decisions here or there. After the physical fitness components of the day, we always had a mental health component that the officers would lead the kids through." "We hosted that program all last summer and the outcomes we saw were pretty incredible. We're definitely looking forward to doing that in the summers to come." moorheadpal.org

Hope Inc. "They help kids and adults in the area that have limb discrepancy or that are in a wheelchair. They have competitive

EHP is a medical fitness facility. This means that everybody who comes to the facility undergoes a sports physical, movement screening, and fitness assessment. From that, you get an exercise prescription. This allows you to use HSA and flex spending for your membership.

and non-competitive sports for people to participate in, but the big one is sled hockey—one of their athletes is actually trying out for the Paralympic team coming up, which is really cool. We have met with them and we're discussing training programs for bringing in people who want to participate in these competitive sports, but might not have the trainer's knowledge needed to train them physically for what they're going to sustain in whatever sport they're doing. Obviously, if you only have one arm, we need to treat that arm with respect, we need to get stronger, but we also can't take you out of commission. So, we want to be safe and effective in the training that we're doing with them." hopeinc.org

Holiday Throwdown "For the last nine years we have hosted this event in the first week of December. It is a completely charitable event. This year, we had 152 people come in, which is the most we've ever had." "We take 100% of the proceeds that come out of that event, and we give

them away. Every year, we poll our athletes to figure out where they want the money to go. We've done everything from Toys for Tots to Dakota Boys Ranch, CCRI, and 4 Luv of Dog Rescue. Every year, it's been a different organization." "It's a really cool event and it's not just EHP members that are invited—it's everyone." ehpperformance.com

Row-a-thon "Every Giving Hearts Day we do a Rowathon. We row from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. People bring in teams and we aren't doing it for one particular nonprofit or charitable organization. We allow you to come in and bring your team in and pick the nonprofit you want to raise money and awareness for. We just ask you to participate and donate on that day." ehpperformance.com

EHP Performance ehpperformance.com /EHPPerformance @ehpperformance




Weiwei (Vivian) Fellman


ivian Fellman is the founder of Kota Botanics, a North Dakota company specializing in premium hemp CBD and plant-based health supplements.

By Brady Drake

Did youKnow? Fellman opened the state of North Dakota's first store selling premium CBD products back in 2019. Since then, Kota Botanics has expanded significantly. She has even opened a store in Shakopee, MN!

Josiah Kopp 42


Did you Know?

Fellman was featured on the inaugural cover of Spotlight's Trendsetters Magazine!

What do you support? No Kid Hungry "No Kid Hungry is a national nonprofit organization that we found that provides resources to help fight childhood hunger. They have a lot of different programs and as a mother of two, fighting childhood hunger is very important to me. We started to contribute to them around the time we launched our own branded products. I had always wanted to give a meal for every product purchased, but we just needed to do some research and figure out the right organization. We chose this one because we believe in their mission." nokidhungry.org

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley "We always donate to Ronald McDonald during Giving Hearts Day. It's personal to us because when my second son was born, we had to spend four weeks in NICU at the Minneapolis Masonic Children's Hospital and were accepted to stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis. That experience really opened my eyes to how amazing the organization is."

"We've also donated to Alzheimer's organizations, AAPI Hate, and we plan to donate a portion of our profits in the future to local animal shelters."

Kota Botanics kotabotanics.com /kotabotanicswellness @kotabotanics






n a world constantly seeking inspirational figures and transformative leaders, there is Erik Hatch. As the founder of Hatch Realty and Hatch Coaching, Erik is all about helping people. However, those efforts don't stop with his business. Erik is also a very strong supporter of one particular nonprofit in the metro.

By Brady Drake CONTINUED J. Alan Paul 44


Did you Know?

Erik Hatch is the author of two books: "The Perfect Real Estate Agent Blueprint" and "Play For The Person Next To You"

What do you support? Unseen "Supporting Unseen has been a transformative experience for us. Unseen is a local nonprofit that works to tirelessly combat human trafficking and its root causes. Over 50 million individuals, including an estimated 10 million children, are trafficked across the globe today—that's not okay." "Unseen's approach resonates deeply with our commitment to social responsibility. As a nonprofit, they focus on accelerating the growth of antitrafficking organizations, addressing

not only the immediate challenges of human trafficking but also its underlying causes." "Our businesses exist to serve people exceedingly well and eradicating human trafficking is something I'm wickedly passionate about. This is a global crisis that needs intervention if we want the world to be the place we want it to be."

Hatch Coaching hatchcoaching.com /HatchCoaching @hatchcoaching





A Jack Yakowicz

dShark is a marketing team dedicated to helping customers through performancedriven marketing. Some of their services include SEO, PPC, social media marketing, and web design.

Director of Operations submitted by Jack Yakowicz 48


By Brady Drake

What do you support? HOPE Inc. "Our team loves competing in the adaptive sled hockey tournament every year, and it gave us a profound sense of appreciation for the great work that HOPE Inc. does to provide all kids a chance to compete in sports. With many of our team members having a background in athletics, we know how valuable the life lessons that come from youth sports can be." hopeinc.org

Hope Blooms "We have both volunteered with Hope Blooms and helped with their website needs. This organization exists to spread happiness—and as (aspiring) happiness spreaders ourselves, it is an organization that is perfectly aligned with ours." hopeblooms.org

Great Plains Food Bank "Our team loves volunteering with Great Plains Food Bank (GPFB) and helping prepare dry goods and additional food needs for shelters across the region. GPFB is a Fargo-based business that aims to have a bigger impact across the region and nation—and we can always get behind that." greatplainsfoodbank.org

American Advertising Federation of North Dakota (AAF-ND)

program provides students with an opportunity to be content creators, and as a social media agency, it is perfectly aligned with our organization."

"We have been a proud sponsor of this organization for the past three seasons, and have had multiple team members serve on their board of directors. As advertisers ourselves, we will naturally always be in support of an organization that looks to connect and advocate on behalf of advertisers in our state."

AdShark Marketing



adsharkmarketing.com /adsharkmarketing @adsharkmarketing @AdSharkFargo @adsharkmarketing

Eventide "We have loved supporting Eventide with marketing help, volunteers, guest speakers, and sponsorship. It's a great not-for-profit in our community that provides a really important service to seniors in Fargo-Moorhead (and beyond). Our love for seniors across the team is huge, so the entire staff appreciates how we support this group." eventide.org

Head to page 112 to see John Machacek's 10 Questions for AdShark Marketing Founder Rick Berg.

Folkways "We've always admired what Folkways has done for our community. When they launched their 'Creatorship' program, however, we were even more excited to find a way to support! This




Maddie Craig


addie Craig, founder of Blue Cypher Bookkeeping, is a detail-oriented entrepreneur with a love of finance and an eye for efficiency. She is a Fargo, ND native and Minnesota State University Moorhead alumna. Maddie understands the importance of accurate financial data and loves digging into the data to pull out the full story of her client’s financial picture. She loves seeing clients able to make confident business decisions and support their businesses and nonprofits as they grow. Her mission is to make bookkeeping easy, efficient, and understandable for small business owners and nonprofit organizations. She and her team take care of the day-to-day bookkeeping and accounting tasks all year round, freeing up leaders to focus on what they love and take their ambitions and vision even further.

By Brady Drake CONTINUED provided by Maddie Craig 50


Did you Know?

Maddie Craig's Blue Cypher Bookkeeping was named one of the Top 50 Accounting Services in the US in 2023 by Woodard.

What do you support? United Way of Cass-Clay "I'm a big fan of United Way, even more so after I went through their 35 Under 35 program in 2022. They do a lot more for our community than many often realize! I like their focus on long-term improvements for the community's well-being as a whole. Also, I really appreciate how they involve many regular folks and volunteers from the community in setting goals and deciding where funds go to local organizations and partners in the FM area and keep things community-led, focused, and driven." unitedwaycassclay.org

Heart-N-Soul Community Cafe "I love their mission and how present they are in the community for such a



specific need. Everyone deserves to eat and have access to a warm meal! Their concept of having people 'pay it forward' is great so anyone can enjoy their delicious meals, and also give extra as they are able to in order to support their mission of providing meals to those who can't afford them. They provide much-needed meals and support to many in the community and you can tell their volunteers truly care!" heartnsoulcafe.com

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley "I've seen friends and family who have had a wonderful experience with this local nonprofit when their children were in the hospital. They do an amazing job of supporting families in many ways during these often stressful and

challenging times! It can truly make a huge difference in relieving some of the burden on families so they can focus solely on their families during these times." rmhcfargo.org

Blue Cypher Bookkeeping bluecypherbooks.com /bluecypherbooks


Tyler Holland

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yler Holland is the chief culture officer for Great Plains Transport Inc., a company with 250 trucks, 300 trailers, and 300 employees. "The biggest reason I was excited to do this article is because I wanted to shed a light on the fact that it doesn't take a lot to make a big difference," Holland said. "I know that we are very fortunate and that being in a company with 200-plus people gives us the platform to give back and make a difference, but when a lot of people are doing even just a little bit, you can get a lot accomplished. Plus, who doesn't feel good about giving back?"

By Brady Drake

What do you support? The United Way "We first did their school supply drive a few years ago and it really opened me up to see the potential to make an impact I had at Great Plains Transport. With the size of our organization, even if we get just 10-20% participation, we can make a big impact. The next thing we did was their workplace campaign— this year, we were able to be on the speaking panel for their training they put on. We've also sponsored a hole in their kid's charity golf tournament and we were also a sponsor of their Community Kickoff Event." "We really like that they work to help those that are less fortunate in our community. We like that the focus is on homelessness and food insecurity." "Another awesome thing for our business, which has employees all over the country, is that they can give dollars to the United Way and designate their donation so that it goes to a chapter of the organization that is near them." "Ultimately, we love The United Way and we are so honored to have been nominated for their 2023 Rising Star Award." unitedwaycassclay.org

HOPE Inc. "Hope Inc. provides sport and recreation for individuals and families with mobility challenges. Throughout the year, we will sponsor a couple of teams to play sled hockey, adaptive basketball, and softball." hopeinc.org

Nexus PathLuther Hall "Luther Hall is a residential treatment facility for adolescents, ages 11 to 17. They're usually there for about 9 to 12 months on average and it has 24hour supervision. I started there out of college and worked there for about seven years. So, it's got a pretty special place in my heart, knowing what these kids go through and the help they need. You try and provide just a glimmer of hope for them. With a little bit of work and showing that they have support and care, they can just live a positive life for themselves."

enough money last year to refurbish their family visitation room." nexusfamilyhealing.org

BIO Girls "My wife works at BIO Girls and they're a great organization. BIO Girls in on a mission to improve the self-esteem in adolescent girls through empowerment of self and service to others. Great Plains has helped support their mission by volunteering to pack supplies to be distributed to their various sites." biogirls.org

Great Plains Transport greatplainstransport.com /Great PlainsTransport

"Over the last three years, we raised enough money to sponsor all the kids during the holidays and get everything on their wish lists. We even raised




Peter Chamberlain


eter Chamberlain, the Founder of WalkWise, has made a significant contribution to the field of healthcare technology. His brainchild, WalkWise, is a pioneering technology designed to enhance the safety and independence of older adults using walkers. This smart technology attaches to the traditional walker and provides insightful data, such as activity levels and potential safety concerns, to caregivers and family members. Chamberlain's inspiration for WalkWise stemmed from his personal experience watching the struggles his grandparents had as they aged. His mission to help extends beyond his own company.

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By Brady Drake

What do you support? HERO "I serve on the board of directors for HERO, which stands for Healthcare Equipment Recycling Organization. The reason I got involved with the organization is because in my work with WalkWise, we are mainly dealing with people who are physically disabled in some way. And what I've seen a lot in that is that people just don't have the right equipment for themselves to be able to live independently and for them to stay healthy. It's just a matter of how the system works with healthcare and the fact that insurance and Medicare won't reimburse for certain items at certain times. This causes a lot of issues for people especially if they incur further costs because they fall because they don't have the right equipment. What I saw in HERO was an organization that is making it a priority to get this equipment to the people that need it. They're taking durable medical equipment that would otherwise be thrown away by hospitals because of one bureaucratic reason or another and giving it to people who need it. We're able to offer this equipment at low cost or no cost to people. So, regardless of financial

situation, people are able to get the basic medical necessities they need."


"I've been part of the board for six years now and they have helped so many people who have faced dire medical situations like paralysis get the equipment they need."


walkwise.com @walkwisefamily


Emerging Prairie "I think it's really important for people to know that Emerging Prairie makes this community what it is. They make it possible for entrepreneurs to succeed and a lot of the stuff that they do isn't necessarily visible, and they don't necessarily take credit for it. Yet, the people in the know know what's happening. They know why certain things are happening, why legislation is getting passed, and why certain groups are coming to North Dakota—it's because of the work Emerging Prairie is doing and I don't know if they always get the credit for everything that they do." emergingprairie.com




D J Colter

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ome people in the community just go above and beyond—DJ Colter is one of those people. Raised in a family of educators, Colter initially followed in his parents' footsteps but soon discovered his entrepreneurial spirit, leading him to a successful career in insurance, real estate, and a host of other business endeavors. However, those personal pursuits don't keep him from making a deep impact in the community he has come to love.

