Fargo INC! November 2020

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Michelle Kommer's Next Step

The Nation's Youngest College President

Cool Offices: radio fm media





no driver needed North Dakota's Dive Into Autonomous Systems

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Sponsored Content: The Team At SCHEELS Is Perfecting The E-Commerce Experience


Sponsored Content: Banking Done Differently


North Dakota Is Stepping Into The Future


Taking The HighRoad


The Path of Monsignor James Shea


New Business In Fargo Moorhead: The Piggy BBQ


CEO Conversation: Jon Riewer, Eventide Senior Living Communities


Cool Offices: Radio FM Media


2020 Chamber Choice Award Winners


The Impact of Women’s Entrepreneurship Week


CEO Conversation With Bryan Nermoe


Resources For Starting Your Own Business


Ladyboss of the Month: Crystal Cossette Knight


10 Questions With John Machacek: Power Plate Meals


Meet The Tech Makers


Academic Insight: 4 Reasons Why You Should Focus On Followership


The Power Of Partnerships


Events Calendar








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

Awe Inspiring


tepping into my first autonomous vehicle wasn't what I expected. If you had told me when I started this job that I would ride in truck with no driver, I would've said, "you're lying because I will not get inside that metal death machine." However, when I stepped inside the autonomous truck unveiled at the Grand Farm this past month, I felt confident in the technology. Prior to the ride-along, I had the opportunity to hear some incredibly smart individuals speak with confidence about the ability of the technology and I was sold. The ride went smoothly and, as I was assured, the autonomous truck followed its route precisely

Hopefully, you learn something worthwhile in this magazine about where we are headed. The future is exciting and awe-inspiring.

Brady Drake Brady Drake Fargo INC! Editor

Brady Drake, Fargo INC! Editor




President & CEO

United Way of Cass-Clay

Dakota Business Lending

It all starts with “why.” As author and Ted-Talk presenter Simon Sinek’s says, "Our “whys” fuel us." As this month’s article highlights, there are many reasons why companies should encourage their employees to be involved with their community – these 3 facts are my “whys.” 1.) On any given night in our community, more than 1,022 people are homeless. 2.) Of those who are homeless, 23% are children. 3.) Our local shelters are bursting at their seams; with nearly every night all 284 beds being full. I hope these facts inspire you to take action and give back – all toward the goal of preventing homelessness for 90% of children and families by 2023.

At the beginning of this year, our team made it our mission to provide more clarity to ourselves, our borrowers, and our partners throughout this year. We had no idea what 2020 would bring, but we had a plan set in place and were ready to go. Fast forward to 11 months later, and this year did not go as expected. The challenges, changes, and unknowns that it has brought have made it difficult for us to live out this mission. Just like many businesses and people around the nation, we find ourselves wondering how we are supposed to provide clarity with the current state we are in? Everything feels like a blur. But the year is not over yet… Our plan may not have gone as we hoped, but we’re still trying. Let’s all resolve to continue to look for ways that we can adapt our goals, move forward, and try to provide clarity throughout the rest of this crazy year.




Moore Holding Company

With snow flying, I’m having golf withdrawal, so please bear with me to explore one more nugget from golf legend Ben Hogan. “This (golf) is a game of misses. The guy who misses the best is going to win,” according to Hogan. He knew we all try to make the perfect shot, achieve the perfect swing. But while we visualize the ideal outcome, we also need to be aware of which imperfect swing will leave us in an acceptable position for our next shot, and which will lead to disaster. In business, too, we imagine perfection and strive for excellence. Good strategic thinking helps us see one or two steps ahead, so we can evaluate how imperfect execution will set us up to continue on a successful path.

Communications and Marketing Officer

VP of Finance and Operations

FM Area Foundation

FMWF Chamber of Commerce

From November 24 through December 14, you can browse 90+ charitable projects and programs in the 2020 FM Area Caring Catalog. The Caring Catalog shines a light on the many needs in the community and gives you the opportunity to donate to local nonprofits doing the work you care about. The Caring Catalog is available online and in print. You can pick up a copy at a local grocery store or visit areafoundation. org/caringcatalog. There will be lots of fun giving incentives. Give back to the place you love this holiday season!

As most of you probably know, Craig Whitney served our Chamber and our community for 10 years. As president and CEO, he established many successful initiatives throughout his tenure, including Voices of Vision, Eggs & Issues and Fueling Our Future, just to name a few. Even though he is no longer with us, he left a lasting legacy. As we move forward, we are excited to announce that we have just selected a new president and CEO who will start this December. We are thrilled to welcome Shannon Full to our community and our Chamber. Shannon brings over 20 years of chamber experience, along with innovative ideas and strong leadership. She is currently the president and CEO of TwinWest Chamber of Commerce in Plymouth, Minnesota. We are confident that Shannon’s innovative ideas and vision will continue to drive our region forward as we look toward the future. We look forward to your partnership in offering a warm welcome to Shannon in December!

Director of Ecosystem

Emerging Prairie

Grand Sky was born out of a vision that North Dakota can be a leader in unmanned aerial systems. Because of a robust ecosystem bolstered by University of North Dakota and the Grand Forks Air Force Base, dozens of companies have launched or called North Dakota home and millions of dollars in economic development have come to the state. Now move south. Fargo has an ecosystem that is ripe at being a leader in unmanned ground systems. With NDSU's pioneering research, industry leaders like Bobcat and John Deere and with Grand Farm as an ecosystem builder, we have the potential to foster and cultivate a new industry to North Dakota. On Oct. 8, ND Dept. of Transportation proved unmanned ground systems are possible with the demonstration of North Dakota's first truck. Now it's our turn to bet big on our future.

Chief Innovation Officer

Founder and Director

KODEE FURST Program Manager

Greater FM Economic Development Corporation

The Executives Club of Fargo - Moorhead

The Nice Center

I was very excited to see the NDDOT autonomous vehicle ground test out at Grand Farm recently. North Dakota has been a leader in unmanned aerial systems for years and, hopefully, we can push to advance our region in autonomous ground innovation as well.

There are 171,476 words currently in-use in our English language (give or take). Each month, I’m asked to share 75 of them (give or take) with you. Here are 75 of my favorites…

This year has shown us innovation happens everywhere – in classrooms where teachers and students adjusted to a completely new model of learning, in communities where local residents have had to rethink safe engagement and in companies where remote work became the standard, not the exception.

It’s great to see the State of ND actively innovating but this is also a further sign of progress with the Grand Farm initiative, and how it should continue to do good things for our region and ag & food. The Emerging Prairie team has really set the table for all of us to partner in the teamwork of strategies, connections and investments into this. I love innovative economic development!

In business: distinguished. trustworthy. exceptional. agile. bold. competitive. collaborative. yearning. thankful. thrifty. efficient. opportunistic. capitalistic. innovative. influential. stellar. strategic. charitable. hospitable. valuable. ethical. ready. willing. able. polite. In leadership: honest. authentic. genuine. intuitive. introspective. decisive. clear. consistent. resourceful. empowering. challenging. selfless. magnetic. resolute. dogged. responsible. tactful. sanguine. aware. understanding. unwavering. wary. esteemed. just. polite. In life: strong. decent. personable. accountable. humble. inspirational. grateful. loyal. fearless. chivalrous. tenacious. sagacious. accepting. serene. warm. jovial. eloquent. candid. reflective. creative. passionate. optimistic. patriotic. significant. polite.

In the midst of so much hard change, innovation can be the bright spot – the place where we see our creativity meet the needs of the moment and the arrival of new solutions that exceed our imagination. At The Nice Center, we believe in celebrating that innovation. Join us on November 19 for ND Innovation Day and leave inspired by the stories of innovation happening in small towns, cities, classrooms and companies across North Dakota.



December brings us to Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 7-13, 2020. An annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take interest in Computer Science. uCodeGirl will be hosting creative and fun mini-sessions to invite the young and the curious to try applied digital skills as a way to solve real-world problems. When you give a girl an opportunity to build technical knowledge, and empower her with the skills to do it on her own - the outcome can be amazing. Join us, as we invest in future tech makers so that leaders are made, potentials are realized, and communities thrive.



NOVEMBER 2020 Volume 5 Issue 11

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

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Fargo INC! is published by Spotlight LLC, Copyright 2020 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.

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Cooking Classes for All Skill Levels Attend any of our classes in person or online!

Lizards, turtles and dogs, oh my! Critter companions come in all shapes and sizes, and although in most households you’ll find a dog or a cat, many birds, reptiles and amphibians are just as beloved among pet owners. The annual pets issue strives to share all the essential information you need to care for your furry, or non-furry, friend. Also, find Fargo Monthly's annual Wedding Guide on stands too!

Upcoming Classes 11/11 Surf and Turf for Two 11/18 Sweater Weather Cooking 11/21 All About Tiramisu 12/4 Homemade Takeout

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While rosters and visages change, the mantra has always remained the same: who's next? Regardless of the sport, North Dakota State continues to showcase that they develop their student-athletes the right way. The evidence is in the tremendous success of each program's "underclassmen". While their age may say otherwise, these student-athletes are ready for the limelight. Coming Soon!

Look for us in December! Read all past issues at https://www.designandlivingmagazine.com/

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Look for us in December! Read all past issues at https://futurefarmermag.com/


Ray Hauge

Nikki Fjerstad

By Brady Drake Photos by Nolan Schmidt 26



The Team At Nathan Enderle

Is Perfecting The E-Commerce Experience

SCHEELS has come a long way since its beginning as a small hardware store in 1902. In order to undergo such a great transformation, SCHEELS had to be willing to adapt with the times. In 1980, this meant transitioning a store in Sioux Falls into an all sporting goods store. More recently, it has meant improving the online experience for their customers. In a short period of time, the E-Commerce team at SCHEELS has made big strides. We sat down to learn more from a few of their key members.



Ray Hauge E-Commerce Technical Leader

What is your role as E-Commerce Technical Leader? My goal is to use technology to help our team and improve our customers’ experiences. That can range from solving little issues all the way to planning what technology we need to have in place in the next few years. I have an amazing team of designers and developers bringing new ideas to the table and collaborating to make those ideas a reality. We obviously work on the website, but we’ve also built our own software to help fill the site with products, organize the fulfillment of orders and a few other things as well. With over a decade at SCHEELS, how have you seen the focus on e-commerce shift from something that was perhaps secondary to something that is increasingly important? We started small, and that was a conscious decision. Selling products online is very different from selling them in a store, and we knew there was going to be a learning curve. You can’t just take a shirt and sell it online -- we had to figure out how to

have product images and information come together and stay organized. We also had to figure out everything from boxes to packaging to the logistics of getting products to customers quickly.

Further along the line, what was your role in expanding the site to site to a fullfledged retail experience? Did it seem crazy at the time the company started to transition?

As we grew, our reputation within SCHEELS grew as well which created the opportunity to implement our Pickup In Store process. Integrating scheels.com with our stores was a huge turning point. Now we coordinate daily with our stores and provide a cohesive, bestin-class experience for our customers.

When I first started as a programmer it was a much smaller team, and that meant wearing a lot of hats. My first Christmas season I rummaged through boxes of socks to ship out. Having that hands-on experience was vital to understand where the opportunities for technology were in our processes. There was a point where I knew we wouldn’t be able to get the level of work necessary to grow, done in the next year if we didn’t make a change. I worked with our fulfillment team to create the early version of our order management system to streamline the process. As the site continued to grow, we reached a point where we needed to migrate to a better website platform. To support the transition from one system to another, my team worked with our merchandisers to create a Product Information Manager to transition our existing products and streamline the process of adding new products to the site. It’s the development of these custom technologies that have created a foundation allowing us to quickly adjust to changes when they come up.

In the beginning SCHEELS’ website was used solely for providing information. Can you take me back to that first shift away from just supplying content? What was that like? It was a wild time! SCHEELS had more than 100 years of experience in the retail industry, but now we had the goal of translating our amazing in-store experience into a matching online presence. We started as a small team, and knew it would take time to perform online as well as we do it in our stores. It was a big change in our processes, and we had to figure it out along the way especially since there is a lot more technology behind a retail website than most people realize. There were simple things, like how we group products together on the site, to more difficult pieces like organizing the process of shipping orders from our many stores. We all knew scheels.com would be an important part of the company and we were excited to be a part of that journey.

2005 The website started as scheelssports.com in 2002 as an informational website showing store locations and contact information. 28


Honestly, each year seems crazier than the last, but once the dust settles after Christmas, it’s a fulfilling experience to look back at what we were able to accomplish.

In February of 2006, SCHEELS launched the first site that sold products. The first sale was an adidas duffel bag.

