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MARK J.

LINDQUIST

A CAREER

AFTER CAMO

AIR FORCE

TIFFANIE

HONEYMAN

DAVID MORSE ARMY

JAMES

N AV Y

BILL ERICKSON N AV Y

VAN RADEN MARINES

JANI

SKALA ARMY THOMAS JEFFERSON AIR FORCE

october 2017


// OCTOBER 2017

COVER STORY

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A Career After Camo: 7 Veteran Business Owners in the Fargo Metro What do these seven veterans have in common? They all run successful businesses in the FM area. A motivational speaker, an outdoors TV show creator, a marketing expert, a promotional company president, a general contractor, an insurance agent, and a runway fashion show founder give their thoughts on entrepreneurship and the role their military experience played in their post-service path.

ADDITIONAL FEATURES 6 Editor's Note 7 Editorial Advisory Board 16 FM Area Foundation: Philanthropy Is Their Business 22 Does Anyone Actually Care About Your Product? Josh Christy

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54 Startup Spotlight: Abovo

Office Vibes: Farmstead Office Park at Rocking Horse Farm 82

Bruce Ringstrom Jr.

61 Faces of Fargo Business Abby Anderson Alex Rydell Andrew J. Abernathey

27 Healthy Office Living: Back & Legs

69 It Wasn't Always Like This: Fargo Theatre

84

Bitcoin Isn't Yet Safe for the Best Investors Paul Jarvis

89

Tech Tips: Optimizing Your WiFi William Galvin

Marisa Jackels

50 Village Business Institute's EAPs

Addiction in the Workplace: Know Your Options

90

Business Events Calendar

Visit FargoInc.com for extended content covering Fargo-Moorhead's business community and articles from past issues of Fargo INC!

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OCTOBER 2017


editor's note

Photo by J. Alan Paul Photography

True

GRIT

T

his month's cover story on veteran business owners was eye-opening on a number of fronts but in one way in particular. As is probably true of most groups, too often, we tend to think of military service members and veterans as a monolith. Far from a a homogeneous group of like-minded automatons, though, the veterans I spoke with for the story were individuals with vastly different experiences and perspectives on both business and life. I had seen the data many times on vet-trepreneurs—specifically, that their businesses are up to three times more likely to succeed—and, to be honest, that

Nate@SpotlightMediaFargo.com 6

OCTOBER 2017

was one of the main reasons we wanted to do this story. We wanted some insight into what, exactly, makes many veterans such successful business owners. And the answer, in some ways, was surprising. While I mostly expected them to chalk it up to the discipline, focus and reliance on structure that military service instills in you—undoubtedly still important assets in the world of entrepreneurship— the overriding factor that they themselves identified was pure, simple grit. They all said it was their unwillingness and really, in some ways, inability to quit that's allowed them to thrive as entrepreneurs. This is something we've known for a while now—there's even a best-selling book by the same name (see above)—that

NateMickelberg

perseverance trumps all when it comes to building a company, but it's amazing to realize there's a gigantic, real-life case study playing out before our eyes that many don't even realize. The military has always been ahead of the curve—we can thank them for the invention of the internet, canned food, and microwaves, after all—and maybe this "never quit" mind set is just another example of that. Maybe the best advice is no advice. Just keep going.

Nate Mickelberg Editor Fargo INC!

LinkedIn.com/In/NateMickelberg


Fargo INC!'s

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD We at Fargo INC! want to make sure our content is unbiased, accurate, and reflects the views and opinions of the FM business community. That's why we meet regularly with our six-member editorial board to discuss area business issues and trends and ensure that we are living up to our stated values.

CRAIG WHITNEY

ANNA HANSON

President & CEO FMWF Chamber of Commerce

Moorhead Business Association Liaison

GREG TEHVEN

PAT TRAYNOR

Executive Director & Cofounder Emerging Prairie

JOHN MACHACEK

SVP, Finance & Entrepreneurial Development Greater Fargo/Moorhead Economic Development Corporation (GFMEDC)

President & CEO Dakota Medical Foundation (DMF)

CINDY GRAFFEO

Executive Director Moorhead Economic Development Authority (EDA)

Special Adviser GWEN HOBERG

Chair, Communications Committee Moorhead Business Assocation (MBA)


October 2017 Volume 2 Issue 10

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

Publisher Mike Dragosavich

CREATIVE

Editorial Director Andrew Jason Editor Nate Mickelberg Editorial Intern Kara Jeffers Graphic Designers Sarah Geiger, Matt Anderson Photography J. Alan Paul Photography, Hillary Ehlen, Paul Flessland

Contributors Marisa Jackels, William Galvin, Josh

Christy, Bruce Ringstrom, Paul Jarvis

Copy Editors Erica Rapp, Andrew Jason Content Strategist Sam Herder Social Media Kara Jeffers Web Editor Samantha Stark Web/Digital Coordinator Huong Tran

Advertising

Sales Manager Layne Hanson

Senior Sales Executives Wendy Baukol Marketing & Sales Paul Hoefer, Jenny Johnson, Scott Rorvig Client Relations Manager Jenny Johnson Sales Administrative Assistant Pam Mjoness Office Assistant Emily Peterson Administrative Tatiana Hasbargen Sales & Operations Interns Nick Hackl, Kyle Gliva, Ruth Olson, Anushree Kesurvala

Circulation

Delivery Hal Ecker, Nolan Kaml, Tom Wegner, Kent Hagen, Thomas White, Mitch Rapp

Fargo INC! is published by Spotlight Media LLC, Copyright 2017 Fargo INC! & FargoInc. com. All rights reserved. No parts of this periodical may be reproduced or distributed without written permission of Fargo INC!, and Spotlight Media LLC, is not responsible for, and expressly disclaims all liability for, damages of any kind arising out of use, reference to or reliance on such information. Spotlight Media LLC, accepts no liability for the accuracy of statements made by the advertisers.

Spotlightmedia

Spotlight Media, LLC 15 Broadway N, Suite 500 Fargo, ND 58102 Info@SpotlightMediaFargo.com ADVERTISING: 701-478-SPOT (7768)


Meet the Team MIKE

LAYNE

NATE

JOE

ERICA

BECCA

ETHAN

KARA

SARAH

MATT

ANDREW

JENNY

LARISSA

SCOTT

HOEFER

WENDY

JESSE

PAM

NICK

HUONG

SAMANTHA

HILLARY

RUTH

Learn more about us at SpotlightMediaFargo.com


TAKE A LOOK AT SPOTLIGHT MEDIA'S OTHER PUBLICATIONS

People's Choice Awards: Winners Revealed It's time to reveal the winners of the third annual Design & Living Magazine People's Choice Awards. Each year, our brilliant readers nominate who they consider to be the best of the best in the local home industry, then vote for their choice of the top three nominees in each category. The people have voted, and the numbers have spoken. With 39 categories, we counted thousands of nominations and votes. Thank you to everyone who participated, and congratulations to all of the winners and nominees!

Your Guide to Tailgating Tailgating before Bison football games has become an integral part of the NDSU Athletics culture. Fans' growing enthusiasm through their presence on the West Lot before Bison football games has almost become as big of an attraction as the team on the field. College football fans from across the country come to Fargo to see the parking lot party. We set out this month to see the madness for ourselves.

Made in Fargo There's satisfaction that comes with buying local and supporting the work of Fargo-Moorhead's artisans, creators, makers and handmade masters of all sorts. From pillows and beer to furniture and soap, Fargo Monthly is here to help you discover the city's handmade talent this month.


Philanthropy Is

Our

Business Lexi Oestreich Program Officer

Greg Diehl

Development Officer

Tim Beaton

Executive Director

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OCTOBER 2017


10 Things to Know About Your Community Foundation By Courtney Larson

H

ave you ever wondered how to make your giving go further? How your business can create its very own scholarship fund to support your future workforce? How to take advantage of North Dakota's 40 percent charitable income-tax credit? The FM Area Foundation, a local community foundation serving the Cass-Clay region, can help you navigate your philanthropic questions and provide a flexible means to give. With deep roots in the Fargo-Moorhead area, the FM Area Foundation has been supporting the Cass Clay region since 1960 and will continue to do so for generations to come. The foundation helps people establish charitable funds to make life better in the communities they love. We work with individuals, families, businesses, professional advisers and nonprofits. Photography by J. Alan Paul Photography and courtesy of FM Area Foundation

Courtney Larson is the communications and marketing officer for the FM Area Foundation.

1. We help you fulfill your charitable vision. The FM Area Foundation makes it easy for donors from all walks of life and with all levels of assets to fulfill their charitable goals. We offer a variety of giving options. Give now or later. Give to an existing fund, or establish your own. Give dollars that go to work today, or create a lasting legacy. Our expert staff will help you determine the best option to make your charitable wishes a reality. As a community foundation, we focus on all issues and opportunities that help create stronger communities, and as a result, we work with nonprofits across different service areas. From homeless shelters to the arts to after-school programs, we have a finger on the pulse of the important work being done in the Fargo-Moorhead area. So whatever you’re passionate about, we can help connect you to the organizations doing the work you care about.

2. We provide you with maximum tax advantages. When you give through the FM Area Foundation, you receive maximum tax advantages for most gifts under federal law. Donations to the foundation generally qualify for a deduction on both your federal and state income-tax return. One important thing to consider if you pay North Dakota income tax is North Dakota's charitable income-tax credit. When you give a minimum of $5,000 a year to a qualified, permanent endowment, you can receive a 40 percent tax credit. The FM Area Foundation offers a number of funds to which you can give that qualify for the tax credit. Another option is to set up your own qualifying fund, receive the tax credit and benefit the charities you love.

Through North Dakota's charitable income-tax credit, you can claim a credit of 40 percent on a donation to a qualified, permanent endowment of a qualified North Dakota charitable organization. This is on top of the savings you can receive on your federal return by itemizing your qualifying charitable donations. By taking advantage of both the state tax credit and federal tax deduction, you can significantly lower the net cost of your contribution and triple its impact. Individuals Gifts made by an individual to a qualified endowment fund are eligible for the 40 percent tax credit if the aggregate of that year’s gifts are equal to $5,000 or more. The maximum credit amount that may be claimed is $10,000 for an individual or $20,000 for married individuals filing jointly. Businesses Gifts made by a business entity to a qualified endowment fund are also eligible for a 40 percent tax credit. They, too, have an annual limitation of $10,000.

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3. We strengthen nonprofits through grant-making. The FM Area Foundation creates permanent resources to help nonprofits thrive. We have five separate grant rounds in the areas of arts, culture and creativity, basic human needs, community-building, education and the women’s fund. Local nonprofits can apply for funding from these grant rounds. Grant applications are evaluated by committees made up of local residents and approved by the foundation’s board of directors.

5. We accept a wide variety of assets. In the past three years, the FM Area Foundation has awarded more than $125,000 through its Basic Human Needs grant round to help support the work of shelters in the FargoMoorhead area and to help them meet the increased need and provide solutions to transition people into permanent housing. Funding for this work has gone to organizations such as the Fargo-Moorhead Coalition for Homeless Persons, Fargo-Moorhead Dorothy Day House of Hospitality, Churches United for the Homeless, New Life Center, YWCA of Cass Clay and Fraser.

BUSINESS

WISDOM

We can facilitate even the most complex forms of giving. Beyond direct cash donations, we have the expertise and flexibility to accept complex donations such as stock and bond transfers, real estate, retirement assets, insurance, business interests and even personal property. There are many ways to give, too. Some examples: • Leaving a gift to charity in your will • IRA charitable rollover • Gifts that pay you income • Gifts that protect your assets

4. We offer a variety of giving options. There are seven types of funds you can choose from: 1. Donor-advised 2. Designated 3. Field of interest 4. Scholarship 5. Unrestricted 6. Agency 7. Supporting organization A popular and powerful choice for many FM Area Foundation donors is a donoradvised fund, which makes it easy to support nonprofits anywhere you want, any time you want. You can name your fund after your family, in honor of someone or highlight an issue of special concern. You can make your giving a part of your legacy, ensuring that your generosity will be felt for many generations. You can involve your family in your tradition of giving back or give anonymously.

6. We partner with professional advisers. Many donors work with a financial advisor, accountant or estate planner. These professionals help take your financial planning to the next level. We will work with you and your adviser to ensure that both your financial and charitable goals are met. Your trusted financial adviser can even manage your charitable fund. All you have to do is recommend them, and we will work out the rest.

"There's a barrier between the farming community and non-farming community, and it's a knife that cuts both ways." LYNN PAULSON SVP & Director of Agribusiness Development, Bell Bank FARGOINC.COM

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Foundation Makes First Impact Investment to Lakes & Prairies The FM Area Foundation made a $100,000 loan to help local nonprofit Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership complete the down payment for the purchase of a building in South Moorhead. The space will be used for a variety of programs, acting as an extension to their existing services.

7. We pool gifts for greater impact. You could say community foundations are the original crowdfunders. By pooling assets, we work to create a greater, longer-term impact on the communities we serve. Since 1960, the FM Area Foundation has invested more than $40 million into the community in the form of grants to charities and scholarships to students.

8. We award scholarships. We manage more than 40 scholarship funds and, in partnership with generous donors, award more than $200,000 to local students each year. Each scholarship fund is different. Some are awarded to students from a certain high school while others are awarded to students going into specific areas of study such as nursing or engineering. Each fund is established by individuals or businesses with a passion to support students’ continuing education and training.

This investment to Lakes & Prairies has both a financial and social return. In this case, the social return is that Lakes & Prairies will be able to extend their services to help serve more low-income families in the Clay County area.

About the Foundation

9. We offer nonprofit services. We provide a broad range of services to help local nonprofits do more. We care about strengthening the nonprofit sector to improve the quality of life for all people in our community. Trainings, nonprofitagency endowments, a nonprofit listserv and grants are a few ways we do this.

10. We provide vision and leadership. The role of community foundations goes beyond funding. We strive to be a community champion and voice for positive change. In the past five years, the FM Area Foundation has been involved in efforts such as the Regional Workforce Study, creating a Downtown Moorhead organization, and participating in a cohort with community foundations throughout the Midwest to determine and implement best practices for disaster philanthropy. The Foundation is also leading the charge for local impact investing. Impact investments generate both a social and financial return. It’s about creating strong communities and investing more capital into projects that have the potential to strengthen the Cass Clay area.