By Brady Drake

From Teaching to Business "I should have gotten a business degree," Colter said. "My parents were both teachers so that's what I took in school. I went to Montana and I was mainly there to play football. So, I got the teaching degree."

if I didn't like it, there could be possible management opportunities due to potential expansion into Montana," Colter said. "My goal was to eventually get back to Montana, but 20 years later, here I am."

From there, Colter went out to the Portland area, met his wife, who was born in North Dakota and went to college in North Dakota, and began teaching. It took a few years for him to find his new path.

Colter stayed in the Fargo area for a host of reasons, but the thing that first set him on the path towards staying was a book he read called "Rich Dad, Poor Dad."

"I just got back here and was pheasant hunting during Christmas break in 2003 and the territory manager with American Family Insurance had this opening in Fargo and they asked if I wanted to try it. And they told me that

"That book taught me how money worked," Colter said. "Back then, you could buy a rental with almost 100% financing, so I bought a rental property over by Concordia College. From there, I started selling insurance and got into some other real estate stuff."

By 2010, Colter was well on his way to his goal of owning 10 businesses—he owned 8, including Mr. Fields Cookies in the mall. "I was close to my goal, but I realized I was spreading myself too thin," Colter said. "I realized it's better to swim in deep waters with a few things instead of shallow waters with a lot of things. So, I sold out on a bunch of companies between 2011 and 2014 until I had just three, and the insurance agency really took off and I was able to start buying locations and we became one of the bigger Am-Fam agencies in the Midwest."

The Importance of Giving According to Colter, the success of his business and the spirit of giving are tied at the hip.

to do it for business either. I have never asked someone I have served with or for their business—it just happens."

"I probably have a different marketing concept than a lot of people in the sense that I've really tried to just help people," Colter said. "I kind of go by the Givers Gain concept from the book 'Givers Gain: The BNI Story.' I've tried to serve on a lot of boards and serve in a lot of different ways—I have been blessed tenfold. It's amazing. I don't try

"I'm probably like this because I was raised by teachers," Colter said. "My dad taught me how to be a servant leader. My dad was a school superintendent in a small town and I remember my dad going over and watering the football field in the summer. He didn't need to do that—he was the superintendent. He would get to the school early in the

morning and make breakfast for all his janitors and all his staff. I watched him serve and not talk about it."




About DJ Colter Agency

DJ Colter Agency is an insurance agency foucisng on auto, home, business, farm, and life that represents American Family Insurance and many other companies. They have locations in Fargo, Grand Forks, Rugby, and Cando and are licensed in 30+ states.

The Importance of Giving The YMCA Of Cass & Clay Counties "I serve on the board for the YMCA. The President of the board asked if I would serve on it and I originally said no because I know how important the work they do is and I wanted to make sure I had enough time to do the job the right way. Thankfully, they made it work for me. The YMCA helps so many people in the region with childcare and fitness and I'm proud to be a part of it." ymcacassclay.org

YoungLife "Another board I serve on is YoungLife. My good friend Jason Boutwell asked me to join that board. There are a lot of kids that don't have a lot of support and YoungLife is a great organization that gives support to young people. My two daughters went to their Castaway Club camp in the summer and they didn't want to leave. There aren't a lot of opportunities anymore for kids to go to things like this where they can make this level of connection with others. So I serve there because it has been amazing to my kids." younglife.org



Horace Lions Club "They just do things for kids. They take all the money they raise and give it to kids organizations in the area." /horacelions

Horace Hawks Booster Club "I'm really excited to serve on the Horace Booster Club, which helps raise funds so that kids in grades 6-12 can be involved in activities that are crucial for their development." horacehawksboosters.ocm

Valley Christian Counseling Center "I also serve on the board for Valley Christian Counseling Center, which I'm really proud of. Mental health is a huge thing. It's awesome to see all of the families who support Valley financially and it makes us realize that we all need help physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually." valleychristiancounselingcenter.com

Fellowship of Christian Athletes "I'm also on the board for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which is really near and dear to my heart. What Nate Safe has done with that organization is amazing. That organization has helped so many kids and coaches in our region and it's just exploding. Sports have always been a love for me and I was blessed to recieve a scholarship that payed for my college." fca.org

Emergency Food Pantry "I used to be on the board for the Emergency Food Pantry and that is such a great organization. I tell people to go down there and serve once. If you do, you'll see the need that is there immediately. You'll also see how lucky and blessed you are. They make $1 go so far—it's amazing." emergencyfoodpantry.com


Patrick Metzger


atrick Metzger is the CEO/Founder of The Greenhouse. He is a serial entrepreneur, EOS implementer, business coach, podcaster, and speaker who is deeply passionate about helping the business community in Fargo-Moorhead.

By Brady Drake Hillary Ehlen 62


What do you support? Waterworks "This one is really dear to us. Mark Anderson, the father of the founder, is a good friend of mine. His daughter, Sawyer, is only 14. I had her on my podcast and what she has done with her nonprofit is amazing. She has raised over $1 million for people in Zambia to have clean water." "It's so special that she wants to help people and that she has that global perspective." "We've donated to her charity the past few years and we have also attended her charity gala, which is pretty awesome." "I knew that there were people out there who didn't have access to clean water, but you don't really understand the scope of things until you have all of the information in front of you. We take things like that for granted every day living where we live. You turn on the faucet and you never expect horribly infected water to come out, but not everyone has that."

Matthew's Voice Project "Back in the fall, we did a coat drive with Sandy's Donuts. Sandy's kind of functioned as a drop-off point for the coat drive. We were able to collect well over 100 different coats, mittens, hats, and gloves for kids experiencing homelessness in the FM area."

The Greenhouse growing4success.com /TheGreenhouseBusinessCoaching @thegreenhousebusinesscoaching /thegreenhousebusinesscoaching

"As a former educator, I was aware of the issue firsthand. There are kids that don't have the simple amenities. It's so important to give those kids a chance and the basic things they need for survival. People don't realize how many kids in this community are showing up to school in survival mode. Some kids are hopping from one couch to the next and learning is not their top priority, it's survival. Matthew's Voice Project is a fantastic organization that is working to help out." matthewsvoiceproject.com






Maple Family Dental


aple Family Dental, a veteranowned and operated company located in Horace, ND, prides itself on community involvement, education, and excellence in dental care. The practice, steered by the husband-wife duo of Dr. Jonathan Bultema, DDS, and Tara Bultema, Oral Health Educator, is not just a practice—it's an integral part of the community. "Maple Family Dental is here to care for our community and families through the many changing seasons of life. We are thrilled to be a constant source of quality comprehensive dental care and encouragement through life’s ups and downs," Dr. Bultema said. Their engagement extends to collaborative efforts with the ND Department of Health, facilitating Preventative Dentistry in local schools. Maple Family Dental is involved in the Red River Dental Access Clinic and Donated Dental services as

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By Brady Drake

volunteers. Their community outreach doesn't stop at the local level. Maple Family Dental’s contributions span across homeless shelters, nonprofit organizations, overseas dental missions, toy drives, food drives, and sponsorships. They are ingrained in

community events, epitomizing their tagline: “We Care About YOU...And Your Teeth.” Since its inception seven years ago, Maple Family Dental has educated thousands through their oral health

education initiative, staying true to their mission of caring about people, serving through dentistry, and influencing the community for the Glory of God. Through their unwavering commitment, they continue to foster a culture of education, experience, and excellence.

What do you support? Local People and Organizations "Our motto is, 'We Care About YOU... And Your Teeth.' And we stick to those principles. People will reach out to us for help and we try to support local people and organizations as much as we can. An example would be someone doing a fundraiser through Lend a Hand Up for someone who just came down with a cancer diagnosis. We often support by donating our services to silent auctions, such as teeth whitening or new patient exam and x-rays." "Horace is a growing community and there are new sports and family activities coming to our area, and we want to help make our community better by supporting those things as well."

New Life Center "New Life Center is such a pillar of support for those homeless in our region. We support them financially, with dental services (through the Genesis Program) and with sock, mitten, and clothing drives through Life 97.9." fargonlc.org

CAMcares "CAMcares is an organization created in memory of Camden (9) and Maxwell (19 months). We want to continue to carry on their big hearts by giving and blessing others and spreading kindness. Currently, they hold a yearly toy drive and a CAMcares award at a local school to give to kids in need."

Do It Well Inc Haiti Eye Mission "We love doing dental mission trips to Guatemala, and we know teeth! We like to support Haiti Eye Mission because they know eyes and their mission is fabulous!" haitieyemission.com

"Do It Well was started in memory of Jeremiah Solhjem, a boy who loved legos and blessing other people. We do LEGO drives and they give LEGOs and action Bibles to kids in tough situtations, to give them encouragement and hope." /lifedoitwell

The Perry Center "The Perry Center housing, resources, and mentorship for young moms who are pregnant and experiencing difficulties. This can be a lonely and scary time for these mothers and it is great that we have organizations like this to support them." "Those are trying times in the lives of people and we want to be there in life's ups and downs." perrycenter.org

Toothbrush Ministries "There is a toothbrush ministry that is actually not run by us. They collect toothbrushes and distribute them to people in need." toothbrushministries.com

Maple Family Dental maplefamilynd.com /MapleFamilyDentalND @maple_familydental



How to Attract Gen Z to Your Workforce How to Win the Hearts (and Resumes) of the Next Wave By Grant Ayers

he arrival of Generation Z (Gen Z) into the workforce brings forth a new wave of potential, armed with unique traits, preferences, and expectations. As a business owner looking to tap into this dynamic generation's capabilities, here are some key strategies to consider for attracting the next generation.



Boosting Employer Branding: Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool among Gen Z. As they share their positive experiences of working on impactful projects, your organization's reputation as an employer of choice can spread organically. This can attract other Gen Z talent who are seeking similar opportunities to make a difference.

Impactful Projects for Employees Offer challenging and purposeful projects that allow Gen Z employees to make a meaningful contribution early in their careers, fueling their motivation and sense of accomplishment. Fostering Purpose-Driven Work: Gen Z is known for its strong desire to work for organizations that prioritize social responsibility and contribute positively to society. By offering impactful projects that address real-world challenges or support causes they care about, you tap into their drive to create a better world. When Gen Z employees can see the tangible results of their efforts, they feel a deeper sense of purpose and fulfillment in their roles. Accelerating Learning and Development: Challenging projects push Gen Z employees to expand their skill sets and take on responsibilities that may be beyond their initial job descriptions. This rapid growth not only benefits them personally but also enhances their value to your organization. As they navigate complex projects, they acquire new knowledge and experience that contribute to their professional development and long-term career success. By entrusting them with impactful projects, you provide a platform for them to showcase their creativity and fresh perspectives. These projects encourage out-of-the-box thinking, leading to innovative solutions that can drive your business forward.

Growth Mindset Culture Gen Z is ambitious and seeks continuous personal and professional development. Highlight your company's emphasis on embracing challenges, learning from failures, and cultivating a growth mindset—a factor that resonates with Gen Z's desire for personal and professional development. Furthermore, demonstrate how your company provides ample opportunities for skill enhancement and career progression. Embracing Challenges and Learning from Failures: Gen Z individuals are renowned for their willingness to take on challenges and explore uncharted territories. By showcasing your company's commitment to embracing challenges, you send a clear message that you value their drive for growth and innovation. Create an environment where calculated risks are encouraged, and employees are empowered to step outside their comfort zones. Highlighting stories of past challenges that led to valuable insights or breakthroughs can inspire and connect with Gen Z employees, igniting their passion to contribute to your organization's success. CONTINUED > FARGOINC.COM


Learning from Failures as Stepping Stones to Success: The concept of learning from failures resonates deeply with Gen Z's mindset. Rather than viewing failures as setbacks, position them as opportunities for growth and learning. Share examples of how your company has turned failures into stepping stones to success, demonstrating a culture that values resilience and adaptability. Encourage open conversations about failures, where employees can openly discuss their experiences and the lessons they've gained. This not only fosters a sense of camaraderie but also reinforces the idea that failures are integral parts of the growth journey.

Z employees will have access to a wealth of resources designed to support their growth trajectory and long-term career goals. A Collaborative and Inclusive Environment: Gen Z is passionate about their personal and professional development. Highlight the various avenues your company offers for skill enhancement, career advancement, and continuous.

