Fargo INC! October 2020

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CEO Conversation With Dan Johnson of Mortenson

The FMWF Chamber Announces 2020-2021 Board of Directors

Entering the World of Esports




Tifanie gelinske


Why Is Fargo Growing? Joe Raso

The GFMEDC Is A Big Reason Why

Ryan Aashein

John Machacek

// OCTOBER 2020




The GFMEDC: Pushing the Primary Sector Forward in the Fargo Moorhead Region


CEO Conversation With Dan Johnson


Fargo's Newest Coworking Space


Building Inclusive and Equitable Workplaces


Q&A With Clint Howitz


Congratulations to Steve D. Scheel


The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce Announce 2020-2021 Board of Directors


Entering the World of Esports


10 Questions With John Machacek: CoSchedule


How to Detect, Deter or Deflect Cyber Attacks


A Business Success Story: Balance Restored Chiropractic


Ladyboss of the Month: Laetitia Mizero Hellerud


Downtown Community Partnership Fights for Small Business Success in Downtown Fargo


Academic Insight


Pandemic's Opportunities Abound


How I Stopped Complaining and Started Solving


Events Calendar








All our stories in one place

Business events calendar

Read all the past issues

Extra video content

E d i t o r ’s n o t e

An W Opportunity to Learn

hat I love so much about this job is the opportunity to learn. As I approach my one year anniversary with Spotlight, I can honestly say that I never thought I would learn so much at a job... Ever! During my time with Fargo INC!, I have interviewed entrepreneurs, CEOs, software developers, HR professionals, salespeople, you name it! What's even better is they each have a completely unique perspective that is definitely worth taking in. This month's magazine, not surprisingly, is an example of what makes this type of work great. We talked to the CEO of Mortenson, Fargo business legend Steve D. Scheel, a

person who is at the forefront of growing Esports in the state, the local EDC and many more interesting individuals who are working to make our area the best it can be. Take a peek and see what each has to say I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

Brady Drake Brady Drake Fargo INC! Editor

Brady Drake, Fargo INC! Editor




United Way of Cass-Clay

During this year’s School Supply Drive, I met a mom and her 9-year-old daughter. They shared how excited they were to have an apartment, after living in a homeless shelter for nearly a year, and prior to that, living in a tent in Lindenwood during the winter. Since hearing their story, I have imagined many times what that experience would be like, and how their lives could have been different if they had never became homeless. By focusing on innovative solutions, we can change the stories for families like that mom and daughter. This year, we announced our goal of preventing 90% of children and families from becoming homeless by 2023. I invite you to learn more, and be inspired by this year’s video. Visit us at unitedwaycassclay.org.



President & CEO

Dakota Business Lending

It’s crazy what one leaf on the ground, a sudden drop in temperature, and a few “Back to School” pictures can do. These are signs of change; a transition; the coming of a whole new season. As if 2020 hasn’t been filled with enough instability and change already! But these season changes also provide us with a subtle and important reminder: to keep moving forward. Whether we’re ready or not, the days will pass by and the seasons will come and go. It’s up to us to take it one moment at a time and use each day to the best of our abilities. Let’s move forward together and embrace these new changes – whatever they may bring!


Moore Holding Company

Last month, I wrote about golf legend Ben Hogan’s commitment to practice. He needed to “dig his answers out of the dirt.” But while he was fanatical about practice and golf swing theory, he also said, “The ultimate judge of your swing is the flight of the ball.” Hogan knew there was more than one way to do things and that technique without results was meaningless. The proof is in the outcome. In business, too, strictly adhering to a process, theory or technique doesn’t make sense when it doesn’t produce the desired result. We can and should learn from others, but each of us needs to find our own solution given our circumstances and objectives.

Communications and Marketing Officer

FM Area Foundation

Fall is officially here, and as we transition into the last few months of the calendar year, many people begin thinking about making their end-of-year gifts. If you have questions about the ND Charitable Income Tax Credit, gifts of stocks and bonds, retirement assets or others, the staff at the FM Area Foundation can work with you and your financial advisor to find a charitable giving plan that provides you with tax savings, as well as support to charitable causes that matter to you.

VP of Finance and Operations

FMWF Chamber of Commerce

Democracy is good for business, and we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to make their voice heard. 2020 brings unique ways to be civically engaged. First, thank you to those who participated in the Census. Happening every 10 years, information gathered from the Census directly translates to Congressional representation, federal funding and regional districting. Secondly: Vote! Presidential elections only happen every four years and greatly affect the direction of our nation. There are several crucial races and issues up and down the ballot this November. No matter which side of the aisle – or river – you are on, we encourage you to research the issues and cast your vote. This simple action is so important to exercising your rights and influencing the change that you believe in. Though The Chamber doesn’t endorse candidates, we are dedicated to educating members of the community on candidates and their stances. Please visit our website (fmwfchamber.com/ local-elections) for resources, opportunities and voting information.

Director of Ecosystem

Chief Innovation Officer

Founder and Director

KODEE FURST Program Manager

Emerging Prairie

Greater FM Economic Development Corporation

The Executives Club of Fargo - Moorhead

The Nice Center

Innovation is a team sport.

I’ve had a wide variety of jobs in my career and it feels really nice to have landed here at GFMEDC for the past 8 years. Nice that I love my job; nice that we have a great work culture and leadership; nice that I get to be resourceful to help people and our community each day; nice that our organization is making positive impacts on our economy and region. Thank you Fargo Inc for highlighting the EDC this month.

Daily, we’re bombarded with unsolicited advice from our friends, families and coworkers, from lifestyle gurus and passing motorists. We are continually inundated with gratuitous opinions from pseudo celebrities, self-important politicians and armchair psychologists on social media.

To advance our mission of entrepreneurship for all, it’s critical for women to see others who look like them building, scaling and sharing their founder stories.

Last month, Grand Farm hosted an Innovation Day on Healthcare in Rural Communities. What does that have to do with agriculture? Well, as it turns out, a lot. At first glance, the obvious answer is: If agriculture is going to survive, the small towns need to survive. However, as you dive deeper, autonomous drones can be used to deliver life-saving medication to the farm. Farms can be designed to make living at home longer more attainable. Agriculture needs to be more profitable so small towns can attract more residents. It's all connected. Innovation doesn't happen in a vacuum. Innovation is a team sport and that's what Grand Farm is all about.

While we are the organization and the daily boots-on-the-ground for helping foster new wealth and growth, the economic development work in its entirety is a team sport. And, our community works really well as a team through collaboration, referrals, funding, strategic planning, etc. – to collectively move the ball forward. Thank you to all our “teammates” such as our EDC investors, Board, agency/organizational partners, primary sector companies, educators, engaged residents & more.

It can become so overwhelming and muddled that you may not get a clear opportunity to hear MY advice or opinion. So here it is…everything you need to know to live a good life, summarized in 3 brilliant quotes: 1. “Life is a grindstone. Whether it grinds us down, or polishes us up, depends on us.” 2. “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” 3. “It’s nice to be important, but more important to be nice.”

Our second annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Week recently wrapped up and accelerated connections and knowledge while shining a light on the incredible organizations committed to growing a more inclusive entrepreneurial community. 2020 has been full of changes, but one thing remains the same – our belief that we need to widen the path to entrepreneurship so that we might build back a more diverse and resilient economy.



“The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them.” ~ Ellen Johnson Sirleaf uCodeGirl exists to support teen girls to dream big and explore possibilities for the future of innovation. We give them opportunities to try hard things, opportunities to make mistakes and opportunities to experience the sweet taste of success as they think differently and solve their own tech problems. We tell them to come as they are because we believe they already have a natural curiosity, focus, and intellect to succeed in STEM fields. Join us as we invest in leaders, unlock potentials and help communities thrive.

Be resilient. Be prepared. Be nice. My opinion? #3 is most important. Have a great life. armchair psychologist, Kurt McSparron Thank you to Thomas Holcraft (1), Abraham Lincoln (2) and Harvey Mackay (3) for your words.



OCTOBER 2020 Volume 5 Issue 10

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

Publisher EDITORIAL Editorial Director Editor Graphic Designer Contributors

INTERACTIVE Business Development Manager

Inbound Marketing Strategist Videographers Executive Sales Assistant Graphic Designer ADVERTISING VP of Business Development Sales Executives

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Mike Dragosavich Drago@SpotlightMediaFargo.com Alexandra Martin Brady Drake fargoinc@spotlightmediafargo.com Kim Cowles John Machacek, Shontarius D. Aikens, Bethlehem Gronneberg, Steve Dusek, Paul Smith

Nick Schommer nickschommer@spotlightmediafargo.com Kirsten Lund Tommy Uhlir, Laura Alexander Kellen Feeney Ben Buchanan Paul Hoefer Paul@SpotlightMediaFargo.com Zach Olson Zach@SpotlightMediaFargo.com clientrelations@spotlightmediafargo.com Jenny Johnson Christy German Colleen Dreyer Cassie Wiste John Stuber

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MEET OUR TEAM AT BRADY - Digital Solutions

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“We have been working with SWL for 8 years. They help us with HR practices, contracts, and other legal issues that come up. I love how progressive and proactive they are. They have always felt like a partner and not just a law firm we call when we need something.� MIKE DRAGOSAVICH

Founder, Spotlight


It's no secret that downtown Fargo is thriving. In just the past few years this sector of town has reinvented itself and brought in a new slew of restaurants, shops, offices and tenants. Luxury apartments and condos are abundant and there certainly is no shortage of places to call home, no matter your taste, age or lifestyle. So come with us this month as we will highlight some spectacular ways to do it all downtown.