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The FM Area Foundation is one of 800 community foundations across the U.S. The Foundation is accredited by the Community Foundations National Standards Board. The National Standards ensure the values of community foundations are demonstrated through their commitment to legal compliance, philanthropic best practices and excellence that benefits communities. TAKE

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FM Area Foundation AreaFoundation.org


Does Anyone Actually Care About A

B L O G

The Startup Journey By Josh Christy Photo by Paul Flessland Graphics courtesy of Codelation

Your Product?

A

fter more than a decade working in design and software and founding multiple businesses and products, Codelation Founder Josh Christy understands one thing above all else: The world of entrepreneurship is lonely, but it doesn't have to be.

That's why he started a blog, to not only help fellow CEOs and owners step around some of the holes he's fallen into but, perhaps more importantly, to help them discover (or rediscover) their "why."

I can’t even count how many times I’ve had the conversation with someone about their idea, and in almost every conversation, I get asked, “So, what do you think?”

The next time the “So what do you think?” conversation happened was at work. I paused for a moment or two and responded with, “It really doesn’t matter what I think, and you shouldn’t care what I think." I remember him sitting across the table taken aback. I quickly clarified that I’m not his target market. "I won’t be buying your product so I’m the last person that needs to over- or under-inflate your product’s worth."

I used to struggle with the "North Dakota nice" versus what I really felt. One day, I was talking with my wife about some sales she was doing and asked the same question. I had the epiphany that I wasn’t her target market so what did it matter what I thought? All that mattered is what her target customer thought. 22

OCTOBER 2017

The "why," he believes, is what will keep you grounded during those highest highs and what will pull you out of those lowest lows.

So how do you figure out if anyone cares about your product? These two little words have helped me take our ideas from failure


to success. Ready? Welcome to the world of . . . idea validation.

"It would shock you to know just how many people I come into contact with who have validated their idea inside of a bubble."

Idea Validation While this appears to be a self-explanatory term, it would shock you to know just how many people I come into contact with who have validated their idea inside a bubble. Idea validation simply cannot come full circle without having considered and contacted a handful of different people. Here are three key players in helping to validate your shiny, new product idea.

1

Your Customers

Have you ever heard of iSmell, a product made by DigiScents in 2001? This computer USB attachment was meant to emit smells when a user visited websites or opened emails—the smells being unique combinations of 128 different scents. While this piece of technology was rather innovative, it didn’t exactly hit a home run in terms of market need. If DigiScents had done more market research and made direct contact with their target customers, they likely would have been able to better adapt to the needs of their customers and form a solution to a more relevant problem (other than the pressing problem of being unable to smell the internet’s scents while surfing the web). After all, almost any successful product is aimed at providing a solution to a pain point in a customer’s personal or professional life. A product focused on solving a pressing problem will yield far better results than a product made for a problem that doesn’t really exist. To gain a better understanding of what your customers are yearning for and what they are willing to pay for it, ask them. Avoid friends and family, as they will probably just tell you what you want to hear, but ask everyone else.

Encourage your interviewee to feel comfortable telling you their honest thoughts. Something along the lines of “I have a product idea, but I’m not sure if it’s any good. Be as harsh as you can because I want to make this work” should do the trick.

By doing some research, you could save yourself a lot of time and money in realizing that a) Your product just may not work or b) Your product needs some serious tweaks, and thank you to failed products X, Y and Z for showing you what not to do.

Every person you ask will make your development phase a little bit easier. You’ll be able to nip potential problems in the bud and get on with the good stuff.

If there are products on the market similar to yours, it's time to get creative.

2

Your Competitors

Is a similar product already on the market? If the answer is "no," that could mean ease of entry for you. It could also mean something really bad. No direct competitors could mean that other people have tried and failed. There are loads of reasons a product could fail, but there really aren’t any reasons for you not to do your research to learn about these products and what went wrong.

What makes your product stand out from the rest? Why would a customer choose your product over a competitor’s? If a customer is already using a competitor’s product, are you prepared to sway them to drop what they know and buy your product instead? A simple way to answer these questions is by just asking them. Ask your potential customers: • What product are you currently using to solve your XYZ problem? • What do you like about (competitor’s product)? FARGOINC.COM

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• What don’t you like about (competitor’s product)? Why? • When was a time when you (were frustrated/happy) with (competitor’s product)? • What else do you think I should know? Hearing customers praise and critique your competitors is much better validation than you could ever get by making your own assumptions.

3

Yourself

If developing a great product is half the battle, delivering it is the other half. To have a successful product, you must be able to provide the skills, knowledge and

resources that your customers require. Are you a marketing wizard? Your product needs to be marketed for people to know about it. Do you know how to keep track of your financials? Going bankrupt would be a buzzkill. Do you have time to answer the phone when a customer has a question? Can you keep track of inventory? How good are you at social media? You might answer “absolutely” to all of the above, but the bigger question is: Do you want to be doing all of this? There are so many things that can take your attention when launching your product. In the beginning, you’ll most likely be doing all of it.

intelligence (EQ) because the long days and weeks will start to feel like a grind if you're doing things you just don’t like. Find a way to fund those things that you don’t like or don’t want to be doing. Realistically evaluating your own skills and your ability to handle all aspects that come with running a business is an extremely important step toward building a successful venture. Being an entrepreneur requires more time and money than most people expect, but being prepared and understanding how to wisely invest your valuable resources can help you to maximize your ROI, profits and growth.

Really start to work on your emotional By taking these steps to validate your idea in the early stages of planning, you’re given the ability to redirect your focus if need be. To build a successful product, it's imperative that you first understand the needs of your customers, the competition your product will face and your own abilities.

"Hearing customers praise and critique your competitors is much better validation than you could ever get by making your own assumptions."

Like any entrepreneur, you obviously want to make sure your product is going to be well-received once it’s launched. And let me tell you, it's much more rewarding to know you’ve built a product that people have said "yes" to before building it. Putting in the work early on means you can kick your feet up later and watch the successes roll in. TAKE

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To have new "The Startup Journey" blog posts sent directly to your email or to read past posts, visit Codelation.com/Blog

BUSINESS

WISDOM

"You really only need that one person to believe in you. It just takes someone to say, 'I see you have the talent. You are good.'" KAILEE GRAY Web Developer, FBS FARGOINC.COM

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Back Legs

Piriformis Muscle Stretch How: Cross your leg over the opposite knee, put some pressure on your leg—pushing it straight down—and subtly lean into it. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat three times with each leg. Why: "The piriformis is a deep hip muscle and a rotator of the hip that turns the leg out, but it can get really tight with prolonged sitting. Also, the sciatic nerve comes out of the low back and runs down very close to, and sometimes through, the piriformis muscle. The nerve can get pinched, and you'll feel pain down your leg. This will stretch that out."

w/ Dr. David Waale

HE ALTH Y OF F IC E LIV ING

B

ack and leg pain are common complaints from those who work in an office, and it's not a surprise. People who sit at a desk are especially prone to it due to the stationary position they maintain for most of the eight-hour work day. Taking a few minutes every hour or so to stretch can do wonders for your posture and overall comfortability as you sit at your desk. We teamed up with local chiropractor Dr. David Waale to find out which stretches he recommends doing to help relieve the pain in overused or tight muscles. Here are four stretches to do in the office with explanations from Dr. Waale on how and why.

Postural Sitting How: Sit up straight in your chair. Bend down, falling through your knees. When you come up, arch your back, pushing the butt back. Then settle in about 10 degrees less than your arched position. This should get you to a point of good posture. Why: "Sitting at our computers all day causes us to have awful posture. We want to bring good posture back for many reasons, including the fact that it increases cardiac capacity, increases respiratory capacity and promotes normal spinal curves for shock absorption. This helps slow down arthritis and degenerative processes, which can start in your 20s. If you do this several times a day, you'll begin to stand and sit up straighter naturally."

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Hamstrings How: Sit on the edge of your chair. Put your right leg out, toes up and lean in. Hold and then repeat with the other leg. Why: "Sitting all day tightens your hamstrings. To stretch this, we need to lengthen the leg. You don't have to lean far and you'll feel it all the way up your leg."

Fire Your Glutes

Dr. David Waale on Chiropractic Dr. Waale: "The reason I decided to go into chiropractic is that it made so much sense. The whole essence of treating a patient with chiropractic care is to address the problem, not just the symptoms. You can take all the pills in the world, but if you don't address the underlying issue, you are not going to get well. "I like the fact the chiropractic takes a whole-body approach. As chiropractors, we not only look at the spine, muscles, and joints, we also talk about exercise, dietary habits and lifestyle choices as well. You really can't separate one part of health from another. "I love nothing more than helping a patient regain their health and outlook

on life. It's a great feeling when you can see them just start to come back and do all the things they used to love doing." Dr. Waale graduated from Logan College of Chiropractic in Chesterfield, Missouri. He has practiced in both Wisconsin and North Dakota and is also licensed in Minnesota.

How: Sit on the edge of your chair with feet flat on the floor. Reach your arms out and stand up. Why: "We think of our butt/glute as something we sit on, but there are actually a lot of muscles in there. If you are sitting all day long, the muscle doesn't activate, and you need it for stability through your back. Also, when people get up from their chairs, they tend to use their hands or arms to push themselves up. This gets us used to using those muscles instead."

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Waale Chiropractic Clinic WaaleChiropractic.com 417 Main Ave., Suite 301 Fargo 701-365-0401

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A CAREER AFTER CAMO

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OCTOBER 2017


W

hile nearly 50 percent of veterans owned a business after World War II, there's been a curious trend over the last half century. Veteran entrepreneurship is on a steep decline, and only about six percent now own companies. What makes it even more puzzling is the fact that veteran-founded businesses succeed at a much higher rate—some data suggest they're three times more likely to make it. So why aren't we doing more as a business community to encourage veteran entrepreneurship? That's one of the many questions we asked this month's cover-story participants, a diverse collection of servicemen and women who own and operate businesses in the Fargo metro. BY Nate Mickelberg & Kara Jeffers PHOTOGRAPHY BY J. Alan Paul Photography

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DAVID MORSE W

difficult for a number of reasons, he recalls, made even more stark by the fact that he was a 21-year-old freshman at Concordia College—a seasoned veteran of war among a sea of fresh-faced 18-year-olds.

"Our unit experienced success and felt immense loss," recalls Morse, who was a part of the Iraq War troop surge of 2007 and a team tasked with protecting the Marine headquarters at Al Taqaddum Air Force Base near Fallujah. "Daily patrols took their tolls, and lives were lost. Life as I knew it had changed."

"My perspective on life and what was important differed greatly from my classmates," says Morse, who still serves in the Minnesota National Guard. "It was hard for me to do simple tasks such as paying bills, cooking or doing laundry. In war, (the Army) does that stuff for you."

Upon returning, re-assimilation was

After graduating, Morse took a job

hen David Morse returned home to the Fargo-Moorhead area in 2007 after a 16-month deployment to Iraq, things were . . . different.

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Founder "American Heroes Outdoors"

OCTOBER 2017

with SCHEELS, spending time as both an assistant store leader and in the corporate office with the hunting and fishing departments. Many of his comrades, though, weren't fairing quite as well. "After seeing some of them struggling with the same re-assimilation issues I had and looking toward substance abuse as a cure, I decided to get back to my roots and into the outdoors," recalls Morse, who grew up spending much of his free time fishing and hunting with his family. "That's where I found my peace, and I wanted to share it with others." Wanting to combine his two lifelong passions, the outdoors and a profound


Q A

What are some of the unique challenges veteran business owners face?

"It’s easy to get tunnel vision and surround yourself with comfort. One of the things I knew I had to do was get people on board who weren’t like me. People who didn’t think the way I did and who had different strengths that would complement my weaknesses. BRANCH Army VETERANS PROGRAMS USED VA Hospital, Clay County Veterans Service Office, VA Home Loan, G.I. Bill

respect for those who serve, in 2009, Morse launched a nonprofit called Wounded Warriors Guide Service, a nonprofit that helps facilitate free outdoor adventures for combat-injured service members. Soon after founding Wounded Warriors, he was approach by a representative of the outdoors TV industry about turning the adventures of the organization—and numerous other nonprofits—into a TV series, and not long after, "American Heroes Outdoors" was born. The show that Morse helped create now airs more than 200 times annually on Fox Sports North, among other channels, and continues to grow.

Q A

What role do you believe your military training played in your success with "American Heroes Outdoors"?

"The main tie-in between my military experience and success in the business world is drive. The military teaches you to never quit and never give up. I've made so many mistakes in my career and never had an option to quit or give up. My only option was to find another way to reach my goal. "I honestly think a lack of personal fortitude is the reason most people aren’t successful. It’s hard to keep moving forward, but in the military, you have no other option."

"It’s hard for anyone to start a business. Now, take the other challenges veterans have—communication barriers, different personality traits, trust issues—and it compounds those difficulties."

Q

How can we better communicate to veterans that starting a business is a possibility and, more importantly, encourage them to do so?

A

"Seek out other veterans who have been successful, and bend their ear. Don’t reinvent the wheel—in fact, join up with them. We can accomplish so much more together."

Q A

What are some other ways people can support veteran businesses? "Veterans don’t really go looking for support. They are very self-sufficient. They are also close knit and look to other veterans for support.

"If you want to help veterans, take a page from their book: help others, volunteer, serve. There are so many ways to give back. All you have to do is find what fits for you and take a leap. Veterans want to know there are others willing to selflessly serve as well and continue to carry the torch." FARGOINC.COM

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TIFFANIE HONEYMAN G

rowing up in Mapleton, North Dakota, Tiffanie Honeyman was a self-described tomboy.

"I was competitive by nature so the idea of working in a 'man's' field was right up my alley," says Honeyman, who, after graduating from West Fargo High School in the early '90s, joined the Navy and eventually became one of the first females to join the Seabees, which is the nickname of the Navy's Construction Battalions. After boot camp in Florida and electrician training in California, Honeyman was

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deployed to Okinawa, Japan, where she spent two years among a battalion of about 600. "I enjoyed being an electrician simply because the idea of electricity was fascinating," says Honeyman, who now owns OpGo Marketing, a marketing analytics company in town. "I bent a lot of conduit, ran wires, installed lights. When we didn't have electrician work, I did other construction-related tasks such as bending rebar, packing gravel before concrete pours, replacing water lines, framing walls and a lot of trench digging."

CEO OpGo Marketing

After getting out of the Navy, she used the Montgomery G.I. Bill—a program that allows active-duty service members to pay $100 per month for 12 months to receive a monthly education benefit later—to attend college in California and later Oregon, studying advertising and illustration (she says her dream job was to illustrate children's books). Eventually, in 2005, she returned home to North Dakota to be closer to family and raise her two daughters, and after a decade of working in various marketing roles at local agencies, she founded OpGo in 2015.