Professional and Personal Development Opportunities: Gen Z is passionate about their personal and professional development. Highlight the various avenues your company offers for skill enhancement, career advancement, and continuous learning. From mentorship programs and workshops to e-learning platforms and leadership opportunities, showcase how your organization invests in employees' growth. Emphasize that by joining your workforce, Gen

Employee Resource Groups

As the Gen Z cohort enters the workforce, it's essential to adapt your strategies to accommodate their unique preferences and values. One powerful tool in achieving this is the implementation of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), designed specifically to engage and empower Gen Z employees. Creating a Sense of Belonging: Employee Resource Groups provide Gen Z employees with a platform to connect with likeminded peers who share similar backgrounds, interests, and experiences. This sense of belonging is particularly vital for Gen Z, who value diversity, inclusion, and a strong sense of community. By participating in ERGs, Gen Z employees are more likely to feel seen, heard, and valued within the organization. Fostering Professional Development: ERGs offer Gen Z employees opportunities for professional growth and development that align with their passions and career goals. These groups can organize workshops, seminars, and networking events tailored to Gen Z's interests, helping them build essential skills and knowledge in their chosen field. Additionally, ERGs can provide

aforementioned mentorship opportunities, allowing Gen Z employees to learn from experienced professionals within the organization. Enhancing Employee Well-Being: Employee well-being is a key consideration for Gen Z. ERGs can play a role in supporting Gen Z employees' mental and emotional well-being by providing a safe space for open discussions about work-life balance, stress management, and personal growth. When employees feel supported and understood, they are more likely to be motivated, productive, and committed to the organization's success. Promoting Cross-Generational Collaboration:

ERGs can facilitate cross-generational collaboration and knowledge sharing. Gen Z employees can learn from the experiences of older generations, while also contributing their technological savvy and fresh perspectives. This exchange of ideas can drive innovation and lead to more well-rounded business strategies.


for advancement. Transparent evaluations not only fuel healthy competition but also enable them to track their progress. Continuous Learning Opportunities: Emphasize access to online courses, workshops, and certifications that your organization provides. Gen Z is drawn to employers who offer avenues for continual learning and skill enhancement. Inclusive Decision-Making: Demonstrate how your company values input from all levels of the workforce. Gen Z craves meaningful involvement and seeks environments where their ideas are considered, fostering a sense of ownership and faster engagement.

Rapid Advancement Paths Emphasize accelerated career paths based on performance and skill acquisition. Gen Z values quick progression; demonstrate how your organization promotes internal growth. For businesses aiming to attract Gen Z talent, the emphasis on rapid advancement paths is a strategic choice that requires careful implementation. Understanding Gen Z's Desire for Swift Progression: Born in the digital age, Gen Z is marked by their inherent fluency with technology, a penchant for innovation, and an appetite for learning. They're not just looking for a job; they're seeking an opportunity that aligns with their vision for career advancement. To capture their attention and commitment, businesses need to showcase how they offer an environment where swift progression is not just a promise but a tangible reality. Tailored Skill Development: Outline how your organization facilitates continuous skill acquisition. Gen Z is eager to expand its skill set and welcomes employers who invest in its growth. Highlight training programs, mentorship opportunities, and access to cutting-edge technologies that empower them to hone their skills. Transparent Performance Metrics: Gen Z thrives in environments where their efforts are recognized and rewarded. Demonstrate how your company establishes clear performance metrics, providing a roadmap



Innovative Workspaces Create dynamic work environments that promote creativity and collaboration. Gen Z seeks out-of-the-box spaces that inspire innovation and teamwork. Designing for Inspiration: Gen Z is drawn to environments that ignite their creativity and stimulate fresh ideas. Traditional office cubicles are giving way to open, dynamic spaces that incorporate elements of nature, vibrant colors, and versatile layouts. Incorporating natural light, living plants, and artful decor can contribute to a more invigorating and inspiring atmosphere, fostering a sense of well-being and heightened cognitive function.

Flexibility and Choice: A hallmark of Gen Z's work style is the appreciation for flexibility. Providing a range of workstations, from communal areas to quiet nooks, empowers them to choose the setting that suits their task and mood. Flexibility extends beyond physical spaces; embracing flexible work hours or remote work options can enhance their sense of autonomy and work-life balance. Collaboration Zones: Gen Z thrives on collaboration and values collective brainstorming. Designating collaborative zones equipped with interactive whiteboards, comfortable seating, and cutting-edge technology encourages spontaneous idea-sharing and problemsolving sessions. These spaces cultivate a sense of camaraderie and contribute to a culture of innovation.

Gen Z By The Numbers • A Deloitte study revealed that 83% of Gen Z believe a diverse and inclusive workplace is essential. • A FlexJobs survey found that 86% of Gen Z respondents believe work flexibility is crucial. • According to a McGraw-Hill Education survey, 86% of Gen Z students prefer a mix of digital and in-person learning.

Feedback-Driven Culture Highlight your commitment to regular feedback and performance evaluations. Gen Z craves constructive input and appreciates employers invested in their growth. Creating an Environment of Continuous Improvement: Gen Z employees are known for their enthusiasm to learn and improve. A feedback-driven culture resonates deeply with their aspirations, offering them a platform to continuously refine their skills and contribute meaningfully to the company's success. Establishing an ongoing feedback loop empowers Gen Z team members to actively participate in their development journey, enhancing their job satisfaction and sense of ownership.

• A LinkedIn study revealed that 91% of Gen Z value mentorship, emphasizing the importance of mentorship programs. • According to a survey by Kantar Millward Brown, Gen Z spends an average of 3 hours per day on social media.



Customizing Feedback for Development: Effective feedback goes beyond annual reviews. Gen Z values personalized and timely input that guides their growth. Implement a multi-tiered feedback approach that encompasses regular one-on-one check-ins and peer evaluations. This tailored approach not only helps Gen Z team members track their progress but also fosters open communication, reinforcing their belief in the organization's investment in their future. Transparency Breeds Trust: A feedback-driven culture thrives on transparency. Gen Z values honest and direct communication. By openly discussing their performance, acknowledging their contributions, and addressing areas for improvement, you cultivate a sense of trust and mutual respect. This, in turn, strengthens their loyalty to the organization and encourages them to actively engage in their role. Furthermore, embrace their input by actively seeking their feedback on various aspects of the business, from process improvements to creative initiatives. By treating feedback as a two-way street, you create a collaborative environment where Gen Z feels valued and empowered to contribute to the company's growth and innovation.

Recognizing and Celebrating Growth: Highlight instances of growth and improvement to showcase your commitment to Gen Z's professional development. Recognize achievements, no matter how small, and celebrate milestones as a testament to their progress. By publicly acknowledging their efforts, you reinforce their sense of accomplishment and reinforce the idea that growth is a continuous journey.

Attracting Gen Z talent to your B2B enterprise requires a strategic approach that aligns with their unique preferences and values. By embracing technology, fostering a collaborative culture, offering flexibility, providing growth opportunities, showcasing social responsibility, authentic branding, and promoting diversity and inclusion, you can position your business as an appealing destination for the next generation of skilled professionals. Remember, tapping into the potential of Gen Z not only fuels your business's growth but also contributes to shaping a more vibrant and innovative workforce.

Leveraging Technology for Seamless Feedback: Gen Z is a tech-savvy generation accustomed to digital communication. Leverage technology to facilitate seamless and efficient feedback processes. Implement user-friendly feedback tools, digital platforms, or apps that allow Gen Z employees to share their thoughts, seek guidance, and receive input conveniently.



Enjoy the Article? Check out our previous issue of Fargo INC! for more tips on attracting Gen Z to your workforce!

By the Numbers See a snapshot into North Dakota's job market! We've covered key employment stats as of 2023, including job openings, total jobs, and more. Understand the state's median salary, wage growth, and unemployment rate at a glance—check it out!


Job openings as of October 2023 Bureau of Labor Statistics


Gross job gains between December 2022 and March 2023 Bureau of Labor Statistics

439,000 Total jobs as of October 2023 Department of Numbers

Continued 74


By the Numbers $64,200 Median annual salary


Always Designing for People

Job opening rate Bureau of Labor Statistics


Growth in wages from 2022 to 2023


Unemployment rate as of October 2023 Bureau of Labor Statistics



Always Designing for People

By the FMWF Chamber of Commerce

Christopher Guith, Global Energy Institute, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

David Houge, ND Senator

Tammy Miller, Lt. Governor

Midwest Energy Summit Breaks Viewership Record n November 29, the Midwest Energy Summit returned to the FMWF area for the third year, bringing together national leaders, experts and executives to unpack the immense impacts, trends, opportunities and challenges related to the energy sector. Beyond the individuals and leaders in attendance on November 29, the content of this summit reached thousands of livestream viewers across several states, thanks to our 31 committed cohosting chambers and associations, and our dedicated media partners. Keynote speaker and Senior Vice President of the U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute Christopher Guith laid the groundwork for the discussion, sharing his expertise of the energy sector and stressing the importance of energy security. Guith covered the current state of the geopolitical landscape for energy and how there has been a lot of uncertainty when



it comes to energy across the globe, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic and the variability in job security, erratic prices, historic under investment, and ‘regulatory tsunamis’ that have now left a mark on where energy stands today. Guith was sure to leave a lasting impression, reminding us that, The transition into alternative energy cannot go any faster than the pace of innovation. The good news is that there is overwhelming consensus across science and engineering about what these technologies are probably going to be... but you can’t let go of the rung you’re hanging on until you have a firm grasp of the next one.” We need our next steps to be backed up by technologies, infrastructure and solutions—which are still a work in progress and will take time.

North Dakota Senator David Hogue also attended the event, introducing the importance of policy and our community’s involvement in important discussions around this topic. Senator Hogue introduced North Dakota Lieutenant Governor Tammy Miller, as she joined us to moderate a conversation with industry experts Jeff Davidman of Delta Airlines, Mike Swaney of BNSF Railway, and Denver Tolliver of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute around the global energy landscape and its impact on transportation. Davidman, Swaney, and Tolliver each offered their unique perspectives on the transportation industry and how they can utilize sustainable fuels and innovation to contribute to North Dakota’s goal to be carbon-neutral by the year 2030. Much of the conversation centered around the impact of federal and state legislation on the industry, addressing topics such as taxes, regulations, and decarbonization. The panel also discussed challenges in adopting new technologies, discussing costs, availablity, and infrastructure. They concluded by stressing the collaborative

Jeff Davidman, VP of Government Affairs, Delta Air Lines

Wade Boeshans, Executive Vice President, Summit Carbon Solutions

effort needed for solutions, with Davidman emphasizing the Midwest’s potential for Sustainable Airline Fuel (SAF), Swaney advocating for increased rail utilization, and Tolliver highlighting the exciting, high-tech future ahead. By 2030, Delta Air Lines wants 10% of our jet fuel to be replaced by SAF. We use four billion gallons a year of jet fuel, 10 percent of that is 400 million. There were only 15 million gallons of SAF produced in the U.S. last year— so just for Delta, we have to increase that. We have to get from 15 million gallons to about 3 billion gallons per year [of SAF] for the airline industry by 2030.” - Jeff Davidman, Delta Air Lines

We have plans to test a hydrogen fuel cell locomotive in the next few years. I would say the next bridge after renewables, is if we could introduce a hybrid locomotive. So if we’ve got the cleanest, tier four locomotives, burning renewable diesel… augmented by batteries, that might get us an additional 10 to 15% of fuel. We are already the cleanest

form of land transportation, so we see this natural transition. We’ve got a plan for 2030 and beyond and are considering what our options could look like.” – Mike Swaney, BNSF Railway

Charles Gorecki of the Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) got on stage to highlight the EERC’s impact and importance in the region. He also explained the potential uses of hydrogen and its role in addressing environmental challenges. Gorecki discussed the legislation surrounding hydrogen and introduced the Heartland Hydrogen Hub, urging community involvement and awareness. The event concluded with a panel discussion on Carbon Capture, Utilization, Storage, and Transportation, with panelists Wade Boeshans of Summit Carbon Solutions, Andrew Sorbo of Minnkota Power, and JohnHamling of the EERC and moderator Christopher Guith. This discussion hit on topics such as the expansion of carbon capture, regional challenges and the importance of collaboration between industry, community and business leaders. Closing remarks emphasized

the significance of continuing crucial conversations and collaborations for a prosperous future in the Midwest. At the end of the day, energy and agriculture represent 70% of North Dakota’s economy, and the markets are demanding lower carbon energy, and likely in the future, lower carbon food. That is our livelihood. Without that basis of understanding of why we are doing this, and then an understanding of how we do it safely and how do we address your concerns... I think the solution is collaboration and education.” – Wade Boeshans, Summit Carbon Solutions

Learn More About Our Midwest Summits



Premier Sponsors

he 2023 Midwest Energy Summit was our largest summit yet, with over 300 leaders convening in person and 7,311 livestream viewers tuning in from markets across the Upper Midwest. The Chamber would like to thank Premier Sponsors, Cass County Electric Cooperative and Xcel Energy; our 31 co-hosting chambers and associations, our media partners for broadcasting the message and all of our sponsors and attendees. Your growing engagement is what makes this series successful and elevates our voice and impact as an entire region. To our business community: please continue to get more involved in these conversations and efforts. Speak up to your legislators, share this information with the community and spread education around the pressing topic of energy that will affect our region, and nation, for many years to come.

Silver Sponsors

Event Production Sponsor

Corporate Sponsors



Media Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Event Photography Sponsor

» Bank of North Dakota » Border States » Eide Bailly LLP

Venue Sponsor

» Lignite Energy Council » North Dakota State University

Our nation, communities and businesses continue to grapple with a tight labor market, foreign conflict, challenges related to inflation and elevated interest rates, and significant economic uncertainty as we look to 2024. The Midwest Economic Outlook Summit on February 22 will serve as a crucial platform for economic experts, leaders across various industries and policymakers from across the nation to convene in Fargo Moorhead West Fargo for a timely and comprehensive discussion on the current and future state of our economy.

