BE HONEST. YOU WANT TO WORK FOR THIS GUY.
REAL HUMBLE. REAL FUN. REAL RISKY.
How putting principles first helped turn RealTruck into a $100 million company
// JUNE 2018
28 COVER STORY
42 Meet the Culture King
How Putting Principles First Helped Scott Bintz Turn RealTruck into an E-Commerce Giant
ON THE COVER
This month's cover is actually a recreation of a photo of RealTruck Founder Scott Bintz that appeared in a 2014 ad campaign for UPS.
In hindsight, it was an ambitious â€” maybe crazy â€” goal: Build an e-commerce giant in the middle of North Dakota. RealTruck Founder Scott Bintz dishes on how his commitment to "reward, recognize, hire and fire" according to six basic principles helped him and his team build a $100 million company.
FEATURES 10 Editor's Note 25 Harassment in the Workplace: 6 Things to Know + 6 Steps to Do Brenda Johnson - Fargo-Moorhead Human Resource Association 28 YPN's "One to Watch" Kelly Halvorson - Essentia Health 30 A Look at the Ballot Craig Whitney - FMWF Chamber of Commerce 32 Buy-Sell Agreements Michael Raum - Fredrikson & Byron Law Firm 36 Faces of Fargo Business Andrea Hochhalter - HueLife Ben Carlsrud - NetWork Center Ryan Keel - CollegeSmart
Visit FargoInc.com for extended content covering Fargo-Moorhead's business community and articles from past issues of Fargo INC!
60 56 ND Independent Resource Committee: Helping Providers Become Entrepreneurs Darcy Pope-Fuchs - Payroll Express Corey Elmer - Vogel Law Firm Amanda McKinnon - MSPIRE John Lillestol - Dakota Commercial Delrae Amann - Payroll Express Kevin Fitz - Town & Country Credit Union Joe Kramer - Remark Technology Consulting Tracy Kuznia - Nordic Medical Consulting David Markel - Prairie Practice Management Professionals Sue Mullins - Heartland Healthcare Network
64 A Pocket-Sized Masterpiece: Choice Financial's Art-Inspired Debit Cards Marisa Jackels - Tellwell Shelley Szudera - Choice Financial Dan Francis - Dan Francis Photography Chris Fulton - Artist Ashley Kunz - Arist
60 Creative Mornings: A New Monthly Event for Area Creatives Ashley Morken - Unglued Morgan Schleif - Eco Chic Boutique Kent Kolstad - Livewire Crystal Cossette - Sugarplum Jeff Knight - Cereal Jack Yakowicz - Office Sign Company Dayna Del Val - The Arts Partnership Jesse Hoorelbeke - J. Alan Paul Photography
72 June Business Events Calendar Crack the Code: Tech Camp for Girls The State of Local Childcare and Its Impact on Workforce Development The Business Case for Women's Leadership Programs
68 A Recipe for a Great Business Plan Steve Dusek - Dakota Business Lending 70 Tech Corner: 4 Common Cybersecurity Myths William Galvin - Giga-Green Technologies
s we said our goodbyes and were leaving the parking ramp, Scott Bintz looked over at me and said something I wasn't expecting: "Wanna drive?"
Lives His Principles
Naturally, I thought he was kidding. We'd just finished up our cover shoot with the founder of RealTruck, and here he was, holding out the keys to his white Porsche Panamera with a look that said he was, in fact, not kidding. Now, I wouldn't call myself a car guy, but I understand the significance of entrusting a $100,000 luxury sedan to a total stranger. So I asked twice, "Are you sure?" "Absolutely," he said, insisting. As we took off and headed back to my office for the interview, I had to laugh at how surreal the afternoon had gotten. Whether or not he'd admit it, Bintz is North Dakota entrepreneurial royalty â€” he was one of the first to prove that North Dakota is a viable home base for a global internet company, after all â€” and here I was, driving his Porsche and small-talking with
him about what it's like to write a book. If you know Bintz at all, though, this scene was unsurprising. See, he and his team literally built RealTruck doing stuff like this. Just like they'd give vendors visiting their Jamestown office a standing ovation (complete with a bubble machine and welcome video), Bintz was "giving me my own unforgettable experience," he'd later tell me. As he puts it in his new book, "Principles to Fortune," which, as far as I'm concerned, is the new Bible for workplace culture, "We have a duty to go above and beyond what is expected, to fulfill unrecognized needs, create surprise and serendipity leading to a lasting emotional impact and connection." Mission accomplished.
As always, thanks for reading,
Nate Mickelberg Editor, Fargo INC!
EDITORIAL BOARD BULLETIN BOARD
We at Fargo INC! want to make sure our content is unbiased and reflects the Fargo business community. That's why we meet regularly with our six-member editorial board to discuss area business issues and trends and ensure we are living up to our core values.
JOHN MACHACEK SVP of Finance and Entrepreneurial Development Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation
Our organization recently hosted another FM Welcome Party. With so many people continuing to move to our metro, we want to let people know that we are so friendly that we hold a party for new residents! At the parties, we have hosts on hand whose job is to make sure attendees feel welcome and help them meet others. These parties have made a positive impact, but alas, they're only two times per year. As residents, we can all play our part in attempting to make every day welcoming to others. I encourage you to keep that in mind when you learn of a new person at work or hear someone talking about how they just moved here. Take a moment to introduce yourself; ask how the move has been; and then see if there is any way you can help them.
CINDY GRAFFEO Executive Director Moorhead Economic Development Authority
Did you know that downtown Moorhead has averaged more than 100 new housing units the last three years? The Moorhead City Council recently endorsed a "500 in 5" downtown housing goal. This goal outlines our city's desire to add 500 housing units downtown over the next five years. While the goal is ambitious, it's fully attainable. I like to think of this “500 in 5” as naming and claiming the momentum that already exists in Moorhead and messaging that will help others see and talk about these big ideas, goals and changes. Come take a drive around downtown Moorhead, and see what I’m talking about!
CRAIG WHITNEY President/CEO FMWF Chamber of Commerce
TIM BEATON Executive Director FM Area Foundation
We want to thank our generous donors who, throughout the years, have given unrestricted and field-of-interest gifts to the community foundation. These donations allow us to respond to changing community needs year after year by providing funding in the form of grants to nonprofits working in the areas of: ӽӽ ӽӽ ӽӽ ӽӽ ӽӽ
Arts, Culture and Creativity Basic Human Needs Community-Building Education Women in Leadership
We want to thank all the nominees, candidates, sponsors and attendees at last month’s ChamberChoice Awards luncheon and congratulate the seven winners of the 2018 awards. It’s so inspiring to see such a strong spirit of entrepreneurism, innovation and collaboration in this community. We also recently graduated our third class of Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) students, as well as nearly 40 professionals from our Leadership Fargo Moorhead West Fargo program. Each individual devoted time, effort and creativity into their projects and into our business community. Congrats, grads!
KRISTI HUBER President United Way of Cass-Clay
A heartfelt congratulations to the newly awarded winners of our 10 LIVE UNITED Awards that we announced at our LIVE UNITED Awards and Annual Meeting event in March. We are grateful for your commitment to your community and proud to lift you up and celebrate all that you have accomplished. We also encourage you to visit our website and check out our newly released list of the United Way's "Top 50 Most Generous Workplaces of 2018." If you work at one of these businesses or organizations, we want you to feel proud to work at a place that is a leader in philanthropy in our community!
PAT TRAYNOR Executive Director Dakota Medical Foundation
In April, nearly 800 people gathered at the YWCA Cass Clay's annual Women of the Year event to celebrate the accomplishments of women in our community. The positive energy in the room was palpable. You could see it on the faces and feel it in the smiles as we experienced the joy of supporting the Women of the Year nominees and the women the YWCA serves. Year after year, the YWCA demonstrates how important charitable organizations and these accomplished women are to the life and health of a community. They understand the critical need for purpose and set an example every day for women across our region with great success. Iâ€™m grateful to live in this amazing community that generously supports charities like the YWCA that provide us all with purpose, meaning, and the opportunity to serve and care for one another.
JUNE 2018 Volume 3 Issue 6
Fargo INC! is published 12 times a year and is available at area businesses and online at FargoInc.com.
Publisher Mike Dragosavich Drago@SpotlightMediaFargo.com
Chief Operations Officer Steve Kruse
Editorial Director Andrew Jason Andrew@SpotlightMediaFargo.com
Editor Nate Mickelberg Nate@SpotlightMediaFargo.com
Designer Sarah Geiger Photographers Hillary Ehlen, J. Alan Paul Contributors Mike Raum, Brenda Johnson, Steve Dusek,
Dayna Del Val, Marisa Jackels, William Galvin, Craig Whitney Social Media Nate Mickelberg
Web Team Huong Tran, Jessica Ballou
Senior Sales Executive Ryan Courneya Ryan@SpotlightMediaFargo.com
Sales Executives Scott Rorvig
Dan Helm Dan@SpotlightMediaFargo.com
Associate Publisher, Design & Living Chantell Ramberg Client Relations Manager Jenny Johnson Sales & Operations Assistant Pam Mjoness Business Operations Manager Larissa Kunde
Distribution & Circulation Manager Darren Gibbins Delivery Bruce Crummy
Fargo INC! is published by Spotlight Media LLC, Copyright 2018 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 Media 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 Media LLC, accepts no liability for the accuracy of statements made by the advertisers.