Things are cooling off in FargoMoorhead. Whether we want to admit it or not, winter is on its way and we know how unforgiving it can be. No matter how chilly it may get in the coming months, there is nothing a little comfort food can't cure when it comes to the cold-weather blues. Whether it is a nice slice of meatloaf, a hotdish, pasta or anything in between, we all have a dish that makes us feel warm inside. So set aside your diet this month and come with us on a comfort food journey. Trust us, you will not regret it.

The last seven months have been hard on the sports world. Games, tournaments and entire seasons have been either postponed or canceled altogether. North Dakota State has not been able to avoid this sports exodus either. Despite student-athletes losing seasons and the chance to do what they love, they continue to forge ahead. With little to no clarity in sight, it is the dedication, strength, mental toughness and desire that continues to push Bison student-athletes. Somehow, they continue to be motivated to succeed. As we know, that is just the Bison way...




for Business Capital Capital is a catalyst. It is a necessary ingredient for a business to launch, grow, make an acquisition, transfer ownership, or weather challenging times. Lenders play a crucial role in helping businesses achieve their goals – and there are lots of things businesses can do to make the process smoother and more effective.

Refresh your business plan so you can be open to opportunities The key idea here is to think about how your business would appear to an outside party. Are your books balanced? Do you have a good business plan? Are your goals realistic? Especially during the COVID-19 era, businesses should update their business plans and projections and keep their balance sheet

Whether amid economic uncertainty or in flush times, it’s always smart to start with the fundamentals of good credit: How to qualify for it, how to borrow it, and how to use it. Finding capital starts with a good partner who can guide you every step of the way:

clean. This can position you well to get capital if an opportunity comes up, and streamlines the process if you are ready to sell.

Focus on investments that pay long-term dividends When rates are low, high-impact investments become more affordable. In manufacturing that might mean automation,

Talk to your banker earlier rather than later It’s important to explore financing at the same time you are considering purchase agreements, ownership stakes, equipment investm ents or other strategic discussions. Depending what you are doing, how you finance it and how

or in other businesses it might mean upgrades to computer platforms, enterprise resource planning software and other sophisticated tools to improve efficiency. Your banking advisor can help you judge if an investment is worth it.

Don’t be shy asking for help or advice Business capital is complex, and it’s not something most

you structure a deal can have a major impact on the bottom

business owners need to deal with on a daily basis. It’s worth

line because of tax impacts or loan terms.

building a relationship with an advisor who knows banking and finance, the same way you do with legal experts and

Pay attention to the “5 C’s” lenders and investors look for Character, capacity, capital, collateral and conditions are the things that indicate if your business is a strong candidate for credit – and they are also things you need to work on every day. Pay debt on time, don’t take on too much debt, keep a cash reserve, keep assets in good condition and borrow intelligently for good reasons, and you’ll have a much easier time raising needed capital.


accountants so you can move quickly and correctly when opportunity arises.

Whatever your need for capital may be a business advisor at Alerus is ready to help you. We have a long history of helping businesses through all stages of development and all kinds of transformations, and our professionals will get to know you and your goals so they can recommend and help execute the best financial solution. Want to learn more? Reach out today and learn how we can help your business.




The Gfmedc: Pushing The Primary Sector Forward In The Fargo Moorhead Region

What is the Primary Sector?

Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography

The term “primary s e c t o r � f o r m a n y m ay conjure up thoughts of manufacturing or mining and energy production. However, for the purposes of the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, the primary sector is any scalable business in the area that receives a majority of its income from selling goods and services outside the region and around the globe. FARGOINC.COM


As our area’s main organization supporting primary-sector growth, the GFMEDC plays an important role in maintaining and strengthening the economic health of our region. The GFMEDC is charged with attracting outside primary-sector businesses and providing resources for the area’s already established primary-sector businesses to help them thrive. Between 2014 and 2019, the EDC’s support of 154 primary-sector companies had the following effect in the Fargo-Moorhead economy: Total sales within the local economy: $2.7B Total jobs: 5,709 Total payroll: $1.3B Total capital investment: $459.6M Direct Investment Total sq./ft.: 1.9M sq./ft. utilized directly by project companies How do they do it? Funded equally by private investors and local governments, the GFMEDC lives at the crossroads of the political and business world working with elected officials and area businesses to get things done. This encompasses everything from demand-driven workforce development strategies, working with business and education leaders, to supporting our region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and building strong partnerships for community development and businessfocused public policy. While many from the outside might think that the EDC’s primary role is to find and attract the next big company to relocate to the area, this is, most often, not the case. As the GFMEDC’s President and CEO Joe Raso likes to put it, “It’s less about elephant



hunting and more about doing the simple blocking and tackling. Ten percent of what we do is attracting those new businesses to our area; however, 90 percent of what we do is trying to enhance what’s already here by supporting existing industry or helping those already here to create new enterprises.” Golden Path Solutions, a relatively new startup in Fargo, is one of those companies that’s already here. GPS is working to create an ecosystem where schools, employers and students work much more deliberately to prepare for the future, and they are familiar with the GFMEDC’s impact firsthand. “We have been supported by the EDC in so many ways, whether it be introductions to potential customers, feedback on our business model or connections to influencers for feedback and networking,” said Golden Path Solutions Founder and CEO Patrick Mineer. “We recently received a micro loan through their Growth Initiative Fund that helped us start to do more marketing and outreach to schools and employers, and we are so appreciative of their support and investment in area businesses.” Although the EDC helps countless businesses like GPS directly by connecting them to financial help, the majority of their impact goes unheralded with the organization serving as a liaison between the entrepreneur and various organizations. We at Fargo INC think the GFMEDC and its employees deserve more attention, so, let’s take a look at four of their outward facing members making a huge impact.

A Word From Randy Gerhold, GFMEDC Board Chair

I have had the privilege of being on the EDC board for the past eight years. During that time I have seen the EDC focus on many areas important to the region. I have seen us partner with other great organizations, such as Emerging Prairie, Valley Prosperity Partnership and The Chamber. Our priority is helping and growing our primary sector businesses, but we also have realized the importance of partnering on initiatives that benefit the entire region. Under Joe’s leadership and through the g r e at w o r k o f t h e E D C s ta f f, we have seen a renewed focus on primary sector organizations, building relationships with our investors and engaging more d e e p ly w i t h t h e C h a m b e r o n initiatives such as Fueling Our Future.

Joe Raso

President & CEO



Joe Raso got his first job in economic development in 1994 at the University of Northern Iowa while completing a Master’s program in Public Policy. Since then, Raso has been the Director of the Cedar Falls Iowa Main Street Program; Executive Director of Delaware County Iowa Economic Development; President and CEO of Iowa City Area Development Group; President and CEO of Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance (merged Chamber and EDC); and President of a private consulting firm called Blane, Canada Ltd. Raso saw a great opportunity to join the GFMEDC in 2018 as the President and CEO. Raso noted that there were numerous factors that made the Fargo Moorhead region and the organization such a good fit for him: “It was really a combination of things, which included:” • An organization that had already shown the importance of strategic workforce development, entrepreneurship and ecosystem building that goes hand-in-hand with existing industry and targeted recruitment programming • The leadership had already shown a strong commitment to the financial support of the organization to allow us to develop new programming to build off of the foundation already created • Very strong companies across growth industries, and new and upcoming sectors such as autonomous systems, which I was familiar with from my work in Iowa and Colorado • Coming back to the Midwest and the strong work ethic and commitment to doing the right things and supporting one another • I loved the idea of working in a market that includes two states, which provides multiple options for people and companies wanting to be in the region • At a personal level, I’ve felt a sense of psychological security to bring forward ideas and build a team to implement them and adjust as we learn what is working or not working • A side bonus to all of this is my partner, Bree, was born and raised in the region so it brings her back to family and friends

As President and CEO, Raso oversees the EDC’s comprehensive approach to economic development to accelerate job and wealth creation in Cass County, North Dakota, and Clay County, Minnesota. He said there are a number of things that make this an exciting place to work on economic development, including: • Community leaders focused on moving initiatives forward to maintain our competitive edge • The industry sectors have huge growth potential – ag tech, autonomous, software, advanced manufacturing, medical devices/ biotech, finance, etc. • There are strong partnerships among many organizations, public and private, and that bodes well for taking advantage of opportunities • The continued positive impact of our education system and the asset it continues to be going forward

still have things we can improve on. Raso often thinks about making sure that the FM region sets itself apart in attracting and nurturing independent contractors. “Nationally, there are 150+ million people in the workforce, and last year I think between 57 million to 60 million received an IRS Form 1099, meaning they did some kind of contract work,” said Raso. “The more we see the growth of the 1099 economy, the more the marketplace has to be attractive to those who want to work independently and for companies who are looking more-and-more to hiring contract workers to stay competitive, creative and keeping long-term costs manageable.”