Over 7,300 viewers tuned into the previous Summit livestream

Thursday, February 22 8 to 11 a.m. CST Delta by Marriott and livestreamed across Upper Midwest

Who should attend » Business owners, operators, managers and… » Your key staff and emerging leaders » Top clients and partners » Nonprofit and association leaders and… » Your key staff or board members » Your community partners and stakeholders » Education leaders and… » Your key staff and educators » Interested student clubs and leaders » Professionals looking to… » Connect with economic and financial pros » Meet local and regional business leaders » Learn more about our local and regional economic drivers

» Find out what’s next for our economy This event is co-hosted by 30+ chambers and associations and will be livestreamed to professionals and communities across Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

This is an opportunity to learn more about where our regional and national economies are headed, examine significant trends, discuss the major challenges that might lay ahead for businesses and organizations, and understand how we can be agile and prepared to respond to this evolving environment. Developing and maintaining a vibrant economy is essential to the continued growth and health of the Upper Midwest; we hope you join us and represent your business at this major event and critical discussion.

A look back at the previous Midwest Economic Outlook Summit KEYNOTE SPEAKERS Douglas Duncan of Fannie Mae and Ron Feldman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis pulled the curtain back and gave attendees and viewers an in-depth look at the current state of various facets of our economy, as well as their predictions for the upcoming year. At this past summit, Duncan predicted a mild recession in 2023 with a comeback in 2024, with the dominant theme being “Americans awaiting improvements in affordability,” especially as it relates to the housing market and manufactured goods.

Experience the 2024 Summit! 82


Bill Brooks

Geographer, FBS

Some of my favorite videos to watch on YouTube are the ones that ask people what they do for a living. It gives an opportunity to get a glimpse into the life of professionals in various industries. What it also does, which is my favorite part, is highlight jobs and career fields that I didn't even know existed, or at the very least, jobs maybe I've heard of but definitely don't understand the true ins and outs. Recently, I had the privilege to sit down with geographer Bill Brooks, who is the director of GIS services for FBS, and learn more about his profession in geography and working with map data.

I Didn't Know You Could Make a Living Doing That! A glimpse into the world of maps and data with Geographer Bill Brooks By Josiah Kopp | Photos provided by FBS



Brooks collects parcel data for FBS to make data available to users on tools like Flexmls. Above you can see a user has drawn a variety of shapes that playfully resemble a house. Using those shapes, the user can find homes for sale only within those shapes. This function allows users to create their areas of interest when looking at properties.

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Brooks has always seemed to have a particular interest in geography and maps. "I've loved maps for as long as I can remember," he said. That interest carried him into college at the University of North Dakota, where he initially went to be a pilot, knowing there was a lot of overlap between flying, geography, and maps. However, during his aviation training, Bill found himself more intrigued by the maps and aviation charts he used for navigation than the actual flying itself. He decided to switch his major to geography and later graduated with his graduate certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). He later moved to Fargo, where his wife, Emily, was from, and began working with a company called Navteq (Navigation Technologies at the time), working on their world team in mapping various locations across Europe, Russia, and Asia. It was at this time he

began operating his own mapping consulting business, working on various projects in FargoMoorhead. "When I was doing mapping consulting, a lot of that involved using spatial data to allow people to elaborate on questions they may have," Brooks explained. One example was a company that wanted to have a better understanding of traffic counts and how that would directly correlate to the product that they wanted to sell, which was billboards. With social online ads (like Facebook), you're able to hone in on what groups of people you want to reach—a target audience. What Brooks is able to do with the power of spatial data is see where different layers of data overlap and help advise businesses on where the most ideal locations are. For the billboard company one layer of data might show where young families are living, and another

layer might show where high levels of daily traffic are—and where those places that overlap might provide the most ideal spot for a billboard. His work eventually caught the interest of FBS, which eventually brought him on their team as the director of GIS services. In fall 2023, Brooks celebrated his 17th year with FBS, and has been a part of some really unique projects that have expanded well beyond the Red River Valley. "When I came on board with FBS, they brought me in to do a lot of work with local counties to acquire imagery data and parcel data (plat maps), so people could understand where their property lines are," he said. "Basically, I helped build the mapping platform that we have today. I also helped build a process to [gather] all of these wonderful public sector data parts, as well as some private sector data parts."



Clicking on a listing on the map provides details about the listing.

The largest part of Brooks' job is working directly with counties and federal agencies to get the data that FBS is wanting—and when it comes to satellite and imagery data, Google has a lot of it. Like, a lot, a lot, and they do an amazing job at collecting it, which makes Brooks' work all the more efficient. "I've been working with [Google] for years now, just because they do a wonderful job of updating [their data] and a lot of our major clients sectors," he said. As the director of GIS services, Brooks' department focuses primarily on acquiring data, and then spatially manipulating it to fit various projections. Take an earth globe from a classroom, for example, and compare it to a flat world map. The way many countries are projected onto a flat map are dramatically different in size, due to the fact that you're taking one projection and making it spatially fit onto another projection.



Considering this example, it's easy to see how valuable spatial data is, especially when Brooks is working with two different clients, and one client needs a set of data projected differently to make it fit the needs of their project. "A lot of the technical work we do is a lot of projection transformations, to make sure things are seamless, because different counties, and even different states, can use different projections to allow them to get a more accurate representation of what that round globe looks like as a flat map," he said. "And of course, as you get closer towards the earth, you can try to get a better idea of what a flat map looks like—and as you're pulled out further, of course, it gets a little more round." Essentially, Brooks and his team work with quite literally millions upon millions of parcel data across North Dakota. What's even more interesting, however, is that he works with mapping data worldwide, from

Romania to Guam, and basically everywhere in between. Fargo is a wonderful city, no doubt, but one might not think Fargo has much play on a global level. Yet, FBS is constantly building relationships and connections with other countries in sharing and transforming map data to give more tools and information to help build better communities. "From the GIS side, we have to have a better understanding of how our projections are going to work in those particular [international] areas," Brooks said. "In Mexico, it's not as bad, as we're simply getting closer to the equator. So, it's not as pronounced as something like Romania, which is in a completely different hemisphere. It's unbelievable [to comprehend] the amount of coverage we have, [especially] when you think about this company in Fargo. But we have such an amazing reach."

What surprised me the most about this industry Bill Brooks on the evolution of mapping data "The sheer amount of data that is available would be one [thing that surprised me]," Brooks said. "We've seen such amazing strides in mapping data since I started." For example, there were a couple of counties in Wisconsin that used to charge $16,000 for their parcel data. Compared to today, most counties are all free, although there are still a few that ask for payments in the $1,000 range, and even California had a few data sets that cost six figures to acquire. "It was shocking to see how much public data would cost," he said. If a student wanted to acquire the data for a project or a company wanted to acquire the data, it wasn't always a simple process to access it. But over time, more and more states are offering their data to be accessed for free. "But now, what's amazing and shocking is how much counties have

come together," he said. "And states have come together to create massive repositories for data. States like Florida, Montana, and Utah, among others, are all now free to access, and it's helping drive more connectivity between counties and states." "That's a wonderful thing—when you look at that public sector of spatial GIS data, it's amazing to see where we're going because they're literally getting every county on the same page and making it so that anybody can get the data for free—which is great because, of course, our tax dollars go directly towards the development of GIS spatial data within the public sector." There is so much information and data available publicly, and if you want to see, for example, where the flood zones are in relation to your neighborhood, you can bring up Fargo's interactive GIS website and see where all the flood zones are and gain a better understanding of your property.

We've seen such amazing strides in mapping data since when I started." - Bill Brooks

Want to explore GIS maps in North Dakota for yourself? Scan the QR code and browse the endless data sets for North Dakota, including boundaries, elevation, water, and more.



Users can explore a variety of property types on the map alongside local points of interest.

Where data is heading in the next 10 years "If you think about it, everything comes down to spatial data," Brooks said. As map apps on our phones become more immersive with things like Yelp and Google reviews and traffic flow, this information acts as a sort of cornerstone for the "social conscience" of a neighborhood, as Brooks put it. One of the big hot data sets that a lot of companies are selling right now is spatial data for school zones. Things like school attendance, graduation rate, and crime rates are data points that are going to become more and more organic and publicly available. These various social layers of data are going to be game-changers in helping families decide not just where they want to live, but also help them better understand the proper value and price of the home and property for where they want to live.

With Google Street View, and even Apple joining the game with their own take on Virtual Reality with Vision Pro, more and more data is being collected and shaped to where we will see a more and more detailed virtual representation of our real world—and it's just going to get more and more detailed and life-like. Take apartment and home hunting, for example. One can now tour an entire 3D representation of a living space from the comfort of your couch, helping you plan things like where the furniture will go before you've ever even stepped foot inside. And the spatial imaging is also going to get better and better. Camera technology is improving and more and more companies, especially realtors, are hiring drone photographers for better

virtual tour experiences to offer to clients. Then there's something called a walkability score, which is data that companies like Walk Score analyze to then help index scores for rentals and apartments in relation to how close they are to highly-reviewed points of interest, like restaurants, bars, shopping, and so on. These are all realities now, yet they are going to evolve and become even more immersive and powerful in the coming years as more and more data is harvested.



I guess I'm a map nerd. I literally thrive on maps, travel, and having the ability to interact with different people of different cultures, and just geek out on maps." - Bill Brooks

Overlaying boundary data like ZIP codes allows users to have a better understanding of a property's location.

How Fargo is leading the way "The amazing thing is from a real estate MLS vendor standpoint, we put Fargo on the map, because I've had connections with thousands of counties across the US simply by what I do [at FBS]," Brooks said. He works on behalf of their local real estate agencies through the Real Estate Association and Multiple Listing Services (MLS) and creates relationships between local counties and their local real estate agents. He also shows what he and his team at FBS are doing in Fargo in building

this amazing software for the agents to use. With flood mapping, for example, there are counties in other states that are beginning to come online with their interactive maps like Fargo has, and that's when Brooks takes the opportunity to say, 'Hey, these are some of the cool interactive maps Fargo has built.' And he and his team of GIS professionals use that as an open door to provide insight on best practices and what they've used that

has worked well for Fargo that other cities could benefit from. In short, Fargo is helping other cities become better cities. "I guess I'm a map nerd," Brooks laughed. "I literally thrive on maps, travel, and having the ability to interact with different people of different cultures, and just geek out on maps. Spin the globe and put your finger on it and see if you can get there someday."

Does your company need spatial data for a project? Connect with Bill Brooks and the FBS team of professionals by visiting wearefbs.com or call 701-235-7300 90


By Brady Drake

for meetings, conferences and events! rom state-of-the-art arenas to cultural centers, the diversity in places that host events, meetings, and conferences in the FM area is truly impressive. Whether you're planning a corporate event, a nonprofit gathering, or a large-scale conference, this area's array of venues caters to every need and style, making it an ideal destination for events of any scale. However, the abundance of options can be overwhelming. That's why we rounded up a few for you to consider.



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Cellar 624 Cellar 624 is a unique and intimate venue in downtown Fargo, boasting a charming atmosphere with brick accent walls and oak tables. The highlight is its custom-built wine cellar, offering a selection of unique wines from around the world. This venue is perfect for small to medium-sized gatherings, offering a cozy and sophisticated setting. 624 Main Ave, Ste 1, Fargo, ND 701-951-9440 cellar624.com



The FARGODOME is a versatile venue known for hosting large-scale events. With a seating capacity of up to 25,000 for concerts and 18,700 for football, it’s ideal for major conferences and exhibitions. Its array of meeting rooms and high-tech amenities cater to both large and small groups.

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1800 N University Dr, Fargo, ND 701-241-9100 fargodome.com

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Fargo Theatre The Historic Fargo Theatre, built in 1926, is a distinguished venue on the National Register of Historic Places. It offers two auditoriums for events, accommodating a variety of functions from film series to concerts and plays. The theatre's historic charm and modern facilities make it an ideal location for unique events, including corporate presentations and film screenings. 314 Broadway N, Fargo, ND 701-239-8385 fargotheatre.org





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Suite Shots Suite Shots is an innovative and lively venue combining entertainment with event hosting. It offers a unique blend of golfing experience with climate-controlled suites, making it perfect for team-building events, casual corporate gatherings, and social get-togethers. Its modern amenities and relaxed atmosphere provide a fun and engaging environment. 3400 James Way S, Fargo, ND 701-532-4653 suiteshots.com on

Concordia College

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Concordia College offers a beautiful campus with diverse options for meeting and gathering spaces, perfect for events of various sizes. The college caters to a range of events including conferences, workshops, banquets, educational seminars, and private events. Concordia provides amenities like catering, dining services, housing, and digital media services, all backed by a team dedicated to excellent customer service.


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Jasper Meeting Space Located in the Jasper Hotel, the Jasper Meeting Space features a 3,800-square-foot Continental Ballroom with a 1,500-square-foot outdoor terrace, suitable for events of up to 250 people. The Great Northern Boardroom caters to executive meetings for up to 18 guests. The total space is 6,500 square feet, with various room sizes available, including two parts of the Continental Ballroom and a 5th Level Outdoor Terrace, offering flexibility for different event types and sizes. 215 Broadway N, Fargo, ND 701-532-2150 jasperfargo.com




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Drekker Brewing: Brewhalla Drekker Brewing's Brewhalla offers a distinctive setting for events of any size, from small parties to large corporate events. This brewery venue is known for its vibrant atmosphere and can provide a memorable experience for various types of gatherings. Their adaptable facilities cater to a wide range of event needs.