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We love our sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren to the moon and back. That's why we're dedicating this issue to the spaces in our homes where they have room to grow. These spaces will serve as the backdrops of our cherished photos and precious memories for years to come, so why not make them as lovely as can be? Join us as we visit local families who are sharing their kid-friendly spaces for the community to see. Then, learn how to make your home more functional for family members of all ages.
Get your Bison PhD in this month's edition of Bison Illustrated. We took every men's and women's sport and came up with 10 challenging questions about each team and their respective seasons. Do you have what it takes to get all of them correct? If so, you'll put down June's Bison Illustrated with your own Bison PhD. So, get out your pencils, box scores and stat sheets and get to studying. Your North Dakota State athletics final exam is right around the corner.
We here at Fargo Monthly like to think we're "foodies." Our good friend Eric Watson, executive chef and owner of Rustica Eatery and Mosaic Foods, has those qualities. He can discern the everchanging, always-evolving world of food. So, we took him out into the Fargo dining scene, but a very specific scene. For seven days, we ate at seven different food trucks of varying culinary styles. From pizza to tacos to deli sandwiches, we had Eric try it all.
What You Need to Know About in the Workplace 6 THINGS TO KNOW + 6 THINGS TO DO
ith high-profile conversations taking place over the past year on workplace harassment — a.k.a. the #MeToo Movement — it's important to understand that the topic is relevant not just in Hollywood but here in our market as well. In my inaugural piece for Fargo INC!, I'll be covering some harassment basics and discussing some prevention methods and possible courses of action to take if you ever encounter harassment in your own workplace. BY Brenda Johnson HILLARY EHLEN
6 Things to Know
4. It's important to advocate for yourself. People are not mind-readers and therefore might not know what bothers us and what we find offensive.
1. Harassment has ripple effects that go well beyond an individual incident. Harassment not only has financial and reputational impact for employers; it also has a significant impact on employees' emotional and financial well-being. If it's allowed to flourish, employers can expect to see an increase in turnover and use of sick time and decreased productivity. 2. Help employees help themselves. A good place for employers to start is to provide awareness and education to their team members on what harassment in the workplace is and what they should do if they need to file a complaint or grievance. Empower your employees to speak up, and make it clear that witnesses need to act and that it's everyone’s responsibility. 3. It's often more than just the victim who's affected by harassment. Whether it's a fellow employee, a victim's supervisor, another supervisor in a different area, or even a non-employee such as a consultant or client, many others can be affected by guilt, fear, poor morale and other forms of emotional stress caused by harassment.
Brenda Johnson is president-elect of the Fargo Moorhead Human Resource Association. She'll be contributing regularly to Fargo INC!, discussing all things HR.
5. Harassment can be subjective. Whether or not something is construed as harassment can depend on how someone interprets an action or comment. Further, how we interpret a situation can be altered by our sleep, stress, mood or any number of other things. So when in doubt: Don’t say or do it, and ask yourself, "Would I say this to my grandma?" It's also important to note that people can become offended by things based on what has affected them in the past. It's not necessarily because they're weak or don’t have a sense of humor but because of their life experiences. 6. Harassment inquiries are on the rise. As it's become a priority for more and more organizations, our organization, the Fargo Moorhead Human Resource Association, has received an increased volume of requests for tools and knowledge related to the topic of harassment.
What Is the FMHRA? The Fargo Moorhead Human Resource Association is an affiliate chapter of the Society for Human Resources and was established in 1976. With membership composed of HR professionals, business owners, and organizational leaders, they host nearly 30 events each year and partner with several organizations to offer professional development opportunities for their chapter members. They host three conferences per year (spring, fall and summer) and partner with the state of North Dakota on the Governor’s Workforce & HR Conference that's held each September. They also offer a mentorship program for their 400 active members.
6 Things To Do
4. Design and implement an internal, anonymous complaint system. Don’t forget to train your users on the process and on a system for tracking, if you choose to implement one. When designing, incorporate your mission, vision and values as a part of your decision process.
1. Know your employee handbook. Your handbook is more than just something that tells employees when they get a day off or how to get a raise; it's a resource for them to know how to get help from your company. On top of that, really get to know your HR team. They are a valued resource and can really help develop your employees. 2. Employers should provide their team with a clear and detailed anti-harassment policy. Clarify workplace-conduct expectations and reduce risk by taking precautions, being proactive and regularly evaluating your policies. 3. Educate and bring further awareness through training. Be aware that check-the-box training will not be impactful. Let employees be self-aware and understand what inappropriate behavior is and how to identify a situation of harassment. Limit the focus on the legal burdens — as it's not the point — and instead focus on how creating the right behaviors will create a healthier environment and lead to a better culture. 26
5. Communicate that harassment should be reported at an early stage to prevent escalation. When employees do file a report, acknowledge complaints, respond carefully, investigate quickly and discipline accordingly. Industries with Most Sexual Harassment* ӽӽ Business, trade, ӽӽ ӽӽ ӽӽ ӽӽ
banking and finance Sales and marketing Hospitality Civil service Education, lecturing and teaching
*According to EEOC data
6. Always practice zero tolerance. A policy will only get you so far, especially if you don't follow it. The first step in taking action is to not let bad behavior be overlooked or let it slide for any reason, even if it's from a top performer, donor, investor or senior leader. Also, support your employees who come forward, and use a similar zero-tolerance policy for retaliation.
HARASSMENT BY THE NUMBERS
Some Upcoming FMHRA Events
"Mental Health for HR Professionals" Wednesday, June 7, 1-4 p.m. Speaker: FirstLink
81% 12,000 In 2017 alone, more than
charges alleging sex-based harassment were filed.*
of people believe sexual harassment goes on in most workplaces today, but 90% believe itâ€™s not a problem in their own office.
*This does not include cases filed with the state or Fair Employment Practice Agencies.
About 90% 3 out of every 10
EEOC cases are sexual harassment-related.
1 in 4 women are impacted by harassment in the workplace.
1 in 10 men have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.
1/4 of men
are concerned about being falsely accused of sexual harassment.
of organizations conduct training on sexual harassment.
of individuals who are harassed do not file a complaint.
"When Religion and Work Collide" Tuesday, July 10, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Speaker: Cynthia Bremer/ David McKinney "Get Ready for Gen. Z" Tuesday, July 17, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Speakers: Heather, Ethan and Adam Ostrowski
In 2011, more than
$50 million in damages were received from sexual harassment claims.
of sexual harassment charges filed with the EEOC had to do with with retaliation.
Data from Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Fargo-Moorhead Human Resource Association FMHRA.org For additional questions, shoot them an emailat FMHRA@hotmail.com.
Village Institute's Robert Jones contributed to this piece.
YPN's " ne to Watch"
ach quarter, the FMWF Chamber of Commerce's Young Professionals Network selects one of its members as its "One to Watch." The award is peer-nominated, and the winner is featured in Fargo INC! and the Chamber's monthly newsletter, The Bridge. By Nate Mickelberg
A LITTLE ABOUT KELLY HALVORSON A native of Willmar, Minnesota, Kelly Halvorson first came to the FM area to attend Concordia College, where she majored in marketing and communication. After graduation, she says she wanted to stay in the area because of the family-friendly nature of the community and for the many opportunities for young professionals. After starting her career in marketing, she says she eventually found her calling in recruitment, which is what she now works in at Essentia Health. "There is something so exciting about offering a job to someone," says Halvorson, who assists with both recruitment strategy and support during the hiring process. "Healthcare recruitment is especially rewarding because we are hiring the employees who support (our) mission to make a healthy difference in peopleâ€™s lives." As a busy mom, she says it can be tough sometimes to juggle work, family, and community involvement but that she tries to find opportunities that let her daughters participate and teach them the importance of giving back.
How She's Involved in the Community • YPN Member Engagement Committee chair • YPN Leadership Committee member • FMWF Chamber of Commerce Corporate Cup volunteer • United Way of Cass-Clay volunteer • Salvation Army volunteer
Q&A Your favorite thing about YPN? "I love that YPN gives young professionals a voice in our community and a platform for both personal and professional growth." How you get value out of YPN? "It's so rewarding to be among people who are passionate about their careers and actively support each other’s successes. YPN has taught me a lot about the power of networking and the importance of just showing up, even when I feel out of my comfort zone."
How you add value to YPN? "As part of the Member Engagement Committee, I help welcome new members and connect with current members to get a pulse on the events and programs that would be most effective. I love connecting with other young professionals to learn about their careers and interests and find ways that we may be able to support them in reaching their goals."
To learn more about YPN or to nominate a YPN member as the "One to Watch," please contact Alyssa Ralston at ARalston@FMWFChamber.com.