Even with all of those great things going for the area, Raso says we



John Machacek Chief Innovation Officer



"The satisfaction in my job comes from helping people. I like seeing how we use programs to help companies g r o w m o r e e f f i c i e n t ly a s w e l l a s seeing a connection lead to something else on their paths to success."

John Machacek started with the GFMEDC in 2003 and later rejoined the organization in 2012 after working as a business banker at U.S. Bank and the VP of Finance & Operations at the United Way of Cass-Clay from 20062012. In his role, Machacek works through both the micro and macro aspects of entrepreneurial development. At the macro level, Machacek works with Emerging Prairie, curates the Startup Digest Fargo, makes connections for entrepreneurs and markets the Fargo Moorhead area as a good place for entrepreneurs. At the micro level, Machacek meets with entrepreneurs to learn their stories, find out what stage the business is currently at, what their current needs are and how he can help them. Machacek believes his ability to help entrepreneurs is a result of knowing a little bit about a lot of things. “We are a conduit for a lot of these things,” said Machacek. “There is a large variety of financing, tax and job programs out there, as well as strategic connections. Our job is to listen to the primary-sector companies and be a mechanism to guide them in the right direction.” On top of Machacek’s main role with the GFMEDC, he also manages their Growth Initiative Fund (GIF), a separate nonprofit that is a supporting organization of the GFMEDC. The GIF is a revolving loan created more than 20 years ago with funding assistance from Cass County, the City of Fargo and the City of West Fargo.

GFMEDC’s progress toward three-year goals (2019-2021) as of September 2020: • Completed 45 projects towards goal of 85 • Supported company investments of $184M towards $250M capital investment goal • Companies committed to create 820 jobs towards 1,500 new jobs goal • Supported company expansions of 836,000 s q . / f t. t o w a r d 9 0 0 , 0 0 0 s q . / f t. u t i l i z e d g o a l .

tifanie gelinske Sr. Vice President of Workforce Development



Tifanie Gelinske started working with the GFMEDC in 2004 and moved into her workforce development role in 2005. The EDC has focused on workforce development since the late 90’s and Gelinske, with past experience assisting New Americans find employment, was excited to move into the role. The EDC’s Workforce Development initiatives support primary-sector companies with their workforce needs. "Pre-COVID, our region had a very low unemployment rate and employers struggled to find enough talent with the right skills. Now, during COVID, our unemployment rate is a bit higher at 5.1% (in July 2020), but many employers are continuing to add people to their teams. I support primary-sector companies when they’re trying to attract and retain talent.” Gelinske said over the years, the GFMEDC has implemented a variety of creative solutions to support workforce recruitment, retention and development aligning with various market changes. However, right now the EDC focuses on four core initiatives to support companies. 1. The GFMEDC offers a research tool called Emsi, which helps employers attract talent into the market. If companies are looking for employees with a certain skill set or are trying to market the area to prospective employees, they can give them information on what our market’s demographics looks like. 2. liveinfargo.com – This website helps those who are thinking of coming to the area and those who have recently come to the area get a better sense of what's going on in the community and ways to get involved.

3. Living Fargo Tour - Pre-COVID, Gelinske provided community tours, answering questions and driving a candidate around Fargo Moorhead, showing them things like neighborhood schools, shopping and dining. *Currently the GFMEDC is working to create an online virtual tour. 4. FM Welcome Party - Pre-COVID, this in-person party was meant to be a retention tool. Targeted to people new to the area, the event provides information and gives people an opportunity to meet providing a sense of connection. "We certainly want the whole community to know that the party is for everyone," said Gelinske. *Currently the GFMEDC is working on an online format of the FM Welcome Parties to be more COVID friendly. Gelinske said that in addition to the four core initiatives, the GFMEDC is always willing to be a resource and have conversations to support organizations in other ways. In addition to her direct work with employers and prospective employees, Gelinske also works with K-12 and Higher Ed to help better align education with the evolving workforce needs of the region’s companies.



ryan aasheim Chief Business Development Officer



Ryan Aasheim started in his role with the GFMEDC in 2019 after working for a small economic development consulting firm called Praxis Strategy Group headquartered in Grand Forks. While there, Aasheim managed special projects focused on promoting emerging technology spaces like unmanned aircraft systems and precision agriculture. At this position, he had the opportunity to meet and work with a number of the GFMEDC team members and prepare himself for his future role. Once onboard at the GFMEDC, Aasheim began working to learn more about the local area and the approximately 400 primary-sector businesses in Cass and Clay Counties "When I started in this position, I was familiar with a number of companies in the market already. But certainly, there were a lot of companies I hadn't met before and wanted to learn more about those that I was less familiar," said Aasheim. “Connections are extremely important, and an often underestimated part of our work. The more I know about a company’s business and major pain points, the more effective I can be at making meaningful connections to partners, collaborators and supporters."

"We look at economic development as a team sport. We want the EDC, the city and the county to be partners in a business's growth and expansion," said Aasheim. "We're all going to benefit from a business's growth and expansion. A company’s success means the cities and counties are going to benefit from increased payroll taxes, sales taxes and property taxes, as well as people going out and buying homes and shopping. It takes a lot of risk and a lot of cash to grow." Aasheim makes it clear to the companies he works with that the GFMEDC is connected to a lot of resources at the state and federal level, so those companies don't necessarily need to know things like the process for property tax exemption. However, Aasheim states that timing is everything – some resources are only available before a business starts a project. "You just need to tell us what you're doing, where your opportunities are and where your challenges are. I rarely leave a meeting with a company leader where we don’t come away with at least one or more connections, tools or ideas to move the company forward." If you are interested in learning more about how the GFMEDC can help your primary-sector business, visit gfmedc.com.

Aasheim tries to meet with around 150 of the approximately 400 primary-sector companies per year in person or via technology. After getting to know these businesses, much like Machacek, Aasheim begins looking for a way to help. "It could be something as simple as a snow removal issue, a parking issue or something much more complex like workforce challenges or financing a building expansion." There are very few limits to what Aasheim and the GFMEDC team will do to try and help the primary-sector businesses they work with.

Aasheim also helps with the attraction of new businesses to the area. His expertise i n p r e c i s i o n a g r i c u lt u r e a n d u n m a n n e d aircraft systems comes in handy in this part of his role. FARGOINC.COM


Rated as the 98th largest privately-owned firm in the United States by Forbes in 2019, Mortenson is an absolute powerhouse of a local company. With its headquarters in Minneapolis and locations in Fargo and all across the country, Mortenson has built its success constructing everything from sports stadiums to renewable energy facilities. With such a strong company under his watch, it's safe to say President and CEO of Mortenson, Dan Johnson, has some interesting things going on. We caught up with him to learn more.



Dan Johnson President and CEO of Mortenson



A Strong NDSU Connection

Dan is one of 65 current NDSU alumni that are team members at Mortenson 46


What was your first experience with construction? I grew up in a construction family in a town of 500 people in west central Minnesota called Ashby. My family were all masons growing up. When you turned 14 years old, you were expected to start working on a job site as a mason tender. When my cousins and I started working together the summer I turned 14, I realized pretty quickly that I probably wasn't cut out to be a physical laborer. As I looked at my uncles and cousins who did that for a living, I realized that's a really tough job. I earned a tremendous amount of respect for the men and women that work in the field early on in my life. Later on, I started college in the tri-college system as an architectural student at Moorhead State. During my time in college, I worked construction to pay for tuition. I quickly realized in the classroom that while I could draw, I was not an artist and being an architect is really about art. It's really about creating and being creative. I also realized I was more suited to make somebody else's creativity come to life. So, my advisor advised me to check out NDSU's Construction Engineering and Management programs, which are some of the best in the nation. I really liked the fit and haven't looked back since. As I neared graduation, I only had one interview. Fortunately, that interview was with Mortenson where I have worked for almost 35 years now. What was your time like at NDSU? I have to imagine you were pretty busy with all of the construction work you were doing. I played some intramural sports but I would typically have two or three jobs. Though there wasn't a lot of time for other activities, I did have a lot of fun. Some of my best friends in life have been folks that I met at NDSU. Could you give me 360-degree bullet-pointed overview of what your role as CEO entails at Mortenson? I would say there are probably four main things I focus on, maybe more. Safety would be one of them. At the end of the day, no matter how successful we are, no matter how many projects we have on time, no matter how many projects are under budget and no matter our profitability, we don't want anyone getting hurt on our job sites. We have a zero injury program. We believe that all injuries are preventable and we strive for zero injuries on all of our projects. I think a cousin to safety is culture. Most companies say that what makes them unique is their people. But of course, when every company says they're unique because of their people, you scratch your head and say, "Well that can't be." However, I do believe that companies can have unique cultures. I think those cultures are what attract and retain a certain type of person and that's what I believe we have. The next thing would be growth. Growth is important because it provides opportunity for people. If you're not growing, you're stagnating. It really is incumbent upon me and the rest of our senior leadership team to be looking downfield, scanning the horizon and developing a strategy for the next opportunities. Lastly, I think it's about putting the right people in the right place and supporting them. It's not trying to do their jobs for them.