"When an active-duty member exits the military, they are leaving a way of life, their military family and their sense of purpose. All of this creates a void and all at once. As a community, we should help veterans find fulfillment in their work outside of the military. After all, they are truly the ones who have earned the chance to live the American Dream and to wake up saying 'I love what I do.'"

Q

Why do you think it's important for people to make an effort to shop at and do business with veteranowned businesses—not just for the owners but the larger community?

BRANCH Navy VETERANS PROGRAMS USED Montgomery G.I. Bill

Q

Many veterans struggle with finding a sense of purpose when reintegrating into the civilian world. How can getting involved in the business community help with that reintegration process?

A

"Any person willing to sacrifice their life for their country would feel a sense of purposelessness after military duty. There's nothing more fulfilling than fighting for your country. "We can help veterans find fulfillment by connecting them with other veterans who have found fulfillment after exiting the military. This can lead to more veteranowned businesses and also create more jobs where veterans can work and feel connected.

A

"Even though a veteran is someone who was willing to give their entire life for their country, it would be ludicrous for me to say we should support every veteran-owned business simply because the owner is a veteran. "You need to earn your way in the business world just as you earn rank in the military. As a veteran, I will support any vet looking to start their own business, but I’m not giving anyone a free pass just because they are a veteran."

Q A

What words of encouragement do you have for a fellow veteran nervous about taking the plunge into entrepreneurship?

"Tap into the passion that drove your decision to sign up for the military, and redirect that energy into your business idea. Finding the courage to share a business idea is almost the hardest part. "Trust your gut, and don’t let self-doubt talk you out of what could possibly be the best move of your life. It’s not easy starting your own business, but with drive, perseverance, and commitment, you will find fulfillment. The local community has your back and is here to support you. You just have to make contact."


JAMES VAN RADEN

J

ames Van Raden remembers vividly how he felt that day 25 years ago as he arrived at Marine Corps basic training in San Diego.

"I sat petrified," he recalls, "wondering what I had just done." After completing the rigorous School of Infantry (SOI) program, California became home for him, though he would spend the next few years traveling the world and building quite the résumé:

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Security Forces School in Chesapeake, Virginia, where he

OCTOBER 2017

trained with Navy SEALs, Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance (FORECON), Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Teams (FAST) and other elites

After Security Forces School, an assignment to a top-secret mission—code name "Operation Blue Wizard"—at Diego Garcia, a military base south of India After a successful one-year tour, a return to his primary military occupational specialty (MOS) as a

Owner iCare Electronic Repair, engageBUILD

mortarman, stationed with the Fifth Marine Regiment In 1996, Van Raden re-entered civilian life and held a number of differrnt occupations including a call-center supervisor, a welder, a carpenter and a corrections officer. In 2006, he took his first leap as an entrepreneur as a remodeling contractor, though only three years later, a freak home accident left him with a broken neck. "This started a path upon which I would


Q A

What are some of the unique challenges veteran business owners face?

"Too often, consumers are concerned with bottom-line dollars. I, too, am a consumer and seek the best pricing, however, I am passionate about supporting others who served our great nation. I have seen people choosing to go to other businesses because they save an incremental amount—sometimes as little as $5 - $10.

BRANCH Marines VETERANS PROGRAMS USED n/a

leave entrepreneurship momentarily," recalls Van Raden, who, in 2011, started repairing phones in his basement, growing his clientele at night and on the weekend while supporting himself with a daytime job as a welder. He was soon approached by a local business owner to start a repair operation, though he was fired not long after. Immediately after the firing, he was brought in to start a similar operation and was again let go. "Two consecutive terminations devastated both myself and my family,"

Van Raden says. "However, it became an inspiration. There were opportunities, and I was determined to find them." In 2013, he founded iCare Electronic Repair, a Downtown Fargo electronics repair shop that has since grown to a team of seven. Van Raden's not stopping with electronics repair, though. He recently started a second business called engageBUILD, a residential, general contracting company that specializes in super energy-efficient homes.

"I also think consumers forget quickly that businesses are veteran-owned so awareness can be one of the biggest challenges to the veteran business owner. It's challenging to keep that awareness topof-mind for consumers. "Available resources are another challenge. All too often, resources are not easily publicized in our business community. We keep them hidden away and don't go far enough to extend a hand to veterans—not only at the startup phase but continued support for them in their business endeavors."

Q

Data show that veteran-owned businesses are significantly more likely to succeed than companies founded by non-veterans. Why do you think this is?

A

"Three reasons:

"1) Mindset—I can remember one particular mantra I heard time and time again. And although it was said in a physical context, I think it applies to mentality as well: If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. "It's like going on a long-distance hike where the hills are steep and the terrain is treacherous. When we would be climbing hills with 100-pound packs on our backs FARGOINC.COM

37


"REMEMBER THAT A VETERAN IS SOMEONE WHO, AT ONE POINT, WROTE A BLANK CHECK MADE PAYABLE TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FOR AN AMOUNT OF and the pain started to get excruciating and our morale would drop, our fellow Marines would shout, 'IF YOU DON'T MIND, IT DOESN'T MATTER, MARINE!' "We would also often be reminded to stop looking at the top of the hill because if you focused on the top of the hill, it would seem to get further and further away. Instead, we were encouraged to put our heads down and look at the boots in front of us. The top of the hill never moved, and if we thought about each step instead of how far the top of the hill was, we would beat ourselves mentally. "It's the same in business. Sometimes, the path becomes excruciating and you want to give up, but the mindset of the military can often carry you to the top of the hill. "2) Tenacity—One thing you are taught is you must be tenacious. You never retreat. You may have to regroup, you may have to come up with another strategy, but you never give up. In business, you can't give up because if you do, you are sure to lose. "3) Dedication—The Marine Corps is the most loyal dedicated branch. Our traditions, courtesies and protocols are the most strict of any branch. We do not slouch, we do not tolerate less than the utmost respect for our fellow Marines, and most of all, we push through to the finish."

Q A 38

Why do you think it's important for people to make an effort to shop at and do business with veteran-owned businesses? "For a business to succeed, it requires support. If we choose to support our veteran-owned businesses, we ensure their success. If we ensure

OCTOBER 2017

‘UP TO AND INCLUDING THEIR LIFE.'" their success, we grow jobs, increase contributions to our community's fabric and spur future business growth. "So why are veteran-owned businesses different from non-veteran-owned businesses? Look at my fellow veterans featured in this article. Each one of them has a successful business that inspires our community in positive ways. This is not by accident, this is by intent. Our veteran business owners think differently than some of those who have never served. "These veteran-owned businesses give back to their community, and by us supporting them, they, in turn, offer great support to our community."

Q

What are some other ways people can support veteran-owned businesses?

A

"You could mentor a veteran-owned business. If you have certain skill sets that you feel could help a veteran succeed, reach out.

"Choose a veteran over a few dollars. Remember that a veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for an amount of ‘up to and including their life.' "Share word of mouth. Word of mouth is one of the most valuable things you can share. If you hear of someone seeking services or a product that you know a veteran-owned business offers, share that information.

"Write a positive review for a veteranowned business you have had a good experience with. Share those positive experiences as voraciously as you may share a negative one. Be the voice that helps others become aware. Google reviews are as valuable as a word-of-mouth reference— in some cases, they're even more important. "Share a resource. If you know of a program or an opportunity that you think might spur a veteran-owned business to greater success, reach out to them. Too often, resources in our community are unknown to veteran business owners."

Q A

What words of encouragement do you have for a fellow veteran nervous about taking the plunge into entrepreneurship?

"I would say think back to that first day when you arrived at boot camp. I remember boarding that bus with my head down, unsure of where I was going or what life had in store for me. But at the end of the day, it was those other Marines around me who helped keep me going. If you have a dream, do NOT let fear be your guiding force. Let your vision take over. You have the ability to exceed your fears, which are no more than False Evidence Appearing Real. Remember that drive that got you through those difficult times. You have a support network out here, and many of us are here for you."


JANI SKALA F

or Jani Skala, Fargo Fashion Week is a chance to get back to her roots, as well as do some personal healing.

Founder Fargo Fashion Week

Normanday in Iraq, where she was later awarded a Combat Action Badge (CAB) for her time as a 50-caliber machine gunner for supply and security missions.

"Before I joined the military, I was a pretty creative teen," recalls the founder of Fargo's largest runway fashion event. "I used to hand sew different outfits, and I was big into makeup. I remember buying a book by the late celebrity makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin and doing my sister's makeup for her 'night out on the town.'"

"After six years and two deployments, I returned home a completely different person," says Skala, who now suffers from chronic Complex PTSD and Borderline Personality Disorder. "Fargo Fashion Week is my way to try and get my creativity out there again. I am really trying to find that girl I was before I became a soldier. It's definitely not easy."

After joining the Army at age 20 to escape an abusive relationship and an alcoholic parent, Skala was deployed in 2005 to forward operating base (FOB)

While none of Skala's deployments left her with any major physical injures, the mental toll they took was a different story entirely.


Q A

What are some of the unique challenges veteran business owners face?

"The biggest and hardest challenge I have faced so far is working with and leading civilian women. I never got along with many female soldiers for personal reasons and am trained to lead and direct military men. I absolutely cannot stand gossip and am not at all good with handling emotions. "I find myself trying to talk through how to tactfully and respectfully bring up issues. It may sound funny and easy to some, but for me, I am used to swearing and overall emotional numbness so when I can’t swear and when empathy is valued and needed, it's a totally different ballgame."

Q A BRANCH Army VETERANS PROGRAMS USED VA Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment program VA Home Loan

She lost a number of comrades in Iraq, dealt with the suicide of a fellow soldier and friend in Afghanistan, and while stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009, saw her battalion attacked at the base's Soldier Readiness Processing (SRP) Center in what's commonly known as the "Fort Hood Massacre." "I lost a friend that day," she recalls of that afternoon that a deranged Army psychiatrist gunned down 13 people and wounded 30 others. "I was put to duty to take incoming calls at the Battalion from families that did not know the outcome of their loved ones. The total experience was completely numbing." In the coming years, Skala says she hopes to turn Fargo Fashion Week into a nonprofit and "to help the community out as much as she can."

Q

Many veterans struggle with finding a sense of purpose when reintegrating into the civilian world. How can getting involved in the business community help with that reintegration process?

A

"This one was very hard for me and still is to this day. When I don’t have a stable environment with set times for almost everything, I feel aimless. I can see how starting a business and getting out into the community will bring a sense of belonging to some soldiers. Men especially always had a stronger sense of belonging when enlisted compared to women. I feel women were more of the outcasts, which to be honest, I could understand (but that’s another story)."

What are some ways people can support veteran businesses?

"I think that what's most important overall is acknowledging and trying to understand the sacrifice that some veterans have made. I was out one night on Broadway with a fellow veteran who served in the Marines for 27 years. We were at a “younger demographic” bar, and I mentioned to a lady—she must’ve been 22, 23 years old—that my friend served in the Marines for most of his life, and the response I received from her was appalling. "She said something along the lines of 'Thanks for the warning” and walked off. I feel the younger crowd nowadays does not entirely understand the value of what some soldiers go through and what it means to be a veteran. We give up damn near every freedom while serving so you can keep yours."

Q

What words of encouragement do you have for a fellow veteran nervous about taking the plunge into entrepreneurship—or maybe a veteran who started a business and is struggling?

A

"For a veteran thinking about opening a business, just take the plunge. Make that jump. Life is short and, more than likely, you've already seen the worst of it. Working for myself is the only way I'm able to work. It's absolutely worth the try. "

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MARK LINDQUIST

O

ne of the reasons Mark Lindquist says he's glad he served in the military is that it showed him what his true gifts and talents were (and also maybe his weaknesses).

"I wasn't the greatest sergeant the U.S. Armed Forces had ever seen, and I wasn't the best analyst for NSA (National Security Agency)," says Lindquist, whom you've probably seen sing the National Anthem if you've attended a sporting event in the area in the last few years. "When I was singing for retirement ceremonies, MAJCOM (Major Command) balls, or change-of-command ceremonies, though, I really felt like I was giving my best to my branch of service."

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OCTOBER 2017

CEO Mark J. Lindquist Motivational Speaking

for all the military ceremonies on base— eventually applying for a special duty that allowed him to entertain troops around the globe in a USO-style show. Lindquist, who hails from small town Ortonville, Minnesota, joined the Air Force at age 26 following a brief stint with the Department of Homeland Security in Cincinnati. "As I was looking for my next adventure in life," says Lindquist, who traveled to more than 20 countries and nearly 40 states during his time in the service, "my colleagues at Homeland would share with me their war stories from all over the globe, and I was inspired to answer the call of service." After basic training in San Antonio, he settled in as a network intelligence analyst for the NSA at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, and, while on active duty, performed the National Anthem

Since his honorable discharge in 2012 following a six-year enlistment, Lindquist says he's used many of the skills he honed in the military to build Mark J. Lindquist Motivational Speaking, one of the fastest-growing and largest motivational speaking companies in America. As an entertainer, he's performed live for more than 2.5 million people, including at NFL, NBA, MLB and NCAA sporting events and in venues such as Madison Square Garden in New York City, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He's also delivered corporate conference keynotes in nearly 30 states for more than 350 audiences.


Q A

Does the military encourage entrepreneurship in any way?

"In my humble opinion, military culture is the exact opposite of the entrepreneurial experience. So, in short, my answer is no. The U.S. military is not a meritocracy. Business ownership is. Creativity and entrepreneurial spirit aren’t exactly the characteristics that are rewarded by drill sergeants and military-training leaders. "Obedience and an ability to follow instruction are the premium skills that are encouraged. As an entrepreneur, I believe one must push the envelope of creativity, innovation, initiative and outside-thebox thinking on a daily basis. I believe the determining factor in entrepreneurial success is a veteran’s ability to reprogram their mind to think as an owner, not just a rule-follower."

Q A

What are some of the unique challenges veteran business owners face?

"The system you're a part of in the U.S. military is one of detailed policies developed over the course of time, standard operating procedures, chain of command, following orders, doing what you’re told, staying in your lane and influence based on rank. "As an entrepreneur, you have none of those things. There's no playbook to work from. You are making the rules as you go. You are creating the procedures. There isn’t anyone to give orders to (when you first start out as a solo-preneur).