Young Professionals Network FMWFChamber.com/YPN
Connections you've made through YPN? "The best part about being involved with YPN is the friendships I've made along the way. It brings together professionals from all different industries and backgrounds who support and encourage each other. "After experiencing my own professional setback last year, staying active with YPN helped me to stay motivated in moving forward to better opportunities." Your nominator? "I was nominated by Caitlin Stoecker, who I met through work several years ago. Caitlin is the LINKEDIN reason I decided to get more involved with YPN because she is the ultimate networker who truly makes a difference in this community. To be nominated by someone I look up to as a role model was a surprise and an honor."
A Look at
By Craig Whitney | Craig Whitney is the President and CEO of the FMWF Chamber of Commerce.
ast month, we kicked off another election season with an overview of the various local races and statewide campaigns. As North Dakota's U.S. Senate and House seats have contested races, we look forward to hosting debates in the early fall after the primary election in order to engage our members in the political process and educate them on the candidates. As June 12 quickly approaches, there are many local races wrapping up, starting with a competitive race of nine individuals vying for two open seats on the Fargo City Commission. Fargo As noted last month, we will be hosting a Fargo City Commission Candidate Forum on June 6 from 4-5 p.m. in the Fargo City Commission Room. There is no registration necessary for the event, and there is no cost to attend. We welcome you to join us to hear more about the candidates and where they stand on important local hot topics. The nine candidates in the race are: • • • • • • • • •
Tony Gehrig (incumbent) Dave Piepkorn (incumbent) Tim Flakoll Lenny Tweeden Michael Williams Linda Boyd Arlette Preston Liz Maddock-Johnson Kelan Oster
Please watch our website and e-newsletter for more information on these candidates and their positions on important issues such as the flood diversion and city plans.
West Fargo In West Fargo, in addition to the mayoral race between incumbent Rich Mattern and Bernie Dardis, there are two open seats on the West Fargo Commission, with three candidates: • Eric Gjerdevig • Duane Hanson • Brad Olson
We invite you to join us for the West Fargo Mayoral and City Commission Candidate Forum on June 7 from 4-5 p.m. in the West Fargo City Commission. This forum also requires no registration and is free to attend. Moorhead In the fall, Moorhead's mayoral seat, as well as city council and local legislative seats, will be up for election.
TE OVOTE E T O
Down the Road This fall, attention will be focused on North Dakota's open U.S. Senate and House seats. We are planning debates for many of these important races as well. As we move closer to Election Day, we will have more information. Please visit our website and check out our e-newsletter, eBridge, for more information on candidates, and check out the North Dakota and Minnesota Secretary of State websites listed below for voting information: North Dakota: SOS.ND.gov Minnesota: SOS.State.MN.us
Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce FMWFChamber.com
Owners Need to Know About
s a business lawyer, I'm frequently asked about buy-sell agreements. These are important agreements that owners of closely held businesses should have as part of their business plans.
This article is written for business owners who share company ownership or are considering going into business with a partner(s). Buy-sell agreements allow principals to transfer ownership in the event of a sale, bankruptcy, death or retirement.
BY Michael Raum
focuses his practice on commercial law, with a specific emphasis on tax matters. He works with publicly and privately held companies on business transactions, including structuring, financing and advising on general corporate matters.
FREDRIKSON & BYRON LAW FIRM
Disclaimer: Since each business situation is different, readers should consult a qualified attorney for legal advice. This article addresses common questions on the topic but should not be considered legal advice. 32
WHAT IS A BUY-SELL AGREEMENT?
WHY IS A BUYSELL AGREEMENT IMPORTANT?
A buy-sell agreement is an agreement between owners of a company that dictates what will happen to each owner’s interest in the company under certain conditions. They effectively seek to deal in advance with the questions that arise during times of stress and transition.
Closely held companies almost always depend on the personal relationships of their owners. Those owners have chosen to go into business together, and they are unlikely to want strangers involved in the company. In addition, a closely held company is very hard, if not impossible, to sell on the open market because third parties rarely want to enter into a business with people they don’t know well. Buy-sell agreements seek to deal with these issues by setting forth what will happen at those times when one owner’s interest in the company may pass to someone else.
IS THERE A “STANDARD” BUYSELL AGREEMENT?
WHAT ARE SOME OF THOSE TIMES?
HOW WOULD AN AGREEMENT DEAL WITH THESE SITUATIONS?
Just as every company is different, every buy-sell agreement has to be different. While there are common issues and various common approaches to how to solve them, there is no “standard” agreement that would fit every situation. This article outlines some typical approaches to common situations, but each case must be examined on its own before deciding how to proceed.
A buy-sell agreement should deal with every “triggering event” when ownership may transfer. Typically, those include at least the following situations:
An agreement might give the remaining owners an option to buy the interests at issue. In the case of a sale to a third party, that might be either for the price offered or for an agreed formula price. This is common for voluntary and involuntary sales.
It might require the remaining owners to buy the interests. This is most common in cases of death, when the parties want to ensure that the dying owner’s estate receives value. Some agreements also require a buyout in case of retirement, though many grant an option instead of a requirement in such cases.
• A voluntary sale to a third party • An involuntary transfer such as a
levy by a creditor, bankruptcy filing or appointment of a guardian • Death • Desire of one of the principals to retire from the company There may be other situations to be addressed, depending on the exact circumstances of the company and its owners.
WOULD THE COMPANY ARRIVE AT A BUYOUT PRICE?
HOW DOES A BUYSELL AGREEMENT INTEGRATE WITH ESTATE PLANNING?
WHAT IF ONE OWNER JUST WANTS OUT?
Most agreements call for the parties to arrive at an agreed-upon price periodically — usually every year. They may also set forth a formula such as "a certain multiple times cash flow." Alternatively, they may require an appraisal.
A buy-sell agreement is certainly part of a business owner’s estate plan and should be prepared with the estate plan in mind. For example, if an owner wants to be able to pass shares to his or her estate or to a trust created to assist with estate planning, the agreement should specifically exempt such transfers from any restrictions. The agreement may also limit such transfers to family members to make sure they are really part of an estate plan. Similarly, if the plan is to require a buyout at death, then the parties should consider the use of life insurance to make sure there are adequate funds to make the payments. In the alternative, they may set up payments over time to allow the remaining owners to make the payments without destroying all their cash flow.
DO COURTS ENFORCE THESE AGREEMENTS?
WHO SHOULD HAVE A BUY-SELL AGREEMENT?
Generally, yes. North Dakota and Minnesota law both specifically contemplate that shareholders may enter into buy-sell agreements and have enforced them in various cases. There is never an absolute guarantee that a court will enforce any agreement, but as a general matter, a court will enforce the terms of a buysell agreement entered into between owners of a business.
This is one of the trickiest problems with buy-sell agreements. Generally, an investor in a closely-held company has no right to a return of his or her capital. An investor takes the risk of buying into an illiquid investment and taking the good times with the bad. Therefore, an agreement that simply allows an unhappy owner to walk away can be very problematic because a company’s cash flow could be badly strained if investors could simply leave with their capital as soon as things get bad. The agreement should therefore not create an incentive to leave as soon as things get tough, which could create a kind of "race" to get out. On the other hand, investors may be unwilling to put money into a company if they have no way to get their money out. One middle ground is to require that if a withdrawing owner is not bought out, then the parties must work together to sell the company. While this, too, can present challenges, it at least provides some relief for owners who think they are trapped in an illiquid investment. The implications of this decision should be carefully considered before the parties agree to it however.
Almost every business owned by more than one person should seriously consider a buy-sell agreement. Even businesses owned by family members — such as a husband and wife or parent and child — who plan to pass the ownership between them face the risk of an involuntary transfer. Michael Raum Attorney Fredrikson & Byron MRaum@FredLaw.com FARGOINC.COM
My Routine HueLife COO
ANDREA HOCHHALTER Andrea Hochhalter says she's always been passionate about two things: 1. Organizational change 2. Cross-group collaboration "I'm passionate about the role human behavior and engagement play in an organizationâ€™s system and success," says the COO and shared owner of HueLife, a full-time team and national network of certified facilitation and training consultants. "I love the strategy and operational challenges that come with developing teams and organizations." As a facilitator, the former group training development manager at Microsoft is a practitioner of what are called ToP (technology of participation) methods, which help teams, organizations, and communities use participatory methods to solve challenges, plan strategically and achieve collective outcomes. This year, Hochhalter and team will host more than 1,000 participants in public courses, workshops and private facilitated events.
J. ALAN PAUL
First Hour "Energizer Time"
Mondays Level 10s or Deep Dives (rotates every other week)
"There was a time in my career when each day began hectic and stressful, and my family suffered. I am a strong believer in the power of positive mindsets, and so I now intentionally contribute to my family, starting their day with positive experiences and attitudes by not bringing or adding to stress because I’ve taken 'Energizer Time' for myself (and for them) before I dive into work." Early Morning Problem-solving and project time — heads down.