SPONSORED CONTENT Nikki Fjerstad E-Commerce Sales Leader

What is your role as E-commerce Sales Leader/Soft Goods Merchandising Leader? Our goal is to grow Sales, Cash, and Margin for our specialty shops through the digital channels. My direct supervision is for all things Clothing and Footwear. Our merchandising team as a whole has to do everything from getting 1 single product item on the website by gathering content, imagery, video’s, etc. and then now that we have it on, how do we sell it? So we work with other members of Ecommerce and Marketing to message it and get it in front of our customers through the proper digital channels that work for that specific customer and their shopping patterns. In your 16 years with the company, SCHEELS e-commerce efforts have evolved from a small team to a department of 60+, why has that move been important and how has it helped you and the team? A lot of us have come from existing SCHEELS stores so we’ve grown to know and continue to lead the culture of SCHEELS but expanding our Ecommerce team with new hires from outside the organization with experience has been instrumental in our growth as well; whether in creating an analytics team and studying the results, to what is the smartest design for a mobile experience, to writing unique content for SEO, or building out an internal development team that allows us

to make changes as needed, or making sure we mimic our stores with the BEST customer service experience our customers have known to love and expect, and while fulfilling shipments within 2 days! Every new role and hire has helped us move forward at a much faster pace! Since the creation of the e-commerce department, it seems like things have picked up rather quickly as far as the company offering more user-friendly features and pickup options on the site, how has this helped to push the company forward? Yeah this growth has been amazing and it’s so fun to get to be a part of our company! We’ve been a brick and mortar business for so long, and we will continue to be, but adding more support and exposure to e-commerce will be instrumental as that’s just the new norm in terms of where the customer is starting their shopping journey now. In terms of making the user experience smooth, that is extremely important and we’re lucky to have an internal development/ UX team that is amazing and understands the importance of pace and how quickly we need to develop features for the way shopping habits are changing. What sets SCHEELS’ culture apart? Empowerment and passion. No matter the role, the level, or the tenure. We have always taught our employees to be empowered with

2010 In 2008, SCHEELS added the ability to search for products..

what they are doing since we hired them for that exact role. And if you’ve met any other SCHEELS employees you will see what I mean when I say passionate. Whether it’s passion about fishing products, passion for teaching, passion for email design, every role at SCHEELS requires Passion and we hire with that in mind!

In 2011, ratings and reviews were added to the site. That same year, SCHEELS Gift Cards were added as an accepted form of payment. FARGOINC.COM


Nathan Enderle E-Commerce Analytics/Digital Marketing Leader

I know you have quite a bit of industry experience, what did you see upon coming to SCHEELS? How did that outside perspective help you?

What is your role as E-Commerce Analytics/Digital Marketing Leader? My role at SCHEELS is to help lead our Ecommerce team to find ways to drive more customers to Scheels.com and to help our teams understand how customers are using Scheels.com. We can track how customers are getting to the website, what they are looking at and searching for on the site and also see where they are running into roadblocks or having problems. We all then work collectively to use this information to improve the online experience for our customers.

Over my past 12 years in this field, I’ve had the opportunity to help build a few different company’s digital experiences and optimize their marketing channels to grow their sales. When the opportunity came up to work at SCHEELS I knew there was a big opportunity to grow their digital presence and experience from my own and other’s experiences that came up in discussions with close friends. As a regular SCHEELS customer I wouldn’t use the website as I found it very difficult to use and knowing what capabilities existed I was probably harder on the website than most. I also had a really good friend who grew up in Fargo and she loved SCHEELS but when she moved away and didn’t have a SCHEELS close, she also found the website frustrating to use and would tell me that I should work at SCHEELS and improve their website almost every time we saw each other. My outside perspective helped me understand that there was a lot of

In 2012, the domain name is changed to scheels.com. 30


In 2013, a customer service team is specifically added for scheels.com.

opportunity ahead for SCHEELS. I had seen different things work in different industries from my experience and knew that not everything that worked prior would work for SCHEELS as the industry continues to evolve quickly, but the company values and culture at SCHEELS made it evident that the team was committed to building an experience that complimented the in-store experience. Can you talk to me a little bit about the importance of BOPIS/Curbside and omnichannel experience? Over the past 10 years you have seen a big shift in technology to make things more convenient for people and shopping experiences have changed as well. It’s really fun to go to SCHEELS and spend time there riding the ferris wheel, grabbing lunch at Ginna’s Cafe or seeing the attractions but customers don’t always have that time available to them when a need arises. That is the reason we have prioritized improving the omni-channel experience over the past couple of years. Your son or daughter might need a new hockey stick before their practice that night or a couple ice fishing items before you

In 2015, the first mobile site is developed for scheels.com..


head out to the lake and that’s where we’ve worked hard to provide a great experience no matter how you choose to get those items. We’ve made it easier to know what products are at your local SCHEELS with store availability filtering when searching for products. We have SCHEELS experts available via email, phone or chat to help answer any questions you may have. And last but not least we give you the opportunity to order it online and we’ll bring it out to your car with curbside pick up for those last minute needs. Our customer’s time is valuable and so we’re continuing to look at ways to provide the same great experience customers have grown to love in our stores in ways that suit the customer’s new preferred shopping methods.

customers are notified along each step of the process so they are informed of when they can pick up that item. But then that continued on to our IT department and in-store teams finding the right plan for getting those items picked and ready to be picked up as quickly as possible. Our goal was to have them ready in two hours or less but many times those items are ready in 30 minutes or less! It really took a team effort from all areas of our company to ensure customers using this new option were giving an experience that matched the same great service they have come to expect from SCHEELS.

How have you helped in that implementation process? Providing these new options for our customers has really been a testament of the entire SCHEELS team coming together and accomplishing the goal. Our ecommerce team has made the ordering process easier online and our email team has done a great job of making sure

In 2016, the E-Commerce Department was created to unify 24 associates into one group.

In 2017, Buy Online, Pickup In Store is added. PayPal, Apple Pay and Visa are also added as acceptable payment methods.

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020, SCHEELS introduces their new Curbside Pickup process.




Banking Done Differently Gate City Bank Disrupting Industry Norms For a Better Way of Life®

What does it mean to create a better way of life? It’s about putting people before business and lending a helping hand to customers, communities and fellow team members. Whether it’s providing free ATMs worldwide, giving back to communities or promoting diversity and innovation, a better way of life comes from empowering people to make a difference.



Who is Gate City Bank? Gate City Bank is a mutual community bank with 43 locations and 735 team members across 22 communities in North Dakota and central Minnesota. With $2.6 billion in assets, it’s become the region’s leading financial institution. The Bank’s mission is to provide a welcoming atmosphere and a commitment to making the lives of its customers and team members better by investing in them and their communities For a Better Way of Life.® For 97 years, Gate City Bank’s tradition has been to be the bank of choice and employer of choice with team members of choice. Here are some cool things to know about Gate City Bank: • It’s the #1 mortgage lender in North Dakota. • Locally approved, serviced and financed loans are quick and easy. • Checking customers enjoy free ATMs anywhere with unlimited ATM fee refunds – worldwide. (This has saved customers more than $38 million.) • Gate City Bank is big into community giving. Team members have provided $27.7 million in philanthropic giving and 237,000 hours of team volunteerism to over 1,000 charities. • The Bank offers its BetterLife™ Student Loan, which is the first and only program of its kind in the nation.* This program helps to pay off student loans faster, featuring no fees and a low interest rate. Since 2015, Gate City Bank has helped nearly 3,000 customers save more than $25 million in student loan interest.




Gate City Bank is one of the key drivers in the annual Giving Hearts Day. In 2020, Gate City Bank donated over $250,000.

Gate City Bank wants to accompany every customer on their financial journey, partnering with them through life. From saving for college to planning for retirement, Gate City Bank is there. Additionally, everything Gate City Bank team members do is shaped by the Bank’s Principles of High Standards: Make a Difference: Give back to communities by making an impactful difference through volunteerism and philanthropic giving. Customer Obsession: Exceed expectations by going above and beyond. Listen, delight, enhance and personalize experiences from beginning to end across all channels. Be a Leader: Lead with integrity, honesty and innovation to maintain financial leadership with competitive products, services and experiences.

Team members are empowered to give back in the communities where they live and work.

Embrace Data and Innovation: Explore new ways to foster innovation that supports strategic goals. Sense of Urgency: Act with a sense of urgency to proactively initiate positive change, allowing Gate City Bank to remain the financial leader. Commitment to Compliance: Accountability to high standards of compliance and risk mitigation through successful execution of policies, procedures, processes and applicable laws and regulations. Ultimately, Gate City Bank believes that personal service, financial strength and local involvement leads to positive outcomes, and decisions are driven by a culture of putting customers, communities and team members first. It’s why so many customers and team members choose to stay with Gate City Bank long term.

Gate City Bank has fostered a culture of having fun while giving back. 38


For a Better Way of Life® “For a Better Way of Life” is Gate City Bank’s tagline and part of its mission, and the Bank has gone as far as to register it with the federal government for exclusivity. When team members leave work every day, they’re encouraged to ask themselves what they’ve done to create a better way of life for a customer, community or fellow team member. “Before the end of each day, it’s become routine for me to list out all the ways I’ve made a difference in someone’s life,” says Kevin Hanson, Gate City Bank President & CEO. “It keeps me accountable as a team member, and it reminds me that the Bank’s overall goal is to change people’s lives for the better.” Additionally, the tagline “For a Better Way of Life” has inspired team members to think about the difference they can make in the long term. Being a servant leader isn’t about who gets the recognition, but how to best help customers and communities. The goal is to lead by example and empower people to make a difference through their work. An example of the Bank’s mission being integrated into everyday life is its commitment to volunteering. In 2019, team members volunteered nearly 16,000 hours. Gate City Bank encourages team members to do that on company time – and for each hour they volunteer beyond 10 hours, the Bank gifts approximately $25 per hour to the charity. Giving Hearts Day is another example of how Gate City Bank has encouraged team members to create a better way of life for the communities it serves. This year, the Bank had the honor of delivering


gifts of $2,500 to 30 charitable organizations, and it surprised five charities with boosts that totaled $60,000. A Culture Like No Other Gate City Bank promotes a culture of fun. Whether it’s celebrating “Fun Days” with treats and unique themes or encouraging customers and team members to enjoy the Bank’s now infamous freshly baked cookies, it’s important for team members to feel happy at work. This is partly reflected by the fact that 50% of referrals for new team members come from existing team members. It’s an open culture with easy access to leaders, and everyone is empowered to act. In addition to encouraging team members to take time off to give back, Gate City Bank has implemented a sabbatical program where a team member can take four weeks off with no access to email. During that four-week period, all inquiries that team member receives will be forwarded to a colleague. Gate City Bank selects team members for sabbaticals, and they work on four things during their time off – leadership development, family, education and community involvement. The Bank also asks them to share what they learned. Additionally, Gate City Bank’s culture is one that is based on empathy. Team members regularly take the time to talk to people around them about what’s going on in their lives. Generally, people tend to spend more time engaged in work with coworkers than they do with family. Flexible work schedules have helped with this, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Empowerment and Leadership Diversity Gate City Bank believes in empowering team members, who are the experts in their jobs. What makes them experts is their incredible knowledge, as well as their passion for their work. The goal is to encourage people to find something in their department that has caused them to pause, then fix it. This has led to countless positive developments in the company. Additionally, more than 70% of the Bank’s leadership positions are held by women, and more than 50% of Executive Leadership Team positions are held by women. Partnering with NDSU Gate City Bank has a unique partnership with North Dakota State University. The Bank started this partnership and brought its presence to Gate City Bank Field before the legendary FCS Division I football dynasty became such a dominant force. Gate City Bank team members recognized potential and played a vital role in the development of the football program’s venue and fan experience.

More than 70% of Gate City Bank's leadership roles are held by women.

2020 AWARDS AND ACCOLADES • Voted "Top 50 Best Places to Work" by Prairie Business magazine for seven years in a row • Named "Best Mortgage Brokerage" by The Bismarck Tribune's 2020 Best of the Best • Voted "Best Bank" and "Best Mortgage Lender" by the Devils Lake Journal, 2020 Readers' Choice • Awarded "Best Bank" in the Williston Herald Best of the Bakken 2020

Kevin Hanson, Gate City Bank President & CEO

Additionally, Gate City Bank sponsors academic scholarships and infrastructure improvements. Sudro Hall is the latest example of the successful NDSU partnership. It involved a $28 million expansion (Aldevron Tower), which required construction financing. The Bank helped save $2.5 million in interest so savings could go into additional remodeling. Aldevron Tower is a crucial project for many reasons, the largest FARGOINC.COM



Partnering with NDSU, cont. being fulfilling a national medical need. The nation’s nursing shortage is critical, and NDSU’s nursing program needed an upgraded facility and financing. The Bank was chosen out of nine other financial institutions, and delivered a loan at below-market interest rates. Barry Hall, an NDSU business studies location, was another project Gate City Bank got involved in. The Bank set up an endowment to remodel and keep the facility continually fresh. Gate City Bank Auditorium (formerly Stevens Auditorium) received the same type of upgrade and ongoing improvement funding. Community Giving Generously giving of time and resources through servant leadership is part of Gate City Bank’s culture. The Bank is honored to support its communities through charitable contributions, in-kind donations (such as reduced interest rate loans for nonprofit organizations) and paid volunteer time. Most recently, Gate City Bank has taken steps to help community members amid the COVID-19 pandemic. From donating more than 30,000 of its blue tote bags to students transferring homelearning materials, to delivering pizza to heroic health care workers, to displaying #WorldOfHearts support at drive-up and lobby windows, the Bank’s locations across North Dakota and central Minnesota have let communities know everyone is in this together. Amid COVID-19, Gate City Bank has supported local businesses by purchasing gift cards and distributing them to team members. The Bank has also implemented special programs to assist customers who have experienced financial stress due to a business closing, job loss or reduction of work hours as a result of COVID-19. Another example of community support is when Gate City Bank learned about the need for state-of-the-art protective helmets at local police and fire departments. The Bank donated 115 new helmets to increase safety on the job. And when the Moorhead Fire Department needed an industrial washing machine, Gate City Bank made it possible. Yet another example is when YWCA needed financing to build a new facility. Gate City Bank gave the organization a low interest rate so more money could be used to help YWCA provide a very special environment – one of stability, safety and support – for women and children who have experienced domestic abuse situations. The Bank donated $1.5 million over 12 years for start-up costs and supportive services. Supporting the military has also been crucial for Gate City Bank, which has partnered with North Dakota Cares to help create a better way of life 40


Gate City Bank team members celebrate the opening of the St. Cloud Cash Wise Foods location in March.

for military members and their families through engagement, gratitude and recognition. The Bank created a program to continue paying and providing full benefits for team members who are active service members while they’re on duty. These service members also get an extra two weeks of paid time off when they come off active duty to rest and relax before coming back to work. Gate City Bank’s community contributions extend even further, thanks to the passion and generosity of its team members. Making a Difference Gate City Bank cares that its legacy of innovation, servant leadership, community giving, empowerment and fun lives on every day. The Bank’s goal will always be to help customers, communities and team members create a better way of life.