BRANCH Air Force VETERANS PROGRAMS USED n/a

"All of a sudden, creativity is your best friend, and risk-taking is a must. These are experiences that most veterans aren’t accustomed to. We used to live in a universe filled with structure, and we thrive on predictable outcomes. As an entrepreneur, we are constantly surrounded by chaos and uncertainty. It takes a couple years to get used to that in the civilian world."

Q

What words of encouragement do you have for a fellow veteran nervous about taking the plunge into entrepreneurship—or maybe a veteran who started a business and is struggling?

A

"As an entrepreneur, my success is determined by how quickly I can analyze the situation, test an idea, get a result, keep what works and

discard what doesn’t. This process requires a free spirit and willingness to try, look foolish and move on. I believe that we, as veterans, aren’t necessarily equipped with that willingness to try a new thing and look foolish because we have spent an entire career striving for task proficiency and avoiding a low mark on an inspection. "My advice to them is to shed that overstructured thinking as fast as you can. As an entrepreneur, there is never a rule book as thick as our standard operating procedures were in the military. The rulebook for you as an entrepreneur is written one page at a time, one day at a time and one mistake at a time. Go out and make a bunch of mistakes, and then grow from them. That’s the only way you’ll survive in this entrepreneurial jungle."

Q

In many ways, business underpins a society’s values and guiding principles. Does it seem important, then, to have as many veterans as possible in positions of business leadership?

A

"No, not necessarily. A veteran brings a varied perspective and a wealth of unique experiences to their positions of business leadership. However, it's incumbent upon the veteran to understand that the way you have been trained to see the world is not the way 99 percent of the room sees the world. If you, as a five-, 10-, 20- or 30-year veteran are going to come into a business-leadership situation and expect that all of your military leadership principles are supposed to apply to the civilian world, then I think you’re in for a rude awakening and a difficult transition ahead. "The two cultures are simply too distant from one another to expect that what works in the military is also supposed to work in the business world. Yes, you may have been a high-ranking military member, but don’t think that you should just be handed a leadership position in business. You haven’t earned it there yet. "You succeeded inside one system, but it doesn’t mean your success will perfectly translate to business. Tread lightly, adapt, be patient with yourself and others. You be the one to change. It is not they who need to listen to us. It is us who must learn to speak the language of the civilian world. It is my hope that my military experience will provide an eye-opening second opinion and unique way of looking at a problem, but my way is not necessarily right simply because I served."

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THOMAS JEFFERSON "

M

y military career was a positive experience. I learned a lot about discipline and social interaction, which I continue to practice in my business today."

In his life, Thomas Jefferson served two years in the Army, from 1970 to 1972, and 25 years in the Air Force, from 1988 to 2013. "After eight months of training at Fort Dix, N.J., and Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., I was shipped overseas to Germany, my permanent duty station, 1st Infantry Division or “THE BIG RED 1,” Jefferson says. "I was a company clerk in an

44

OCTOBER 2017

infantry battalion, meaning I was the mail and shop office clerk." Even though his military job was a clerk, he spent most of that career in sports. "The division had football, basketball and baseball teams," he says. "They weren't my primary duty station, though. I was first a soldier in a maintenance Co., which was part of the Infantry. I had some time in field maneuvers, too." Jefferson says his military and postmilitary careers complement each other well. "Everything I did during my years in the service was positive. It was a gain for my future. My experiences shaped

BRANCH Air Force VETERANS PROGRAMS USED G.I. Bill, Vietnam-era jobs program

Owner Thomas Jefferson State Farm Insurance Agency me for what I did afterward, especially in the areas of people, places, language, tolerance and having an open mind about the world. This is what I mean about one career complementing the other. I bring everything that I’ve learned from each area of my life to the next because, in order to know where you’re going, you must know where you’ve been." For Jefferson, there was no connection between his time in the military and choosing a career afterward. "I feel like this career picked me, it fits me. I’m considered a Risk Manager. Helping people avoid risks, or manage them. So it’s my make-up, in a sense."


Q

Many veterans struggle with finding a sense of purpose when reintegrating into the civilian world. How can getting involved in the business community help with that reintegration process?

A

"When you are approaching your end date, you must have developed a vision to see how what you did in your military assignment relates to civilian occupations. The transformation should be smooth when you see the similarities. "I had eight years of work experience prior to going into the army, so the ability to follow leadership and be a leader came with me to my duty station early in that career. The experience that I obtained carried from each career. Military and civilian just complemented each other."

Q A

What are some of the unique challenges veteran business owners face?

"One of the biggest challenges is having the ability to distinguish between giving and receiving orders and giving directions—understanding that we lead, as well as follow, in a work environment. "We have to develop the kind of patience to see that the best practices can come from your team members. "When you transition from one position to another, you bring the best practices and incorporate those into whatever it is you do. That has been my experience."

Q

Do you think some veterans don’t start businesses because they don’t even think of it as a possibility?

A

"Many don’t attempt to start a business primarily because they haven’t thought through the principles of starting a business. They haven’t done the homework such as a written plan in simple steps and seeking advice from people who have been successful in similar fields. They fail to reach out to the professionals. We have to keep in mind that the principles that made us successful in military missions can be applied to our business strategies as well. "When I was first approached about becoming an insurance agent and starting a business from scratch, meaning having clients, no office, no staff and no means of acquiring any of those key ingredients, I had a lot of fear. I hadn’t gotten my wife on-board, I thought my current job was great, I had what I thought was a good salary and a safe job. However, I made the leap and started learning what I had to do from good people who had very good principles and knowledge about the business. "Through this, many of the fears were relieved. However, nothing came easy and there was some struggle. I had a great manager who taught me so much about having and running a business. I also got advice from other oldpros in the Small Business Administration (SBA), listening to their stories of successes. I used some of the same principles when I was in my military career, talked to people with a lot of experience, who had been in their positions for many years, and I adopted many of their skills. Those are the skills that I bring to what I do today."


BILL ERICKSON A

fter enlisting in the Navy in the early '70s, Bill Erickson was trained as an electronics technician, serving on five different Navy ships, including the Nespelen, Columbus, Yarnell, Barry and Comte de Grasse. Achieving the rank of chief petty officer in just nine years, Erickson was selected and commissioned as a limited-duty officer, an officer selected for commissioning based on skill and expertise who's not required to have a bachelor's degree. Following stints as an electronics

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OCTOBER 2017

BRANCH Army, National Guard VETERANS PROGRAMS USED G.I. Bill

Owner Total Imaging

material officer and assistant electronics material officer on the USS Kitty Hawk and USS Saratoga, respectively, Erickson served two tours as the director and later the assistant director of training of the Navy's Electronics Technician School at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinois. He later earned a degree in workforce training and development from Southern Illinois University before retiring from the Navy in 1997 as a lieutenant commander. Erickson eventually returned to the Fargo area, working for a couple

different technology companies before earning a master's degree in business management from the University of Mary. Becoming an entrepreneur a little later than most, in 2005, Erickson founded Total Imaging, a company that initially sold ink and toner and later added promotional products. In February of last year, Total Imaging purchased Rapid Refill, with the former now handling all promotional items and the latter fulfilling ink and toner sales.


Q A

What are some other ways people can help support veteran businesses?

"I think communities and organizations could make a larger effort to promote veteran-owned businesses. Veteran business owners naturally hire other veterans and help to reduce veteran unemployment and homelessness. "When you help veteran businesses succeed, you are giving back to those who helped protect our country. Supporting their business is another meaningful way of saying 'thank you' to them. When a veteran’s business succeeds, it will have a positive impact on their community, as well as the country.

Q

Do you think some veterans don’t start businesses because they don’t even think of it as a possibility? How can we communicate to them that it is a possibility and, more importantly, encourage them to do so?

A

"I think many veterans never consider the possibility. When they go through the transition of leaving the military, veterans need more information about the opportunities associated with starting a business. We need to work with Veteran Service Officers and perhaps the VA to get that sort of information to veterans." "One of the big issues for veterans returning home or settling somewhere else is they have been away and are not well networked within the community—certainly not the business community. Efforts on the part of communities and organizations to connect with returning veterans and offer jobplacement services and information on starting a business would be an asset to everyone. "I read an article a while ago proposing that the government should start a program similar to the G.I. bill but to help veterans start businesses. It could consist of a fund or franchise bank loan to allow vets to invest money into franchise ownership instead of a college education."

"People can support veteran-owned businesses, of course, by buying products from them, and a great way to support veteran businesses is to refer your friends and family to them. We should encourage everyone to support those veteran-owned businesses in our community. Referring others to veteran-owned businesses allows more people to know about the products offered, and they will buy and even refer others to the business."

Q

What words of encouragement do you have for a fellow veteran nervous about taking the plunge into entrepreneurship—or maybe for a veteran who started a business and is struggling?

A

"I would encourage veterans who have an idea and desire to be in business for themselves to just do it. I think that too often people want to get into business but are waiting for the perfect opportunity, idea or situation to get started. "My experience is that there is no better time to start than now. Running a small business is not easy, but you don't need the perfect situation to get started. The skills veterans have from their time in the military—working under extreme conditions and hardship—will serve them well in business. "I would also recommend developing a good business plan, finding a good attorney and getting an accountant to start you off on the right path."


LOCAL

NORTH DAKOTA SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER NDSBDC.org

FMWF CHAMBER OF COMMERCE'S HONOR STAR PROGRAM FMWFChamber.com/Honor_Star The Honor Star program is a way for business organizations and individuals to say thank you to the men, women and families who have answered the call to serve our country. Individuals pay an annual investment of $100, with funds helping to foster a community of support for the local military and their families through the Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee.

FMWF CHAMBER OF COMMERCE'S MILITARY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE FMWFChamber.com/Military_Affairs The FMWF Chamber's Military Affairs Committee fosters a community of support for the men and women of our military and the missions they carry out on our behalf. To recognize these courageous individuals, the committee plans activities to raise awareness in the community for the work they do and provides opportunities for the community to thank them for their outstanding accomplishments. The committee also has a keen eye on advancing public policies that will advance our region's military units.

STATE/REGIONAL NORTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF VETERAN AFFAIRS ND.gov/Veterans Their mission is to assist veterans of North Dakota and their dependents in obtaining all benefits to which they are entitled—both federal and state—either by direct contact or through the assistance of: • Entrepreneurship ND.gov/Veterans/Benefits/Entrepreneurship • County Veterans Service Officers ND.gov/Veterans/Service-Officers/County • Tribal Veterans Service Officers ND.gov/Veterans/Service-Officers/Tribal • National Service Officers ND.gov/Veterans/Service-Officers/ NationalState

The North Dakota Small Business Development Center's professional business advisors have years of experience and know what it takes to start a business in North Dakota and operate it successfully by providing confidential business assistance in the form of advising, training and research that helps you start, manage and grow your business at little to no cost.

PATRIOT ASSISTANCE DOGS PatriotAssistanceDogs.org Detroit Lakes, Minnesota-based Patriot Assistance Dogs provides highly trained, certified psychiatric service dogs to qualified U.S. Military veterans. The dogs fill a specific, demonstrated need created by the veteran's disabilities. The goal of Patriot Assistance Dogs is to place these much-needed assets with a veteran at no charge.

NATIONAL HIRING OUR HEROES USChamberFoundation.org/HiringOur-Heroes A nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities. Digital resources include distinct résumé builders, a jobs portal that allows veterans and service members to search for employment opportunities, a 24/7 virtual career fair platform, an interactive employer bestpractices site and a virtual mentorship program that connects veteran and spouse protégés with experienced mentors.

MILITARY.COM'S VETERAN EMPLOYERS RESOURCE CENTER Military.com/Hiring-Veterans Looking to improve your organization's veteran hiring practices? Here you can post a job, reach the right veteran audience and access resources to hire and support veteran employees.

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OCTOBER 2017

SBA'S BOOTS TO BUSINESS SBA.gov Boots to Business is a two-step entrepreneurial training program offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as a training track within the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP).

SCORE'S VETERAN FAST LAUNCH INITIATIVE SCORE.org/Content/Veteran-FastLaunch-Initiative From SCORE, the Veteran Fast Launch Initiative provides mentoring and training—along with free software and other services—to military veteran entrepreneurs to help accelerate the ability of veterans and their families to start and succeed as small business owners.

VETERAN BUSINESS OUTREACH CENTERS SBA.gov/Tools/Local-Assistance/VBOC The SBA provides assistance to veterans in their local communities through Veteran Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs). The centers help veterans access resources such as business training, counseling and mentoring right in their local communities.

VETERAN ENTREPRENEUR PORTAL VA.gov/OSDBU/Entrepreneur The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP) is designed to save you time with direct access to the resources necessary to guide every step of entrepreneurship. VEP makes it easier for small businesses to access federal services, regardless of its source and quickly connects Veteran entrepreneurs to relevant best practices and information.

VETERAN JOBS MISSION VeteranJobsMission.com Veteran Jobs Mission members are continuing to increase their focus on retention and career development of veterans in the private sector. This includes supporting veterans as they adapt to the workplace by establishing sponsorship and onboarding training programs, as well as industry-based coalition subgroups to increase collaboration among members.


1.

FACE-TO-FACE PERSONAL COUNSELING VBI offers face-to-face counseling to your employees wherever they are.This includes the option of web-based counseling in some states.

LOOKING AT EAPS?

Check Out

VBI

• Relationship issues • Couples/marriage,

parent/child, singleparent challenges, coping with older parents, family issues • Emotional-health issues • Depression, anxiety, grief, emotional problems, suicide issues

• Drug and alcohol issues • Prevention education,

assessment/evaluations, relapse prevention/ after-care support, DOT compliance • Workplace issues • Employee relationship issues, work- and home-life balance, coping with change, dealing with difficult coworkers and job stress

Denise Hellekson: “We’re here to help during the tough times such as grief and loss, relationship issues and/or trauma, but it’s not the only reason to seek us out. The Village EAP is a wellness benefit for employees and their household members and we encourage people to reach out when they are feeling stuck, stressed or anxious, or just needing support managing the demands of a busy life.”

2.

While many insurers offer employee-assistance programs (EAPs), they often tack them on to existing employee-benefit plans

SUPERVISOR HELPLINE

as add-ons. Fargo's Village Business Institute (VBI), though, offers a more customized, local approach whether you're looking for help with mediation, counseling or regulatory compliance. Here are 10 reasons you should consider VBI for your EAP.

Supervisors often face unfamiliar challenges in their roles. VBI’s helpline is staffed by their trained professionals available to consult on a variety of HR and workplace issues. This ensures your supervisors can deal with employee’s issues quickly and efficiently before they escalate.