Level 10s • Focus on what's important in the short-term (1-2 weeks)
Deep Dives • Discuss strategy and make decisions with strategic and longer-term impact Wednesdays Designated day for connections and learning: • Attend Rotary • Attend the100, inc.
"The Art of Focused Conversation: 100 Ways to Access Group Wisdom in the Workplace"
• Meet with advisers
Mid-Morning/Early Afternoon Schedule meetings/calls with team, clients and partners from mid-morning through early afternoon.
"This day is about putting energy toward growing and building the business and myself. As a result, I get more energy."
End of Workday Leave late afternoon for completing priorities for the day and planning for the next day.
Fridays Operations meeting or project meeting (rotates every other week)
Evening Spent on little rocks: emails, tasks, content writing and ensuring I’m organized for the next day (and, of course, family time).
Operations Meetings • Marketing, finance, training, operations • Work on common goals and solve specific operational problems Project Meetings • Eliminate fire drills and improve quality • Foster individual and team commitment, confidence and ownership in the process
"Leading Change" "My go-to in working on change initiatives with organizations"
Harvard Business Review and Stanford Social Innovation Review "Love all the management and leadership wisdom" FARGOINC.COM
NetWork Center President
BEN CARLSRUD Ben Carlsrud has been with NetWork Center his entire career, starting out as a service technician and eventually being promoted to president nearly six years ago. During his time as president, he's seen the company grow from about 20 employees to 70.
What keeps you up at night?
KILLING-TIME READING "The Stormlight Archive" by Brandon Sanderson
How does the reality of your job differ from the perception? "Being the president is not caviar dreams and champagne wishes. I have a lot of flexibility, but for the most part, every day is 'roll up the sleeves and dig in.' As my family will attest to, there are many nights and weekends that go into this. Oh, and whatâ€™s a vacation?"
"Staying relevant in our industry and to our customers. Even after being in business for more than 30 years, there are always new challenges and hurdles to overcome. Iâ€™d say the biggest worry for me is providing a secure work environment for our employees and making sure we're around for another 30-plus years."
WATCHING "Sneaky Pete" on Amazon Prime
Thank you, Roger Haglund "Roger was my math and computer teacher in Borup (Minnesota). He helped me out in so many ways by fostering and supporting my interest in computers and technology. I probably caused him many late dinners, as he would let me hang out in the computer lab well after school was out." Jim Collins
BUSINESS READING Anything by Patrick Lencioni or Jim Collins
What's something you're most proud of as company president? "Working through the conversion from a privately held company to an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan). We've been an ESOP now for just over three years, and there is so much that goes into it, especially from a culture side. We went from a single company owner to now educating our employees that we are all owners, and the decisions we make affect each one of us. "There are some very successful ESOPs in our community that have had an amazing effect on their employees' lives. I want NetWork Center to run in that same crowd."
5 Things to Know About
"Attend one of my workshops, or help spread the word. What I do is unique in the region. You may be able to find someone who does college planning, but what sets me apart is that I don't have any products I sell as part of the plan."
RYAN KEEL 1.
Before founding CollegeSmart, which helps families navigate and fund the cost of a secondary education, Keel worked as a financial adviser for nearly 20 years.
For the past four years, Keel has volunteered as the community outreach coordinator for Diamond in the Ruff Pet Rescue.
As part of his job, Keel works with a lot of parents of college-bound kids. Here are some of his favorite (and often surprising) pieces of advice he has for them:
"A good work/volunteer balance doesn’t take away from your job or life," he says. "If done correctly and with a cause that you’re passionate about, it should make your whole life better. You aren’t 'giving away' your time; you're investing and getting a great return."
1. Comic books are good. "Reading comprehension is huge for getting into college for less, so get the kids into reading early." 2. Gap years can be a good plan. "If the student doesn’t have an idea of what they want to do." 3. Don't save for college. "If they aren’t fully funding their retirement."
One Way the Local Business Community Can Help Ryan
Worst advice he's gotten: “Wait until you’re comfortable.” "I’ve struggled with that. Sometimes, I want to wait until I can do something perfectly before I jump in and actually do it. I’ve learned that starting and running your own business means you need to get going as soon as possible. Start whatever you’re working on, and improve it while you're going."
Favorite TED Talk: "The happy secret to better work" Psychologist Shawn Achor argues that happiness actually inspires productivity.
For anyone who doesn't think core values matter ... 42
Culture King Scott Bintz took an online truck accessories store from his basement to a $100 million e-commerce giant right here in North Dakota. How'd he'd do it? By developing and sticking to six foundational principles (look for them throughout the story). Here, Bintz answers all the workplace questions you had but were too afraid to ask. By Nate Mickelberg Photos by J. Alan Paul
... RealTruck Founder Scott Bintz has 100 million reasons you should reconsider. FARGOINC.COM
HOW CAN I GET EVERYONE ON THE SAME PAGE?
DEAR SCOTT: Our company has developed a real silo mentality among our different departments. How can I remind them we're all in this together? -RECONNECTER
Bintz preparing for a "What's Up at RT?" video
DEAR RECONNECTER: Transparency is one of the harder things to practice, but it’s also the backbone of your company. Transparency’s about trust. If you think about it, the people you’re closest with are also the people you can share anything with. At RealTruck, we had two locations and couldn't ever get everybody in the same room. So one of the things I started doing was a regular, short video called "What's Up at RT?" I'd meet with every department, and the leaders of each one had two minutes (you had to be succinct) to tell me what was going on and praise two people.
WHY COMPANIES FAIL AT CULTURE
Fail to get input from everyone at company
Because I would be giving praise to people who were caught practicing our guiding principles, it not only helped further establish the principles, it also gave our team a high-level view of what each department was up to. Whether you were in customer service, IT, or accounting, you knew what other teams were up to and how it connected to the bigger picture.
Put their core values on a wall before practicing and understanding them
WILL LEADERSHIP EVER OPEN UP?
DEAR SCOTT: At the risk of sounding conspiratorial, sometimes it feels like management is keeping things from the rest of us. Any tips for how to get them to be a little more transparent? -TRYING NOT TO BE PARANOID
DEAR TRYING NOT TO BE PARANOID: Something we did was start an "Ask Anything" program where people could ask questions anonymously, and then I would answer them — sometimes via email and other times with a video. Then, after a while, I would pass those questions on to other leaders in the company and have them answer. It was important that the answers not always just come from me. 95 percent of the time, we got really good questions. We would answer any question, even if we sometimes had to strip out identifying information ("Why does Fred get to park where he parks?").
WHY COMPANIES FAIL AT CULTURE 46
Fail to align the company's values with employees' values
Transparency builds trust, and if you have trust, you can do a lot more. When you have trust, you also have loyalty and benefit of the doubt. And that’s not to say we had perfect transparency, but I'll tell you that it's hard to run a company if everybody’s playing poker. If everyone can question why we're doing what we're doing, it really helps you improve as a company. A company will oftentimes not be transparent just because they don’t want to explain themselves. If you have a company with principles, though, anyone can call someone out if they’re not practicing them.
Don't reward, recognize, hire and fire according to values
HOW CAN I GET OUR COMPANY TO ASK MORE QUESTIONS?
DEAR SCOTT: "Just because" strikes me as a terrible reason to do anything, but it seems like there's a lot of that going on with our business. Any thoughts? -NEED A BETTER REASON
A RealTruck Example Bintz talks about how at RealTruck, they used to stamp the "received date" on stacks of bills they'd get from their vendors. He recalls a conversation he had with his team when he first questioned the practice:
DEAR NEED A BETTER REASON: I agree that we all need to know why we’re doing what we’re doing, and the answer can’t be, "Because that’s what I was shown." I use the example of: Little Johnny asks his mom why they cut off the corner of the ham. Mom doesn’t know, so they ask Grandma, and Grandma says, "I don’t know why your mom does it, but I cut the corner of the ham off once because it was too big for the pan I had." There are lots of times in a company where, if someone can't answer that question of why, they may be doing something they don’t need to be doing or may be doing something that’s ineffective.
Don't use principles to question why they do what they do
Bintz: "Why are we stamping those?" Team: "Because if it was mailed late and if we don't pay the invoice on time, we'll be able to show the vendoroney the date we actually received it." Bintz: "Okay, well how many times have we paid an invoice that a vendor said was late?" Team: "Well ... never." Bintz: "So we're stamping 100,000 invoices a year for something that's never happened, where, even if it did happen, the vendor would have to trust that we stamped the right date on it?" Team: " ... " The seemingly pointless practice apparently started all because of a suggestion from an accounting manager from when the company was much smaller. It turned out that no one had ever questioned it.
HOW CAN WE GET OUR TEAM TO VALUE OUR VALUES?
DEAR SCOTT: The core values on our wall are gathering some serious dust. Can you help us live by them instead of just look by them? -EXCITED BY PRINCIPLES
Do This, Not That Bintz says that when companies develop their core values, they often fail to get input from everyone within the organization, a big no-no in his eyes.