Member FDIC. *Terms and conditions may apply.

North Dakota

is stepping into the




Photo by Nolan Schmidt Self-driving vehicles still seem like a thing more fit for the Jetsons than modern-day life. However, the wave of autonomous systems is already here in our little old prairie and the tide is rising. FARGOINC.COM


The truck is equipped with a retrofit kit that includes a steering actuator, obstacle detection and avoidance, leader vehicle user interface, and e-stop safety. The kit allows any fleet vehicle to be converted into an autonomous system.

Photos by Nolan Schmidt

On October 8, that rising tide resulted in the North Dakota Department of Transportation unveiling an autonomous Truck Mounted Attenuator (TMA) at Grand Farm Innovation Days. The truck was developed in a partnership with Kratos Defense & Security Solutions in an effort to save lives. Currently, TMAs are human-driven mobile crash barriers that follow behind a highway maintenance vehicle to protect workers and equipment from potential collisions. This puts the drivers of TMAs at risk themselves. The autonomous TMA will almost completely mitigate the crash-related injuries and fatalities that currently are the result of these work zone crashes that are, unfortunately, inevitable. The autonomous TMA works by precisely following the manned lead truck in front of it, adding a level of protection for those individuals as well. Senator John Hoeven, a champion for advances in the state’s autonomous space, helped introduce the autonomous TMA at Innovation days and rode in the truck for its on-road demonstration.



Work zones 2015 *According to the Federal Highway Administration

Crash every 5.4 minutes

70 crash-related injuries daily

12 crash-related fatalities weekly

Maynard Factor, VP Business Development, Kratos Defense and Security Solutions

The Partnership With Kratos Defense & Security Solutions The partnership with Kratos Defense & Security Solutions is one of the main reasons for the success of the project to date. Kratos Defense is a multibillion-dollar company located out of San Diego California that specializes in supplying unmanned systems, satellite communications, cybersecurity/warfare, microwave electronics, missile defense, hypersonic systems, training and combat systems to United States National Security related customers, allies and commercial enterprises. With a focus on national security technologies, it might surprise you that this isn’t Kratos’ first step into the transportation space. In fact, their autonomous TMAs are in various stages of approval for deployment as standard equipment in live mobile highway work zone operations in England and five other states. And, the system is already being deployed and is approved statewide by the Colorado Department of Transportation. The system is not currently approved for use in North Dakota. Kratos is still working to “harden” the system for our harsh winters which can cause interference with the vehicle-mounted external sensors due to our extensive snow and ice conditions. Kratos is also working closely with the men on the road to improve the system through feedback. “It is as easy as them just giving me a call or shooting me a text,” said Vice President of Business Development Maynard Factor. “We have been supporting all ATMA customers with various updates and system enhancements since the beginning.” FARGOINC.COM


Photo by Nolan Schmidt

The gathering at the Grand Farm for Innovation Days wasn’t only to unveil the autonomous truck. The gathering also served as an opportunity for experts from different walks of life to gather and talk about all things autonomous. The three panels at the event included: Industry Panel: • Tim Mahoney - Mayor, City of Fargo • Joel Honeyman - Vice President of Global Innovation, Doosan Bobcat • Tommy Kenville - President/CEO, ISight • Terri Zimmerman - CEO, Packet Digital and Botlink • Maynard Factor - Vice President Business Development, Kratos Defense Research • Mark Haggerott - Chancellor, North Dakota University System • Jane Schuh - Vice President of Research and Creative Activity, NDSU • Mark Askelson - Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, UND Policy • John Hoeven, United States Senator • Nick Flom - Executive Director, Northern Plains UAS Test Site • Bill Panos - Director, North Dakota Department of Transportation • Joel Paulsen - Executive Director, FM Area Diversion Project • Cindy Schreiber-Beck - North Dakota House of Representatives “It seems a little unlikely that a flood control program would be involved with automation... But, we will be responsible for 17,000 acres of maintenance. That maintenance will have to be done to the specifications of federal environmental law, the core of engineers and the political jurisdictions that we impact, affect and benefit. Automation is a huge part of that. The ability to have automated mowing operations could potentially save the taxpayers significant dollars on maintenance activities.” - Joel Paulsen - Executive Director, FM Area Diversion Project



According to the NDDOT, their staff learned about the autonomous TMA through technology and transportation conferences. “It is great when military technology can be adapted for civilian use.Especially when it has the potential such as this to save lives,” said Director of the Department of Transportation William Panos. “This is important because this truck will save lives and help prevent serious crash injuries to workers in construction zones,” said Panos. “NDDOT is committed to using innovation and technology to improve safety and operations throughout North Dakota.”

Bobcat's loaders can now be controlled from an iPhone.



Bonus Joel Honeyman, Vice

Q&A With

President of Global Innovation at Doosan Bobcat

Bobcat ended the Innovation Days event by showing off one of their newest products, a remote control loader. We sat down with their Executive Director, Joel Honeyman, to learn about the direction that Bobcat is heading. What can you tell us about the remote control loader that was introduced at Innovation Days? The loader we showed was equipped with the MaxControl Remote Control option. This is a simple box that connects to the back of the machine and then enables the use of a simple iOS remote control from an iPhone or iPad. This allows the user to then remotely control any function of the machine — drive, lift and tilt of the work group, engine speed, and the use of any work attachment on the machine utilizing the developed iOS app. The control box (hardware) can be plugged into any Bobcat branded loader equipped with selectable joystick controls — all the way back to 2004. This means we can apply today's latest technology to a piece of equipment manufactured as many as 15 years ago.

very strongly that these technology solutions will provide benefits for operators even while inside the cab of their machines. Where are things going for Bobcat within the autonomous space? We have a number of items under development to support our longterm autonomy strategy. The first of which is the ability to precisely map the features of a job site such as obstacles to avoid and areas not to cross. We then have the ability to send those features to the machine and in its avoidance mode, the machine will stop and not hit them. Those same set of points can also be used as navigational points to mark a boundary such as a virtual curb that the machine can navigate along or a virtual wall to not drive through. We are also developing a full suite of different sensor technologies to detect and avoid unknown objects on the job site and have our machines avoid them. The combination of all these technologies are building blocks that will help enable our customers to be more productive on the job site.

Why is it important for Bobcat to get involved in the autonomous space? In our view, we are defining autonomy more practically around the development of the next set of technology solutions for our customers to be more productive on the job site. Many of these like MaxControl are the building blocks of potentially autonomous operations, but we feel FARGOINC.COM


Bonus Marlo

Anderson, the Guru with of Geek


Marlo Anderson, founder of the National Day Calendar and host of The Tech Ranch, has been publicly involved in the autonomous space since 2014 when he announced his intentions to create the Autonomous Friendly Corridor. The Autonomous Friendly Corridor, which has since been discontinued, was slated to use U.S. Highway 83 (which runs through North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, crossing the border into Canada and Mexico) as a major stomping ground for autonomous vehicles. Although Anderson is no longer pursuing the creation of the Autonomous Friendly Corridor along U.S. Highway 83, he remains extremely passionate about driverless vehicles, having ridden in over 30 different models. “There are so many benefits once you get past the fear of having someone else drive you. It can help with time management and it can also help with safety.” According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 36,560 people were killed in traffic crashes in the United States in 2018. Proponents of driverless cars believe that these numbers should drop sharply when autonomous vehicles are rolled out on a national level due to decreases in human error. “The only job the vehicle has is to move you from point A to point B,” said Anderson. “The technology already exists and is getting better all the time as processing speeds get faster. 5G is going to be a huge player in this because of the ability for vehicles to communicate faster with each other.”

Anderson is also quick to note that we’re not that far away from the Jetsons era. “We might actually, in the next three to five years, have the option between a traditional care and a flying car when we go to the car dealership,” said Anderson. “I’ve been in a flying vehicle before and the interesting thing is that there’s not as much regulation in the air, but there isn’t as many. You don’t have to worry about deer or icy conditions or all of the crazy things that you have to worry about when you’re on a road. You may have some other issues but not as much.”



Taking the HighRoad By Brady Drake | Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography

Michelle Kommer’s Next Career Move Will Provide a Much Needed Service for Area Small Businesses Michelle Kommer knew that when her position as Commerce Commissioner ended, there would be a next step. With her four-year term ending with the 2020 election, “the plan” was to work on defining those next steps the summer prior. The plan went by the wayside when a global pandemic hit and her job was all-consuming, leaving no time to think about her own future. But just like the opportunity to serve in the Burgum administration came out of nowhere, so too, did the road leading to that next step. Except this time, with a lot of encouragement from her husband Toby Kommer, it was something she’d been imagining for a long time.



Michelle was featured on the cover of the July, 2020 issue of Fargo INC!

oday, Michelle is the owner of HighRoad Partners, a name that has significance, for a company specializing in individual and group health insurance, and soon, human resources solutions. A company that in partnership with Toby’s companies, contributes to their joint passion for helping small businesses grow and thrive. The name HighRoad Partners was selected with care. It represents a personal anthem for Michelle - one that those that have worked with her have heard repeatedly when confronted with hard choices. “Take the high road. The view is better from there.” Michelle acquired the Arneson Osvak Agency, a company that was originally founded by Tammy Halverson, on October 1. The two will



continue to work together with the team to ensure a seamless transition for clients, while they also work to build the new line of services that will complement services offered by HagaKommer CPA firm and Aspire Bank which are owned by Toby. As part of the Kommer’s partnership plan, the additional services offered by HighRoad Partners will contribute to their goal of providing a “one stop shop” for business owners, so they can focus on their core business, while working with experts for their tax, finance, accounting, banking, insurance, investments, and now HR and benefits needs. The Kommer’s believe this will be not only convenient for their customers, but will exponentially increase their satisfaction and business success.

Banking tax planning and preparation

Commercial Insurance

client Client Employee Group and/or Individual Benefits Payroll and Human Resource Solutions

“In the past, small business owners have always had to connect those dots themselves,” said Toby. “When they walk into our businesses, we connect those dots for them, bringing the experts to the same table in the same room, each working for the success of the client.” According to Toby, he has seen the need to provide his clients with HR and benefits support for some time now. In her recent role as North Dakota’s Labor Commissioner and most recently Commerce Commissioner, Michelle saw Toby’s observations affirmed, and got a “huge dose of inspiration” to meet that need through encouragement from Toby, and also from the courage she observed every day in North Dakota’s entrepreneurial and small business community.

wealth management

Accounting and bookkeeping

In-sourced CHRO Services

The Kommer’s are excited to build on the successful model already in place with the HagaKommer and Aspire companies, where Toby and his team see results of these combined and focused efforts benefit their clients every single day. “You can walk right into our building in South Fargo and you can tell right away what we do is a team effort,” said Toby. “Yeah we have three different logos, but our banker is literally sitting right next to our CPA and the CPA is sitting right next to our insurance team member and we do everything together.” “When the CARES Act went into effect and made the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan available, unlike any other standalone






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Toby Kommer

bank or CPA firm, because we are one team, we were able to proactively contact our clients before they knew what the PPP was or if they needed a PPP loan. As a result, we processed more PPP loans in the first few days than most banks. Not only did it prove our model works, but it was so rewarding to be able to help our clients so quickly in such a time of need.” While the significance of the collaboration of the existing HagaKommer and Aspire companies was proven through their reaction to the PPP, it also emphasized the significant need for the missing HR piece. “So, our clients started peppering us with questions about the CARES Act, and some pretty big HR questions were raised, ‘How do we do this?’ ‘What can we do?’”. Being able to provide our clients with expert HR resources going forward will be a huge benefit.”





According to Michelle, about 85 percent of North Dakota employers have less than 20 employees and about 60 percent have less than five employees, making the hire of a full-time HR professional impractical, and meaning that the owner, or office manager become the de facto “HR person” (sometimes to their dismay), often taking away time and energy from the core business. Michelle has spoken to several business owners in this position who express concern over what change in rules or law is going to come up next that they don’t know about, or whether they are “doing it right”. “Small business owners are super smart people, and ‘small’ should never be confused with ‘unsophisticated’”, said Kommer. “But these smart business people are busy! They’re busy wearing 1,000 hats, like running the operation, growing, scaling, planning for the next big thing, whether that’s building new technology or trying to grow a manufacturing operation. They know that their human infrastructure is critical to their business, and that their team is their most important asset, but they have so much competition for their time.” That’s where the advantage comes in of having an HR department that is an extension of your business. According to Michelle, the typical staffing model is that you have one HR professional for every 100 employees. It’s in

the space below 100 employees where things are difficult. The person who became the “HR person” by necessity cannot be an expert in all the disciplines of HR, and often, feels the stress that something is being missed. Also according to Michelle, as learned through her experience as an employment attorney and former Labor Commissioner, too often, it is. “That’s exactly where we are hoping to step in. To provide small companies with a breadth of HR competence and experience, along with the HR technology of a large company, at a reasonable price. To provide business owners and HR-hat-wearers that sigh of relief, and the confidence that their partner can wear that HR hat for them.” The 5 Functions of HR 1. Recruiting/Onboarding 2. Benefits/Administration 3. Compensation/Analysis 4. Performance Management 5. Learning & Development Michelle readily admits that she is a business process geek. She also jokes that she has tried to escape HR twice and finds herself back in the space, because ultimately she believes it’s where the most difference can be made. But, her track record is no laughing matter.