Denise Hellekson Clinical Associate Village Business Institute

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Stress costs organizations $300 billion in lost productivity and medical costs every year


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4.

FINANCIAL COUNSELING

THEY HAVE THEIR OWN PEOPLE.

Financial issues are often at the root of employees' problems. VBI's EAPs include financial counseling as a core employee benefit. VBI's financial professionals will work to create a financial action plan, tailored to fit each situation and lifestyle.

VBI's EAP has its own dedicated staff of professionals who provide the highest quality of counseling, training, consulting, crisismanagement and casemanagement services. Because of the flexibility of our professional staff, VBI delivers a level of quality that is difficult to match.

What is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)? An EAP is a workplace program designed to assist: 1) Work organizations in addressing productivity issues 2) “Employee clients” in identifying and resolving personal concerns, including health, marital, family, financial, alcohol, drug, legal, emotional, stress or other personal issues that may affect job performance EAPs serve organizations and their employees in multiple ways, ranging from consultation at the strategic level about issues with organization-wide implications to individual assistance to employees and family members experiencing personal difficulties. As workplace programs, the structure and operation of each EAP varies with the structure, functioning and needs of the organization it serves.

Depression costs U.S. businesses $51 billion annually in absenteeism and lost productivity

Hellekson: “It can be very hard to reach out for help when we are faced with financial problems, and we can struggle in silence. But, knowledge is power. Working with our Financial Counselors in a supportive, confidential setting can empower people to discover their options, take back control, and learn the skills they need to be successful in managing their financial future.”

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6.

7.

MONTHLY OR QUARTERLY EMPLOYEE NEWSLETTERS

LEGALCONSULTATION SERVICES

ROUND-THECLOCK CRISIS COUNSELING

In addition to valuable information, VBI newsletters are another way they encourage employees of member companies to seek counseling when issues arise.

11% productivity improvement after employee use of the Village Business Institute EAP

Services are provided by licensed, practicing attorneys who are members of the Bar Association. Employees receive a half-hour consultation without charge. Consultations occur over the phone or possibly face-toface. Employees needing legal assistance beyond the initial consultation can choose to receive it from a network attorney at reduced rates (up to a 25 percent discount).

26% reported general improvement in health after employee use of VBI Employee Assistance Program

VBI has counselors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 364 days of the year to assist employees and their household members when crises arise. • Risk assessment • Preparation of crisis

management plans, including policies, manuals and checklists • Consultation on the management of crisis communications

46% decreased absenteeism after accessing EAP services FARGOINC.COM

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8.

9.

EMPLOYEE WELLNESS • Education programs

Employees and their household members can use their EAP sessions to take a variety of educational classes. Those include but are not limited to: parenting, couples relationship, drug and alcohol education and anger-management classes.

• Personal health risk

assessment VBI’s EAP provides employees and their household members with a personal HRA and other tools to help better understand their health status. • Nutrition counseling Access to a nutrition counselor for nutrition concerns or education

• Wellness Website VBI's

EAP website includes assessment tools for depression, relationship health, and a drug and alcohol questionnaire. In addition, it includes a video blog from VBI’s counselors and training professionals on various topics such as stress management, effective communication and work-life balance.

10. EMPLOYER SERVICES • Supervisor

helpline Supervisors often face unfamiliar challenges in their roles. VBI's helpline is staffed by their trained professionals available to consult on a variety of HR and workplace issues.

• Formal referrals An

employer resource that is useful when supervisors have documented a job-performance decline over a period of time or when an employee violates the organization’s drug-free workplace policy

• Customized

employee- and managementtraining VBI's team of professional trainers provide comprehensive training solutions to help you build and maintain a highperforming and engaged workforce.

• Crisis Management

Services Workrelated crises can come in many forms, including accidental death, worksite injury, natural disasters and crime. VBI offers a range of on-site crisis services to assist organizations in limiting the negative impact and helping employees cope.

Hellekson: “Our VBI training professionals customize requested topics to fit the organization’s needs. We offer a wide array of topics for supervisors, teams and employees. Topics range from compliance requests to interpersonal skill development to wellness issues. Whatever the need, we’re here to help!”

Prescription drug abuse leads to $78.5 billion a year in lost workplace productivity

Alcohol misuse costs the U.S. $249 billion

PROGRAM SUPPORT • Employee orientations

Sessions for employers to explain EAP, how it's used and the services it offers. Delivered in person at benefit launch and as requested. Recorded version also available to employees and employers when onboarding. • Supervisor orientations Sessions for management and supervisory staff on how to deal with troubled employees and how to use the tools of the EAP. Delivered in person at benefit launch and as requested to promote usage. • Dedicated account executives Quality account management can provide resources and answer account or service questions.

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Village Business Institute For more information, visit: TheVBI.com/EmployeeAssistance-Programs

For every dollar invested in an EAP, employers realize a return on investment ranging from $5 to $16 FARGOINC.COM

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STARTUP SPOTLIGHT

Abovo

5 Questions w/ Abovo Founder

ANDREW YOUNG

BY Nate Mickelberg PHOTOGRAPHY BY J. Alan Paul Photography and Hillary Ehlen

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OCTOBER 2017


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THE DISRUPTIVE NATURE OF MILLENNIALS ACROSS A VARIETY OF INDUSTRIES IS WELL DOCUMENTED. HOW ARE THEY AFFECTING THE MARKETING SPACE?

Abovo: A Brief Bio

Andrew Young: "I always use the example of a bank. As a Millennial, why would I ever need to go into a bank? I don't like that interaction, I don't have time, I can deposit my check with an app and almost all banks will waive my ATM fees if I need cash. So how does a bank—knowing that Millennials are brandloyal customers—create relationships with this next

2

generation? We believe the answer is through events. "Millennials don't want to be sold to . . . ever. That includes events. They don't want to be invited to an event at your bank because they don't want to have the perception that you're going to sell something to them. There's already a barrier. "Your staff have to act a

Abovo is a team of seven that got its start as the marketing team for Fargo-based Hatch Realty. The 27-year-old Young, who served as Hatch's marketing director for a little more than a year following a stint in New Zealand as a TEDx organizer, was preparing to leave Hatch to start his own marketing agency when founder Erik Hatch came to him with an idea. "Erik said, 'Why doesn't our marketing team here just become Abovo and you can continue

certain way because they're at work—even if they're not on the clock they're at work. And your clients act a certain way because they feel like they're at your business. Think about a house party and the camaraderie and relationships that are built from simply making someone feel comfortable—like they're at home—and removing barriers."

to service Hatch Realty and have those resources for other clients as well?' Young recalls. "And it just made sense." Officially launching in January of this year, Abovo has all the capabilities of a traditional agency—creative services, web design, business cards—while also specializing in planning and coordinating high-engagement, off-site events for their clients. Young says the agency thinks of itself as an expert in relational, as opposed to sales, marketing.

WHAT ARE SOME OTHER WAYS YOU'RE HELPING YOUR CLIENTS ENGAGE MILLENNIALS?

Young: "We work with a lot of our clients on providing before asking. I'll use our company as an example. "One of the things we're very passionate about is gratitude, especially as a small business. One thing we do is keep a stack of thank-you cards at our desks. They're just a simple reminder for any time you're working with a client or anyone who deserves a thank-you card. "We actually launched a platform on our site that allows you to go in and design your own thank-you cards. You can bring in text, upload

logos, do anything really. It's an illustration of a way we create engagement and interaction online—a way for somebody to come to a site and be given something and interact with a site or a digital space and then receive something physical in the mail. It's about connecting those two worlds together. "It's very easy for us, as companies, to focus on creating engaging digital spaces, but are there ways to connect physical and digital spaces? "As another example, with Hatch Realty, we started a program where an agent can

go in, type in the information of a client they worked with, give us their closing date and we actually have a gift— wrapped in a beautiful craft box—ready and waiting for them on their closing day. "And while it's simple, it's a substantial, heavy gift that they can give to their client. And burned on the bottom, we have Hatch Realty's logo and information. It's not meant to be a branding piece, but it's a piece that anybody can display around their home, and it's something that's engaging beyond the relationship."

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3

A PASSION FOR SMALL BUSINESS IS ONE OF THE THINGS YOU SAY MOTIVATES YOU IN YOUR OWN BUSINESS. WHY IS THAT?

Young: "My parents own a pharmacy in small town North Dakota, and I started my first business at age 14. I'm very, very passionate about small business. I think it's the foundation of our country and for sure our state. "Right now, I would say

we only represent small businesses, and a lot of what we do is work with them to make things more affordable and realistic. "We have a lot of examples of how we've done that. Whether it's billing over a year or trading or whatever it is, as a small business, you can

have everything that a big business can have, and it can be affordable. "And of course we want to deliver the highest quality we can, but their expectations are a little bit—I wouldn't say they're lower—but they don't need as much."

While Abovo coordinates events at a number of venues around town— including Sanctuary and the Fargo Theatre— Founder Andrew Young says he prefers their own space on the north side of Ecce Gallery Downtown. "We just know it well and have a lot of control over it," Young says. "It allows us to do something really engaging."

BUSINESS

WISDOM

"We can train most people on the skill set they need, but it's nearly impossible to train someone's attitude toward life." STEVE M. SCHEEL CEO, SCHEELS FARGOINC.COM

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4

THE COMPANY'S NAME, ABOVO, HAS AN INTERESTING BACKSTORY. CAN YOU TELL READERS ABOUT THAT?

Young: "When our team was initially having conversations about the name, we were throwing out a lot of things and nothing was sticking. "So I called my friend, who's the smartest guy I know. He's studying Latin and the classics, he can speak Chinese and Spanish, and he's a big Harry Potter fan. I asked him, 'If there were a shop in Diagon Alley that just sold everything creative—maybe an art gallery or some kind of art store— what would it be called?'

whole process of something.' That's when I said, 'Okay, tell me more.' "And he said, 'Well, it would start at a dinner table. The Romans would host a dinner,

and they would begin a meal with an egg, and they would end a meal with dessert, apple slices. And they would say 'ab ovo usque ad mala" as a toast—from eggs to apples. 'We're going to be together

tonight. We're going to enjoy each other's company.' "And so Abovo made sense to us. It's this idea of the start of life, the start of an idea (and seeing it through to the end)."

"And he said, 'Well it's a good question. I don't know what it would be called, but it would probably come from the phrase 'ab ovo usque ad mala.' And I said, 'What does that mean? Is there one word in there that would kind of illustrate the whole phrase?' "And he said, 'Well, I know that, for an artist, it's all about the beginning until the end, and 'ab ovo usque ad mala' is something that means from beginning to the end, the

5

Abovo Founder & Creative Director Andrew Young with his team in their Downtown Fargo office

YOU'RE SOMEONE WHO'S TRAVELED AND LIVED ALL OVER THE WORLD. WHY DID YOU DECIDE ON FARGO AS A GOOD HOME BASE FOR YOUR COMPANY?

Young: "In Fargo, when you combine community with accessibility and affordability— especially from a business standpoint—why not start a business here? "There's nothing you can't do, and there's nowhere you can't be—even if you can't physically be there. We have a client in California, we have a client in New York City, we

have a client in Salt Lake City. And all of them would give us rave reviews, even though I've never been to Utah to see that client. I've not been to California, and yet here we are with Kevin Blain, the biggest realtor in the state of California, who signed with us. "I can't think of many businesses that require you to be in a physical location.

And I think the way the world is trending and the way our generation is moving around, it's going to be a disservice to our future as companies to build a business based on location. So find a place where you're passionate, where you have family, where you can call home, and for me, that's Fargo."

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Abovo TeamAbovo.com FARGOINC.COM

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Faces of

FARGO BUSINESS We like to think of the Fargo business community as a giant puzzle and the people who comprise it as the different but equally essential pieces. Take one person, one company, or one industry away, and the picture becomes incomplete. Faces of Fargo Business is our chance to piece that puzzle together each month and celebrate the countless people who make this such a great place to work.

FARGOINC.COM

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Faces of

Fargo Business

ANDREW J. ABERNATHEY Founder & President

Ritaway Capital Management

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OCTOBER 2017


"

I

f you go into this business wanting to waste money on cars, boats, homes, and planes, then you will most likely end up broke. And if you don't, you should," says Andrew Abernathey, the founder and president of Ritaway Capital Management, a Moorhead-based boutique investment partnership. "This is a business where you need to put all of your personal capital right alongside your investors' money." If you're surprised to hear something like this coming from a 20-something working in the cutthroat world of finance and investing, Abernathey won't hold it against you. An outlook like this often takes years to develop. But then again, he's always been a big-picture thinker, going back to his days growing up alongside his five siblings on a family farm outside Lansford, North Dakota, a town about a half hour north of Minot. While his first couple jobs didn't break the bank—his dad paid him $5 an hour on the farm and he made $7.25 an hour working at the local John Deere dealership in the winters—it

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was enough to get him started. Abernathey saved $4,000 by his 14th birthday, the same day he jumped into the securities market. It was early 2009, and the Great Recession was in full force, but after only two short years in the market, his $4,000 investment was turned into $80,000, which he then used to launch Ritaway from the basement of his parents' farm house. But despite the fact that Ritaway's funds now exceed $15 million, Abernathey is adamant about what all this money is really for. "I like to look at it like this: The money is my vehicle I can use to help others—just like a teacher uses their knowledge to help children learn or a singer uses their voice to serenade an audience," says Abernathey, who's currently, on the side, part of a project to open a thrift store in Fargo that will donate proceeds back into the local community. "When my long-term goals are achieved, I will be proud to say that my 'vehicle' not only helped myself, my family, and my investors but others around the world as well."