DEAR EXCITED BY PRINCIPLES: The first time we came out with some principles, we put them up on the wall, and nobody really embraced them. We didn’t live by them, didn’t praise by them, didn't hire by them and didn't fire by them. And here I was a year later, shocked. We went back to the drawing board, and we got re-inspired about where we were going to bet it all: If we could get the culture right, everything else would work out. I’d had this observation that people had great personal values but struggled with practicing them at work — oftentimes, out of fear of losing their job. So we emailed the company asking everyone for their personal values. Then, we looked at them, grouped them into buckets of like-type values, and that’s how we came out with the six principles we now have. They weren't my values; they were our values. Then, we introduced them to the company one at a time.
"Perhaps you have a wellintended HR person or maybe someone from strategic leadership who decides, 'These are going to be our values,'" he says. "Then, they put them up on the wall before the company actually practices them, thinking that if people see them, they'll live by them." He explains how a lot companies have it more backward than they might realize. "The most important aspect is helping people connect a principle or value to people's actions," Bintz says. "Once you begin recognizing somebody practicing a principle and sharing that, people will begin to connect the dots, and it's like a snowball rolling down a hill."
WHY IS IT SO HARD TO GET RECOGNIZED?
DEAR SCOTT: I bust my butt every day, but nobody ever seems to notice. How can I stay motivated? -NOTICE ME
DEAR NOTICE ME: This works both ways. Oftentimes, if you poll a company, most people will think they work harder than the next person. So everybody feels that way. At RealTruck, when we initially started asking questions about our guiding principles, we would have people ask themselves, "What can my department
WHY COMPANIES FAIL AT CULTURE
Have good ideas but don't allow freedom to take risks
do to deliver more?" It would be two or three things. Then, we'd ask them, "What can the company do to deliver more?" It would be a list of 50 items. We all had to get better at looking at ourselves individually. I had to ask myself what I could do to be a better boss, and they had to ask themselves what they could to to be better employees. It wasn't always about just offering the information.
Don't call out examples of practicing the company's guiding principles
ARE TIGHT MARGINS AN EXCUSE FOR BAD CULTURE?
DEAR SCOTT: I've always wanted to create a kick-ass culture at our business, but I just don't know if we can afford to devote the resources to it at this point. What say you? -ARE WE THERE YET?
DEAR ARE WE THERE YET?: The sooner, the better. We were at about $6 million in sales when we started really focusing on culture. What essentially happened was that I started asking myself why RealTruck existed, and I couldnâ€™t answer the question beyond "to sell truck accessories," which was an inadequate answer to me, personally. Yes, it was cool to go from a basement to $6 million, and all the entrepreneurial kudos were great, but as far as a deeper purpose, it always seemed like we were in an endless pursuit of more: more sales, more products, more this, more that, with no real purpose beyond "more." Did You Know?
And it all came back to my own life and how I really just wanted to be useful. Could this company, the thing I had the most ability to influence, be useful? And that led us to this mission to make peopleâ€™s lives better, and the principles were how we were going to accomplish that.
As RealTruck's reputation grew as a great place to work, they actually had people in Fargo willing to commute three hours roundtrip each day to Jamestown just to be able to get their foot in the door at the company.
HOW IMPORTANT IS FIT, REALLY?
DEAR SCOTT: Everyone always says to hire personality over skill. Is it true? -DO SQUARE PEGS FIT IN ROUND HOLES?
DEAR DO SQUARE PEGS FIT IN ROUND HOLES?: When we hired someone, we did hire character first and skill set second. We would do interviews where we would hire for character, which meant: Did they have the values that supported our guiding principles? So for example, we would ask someone to explain a time they went above and beyond to help someone. One person would say, "I opened a door for an elderly lady," and another person would respond, "A friend of mine needed something for an interview in Bismarck, so I took the day off to drive it to them and then drove back home."
Anyone we hired, though, went through what we called RealTruck Basics and would end training by spending some time on the phone, which tied into our guiding principle of Be Humble. I didnâ€™t want to work next to someone who thought they were too good to do something beneath them, if it required being done. And our whole hiring process supported that. We didnâ€™t want to have a company full of people who thought they were better than everybody.
Once we decided they were a culture fit, we would bring them back for a skill set. Once we got to a skill set, then skill would triumph over culture.
WHY COMPANIES FAIL AT CULTURE 52
Hire skill over culture fit
Don't show each and every employee how they fit into big picture of the company
DID I MISS THE BOAT ON E-COMMERCE?
DEAR SCOTT: I'm a brick-and-mortar retailer trying to make sense of this e-commerce thing. Any thoughts on where it's going in the coming years? -E-CURIOUS
DEAR E-CURIOUS: My message to people right now is: You’re not too late, even though it might feel like it. If you're a business, you're going to have to serve your customer any way they want, any time they want and any how they want. And most likely, it’s going to revolve around mobile.
enough dealers, and after you get enough dealers, get wholesalers.
It's better to do a few things really great than a bunch of things mediocre, meaning: It's better to rank in the top five for a few keywords than rank 50th for thousands of them. It's better to be great at one social media channel than mediocre at five of them.
Amazon is 50 percent of the sales; that's the new Mall of America. If you're a business, your website has to essentially feed everywhere: your Amazon feed, your Google Merchant feed, everything is kind of centered around there. Rather than everything being silo-ed, which isn’t really scalable.
In today’s world, there are just so many ways where you can have a relationship with the direct consumer, even if you don’t sell to them directly. You just have to be where the customers are at.
Oftentimes, people will put up a website, put up 5,000 products and not sell any. Instead, try putting up one, and get it selling. Then, repeat that, rather than doing a bunch of work for nothing. If you can’t sell one item online, putting up 5,000 isn’t going to help.
Consistently let profit motive trump principles
If you're a manufacturer and have a relationship with your end consumer, imagine how much quicker you can introduce new products to them versus the traditional model, which was: Get
HOW CAN WE MAKE WORK A LITTLE LESS WORK-Y?
DEAR SCOTT: Life's short, and we spend a lot of it at the office. How can I get everyone to lighten up a bit? -GIRL JUST WANTS TO HAVE FUN
For a more comprehensive look at Bintz's business philosophies and best practices, check out his recently released book, "Principles to Fortune," where he tells the story of RealTruck more in-depth and provides countless practical actions that any business can take to create a winning workplace culture.
DEAR GIRL JUST WANTS TO HAVE FUN: It only takes a minute to include fun in anything. We started with little things. We'd have themed dress-up days, or one day I'd come into work, and the banner on the website would say: "We're here to sell bacon and truck accessories, and we're all out of bacon."
and some confetti. That led to us doing different themes, and we would record it.
The idea was that if you could create fun, you'd create memorable experiences. Memorable experiences are the best marketing you can have, internally and externally. One of the best examples of that is what we'd do when we'd have vendors fly in to see us.
There’s nothing more enjoyable than giving someone a memorable experience they wouldn’t ordinarily have. In our lifetimes, most of us will never have a rockstar welcome. And no matter how rough your travels are, if you walk into a building with 70 people cheering like you’re a rockstar, you'll remember that the rest of your life.
We asked ourselves, "What can we do to make their trip to North Dakota more enjoyable?" So we started by just getting them a little gift box of stuff from the state. Then, someone asked, "Why don’t we welcome them to the building like they're a rockstar?" And so they would come in, and we would all cheer. Next, someone brought a bubble machine
Again, it had that snowball effect, and eventually, when someone would visit RealTruck, it became the most memorable sales trip they ever took in their entire life.
And while it's not the reason we did it, the effect of all that was: When a vendor came out with a new product, who do you suppose they gave it to first? If they experience above-and-beyond treatment, people tend to reciprocate with above-and-beyond actions as well.
A Mini Roundtable with the ND Independent Resource Committee
PRIVATE PRACTICE Ă€ LA CARTE Sue Mullins Heartland Healthcare Network Specialty: Private-practice services
David Markel Prairie Practice Management Professionals Specialty: Revenue-cycle management, practice management
J. ALAN PAUL
Darcy Pope-Fuchs Payroll Express Specialty: Administrative services, HR
Corey Elmer Vogel Law Firm Specialty: Legal
Kevin Fitz Town & Country Credit Union Specialty: Commercial lending
John Lillestol Dakota Commercial Specialty: Commercial real estate
Joe Kramer Remark Technology Consulting Specialty: IT services
Tracy Kuznia Nordic Medical Consulting Specialty: Practice management, financial management
Meet a local group pooling its expertise to help area medical providers take the plunge into entrepreneurship.
What jumpstarted this idea?
We were all finding that there are plenty of providers who want to have their own independent practice but don't know where to start. They can get quickly deterred, so we wanted to bring a group together to be a resource for all of their needs, whether they're buying an existing practice or starting one up.
A physician has a very busy schedule to begin with, so not having to worry about (the business) is big for them. And trying to coordinate all the people they need to even get their practice started is incredibly difficult. Amanda McKinnon MSPIRE Specialty: Branding, marketing
Delrae Amann Professional Resources, Ltd. Specialty: Practice startup and development
The goal is to provide a one-stop shop for independent medical professionals to start, build and operate a practice.