In addition to being the former Labor Commissioner and Commerce Commissioner of North Dakota, Michelle is also • A licensed lawyer in North Dakota and Minnesota • A holder of a Master’s Degree in Management from the University of Mary • A holder of a Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of North Dakota • A SHRM-SCP • A SPHR • The Founder and President of the North Dakota Heart Gallery • A Board Member at the Village Family Foundation • A past Board Member at the FMWF Chamber of Commerce • A past Board Member at Churches United for the Homeless • A Prairie Business Top 25 Women in Business, 2014 and 2015 • The 2016 YMCA Women of the Year for Child Advocacy • A 2019 Angels in Adoption Award Winner • A 2019 TEDx Speaker



“At HighRoad Partners, we are offering ‘HR in-sourcing’. That (new) word is important because ‘out-sourcing’ suggests the company is giving something away. Not so with HighRoad Partners. We are part of your team. We are invested in your success and part of your company’s DNA.”

-Michelle Kommer Michelle looks forward to building upon an already strong core at HighRoad Partners Insurance & Benefits, with a passionate team and reputation for being client-focused experts in group and individual health insurance, including Medicare policies, to deliver HR support for small businesses through HighRoad Partners HR Solutions. They will provide customized services designed specifically for each client, versus some of the cookie-cutter services offered in the HR outsourcing (HRO) industry, and will have packages to meet each business where it is at, with transparent pricing. In addition to the most important commitment to know each customer’s unique needs, and an obsession with customer service, the following services will be available: Payroll/compliance Recruiting/onboarding



HR & Operational Compliance Benefits/administration Performance Management Training & Development Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) Special Engagements To learn more, visit highroadpartners.com

Faith, Fundraising and Becoming the Nation's Youngest Collegiate President Monsignor James Shea became the youngest college or university president in the United States when he accepted the position with the University of Mary at the age of 34 in 2009. Since then, Shea has gotten a crash course in business that makes him a fitting feature for our magazine.



Shea's journey to his current position began on a dairy farm in Hazelton, North Dakota, that was, "a hell of a lot of work." The oldest of eight children, Shea said he took up every extracurricular he could in school because it got him out of a chore or two. As a result, he played basketball in high school, was involved in theater, was on the speech team, a member of student government and the editor of the student newspaper. After graduating from high school, Shea began down a path of postsecondary education where he: • Began his undergraduate degree at Jamestown College, majoring in English and history • Earned a Bachelor’s and Pontifical Master's Degree in philosophy at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. • Studied classical Greek at the University of Texas at Austin and continued at the Vatican's North American College, studying theology at the Gregorian and Lateran Universities in Rome • Studied management at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business You may notice that the list does include business management studies, however, Shea will openly tell you that he may have been qualified to oversee the $55,000 budget of the parish he used to serve in western North Dakota, he was not ready for the $55 million budget he walked into at the University of Mary. "I'm a Catholic priest, and my joke is that when the board of trustees selected me to be the sixth president of the University of Mary, they made a ‘clerical error,’ because it was almost verging on the criminal, how vastly unqualified I was for the work that I was being asked to do. However, what I clearly did have was a deep love for education." Even if he was underqualified at the time of accepting the position, with over a decade under his belt running the institution, Shea is clearly fit for the job. "The things that I've had to learn, you can't learn in a book," said Shea. "I've had to learn all kinds of things about faculty governance, budgets, capital investment, and fundraising." "Business is the art of people," said Shea. "If you like people genuinely, and if you truly desire to understand what motivates them, only then are you ready to attend to the dynamics of technical training, having to do with marketing, having to do with what resonates with the consumer, having to do with customer attraction and retention, all of those things." 66


has had a location in Fargo, North Dakota, for over 20 years now. The Fargo Butler Center is geared toward working adults and has a wide range of both graduate and undergraduate degrees available.

Some people may say that ‘the old model of face-to-face classes needs to go away in favor of more virtual learning.’ I think that's an interesting insight, but it's a little bit pedantic and even a touch passe. We need to innovate for sure, but we also have to think beyond the technical question of how education is delivered. I believe, like many educators, that we need to break down barriers and make sure that people of all kinds of different means and backgrounds have access to the great transformative power of education, especially at the university level. I think that a lot of students, probably millions of students in the United States, had a really poor experience with online learning in late March. However, there are some topics that can be learned better in an online setting, where the materials of the learning can be transmitted more effectively. There are certain fields of study that lend themselves to that modality, but we still have to be very intentional about how community can be built for learning. Human beings are not robots. You don't just feed us a formula, we internalize it and then we're able to execute. Learning for human beings is an organic process, a communal endeavor. For instance, our curriculum in the Gary Tharaldson School of Business-and I've been insistent upon this--is structured such that our students are not just equipped with skills so that they can pass the CPA exam or have the technical expertise for business administration, but we strive to give them the capacity to be able to operationalize and to enact those skills in an ethical and humane way.



Graduation at the University of Mary

You have to lead according to principle. In other words, there have to be some fixed principles that are non-negotiables in your manner of caring for people. These have to be deeply true, and you need to be able to believe them no matter how things are going. For instance, at the University of Mary we have been focusing on servant leadership long before it became a mantra. If you're not bringing out the best in yourself by bringing out the best in others, then you're not really leading. To lead is to serve. Whatever they are, it’s crucial that you stick to your principles, especially when the wind is blowing and everybody around you wants to cast them aside and just respond to what's happening in the moment. Another thing that is important for us is to have a clear understanding of who you're really caring for, and to care for them. As I was saying before, business is a people business. It's not all about data. The catchphrase for our time is 'data-driven decisions.' I think that's really important, for sure, and if you're making decisions just based on intuition or emotion, that's a good way to steer your ship right into the sandbar. However, if you're only

making decisions based on data, and you're not carefully considering the genuine needs of people to grow, to feel safe, to feel protected, to feel cared for, and all of the other needs of the people under your care, you're probably in the wrong business.

At a certain point, my bishop called me and said, "The Sisters (of Annunciation Monastery) came to see me, and I think you ought to go talk to them." I went and had a conversation with the Sisters, the founders and sponsors of the University of Mary, and they were very compelling and persuasive, in the way that only religious sisters can be! After that conversation, I called the bishop and said that I'd be open to being a candidate. It was all an enormous surprise.

Well, at first I said ‘no.’ The board of the university saw that I was teaching up a storm at the secondary schools where I was teaching in Bismarck, and then later in Dickinson. Because of that, I think that somewhere along the line, somebody thought that I could make a contribution here. So, I was approached about the possibility of being president of the university. It was so flabbergasting and it was so out of the realm of possibility, given my qualifications, that I more or less dismissed the idea. I was living in Killdeer, North Dakota, at the time, where I had two small parishes. I was living the dream as a parish priest, and I would drive every day down to Dickinson to teach high school. It was a beautiful life for me.



When I was a little kid, my parents took questions of faith seriously. My mom and dad took us to church and we prayed as a family. There were priests in our little parish in Hazleton who had come from all over the world. They were very happy men. They were fun and kind, and they were good to us kids. I wanted to be like them because I thought they had a beautiful outlook on life. So, I felt called when I was pretty young. Then, I forgot all about it in high school and didn't think about it much at all until I got to college. I had a younger brother who was killed in a farm accident when I was a freshman in college. I'm the oldest of eight and he was number seven and the youngest at that time. When that happened, I had to ask some pretty serious questions about what my life was going to be all about. Of course, it threw my family into chaos and sorrow. It was a very difficult heart-wrenching situation. The Church was there for us. I think eight priests came to my brother's funeral and the bishop himself drove down to comfort my family. That was so beautiful to me. I thought, if that's what the Church does, you should sign me up. That’s an amazing way to spend a life.

A few years ago, we launched a capital campaign called Vision 2030. The goal for the first phase of the capital campaign was to raise $96 million. In three and a half 70


years, we raised $101 million. That was an amazing accomplishment, because that level of a capital campaign had never been completed in western North Dakota before. Nobody had ever raised that level of money in our region, especially in so short a time.

That level of fundraising really hinges upon relationships. In other words, you need to be able to build strong relationships with people, and they need to be able to trust you. After all, those who have the ability to give at that level put a lot of ingenuity and sacrifice into earning their wealth, and they expect their philanthropy to make a true difference in the world. They have a right to expect that!


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r a g F o n M I oor s e s the

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The Piggy BBQ was founded in 2012 by Steve and Cathy Blake. Steve Blake started The Piggy BBQ in Walker, MM as a hobby and it quickly grew to be a favorite for locals as well as visitors to the area. The business began to grow to a level higher than he was ready for, so, he decided to hang up his hat, retire and sold the business to Amie Ysteboe Hopper, Steve Hopper and Kim Hoffman on January 1, 2016. The business began flourishing under new ownership that kept all of his great techniques and expanded on them by integrating a full liquor license, expanding the seating and offering catering. After a few years as a northern Minnesota favorite, The Piggy BBQ opened a second location in West Fargo on May 7, 2020.



he a d:


With Owner Amie Ysteboe Hopper Why expand to the location in West Fargo? As we quickly outgrew the quaint Walker location, we knew we needed to expand our brand. Being in the heart of lake country, we had a strongly tourist-driven seasonal business and we were looking for an opportunity to grow and expand in a larger market. One thing led to another and we knew the moment we walked into our current building in West Fargo, amongst the dirt floors and exposed beams, that this was the spot.

By Brady Drake Photos by Nolan Schmidt

What can the Piggy BBQ offer FM residents that no other restaurant can? We smoke only the highest quality meats daily. Everything (except the Burnt Ends) is dry-rubbed and served with our sweet and savory house sauce on the side. We've created a rustic/industrial atmosphere that will welcome you whether you are dining in or taking out. Large party catering is available.

Are there any books you recommend people in the business community read?

What are your specialties? BBQ! That's all we do. We also have a pretty fabulous specialty drink menu as well as the largest bourbon wall in North Dakota! What business advice do you have for other small businesses in the area? Stay true to your product and your brand. Treat every customer like a guest in your home and your employees like they are family.

816 24th Ave. E., West Fargo, ND 701-540-6557 the piggybbqofwestfargo.com



By Brady Drake

Photos by Nolan Schmidt

Jon Riewer It’s no secret that senior living communities have been greatly affected by the pandemic. The staff at these communities around the country have been working tirelessly to ensure that things are as safe as they can be for the vulnerable population that they are caring for. Eventide is no different. Since the onset of the pandemic, the Eventide staff has had to adjust on the fly, hold themselves to the highest regulatory standards and work to continue to provide a good experience for its residents. Leading the way in this effort is Jon Riewer, President and CEO. Riewer has been President and CEO of Eventide, where he leads a staff of 1,400 that serves nearly 1,300 seniors daily, since 2003. He has also served as chair of the LeadingAge MN Board of Directors and the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce. Riewer also currently serves on the board for Downtown Moorhead Inc. With all that business experience, and a unique experience on his hands, Riewer made a great candidate for our latest CEO Conversation. committed staff members who are called to this work and a very supportive board who are connected to our purpose and work tirelessly to make sure our older adults receive excellent care in a safe environment that allows our residents to thrive. Eventide has had to go through a lot recently, as a leader, how do you handle tough times? When the pandemic first surfaced in the area we were hopeful this was going to be something we could measure in days or weeks. Unfortunately, we have been dealing with this for most of the year and will likely continue to deal with it well into next year. We have faced other crisis events in the past such as the FM floods and helping to relocate a number of residents overnight following the fire at Elim last year and our team has always risen to the challenge. However, every day for the past nine months has been mentally, physically, and emotionally demanding. We continue to take things one day at a time and try to find new ways to support our staff, families, and residents through these difficult times while keeping in mind that this too shall pass and we will be a stronger organization as a result. We are so fortunate to have 1,400

What's your why? I grew up in this field. My mother was the Director of Nursing where I grew up and there was no “latch key” program for kids back then so it meant spending numerous after school afternoons visiting with residents at the local care center while waiting for a ride home. My first job in high school was also spent at the care center doing floor care, janitorial and other maintenance work. Both experiences were great opportunities for me with the opportunity to interact with residents and other staff members. It was a true “melting pot” and hub of the community and I would say that is still the case with our senior care and assisted living communities today. I love that every day is different and the job requires a lot of interaction with residents, families and staff. My best days at work are still the days I am at our campuses visiting with residents and sometimes just helping with the food and drinks at special events. I used to bring my kids on occasion to these

resident events when they were younger. As a result, my youngest had a kindergarten class assignment asking what his dad did for an occupation. He responded, “Not much, he just pours coffee and hands out cake to people.” As I thought more about it, he wasn’t entirely wrong and that is a pretty good gig! How do you empower your employees? Nearly everything we do in our work is people and relationship based. We empower our team to use the relationships they create with our staff, residents and families to solve problems and to continue to deliver a great experience and create a place our residents can call home. We are also not afraid to hire young leaders and surround them with training and support. We take pride in our internal career advancement opportunities at Eventide through scholarships and programs such as the Eventide Leadership Academy. In short, we have “doubled down” on investing in and growing our own leaders which is important now and imperative for our organization’s future. What are some tips you have for other leadership in the FM area working to handle business with COVID going on? We have been using the line: “Never waste a good crisis” a lot lately. With that in mind, my

only advice is to use this as an opportunity to reinvent yourself and/or your business around the challenges of COVID. There were a number of repositioning strategies for our organization that we have been talking about for years but were difficult to implement because things just kept chugging along. Enter a pandemic and we now have a catalyst event to provide the clarity and need to move forward on important changes to our organization ranging from downsizing to create all private rooms in our care centers to creative approaches to the group dining, recreation and technology in our senior living programs. You manage a really large team, how do you stay in touch with everything that's going on around the company?

satisfaction. We review these metrics monthly as a team and identify any barriers and create solutions to continued improvement. The other goal is to keep our team focused and accountable to the outcomes by campus, and the organization as a whole, we are looking for in each of these key areas. Do you have any book or podcast recommendations? “The Infinite Game” by Simon Sinek. A really good leadership read about how a finite mindset or a fixation on merely “winning” or “losing” is not healthy in business or life. The lessons of the book seem even more relevant with a backdrop of a pandemic.