1702 1st Ave N, Fargo, ND 701-532-0506 brewhalla.co

Prairie Den Prairie Den, located in downtown Fargo, offers three distinct meeting spaces. The venue is equipped with art, fast internet, dual monitors, and a multi-use printer. The available meeting spaces include The Vault, suitable for small classroom setups, The Main Room for larger gatherings, and The Board Room, which can accommodate up to 12 guests in a banquet setting. This venue is ideal for intimate, technology-driven meetings or small gatherings.

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122 ½ N. Broadway, Fargo, ND 701-491-8550 theprairieden.com



Fargo Air Museum Event Space The Fargo Air Museum offers a unique venue with a oneof-a-kind meeting space alongside vintage aircraft. The facility can accommodate up to 1,200 guests and allows outside catering and licensed bar service. Equipped with a new advanced air filtration system, state-of-the-art sound, and lights, it's perfect for various events including corporate dinners, customer appreciation events, and more. The museum's total space is 22,500 square feet, making it ideal for large-scale events. 1609 19th Ave N, Fargo, ND 701-293-8043 fargoairmuseum.org



Financial Fitness for Entrepreneurs Timeless Practices for Long-Term Success By Grant Ayers

avigating the business landscape as an entrepreneur can be likened to a challenging obstacle course. While creativity, innovation, and perseverance are all essential attributes for success, an often overlooked component is financial sharpness. Simply put, understanding the financial ins and outs of your business is crucial. In this article, we will delve into some vital strategies for managing your finances effectively, covering topics such as budgeting, cash flow management, investment strategies, and contingency planning.




Your Business's Financial Roadmap We'll start with the cornerstone of financial management: budgeting. Imagine embarking on a cross-country road trip without a map or GPS—chances are, you'd get lost. The same principle applies to business. A budget serves as your financial roadmap, offering a clear overview of income, expenses, and what you can afford to reinvest in the business. Crafting a robust budget isn't just about jotting down numbers. It entails thoroughly understanding your revenue streams, fixed and variable expenses, and setting achievable goals that align with your business objectives. This often involves a keen review of past performance, current trends, and future projections. Consistency is key—updating your budget should be a regular exercise, not a once-in-a-blue-moon task. This allows you to adapt to market conditions, tackle unforeseen expenses, and seize new opportunities without jeopardizing the balance sheet.

Cash Flow Management

The Lifeblood of Business Staying solvent—that's the essence of cash flow management. No matter how stellar your product or service is, if you can't maintain a steady inflow of cash that exceeds your outlays, the lifespan of your enterprise could be shorter than anticipated. The importance of proper cash flow management cannot be overstated. Keeping tabs on accounts receivable, optimizing inventory levels, and scrutinizing payment terms with suppliers are integral steps for ensuring liquidity. What's more, monitoring cash flow doesn't merely prevent insolvency but also allows you to make informed decisions. When you know how much money is coming in and going out, it's easier to evaluate the feasibility of a new project, allocate resources efficiently, and, ultimately, achieve sustainable growth. As we continue through this article, we'll explore the prudent ways entrepreneurs can think about investment strategies and contingency planning—two additional pillars that support the financial foundation of any successful business. At this point, we've scratched the surface of budgeting and cash flow management—two cornerstone elements of achieving long-term financial fitness as an entrepreneur. But as any seasoned business owner will attest, the journey to financial stability involves much more.

Investment Strategies Growing Your Financial Muscle

While keeping your business afloat is undoubtedly crucial, it shouldn't be your only financial goal. For long-term sustainability and growth, your capital needs to work as hard as you do. Intelligent investing can be your ticket to not only surviving but thriving in the competitive business arena. The word 'investment' often evokes images of stock portfolios and real estate, but for entrepreneurs, it begins much closer to home—inside the business itself. Reinvesting in your operations can take multiple forms: upgrading technology, expanding your team, enhancing marketing campaigns, or even launching new product lines. The key is to make data-driven decisions. Analyze your return on investment (ROI) meticulously meticulously to ensure that every dollar spent works towards your broader business goals. Outside of reinvesting in the business, diversification should be a focal point. It's a principle that holds just as true for your business portfolio as it does for personal finance. Diversification could mean branching out into different markets, offering complementary services, or putting surplus capital into a balanced mix of assets, be it bonds, stocks, or other revenue-generating instruments.

Contingency Planning Preparing for Rainy Days

They say, "Hope for the best but prepare for the worst," and when it comes to business, this adage rings especially true. Contingency planning is about looking ahead and envisioning both the good times and the bad times. You might have a well-crafted budget and a flawless cash flow system, but unexpected occurrences—a sudden market downturn, supply chain disruptions, or even natural disasters—can blindside any business. The first step in building a strong contingency plan is risk assessment. Identify the vulnerabilities in your business, be they operational, financial, or market-related. Once these risks are mapped out, you can proceed to develop strategies to mitigate them. This could involve setting aside a financial cushion, diversifying suppliers, or taking out appropriate insurance coverage for various business components. In summary, savvy investment strategies and well-thought-out contingency plans are instrumental in fortifying your business against both expected and unexpected hurdles. As we continue in this article, we'll offer more in-depth advice and actionable tips for mastering these financial practices, ensuring you're well-equipped for a successful entrepreneurial journey.


Networking Matters

Did You Know?

Networking can impact your net worth. A Harvard Business Review article found that 95% of people say face-to-face meetings are essential for successful business relationships.

Entrepreneurs between the ages of 45 and 64 make up the largest age group of new business owners, per Guidant Financial.



A Deep Dive into Financial Tools and Resources Managing finances can be an intricate process, but fortunately, you don't have to go through it alone. There's an array of financial tools and resources available that can streamline various aspects of financial management. From budgeting software that integrates with your accounting system to sophisticated analytics tools that can forecast cash flow, technology can be a valuable ally. Consider leveraging tools like QuickBooks for comprehensive accounting, or apps like Mint for budgeting and personal finance tracking. There are also industryspecific solutions tailored to unique needs; for example, retail businesses might benefit from point-of-sale (POS) systems integrated with inventory management. If you're unsure which tools are best suited for your business, don't hesitate to consult with financial advisors or peers in your network.

operate in silos, consumed by the day-to-day challenges of running a business. However, it's essential to step back and seek the wisdom of those who've navigated similar challenges. Be it financial planning or crisis management, a trusted mentor or business advisor can offer not just expert advice but also a fresh perspective. Don't underestimate the power of industry networking events, online forums, or even social media channels focused on entrepreneurship. Here, you can share best practices, learn from others' experiences, and even collaborate on joint ventures that make financial sense for all parties involved. Financial management is indeed a multi-faceted endeavor, requiring not just individual know-how but also effective utilization of external resources and a supportive community. As we move forward in this article, we'll wrap up with key takeaways and an actionable checklist that every entrepreneur can use to assess and improve their financial fitness.

The More You Know

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers various low-interest loans and grants for entrepreneurs.

The Kauffman Foundation provides an array of resources for entrepreneurs, including educational articles, webinars, and programs.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers tax deductions on home offices, startup costs, and even meals and entertainment expenses.

Peer & Mentor Support

Never Underestimate Its Value When it comes to achieving financial fitness, peer and mentor support can be invaluable. Entrepreneurs often



Did You Know? Color Matters: In a study called “Impact of Color on Marketing," researchers found that up to 90% of snap judgments made on products can be based on color alone, depending on the product.

SCORE offers free mentorship and business counseling for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Key Takeaways

The Pillars of Financial Fitness As we've explored, the pillars of financial fitness for entrepreneurs consist of budgeting, cash flow management, smart investing, contingency planning, leveraging financial tools, and leaning on peer and mentor support. Each element is integral to creating a sturdy financial framework for your business. Budgeting: Consistently update and adapt your budget to align with business goals and market conditions. Cash Flow Management: Vigilance in managing inflows and outflows ensures liquidity and informs better decision-making. Investment Strategies: Reinvesting in your business and diversifying your portfolio are essential for growth and stability. Contingency Planning: Identifying risks and preparing for unexpected challenges will safeguard your business in volatile times. Financial Tools: Leverage software and analytical tools to streamline financial operations.

The Financial Fitness Checklist Take Action Today

To put these principles into practice, we've prepared a handy checklist: Regularly Update Your Budget: Set a schedule to review and update your budget monthly or quarterly. Monitor Cash Flow: Implement tools or software that provide realtime cash flow insights. Evaluate Investment Opportunities: Before taking the plunge, conduct a thorough ROI analysis for any potential investments. Conduct a Risk Assessment: Identify areas of vulnerability in your business and make plans to mitigate those risks. Research and Implement Financial Tools: Choose software that aligns with your business needs and financial goals. Seek Mentorship and Networking: Identify industry events, join online forums, and seek out mentors to broaden your knowledge base.

Peer and Mentor Support: Networking and mentorship provide invaluable perspectives and can open doors to new opportunities.

Statistics for Consideration 82% of businesses that fail do so because of cash flow problems, according to a U.S. Bank study. Companies that plan grow 30% faster than those that don't, according to a study by Palo Alto Software. According to a report by Visual Capitalist, nearly 40% of startups fail because they run out of funding. Per a Fundera study, 50% of small businesses are homebased. The average ROI for email marketing is $42 for every $1 spent, according to HubSpot. According to a 2020 QuickBooks survey, 30% of small business owners have no savings. 65% of adults believe that entrepreneurship is a good career, according to a Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report.




Financial Fitness is a Marathon, Not a Sprint Achieving and maintaining financial fitness is an ongoing process. The entrepreneurial world is both dynamic and unpredictable, which makes financial vigilance not just beneficial but essential for long-term success. The practices discussed in this article aren't meant to be one-off exercises but rather habits to incorporate into your day-to-day business operations. Remember, in business, as in life, there are no guarantees. However, arming yourself with financial knowledge, strategic planning, and a proactive approach significantly tips the scales in favor of success. Keep revisiting your financial strategies as your business evolves, and don't hesitate to consult financial advisors or mentors when you encounter new challenges or opportunities.



These can provide bite-sized, easily digestible information that you can apply immediately.

Resources for Further Learning

Financial Advisors: A one-on-one relationship with a certified financial advisor can provide tailored advice that fits your unique business needs.

The journey to financial fitness doesn't end here. Continuous learning is key. Below are some recommended resources that can help you deepen your financial expertise: Books: Titles like "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries or "Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs" by Karen Berman and Joe Knight provide valuable insights into financial management and business strategy. Online Courses: Websites like Coursera and Udemy offer courses on everything from budgeting to investment strategies, often led by industry experts. Webinars and Podcasts: There are countless quality webinars and podcasts focused on financial management.

In conclusion The road to financial fitness is one that requires intention, commitment, and ongoing effort. But with the strategies and resources outlined in this article, you're well-equipped to navigate the complexities of financial management in the entrepreneurial landscape.

By Geneva Nodland

How to Your Digital Handshake aybe you've heard it before, maybe you haven't—regardless, most professionals will tell you how important it is to have an updated, complete LinkedIn profile. We're here to tell you the truth about the network, and give you some tips and tricks to creating the best profile to not only sell yourself to employers but to network with your community and to feel confident in your resume!

In the ever-evolving job market, where first impressions are increasingly made online, a polished LinkedIn profile isn't just a nice-to-have; it's your digital handshake. Whether you're a seasoned executive or a fresh-faced apprentice, an up-todate LinkedIn profile is a vital tool in your career toolbox. Let's break down why it's essential and how you can make yours stand out, regardless of your age or career path.

Why Does It Matter? Over 700 million users strong, LinkedIn is where professionals mingle, recruiters scout, and opportunities knock. • First Impressions Count: Think of your profile as your online business—it's often the first thing a potential employer or client will see. • Beyond Job Hunting: It's not just for job seekers. LinkedIn is a platform for building a network, showcasing expertise, and staying informed about your industry.

How to Linkedin Your LinkedIn profile is your career storybook—write it well. • It's a networking tool, not just a job search engine. • Tailor your profile to your career level and aspirations. • Keep it updated, engaging, and visually appealing. • No matter your age or career, LinkedIn is a key player in your professional success.



Do I Really Need It? Some argue that LinkedIn is just another social media time sink, or unnecessary for certain trades. But in a world where digital presence is synonymous with professional presence, can you afford to be the missing piece in the networking puzzle? No matter your trade, no one is exempt from the "online stalk" that anyone with access to the internet does. When a potential employer or coworker Googles you, or really when anyone Googles you—it might make you feel better to know there's a reputable profile highlighting your best qualities at the top of that search.

Special Tips for Different Career Paths White-Collar Professionals Showcase Thought Leadership

update these regularly to reflect your growing skill set.

Publish articles or share insights on industry trends. This positions you as a knowledgeable player in your field. Participate in relevant LinkedIn groups by contributing to discussions and sharing your expertise.

Network Expansion

Highlight Technical Skills and Certifications Include any technical skills, software proficiency, or certifications that are relevant to your field and

"Today, a white-collar worker generally refers to a professional who works in an administrative or office job, and a blue-collar worker is a professional who performs some type of skilled or manual labor. In contrast to how blue and white-collar workers were perceived in the twentieth century, in today’s society, the type of work does not define a person’s education or social class." - from a LinkedIn News article, October 2022

Don’t hesitate to reach out with personalized messages to establish meaningful connections. Visual Portfolio For roles in marketing, design, or content creation, use the feature to add multimedia elements to your experience section (e.g., presentations, videos, design work).