Why an Independent Provider? What Is the Independent Resource Committee?
While most people default to using a larger healthcare system, that might change if more employers communicated to their employees that independent providers are an option, too, says McKinnon.
While most independent medical providers in the area belong to a network called the Heartland Healthcare Network, Heartland is unable to provide all startup services to a new practice.
"The personal care is like no other," she says. "I've been seeing independent providers since I was 5 years old, and there is no comparison, quite honestly. People just need to understand that they have a choice."
Enter the Independent Resource Committee, a group of 10 local experts from different industries who have banded together to help fill in the gaps. What makes the IRC unique is its Ă la carte delivery model, which allows an entrepreneurial-minded provider to purchase services from any of the 10 members to help them get their small business off the ground.
Lillestol, whose family founded Lillestol Research, says that even if providers at larger healthcare systems wanted to spend more time with patients, organizational realities often prevent them from doing so. â€œIt's important to establish relationships with healthcare providers who become familiar with your personal medical history," he explains. "This is difficult if visits are scheduled with different providers each time. At an independent practice, every effort is made for consistency in care. That's the biggest difference."
How did you recruit the various people for this committee?
We talked to people who we knew had worked with independent providers. It’s important to have worked with them because they’re a different breed of business from anybody else. We sat down, figured out exactly what we needed — as far as different fields — and then decided on people we knew and trusted.
One of the things I quickly realized in working with independent providers is that they don't have a background in business, which makes sense. They were trained to care for patients, so they might not understand finances, branding and marketing, or HR, which is a beast on its own. The mindset is often that they need to take on everything on their own until they start generating revenue, but the reality is: That takes away from productivity for them. We want to help change that by taking care of the various business needs to drive more revenue and make them more efficient as providers.
It’s a challenge to start any business, and when you layer on top of that the medical regulations, rules, and requirements, it’s a pretty daunting task. Our goal is to make that task more understandable and get them through it from start to finish.
You've set this up as an à la carte delivery model so that providers can pick which of your services to use. Why that route?
To use an example, a provider may already have an IT contact. If that's the case, they're still a great candidate for our group, even though they have that part of their practice taken care of. There could also be a case where a provider might not be a fit for me, and that's okay. I have other resources and contacts I can direct them to.
What if one person's services are being utilized less than others? Have you taken on your first client yet?
Well, like with John and real estate, for example, that's a relationship that can take a long time to build. There are different areas of a business that are a little faster-paced, where decisions can be made quicker.
Not from start to finish, but we’ve all started to work with people who have heard about the committee. That's the reason the à la carte model is interesting is because they only utilize a few people at a time, but down the road, they’ll utilize other people, too.
Corey Elmer Amanda McKinnon
The group represents a variety of perspectives and disciplines useful in creating a practice. Some will be needed now and some later on. In the case of legal work, if somebody goes on to form a practice, they’ll need to incorporate. Which structure do you use? Is it a professional limited liability company or is it a corporation? How do we structure it if there are other partners with shareholder agreements? As they go on, they may need IT work, or they may need marketing work; they may even plan on building at some point. And it may take time, but from our standpoint, the whole plate of services is there to start with.
We launched it to all the independent providers who are currently part of the Heartland Healthcare Network, and we are continuing to be out in front of them and letting them know we're a resource.
You're starting in healthcare, but you think this model could translate to other industries, correct?
And you all set your own rates?
I think it makes sense in almost any business formation. When you start a business from scratch, how do you do it? You need to get it set up legally; you need to get a bank involved for financing; you need a space to operate out of. At some point, you’ll need to market yourself, and as you grow, you may have HR and payroll needs. So I think with almost any business, there’s a need for this kind of model.
We charge for our services how we would with any of our other clients, in any industry.
And it's that one point of contact. You don’t have a project management team handling it like you would in a larger organization. John's the point of contact; Corey's the point of contact; I'm the point of contact. I know that for myself, that's been a big selling point.
Our initial meetings are at no cost, but after that, it's up to each individual and the committee members they plan to work with to agree on pricing. We've already had many say, "I wish this would have been here when I started my practice." Because they didn't know where to start or who to trust.
To learn more about the ND Independent Resource Committee, visit NDIRC.com FARGOINC.COM
Let's Get Creative! There’s so much positive energy in the community right now. There are a ton of opportunities to gather, network and hear about new ideas. First Fridays, 1 Million Cups Fargo, and others are hubs of learning and connecting, and it’s been fabulous to watch new ideas and relationships spring from them. With all of this already in place, it might seem like we've reached the metro’s capacity to engage in these types of events, but those of us who live and work in the creative class don’t think that’s true. And we’re about to launch a new program called Creative Mornings Fargo, which is aimed at engaging anyone who is interested in finding ways to incorporate creativity and creative thinking into their own lives. By Dayna Del Val 60
Jesse Hoorelbeke, J. Alan Paul Photog
Ashley Morken, Unglued
Morgan Schleif, M. Schleif Photography
Jeff Knight, Cereal
he mastermind behind Creative Mornings Fargo is Cereal Founder and former Concordia College professor Jeff Knight, and we at The Arts Partnership are thrilled to be working with him to bring it to the metro. Started in New York City in 2008, Creative Mornings was about creating a breakfast lecture series for the creative community, and now Fargo is among the more than 180 communities around the globe invited to host these monthly get-togethers.
Jack Yakowicz, Office Sign Company
What's more is that Creative Mornings typically only accepts applications from communities with populations of 500,000 or more, but when Jeff and TAPâ€™s videographer, Erin LeMair, put together an outstanding video submission, Fargo was accepted the very same day the application was sent in! I recently sat down with Jeff Knight and another member of the Creative Mornings Fargo committee, Ashley Morken, who owns Unglued and will be Creative Mornings Fargo's first speaker, to talk about what we can all expect and why people should be excited for this to be in our community.
Dayna Del Val, The Arts Partnership
Jeff, how did you first hear about Creative Mornings?
Crystal Cossette, Sugarplum Kent Kolstad, Livewire
Knight: I first learned about it a few years ago when I stumbled upon it online and subscribed to their e-newsletter, which is awesome by the way. I followed them for a while and watched speakers before really pushing to get a chapter here in Fargo. It wasn't until we began loosely discussing what an arts meetup group might look like that the conversation shifted to include more than just art-lovers and makers; it was to be open to all, unified by the fact that everyone can and should identify with creativity. Why did you have a desire to bring this to the Fargo metro? Knight: Creativity can be a weird thing. It can almost never be fully controlled or trained, yet it's something we as humans rely on to advance our communities, our jobs, our livelihood and our basic evolutionary needs. In Fargo-Moorhead, weâ€™ve had discussions among many in the art, design, and business fields that there isn't a consistent platform to collectively unite and celebrate what we are doing creatively. We felt it was time to provide a type of positive reinforcement to brand the Fargo metro as a creative place and one that can compete and stand tall on a worldwide scale. FARGOINC.COM
What's the goal of Creative Mornings Fargo? Knight: Really, it's about building awareness and community around local individuals and their stories. We want attendees to be the most creative individuals they can be, and sometimes it just takes a shift in thinking or slight encouragement to begin realizing one's creative potential. JEFF KNIGHT
Creative Mornings Fargo Video Submission Scene: Jeff Knight enters the frame in a flannel jacket and flappy-eared hat. He casually leans on the wood chipper outside the FM Convention & Visitors Bureau. Snow is swirling all around him. Knight: "Oooooh, hey! It’s Jeff Knight from Fargoooo, Nooort Dakoooota!" Jeff talks about Fargo the film and TV show. The snow stops, and it’s a beautiful summer day. Jeff removes his hat, drops the accent and says: Knight: "That’s some of who Fargo is, but we’re also home to the second-largest Microsoft campus in the world, a major healthcare system, three four-year institutions of higher ed and an excellent creative economy." Not hard to see why they knew we were the kind of community worth putting their stamp on, is it?
Through well-organized speaker talks and discussions, along with delicious food and freshly brewed coffee (ours will be from Stumbeanos), we can start conversations that will hopefully begin to push the creative energy of the metro to support creativity in all its manifestations. The national Creative Mornings mission begins by saying, "Everyone is creative," and we want to emphasize and re-emphasize that. It's through creative problem-solving that better, more thoughtful solutions arise, some in ways you may not be expecting. But by embracing a creative mindset and showing up to better understand its importance, we can all accomplish and navigate problems in a much more resourceful way. Who is it for? Knight: Anyone. If you're looking for a spark of inspiration or a moment to step away from your day-to-day job and really branch out of the box, we want you — even if, and maybe especially if, you're one of those people who doesn't consider yourself creative. We challenge you to come and hear from others who want to share the importance and value of creativity.