Target Field Via Mortenson

Though the average company project size is under $10 million, as the No. 1 general contractor for sports in the country, they have built a number of professional sports facilities over the years. US Bank Stadium Via Mortenson



Allegiant Stadium Via Mortenson

As a huge sports fan, one of my first reactions when I found out we were going to be doing a story with you was, "Oh, they built US Bank Stadium and they're building the new Raiders stadium in Las Vegas and so forth." How does Mortenson bid a project like that, and what does your involvement look like? Are you sitting down and talking with Mark Davis? One of the biggest misconceptions about construction is that we bid our work, when actually most of our work isn't bid. We position and negotiate based on a fee, which is only a small portion of the project, let's say 3 percent of the project, as well as our general conditions, which is essentially our people. We're typically hired early on when the designers are brought on board. After that, we might spend a year working on a stadium in what's called pre-construction during the design phase. This entails designing the project, making estimates, doing constructability reviews, figuring out what the schedule is going to be, figuring out what we can build and figuring out what the cost is going to be. Then we take it a step further by helping our customers design the project so that, in the case of a sports facility, it actually generates more revenue and has a better fan experience. One thing we do in sports is utilize our digital integration business, which is essentially putting in the whole Wi-Fi system. So it goes beyond just building the project, we incorporate a multitude of other services that go into making the finished product successful. We get very close with our customers during that process and during the construction process.

Rush Creek Wind Farm Via Mortenson

Three Cedars Solar Via Mortenson

Can you tell me a little bit about the company's journey into the renewable energy space? I've been told you were pretty instrumental in that. I was fortunate to be one of the people that was involved early on. We got our first chance in 1995 when we got a call from what was at the time Northern States Power and is now Xcel Energy. They had an agreement with the Public Utility Commission to build wind turbine projects in order to keep their nuclear power plants going. Our first wind project was in Iowa. We are now one of the leading renewable energy builders in the United States for wind and solar. Adding to that success, we also build the third leg of that stool, which is battery storage. Combining battery storage projects with wind and solar is very important so utilities can store energy and deliver it when the demand is there. One of the challenges with renewable energy is that it produces energy when the wind blows and when the sun shines, but that isn't always 50


necessarily when you need power. That's why we're now designing and building large battery storage facilities to store the energy and deliver it to the grid when you need it. That sort of high-level battery storage has to be a relatively new thing, isn't it? It's a new thing over the past few years. In the past, we've done smaller ones, but we're getting ready to do some really big ones. The smaller ones were $1 million to $5 million kinds of projects. We're now going to start doing $50 million to $250 million projects. So it's accelerating pretty quickly.

Can you tell me about your advanced leadership development program? 15 years ago I realized I was the youngest person on our senior leadership team and our senior leadership at that time was probably 10 people. I realized that all my partners were going to retire before me and the company was growing really fast. We didn't really have a way to prepare new, up-and-coming leaders. When I started, the way I was prepared to be a leader was essentially around the “campfire.� With how much the company has grown, we can't rely on that campfire way of learning to drive our culture and how we lead. So, we designed and put in place a year-long advanced leadership program. Every year, we take about 25 up-and-coming leaders in the organization and put them through our advanced leadership program. Most of the classes are taught by senior leaders and we talk about our own personal experiences, failures, vulnerabilities, things that we didn't do correctly and what we learned from it all. I think one of the magic parts is being vulnerable in front of people and saying, "I made mistakes, and here's what I learned from it." That really changes the dynamic in the room, and by the end of the year you know those 25 people really well and they know you really well. It's been a fantastic program. A couple of years ago, we also decided we needed a leadership program for team members that don't go through the advanced leadership program. So, we created a program called Lead BLU where every team member in the company participates. It's really about perpetuating our culture and growing together. It's about advancing people as leaders and continuing their self-learning and their ability to communicate and lead. It allows people to grow in horizontal careers, not just up the ladder. We celebrate this and the growth opportunity it provides for all team members. Take a superintendent in the field, who works their whole career focused on being the best builder they can be, we want to celebrate that because becoming an expert at your craft, an expert in your field, is as important to the company and maybe more important than the people that climb the ladder and become vice presidents. What's it like being the CEO of a family-owned company? I'm very fortunate. The Mortensen family is incredibly generous and incredibly smart in the way they lead the business. David Mortenson is the only Mortenson family member who's actively involved in the construction company. He's my partner in every way in running the company. He's a chairman who's really an executive chairman and is very active. There isn't a major decision that we make as a company or that I make as a CEO that David is not involved in. The family is also incredibly generous in terms of giving back to the community and we couldn’t be more fortunate for their involvement 52


Doing Good In The Community Johnson's son has Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease, and the research into dealing with the disease is very important to Johnson who is very active with the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation. "Mortensen has been an incredibly generous giver to that organization," said Johnson. Johnson is also heavily involved in the ACE Mentor Program, an organization focused on getting high school students exposed to the architecture, construction and engineering fields. Much of the program works with innercity schools where kids wouldn't otherwise get exposed to opportunities in those fields.



Fargo's Newest Coworking Space: Railyard Offices By Brady Drake Photos by Nicole Mendoza





ith our work world constantly changing, Railyard Offices' option to rent space on a month-to-month basis is a great option for many of our area's small businesses and independent contractors. It is also a great resource for those who are working from home and only need a day here and there, to recharge in a professional atmosphere, or just take a break from working at their kitchen table. There are day passes and punch cards available. Not only is the space convenient with flexible membership options, but it's also comfortable and economical. All of the furniture is ergonomic and desks are height adjustable. Unlike traditional office space, membership at the Railyard includes utilities, office equipment, lawn care/snow removal and even coffee. "If we're open for a while and we find that we are missing something, we can accommodate as we learn more about our members’ needs," said Lori Michels, General Manager. Once you become a member at the Railyard Offices, you’ll also get to enjoy the benefits of the coworking network they belong to. "If you're traveling somewhere, Chicago or Denver for example, monthly members have three free passes per month that can be used at coworking spaces within the Proximity network," said Michels.

Pricing Options Virtual Office: Business address, mail receiving, discounted/free event access, meeting room rent access, mail forwarding add-on available Starting at $69/month Drop In: Open desk, work table access, lounge access, use of office equipment. 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. building access M-F. $25 Single Day Pass. Daily Punch Card 5 for $100 Hot Desk: 24/7 access, open desk, work table access, lounge access, use of office equipment, meeting space discounts, includes 4 hours of huddle room time Starting at $150/month Dedicated Desk: 24/7 access, assigned desk with lockable cabinet, work table access, lounge access, use of office equipment, meeting space discounts, includes 4 hours of huddle room time Starting at $250/month Private Offices: 24/7 access, lockable office, desk & locking cabinet, work table access, lounge access, meeting space discounts, scaleable options/price, variety of office sizes available, include 6 hours of huddle room time Starting at $350/month Meeting and Event Spaces available for 6 to 50 people










To learn more visit railyardoffices.com FARGOINC.COM


How the FMWF Chamber of Commerce is Working to Create a Better Business Environment



"Your Chamber stands firm in supporting diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces and communities. Differences should be celebrated. In addition, we believe that teams with diverse experiences and backgrounds will succeed. To make real progress, we must look at ourselves and work together to make our region a more inclusive place. Not only for business but all facets of our lives. The Chamber's commitment to you is to create environments for meaningful discussions. We will offer education and information to all community members and employers. We will look for opportunities to listen, to learn and continue to educate ourselves on these issues. We will look for partnerships to create sustainable strategies and solutions to drive growth and prosperity for all. As you and your organization continue down the path to becoming more diverse, inclusive and equitable, we challenge you to share with us and our community the work you are doing. We want to hear your successes and support your efforts.

The strength of our region is on all of us, and together we can create a better future." Sandi Piatz, chair of the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, opened the virtual series, "The Business Case: Why a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategy is Important for Business Success," with the above remarks on September 10. The session was presented by Kira Kimball, Chief Innovation Officer & Certified Diversity Professional at Marsh & McLennan Agency, was the first segment of a new education series titled Building Inclusive and Equitable Workplaces, and is part of a larger push by The Chamber to create a more diverse and equitable business community. Sign up for the remaining sessions or view past sessions at fmwfchamber.com/diversitytraining. The series is open to everyone at no charge.