Ritaway Capital Management Ritaway.com

What He's Reading ·· “How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie ·· “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham ·· “Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits" Philip A. Fisher ·· The Wall Street Journal


Faces of

Fargo Business

ABBY ANDERSON Owner

Abby Anderson, Photographer

E

ven though Abby Anderson photographs about 20 weddings a year, she doesn’t consider those weekends routine. The Fargo-based wedding and portrait photographer has one thing on her mind that day: to create. “Every wedding I shoot is different,” Anderson said. “I shoot every event with a fresh, creative eye so couples can have special images that are unique to their day. My style is vibrant, joyful and dynamic. I see wedding days as joyful, and because of that, I bring a feeling of enthusiasm and hopefulness to every image I create.” Photography has given Anderson the gift of being able

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to understand the complexity of life and find the beauty in it. She said it has helped her notice the little things, value relationships and appreciate every day we have on this earth. It’s that mindset that helps her on wedding days. In her sessions, she is able to give couples tangible portraits that tell the story of their once-in-alifetime love. Anderson prides herself on getting images to couples quickly after weddings. The bride always receives an extensive preview of their images the night of the wedding. Their full gallery is often delivered within 1-2 weeks along with a blog post to share with family and friends. In addition to weddings and seniors, Anderson also shoots anniversary portraits because she likes to give couples a way to document the different seasons of their relationship. Her radius around FargoMoorhead is primarily within an hour, including Detroit Lakes. “I believe it’s important for couples to not lose their identity together, and having a photo session is a special way of celebrating all the mountains they have climbed and storms they have weathered,” Anderson said. Anderson and her husband had their own mountain to

climb five years into their marriage, which actually led to her becoming a full-time photographer. Anderson’s husband got sick with Lyme Disease after a deer tick bite. The decision was made to sell their home and move closer to family so they could have help with their two children. At the same time, Anderson decided to turn her photography from a hobby into a full-time business. “It has given me such joy as a creative outlet, even during a season of life that is draining and full of uncertainty,” she said. Anderson is currently working on blogging the story of her husband’s illness to advocate for him and bring awareness to the growing impact Lyme Disease is having on people’s health in the region. Other projects in her business include an intern program where Anderson hires two interns who assist her on wedding days and learn the ropes of running a creative business behind the scenes. Applications open up in March/ April of each year. And new this fall are 1-on-1 photography lessons. Her current openings are full, but Anderson hopes to offer a Photography 101 class in 2018 for anyone in the area who wants to get more out of their personal DSLR camera.

Abby Anderson, Photographer AbbyAnderson.com @abbyanders Facebook.com/AbbyAndersonPhotographer


Faces of

Fargo Business

ALEX RYDELL Funeral Director

Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home

"

B

eing able to serve the living by caring for the dead, spoke to my heart."

Alex Rydell was given the gift of musical ability and started playing violin when he was five years old. Music became a big part of his life and he decided it made sense to pursue a career in it. "God had other plans, as I ended up staying with a family who had a funeral home in Loveland, Colo. while on orchestra tour

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with the St. Olaf Orchestra," Rydell says. "The conversation that night about the funeral profession, my father's work with hospice and my history with the Runsvold family gave me a whole new direction and meaning in life." Four years later, Rydell graduated in 2007 from the Program of Mortuary Science at the University of Minnesota and began his career as a funeral director at Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home. He has known


the Runsvold family since he was a child. "I have the privilege of walking families through one of the most difficult experiences of their lives, when someone they love dies, and helping them through the transformative processes of funeral rituals and ceremonies," Rydell says. "It takes a lot of compassion and vulnerability, but it is a deeply rewarding profession. "I love the quote by Dr. Alan Wolfelt that says, 'When words are inadequate, have ceremony,' as I think that death is one of those times when words often feel inadequate. I have experienced the healing power of ceremony in its many forms. There are so many options when it comes to ways we can memorialize our loved ones, and to be able to educate and guide families to create the most meaningful and healing experience possible is something I love doing." Rydell is also the PresidentElect of the North Dakota Funeral Directors Association and has served as an officer on the Board of Governors for many years. He is a fiddle player in the Irish band Poitin (pah-CHEEN), the house band at Dempsey's Public House. He also plays violin in the worship band at First Lutheran Church in downtown Fargo, as well as at many weddings and funerals.

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Military Funeral Honors "The opportunity to be part of honoring someone’s life is a privilege, so when we are able to honor the life of a veteran or active duty member of the armed forces who served for us, for our country, I feel an additional sense of responsibility," Rydell says. "These are the heroes, the people who sacrificed so much for the freedom we have today, and I think it’s human nature to want to honor that sacrifice. One of the most fulfilling parts of my work is being able to pay tribute to a veteran who has died." Military funeral honors are the rites that are conducted at either the cemetery or location of the funeral service to ceremonially pay respect for the faithful service the veteran or active-duty member have provided. "Our region has the best veterans organizations around, and they are diligent about providing proper military rites for the large number of veterans in the area," Rydell says. Rites provided often include a color guard, a rifle detail and a bugler to play "Taps." The flag is precisely folded into a triangle, often by active duty service members from the branch of service the veteran served and is presented to the family of the veteran. "The military rites invoke such powerful emotion as the gravity of their service is so tangible in that moment. It feels like a final paying of respect, a gesture of gratitude for their great sacrifice. "I will never forget the military rites at my grandpa Harry’s burial in 2013," Rydell says. "He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy in World War II and was known for his detailed war stories as a 'Tin Can Sailor.' It was a beautiful tribute to a man who was so proud of his service to the country, and I was proud, as his grandson, to see the gratitude and camaraderie of the veterans who honored him that day. That was an experience I will cherish, and one that guides me in helping to honor the veterans I’m given the opportunity to serve."

Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home HansonRunsvold.com


The blues and pinks of the Fargo Theatre's main theater are reminiscent of early 20th century art-deco style, complete with curving lights called “light fountains."

THE FABULOUS, HISTORIC FARGO THEATRE

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f you're new to Fargo, there's something you should know: It wasn't always like this. We take for granted the bustling city center that Downtown has become—filled with trendy restaurants, farmers markets and charming buildings—but not all that long ago, the landscape was quite different. In partnership with our friends at Tellwell and Kilbourne Group, we'll be telling the story of Downtown's transformation in a series focused on the pivotal projects and historic renovations that paved the way for what the area has now become.

The year was 1926, and it was the "Golden Age of Film." Popular movies such as "The General" starring Buster Keaton and "The Great Gatsby" with Warner Baxter were captivating audiences in theaters across the world. And in the rapidly growing city of Fargo, North Dakota, a brand new art-deco-style cinema and vaudeville theater opened its doors. Marisa Jackels is the lead storyteller at Tellwell, a socialmedia agency in Fargo. BY Marisa Jackels PHOTOGRAPHY BY Paul Flessland COURTESY OF Kilbourne Group & Fargo Theatre

Today, many recognize the iconic marquee of the Fargo Theatre. It, like many other small-town theater marquees, is a prominent centerpiece of a bustling downtown, an emblem of the glamorous age of early

Hollywood. However, while other small town theaters have been repurposed or fallen to disrepair, the Fargo Theatre still looks very much like it did nearly a century ago, and it still serves as a showplace for live entertainment and, of course, movies. “I think movies are one of the most powerful and influential art forms that we have in modern society,” says Emily Beck, executive director of the Fargo Theatre and selfproclaimed movie nerd. “Whether you’re escaping into a whole new world, an artist’s vision or a character that draws you in, you can be in the dark for two hours and lose all sense of anything around you.”


Architect David Crutchfield, who served as a design consultant for restoring the Fargo Theatre and the building of the more recent second theater, agrees. “Movies are magic,” he says. “When those lights go down and the projector goes on, that carries us beyond the screen and into a world where we’re willing to suspend our realities. And movie theaters prepare us for that.” Crutchfield describes movie theaters as being a type of portal, an architectural experience that gives you a sense of wonder before stepping into the movie’s world. The Fargo Theatre itself is a prime example of movie theater magic, he says.

Former Fargo Theatre Executive Director Margie Bailly

Inside, the blues and pinks harken back to that early 1900’s art-deco style, complete with curving lights called “light fountains” and a thick red curtain that hides the screen. There is even an original 1926 Wurlitzer organ that is still in working order. Yet, even with all the old charm and movie


magic, recent years have proven to be a struggle for some small-town theaters. Larger movie theaters draw more crowds and have more screens to host a variety of movies. This was one of the challenges Margie Bailly faced while she was director of the Fargo Theatre from 1996-2011—namely, that if she wanted to show a film at the Fargo Theatre, distributors require that it be shown every night and on weekends. This was a problem because the Fargo Theatre hosts live events that would disrupt that schedule, yet provide necessary income for the theater. In addition, the Fargo Film Festival was growing every year. The team was running out of creative space to host film viewings— already they had utilized a cowboy bar and an embalming studio for some of the events. “At that point in time, we wanted an additional space,” Bailly says. “That was always a dream I had in my head.” The initial designs for a second theater were created in 1995. But the plans wouldn’t come

to fruition for another ten years when Margie brought the plan to Kilbourne Group as a proposal for a vacant 300 Broadway lot. “We needed this space,” Margie said. “This is exactly the right place and space.” Kilbourne agreed, and construction began at 300 Broadway – once an old parking lot and now the canvas for a mixed-use infill project that included the theater. From the beginning, the interior design of the second theater was the focus of many conversations. “We wanted to bring the DNA from the big theater into this space,” Margie said. Some suggested a more modern take. There was talk about making it a black box with black walls and black curtains to bring more attention to the film. Others thought the theater should have recliner chairs like the bigger theaters were adopting. But Bailly and David Crutchfield, the design advisor, fought to maintain similar features to the larger 1926-era theater.

"Whether you’re escaping into a whole new world, an artist’s vision or a character that draws you in, you can be in the dark for two hours and lose all sense of anything around you.”


Fargo Theatre Executive Director Emily Beck

"It was all part of trying to provide an homage to the old theater while looking boldly ahead into the future," Crutchfield says, "which, we thought, poetically represented Fargo in many ways."

Many of the details of the Fargo Theatre's second theater were intended to replicate that of the main theatre, from the carpet design to the red, wooden chairs to the curvature of the ceiling.

Many of the details are ones the audience may never notice, Crutchfield says. The carpet design, for instance, was carefully chosen to replicate that of the original theater, as well as the red and wooden chairs. Other similarities include the curvature of the ceiling, the red curtains and the reclaimed wood used for the stage. “It was all part of trying to provide an homage to the old theater while looking boldly ahead into the future,” Crutchfield says, “which, we thought, poetically represented Fargo in many ways.” The second theater, called Fargo Theatre Off Broadway, opened its doors in 2009 and has since been the host to a variety of events. It seats nearly 80 and is used for film showings, as well as private events. “We host everything from children’s birthday parties to corporate events,” Beck says. “The smaller space makes it a great place for panel discussions, too.” The addition of the theater has allowed the Fargo Theatre as a whole to reach a new level of growth, she says. This year, they were able to show the films "Lion" and "Moonlight" during Oscar season, for instance, due to

BUSINESS

WISDOM

the freedom of a second screen to keep showings consistent. “Theater two has been a gift to our organization,” Beck says. The gift is not just the ability to host more events, either. The addition of the second theater, as well as the donations and patrons that keep the Fargo Theatre alive, show Beck that this theater is loved. “I’m grateful to live in a community that values preservation of historic facilities," she says. "That this place remains and is supported so generously, we’re lucky to have people like that in this community. We know that here.”

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Read past installments from the "It Wasn't Always Like This" series at KilbourneGroup.com/News

Tellwell WeTellwell.com

"How you are in the break room should be no different than how you are in front of customers." AMANDA MCKINNON CEO, MSPIRE

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Farmstead Office Park at Rocking Horse Farm

TOUR GUIDES

W

hile Downtown Fargo has plenty to offer both in terms of location and amenities, it's not for everyone. For a company looking for a little slower pace and a touch of rural North Dakota to boot, Farmstead Office Park at Rocking Horse Farm in South Fargo might be worth a look.

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Ken Promersberger Owner Rocking Horse Farm

BY Nate Mickelberg VISUALS BY Hillary Ehlen and The Promersberger Company

Jon Thorp

Creative & PR Director The Promersberger Company


Shaniah Kaiser Marketing Manager Rocking Horse Farm


THE 3 BUILDINGS

O FF

While only three of the structures in the Farmstead Office Park have been completed—another two have been designed—the office park will eventually house eight farm-style office buildings on roughly 10 acres of land. The park, which will feature roughly 80,000 square feet of total office space, sits in the middle of the larger Rocking Horse Farm development's 160 acres and will be geared toward seamlessly combining residential and commercial life.

While the original office-park development began in the early 2000s, it was reinvigorated in 2015 when 136 residential lots were platted and made available as the residential portion got underway. To date, more than 30 houses are occupied or under construction.

The flagship building of Farmstead Office Park, the Red Barn was completed in 1999. As Rocking Horse Farm Owner Ken Promersberger explains, they wanted the office park to be a kind of indigenous homage to North Dakota and wanted the Red Barn to be the "icon of the development."

When they bought the land, the only other building in the area was KFNW, a Christian radio station that still sits just south of 52nd Avenue.

The idea was that someone living in the Rocking Horse Farm development could not only have their home but also do business in the same neighborhood.

ICE PARK MAP

1. TH E RE D B A RN SPECS • 8,500 leasable sq. ft. • Fully leased

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"When we bought the property," Promersberger says, "there wasn't a tree on site. We planted all of these and even built a wildlife pond."


Main conference room

To give you some idea of what a finished office setup would look like, we took a tour through Fargo-based marketing agency The Promersberger Company's headquarters on the first floor of the Red Barn.

A conference room housed inside of a grain bin—doesn't get much more North Dakota than that

Fully stocked kitchen

While the 13-person Promersberger team occupies the whole first floor, there are four other tenants upstairs: 1) Precision Partners 2) Greenco 3) Industrial Construction Services (ICS) 4) Anderson Consulting

Client-campaign display in the main hallway

Lounge, complete with a custommade skid-steer coffee table (with a wood-burned centerpiece made by none other than Rocking Horse Farm's Marketing Manager Shaniah Kaiser—one of our tour guides) FARGOINC.COM

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ICE PARK MAP

2. THE WHITE BARN SPECS • 13,000 leasable sq. ft. • Furnished • Available January 2018

Originally built as the corporate headquarters for Titan Machinery, the White Barn subsequently housed DMI Industries and Doosan Bobcat after Titan moved to a new West Fargo space.

Instead of a lobby, guests can get a cup of coffee while they wait at the "parts counter," complete with a full kitchen in back.

Reception area

An agriculture aesthetic permeates every part of the office park, the White Barn being no exception.

Main Level Conference Room

A 16-person training/ conference room in the lower level

Main level work area FARGOINC.COM

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ICE PARK MAP

3. THE MACHINE SHED SPECS • 8,400 leasable sq. ft. • Fully leased

The Machine Shed is designed to emulate the look of a building that could house machinery—all the way down to the smoked exterior windows. "With these buildings, we're trying to make them look fairly authentic—not like Disneyland,"

COMING SOON...

Promersberger explains. "When we first built the Red Barn, you'd be driving down 52nd Avenue and would say, 'Oh, there's a barn,' and wouldn't realize until you got closer that it wasn't a real, working barn. We're trying to emulate a farmstead without getting too cute with it."