Ashley, you have the distinction of being the first presenter at Creative Mornings Fargo. What are you going to talk about? Morken: I am convinced that the more we do at Unglued to connect people more to their creative side, especially through craft, the more we see people come alive and be connected. Whether it's earning merit badges at adult summer camp, doing workshops with local makers, getting inspired by a watercolor gnome print or linocut tea towel, or meeting a maker at (Unglued Craft) Fest, when people connect to craft, they become more than just consumers of goods, which is priceless in this mass-produced world. And it inspires people. I'm stoked to cannonball into this first Creative Mornings and connect craft and creativity and how much we all need these in our lives and how we can continue to pursue them forever. Jeff, what's the value of making Ashley the first presenter? Knight: Ashley is one of those people I clearly associate with the rise in craft and maker inspiration in Fargo-Moorhead. Because of Unglued and her continued support for makers and crafters, she's provided a community for those who would typically only turn to online sales and who may not get the local support they deserve. She's a positive force for artists, makers, and designers and gives 110 percent in everything she does. She also has a great perspective about how creativity has helped the success of Unglued and our local area.
"It's about building awareness and community around local individuals and their stories." What else can people expect at a Creative Mornings event, in addition to a speaker? Knight: A lot actually. There are two major rules for Creative Mornings talks: 1) There must be breakfast provided. 2) There must be a recording of your talk. We have the generosity of a great team of volunteers helping to bring this event to top-notch, world-class levels while adhering to those requirements. We hope to go above and beyond the minimum and provide more of an experience that attendees will welcome and embrace. I hope our audience comes to Creative Mornings eager to start their Friday mornings off with a bang! It's a place for those seeking inspiration or to refuel their energy by being around others who may or may not consider themselves creative. It's a place to give your mind a jumpstart and a time to dedicate for contemplating your creative process.
Who: Anyone looking to incorporate creative thinking into their daily life What: Creative Mornings Fargo When: Friday, June 29, 8:15 a.m. (Doors open at 8. Bring your own coffee mug.) Where: APT Creative Incubator, 225 4th Ave. N, Fargo Why: To better engage those who live and work in Fargo's creative class
For more info: CreativeMornings.com/Cities/Far
A Pocket-Sized Masterpiece
How one local bank is supporting local art in a fun and creative way
“Support Local Art.” It’s a mantra found on t-shirts, stickers, and your favorite power pole stickers across Fargo-Moorhead and beyond, a rallying cry from artists and arts supporters alike. But what does it really mean to support local art? In the past decade of Fargo-Moorhead’s growth, significant strides have been taken to bolster the local arts scene. Take for example, APT, a collaboration between Kilbourne Group and The Arts Partnership to provide accessible and communal studio space for local artists. Other collaborations have brought new art markets and vendor opportunities to the area, boosting the arts economy. And now, local bank Choice Financial is stepping up to support local art in their own, new way. Customers can now carry their very own piece of local art in the form of a Choice Financial debit card. “We wanted to celebrate local art in the best way we could,” says Shelley Szudera, Director of Marketing at Choice Financial.
BY Marisa Jackels
Szudera and her team first thought of the idea after looking at the average debit card background.
“They can be a bit mundane,” she said. “We wanted to do something different.” That’s when the lightbulb went off. Instead of a generic background, they thought, what if your debit card was a mini masterpiece from a local artist? And what if that card could also represent an investment in arts councils across North Dakota? “With everything we do at Choice Financial — we look for ways to put PeopleFirst,” she said. “And what better way to put PeopleFirst than to highlight the talented artists in our communities and give back to local arts councils?” After months of planning, the idea from Choice’s marketing team is now a reality. Customers can now proudly tout a debit card featuring work by North Dakota artists Dan Francis, Cris Fulton, or Ashley Kunz. In addition, they can make a $5 suggested donation to one of seven arts councils
“We wanted to celebrate local art in the best way we could.”
FEATURED ARTISTS Cris Fulton
across the state. Choice Financial will double the impact by matching donations up to $7,500 total, with 100% of proceeds going to the arts councils.
“I hope we meet our $7,500 match,” Szudera said. “That would be $15,000 to local arts councils in our communities!” Here in Fargo-Moorhead, The Arts Partnership (TAP) is dedicated to cultivating the arts, and does so through hosting galleries, interactive art exhibits, art markets, and more. They also hosted a grand release of the Choice Financial “Support Local Art” debit cards, which included the featured artists and their families. President and CEO of TAP, Dayna Del Val, commended Choice Financial’s efforts to advocate for and invest in local art.
THE BENEFICIARIES OF #SUPPORTLOCALART DEBIT CARDS • Badlands Art Association (Dickinson)
• Dakota West Arts Council (Bismarck) • Ellendale Area Arts Council (Ellendale, ND) • Gorge Arts and Heritage Council (Walhalla, ND) • Northern Lights Arts Council (Langdon, ND) TREVOR MATHEW
• North Valley Arts Council (Grand Forks)
Choice Financial Director of Marketing Shelley Szudera (L) and The Arts Partnership President and CEO Dayna Del Val (R) with the #SupportLocalArt debit card artists at a recent event.
• The Arts Partnership Financial’s efforts to advocate and invest in local art.
“It’s so important to see companies like Choice Financial stepping up and showing they believe in the work the arts councils are doing in our communities and to be actively investing in the arts as well,” she said at the event. “Not to mention the cards are beautiful!” The cards are limited edition, with only 750 of each available. Szudera says the bank plans to feature three additional North Dakota artists on the cards if the first round sells out. Szudera herself is a passionate advocate for the arts and the proud owner of an Ashley Kunz debit card. "When I look at my debit card, I feel proud of why we do what we do and proud we are able to support local art," Szudera says. "We all carry debit cards. Now, we have the opportunity to have them represent something positive."
Learn more about the #SupportLocalArt debit cards at ChoiceFinancialGroup. com/SupportLocalArt
Yields: One business plan
Prep time: Varies
BY STEVE DUSEK
These are things that guide you to stay in alignment with your vision and passion for why you started in the first place. Ask yourself questions such as, "What's the purpose of my company? Why does my company exist? What are our mission and core values?"
Figure out some basic info.
☐☐3 objectives to accomplish within 3 years
☐☐1 big goal
☐☐1 SWOT Analysis
☐☐2-3 competitive advantages
☐☐3 pieces of basic info
A Great Business Plan
What you can be best in the world at
What drives your economic engine
What you are passionate about
Start with a big goal: What do you want to be in 10, 20 or 30 years? Based on that, what are three objectives you need to accomplish in the next three years? Then, take those three objectives, and break them down into goals for just this year. Finally, break those down into quarterly priorities. During each quarter, review how you're doing: Are you accomplishing your goals, or have there been any changes that require you to coursecorrect within your plan?
What are your goals?
Take some time to write down your strengths and weaknesses (these are internal to your company) followed by your opportunities and threats (these are external to your company). Include such things as competition and regulations. How do these impact your plans? Are any of them things you want to change? Maybe they become a goal within your plan.
Do a SWOT analysis.
If you've never read â€œGood to Greatâ€? by Jim Collins, I highly recommend it. The Hedgehog concept will help you determine the sweet spot for creating strategy for your business. In the most basic understanding, it's the intersection of what your company can be the best at, what you are deeply passionate about, and what drives your economic engine.
Determine your "Hedgehog."
Identify your competitive advantages.
These are not things like customer service, employees and superior product. If anyone else can claim the same thing, it's not a competitive advantage. You have to dig deeper. What is something you do that's truly different or better than the offerings of your competitor(s)?
DEBUNKING 4 COMMON
CYBERSECURITY MYTHS A monthly look at a tech issue that you and your business need to know about
By William Galvin Photo by Hillary Ehlen
William Galvin is the owner of Giga-Green Technologies in Fargo.
Anti-virus software is dead, and you don't need it anymore.
My computers are fully up to date, and I run anti-virus on all our computers, so everything will be fine.
While a vice president at cybersecurity company Symantec, Brian Dye said in 2014 that antivirus software was "dead." Unfortunately, that was all people heard. What he was trying to do was illustrate a point that software alone isn't enough to protect the typical organization, and he's absolutely right. Protecting your data is always going to be a never-ending endeavor, and it only just begins with antivirus software. This myth is particularly damaging to the effectiveness of antivirus software as well. Today's antivirus uses machine learning from information reported back from each computer being protected. This allows for quick incident detection and resolution, which is key to stopping widespread outbreaks. There is a flaw in this, however: An outbreak has to occur for it to be detected, which leads to some being the sacrificial lambs who protect the rest of us.
While you are taking effective measures to protect your organization, there is no such thing as "safe." Your computers are often not the most susceptible to intrusion; your workforce is your greatest liability after patching known issues. Most cybercrime starts as a form of social engineering to gain trust or access and then gain financially from there. This can take many forms such as a seemingly legitimate invoice that needs to be paid or selling your data to the highest bidder. Yearly cybersecurity training and alerting your employees of new threats helps combat this.
Did You Know About Targeted Attacks? What did you do? Maybe nothing, but someone has it out for your organization. This is an individual or group looking to gain on your behalf. Their motives aren't always clear, but they can range in any level of expertise from someone who shares bad web links to someone who attacks the Department of Defense.