Kira Kimball, Chief Innovation Officer and Certified Diversity Professional at Marsh & McLennan Agency

Photo via FMWF Chamber of Commerce Planning for the virtual series started when Kimball approached leadership at The Chamber with the idea to present on diversity, equity and inclusion. She said they were very receptive. "They jumped on board right away. There was no hesitancy, and that is just such an indicator of the type of leadership that is in Fargo Moorhead West Fargo right now," said Kimball. "They really want to make a transformational change and empower business and industry with these skills." Kimball has spent the better part of her career working for diversity and inclusion. She did so during her decade spent teaching, advising and counseling students at Purdue and Ohio State and she does now as the first person in North Dakota and South Dakota to earn the National Diversity Council Certified Diversity Professional designation. FARGOINC.COM




Why are the transformational changes so important to you personally? As a community member, I know our communities are changing. One of the things that I put in my presentation last week was the demographics of the Fargo school system, and that it has become much more diverse. I remember being a kid and looking up to the adults to see what's out there for me. 'Who's doing something that I want to do?' When I think of the diverse students, we need to as business leaders start changing the way that we look in terms of our leadership and our decision-makers and our board leaders so that the diverse students have someone to look up to. I'm really passionate about that because I believe we want our students and our families to stay in our communities and find meaningful work and opportunity for themselves and their families. How do these presentations push that forward? What this presentation series is crafted to do is to give employers an introduction to best practices for diversity, equity and inclusion. The purpose is really to provide them with insights into why this is important from a business perspective. Inclusive leadership is different from just being a good leader. Unconscious bias can get in the way of our organizations and their success. Developing cultural competencies, which is our fourth session, will help an employer engage in diversity and retain that talent and really, hopefully, differentiate themselves because of the diversity. Also, you can help your employer brand a lot when you recognize that diversity elevates you and puts you in a position to not only attract talent, but to build your business and to grow your business. Can you give us a synopsis of what you talked about in the first session? We kicked it off with a business case, because we want to make sure employers understand that there is a real business opportunity here. So, I tried to set the tone for anybody who's not so sure about this. We talked about the changes in demographics, in our communities we are seeing a greater number of minorities. When you think about the buying



power of different communities, buying power for minorities is growing by leaps and bounds whether it's new Americans, millennials, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Indigenous populations, individuals with disabilities or the LGBTQ+ community. As a business leader, you are trying to gain market share and thinking of diverse populations as a customer, a client, a consumer, and thinking about their buying power is important for businesses who want to develop new products or services or go into a different market. Thirdly, there's a real return on investment. There's really good data that shows executive teams, boards of directors and even management teams that are more diverse based on race, ethnicity or gender will have a 25 to 30 percent increase in opportunities for revenue for the organization. Are there any books that you would recommend to people?

Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography




Clint Howitz of dogIDs certainly does. Howitz has used that love and a love of inventing to fuel his business forward.

Howitz has a long and diverse professional career that has made stops in a number of different industries, including the automotive industry. The Colorado State Pueblo graduate originally got into the pet industry when he started a company, now called Mendota Pet in the 90’s. "During that time, I was starting to realize that e-commerce was becoming more and popular," said Howitz. Eventually, Howitz sold his ownership in Mendota Pet but continued making personalized IDs for dogs. That side business eventually evolved into dogIDs, which has seen changes in its business model as well over its existence. Originally, dogIDs was your traditional e-commerce business, selling mostly products from other companies. More recently, however, they have transitioned to selling their own custom and personalized products. With a wide range of experience in both niches of the e-commerce world, Howitz makes for a fantastic interview. FARGOINC.COM


At dogIDs, pups are welcome in the office. Here is one of the good boys, Zeus.

This iconic photo was used in a 2014 issue of Fargo Monthly.

When did you start to transition to the current iteration of your business? These days there's Amazon, Petco, PetSmart and all of these other really big e-commerce companies. I realized as time went on that it was ridiculous to keep going in that same direction and try to play with the big boys. That's never really what I wanted.

changes eventually, but it's still kind of that way. There just aren't enough people doing it online right now to create the demand for that type of software.

Around 2014-2015 we started really making a shift towards building the dogIDs brand and really getting focused on building these products. It's been a painful transition, a long transition, but I think we're going the right direction now.

Can you elaborate on what is currently missing from the software side of e-commerce for personalized products? I wish that there were some plugins and tools out there that you could use for custom products and not just on the front end, but also on the back end for people that are actually manufacturing the product. There are some cool plugins for the front end customer experience. However, making that work with your production systems gets pretty complicated. That's where all the frustration usually comes in.

How does dogIDs differentiate itself? I think we're still a little bit ahead of the curve because there aren't a lot of people doing personalized pet products right now. Most people are still shipping boxes off the shelf. Where we're trying to take orders and build products as the orders come in and ship them out as soon as we can.

What platform do you guys use for e-commerce? BigCommerce right now.

We're still kind of waiting for our time to shine, so to speak, a lot of the e-commerce tools out there right now don't really cater to personalized custom products. There's a lot of extra heavy lifting to be done when it comes to software development of those sorts of things. That's definitely something we've been fighting for a long time. I'm hoping that





From embroidery to shipping, dogIDs is leading the way in customizable pet products.

Can you tell me a little bit more about some of those pains that you had with the transition? The transition was really the shift to focusing more on our brand, our products and being a manufacturer. Before, we were selling other people's brands and products and that was our main effort. 80 to 85 percent of our sales were dropshipping. Now, it's just the opposite. 90 percent of our revenue is from our branded products that we make in house. So, it's pretty difficult going from a steady stream of revenue to making that change. What's your favorite part about what you do? There's nothing better than making a product and being able to hold it in your hand. For me that's the ultimate satisfaction. I love the fact that we come up with product ideas and actually make them in house. Do you remember the first thing that you invented? With the company I had before, I invented a vest for working dogs called The SkidPlate to wear on their chests so that when they're running through the field they're not getting punctured by corn cobs or rebar or whatever. How do you get in that inventive mind space? I've always been a gearhead. I've always been tinkering with cars and motorcycles and snowmobiles. Since I was in my early teens, you know, I loved figuring out how things work and then making them better. I probably have to also give credit to my years in the automotive industry because that's where I used those skills a lot. I just ended up jumping into the pet industry because I just love dogs so much. I'm doing something that I love. Do you have a favorite breed of dog? I've had labs for many years, it's hard to imagine going with anything else once you've had a lab. They just have such good personalities and they're such good hunting dogs.

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Is there any advice you'd give to people who are early into their entrepreneurial efforts or advice that you would have given to yourself when you were starting out? Don't wait for the right time. Don't wait for things to line up. Don't wait for things to be comfortable. If you wait for things to be comfortable, there's probably not enough passion there. If you want to do something and you really want to make something happen, it's going to be scary as hell.

Visit dogids.com to check out their awesome selection of customizable products.

Have you found that sort of reward? I have. Most people think financial reward is what you're after. That has nothing to do with it. Financial success makes life easier, but that's not really what it's about. It's about making something out of nothing, manifesting your own destiny, personal growth and supporting your family while doing so. What do you find are some of your biggest distractions? I would say the biggest distractions for me are shortcuts. Nine times out of ten those shortcuts don't pay off.






Steve D. Scheel, Board Chair of SCHEELS.

Few names in the Fargo Moorhead business community stand taller than Steve D. Scheel, Board Chair of SCHEELS and winner of the 2020 Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce Legacy Leader award. FARGOINC.COM


Steve D. Scheel accepts the award at the Chamber’s 2020 annual celebration

Steve's continued commitment to excellence and creativity has touched many throughout the region and helped provide opportunities for individuals wearing a SCHEELS name tag they may have never thought possible. "I was a little bit taken aback when Tom Dawson (former chair and current immediate past chair of the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce) first wanted to talk to me and told me about the award," said Steve. "I have been surrounded by good people in my life. You don't win an award like this on your own." This prestigious award recognizes the important role and contributions of long-time local leaders in both shaping and serving The Chamber, metropolitan community and region.

has shared his leadership skills and energy with many causes important to our Chamber and our region. In addition, he and his company are unequaled in their philanthropic contribution to communities in which they do business. It is a privilege to present him with this well-deserved award.” Steve has volunteered on a number of boards and committees around our region. He also spent 16 years coaching youth soccer and hockey in Moorhead and worked with the Hunter Education program in Fargo. "I just really enjoyed it. I knew I wanted to be a teacher and a coach. My dad was the one that really convinced me to come into the business," said Steve. "He told me I could still be a teacher and coach. I've always enjoyed working with kids. One of the greatest jobs I ever had was working as a water-ski instructor at a camp in college. It was just natural to jump on board and get involved. It's just so rewarding."