It would be difficult, if not impossible, to stay in touch with “everything.” I really depend on all of our leaders, both formal and informal, throughout Eventide to be the “CEO” of their area of responsibility and call out the issues and opportunities that need extra attention, provide opportunities for improvement or growth, or could have an impact for the entire organization. We also use a series of operations metrics to help us measure our goals around culture, quality, finances, safety, and customer FARGOINC.COM


Maggie Richardson What are some of the difficulties you've had to deal with as a result of the pandemic?

months later, we are operating in a much safer environment for our residents and employees and are committed to keep it that way.

One of the biggest challenges of the pandemic has been handling the unknowns and learning to adapt quickly to change. I started in my role as the Director of Quality and Infection Preventionist at the end of October 2019. I had about four months of “getting my feet wet� before the largest pandemic in one hundred years hit and started to shift from being a faraway disease on another continent to something that was knocking on the front door of North Dakota. We had to pivot our focus as a facility to COVID-19 and learn to implement new processes and procedures, sometimes multiple times per day as new guidance was provided to us. We formulated communication and education plans to keep our employees, residents and their loved ones all in the know. It has been a lot of hard work, and oftentimes sleepless nights, but eight

Another challenge has been coping with the hardships of how this pandemic has impacted our residents and their loved ones, especially with very limited visitation early on. Communicating visitation guidance from the ND Department of Health is emotional, especially if our resident is nearing end of life and only designated family members are able to physically be present to say their goodbyes. Our staff has really stepped up to the plate to come up with creative solutions to keep residents feeling like they have a family in our Eventide community, and by keeping them in communication with their loved ones through Zoom chats, window visits, phone calls and culminated in scheduled indoor/ outdoor visitation once the phased approach was developed in the ND Smart Restart Plan.



“ I purchased a large office

In these difficult times, how has your job stayed rewarding and fulfilling? My job has remained rewarding and fulfilling throughout these difficult times whenever I see how well our team and residents have adapted to our new normal. Each week when I get our COVID testing attendance sheet and see how our staff are still willing to get tested weekly, even after all of these months, I am grateful. When I walk into a resident’s room for COVID testing, and they thank us for continuing to test because they “would rather know,” I am thankful for their understanding. It was very rewarding to celebrate our resident’s recoveries from COVID early in the pandemic, especially with so many unknowns. I enjoy speaking to family members and providing them the good news as we move through the re-opening phase or when we get to call and update them on negative results, you can feel how relieved they are. There have been many rewarding moments and reasons to celebrate throughout even some of the most difficult days, and that’s what keeps me going. How has the team you've worked with responded to the challenges? Our entire Team at Eventide has responded to the pandemic swiftly and with grace, from the top down. We started meeting as an Eventidewide COVID task force in early March and continue to meet multiple times a week to keep consistent as an organization. Within Eventide Fargo, we work as a team to make decisions. We put a great deal of effort and pride into looking at the big picture, and how to adopt the guidance we are given by the Department of Health into our facility. Our Eventide team has sacrificed vacations, weddings, funerals and more to keep their coworkers and our residents safe. We had many employees fearlessly step up as willing to work on our COVID unit back in April. They risked their own health and well-being to care for others, and they are heroes. I am proud to be a member of this team, and appreciate all of our staff and how they have handled these challenging times. Everyone has had to take on more and everyone has done their part.

complex and additional space to develop with the help of the Goldmark Commercial team. The moral compass of their people shined brightly throughout the process and took us successfully to the finish line. Goldmark Commercial also helps me to find and retain commercial tenants. I see their listings everywhere, yet I feel like I am their only customer. I could not be more amazed and grateful.

Glenn N. | CEO/Owner of Valley Express

goldmarkcommercial.com 701.235.2900

1711 Gold Drive, Suite 130 Fargo, ND 58103 commercialinfo@goldmark.com


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

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT WORKING AT HEARTLAND TRUST? “Heartland Trust is a company that has created a positive work environment and shows their appreciation to each employee for the talents they bring to the success of the whole team.”

Missy Zarak, Trust Officer

Visit our website to learn how we can help you heartlandtrust.com


Jean Nystrom How has your day to day work been affected by the pandemic? Before the pandemic, everything operated pretty normally. Now it has been about seven months since this started and we have been wearing masks, and face shields, for eight hours a day. The days are more stressful, and it was sad when the residents couldn’t see their families, or get hugs from them. I am grateful now that we can allow visitors again and our residents can see their loved ones. Why is your work important to you? I love my work. I’ve been working here at Eventide Sheyenne Crossings for 11 years now. I work 40 hours a week so I get to see the residents every day. I get to know the residents very well and I enjoy giving them a smile or an occasional hug if they need it. They really appreciate even the small things, like asking them if they would like some water, or doing something nice for them. I have a good relationship with them, and I put compassion into my work with them.

there are enough workers to cover the shifts, which can be very difficult at times because of the situation. They also provide us with the necessary protective equipment so that we feel safe and can protect the residents from COVID. They also make sure that the lines of communication are always open so that we can respond to any situation in the best way possible. What do you think you and your team will learn from all of this going forward? Hopefully the threat of COVID will someday be gone, and we can appreciate our freedoms to be with our families and enjoy a sense of being normal again. We can learn to not take these things for granted at work, or at home.

How has management helped support you and your coworkers during COVID? The management has been doing their best to support us in all areas. They work hard to make sure that FARGOINC.COM



Photos by Hillary Ehlen By Brady Drake

Companies far and wide have long tried to inject the boring and sometimes soul-sucking office cubicle layout with a splash of energy to entertain potential clients, infuse energy into the team culture, and drive forward innovation. Radio FM Media, an aptly radio and media company in the Fargo Moorhead area, is using its space in South Fargo to not only push things forward but also keep their employees safe.




"What we all love about our office space is the amount of outside windows and the amount of glass walls on all radio station studios and offices. There is so much light in the building it creates an atmosphere that make people happy and enjoy their workspace. We always have that element of the outside coming in as we go through the seasons." -Nancy Odney, COO

With 17,000 sq. feet available after an addition and a remodel, Radio FM Media has much more space to socially distance.

Every employee at Radio FM Media has their own office.

The broadcast studios for their three-person morning shows are all approximately 26 ft x 15 ft, so, on-air talent can safely distance in the broadcast facility. 82



The multi-purpose room is the largest and most versatile room in the building, measuring roughly 40 ft x 30 ft. The room is equipped with a full kitchen and a main countertop that is 17 ft long and 5 ft wide. Two 85� TV screens and a fantastic sound system for presentations and events allow the room to be uses for anything! FARGOINC.COM



The small four-person break out room is extremely useful for smaller meetings between co-workers or with clients. It is a more private space that smaller groups often utilize for brainstorming etc. "We do often have multi meetings happening in our building, so it is very functional to have multiple areas we can break out in," said Odney.



Each station studio is personalized to their format and music with a lively accent wall and decor! The countertops were customized from Northern Stone to fit the on-air announcer's specific layout needs. The front of all the studios is glass, which gives them a bright and cheery feeling while also making the room feel even bigger. The center area that some of the studios surround is equipped with four TVs - they can all have something different playing on them or it can be turned into one large screen.



2020 Chamber Choice Award Winners Entrepreneur of the Year: Tom McDougall, High Point Networks

Young Professionals Best Place to Work

Not-for-Profit of the Year

Small Business of the Year

People's Choice Business of the Year 88


The Impact of Women’s Entrepreneurship Week FOR THE SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR, FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA HOSTED THE NATION’S LARGEST WOMEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP WEEK, WITH THIS YEAR’S EVENT RUNNING FROM SEPTEMBER 21 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 25. The week included 30 events, 60 speakers, 10 organizations and 1,500 attendees. And although this year’s festivities may have been missing the charm of last year’s wholly in-person schedule, the addition of virtual events to Women’s Entrepreneurship week gave organizers and attendees the opportunity to hear from presenters that might not have otherwise been available. The virtual events also allowed attendees from outside of the Fargo area to learn. We sat down with a number of attendees and one presenter to learn more about how this important event made an impact.





You’ve been able to interview some awesome people for your website I’ve heard. I’ve had calls with the CEO of Pepsi when she was the CEO of Pepsi. I’ve interviewed lots of different people. I got a private interview with the Blue Angel which was crazy. How did WEW help push Brainy Ladies forward? Brainy Ladies has been a side hustle for a while now. Sometimes I will feel motivated to work on it and other times I won't. The 1 Million Cups with Michelle Kommer reminded me through one of her quotes, "Are you doing what you want to do?" It's something that I hear occasionally, and I haven't stopped to think about it because I assume yes. I've learned this past summer and the last few years that content writing and development isn't one of my favorite things.Through a class at the NICE Center at NDSU, Nice Leap, I am developing a new project that will ideally combine my passion for women in careers with my passion for helping students succeed. It will allow me to grow Brainy Ladies through a new brand and develop other ideas I have enjoyed creating and want to pursue. What were some of the more impactful events that you attended during Women's Entrepreneurship Week? Throughout Women's Entrepreneurship Week, I attended ten different events. The launch party was such a great opportunity to get out into the community and visit a local coffee shop. 1 Million Cups exceeded my expectations, as well as a variety of events led by Kodee Furst over Zoom. My favorite event was the HTML/CSS class with Mary from Emerging Digital Academy. Before the class, I hadn't done really anything with HTML, and it felt empowering to be in a class led by a woman, teaching me and others a new skill! Another favorite was the 'Tech for Everyone' event. I loved hearing from women in a variety of careers talk about their experience through an open discussion. All of the Women's Entrepreneurship Week events were well put together - thank you WEW team! (Kodee, Dane, Emma, Hannah, Christy)

Melissa Miranda Owner of Step By Step Accounting MELISSA MIRANDA HAS BEEN A CPA SINCE 2014 AND OWNS STEP BY STEP ACCOUNTING, A FORWARD FOCUSED MANAGERIAL ACCOUNTING FIRM THAT DOESN’T ONLY DO BOOKKEEPING WORK. THE COMPANY ALSO LOOKS AT CASH PLANNING AND PROFIT/LOSS ANALYSIS AS WELL WHILE MIRANDA SERVES AS A METEOR FOR CLIENTS. MIRANDA WAS ALSO A PRESENTER AT WOMEN’S ENTREPRENEURSHIP WEEK. Can you tell me about the presentation you gave? The presentation I gave was on cash flow forecasting. It's something that I recommend for all of my clients, I do it for some of them, some of them do it on their own. It's something that gives a lot of peace to a person, even if the numbers are bad they’re still in front of them. And when they’re bad, then we can make a plan to fix it. So, if it says we're going to be $10,000 negative by the end of next week, at least we know we need 10 grand. My presentation was a lot about strategies to navigate those types of situations where cash flow is really tight. How is that message more important now? Going through COVID, having enough cash to cover expenses and pay your employees has been a huge stressor for a lot of businesses. 94


Having that peace of mind, having a cash plan in place is really important for clients. Did you attend any events that were impactful for you? I got to go to the 1 Million Cups session on Wednesday morning. I also went to the Collaborating With Your Competition event on Tuesday night. I thought the 1 Million Cups one was great. I just love going to 1 Million Cups in general because it sets you up with a really nice community of other entrepreneurs. The Collaborating with your Competition event was also in person. It was nice to be back with people again. Collaborating with your Competition was nice because they say that a rising tide lifts all boats. The idea that we need to coordinate together is really important. I, as an accountant, collaborate a lot with other accountants. I'm a CPA, but I don't prepare taxes. I have different tax preparers that I’ll recommend to a client depending on their niche.

Kristin Braun

Co-Founder of Edge 4 KRISTIN BRAUN OWNS EDGE 4, A COMPANY THAT CREATES A PLATFORM FOR ATHLETIC COACHES TO USE IN RECRUITING AND ATHLETE DEVELOPMENT. THE PLATFORM WORKS BY EVALUATING THE INTANGIBLES OF INDIVIDUALS AND PROVIDING AN AVENUE FOR GROWTH AS WELL AS SELF AWARENESS FOR THE COACH AND THE ATHLETE. THIS HELPS TO CREATE BETTER RELATIONSHIPS AND A STRONGER CULTURE WITHIN THE TEAM. EDGE 4 IS CURRENTLY BEING USED BY THE FOOTBALL PROGRAMS AT NORTH DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY AND THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA. What did you find valuable about Women’s Entrepreneurship Week? I'm actually still somewhat new to the Fargo area. My husband and I moved here about a year and a half ago. I attended Women’s Entrepreneurship Week in person last year. It was really beneficial for me just from the standpoint of being new to the area and trying to see what was available for an entrepreneur in this area. I've been very pleasantly surprised. We moved to Fargo for my husband's career, and it has helped me out immensely to be in this area as a startup business. The other level of it is just that Women's Entrepreneurship Week is just great to meet other like minded women who are on the same path and trying to bounce things off of each other and continue to help everybody grow. One of the sessions that stood out to me this year was put on by the North Dakota Department of Commerce. The session discussed everything that is available within the state of North Dakota for entrepreneurs. That was really beneficial for me and probably anyone attending to see everything that's out there for you. The other one that was really beneficial to me was a session on closing the sale.