MYTH #4 MYTH #3 Cyberattacks only target large businesses because they have more to lose. While large enterprise organizations do have to remain ever-vigilant against targeted attacks, small businesses are a far easier scam to pull off.
Small businesses often do not have the proper protection or business procedures to protect themselves from all different types of exploitations. It's much easier to scam someone for an unnoticeable $200 than it is to take down Target or Equifax.
Most cybersecurity attacks are generated outside the U.S.
Where a cyberattack originates from is mostly meaningless. In fact, the first thing you want to do as a cybercriminal is hide your actual physical location. Cybercriminals are usually after two things: 1) Anything they can make money selling 2) Fame and recognition
Did You Know About Cryptolocker Viruses? This is a particularly nasty computer worm that replicates from computer to computer and, on its way, encrypts everything it can get its hands on. Realistically, the only way back from these attacks is to restore from a good backup of your data. Some variants will hold your information hostage for a ransom. These "ransomwares" offer no guarantee of recovery of your data, though, and provide no protection against the next outbreak.
Giga-Green Technologies Giga-Green.com
JUNE 5 The State of Local Childcare and Its Impact on Workforce Development 7:30 - 9 a.m.
What business owners often don't think about when they hear the word "childcare" is the impact it has has on our entire community, especially our workforce. Access to high-quality and affordable child care is vital in the success and economic development of our business community. Hear from industry leaders who will share research and current childcare data and information about how strategic initiatives
to improve access to quality childcare help businesses and employers meet their workforce demands today and in the future. Registration (includes breakfast) Chamber Members • $30 in advance • $35 at the door Non-Members • $40 in advance • $45 at the door FMWFChamber.com Courtyard by Marriott Fargo-Moorhead 1080 28th Ave. S, Moorhead
JUNE 7 35 Under 35 Celebration Ceremony 4 - 5 p.m. (reception to follow)
You're invited to join the United Way of Cass-Clay to celebrate, honor and recognize the participants of the 2018 United Way 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Program. Supervisors, coworkers, family, friends, mentors and program alumni are welcome. UnitedWayCassClay.org Sanctuary Events Center 670 4th Ave. N, Fargo
JUNE 7 Ladyboss Summit 7:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Spend a morning with the Ladybosses of Fargo-Moorhead. Learn from their "kickass" lineup of speakers, build relationships with other Ladybosses in the thriving FMWF community, and discuss relevant topics that will inspire you and give you actionable takeaways to empower you in your Ladyboss lifestyle. Registration • $100 Eventbrite.com Wild Terra Cider and Brewing 6 12th St. N, Fargo
JUNE 12 Leadership + Community 9 a.m.
JUNE 12-14 DigiGirlz High Tech Camp DigiGirlz, a Microsoft YouthSpark program, gives middle and high school girls opportunities to learn about careers in technology, connect with Microsoft employees, and participate in hands-on computer and technology workshops. During the camp session, girls listen to executive speakers, participate in technology tours and demonstrations, network, and learn through hands-on experience in workshops.
Reinvigorate your leadership, with a morning of many "ah-ha" moments and laughter! Hatch Coaching Founder Erik Hatch will be spending the morning talking about how you can make a positive impact on the people in your life by focusing on a few facets of leadership. You will walk away with a new perspective on how you can be a leader in your world. They highly encourage you to bring your team, friends or spouse with you. Register on Eventbrite. HatchCoaching.com/Events Fargo Theatre 314 Broadway N, Fargo
From generational and personality differences to varying work styles, it’s important to keep all your key players pulling the rope in the same direction. At this special session of Business Training, learn how to create a positive workplace environment and teamwork in all situations. You'll learn how to decrease stress and provide a culture that employees are looking for, and you'll walk away knowing how to identify and overcome challenges and leave with instant solutions.
Hilton Garden Inn Fargo 4351 17th Ave. S, Fargo
Microsoft - Fargo Campus 3900 Great Plains Drive S, Fargo
uCodeGirl Jr. • Ages 10-13 June 18-22 (one week)
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
uCodeGirl summer tech camps are like no other. Come as you are, and have fun exploring, coding and making friends. Choose from five different sessions, categorized by age group:
Teamwork in the Workplace: Tools to Keep the Peace
Registration (includes lunch) Chamber Members • $30 in advance • $35 at the door Non-Members • $40 in advance • $45 at the door
Registration • Free - register on the Microsoft DigiGirlz website
Crack the Code: Tech Camp for Girls
JUNE 19 UCodeGirl.org/TechCamp2018 NDSU College of Business, Barry Hall 811 2nd Ave. N, Fargo
YPN New Member Social 4:30 - 5:15 p.m.
New to Young Professionals Network or thinking about joining? Then this event is for you! Connect with new and current members, learn more about the program and learn how to get more involved. They always make time to do some networking, so don’t forget your business cards.
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Registration (required) • Free
uCodeGirl • Ages 12-14 June 18-22 (one week)
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Lindenwood Park - Main Shelter Roger Maris Drive S, Fargo
uCodeGirl Sr. • Ages 14-18 June 18-29 (two weeks) 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
JUNE 19 YPN Great American Picnic 5:15 - 7:30 p.m.
Join the Young Professionals Network, family and friends for their seventh annual Great American Picnic. Food, beverages and lawn games will be provided for those who are looking for a friendly competition. Registration (required) • Free FMWFChamber.com Lindenwood Park - Rotary Shelter 1712 5th St. S, Fargo
JUNE 21 Business After Hours 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Business After Hours continues to set records as the region’s largest networking event. Booth space is often sold out, and attendees can connect with their peers and exhibitors, ranging from cell phone companies to financial institutions and more. Join for a great time over apps, networking and fun. Registration (must be 21) • $25 if you register prior to midnight the Wednesday before • $35 all registrations after that time FMWFChamber.com Courtyard by Marriott Fargo-Moorhead 1080 28th Ave. S, Moorhead
DOWN THE ROAD
The Business Case for Women's Leadership Programs 3:30 - 5 p.m.
Inclusive organizations and leadership teams topics that have dominated the news cycle lately and become a constant source of conversation. The statistics are clear: Inclusive organizations outperform other organizations, and the impact of women leaders is essential to business success. So why are the ratios of women to men in management positions still so off? To answer this question, many organizations have invested in women’s leadership or women’s empowerment programs. These courses seek to unlock participants’ potential, close the gender representation gap, empower their employees, improve the advancement
Jenni Huotari Eide Bailly
of women in the workplace and the list goes on. But what makes for a successful, sustainable program? And why should businesses care about implementing these types of initiatives? Please consider bringing diapers to donate to families that utilize the Great Plains Food Bank.
CO.STARTERS Summer Course July-September
Chamber Challenge Golf Outing July 11
Registration Chamber Members • $25 in advance • $30 at the door Non-Members • $35 in advance • $40 at the door
LOCAL BUSINESS MEETUPS
FMWFChamber.com DoubleTree by Hilton 825 E. Beaton Drive, West Fargo Lisa Borgen American Crystal Sugar
Camille Grade Myriad Mobile
Heather Silseth-Karels John Deere Electronic Solutions
More information for most meetups can be found at Meetup.com.
• Blockchain Meetup • Cass-Clay Subcontractor Sales & Marketing Meetup
• Geek Meet FM • Girl Develop It • Fargo 3D Printing Meetup • Fargo Cashflow Game Night • Fargo Entrepreneurship Meetup • Fargo Virtual Reality Meetup • Fargo-Moorhead Content Strategy
• The Fargo-Moorhead Real Estate Investing Meetup
• Master Networks – Fargo Business Referral Group
JUNE 27 Chamber Military Appreciation Night at the RedHawks 6:30 p.m. (game starts at 7:02 p.m.)
Honor our region’s military through a fun, family-friendly night of baseball and patriotism. Join and watch the FM RedHawks take on the Texas AirHogs. Tickets are $10, which includes entry to the game and $3 in Hawks Bucks. The Chamber will have a reserved section.
Sponsor a Family Last year, more than 900 members of our military community were guests of honor at the event. Help thank another family for their service through a VIP experience at this year’s event. Five sponsorship levels are available. FMWFChamber.com Newman Outdoor Field 1515 15th Ave. N, Fargo
• Mobile Meetup Fargo • Moorhead Entrepreneurship Meetup
• Prairie Dawg Drupal • Red River Valley Big Data –
Midwest Big Data Hub Meetup
• Stampede: A Meetup for the
Young, Determined & Restless
• YMCA Brighter Futures
w i l d l y
s m a r t
b u i l d i n g s
Celebrating 24 years in business
FA RG O
In hindsight, it was an ambitious — maybe closer to crazy — goal: Build an e-commerce giant in the middle of North Dakota. RealTruck Founder...
Published on Jun 1, 2018
In hindsight, it was an ambitious — maybe closer to crazy — goal: Build an e-commerce giant in the middle of North Dakota. RealTruck Founder...