“The Legacy Leader award is The Chamber’s highest award throughout the year, and perhaps the pre-eminent award in the community,” said Dawson. “Steve is the epitome of a legacy leader. He has been not only instrumental in helping build a world-class sporting goods store, but



"Take good people, lead them by example, immerse them in our culture, and help them to become great at what they do while enjoying their career or part-time work at SCHEELS." -STEVE D. SCHEEL'S MANTRA THAT HE INTRODUCED IN 2013 TO CONTINUE THE EMPOWERMENT OF SCHEELS EMPLOYEES.



Steve's Impact on the

company While the impact of Steve D. Scheel at SCHEELS can't be fully quantified or explained in the pages we have allotted for this story, perhaps his most interesting impact is the transformation of SCHEELS from store to destination. The process towards becoming a must-stop location started in 1977, when Steve was able to open his first store in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. At the time, Steve wanted to make the store an all sporting goods store, his father and uncle who had built a successful base for the company as a home and hardware store originally said no. However, three years later, the Sioux Falls store made the transition to all sporting goods and began to outpace every other store in the company.

built the Tree of Life at Disney World and had them put a giant sequoia in the middle of the store. "This was great," said Steve. "This was cool, but the tree just kind of stood there. Customers came in and took pictures of the tree and it was kind of interesting, but it didn't have the impact we wanted." The lightbulb went off when Steve was reading about how Toys R Us in New York had just put a Ferris wheel in their store. In 2004, SCHEELS put its first Ferris wheel in its Omaha, Nebraska store. Now, almost every SCHEELS store opened since includes a Ferris wheel and many other attractions.

"I still hadn't understood the difference an experience and attractions could bring to a store. I thought if we had the merchandise a customer wanted, when they wanted it, with the best customer service in the industry, we'd be just fine. We always pride ourselves on the almost excessive training of our people just to provide great customer service. But as I began studying, I looked out and I saw Nordstrom doing so well, and I saw Cabella's doing so well. I wondered, 'what can we do differently.'" The first attempt to become a destination came in the Iowa City store in 1998 when Steve contacted the same company that






By Brady Drake

The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce, a finalist for the 2020 Chamber of the Year award, recently announced the 20202021 Board of Directors. While there are a lot of the same great faces helping to lead the way in our business community, we get a chance to say goodbye to a couple of tremendous members, Steve Swiontek (Gate City Bank) and Jeffry Volk (Moore Engineering), while welcoming two fantastic additions, Kara Jorvig (Allegro Group) and Tami Norgard (Vogel Law Firm). Additionally, Sandi Piaztz (Microsoft) has been named Chair. Shawn Dobberstein (Hector International Airport) has been named Chair Elect. Peter Stenehjem (First International Bank & Trust) has been named Treasurer. Jodi Duncan (Flint Group) will be the Member-AtLarge and Tom Dawson (Dawson Insurance, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company) will be the Immediate Past Chair, having served as chair in 2019-2020. 84




























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• 2017 SBA Emerging Leaders Program • 2017 Prairie Business Magazine “Top 25 Women in Business” • 2011 Prairie Business Magazine “40 Under 40” • Certified Personnel Consultant, National Association of Personnel Services • Concordia College, BA


ara Jorvig is the founder and CEO of Allegro Group, a premier consulting, organizational development and talent acquisition firm. For nearly 20 years, she has partnered with CEOs and executive teams to help them assemble, activate and accelerate their A-Teams. Allegro means to play at a pace, and Kara and her team lead and live with that definition at their core. She delivers high-energy workshops, keynotes and consulting sessions that challenge and inspire leaders to reach for new levels of success. Kara is a human capital expert who can unlock an organization’s potential to scale. In her consulting and performance coaching work, she delivers changes of pace and perspective that results in growth. FARGOINC.COM


Hobbies: Cooking, wake surfing and running

Family Husband, Brian; Daughters, Kiah, 10, and Anika, 7

The reason Kara is most excited about being on the board: "I’m excited to be a part of a high-impact team that is committed to advancing and advocating for our business community."


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Kara's favorite chamber events: • ChamberChoice Awards • Voices of Vision • Women Connect

How do you believe the Chamber makes our community better? The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce is a dynamic organization that successfully champions the metro area. It has a tremendous track-record of supporting the development of our business community, advocating for workforce development and providing valuable training opportunities.



If you could impact one thing in our community, what would it be? As a parent of two young girls, I’d love to see the continued expansion of leadership and entrepreneurship programs that empower our next generation of leaders.

What has your experience been like with the Chamber in the past? The Chamber is a terrific way to plug into the pulse of the business community. I’ve enjoyed being involved with a number of Chamber committees and programs, including the Young Professional Network and Women Connect.




• Managing Partner of the largest ND law firm, located in downtown Fargo • Many years of experience lobbying in Bismarck, drafting legislation and pursuing funding for important municipal water supply projects. • Appointed by Governor Burgum as a ND representative on the FM Diversion Task Force • “The Best Lawyers in America” in Environmental Law, Woodward/White, 2008-2020 • Great Plains Super Lawyers®, Thomson/Reuters, 2011-2020 • Leading North Dakota General Commercial Litigation attorney, Chambers USA, 2012-2019 • Leading North Dakota Energy and Natural Resources attorney, Chambers USA, 2018-2019 • Prairie Business Top 25 Women in Business 2018 • Law Degree from Vermont Law School • Masters Degree in Environmental Policy • B.A. in Political Science from the University of North Dakota


ami Norgard has practiced law at the Vogel Law Firm for 21 years and is currently one of the firm’s managing partners. Tami’s law practice focuses on counseling clients and litigation in the areas of energy and natural resource development, including water supply and drainage issues, oil and gas, wind projects, electric cooperative, and land use. Her experience includes serving as legal counsel to many boards, including Garrison Diversion Conservancy District, Western Area Water Supply Authority, Cass County Electric Cooperative, as well as water resource districts, rural water districts and watershed districts. In addition to being board counsel, FARGOINC.COM


her experience includes numerous jury trials, court trials and appeals to the Supreme Courts in North Dakota, Minnesota and federal courts. Tami joined the Vogel Law Firm in 1999 after practicing with the Gray Plant Mooty firm in Minneapolis and after working for the federal government in Washington, D.C. Tami graduated from the University of North Dakota summa cum laude with a B.A. in Political Science. She received her law degree cum laude and a Masters of Studies in Environmental Law and Policy magna cum laude in 1995 from Vermont Law School. Tami has been teaching law school, graduate school and undergraduate courses regularly since 1997. She taught Environmental Law & Policy in a graduate program at NDSU and at UND Law School, as well as Energy Law at Bismarck State University and Civil Rights and Environmental Moot Court classes at the University of Minnesota Law School. She also frequently guest lectures at Concordia College. Tami has supported the community over the years by sitting on various boards including The FMWF Chamber of Commerce Board, Downtown Community Partnership, The Great North Pole, Hope Blooms, Save the Maah Daah Hey Foundation, the United Blood Services Leadership Council, Dakota Montessori School Board, River Keepers Board, Oak Grove Foundation Board, Moorhead Rotary, Fargo Theatre Board and various state bar committees and sections. Tami has also volunteered as a photographer for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. A native of Arnegard, North Dakota, Tami lives in Fargo.

How do you believe the Chamber makes our community better? Without someone pushing the envelope for progress, things stay stagnant. I see the Chamber advocating on really important issues at the legislature and locally. They were quick to provide education and support for businesses during the pandemic. They were quick to respond to any perceived needs for education and support after rioting broke out this summer in connection with the death of George Floyd. They provide a great resource for local businesses for business training. And importantly, the Chamber serves as a larger, louder unified voice that can convey a message that may otherwise be lost if presented from individuals. If you could impact one thing in our community, what would it be? With a joint Chamber, collaboration between the different stakeholders is key for the best interests of the region. With the fast-paced changes in business and education resulting from the pandemic, we are at the cusp of major change in the near future. This will require true collaboration from our stakeholders in order to position the greater Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo region to be competitive and attractive on a regional and even national scale. I want to be part of the glue that keeps everyone together, moving in the same direction. When I first moved to the area, I lived in Moorhead for 12 years and enjoyed the close-knit Moorhead business community. I moved to the Osgood area eight years ago, within the City of Fargo and West Fargo school district. Vogel has offices in Fargo and Moorhead. My significant involvement 92



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with each city and interaction with their political leadership through work or community service provides me with a great background to help foster and direct that collaboration. What has your experience been like with the Chamber in the past? I've been a regular participant in Chamber programming, attending annual meetings, nominating Business of the Year candidates, participating in the Leadership Program, regularly attending and speaking at Women Connect and attending Eggs and Issues. I've greatly enjoyed the programming and all the great relationships I've been lucky enough to find through these programs. Is there anything you'd like to change? As a progressive society, we need to constantly recognize challenges arising within our communities, remain resilient and adapt to change. 2020 has been particularly difficult for local businesses and individuals, with the pandemic, drastic changes in school attendance, racial tensions, diminished budgets, canceled events, etc. I'd like to focus on what the next phase will bring and how we can not only be resilient but also seek opportunities to put North Dakota and our region on the map by being proactive in our approach to these issues. The community should not be content to simply survive these challenges but should seek to position itself to thrive in the future by being proactive about addressing the inevitable changes to business in the future as a result of 2020.