While the interior is still a work in progress, the Machine Shed will have its first tenant in January 2018. Promersberger will be announcing the new tenant soon.

NOT YET DESIGNED

DESIGNED & NOT YET COMPLETED TAKE

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Farm House 22,000 square feet

Farmstead Office Park at Rocking Horse Farm RockingHorsefarm.com/OfficeParkOverview

Granary #1 4,000 square feet Granary #2 3,500 square feet

To learn more about any of these spaces, contact: Ken Promersberger Ken@Promersberger.com 701-356-0219

Stable 3,700 square feet 80

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Horse Barn 18,000 square feet

Shaniah Kaiser Shaniah@Promersberger.com 701-566-7877


ADDICTION in the Workplace KNOW YOUR OPTIONS AS AN EMPLOYER

By Bruce Ringstrom

The personal problems of employees should be of serious concern to employers and managers. On top of our general regard for the well-being of those we employ, we also know that employees’ personal problems drag down productivity, quality and the work environment overall.

Indicators of Addiction

While challenges relating to childcare, a serious illness or a household disaster are problems that should be accommodated, controlled-substance problems are at least as problematic and can’t be justified as simply bad luck. Employers and managers need to understand how to spot substanceabuse problems, carefully weigh whether and how to get law enforcement involved,c and consult with an employment lawyer about implementing policies to deal with future issues.

Bruce Ringstrom Jr. is a criminal defense attorney with Ringstrom Law in Moorhead.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, employees who use controlled substances are more likely to “change jobs frequently, be late to or absent from work, be less productive, be involved in a workplace accident and potentially harm others and file a workers’ compensation claim.” It has been my professional experience that those who find their way into the criminal justice system for drug-related

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charges often do exhibit these characteristics. As a criminaldefense lawyer, my professional focus is representing and defending people accused of crimes. Many of my clients are accused of drug crimes and drug use-related crimes: controlledsubstance possession, sales, fraudulent prescriptions, theft, embezzlement, driving under the influence of a controlled substance and others.

While I do represent innocent people wrongly charged with drug crimes (and wrongful convictions remain a serious problem in our country), many of my clients do struggle with substance-abuse issues. In working with them, I have observed patterns of behavior that tend to recur. Many people with controlled substance abuse problems don’t end up getting charged with crimes—often because of luck. Many of these substance abusers are working. As an employer or manager, you should be

aware of these patterns, understand how to deal with chemically addicted employees and understand the reasons to get law enforcement involved (and the very serious dangers of doing so). Severe addictions vary in expression from substance to substance and from person to person. Nevertheless, those who are severely addicted and are still functioning in society tend to exhibit certain similar characteristics. Any one of the following indicators could be found with no underlying addiction present. It is possible that even two or more might be present without the person having a substanceabuse issue. But the more factors that present themselves, the more likely there is a problem. It is also important to distinguish factors that seem to have been present in the individual for a long time, as opposed to those that seem to have come into existence somewhat recently. • Often, there is a discrete starting point for

an addiction. Experimentation as a young adult creates a latent addiction that is reopened in one's 30s or 40s by a crisis, financial or relationship stress, or even boredom. An injury or pain problem that is legitimately being treated with opioids leads to an all-consuming addiction complete with fraudulent prescriptions and purchasing medication from actual drug dealers. Physical or sexual abuse or other trauma can also be a starting point for a substance-abuse problem. • One of the strongest indicators (and adverse effects) of controlled-substance addiction is a reduced ability to get work done. From completing high-level projects to doing routine things such as showing up on time, finishing simple reports and responding to email, those struggling with addiction find it difficult to do all the things that most typical employees easily accomplish every


day. An addiction radically changes the addict’s priorities. While for most people using drugs is something that could readily be on a list of things to absolutely NOT get done, for an addict, the unstated goal is to structure life around securing and consuming the substance. • Lying among the severely addicted often rises to a high art. Their secret—that they are in thrall to an addiction that they spend most of their time, money and energy in service to and that they will commit illegal acts to serve—cannot be disclosed to friends, family, employers and society at large. Consequently, many addicts are constantly lying to others and are often quite good at it. They often lie to themselves about what is going on, which is one reason why their lies to others are often convincing: they believe what they are saying. • You're likely to see repeated lateness and absences that no longer have plausible justifications. Because addicts often are working to satisfy their addictions, they are otherwise occupied when they should be somewhere in the mainstream community. Many addicts often get very poor sleep, which in and of itself can cause lateness.

Steps to Take

In the same way you might approach an employee with an alcohol problem about getting help, you may do the same for an employee with a controlled-substance problem. It is always a challenge to convince an addict of any type to face a problem. It is even harder when the substance to which the person is addicted is illegal. Unless you’ve caught the person redhanded, he or she is likely to deny or downplay your concerns. But if treatment is an option, the issue can be raised without being overly confrontational.

Creating and implementing a drug-testing policy should only be done with the services of a lawyer specialized in employment law. But an employer or manager can implement some small changes that are likely to have a beneficial effect. First, be rigorous about maintaining punctuality standards. When employment is strongly tied to being where the employee is supposed to be at the exact times he or she is supposed to be there, substance abuse problems are often more conspicuous. Second, don’t provide an employee space to function as an addict at work by having other employees compensate for the suspected addict’s substandard performance. Insist on getting the agreedupon production from the employee. If the employee fails to meet this standard, you may then have legitimate recourse to move forward with termination or other sanctions that are appropriate for the circumstances. In the event that you become strongly convinced an employee has a substanceabuse problem, you have some difficult choices. If you actually discover controlled substances in the possession of the employee (or in the employee’s workspace where other employees do not work), you may call law enforcement. This is a drastic step that, as a criminal defense lawyer, I am reluctant to advise you to take. Once you have involved law enforcement, it is possible that you and your business will be mired in a criminal case for months or even years. In calling law enforcement, you have made yourself a witness and could end up having to testify at a trial. This means being subject to cross-examination from a criminal-defense lawyer like me.

However, there are circumstances under which involving law enforcement should probably always occur: • Discovering substantial amounts of a controlled substance (e.g., you reach into an employee’s desk to retrieve a quarterly report and see a baggie of what is very likely 2 or 3 ounces of methamphetamine) • An employee who works in accounting or otherwise handles money for your business is discovered to likely have a serious addiction at around the same time that financial irregularities pop up. To pull the trigger on such a call, though, without involving a lawyer can have the effect of law enforcement delving deeper into your business than you may want. Unless it is an emergency, call your lawyer before taking any other action. If, for example, an addicted employee has been embezzling from you and you call law enforcement, you might have forensic accountants and fraud examiners looking at every element of your financials going back years. Your protestations that the employee in question has only worked for you for 18 months will not dissuade law enforcement from digging as deeply as they think necessary. Once law enforcement gets involved, they may decide there is probable cause to charge you with something completely unrelated to the investigation. This happens more often than many realize. In today’s tight labor market, terminating otherwise good employees is hard to do. But the opportunity cost of having someone working for you who is consumed by addiction is too great to do nothing about. TAKE

Anything from your past that may show evidence of bias, prejudice or your interest for or against any party in the case may be fair game.

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Ringstrom Law RingstromLaw.com

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0010 1010 00 1 00100101111000 0101010 01001110 10010 010101 01 1010 1010 10 100101010 010100 010111110 01010 010 00100101 01010101 01 01 0101001111100101010011 001010 0 00 10 01010 01001101 01 010 100 00101010 010111 010010 1001010100 010101 001 0000010100101 0001001 0101010 01010 010101 010 010101 00 01111 1111 010101 111 010100 0101010 01010111 101 0101 0 101 01 0101111 0101011011111 110010101 0101 01 010 0101 01 01 01 00101 0 0010 1010 00 1 00100101111000 0101010 01001110 10010 010101 01 1010 1010 10 100101010 010100 010111110 01010 010 00100101 01010101 01 01 0101001111100101010011 001010 0 00 10 01010 01001101 01 010 100 000101010 010111 010010 1001010100 010101 001 0000010100101 0001001 0101010 01010 010101 010 010101 00 01111 1111 010101 111 010100 0101010 01010111 101 0101 0 101 01 0101111 0101011011111 110010101 0101 01 010 0101 01 01 01 00 00101 0 0010 1010 00 1 00100101111000 0101010 01001110 10010 010101 01 1010 1010 10 100101010 010100 010111110 01010 010 00100101 01010101 01 01 0101001111100101010011 001010 0 00 10 01010 01001101 01 010 100 000101010 010111 010010 1001010100 010101 001 0000010100101 0001001 0101010 01010 010101 010 010101 00 01111 1111 010101 111 010100 0101010 01010111 101 0101 0 101 01 0101111 0101011011111 110010101 0101 01 010 0101 01 01 01 00101 0 0010 1010 00 1 00100101111000 0101010 01001110 10010 010101 01 1010 1010 10 100101010 010100 010111110 01010 010 00100101 01010101 01 01 01010 1111100101010011 001010 0 00 10 01010 01001101 01 010 100 000101010 01011 010010 1001010100 010101 001 0000010100101 0001001 0101010 01010 010101 0101 00 01111 1111 010101 111 010100 0101010 01010111 101 0101 0 101 01 0101111 0101011011111 1100 0101 0101 01 010 0101 01 01 01 00 01 0 0010 1010 00 1 00100101111000 010101 01001110 10010 01 101 01 1010 10 0 10 100101010 0 0100 010111110 01010 01 00100101 010101 1 01 01 0101001 11100101010011 01010 0 00 10 01010 01 010 100 000101010 010111 01 010 1001010100 010101 001 000001010010 001001 101010 01010 010101 010 0101 1 00 01 11 1111 010101 111 010100 0101 0101 111 101 0101 0 101 01 010111 01010110 1111 110010101 0101 01 010 0101 01 01 01 00101 0 0010 1010 00 1 00100101111000 0101010 01001110 10010 010101 01 1010 1010 10 100101010 010100 010111110 01010 010 00100101 01010101 01010 0101001111100101010011 001010 0 00 10 01010 01001101 01 010 100 000101010 010111 010010 1001010100 010101 001 0000010100101 0001001 0101010 01010 010101 010 010101 00 01111 1111 010101 111 010100 0101010 01010111 101 0101 0 101 01 0101111 0101011011111 110010101 0101 01 010 0101 01 01 01 00101 0 0010 1010 00 1 00100101111000 0101010 01001110 10010 010101 01 1010 1010 10 100101010 010100 010111110 01010 010 00100101 By 01010101 01 01 0101001111100101010011 001010 0 00 10 01010 01001101 Paul Jarvis, CFP 01 010 100 000101010 010111 010010 1001010100 010101 001 0000010100101 0001001 0101010 01010 010101 010 010101 00 01111 1111 010101 111 010100 0101010 01010111 101 0101 0 101 01 0101111 0101011011111 110010101 0101 01 010 0101 01 01 01 00101 0 0010 1010 00 1 00100101111000 0101010 01001110 10010 010101 0100001 1010 1010 10 100101010 010100 010111110 01010 010 00100101 01010101 01 01 0101001111100101010011 001010 0 00 10 01010 01001101 01 010 100 000101010 010111 010010 1001010100 010101 001 0000010100101 0001001 0101010 01010 010101 010 010101 00 01111 1111 010101 111 010100 0101010 01010111 101 0101 0 101 01 0101111 0101011011111 110010101 0101 01 010 0101 01 01 01 00101 0 0101 0 101 01 0101111 011111 110010101 0101 010001000100 010101 001 0000010100101 0001001 0101010 01010 010101 010 010101 00 01111 1111 010101 111 010100 0101010 01010111 101 0101 0 101 01 010111

BITCOIN

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Portrait by Paul Flessland

Isn't Yet Safe for the Best Investors


I

've had a few investors wondering recently if now is the right time to invest in cryptocurrencies, commonly known as Bitcoin. What I tell them is that digital currencies are probably the latest example of a speculative craze. To me, Bitcoin smells like tulips. During the 17th century, speculation drove the value of tulip bulbs sky high. At the height of the market, the rarest bulbs traded for as much as six times the average person’s salary. In another example, in the 1920s, a handful of investors saw the potential of land in Florida. Speculators quickly in. But there were a series of unforeseen events: a rail traffic embargo, a shipwreck in the port of Miami and then the Great Miami Hurricane. It’s not that these things have no underlying value – tulips are some of the prettiest flowers around and yes, if you bought the right pieces of land in Florida 100 years ago, you’d be rich. But in the early stages of any market, product or technology, no one can predict the outcome well enough to make an investmentquality bet. Many people—from LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman to heavyweight CEOs—are investigating and endorsing the concept of digital currencies and blockchain, the technology that makes them possible. Yet we are so far from knowing the winners and losers among digital currencies that buying such currencies is speculation, not investing. Here are four unknowns that should give you pause before you put investment money into digital currencies.

Paul Jarvis

Managing Director United Capital of Fargo

No.1

Which currencies will survive—or whether any of the current ones will—is an open question. There are hundreds of digital currencies now, and dozens of platforms where you can trade them. Bitcoin, the best known, has risen in value more than 200 percent this year. But all the digital currencies are volatile. And it is easy to issue a new currency so there are more coming out all the time in so-called ICOs, or initial coin offerings.

No.2

The currencies are extremely volatile. News reports show digital currencies, even Bitcoin, rising and falling as much as 10x within months. Because they are relatively unknown, cryptocurrency prices are vulnerable to bad news or to incidents of fraud. They are also at the mercy of governments, which could step in to try to block the adoption of any of them and cause prices to plummet.

“Anyone participating in sales such as these will receive tokens, theoretically usable in the future in the markets they create. Like all currencies, any value they have will come from the willingness of people to treat them as a medium of exchange or to see them as a store of value,” writes Richard Waters in The Financial Times.

FARGOINC.COM

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The current conversion rate for one bitcoin to US dollars.

1 Bitcoin equals

4,642.81 U.S. Dollar 6000 4000 2000 0 2013

"News reports show digital currencies, even Bitcoin, rising and falling as much as 10x within months."

2014

2015

2016

2017

No.3

What investment vehicles will eventually exist to trade currencies, if any? What are the diversification strategies of those vehicles to manage the volatility? In the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) this spring. The regulators aren’t certain yet how to keep investors safe. At some point, someone probably will develop an investment vehicle that enables you to invest in a basket of cryptocurrencies. That time hasn’t come yet.