Blue-Collar Professionals Showcase HandsOn Projects Add photos or brief videos of projects you’ve worked on, especially those where you played a significant role or learned new skills. Highlight any unique or challenging aspects of these projects. Certifications and Training List any trade certifications, safety training, or apprenticeships. These are crucial in many blue-collar industries and add credibility. Remember to update your profile as you complete additional training or renew certifications!

Recommendations From Supervisors and Peers Request recommendations from supervisors, peers, or clients who can speak to your work ethic, skills, and on-the-job performance. Personal testimonials can be very powerful in industries where trust and reliability are paramount. Practical Skills Listing Be specific about your skills. For example, instead of just “welding,” list the types of welding you’re proficient in— plus, include any specialized machinery or equipment you are experienced in operating.

By tailoring your LinkedIn profile to your specific career path and staying active on the platform, you can significantly enhance your professional visibility and open up new opportunities for career advancement!



How To: Linkedin

How to: Craft a Profile for All Ages and Stages Skill Showcase: More Than Just a List List skills that are relevant to your desired career path, but also include soft skills like teamwork and communication. Seek endorsements and recommendations from colleagues, mentors, and managers. They add credibility and a personal touch to your profile.

Making Connections: Networking Know-How Start with a Bang: The Headline and Summary Your headline isn't just your job title. Make it a catchy elevator pitch about who you are and what you bring to the table. Summaries should tell a story, not just list skills. Think of it as a professional bio that highlights your journey, aspirations, and unique value.

Experience and Education: The Meat and Potatoes Detail your work experience and education, but keep it crisp. Tailor it to reflect the skills and experiences most relevant to where you want to go, not just where you've been.


If you're unfamiliar, you "connect" with other profiles on LinkedIn, like you "friend" other profiles on Facebook; so when making connections, remember quality over quantity. Connect with individuals in your industry, alumni, and groups that align with your career interests. Engage with your network through thoughtful comments and sharing relevant content. Be a contributor, not just a consumer!

Profile Aesthetics: The Visual Appeal A clear, professional headshot is a must. It's like a firm handshake in digital form. A personalized URL is easier to share and looks cleaner on business cards.

Keeping It Fresh: The Power of Updating Regularly update your profile with new skills, accomplishments, or portfolio pieces. It shows you're active and evolving in your career.

For students and new grads

For the experienced professionals

Focus on internships, volunteer work, and relevant projects. Show your eagerness to learn and grow.

Highlight recent roles and achievements that reflect your current career trajectory.


How to: Custom URL Log into your LinkedIn profile. Click on your profile picture or the 'Me' icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage, then select 'View Profile.' On the right side of your profile page, look for the 'Edit public profile & URL' link. This will direct you to a new page for public profile settings. In the right-hand section titled 'Edit your custom URL,' you'll see a URL link that includes your name. Click the 'Edit' icon next to this URL. Your custom URL can contain 5-30 letters or numbers. Do not use spaces, symbols, or special characters. A good practice is to use a variation of your name that's professional and easy to remember. For example, (http://www.linkedin.com/in/johndoe). If your name is common, you might need to get creative by adding your middle initial, industry, or professional designation (e.g., JohnSmithCPA). After choosing your new URL, click 'Save' to update your profile.

How To: Linkedin

How to: Professional Headshot

Researching Local Talent: A Breeze in Fargo-Moorhead Booking a photographer for your professional headshot in Fargo-Moorhead is easier than you might think. With a ton of local talent, your photographer is just a few clicks away— Google, explore websites, check out online portfolios, and read reviews! Social media, particularly Instagram, is also a goldmine for discovering local photographers' work and style. Many photographers have an online booking system, making scheduling a session both convenient and flexible.



Budget Friendly Headshots Understandably, not everyone has the budget for a professional shoot. If that's your case, don't fret! Taking your own headshot is a viable alternative. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when DIYing your headshot.

Camera Quality Matters Use the best camera available to you. A DSLR camera is ideal, but many modern smartphones come equipped with excellent cameras that can do the job.

Lighting is Key Natural light works wonders. Position yourself near a window with soft, indirect light. Avoid harsh sunlight or dark, poorly lit rooms.

Background Choose a neutral, uncluttered background. A plain wall or a simple outdoor setting free from distractions works well.

Dress Professionally Wear what you would for a job interview. Solid colors are typically best, avoiding overly busy patterns that can distract.

Camera Positioning The camera should be at eye level and not too close to avoid distortion. If using a phone, use the back camera for better quality. Speaking of, grab a friend, a parent, or even a nicelooking stranger to help you with this—meaning, no selfies! Tip! Many smartphones have a portrait mode that helps to focus on the subject and blur the background.

Natural Pose and Expression Aim for a natural, approachable look. Practice your smile in a mirror; it should be genuine but professional.

Test and Review Take several shots with different angles and expressions. Use basic editing tools to adjust lighting and crop the photo. Avoid over-editing; the goal is to look like the best version of your natural self.

Your Digital Footprint in the Professional World Your LinkedIn profile is more than just an online resume; it's a living, breathing narrative of your professional journey. No matter the season of your career, your LinkedIn profile is a gateway to opportunities and connections in the modern workforce. Craft it with care, keep it updated, and watch as it opens doors to career paths you've yet to explore! Now, go forth and network like a pro—your future self will thank you!

A Guide to DUI Laws in North Dakota s a criminal defense attorney at SW&L Attorneys, the most common question I get asked outside of work is “What should I do if I get pulled over after drinking?” This is a valid question. However, the answer is far more complex than one might think. There are many factors and scenarios that must be considered. If you take away one piece of information from this article, it should be to ALWAYS request to speak to an attorney when you encounter law enforcement.



Photo by Josiah Kopp


BY ADAM JUSTINGER Attorney, SW&L Attorneys

DUI laws are complex and ever-changing. North Dakota’s DUI laws are found under N.D.C.C. 39-08-01. When people think of DUI they generally think that an individual blew over a “.08.” However, this is only one of the five ways an individual can be charged with a DUI in North Dakota. Under state law, an individual can be charged with driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle if: 1) they have an alcohol concentration of .08 or more within two hours of driving or actual physical control of a vehicle; 2) the person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor; 3) the person is under the influence of any drug or substance or combination of drugs or substances that renders that person incapable of safely driving; 4) the person is under the combined influence of alcohol and any other drugs or substances to a degree which renders that person incapable of safely driving; or 5) the individual refused to submit to a chemical test of their blood, breath, or urine. In order for law enforcement to stop your vehicle, they must have a reasonable articulable suspicion that a crime has been or is being committed, unless an exception applies. For example, a simple traffic violation could support the seizure of your vehicle. Generally, this is how law enforcement makes contact with a driver. Generally, law enforcement also takes into account the

time of day, the day of the week, and the overall driving behavior. During a DUI investigation, law enforcement conducts a three-phase detection process.

PHASE ONE: VEHICLE IN MOTION Phase One is known as “Vehicle in Motion.” During this phase, law enforcement makes initial observations of the vehicle, the stop, and the driver. Law enforcement is trained to look for a variety of different clues. These can include traffic violations, whether the vehicle stops appropriately, has varying speeds, fails to use its signal, fumbling of driver’s license or registration, difficulty exiting the vehicle, difficulties with motor vehicle control, balance problems, etc. This is a non-exhaustive list but it describes a multitude of different observations a law enforcement officer is making during the stop. When driving a motor vehicle, it is always recommended to obey all traffic laws. This should reduce your contact with law enforcement. However, if you are stopped by law enforcement, it is important to stop promptly, in a safe manner/location, and to use the appropriate procedure/signals. It is also important to properly provide your license, registration and/or insurance when requested. If the officer is going to detain you and have you exit the vehicle, be mindful of your balance and how you exit the vehicle. Although

there are innocent explanations for some of these clues, law enforcement generally will attribute these observations to impairment.

PHASE TWO: PERSONAL CONTACT Once the stop is complete, an officer moves on to phase two of his investigation. During this phase, law enforcement is trained to use their sense of sight, hearing, and smell. Using their vision, officers will look for certain clues such as bloodshot eyes, alcohol containers in the vehicle, or soiled clothing. They will use their hearing to try and determine if you have things such as slurred speech, you admit to drinking, or you have inconsistent responses. They will then use their sense of smell to try and observe an odor of alcohol, drugs, or other cover-up odors. During this phase, law enforcement may also ask for some non-standardized field sobriety tests and may make further observations of how you exit your vehicle. Again, it is important to remember that many of these observations can have innocent explanations. However, if a law enforcement officer has a reason to believe you have consumed alcohol or drugs, they will likely attribute these observations to impairment. Thus, it is important to remember your rights. One of the most important rights during this time is your right to remain silent. You do not have to

answer incriminating questions from law enforcement. Admitting to the consumption of alcohol or drugs could be used against you; even if it is only one drink. Admitting to leaving a bar could be used against you. So, exercise your constitutional right to remain silent until you have a chance to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. You can request an attorney at any time. However, because you are not generally under arrest during this phase, law enforcement generally disregards the request. Nevertheless, it is still a good idea to request an attorney as early as possible. This is a fundamental right for all citizens. An individual also does not have to submit to non-standardized field sobriety tests. These tests are voluntary and will generally be used against you.

PHASE THREE: PRE-ARREST SCREENING TEST The last phase is known as the PreArrest Screening Test. During this phase, law enforcement will generally ask for three standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs). The SFSTs are: 1) the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test; 2) the Walk and Turn (WAT) test; and 3) the One Leg Stand (OLS) test. The HGN is designed to look at a driver's eyes to determine if there is nystagmus. Nystagmus is the involuntary jerking of the eyes which can be caused by alcohol or some drugs. However, nystagmus can also be naturally




present in some people or it could be caused by an injury or physical ailment. During the HGN, law enforcement is looking for six clues of impairment. The WAT is what most people know as “walking the line.” In this test, the officer will begin by giving you instructions and ordering you into a specific position. They will then ask you to walk in a straight line for nine heel-to-toe steps before making a specific type of turn and walking nine heel-to-toe steps back. There are eight possible clues for the WAT. The last SFST is the OLS. This test requires an individual to stand on one leg for approximately thirty seconds while counting out loud. There are four clues officers look for on the OLS. The most important thing to remember about the field sobriety tests is that they are VOLUNTARY. There is no penalty if you refuse them. However, if you participate in the field sobriety tests, they could be used against you throughout the investigation. If you are being investigated for a DUI, it is in your



best interest to politely decline testing to avoid incriminating evidence from being discovered and used against you. One other test that is conducted during this phase is the preliminary breath test (PBT). The PBT is a roadside breath testing device. Due to its reliability concerns, the PBT is not generally admissible in court. Prior to administering the PBT, an officer has to check your mouth and wait three minutes before administering the test. The officer should then read the North Dakota Implied Consent Advisory for the PBT. This will advise you that refusal to submit to the test can result in your license being revoked for a minimum of one hundred and eighty days or up to three years. However, it is not a crime to refuse the PBT. Although the PBT can have repercussions for your driving privileges, a driver in most cases will be allowed to “cure” their refusal of the PBT by submitting to a chemical test. As such, it is generally a wise

decision to decline the PBT to avoid the evidence being used against you and in support of an arrest.

THE ARREST After the three phases, the law enforcement officer needs to make a decision. The officer must determine whether he has probable cause to arrest the driver for DUI. If a driver is arrested, they will generally be handcuffed and placed in the rear of the patrol vehicle. After being arrested, it is imperative that you request to speak to an attorney. It is also important to continue to remain silent until you consult with an attorney. The Criminal Defense Group at SW&L Attorneys, offer free consultations and is generally available 24/7. After an arrest, law enforcement will generally transport an individual to jail or a hospital for a chemical test.

CHEMICAL TEST After an individual is arrested, an officer will request a chemical test. This can be a test of your breath, blood, or urine. Prior to requesting a chemical test, law enforcement must read the North Dakota Implied Consent Advisory. This advisory informs the driver that North Dakota law requires them to take the chemical test and that if they refuse, they could have their license revoked for a minimum of one hundred and eighty days and up to three years. It is also important to know that refusal to submit to a chemical test is a crime. The testing procedure is different depending on what type of chemical test law enforcement requests. If they request a breath test, courts have stated that a warrant is not necessary. However, if law enforcement requests a blood or urine test, a warrant is required unless an exception applies (such as consent). It is important not to consent to a blood or urine test without a warrant. After the implied consent advisory is read, law enforcement will ask you if you consent to taking the test. Prior to answering this question, invoke your right to an attorney. In North Dakota, you must be provided with a reasonable opportunity to consult with an attorney if requested. This request must be clear, unambiguous, and after an arrest. After receiving advice from counsel, the decision to take the chemical test is yours. If you cannot get ahold of an attorney after a reasonable period of time, you will need to make the decision on your

own. Refusing the test is a separate crime and may result in a revocation of a person’s driving privileges. If you submit to the chemical test, your license may be suspended. It is important to note that if you submit to law enforcement’s chemical test, you have the right to your own independent test. Like your request for an attorney, remember to make a clear and unambiguous request for the independent test. Law enforcement must provide you with a phone to make these arrangements. Although independent testing is at your own expense, don’t let this stop you from exercising your right.