CEO Conversation With

Bryan Nermoe CEO of Sanford Healthcare's Fargo Branch

By Brady Drake Photo provided by Sanford It's been a pretty crazy first year for you. With COVID and everything else happening. What can you tell me about how you've adjusted to your position here? I've been at Sanford since 2008. I joined Sanford down in Sioux Falls and worked in various positions. In 2015, I went to Bemidji as the president of the Bemidji market and was there for five years before coming here. So, knowing Sanford and knowing the integrated system was a pretty significant help in dealing with the circumstances of a nationwide pandemic. Can you tell me about Sanford's special care unit for COVID patients? I think from a preparedness standpoint, the first time around for our special care unit development was really during the Ebola crisis that hit the country several years ago. We were able to take that planning and preparedness and change it ever so slightly to be able to take care of patients for this COVID Pandemic. The primary difference between the two situations was volume. We knew that the volume for Ebola wasn't going to be as high. With COVID, it was a little bit uncertain as to really what the levels were going to be like. How much time did you have with your predecessor to train in for the job you have now? We spent 60 to 90 days, somewhere around that. 96


Bryan Nermoe Fargo CEO Sanford



While Sanford is a very large company, you've worked in a number of places, including, landscaping with your father, what business tips can you give people after having all of those different experiences? One of the things that I loved about landscaping was that when you showed up in the morning at 5:30 a.m., you had a plan. It was a very succinct plan of what was going to happen that day. You'd load up your resources, go to a house, take pretty much everything from around the house, including the yard, out. Then, you'd bring all the new in. By 6 p.m. that night, you could stand back and look at everything you did. That gave me instant gratification from a job perspective. In healthcare, and a lot of other business industries, there, there's some of that, but there's not a lot of it. Things are a lot more long term. Things aren't as visible, there isn't this direct line of sight of what you're achieving. With COVID, flexibility is something that people really need to have right now. You may have that plan when you wake up but, you may have to shift gears and be flexible. I also think it's important to realize that things aren't going to happen as fast as you'd like them to. Also, take the time to celebrate, even if you're in a pandemic, you have to celebrate your successes. What have been some of the recent challenges that you have been facing? Your partnership team is a lot larger than it normally is on an average day without a pandemic. So, the communication channels and just the sheer size of communication can be challenging at times. And because it's a pandemic, you're doing everything virtually. As much as we'd like everybody to have one virtual platform. There are lots of virtual platforms. Sometimes even technology, which is usually an immense helper, can be a little bit of a barrier as well. 98


Email only goes so far. You have to get out and you have to talk to people directly. You lose some of the tone and tenor in email communication. It's not a great feedback loop. When people are moving at 100 miles an hour, you can tell a lot in that 10 to 15 seconds that you talk with them from their body language. I know it was really important for your organization to avoid layoffs during the pandemic. Sanford is an integrated organization, which means we have a lot of different arms of Sanford that work together under one umbrella. That's a big part of why we didn't have to do furloughs or layoffs. People come to health care, I think, for the most part, because they feel a calling. So, when we run into times where we have a need, like during a pandemic, we will upskill employees that have that ability and that passion. One example would be our Power Center Trainers. At a time, they weren't seeing athletes because of the pandemic. So, we had them go help out at the testing centers.

RESOURCES FOR STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS Pandemic or not, we know the entrepreneurial spirit lives on. We know many of your readers will continue to build successful new businesses and we want to help. So, here is a resource guide for those of you looking to start your entrepreneurial journey.

City of Fargo fargond.gov 701-241-1310

Business Resources fargond.gov/work/doing-business Here you will find links for: • Business property taxes • City codes • Economic development • Helpful links for small businesses • Licensing • Permits • Starting a business


Business Resources westfargond.gov/35/Business Here you will find • Economic Development Department • Commercial property tax exemptions • Economic Development Website • Economic Development Advisory Committee

westfargond.gov 701-433-5311

City of Moorhead cityofmoorhead.com 218-299-5166

State of North Dakota

Business Resources cityofmoorhead.com/business Here you will find: • Starting, expanding or relocating your business • Licenses and permits • Incentive programs • Commercial and industria l properties • Development services • Organizations and resources • Business directory • Studies and reports

cityofmoorhead.com 218-299-5442


westfargond.gov 701-433-5300

Economic Development and Community Services

Moorhead Economic Development Authority

By Brady Drake

City of West Fargo

Economic Development Association of North Dakota ednd.org

Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce ndchamber.com

North Dakota Small Business Development Center (SBDC) ndsbdc.org

North Dakota Tax Department nd.gov/tax/user/businesses/overview/ new-businesses

Starting a Business in North Dakota sba.gov/starting-business

North Dakota Women's Network ndwomen.org

Come here for step-by-step guides on what to do at each stage of building a small business.

Center for Technology & Business

Minnesota Women's Business Development Center wbdc.org/MN Come here for Women’s Business Enterprise Certification as well as training, mentoring, networking and business development opportunities.

Starting a Business in Minnesota mn.gov/deed/business/starting-business Come here for a step-by-step guide on starting a business in Minnesota.


North Dakota Secretary of State Business Services sos.nd.gov/business/business-services Here you will find: • Business Records Search • Business Structures • Business Entity Statistics • Trade Name/Franchise Name • Trademark/Service Mark • Copyright • Patent

State of North Dakota New Business Registration nd.gov/businessreg/ Here you will find: • How To Build A Business • Licensing Information • Sales Tax Requirements • Doing Business With Government • Federal Requirements

Here you will find: • Women-Owned Business Certification • Women’s Leadership Program • Starting a business FAQ

US Small Business Administration (SBA) of Minnesota sba.gov/offices/district/mn/minneapolis

State of Minnesota Capital

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce mnchamber.com

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development mn.gov/deed

701 Angel Fund 701angelfund.com The 701 Angel Fund is a Certified North Dakota angel venture capital firm that invests in determined entrepreneurs and highgrowth opportunities. Their fund works in unison with other investors in the region in order to maximize the exit potential of their portfolio of startup investments.

Minnesota Trade Office mn.gov/deed/business/exporting



RESOURCES FOR STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESSÂ Arthur Ventures Growth Fund arthurventures.com This is an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in business-to-business (B2B) software companies.

Linn Grove Ventures linngroveventures.com Linn Grove invests in early- and mid-stage life science companies with outstanding technology. It is active in providing strategic financing and business leadership to help innovative companies move beyond the business incubator and accelerator phases to the next level of growth.

Northern Plains Fund northernplainsfund.com The new kids on the block with venture capital, Northern Plains Fund is a new fund out of Moorhead.

acceptance as evidenced by growing sales. BND invests in a variety of technologies and types of businesses, including North Dakota Department of Commerce strategictarget industries of value-added agriculture, technology, advanced manufacturing, energy and tourism.

Dakota Venture Group dakotaventuregroup.com DVG is a University of North Dakotastudent-run venture-capital investment fund founded in 2006. The group manages multiple funds and utilizes a vast network of industry expertise in its due-diligence research and investment decision-making.

Pathway Ventures vcpathway.com The new student-run venture capital fund at North Dakota State University was created with the mission to lead students and startups on a path towards success through knowledge, capital and opportunity.

This fund provides funding for early-stage companies that can show clear proof of completed product development and market



Thomas, McNerney & Partners tm-partners.com Thomas, McNerney invests in pharmaceutical, medical device, biotechnology and diagnostic service firms.

Valley Angel Investment Fund valleyangelinvestmentfund.weebly.com Valley Angel Investment Fund is an angel investment group headquartered in Grand Forks. As part of RAIN Source Capital’s RAIN Fund Network, they are able to share prospective deals with the entire network to collectively raise all or a good portion of capital companies are looking for.

Tax Incentives & Credits (These and more can be found at business. nd.gov/finance)

Angel Fund Investment Credit

Bank of North Dakota (BND) New Venture Capital Fund bnd.nd.gov/business/venture-capitalfund

development, create new jobs and improve regional productivity through direct foreign investment in North Dakota and Minnesota.

North Dakota/Minnesota EB-5 Regional Center ndmneb5.com ND/MN EB-5 aims to stimulate economic

An individual, estate, trust, partnership, corporation or limited liability company is allowed an income tax credit for investing in an angel fund in North Dakota.

Automation Tax Credit An individual, estate, trust, partnership, corporation or limited liability company is

allowed an income tax credit for purchasing machinery and equipment for the purposes of automating a manufacturing process in North Dakota.

allowed an income tax credit for investing in a primary-sector business.

Research Expense Credit

Newly established primary sector businesses or expansions of existing primary sector businesses are eligible for a five-year exemption from North Dakota state corporate income taxes.

An individual, estate, trust, partnership, corporation or limited liability company is allowed an income tax credit for conducting research in North Dakota. The credit is equal to a percentage of the excess of qualified research expenses in North Dakota over the base period research expenses.

Property Tax Exemption

Finance Programs and Grants

A qualifying project may receive a complete or partial exemption from ad valorem taxation for up to 10 years on new or existing buildings or structures used in the qualifying project.

These and more can be found at gfmedc. com/business/stayexpand/incentives/ finance-programs

Corporate Income Tax Exemption

Sales & Use Tax Exemption North Dakota provides sales tax exemptions for equipment and materials used in manufacturing and other targeted industries. A new or expanding plant may be exempt from sales and use tax on purchases of machinery or equipment used for manufacturing, ag commodity processing or recycling. An expanding primary sector business may also be eligible for an exemption for purchases of computer and telecommunications equipment that is an integral part of the business.

Seed Capital Investment Tax Credit An individual, estate, trust, partnership, corporation or limited liability company is

Bank of North Dakota bnd.nd.gov As the only state-owned bank in the nation, the Bank of North Dakota (BND) is able to take a unique approach to assisting businesses by joining private and public resources. BND offers the following financing options for primary sector businesses.

Growth Initiative Fund gfmedc.com The Growth Initiative Fund (GIF) is a revolving loan fund managed and administered by the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation (GFMEDC). A portion of the GIF’s funds are available for projects targeted at the emerging sectors

identified in the Cass Clay Economic Plan. Projects will be considered on a case-bycase basis.

Innovate ND innovatend.com Innovate ND provides access to beneficial venture tools, online entrepreneur education and extensive resources. If you are a North Dakota-based entrepreneur or innovator working on a new concept, you may be eligible for the program. An entry fee of $250 gains you access to $2,500 of resources through a certified North Dakota entrepreneurial center. Funds can be used to create your business plan, prototype development, coaching, consulting and marketing assistance.

North Dakota Department of Commerce, Economic Development and Finance commerce.nd.gov The North Dakota Department of Commerce, Economic Development and Finance provides financial packages, tax incentives, research for local and community economic development organizations and support and information for economic development around the state.




North Dakota New Jobs Training Grant The North Dakota New Jobs Training Program captures the North Dakota state income tax withholding generated from individuals filling new job positions — identified in a New Jobs Training Agreement — for up to a 10-year period starting from the effective date of the Agreement.

North Dakota Opportunity Fund lcdgroup.org/business-loans The ND Opportunity Fund leverages private financing to help small businesses and manufacturers attain the loans and investments needed to expand and create jobs. A consortium of 38 municipalities across North Dakota has received funding for operating the loan participation program. Loan funds can be used for construction, equipment, working capital, real estate and interim SBA 504 loans.

Operation Intern

DID WE MISS SOMETHING? What resource was instrumental in helping you launch your business? Let us know by Tweeting us @FargoINCMag



workforce.nd.gov/workforce/ OperationIntern A primary-sector business that employs interns is eligible for matching funds of up to $20,000 per funding round or $40,000 per biennium. The first round of applications is currently closed and the second funding round will be from March 25 – April 12, 2020

Small Business Administration (SBA) Funding Programs sba.gov/loans-grants/see-what-sbaoffers Here you will find: • Loans • Investment Capital • Disaster Assistance • Surety Bonds • Grants

Crystal Cossette Knight JUSTICE PIES & SUGARPLUM Q. Tell us a bit about yourself. A. I'm a mother, wife, and theatre nerd. I'm married to the crazy talented Jeff Knight, and together we are trying our hardest to raise our kids to be good humans. Our daughter Olivia is 11 and our son Adrian is 8. I work full-time for FBS, the creators of Flexmls, and my side gig is Sugarplum, my baking business. I'm also an ensemble member of Theatre B and I love all things musical theatre. If anyone wants to have a long discussion about Hamilton, I'm your girl! Q. How did you get started baking?

Crystal Cossette Knight was shaken by the death of George Floyd earlier this summer. She saw a need to raise awareness about racial injustice, so she baked up Justice Pies.