Some people enjoy the excitement of speculating of getting in on the ground floor. That idea is as much a classic as in 1946's "It’s A Wonderful Life," where the main character gets an invitation to “get in on the ground floor of plastics.” You might be one of the early movers and might find the idea of digital currencies appealing. If so, put aside a tiny portion of your assets and have fun, but don’t be fooled into thinking of what you’re doing as investing—it’s speculating. A tiny handful of speculators make money, but many more of them lose as new markets—with all their uncertainty—develop over decades.

No.4

How well will you be protected from fraud? Traditional currencies are issued by governments, but anyone can issue a cryptocurrency and set up a mechanism, which could even be a special ATM, to dispense it onto your mobile phone. In late June, in the latest example of regulatory action, the SEC filed fraud charges against the New York City-based operator of a supposed Bitcoin platform.

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To help you decide how much you can afford to bet on the highestrisk, alternative investments—or speculations—consider talking to a CFP professional. Learn more by visiting LetsMakeAPlan.org

United Capital Fargo UnitedCp.com/ND1

In a universe of unknowns, the odds are stacked against you. FARGOINC.COM

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TechT PS

w/ Giga-Green Technologies

factors to consider when trying to optimize your WiFi network

Wireless Internet is everywhere. No really, take a look on your phone or computer at all the available Wi-fi networks . . . I'll wait. The number is generally astonishing and will only continue to grow as population density increases. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and some large players such as Microsoft and Google are looking at bringing WiFi to the globe. However, separate Wi-fi networks don't always play nice together.

By William Galvin Portrait by Hillary Ehlen

So how do you claim your WiFi ground? It isn't always easy to do so. Lots of factors play into how well your WiFi works in competition with other WiFi and radio signals. Let us take a look at a few of those factors.

Line of Sight

4 GHz vs 5 GHz

Channel Wars

Having a direct, or least infringed, path to your router is best. WiFi will always be susceptible to signal-blocking from certain types of materials such as concrete and metal siding. Try moving your routers into more open spaces or ceiling mounted locations.

These are the common Wi-Fi Frequencies used today. Each has its advantages and can be used almost interchangeably with current devices. 2.4 GHz has a longer reach and is better at penetrating solid objects with its signal. 5 GHz is less susceptible to background noise and radio frequencies such elevators or microwaves, while also sporting faster datatransfer speeds.

Both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies operate on small variances in the frequency it uses to communicate. These are called channels. For example: channel 1 is 2.412GHz and channel 2 is 2.417 GHz. Most routers are set to use channel 1 by default, but this leads to congestion on that specific frequency. WiFianalyzing tools can help you determine the lesser-used channels of the surrounding WiFi networks. This offers less direct competition for the specific frequency that is overutilized.

William Galvin is the founder of Giga-Green Technologies, an independent technology consultancy in Fargo. TAKE

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Giga-Green Technologies Giga-Green.com FARGOINC.COM

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CALENDAR

BUSINESS EVENTS

2017

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EVERY WEDNESDAY 1 Million Cups

Every Wednesday, 9:15 - 10:15 a.m.

Join the vibrant entrepreneurial community of FargoMoorhead and Emerging Prairie by participating in an event filled with guest speakers, tons of coffee, ideas and excellent networking opportunities. Event is free. 1MillionCups.com/Fargo The Stage at Island Park 333 4th St. S, Fargo

#1MCFar

OCTOBER 4 Voices of Vision: Shaquille O'Neal

Wednesday, October 4, noon - 1:30 p.m.

#VOV17

Few individuals ever become iconic enough to be known by one name: Shaq. A cultural icon, Shaquille O’Neal is best known for an NBA career spanning nearly two decades and earning him the sport’s highest honors, but O’Neal isn’t only a legendary athlete. He's also established himself as a powerful media personality, businessman and philanthropist. Now, this larger-than-life personality is coming to the metro to share his story and advice as a seasoned businessman. Previous "Voices of Vision" Presenters • 2016- Robert O'Neill • 2015- Rudy Giuliani • 2014- Terry Bradshaw • 2013- Jeb Bush • 2012 - Joe Theismann • 2011- Bob Woodward • 2010- Lt. Col. Oliver North Floor Registration (includes lunch) • $70 Chamber members, in advance • $80 Chamber members, at the door • $95 Non-members, in advance • $105 Non-members, at the door • $800 Corporate table sponsor Arena-seating Registration • $50 In advance • $60 At the door FMWFChamber.com Sanford Health Athletic Complex (SHAC) 1300 17th Ave. N, Fargo


OCTOBER 5 Cultivate Dakotas

Thursday, October 5, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Join other businesspeople and entrepreneurs in this inaugural event to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Master Networks in the Dakotas region. Learn more about how to take your business to the next level of success with inspiring keynotes and informational breakout sessions.

Hear NDSU Basketball Coach Dave Richman's ideas about the value of teamwork. Learn from entrepreneur Rachael Boyer about her journey from physician's assistant to founder of several businesses across the U.S. Take part in breakout sessions to learn about the value of networking, the art of lead generation, the importance of organizational culture, stepping into a leadership role and having meaningful communication and connection with like-minded and likehearted business owners. Cost • $49 Eventbrite.com Avalon Events Center 2525 9th Ave. S, Fargo

OCTOBER 6 OCTOBER 5 Fargo AgTech Panel

Thursday, October 5, 3 - 6 p.m.

Hear from the entrepreneurs, investors, educators and growers who are shaping the future of agriculture technology. Join the Royse AgTech Innovation Network and NDSU Research and Technology Park for an exciting afternoon of networking, panel discussions and technology presentations. Speakers • Dan Hodgson - FarmQA • James Burgum - Arthur Ventures • Jake Joraanstad - Myriad Mobile • Kelby Kleinsasser - Farmers Business Network Cost • Free Eventbrite.com NDSU McGovern Alumni Center 1241 N. University Drive, Fargo

Live2Lead FM

Friday, October 6, 7 a.m. - noon

Live2Lead is a half-day, leaderdevelopment simulcast experience designed to equip attendees with new perspectives, practical tools and key takeaways. They’ll learn from world-class leadership experts, be prepared to implement a new action plan and start leading when they get back to the office with renewed passion and commitment. Cost • $89 - $129 Live2LeadFM.com Prairie Heights Community Church 319 32nd Ave. E, West Fargo


OCTOBER 11 Demonstrating Culture and Core Values Wednesday, October 11, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Studies show that employees who fit well in their organization have greater job satisfaction, are more likely to remain with the organization and show stronger job performance—and that the cost of turnover due to poor culture fit can cost an organization 50 to 60 percent of the employee’s annual salary. How do you articulate and demonstrate your culture and core values to attract the right talent? See how local companies are sharing their culture in social media as a way to build their current team culture and attract the right talent to their teams.

What will you learn? • Join Next Action Digital founder and digital strategist Kirsten Jensen to understand and learn how local companies are demonstrating their culture and core values in social media. • Explore ways to share your unique core values in social media. • This training qualifies for two CPE credits for the ND CPA Society. Registration (includes lunch) • $30 Chamber members, in advance • $35 Chamber members, at the door • $40 Non-members, in advance • $45 Non-members, at the door FMWFChamber.com DoubleTree by Hilton & West Fargo Conference Center 825 East Beaton Drive, West Fargo

OCTOBER 18 MSUM Sports Communication Conference

OCTOBER 11

Wednesday, October 18, 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.

DisruptHR Fargo

Wednesday, October 11, 6:30 - 9 p.m.

DISRUPT is an information exchange designed to energize, inform and empower people in the HR field. 10 speakers, five minutes each and slides that rotate every 15 seconds. If you’re an HR professional, a CEO, a technologist or a community leader—and you have an investment in talent, culture or technology— disrupt is the place. Featured Speakers • Jonathan David Lewis • Brain Pabst • Neal Maggard • Kylee Seifert • Jennifer Schillinger • Brenda Johnson

• Kirsten Jensen • Sara Stolt • Ben Zietz • Ethan Ostrowski • Rick Holmberg • Teresa Lewis • Aaron Janssen

High school and college students are invited to: • Explore the fastest-growing careers in sports • See what happens behind the scenes at sporting events • Network and learn from top professionals in 45-minute breakout sessions: • Writing and reporting • TV and radio broadcasting • Promotion • New media/social media • Public relations • Technology and producing • Corporate partnerships • Entrepreneurship Keynote Speaker Andrea Mokros Vice President of Communications, Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee

Cost • $25 – $140

Cost • Free

DisruptHR.co Sanctuary Events Center 670 4th Ave. N, Fargo

MNState.edu/Sports-Conference Comstock Memorial Union 615 14th St. S, Moorhead


OCTOBER 18 Living Your Most Authentic Life: It Means Taking Risks

"Calibrating the Inner Compass: How to Lead in Alignment with your Guiding Principles." You don’t need to attend both sessions.

If you remove the negative aspects of selftalk and perception, what happens next? What if you didn’t allow the expectation of others to guide your life, but you explored what living a truly authentic life meant to you?

Registration • $25 Chamber members, in advance • $30 Chamber members, at the door • $35 Non-members, in advance • $40 Non-members, at the door

Wednesday, October 18, 3:30 - 5 p.m. (social: 5 - 6 p.m.)

During this session, you will explore how to take risks and put purpose to action by channeling your own self-belief, humility and resilience. Hospice of the Red River Valley's Kelly Krenzel and Dale Carnegie of ND & MN's Bethany Berkeley will facilitate a panel discussion of community risk-takers and help you develop a manageable plan to mitigate the fears holding you back from achieving your life’s purpose.

FMWFChamber.com DoubleTree by Hilton & West Fargo Conference Center 825 East Beaton Drive, West Fargo Kelly Krenzel

Note: This is part two of a two-part series, following up from September’s event,

Bethany Berkeley

#FMWFWC

OCTOBER 19

#FMWFBAH

Business After Hours

Thursday, October 19, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Business After Hours continues to set records as the region’s largest networking event. Booth space is often sold out, and attendees can connect with their peers and exhibitors ranging from cell phone companies to financial institutions and more. Join the FMWF Chamber for a great time over apps, networking and fun.

the event. Just post using #FMWFBAH at the event to be in the running for Social Superstar. The chosen post will be featured in The Bridge and online and gets exclusive bragging rights. Registration (includes appetizers and two drink tickets)

• Business After Hours is a members-only event, and participants must be 21 years of age or older to attend.

See who is currently exhibiting. Interested in having a booth? See booth form. For additional questions, please contact Bobbi Jo Rehder at 218-359-0525 or BRehder@ FMWFChamber.com

• • $25 If you register prior to midnight the

Be the Social Superstar! Bring your top Twitter, Instagram and Facebook games because they'll be on the lookout for their favorite post from

FMWFChamber.com Hilton Garden Inn 4351 17th Ave. S, Fargo

Wednesday before the event

• $35 All registrations received after that time and at the door


OCTOBER 26 Unseen's Fall Fire

Thursday, October 26, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

It's estimated that there are 30 million women, children and families caught in human trafficking today. This is a local and global epidemic that Unseen is fighting, from right here in Downtown Fargo. Join this Unseen movement to empower local leaders across the globe to increase their fight for safety worldwide.

Experience hope and the light that shines in the darkness with great international food, drinks, multiple live musicians and pyro-entertainment that will capture your senses while you join a growing wildfire of good from Downtown Fargo. The event is free. Register at Eventbrite. Eventbrite.com Sanctuary Events Center 670 4th Ave. N, Fargo

DOWN THE ROAD Co.Starters Winter Class February 21, 2017 - April 18, 2018

Folkways.co/CoStarters

United Way Women's Leadership Luncheon Thursday, November 2

UnitedWayCassClay.org

Holiday Business After Hours Thursday, December 7

FMWFChamber.com

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

MONTHLY BUSINESS MEETUPS* Meetup.com/cities/us/nd/fargo

OCTOBER 12 Day of Caring

Thursday, October 12, 2 - 4:30 p.m.

Join the United Way of Cass Clay for the 26th Annual Day of Caring, which will mobilize thousands of volunteers from all over the Cass and Clay communities to help area seniors and those in need with projects around their homes.

The volunteer opportunities and activities vary greatly for the day. Some individuals request help with light cleaning projects, while some have larger requests for lawn care, cleaning gutters and pulling out flower beds and gardens. Some teams of volunteers work indoors while others work outdoors. Volunteer as an individual or with a group. Last year, more than 1,600 volunteers visited the homes of nearly 475 local senior citizens for the afternoon. UnitedWayCassClay.org

• Bitcoin Meetup • Cass-Clay Subcontractor Sales

& Marketing Meetup

• Geek Meet FM • Girl Develop It • Fargo 3D Printing Meetup • Fargo Cashflow Game Night • Fargo Entrepreneurship Meetup • Fargo Virtual Reality Meetup • Fargo-Moorhead Content Strategy

• The Fargo-Moorhead Real

OCTOBER 25

Estate Investing Meetup

YPN: Great Plains Food Bank BackPack Program

is simple: Backpacks are filled with food that children take home on weekends or school vacations.

During the 2015-16 school year, nearly 8,500 children in the Fargo, Moorhead, and West Fargo school districts qualified for free and reduced school-lunch programs to meet their daily nutritional needs. But on the weekends, many of these children struggled with hunger. Designed to meet the needs of hungry children at times when other resources are not available—such as weekends and school vacations—the BackPack Program is tested and proven effective in alleviating childhood hunger. The program

Interested in being part of this program? Join the FMWF Chamber of Commerce's Young Professionals Network (YPN) as they fill backpacks for local children in need. Space is limited to 15 people so make sure to sign up soon. Contact Sam Gust at SGust@FMWFChamber.com for more info or to sign up. Registration is required.

Wednesday, October 25, 3 - 5 p.m.

FMWFChamber.com Great Plains Food Bank 1720 3rd Ave. N, Fargo

• Master Networks – Fargo Business Referral Group

• Mobile Meetup Fargo • Moorhead Entrepreneurship Meetup

• Prairie Dawg Drupal • Red River Valley Big Data –

Midwest Big Data Hub Meetup

• YMCA Brighter Futures *All meetups above (except Bitcoin Meetup) can be found at Meetup.com/Cities/US/58102. If interested in the Bitcoin Meetup, please contact ALarson@MyriadMobile.com

FARGOINC.COM

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Fargo INC! October 2017  

What do these seven veterans have in common? They all run successful businesses in the FM area. A motivational speaker, an outdoors TV show...

Fargo INC! October 2017  

What do these seven veterans have in common? They all run successful businesses in the FM area. A motivational speaker, an outdoors TV show...