CHARGES/ COURT If you are charged with DUI, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. In DUI cases, not only are there criminal penalties, but there are also administrative/civil penalties associated with the DUI. In North Dakota, an individual only has ten days to request an administrative hearing or they will automatically lose their driving privileges. Additionally, due to the complex nature of DUI laws, it is always advisable to have an attorney look over the facts of your case to ensure that your rights are protected and proper procedure was followed.

Invoke your right to remain silent and don’t incriminate yourself by making admissions you will regret later. Request an attorney early and often, especially after you are placed under arrest. Do not take voluntary field sobriety tests. These tests can only hurt you and there is no penalty for refusing them. If a PBT is offered, you can refuse and should be able to cure that refusal with a chemical test. Prior to submitting to a chemical test, talk to a lawyer. If a blood/urine test is requested, ensure that the officer has a warrant. If you submit to a chemical test, request your own independent test. Lastly, never consent to a search of your vehicle, person, or home without a warrant. DUI’s can have both short-term and life-long consequences. Know your rights. If you are being investigated for DUI or you are charged with DUI, feel free to contact SW&L Attorneys at any time.

SW&L ATTORNEYS 4627 44th Ave S, Ste 108, Fargo, ND 701-297-2890 swlattorneys.com /SWLattorneys /company/swlattorneys

CONCLUSION In short, if you are stopped for DUI, remember to exercise your rights.



10 Questions


Questions ohn Machacek, Chief Innovation Officer for the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, has worked with countless startups throughout our community over the years. He knows their ups, and their downs, but most of all, he knows the questions to ask them. Here are John Machacek’s 10 questions for Rick Berg, CEO of AdShark Marketing.

By John Machacek Photo by Josiah Kopp



01 Will you please tell us your AdShark Marketing elevator pitch? We help businesses grow faster by driving new customers through performance-driven marketing. Our number one core value is a commitment to client success, which reflects our philosophy of putting our clients' needs before our own and being a trusted partner that helps drive success. Ultimately, our goal is to provide an irreplaceable client experience through building strong relationships and delivering results.

02 What would you say is your sweet spot or differentiator? Our true differentiator is the relationships we have with our clients. We have an incredible team of “Sharks” that will bend over backwards to deliver a great client experience. In my experience, that’s incredibly rare in the marketing world and we’re always looking for ways to improve upon it. AdShark was born from a focus on digital marketing and has remained true to that since its inception. By specializing in performance marketing, we maintain and grow our expertise in an ever-evolving medium. Many companies try to diversify too broadly but end up diluting their core competencies. We, however, focus exclusively on areas where we can kick ass. Our sweet spot would be companies looking to grow that have had at least

some established success that we can build upon. Our services include digital marketing, like Google Ads, Facebook ads, etc., SEO, website design and development, and, more recently, email marketing. In 2013, we were proud to become the first Google Partner in North Dakota. Last year, we achieved another milestone by becoming, to the best of my knowledge, the only Premier Google Partner in the state. This designation is reserved for only the top 3% of Google Partners in the United States.

03 With your work in this industry over the past decade, what would you say is some lowhanging fruit for companies or perhaps your most common solutions for them? There’s so much to consider when trying to tackle the digital landscape, which can be overwhelming for some. The simplest way for me to answer that is probably by highlighting some of the common challenges we see within our key focus areas: Social Media Pages • Be authentic. Brands that do it best aren’t afraid to show that they’re human. • Avoid the constant sales pitch; instead, you should aim to entertain, inspire, or educate. No one cares about your business but they might care if you can provide value to them upfront. SEO • Build pages around how people search. Google aims to provide results that best match someone's search query. If you create pages around search behavior, you’ll find your site ranking higher. For



10 Questions example, if you provide multiple different products or services, you should create specific pages for each containing information that answers all the common questions. Websites • Prioritize simplicity and intuitiveness. Minimize the number of clicks needed and avoid industry jargon. If visitors don’t immediately understand who you are and what you do, they’ll move on. • Optimize user experience for all devices, but prioritize mobile. Mobile makes up 58% of internet traffic so odds are most of your traffic is also mobile. • Set up analytics and goal tracking. By tracking key onsite actions, you can start to understand where those visitors come from and how to drive more. And by onsite actions, I mean things like lead forms, phone calls, purchases, etc. Google Ads • Avoid doing it yourself. Google makes it incredibly easy to waste money. So, as long as your budget allows for it, I’d recommend hiring someone who knows what they’re doing. Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.) • Make ads that are interesting and resemble the native content on each platform. The internet is a battleground for people’s attention and the best way to capture it is to create content that people actually want to see.

04 From knowing your business, I was aware of how your services



helped drive eCommerce sales as well as customer lead generation, but I guess I was less familiar that you did web design as well. Have you always done that service, in addition to those other things that help clients drive sales? Our first client was an eCommerce company that hired us to manage Google Ads, so search marketing is where we “learned to swim,” so to speak. Soon after that, we expanded into SEO and then Facebook marketing, which was quickly growing and both inexpensive and effective. A year later, we ventured into web design out of necessity, because if a website wasn’t good, it didn’t matter how much traffic we sent. Our experience in digital marketing and SEO was a big advantage in building websites because we understood how to appeal to both search engines and people. Beginning our journey in eCommerce was a great experience, as it allowed us to precisely track the revenue we generated for a client, down to the last cent. Additionally, you’re competing against brands nationwide so every little detail matters. With our help, our first client grew from $2 million in online sales to $26 million, and they remain with us today. So a big thanks and shoutout to Heat Transfer Warehouse—we love ya! Witnessing that type of impact and growth is incredibly rewarding. While we remain heavily involved in the eCommerce space, nowadays, about 60% of our clients fall into the category known as “lead gen”. The difference between the two is the objective. Rather than aiming to drive online purchases, the goal of lead gen is to generate lead forms or phone calls. From our perspective, the two aren’t that different, except instead of selling a product we’re typically selling a service.

05 I recall that when you started working on AdShark, you were an employee of Myriad Mobile, now called Bushel, doing AdShark as a side gig. Will you please tell me more about that experience, including when you decided to go full-time with your business? I joined Myriad Mobile in January 2013 as their sole salesperson. After meeting the two founders, Jake Joraanstad and Ryan Raguse, who were both 23, I was excited because they were young and it was the first time I thought, “These guys think like me.” A few months into my role, I learned they were running Google campaigns, and they agreed to let me take it over. Over the next two weeks, I taught myself everything I could about Google Ads. After using what I learned to restructure the campaigns, we saw immediate success in generating leads from all over. Jake, the CEO, began sharing our success story with other business owners, which led to the signing of my first client in August of that year. Around the same time, I conducted a Google search to see if there were any other digital marketing companies in Fargo. The only one I found was Fargo Web Strategy, run by Sean Maki, a senior engineering student at NDSU. I reached out to him, and after we met, he joined as a co-founder just a few days later. I continued to balance my full-time role at Myriad with growing AdShark for the next six months until Jake finally pushed me to take the leap and focus on AdShark full-time. AdShark most likely would not have happened without

those guys. They were supportive of me launching the company while working there, gave Sean and me free office space, and referred multiple clients to us. I’m grateful for their support and enthusiasm for entrepreneurship during that time, and we remain good friends today.

06 How do you keep up with all the changes in Google, Facebook, etc. algorithms and processes? Our industry is continually changing so staying on top of industry trends and trends in consumer behavior is crucial. We strive to be early adopters of new technologies and stay informed through industry blogs, thought leaders, podcasts, newsletters, and online conferences. We regularly connect with our Google and Facebook partner reps, who keep us informed about new strategies and provide us access to test out new Beta features. When new features arrive, we quickly test them, and if they work well, we roll them out to other clients. We’re fortunate to have an incredible team of hungry “Sharks” who share in our desire to be the best.

on your website. What can you tell me about your views on company culture at AdShark? The coolest thing about our culture, and I’m somewhat stealing this from a recent Tom Brady interview here, is that we have a culture of culture creators. What I mean by that is, our wonderful culture is driven entirely by our team members, and not necessarily Sean and me. They’ve taken it upon themselves to create the workplace culture they wanted. We’re a close-knit team that supports one another, cares deeply about our clients, and, like me, loves to have fun. As I mentioned, we’ve been fortunate to hire a lot of great people, and I’ve found when you hire great people, all you have to do is get the hell out of their way. The one aspect of our culture that was intentional is creating an environment where people feel comfortable being themselves. In some previous jobs, the workplaces often felt stuffy or overly corporate-y, where people acted differently out of fear of saying the wrong thing or making a bad impression. Work can be pretty draining when you can’t be authentic. I wanted AdShark to be a fun place where team members could behave at work just as they would around their friends. To foster that, I try to set an example by being laid back and am often the one who says and does the most ridiculous things. If I’m comfortable swearing and saying dumb stuff, then hopefully they’ll feel comfortable doing the same.

07 Speaking of hiring great people, something I really think of now for AdShark is your company culture. It’s very evident in your social media that happiness is one of the core values listed

08 I mentioned the evidence of your culture in your social media, and I’m curious about those social strategies around your culture. I’ll speculate

here, but is it for future talent attraction or to showcase the personality and human side of your company, which can be important for small businesses or maybe it’s just a good creative outlet for your employees? Yeah, I would say, “all of the above.” Many companies make the mistake of only sharing content they want their audience to see. Sure, we do some of that as well, but ultimately, we try to put out content we feel people want to see. We aim to both entertain and highlight the things that make our workplace or community a fun place to be. And you’re right on the other points as well. This is embarrassing to admit, but about six years into the business, it finally clicked for me that the most important thing for any organization is to hire great people. Once I fully realized that seemingly obvious concept, we shifted our focus toward A.) creating a workplace our team loved, and B.) making sure people knew about it. It came at a great time too because shortly after that we hired Jack Yakowicz as our first business development team member, now our director of operations, and he was able to build upon our foundation and skillfully helped us execute that plan. One of my major goals was to win the YPN Chamber Choice award for best place to work. In 2021 and 2022 we were finalists for that award but earlier in 2023 I’m happy to say we finally won. Some may not see that as that big of a deal but to me it really meant a lot. It also helped that we’ve had low turnover, nearly 95% of our staff was under 40, all of our managers under 30, and nearly 40% of staff started out as interns.



10 Questions

09 If you could go back in time to Rick from several years ago, what hindsight advice would you give yourself? Focus on hiring great people. If I could only be good at one thing, it’d be that and it would’ve been nice to realize it sooner. Of course, though, you can’t just go out and get the best people, you also have to create a place that those people want to be. Then once you get them you have to do whatever it takes to keep them.

3. If any readers are high school or college students, I encourage you to think about digital marketing or content creation as a potential career option. Especially anyone that has an interest in or a knack for video content. Content creation as a career may seem unrealistic but I suspect that field will only continue to grow and thrive. Whether you like it or not, that age of AI is on the horizon and I think content creation will be one area that has a much longer lifespan.

Support AdShark adsharkmarketing.com /adsharkmarketing

10 Lastly, what can we do as a community to help you and AdShark Marketing succeed? A few things come to mind. 1. Support local businesses because about 80% of those we work with are local companies and in order for a community to thrive, the area businesses need to also thrive. 2. We are always on the lookout for talented smart people, so if you know any rockstars who may be interested, let us know.



@adsharkmarketing /company/adshark-marketing @adsharkmarketing @AdSharkFargo

About John


Melissa Oberlander & Teresa Gulleson FOUNDERS, LONE OAK FARM 118


By Arielle Windham | Photos by Lone Oak Farm Event Venue

Fields and Dreams

AYR VENUE OFFERS UNIQUE EVENT SPACE Crunching up the gravel road to Lone Oak Farm, there’s a sense of peace; a connection with the fields, rolling hills, and rural roots of our region. This space, only a little way off the beaten path, has everything you need for a one-of-a-kind gathering. Just add your ideas. When Melissa Oberlander and Teresa Gulleson began planning their dream event venue, they had a very clear idea of the ambiance they wanted to create: a space that was inviting and intimate, where, regardless of the size of the guest list, everyone felt like family. They wanted somewhere with breathtaking views and only a few neighbors to kick up a fuss when the party ran late. But finding the right location was just part of the challenge the women faced. With established careers in different industries, creating and sustaining an event business would test their business acumen and their relationship. A Feeling of Home “In my professional career as a registered nurse I’ve had the opportunity to serve others during significant life events; birth, surgeries, oncology diagnoses, and end of life,” Gulleson said. She dreamed of extending this service into other impactful moments such as weddings, reunions, retreats, and graduations. Oberlander shared the same dream. With her background in social work, she’d also been there for people on their best and worst days. She was eager to take on the new challenge with Gulleson and create a place where family and friends could come together to celebrate life’s most memorable moments. The search for the right location took them all over Cass County, but in the end, they found what they were looking for right across the road—Oberlander’s grandparents’ homestead. The farm had always been a gathering place for the neighborhood.