A.Like many people, I had always done some basic baking. Chocolate chip cookies, brownies, boxed cake mixes here and there. About 15 years ago my aunt contacted me with a part-time job opportunity I could do from home in my spare time. She owns the Blue Ribbon Group in Minneapolis, which coordinates and runs state fair baking competitions across the country for clients like Pillsbury, Gold Medal Flour, and Ghiradelli. I took state fair winning recipes, baked them at home, updated the recipes as needed, and took photos of the baked goods for use on the statefairrecipes.com website and to provide to the clients. It was during this

time that I made my first pie from scratch and I loved the process so much that I just kept baking. Q. When you think pie you don’t also often think of justice. What inspired you to bring the two together? A. Being bi-racial, yet white-passing, I have been thinking a lot about my own identity and my own biases since the murder of George Floyd. After discovering the Racism in ND Schools Instagram account, I thought back to the racism I've experienced and how I've stayed quiet about those experiences. I realized that I have not been actively anti-racist as an adult and I was feeling a bit helpless about what I could do to make a change, especially amidst the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Then I remembered an Instagram account called The Sweet Feminist and how she decorates cakes with feminist messages. While I do bake and decorate cakes, I gravitate more towards decorating pies. It occurred to me that an instagram account that shows pies decorated with the names of all the black individuals killed by police could bring awareness to just how big of a problem we have in this

country. It's going to be a lot of pies, sadly. While discussing my plan with my husband, I asked him what we should do with all of the pies because as much as I love pie, I didn't want to actually eat them all! I considered giving them away, and then I had the idea that I could bring awareness and sell the pies to raise money for organizations that are fighting racism. Q. What is the mission of Justice Pies? A. To bring awareness of all the black lives lost from police brutality because of systemic racism in our country. Q. What does justice mean to you? A. To me, justice means two things: 1) That all people are treated equally, and 2) That those in power (in this case, police officers) who unjustly take the life of another person should be punished accordingly. I can't claim that I am an expert when it comes to speaking about social injustices or the law, but I do have a heart, and it has been utterly heartbreaking to hear story after story about black individuals dying at the hands of the police. It's become pretty evident that those in the BIPOC community are not

treated equally on many different levels, especially when it comes to how they are treated by the police. In addition, we've seen police officers not charged for these murders. Breonna Taylor's murder is the most recent example of this. Q. Who inspires you to do this work? A. There are a number of people. I've watched my husband start projects, collaborate with others, and be a part of numerous organizations all to better our city. For example, his Fargo ASL bike rack design has helped bring awareness to the deaf and hard of hearing community. As a white man, he is digging in to his own identity and giving space to BIPOC individuals when possible. He's had hard conversations with me about race and is incredibly supportive of Justice Pies. I'm also inspired by my grandmother, mother, and sister, all of whom are very strong women who aren't afraid to voice their opinions. My sister is an activist and I ran the idea of Justice Pies by her to make sure I was going about it the right way. Finally, I would be remiss to not mention the many BIPOC people in our community who have always been speaking up about race issues and who work to create a better world for everyone, people like Prairie Rose Seminole, Rachel Stone,

Wess Philome and the whole One Fargo team, and the Black Lives Matter FargoMoorhead group. Q. There’s that saying “think globally, act locally.” Racism and police brutality are issues that affect many communities. How do you see your work with Justice Pies here in Fargo having a bigger effect?

people who would like to purchase a pie, just let me know. When I have pies ready to bake, I reach out to the people on the list to see if they would like to buy one, that way the pies are as fresh as possible. I bake 6-inch pies (a perfect size if you want a pie to yourself!) and they can be purchased for $20, but you can donate more if you would like. Proceeds generated will be donated to organizations that are supporting our BIPOC communities and fighting racism.

A. If one person sees my Instagram account with the names and faces of the many black people who should be alive today, and they realize this is a much bigger problem than they thought, then I've succeeded in my goal of bringing awareness. I also hope that I can inspire others to do whatever they can to take a stand against racism. If you feel helpless, like I did, and want to speak up against racism, remember that you can think outside of the box about how you can amplify your voice and the voices of others. Q. Where can people purchase a Justice Pie? A. You can reach me at justicepies@ gmail.com or via the Instagram account. If you want to be added to the list of





Questions 1


ohn Machacek, Chief Innovation Officer for the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, has worked with countless startups throughout our community over the past seven years. He knows their ups, their downs, but most of all, he knows the questions to ask them. Here are John Machacek’s 10 questions for Power Plate Meals Vice President of Marketing and Brand Development Haylee Houkom who is working to bring healthy meals to everyone.

What is your Power Plate Meals elevator pitch? Power Plate Meals is a healthy, ready to eat meal prep company that provides fresh, flavor-packed meals for busy individuals and families. Our meals help you save time and feel better from the inside out. Shop with us at one of our nine retail locations or order online at powerplatemeals.com to have your favorite meals shipped right to your door.

2 Where can someone buy your meals? • Shop with us at one of our nine retail locations in Fargo, Grand Forks, and Bismarck, North Dakota, Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Eagan, Bloomington, and Lakeville, Minnesota. • Pre-order for same-day, in-store pick up at powerplatepickup.com and we will have your order ready upon arrival. • Order from our bi-weekly changing menu at powerplatemeals.com and have your meals shipped right to your door.

BY John Machacek PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen



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

3 What made you decide to start Power Plates? As a couple, we have always had a huge passion for living a healthy lifestyle and wanted to share healthy eating with our community. We wanted to make healthy eating convenient for everyone, show people it doesn’t have to be boring and change people’s lives through healthy food.

4 What caused you to shift to having retail stores? We started Power Plates at Square One Rental Kitchen here in Fargo. At the time we had a local pick-up option one day a week and also had the option to ship with UPS right to their door. Having a location of our own was always a big dream, but after a fire happened at Square One kitchen, it pushed us to find our own kitchen and retail space. After opening our very first location, we quickly learned that our customers loved our quick and convenient in-store shopping experience which inspired us to expand our retail stores.



5 You’ve grown the company quickly within just several years, you have nine retail locations in three states and over 70 employees. How have you planned and adapted during this process? As we have grown the last 4.5 years, we have really learned to take things as they come and adapt to change quickly. In the food industry, we have to stay on top of trends, stay innovative in what our customers want, and make sure to really listen to our customers and team members’ needs. We strongly believe in open communication, the willingness to try new things, not being afraid to fail and building a strong company culture. All of these things have helped us through our growth and having strong team members that believe in our company’s vision allows us to continue to grow together.

Haylee Houkom and Seth Houkom Co-Founders Power Plate Meals

6 I have been impressed by both your customer email communications as well as your social media. Do you have any tips for the readers on producing and managing these communications? Thank you, we appreciate that! We are truly passionate about our customer relationships and spreading the word about healthy eating, which drives our marketing practices. For anyone starting a business or looking to improve their marketing strategies, engaging with your customers and learning from them is so beneficial. Comment back, listen to their questions and concerns and be open to suggestions. Also, just like with anything else, consistency is key. Share content regularly so you can continue communicating with your audience and building your brand.



7 I love that your company has very little food waste, since you have the ability to freeze the meals that don’t immediately sell and offer them in your frozen section. Was that always the plan or was it a happy coincidence?

9 If you could go back in time to Haylee and Seth from a few years ago, what hindsight advice would you give yourself? Our advice to our younger selves would be to always trust our instincts. Whenever your gut feeling is telling you to do something, run with it.

When starting Power Plates, we had the concern of food waste, which is where the idea of switching our menu bi-weekly and selling our previous menu items in the freezer at a discounted price came about. We started our first retail location with this model and have kept it ever since.



What would be your 5-10 year dream for PPM?

What is in the works for Power Plate Meals?

Our big dream for Power Plates is to make Power Plate Meals accessible to our customers nationwide, in all communities and change people’s lives with healthy food. We hope to do this through our retail stores, new wholesale and vending opportunities as well as expanding our e-commerce across the nation.

We have a couple of very fun projects and partnerships in the works, but one thing we would love to share is that in 2021, we will be partnering with other businesses to wholesale our meals. As for what is still in store for 2020, stay tuned, 2020 is going to get even tastier with a fun, local partnership we can’t wait to share!



Bethlehem Gronneberg Founder and CEO, uCodeGirl | Bush Foundation Leadership Fellow | PhD Candidate | Lecturer of Computer Science | YWCA Woman of the Year in Science and Technology


About uCodeGirl

The vision of uCodeGirl is to inspire and equip young women to become the future face of innovation in technology. uCodeGirl is uniquely designed to inspire, engage and equip young women with computational design thinking skills, leadership traits, and an entrepreneurial mindset. uCodeGirl strives to remove roadblocks and bridge the gender gap in technology so that young women can confidently pursue opportunities suitable for the 21st century. By building confidence, enhancing skill sets and tapping into their intellect and curiosity, uCodeGirl helps young women chart a pathway to the T of STEM careers. More information here: www.ucodegirl.org | @ucodegirl | 114




Every October, Ada Lovelace Day is celebrated worldwide to recognize the achievements of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). In 1843, English mathematician Ada Lovelace wrote the first computer instructions to perform mathematical calculations on Charles Babbage’s not yet invented mechanical computer called the analytical engine. Women have continued to be pioneer computer programmers for many decades with names like the American admiral Dr. Grace Hopper who is credited for the development of machineindependent high level programming languages, led the innovation of COBOL and coined the phrase debugging for fixing computer glitches known as bugs. You might then contemplate the questions, “If women were pre-conditioned to be computer programmers, then what happened today?”, “Why didn’t the list of notable women in computing get sizable and expanding?” and “What attracts women to tech careers?



Software Engineer at BNG Team

Senior Technical Consultant at Perficient


Software Engineer at Sanford Health

It is with this inquisitive mindset that I decided to converse with four area female software engineers who are actively engaged to help move the needle forward in the tech industry. “I hail from Nigeria, West Africa,” started Zillah Adahman, Software Engineer at BNG Team. “I was born in New Delhi, India,” added Ritika Gerdes, a Software Engineer at Sanford Health. “I am from Bangladesh, South Asia,” said Nazia Zaman, Senior Technical Consultant at Perficient. “And of course I am from Ethiopia, East Africa,” I concluded. I met them all when they reached out to volunteer at uCodeGirl. I witnessed their passion as they mentored the young and the curious aspire to tackle problems are limitless.

bored easily, so learning something new all the time is a plus. Ritika: As a Software Engineer, I go through the entire lifecycle of software development. But, coding is my favorite as I get to solve problems in my own way. It is always evolving and I get to learn something new every day. I appreciate the challenges I get. Zaman: I've found that working in tech is very collaborative and rewarding. My work allows me to make an impact in any field, as the applications of tech to today's problems are limitless.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR WORK? Zillah: Learning new things every hour is what excites me most. With my level of curiosity, I enjoy working on new things. I get FARGOINC.COM


HOW DID YOU BECOME A SOFTWARE ENGINEER? Nazia: I am both inspired and influenced by my parents.They instilled in me a hard-working attitude and ways to deal with problems. My interest in problem-solving arose from the math competitions I participated while I was in high school. I used to read different sorts of books to hone my problem-solving skills. The Art and Craft of Problem Solving, by Paul Zeitz, was the book that convinced me to pursue a career in Computing Science. I wanted to build my career in a STEM-focused field because it involved problem solving. Ritika: I started my Bachelor's degree in India in Biotechnology. I transferred to NDSU in my senior year. At that point, I did not know the difference between Biotechnology and Bioinformatics. When I learned the difference, I extended my Bachelor's degree to do a minor in Computer Science. I did some C++ and PERL programming in India. But, after I completed the minor in the United States, I knew I wanted to learn more Computer Science. I would say my Java professor, Lt. Mr. Richard Rummelt, inspired me through his amazing teaching and his passion. Zillah: I decided to major in Computer Science during my second semester at MSUM. I started as a Computer Information Technology (CIT) major because I enjoyed fixing computers when I was younger. Whenever the desktop gets bad at home, I enjoy taking it apart and spoiling it more before fixing it. I also enjoyed watching the technician doing the same thing whenever 116


my dad decided to call one. However, as a CIT major, you're required to take basic programming classes to water your brain and learn new things. At the time, I hadn't written a programming language and didn’t of any. I knew the theory behind ones and zeros but never used it. I enrolled in Introduction to Python. On the first day of class, Professor Ficek asked us to open the python IDE, type 1+1, and wait for the response. Next, type print 'Hello World' and the IDE responded. Ok. To a lot of people, this might sound stupid but I was pretty intrigued. I was happy that it did what I wanted it to do. I got so curious, I wanted to know how it works, what else it can do and other ways to manipulate it. The class was tough and frustrating honestly. But I had a lot of help from other classmates, friends and the professor. After completing the class successfully, I decided to change my major to computer science out of curiosity. I wanted to know about other programming languages and other ways to build software that does what you want.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE FUTURE IN TECHNOLOGY? Zillah: The inventions. I’ve always been inspired by new technologies being released. It inspires me to keep pushing forward to, one day, make a new technology that makes life easier and opens new opportunities for people around the world. Ritika: This is the era of technology. Every field and every one is dependent on it. It inspires me that the work we do in technology

helps the people around us. I feel proud to do the work that I do. At the same time, it keeps me motivated to do more and to do better to make things easier. Some day, I would like to work where I can help the medical scientists find treatments and cures for diseases at a faster pace. Zaman: Our persistence, imagination and innovation not only shape our career but also our future. This is also true for the future tech industry.

YOUR ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF? Zillah: Never ignore rest time. Your work requires a lot of thinking. Once you get frustrated, take time to rest your mind. Distract yourself by doing something else before going back to what you're working on. Secondly, work-life balance is important. Don't joke with that.

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO WOMEN CONSIDERING A CAREER SWITCH OR RE-SKILL TO A TECH CAREER? Ritika: I would say go for the switch or re-skill. I went for that switch and I am glad. You will find that it is continuous learning and growing. You will find that you need a good teacher — you can be your own teacher too, as you know yourself, and how you learn. You will find that your hard work will pay off at the end. If you need help, reach out. People will be more willing to work with you, if you make the effort to ask. Good luck! Zillah: I’ll say “Aye... Go for it! Take it one step at a time and you'll love it. Nazia: It’s never too late.