Hobbies: I regularly sign up for a few half marathons a year to force myself to keep running. I'm a huge fan of the Sandy's Donut Run, who wouldn't love eating a donut halfway through the race? I bike around lake country with friends most weekends throughout the summer and do crazy things like put lights on my bike and leave at 5 a.m. so we can bike in the dark and see the sunrise while biking. I go mountain biking on the Maah Daah Hey Trail in the Badlands a few times each summer, which reinforces that I live in Fargo and am not used to biking on hills. I have a knitting group, which is more social than anything, including our annual Las Vegas selforganized "knitting convention."

Family I have a 21-year-old daughter, Avery Zasada, who is a senior at Concordia and planning to go to law school next year. She'll be a great attorney since she loves to argue, or at least tell me when I'm wrong. I'm a recovering hockey mom with an 18-year-old son, Sebastian Zasada, who I just dropped off at the University of St. Thomas to start his freshman year. I'm not sure what I'll do with all the free time I have this winter without high school hockey. I also have an engaging, fun 10-year-old daughter, Piper Zasada, who is a ray of sunshine in my life. My significant other, Steve Burian, is an engineer at Burian & Associates who is very community service-oriented, including serving as the Co-Chair of the Valley Prosperity Partnership. In addition, my parents moved to Fargo from Western North Dakota seven years ago, it is amazing to have them close and to have them as a regular fixture in my life.

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

Upcoming Classes 10/9

Date Night: French Classic 10/17 Oktoberfest! 11/6 Deep Dish Pizza The reason Tami is most excited about being on the board: Bill Schlossman brought me to some Chamber events when he was the Chamber Board Chair. He has always been an inspirational leader in my law firm and reinforced to me the impact of the Chamber in the community. Because of him, I participated in the Chamber Leadership Program years ago and met great friends and now business colleagues. I continued to participate in Chamber events by speaking at two Women Connect events. Women connect has been an amazing opportunity for so many women seeking networking events to get together, learn from each other and lift others up around them.

Kara's favorite chamber events: 1. The Corporate Cup is a blast. I love the competition and collaboration with my Vogel teammates and friendly competition with other local businesses. 2. The Rachel Hollis event for Women Connect was an incredibly energetic event, attracting over 4,000 women from across the region to see her speak. It's great that the Chamber could provide that opportunity. 3. I have to also list the ChamberChoice award events. We've won Business of the Year in the past and this year we won the Best Place to Work for Young Professionals, which was an incredibly cool event even though it was during a pandemic. Chamber staff broke into the law firm's party watch room with a trophy and cake. Very fun!

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squareonekitchens.com 1407 1st Ave. N, Fargo

Josh Knutson Esports and VR Solutions Director at ByteSpeed 94


Entering the World

of Esports When Josh Knutson was in college, he spent the extra time he had running, training and stretching to help himself better compete on the Track and Cross Country teams at the University of Jamestown. Now, he helps students and schools across our region take on a different type of competition, esports.

Gaming is Growing Newzoo projects Esports’ revenue to hit $1.8 billion by 2022.



Knutson back in his coaching days with the Jimmies.

Knutson, a long time gamer himself, started on the path to the esports world during his first job after graduating from college. Upon graduating, Knutson stuck around in Jamestown and worked in the marketing department where they began looking into esports as a way to attract new students and provide new opportunities on campus. He was chosen to lead the team. "We treated it exactly like a varsity sport," said Knutson. "We stretched 10 minutes prior to practice, we watched film, we had students on scholarship, we recruited, and we competed with schools across the nation." When Jamestown launched its gaming team in 2016, they were the first school in North Dakota to have a team. Knutson would go on to lead the squad for three and a half years before stepping down to accept a position with Bytespeed as the Esports and VR Solutions Director where he has a chance to take esports to an even greater number of students by working with schools to start up their esports teams.

Q&A What are some of the responsibilities as far as coaching and running an esports team? When a school has a program it functions very much like any other sport out there. You're trading game plans, watching film, studying new strategies and looking at ways to get better at the game.

students. Lastly, benefits for students can include access to scholarships to play on college teams, and that opens the door to educational opportunities that might not have been open to some students due to financial barriers.

How did you end up at Bytespeed? I was looking for some new opportunities in the spring of 2019 and they approached me. At Jamestown, we had been their first collegiate esports customer. As an organization, Bytespeed wanted to fulfill a bigger mission of making esports a larger part of their business and devote more resources to it. Currently, I serve as a resource for schools wanting to get started with esports. I talk to schools about how to successfully implement esports as a club team or varsity level program. We help them with the hardware, that's our bread and butter, but I also have three years of coaching experience that I can offer to help them be more successful with the day to day stuff after they get the hardware.

Was Bytespeed really involved in the space before they hired you? Bytespeeds involvement in esports really began in 2016 with the University of Jamestown. Before that, Bytespeed was a computer manufacturer with highlevel gaming systems that were available for purchase, but that's as far as it was before 2016. We're a company of gamers, it's a passion for a lot of our employees. We've been increasing our partnerships that we have with other companies to be able to provide a fullservice solution.

Being on the business side of esports now, what's the thing that has surprised you most about the space? Just how rapidly it's growing. Previously, it was pretty apparent that esports was going to be a really big thing at both the high school and higher ed level. At Jamestown, we were one of the first 20 colleges to start a varsity level program. Fast forward four years later, there are close to 200 schools participating nationwide. Many more high schools are jumping in and devoting resources to it. How can students benefit from esports? Students benefit from esports in a number of ways that are very similar to the benefits you see from traditional sports. Being a part of a team teaches communication skills, critical thinking, it builds teamwork and exposes students to a number of soft skills that you learn from interacting with others in a large group. Students also are able to benefit from having a sense of belonging in a social group that they might not previously have had an outlet for. Beyond all the interpersonal benefits, students that participate in esports often have an academic incentive to try more in school to stay eligible, much like staying eligible for sports, and therefore we have seen grades and attendance improve for those



What are some of the challenges of being in such a new space? There's not a lot of resources out there. There's a lot of education that has to happen. especially when you're talking to schools. A lot of times they've heard of esports before, but they might not know what it is or why they should be adding it. When we talk to schools, we try to let them know about all benefits of esports and all the different reasons why they should add an esports program.

Knutson's First Game:

Visit bytespeed.com to learn more.

Knutson's love affair with gaming started with PokĂŠmon Red, his first video game.







ohn Machacek, Chief Innovation Officer for the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, has worked with countless startups throughout our community over the past seven years. He knows their ups, their downs, but most of all, he knows the questions to ask them. Here are John Machacek’s 10 questions for CoSchedule Co-Founder Garrett Moon who has taken his company's marketing software nationwide.

BY John Machacek PHOTOS VIA CoSchedule



1 Tell us your CoSchedule elevator pitch? CoSchedule offers a suite of marketing tools that help teams get organized, and get better results. Our Marketing Calendar gives marketers the ability to see their entire marketing schedule in one place, and make better decisions about their projects and their process. As companies get organized, we ultimately help them get better results for the companies that they serve.

2 When you first launched, CoSchedule was a calendar/blog scheduler, but has since evolved a bit. Can you tell me more about that? In the early days, CoSchedule was primarily a social media scheduling tool for bloggers and small marketing teams. Today, while we still offer a Blog Calendar product for those customers, our growth comes from larger marketing teams that see CoSchedule as a broader project management tool. In 2019 we launched a brand new Marketing Suite product to serve these customers. This new product now allows us to go into a company and potentially replace two or three other tools that our customers were using before adopting CoSchedule.

3 From day one, you’ve been a big proponent of content marketing (in fact, you even wrote a book about it). Will you please explain to the readers what that is in a nutshell and why it can be effective? Content marketing is all about publishing valuable content on your website, usually through a blog, that attracts visitors to your site and creates loyal fans and customers. We actually started doing content marketing on our website before we launched our original CoSchedule product. Content marketing is quite literally how we built our business. My book, The 10x Marketing Formula, was my way of documenting this method and sharing It with others. My hope is that others are implementing our strategy in their own business and more successfully.

4 I know CoSchedule is very thorough on your hiring and interview process to ideally find that mutual fit. What are the typical steps in this process? Our process includes 5-6 majors steps that include a written hiring packet, a personality test, a project assignment, and detailed questions around our core values. We also conduct a final interview that includes 6-7 of our team members and encourages the candidate to interview our team in the same way that they are interviewing us. The process is really designed to find ‘good fit’ candidates that can be successful with us for the long term and make positive contributions to our team culture.

5 I see those core values listed on your website. How did you come up with those values and why are they important to CoSchedule? A lot of those were just things that (co-founder) Justin (Walsh) and I felt were important right from the beginning. We didn’t have a committee or anything to come up with our core values. They are just things that we felt were important and described the place that we wanted to work. In a startup, I think it’s really up to the founders to set the pace for the type of culture they want to have. As a founder, writing out your own core values early on should help you stay focused on the things that will help you build the type of company and culture that you value most.