“It was a full circle moment,” Oberlander said. “My grandma had people over all the time. Her birthday parties weren’t just immediate family, it was anybody. She kept brownies and cookies in the freezer just in case someone stopped by. She kept lipstick in her kitchen. If anybody knocked on the door, she’d put lipstick on, whip off her apron, and she’d be fully dressed.” Growing up, she’d taken for granted the sense of community and family she’d found around her grandmother’s table. Now there was an opportunity to breathe new life into the property and create a new generation of memories. Build it and They Will Come The old farmhouse is still there—fully updated to serve as a preparation site and accommodation for small parties. But the heart of Lone Oak Farm is the Grand Hall. This state-of-the-art event space offers a neutral, natural open space that is visually interesting with or without decoration. It marries stone, metal, and wood with an abundance of natural light to create a truly unique and inviting atmosphere. The Grand Hall is surrounded by 40 acres of farmstead including over a mile of maintained walking paths through native grasses and established trees. Everything is carefully curated by Oberlander and Gulleson to ensure each event exceeds expectations and every guest feels like family. “We really gain a relationship with the couples and families we serve,” Gulleson said. “I think that is the gift for us and what fills our cup in this industry.” A Lasting Partnership Enjoying the view from Sunset Stone or spending the evening celebrating with loved ones in the Grand Hall, it’s easy to believe in fairy tales. Oberlander and

Gulleson make it seem effortless. But, as with any long-lasting relationship, the partners admit Lone Oak Farm wouldn’t be what it was without hard work, passion, and surrounding themselves with the right people. While both women have always had an affinity for event planning, neither pursued it as a career path. Instead, they have learned and grown along with the business, cultivating relationships with vendors, employees, and others in the entertainment industry to help bring their dreams to life. Even before they started looking for a location, they spent countless hours with Paul Smith of the North Dakota Small Business Development Centers crafting an intentional business plan that would help them succeed. Most importantly, though, they have learned to work together, trusting each other’s strengths for an efficient working relationship. “Accepting differences for the greater good has been a learning curve for me,” Gulleson said. “We see things differently, as anybody would.” For Oberlander, it’s ensuring the lines of communication remain open and clear. “Asking for help has been my biggest lesson,” she said. “Or saying I’m frustrated when I’m frustrated.” Oberlander’s and Gulleson’s dreams for Lone Oak Farm continue to bloom. In addition to private parties, they’ve added markets and other public events to their calendar to bring the peace and beauty of their space to a wider audience. They look forward to the 2024 wedding season as well as the unique challenges venue management brings. For more information, please visit their website. loneoakfarmvenue.com/the-venue 14641 28th Street SE, Ayr, ND 58007



New Year, New Review Strategies for Small Business Success in 2024 By Julie Hinker, VBOC of The Dakotas Director Photo Courtesy of VBOC of the Dakotas

About the VBOC The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) program is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling, and resource partner referrals to transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses interested in starting or growing a small business. U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has 22 organizations participating in this cooperative agreement and serving as VBOCs.

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In the dynamic landscape of small business ownership, the annual ritual of a comprehensive yearly review stands out as a strategic imperative. As the new year unfolds, entrepreneurs and small business owners are presented with a golden opportunity to reflect on the past, fine-tune strategies, and set the stage for a year of growth and prosperity. Let’s look at the significance of reviewing and assessing the last 12 months of your small business journey!

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1. Strategic Alignment: Small businesses operate in a world of constant change. A yearly review provides a precious moment to align business strategies with evolving market trends and customer demands. It ensures that the business remains agile and responsive, ready to adapt to new challenges and opportunities.


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2. Financial Health Check: Examining financial records and performance metrics during the yearly review is essential for maintaining a healthy bottom line. It allows small business owners to identify areas of overspending, optimize budgets, and allocate resources strategically for the upcoming year. 3.Employee Engagement and Development: A small business's success is intrinsically tied to its team. The yearly review serves as a platform for evaluating employee performance, acknowledging achievements, and identifying areas for professional development. This not only boosts employee morale but also enhances the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the workforce.

Benefits of Reflection and Goal Setting 1.

Operational Efficiency: Reflecting on past successes and challenges enables small business owners to streamline operations. By identifying bottlenecks and inefficiencies, they can implement improvements that contribute to increased productivity and costeffectiveness.

2. Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty: A deep dive into customer feedback and satisfaction metrics allows small businesses to refine their products or services. By addressing pain points and enhancing customer experience, businesses can cultivate loyalty and attract new clientele in the coming year.

3. Innovation and Growth: Goal setting is the driving force behind business evolution. Small businesses that establish clear and ambitious goals during the yearly review are better positioned to foster innovation, explore new markets, and achieve sustainable growth. 4. Risk Mitigation: Through reflection, small business owners can identify potential risks and develop proactive strategies for mitigation. This forward-thinking approach minimizes the impact of unforeseen challenges and fortifies the business against economic uncertainties. In essence, the yearly review is not just a formality; it's a blueprint for success in the unpredictable world of small business. By embracing the twin pillars of reflection and goal setting, small business owners can navigate the intricacies of their industry with confidence, resilience, and a clear vision for the future. Once your annual business review has covered the company’s performance over the course of 2023, it’s time to start paving a pathway through 2024!



The dynamic business landscape, coupled with the evolving economic climate, demands a fresh perspective and strategic approach for sustained success. To round out this article, let’s discuss five key strategies that small businesses can employ to navigate the intricacies of the year ahead and position themselves for growth, adaptability, and profitability in the new year.

Embrace Technology Advancements In the rapidly evolving digital era, technology is not just a luxury but a necessity for small businesses. In 2024, staying abreast of the latest technological advancements is imperative for maintaining competitiveness. Investing in userfriendly and efficient software solutions can streamline operations, enhance productivity, and improve customer experiences. Cloud-based tools, artificial intelligence, and automation technologies offer small businesses the opportunity to optimize their processes. From inventory management to customer relationship management (CRM) systems, adopting technology can drive efficiency and provide a competitive edge. Moreover, e-commerce platforms and digital marketing tools empower businesses



to reach a wider audience and capitalize on online opportunities.

Prioritize Cybersecurity Measures With the increasing reliance on digital tools and online platforms, cybersecurity has become a top priority for small businesses. As cyber threats continue to evolve, implementing robust security measures is crucial for safeguarding sensitive data and maintaining the trust of customers. Small businesses should invest in cybersecurity solutions, conduct regular risk assessments, and educate employees on best practices for online security. Taking proactive steps to protect against cyber threats not only preserves the integrity of business operations but also enhances the reputation of the business. In an age where data breaches are a constant threat, businesses that prioritize cybersecurity demonstrate a commitment to safeguarding their customers' information.

Adapt to Remote Work Trends The global shift toward remote work has transformed the traditional workplace, and small businesses

must adapt to this paradigm shift to attract and retain top talent. In 2024, fostering a flexible work environment can be a key driver of success. Embracing remote work not only expands the talent pool by allowing businesses to hire from a broader geographic area but also contributes to employee satisfaction and worklife balance. To facilitate remote work, small businesses should invest in collaboration tools, project management software, and virtual communication platforms. Creating a supportive virtual work culture fosters connectivity and collaboration among team members, ensuring that productivity remains high even in a dispersed work environment.

Focus on Sustainability Sustainability is no longer a buzzword; it's a business imperative. Consumers are increasingly prioritizing ecofriendly and socially responsible products and services. Small businesses that integrate sustainable practices into their operations not only contribute to environmental and social goals but also appeal to a growing market segment. In 2024, small businesses can explore sustainable sourcing, energy-efficient practices, and waste reduction initiatives. Communicating

these efforts to customers through marketing and branding can enhance the business's reputation and attract environmentally conscious consumers. Sustainability is not only ethically sound but also economically viable, as it often leads to cost savings and long-term resilience.

Strengthen Customer Engagement In a competitive market, customer engagement is a cornerstone of small business success. Building strong relationships with customers fosters loyalty and can be a powerful driver of growth. In 2024, small businesses should leverage technology and data analytics to understand customer preferences, personalize experiences, and anticipate needs. Social media platforms, email marketing, and customer feedback channels provide valuable insights into customer behavior. Implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) system can help businesses organize and analyze customer data, enabling targeted marketing strategies and personalized communication. A focus on exceptional customer service and proactive engagement can set small businesses apart from the competition.

Diversify Revenue Streams Economic uncertainties and market fluctuations underscore the importance of diversifying revenue streams for small businesses. Relying on a single product or service can leave a business vulnerable to downturns in specific industries.



In 2024, small businesses should explore new markets, expand product lines, and seek opportunities for partnerships or collaborations. Diversification not only spreads risk but also opens avenues for innovation and growth. Small businesses can adapt to changing market dynamics by being agile and exploring untapped opportunities. Conducting regular market research and staying attuned to industry trends can provide valuable insights for identifying new revenue streams.

focusing on technology adoption, cybersecurity, remote work trends, sustainability, customer engagement, revenue diversification, and financial management, small businesses can position themselves for growth and navigate the challenges of the dynamic business landscape in the year ahead. As the new year unfolds, let the power of a yearly review propel your small business toward a year of innovation, growth, and sustained success.

Enhance Financial Management Sound financial management is the backbone of small business success. In 2024, businesses should prioritize financial health by maintaining accurate accounting records, monitoring cash flow, and budgeting effectively. Small businesses should also consider seeking the advice of financial professionals to navigate complex financial decisions. Establishing relationships with banks and financial institutions can facilitate access to capital when needed. A proactive and strategic approach to financial management ensures that the business is well-positioned to weather economic uncertainties and capitalize on growth opportunities. As small businesses embark on the journey into 2024, embracing change and adopting strategic approaches are paramount for success. The convergence of technology, sustainability, and evolving consumer preferences demands agility, innovation, and resilience. By

VBOC of the Dakotas 701-738-4850 und.edu/dakotasvboc /dakotasvboc @DakotasVBOC 4200 James Ray Dr Grand Forks, ND


Benjamin Ockert ne man, one bike, one camera. In his last year of a physics and computer science degree, Benjamin Ockert is a man of spreadsheets and numbers. With the aid of a high-resolution, 54inch square map from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) depicting bicycle trails, Ben is calculating what would be needed for a month-long photographic bicycle tour beginning on his doorstep in Fargo and traversing the surrounding communities like Duluth, St. Paul, Bemidji, Rochester, Park Rapids, St. Cloud, Sauk Center, and Detroit Lakes.

“It’s pretty well mapped out,” Ben said of his trip scheduled for June of 2024. “I’ve planned it out very carefully… but I know that at a certain point I am going to have to let go of that.” While it can be plotted in numbers—55 miles per day, 600-plus miles of trail, 40 rolls of film—the trip itself is an expression of new love. Love for art,

cycling, and love of his local community. “I worked the night shift for six years while pursuing my degree and that really took most of my time,” Ben said. “That changed this spring and I was looking for something fun, something new I could learn, and something where I could use my hands.” His search led Ben to two very different part-time jobs while finishing the last of his degree: With NDSU's Memorial Union Gallery and The Great Northern Bicycle Company located in Fargo. “Art is one of those things that I do to get away from numbers and equations and things like that,” said Ben, who has only been doing photography for about three years. One of the main goals of his bicycle tour is to photograph many of the breathtaking locations along his route, to engage with the local communities, and to capture their stories and offerings through the images he will take on the camera he restored himself. “It’s a Bronica EC camera from the 70s so it’s not digital. I did a lot of




restoration to it. It’s very basic, there’s no metering. It’s very manual and very heavy. It will be half the weight of what I am carrying on the trip,” said Ben. “I really like the mechanical aspect of these cameras and there is a beautiful aspect of capturing an image right now, and knowing I probably won’t see it for a month. You have to have faith that you did what you could to make it as beautiful as you could.” Ben has been coordinating with Fargo Photoworks to acquire film for his 50-year-old camera. Each roll of film only sports 12 photos each, which works out to about one dollar per image. At The Great Northern Bicycle Company, Ben’s interest in cycling changed from a functional means of transportation to a fun pastime. “It’s been quite a learning process working at the store here and getting involved with the community. It’s exciting to engage with the community. Between community events and working on the various bikes of Fargo, you really get to know the bikes and the people that ride them,” Ben said.

Photo provided by Brandi Malarkey

Ben is taking his new sense of discovery, combining it with his interest in capturing images, and is launching his photographic bike tour as a combination graduation gift/trip to himself and passionate rebuttal of the often-heard phrase, “There is not much to do around here." “I want to outline that these trails and paths are very well built and truly designed for people, just to go out on weekends and ride around for the most part. Some sections are much more functionally meant for just traveling, but the Heartland Trail, for example, is a great path from Park Rapids up to Walker. There's a city almost every six miles. You can stop and get ice cream. You can stop and get food. There are restrooms. I want to get across that biking and getting onto these trails is very doable and very accessible. And full of breathtaking scenery and historic infrastructure.” To assist Ben with costs for his unique community project, the Cass Clay chapter of the Awesome Foundation named him the recipient

of their $1,000 November 2023 grant. Ben has also been communicating with NDSU's Memorial Union Gallery as well as several local galleries in surrounding areas about the possibility of hosting a show to highlight the local beauty through his captured images. “I want to build communication and community. Encourage people to experience routes near Fargo. There's a lot out there to adventure and it's just waiting out there for you to go check it out.”

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

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