Ritika: If you want something, you have to work hard for it. Some people put you down, some people support you. But, only you are your biggest ally, so make your own career and your own path. If you fail or fall, you learn a new way to get back up to get better. Nazia: Never stop trying — these three words from my mom always keeps me motivated.



Speaking Your Business Language for 45 Years Ser ving the Upper Midwest

For ward Thinking. Reliable Advice. 701-237-6022 widmerroelcpa.com

Academic Insight


4 Reasons Why You Should Focus On Followership


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

hen I was a kid, I loved playing basketball. And every summer, I would attend a summer basketball camp at Arkansas State University where coaches would put us through various drills to practice the basic fundamentals of the sport. One of the drills I remember was learning to dribble the basketball without looking down at the basketball. During this drill, the coach would require us to line up at one end of the court and dribble to the other end with our dominant hand. But on the way back to our original starting point, we had to dribble using our nondominant hand. I am right-handed, so dribbling down the court the first time was no problem. Coming back using my left hand‌ well, that was not successful! The coaches explained to the participants that to be successful in basketball, you

need to be proficient at dribbling using both your right and left hands. Otherwise, the defense will be able to easily guard you by forcing you to always use your nondominant hand. Although to this day I still never mastered dribbling with my left hand as much as desired, I’ve thought about how that lesson has shaped my views on teaching leadership. Just as learning to dribble a basketball with both hands is important to a basketball player, so is having good leadership skills and followership skills. The process of leadership requires both leaders and followers. But what has happened is that one aspect of the process (leaders) have received almost all of the attention, while the other side (followers) has received little attention until recently. One of those reasons is



Academic Insight

that being a follower has a negative connotation. However, scholars and practitioners are starting to advocate a greater emphasis on followership in organizations. Peter Northouse provides a basic definition of leadership and followership in his book Leadership: Theory and Practice: • Leadership: “a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal” • Followership: “a process whereby an individual or individuals accept the influence of others to accomplish a common goal. Followership involves a power differential between the follower and the leader. Typically, followers comply with the directions and wishes of leaders—they defer to leaders’ power.” While leadership scholars have created various typologies to describe, classify, and categorize followers into different groups, I don’t want to focus on that. What I do want to focus on are



the reasons why managers and organizations should emphasize the development of followership skills in addition to leadership skills. These four reasons are listed below: #1: Followership, in some situations, is needed for the betterment of the organization. While possessing a leadership position does provide an individual with legitimate power and the ability to influence matters, there are limits to every leader’s knowledge and understanding. Perhaps there is an individual who reports to you that has more knowledge and expertise on an issue. In those circumstances, being willing to step back and be the best follower would be key in producing the best possible outcome for the organization. #2: Followership can help us to become better leaders. A great example of this is the show Undercover Boss. It’s always enlightening to see a CEO reflect on their

experiences of working as a frontline employee and how those experiences helped to inform them on ways to make improvements to the organization. In addition, demonstrating proactive followership gives an individual experience and knowledge on how to work under and to adapt to different leadership styles. This would be extremely important in those industries and organizations in which there may be higher turnover in leadership positions. It also reinforces and refines our respective leadership approaches by observing the best of the best approaches and learning which approaches that are not as successful or effective. #3: Modeling healthy Followership can positively impact the culture of the organization. In organizations, you have individuals who may be a) committed and actively engaged, b) simply compliant, or c) actively disengaged. The different levels of engagement could be due to whether those individuals

To submit questions you would like answered in future editions of “Academic Insight�. Email Dr. Aikens at: saikens@cord.edu

accept the influence of those in charge. When individuals in visible leadership positions can effectively model healthy followership and strongly encourage others to do so as well, it sends a very powerful message that followership is essential to the culture of the organization. #4: Followership is empowering as it recognizes and appreciates the talents of others. Recognizing the expertise of others by deferring to them in important decisions, demonstrates an appreciation of the various talents and abilities that employees bring to the organization. Sometimes those talents and skills may come from their personal life or hobbies, but yet still provides value to the organization. For example, in my classes, I have the authority to make decisions on what takes place in my classroom. There have been times during the course of my teaching career when I would seek the advice and expertise of my students on various things. I have found that this can be very empowering.

Developing a Followership Value Proposition Statement To illustrate the importance of followership to my Leadership Theory and Application students, I require them to develop a personal Followership Value Proposition statement. This activity was adapted from Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur’s Customer Value Proposition (CVP) component at the center of their Business Model Canvas tool for entrepreneurs. As part of my research, I noticed that the factors entrepreneurs consider when developing a CVP for customers could also be used by individuals to develop a Followership Value Proposition statement for their leaders. This would involve articulating the unique skills and abilities an individual can offer to support their leader which ultimately benefits the organization. The Ad-Lib Value Proposition Template developed by Strategyzer (strategyzer.com) is an excellent and free tool to help one draft a concise Followership Value Proposition statement.

Photo by Hillary Ehlen

Steve Dusek

President & CEO Dakota Business Lending





t the very root of this quote is something that many like to call “partnerships.” And while “partnership” is a common buzzword in the business world today, it is not a concept to be taken lightly. With these business collaborations comes great power and great potential. Many businesses choose to partner up with other businesses that are complementary to their own who can provide a solution to a problem or help them grow in some way or another. While the goal of the partnership may vary – such as helping with an upcoming events, attracting new customers, alleviating costs, promoting their businesses, sharing or utilizing technologies/other business assets, or a combination – both parties usually provide some sort of service or benefit to the other. Forming a partnership takes careful consideration, time, and strategy, but can have a huge impact for both parties involved.



“The best collaborations create something bigger than the sum of what each person can create on their own.”

Whether your business has established countless partnerships before, or you are considering forming your first one, here is just a few of the many benefits that this professional relationship can bring to you and your business: 1. Partnerships are mutually beneficial – The best thing about partnerships is that everyone is a winner. Partnerships are designed to complement and benefit both parties and, if formed correctly, provide an opportunity to build something bigger for both of you. When you form a collaborative relationship like these, you are not only helping another business but also getting help in return. A win-win for all! 2. Partnerships boost creativity – They say, “two heads are better than one,” and the saying is no different for partnerships. These collaborative relationships are a breeding ground for creativity and innovation. Because both partnering businesses know they have someone they can trust for honest feedback and insight, they have a space where they are free to brainstorm and refine their ideas into something that is tangible and productive. 3. Partnerships promote community and teamwork – Everyone knows we are much stronger when we work together, and partnerships are a true testament

to that. As a small business lending institution, we’ve heard a multitude of stories about businesses who came together and made a huge impact. When people see businesses and professionals teaming up for something bigger than themselves, they are inspired. And what better way to grow your business than inspiring others to work together along the way? 4. Partnerships prevent you from having to do it alone – True partnerships assure both parties that, as they learn to grow and adapt to the everchanging world around them, they are not alone. Not only will your partners be there for you to show support when times are tough, but they are also someone who is there to celebrate your successes. As the song goes, “we all need somebody to lean on,” and partnerships grant both parties just that. These are just a few of the many reasons why forming a partnership can be beneficial to you and your business. The next time you are looking for a solution to a problem or a way to grow, consider other businesses and professionals that may be to partner with you and help you along the way.




Fargo Events

NOVEMBER 24 You Failed? Just Get Up. Again and Again and Again. Tuesday, November 24 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Failure. It's not a word that most of are comfortable with. It's certainly not something most of would choose to experience. Nobody likes to fail, but women seem to be particularly terrified of it. Perhaps that's because we get so many fewer chances to take risks than men do. But we all will fail. We will fail in our careers, with our relationships, in our diets, as parents, in any number of situations. If failure is inevitable (and believe me, it is), then it's what you do after the failure that matters. How do you pivot to get past the failure to discover the joy that can come of the new path you find yourself on, the joy that can only happen because of the failure? Dayna is dedicated to working on, talking through and getting comfortable with the intersection of remarkable and so, so ordinary. Because that's the pivot point. And that's what she wants to explore with this audience. fmwfchamber.com

NOVEMBER 3 Homelessness & Hunger: Impacts on Our Community

Tuesday, November 3 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.

According to the State of Homelessness Report, it is estimated that more than 1,000 individuals in the FMWF community experience homelessness each night. Of the homeless individuals surveyed, about 30% indicated they were currently employed. For many, homelessness isn’t their only concern. In Cass and Clay counties, respectively, the food insecurity rate is 8.9% and 9.5%. These are our community members. Our coworkers, classmates, former colleagues and potential future employees. And this issue runs much deeper than what many of us can see or imagine. The presenters at this session will speak to the topics of homelessness and hunger in our community, articulating both the humanitarian and business concerns. Attendees will explore the impacts these issues have on our community, as well as possible solutions to reduce homelessness and hunger, and why it’s so critical for our metro, both socially and economically. fmwfchamber.com 124


NOVEMBER 5 Enhancing Your Employer Brand: Recruitment, Retention & Engagement Strategies Through a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Lens Thursday, November 5 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Recruitment, retention & engagement strategies have always been central to any employer’s success, but with the current fierce cd engage this talent, all while building your employer brand. fmwfchamber.com

NOVEMBER 11 Treating Your Customers Like Non-Profits Treat Their Donors

Wednesday, November 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

We’re in a bizarre new reality where there is an expectation and desperate need for personalization from clients and customers. So how do you, as a business, transform the way you interact with those you serve? Look to the non-profit world. fmwfchamber.com

NOVEMBER 12 Virtual Series: Creating A Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Scorecard: How to Define Success & Measure It

Thursday, November 12 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

You’ve heard the phrases “what gets measured gets managed” or “what gets measured matters.” These statements couldn’t be more true for DE&I efforts in workplaces. A DE&I scorecard defines the goals for an organization and helps create the roadmap for what is set forth to be accomplished during a specific timeframe. While providing direction, a DE&I scorecard also provides for accountability and ultimately helps define success. fmwfchamber.com



Fargo Events

DECEMBER 9 How to Diagnose and Solve Performance Issues in Your Workplace Wednesday, December 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

If you work with people, chances are you have encountered your share of performance issues. There likely isn’t a workplace without them. It may even seem like you are addressing the same performance issue over and over. Maybe you have thrown multiple resources, like money, people, consultants, training and the like at a problem only for it to reappear. Let’s stop the madness! fmwfchamber.com

DECEMBER 3 Art of Daily Practice: A Practice of Celebration Thursday, December 3 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Join the Northland Thrivent Member Network and Artist Nichole Rae for a practice of celebration. This “Celebration” themed practice will introduce attendees to reflecting on their year and celebrating all that has unfolded. The event will take time to look at all the moments and growth the year has brought and use the prompt “I AM Celebrating”. Attendees will be encouraged to reflect on the year and acknowledge all they have accomplished, overcome, created in the year and continue a journaling practice. These practices are grounded in the Christian faith and can be used as creative tools to strengthen ones faith journey. Registration is necessary. fmwfchamber.com

DECEMBER 10 Stop the fighting on the Way to the Funeral Home Thursday, December 10 from noon to 1 p.m.

presentation highlights the mistakes families make that break up their business. The event will discuss in-laws and out-laws, money expectations, daily communications and important meetings. From conversations to contracts, from assumptions to clarification, from complaints to celebrations, eyes will be opened and save fighting on the way to the funeral home. Registration is necessary. fmwfchamber.com

DECEMBER 15 Women Connect

Tuesday, December 15 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Chamber 101: Connect. Engage Maximize. Tuesday, December 15 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

If you’re not familiar with The Chamber, are a new member, new contact, new hire, or just want to re-engage with The Chamber, this session is for you! Chamber 101 is a laid-back discussion designed to share some of the great benefits of Chamber membership and what opportunities exist that you need to know. No need to dress in business attire; come as you are! The Chamber's Office 202 First Avenue North, Moorhead fmwfchamber.com

Women Connect is a program focused on developing female professionals through sessions that focus on topics important to a women's professional and personal life. Women Connect will address unique challenges professional women face in today's business environment and provide connections, inspiration and an opportunity to socialize with and encourage one another, tapping into the sense of community women crave. fmwfchamber.com

It happens, far too often in agriculture. Promises are spoken and broken, facts are assumed, habits are hardened…and before we know it, we’ve got family fighting on the way to the funeral home. It’s time to learn from the mistakes of others and work for positive results. This insightful and fun-filled FARGOINC.COM



CALENDAR NOVEMBER 3 State of the Cities Address 2020

Tuesday, November 3 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Join Mandan Mayor Tim Helbling and Bismarck Mayor Steve Bakken for the 2020 State of the Cities event. On this morning, participants will gain insight from both Mandan and Bismarck Mayors along with community leadership, and also hear about successes and challenges each city faced throughout 2020. Ramkota Hotel & Conference Center 800 S. 3rd St., Bismarck bismarckmandan.com

NOVEMBER 12 Membership Mixer: Zorells Jewelry

Thursday, November 12 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, November 12 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Join fellow Chamber EDC members for the “It’s a Wonderful Life” themed mixer and enjoy catering by Lady J’s along with an open bar for complimentary drinks. This wonderful event will also be giving away door prizes to attendees in the form of gift cards to Zorells! Zorells Jewelry 221 S. 9th St., Bismarck bismarckmandan.com



Bismarck DECEMBER 8 Chamber EDC Holiday Mixer December 8 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Holidays are upon us and that marks a special time at the Chamber EDC. Celebrate another festive year of fun, laid back networking at our themed Holiday Mixer with an assortment of hors d’oeuvres, drinks, door prize giveaways and local music! Bismarck Events Center, Exhibit Hall 315 S. 5th St., Bismarck Bismarckmandan.com

Grand Forks NOVEMBER 19 Chamber Business After Hours Thursday, November 19 from 4:45 p.m. to 7 p.m. gochamber.org