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

6 Speaking of a place where an employee really wants to come to work, you have invested a lot of thought into the design, aesthetics and culture of your two locations (in Fargo and Bismarck). Like our core values, a lot of that is simply about creating a space that we want to go to work in every day. People see our office and our culture, and they want to be a part of it. They get excited about working here. I think it also communicates our desire to be forward-thinking, and never settling for good enough. CoSchedule has a different vibe than you’d experience anywhere else and it helps put people at ease and keeps conversations comfortable and easy.

7 Garrett Moon

CEO and Co-Founder of CoSchedule.

Last month I interviewed Jared Hineman of WeCleanLocal. Jared mentioned to me how important your mentorship was as they got the business going and started raising funds? I’m also aware that you’ve consulted with some other entrepreneurs. What is the most common advice they are looking for? There’s so much that a new business has to go through in order to get from A-to-Z, and the answers just aren’t in books. So, it’s really helpful for founders to be able to talk to other people who have been there and done it before. There were many mentors that I had while building CoSchedule and being able to pick up the phone and hear how they solved fundraising, hiring, and strategic challenges was invaluable. As a founder, you are the problem solver in chief, so I love those challenges, and I enjoy helping other founders work through those issues.



Moon is the author of 10x Marketing Formula: Your Blueprint for Creating 'Competition-Free Content' That Stands out and Gets Results

8 You did transition from being a service-based marketing firm to being the product-based CoSchedule we know today. Is there more you can tell me about that experience and your advice? Yeah, some people may not know this anymore but before CoSchedule, me and my co-founder Justin actually ran a marketing agency called Todaymade that we used to build and fund our initial product. I talk to many founders that are trying to make a similar transition and it can be a really difficult one. A lot of people attempt to develop a product to serve their current service customers instead of having a larger/global view of who their customer really is. This can be a limiting viewpoint and my best advice is to keep the two things completely separate. It will help you prove your product faster, and set a better foundation for long-term success.

9 If you could go back in time to Garrett from several years ago, what hindsight advice would you give yourself? I would definitely tell myself to slow down and enjoy the journey a bit more. There are always things to worry and stress about as founder, but learning to enjoy the team, the process and the journey doesn’t come naturally so you have to be intentional about it. You eventually settle in, but the sooner you can get there the better boss and founder you will be.

10 What can we do as a community to help CoSchedule succeed? Continue to support your local startup ecosystem, and your local startups. CoSchedule is a product of North Dakota – our team, our investors and our success was all made right here. We’re proud of that, and hope that there are many more North Dakota success stories to come.



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



Over the weekend, I received an email saying, "We are writing to let you know of a data security incident at a third-party service provider that may have involved some of your personal information." Not good. Chances are you have heard this before, to the point you might be desensitized to the news citing a data breach, ransomware attack, hacks, information leaks and other cyber attacks. Coincidentally, I am taking a course called the Principles of CyberSecurity as part of my Ph.D. in Software Engineering at NDSU. So I tried to decipher the email report with a cyber analyst hat. “Which part of the C-I-A (breach of Confidentiality, data Integrity, Availability of services) did the threat agents compromise?” I wondered. “What was the nature of the ransomware attack?”,”What were the vulnerabilities that led to this incident?”, “What control measures were in place before the hacker intruded and what mitigation efforts followed?” I understand that risk is a factor of life. Compromised data is a subject that ought to demand our full attention. Maybe we didn’t necessarily translate data into value. But remember, the cyber attackers do put a huge sticker price on it.



About uCodeGirl

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



As technology races forward with smart products, so does the threat of cyber attacks in products, systems, protocols, algorithms, programs, interfaces and designs. Even though the field of computer security has been around since the 1960s, the effective protection of assets involving hardware, software, data, people, processes or the combinations of these remains a top concern and challenge among IT leaders. The global pandemic and the move to a virtual computing environment has only intensified the cyber attacks in every industry, and as a result, has gravely exposed the ill preparedness of systems. With the rush to use technology for teaching, learning and continuing school operations in today’s remote environment, higher institutes as well as K-12 schools have become much more vulnerable. According to Microsoft Security Intelligence, 61 percent of nearly 7.7 million enterprise malware encounters reported in May 2020 came from those in the education sector, making it the most affected industry. Introducing new technologies and workflow with limited infrastructural resources, knowledge and experience gaps as well as low funding may have all contributed to the schools being seen as easy targets for unauthorized data access and identity theft. How do we identify threats and vulnerability in order to successfully detect, deter or deflect cyber attacks? Problem: Social Engineering Attack (includes phishing) The cybercriminals research and identify weaknesses in the organization’s security (people, systems or network). Phishing involves tricking or baiting users into giving them confidential information such as passwords and network credentials or installing malicious software through criminal fraudulent downloads or attachments. Counter measures: Filter emails for phishing threats, implement two-factor authentication mechanisms, regularly update clientside operating systems, software, and plug-ins, your employees on security awareness and put in place an incident response plan.

access to the data. Stolen data, financial loss due to ransom, lost productivity, IT costs, legal fees and network modifications. Counter measures: Restrict access privileges to installed software, keep your operating system patched and up-todate, install antivirus software which detects and whitelist such malwares from accessing systems, backup your files, frequently and automatically. Problem: Denial-of-Service (DoS) Attack - The cybercriminals overwhelms an organization’s system’s resources so that it cannot respond to service requests. Unlike the other attacks mentioned above which gives the attacker increased access, the DoS doesn’t provide direct benefits to the attacker but takes the system offline. Counter measures: Secure your network infrastructure, develop a denial of service response plan, practice basic network security, understand the warning signs. problem: password attack, SQL injection attack, cross-site scripting (XSS) attack, man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack, etc Counter measures: Implement an account lockout policy that will lock the account after a few invalid password attempts, least privilege model of permissions in your databases, developers can sanitize data input by users in an HTTP request before reflecting it back.

Cyber Security should be a practiced culture at every organization, much more than the job of an IT administrator. Needed mitigation efforts include individuals’ behaviour, continuous training, policy and procedures, strong passwords, multi factor authentication, educating students until cyber lingos such as ransomware attacks, denial-ofservice attacks, two-factor authentication, etc. can easily roll off their tongue.

Problem: Malware Attack (includes Ransomware) - Malware or “malicious software” is unwanted software in your computer/ network system. The cybercriminals encrypt users' files of an organization and hold it hostage until a ransom is paid to restore FARGOINC.COM



Balance Restored Chiropractic BY Gracie Lian North Dakota Small Business Development Centers


uring a time when many businesses are selling their buildings and office spaces and moving to remote work, Dr. Anna Petry D.C., Owner of Balanced Restored Chiropractic in Fargo, North Dakota, is going against the trend by upsizing her business in an exciting move forward.

A Fargo native, Dr. Petry has spent time living and working all around the world. After graduating from high school, Anna enlisted in the Minnesota Army National Guard; she was deployed to Iraq from 2005-2007. Upon her return and the completion of her military commitment, she obtained her Bachelor of Sciences Degree and a Doctor of Chiropractic from Northwestern Health Sciences University located in Bloomington, Minnesota. She didn’t remain state-side for long after completing her studies and moved around the world to New Zealand where she launched her chiropractic career. She was there for two years until she decided to move home to be closer to family and friends. She then spent over a year working at another chiropractic clinic in Fargo. Dr. Petry attributes her desire to open her own chiropractic office to the experience she gained working in previous offices. “I worked within another chiropractic office which allowed me to gain confidence on the business side of small business and after a year or so, I realized I wanted to take a leap of faith and jump all in on making something my own,” she shared.




The ND SBDC helps North Dakota entrepreneurs and small business owners to start, manage and grow their companies by providing free, professional business advising services, technical assistance and training in a range of areas. The program assists more than 1,000 clients each year through nine service Centers located across the State. The Fargo Center is located in the NDSU Research and Technology Park Incubator. For more information, please visit ndsbdc.org.

Dr. Anna Petry D.C. cutting a ribbon at her business, Balance Restored Chiropractic. Balance Restored Chiropractic’s services include chiropractic care and adjustments, electrical stimulation and ultrasound, active release and soft tissue techniques, muscle work and therapy and a new infrared sauna. At Balance Restored Chiropractic, Dr. Petry is passionate about making sure her clients not only get care, but that they also understand the why and what of their chiropractic care. Education is a main goal of the business as Dr. Petry is driven by her desire to help patients to “better understand what they are doing in their everyday life that may be contributing to their symptoms and suggest changes outside of the office to also benefit their wellbeing.” Dr. Petry attributes the success of her business to a few things – the first being her stubbornness, which she says has allowed her to persevere and continue following her dream! She is also incredibly thankful for the exceptional support she has received from the Fargo-Moorhead community. Because of Dr. Petry’s support system and stubbornness, her business has grown since its inception in 2017. When it first opened, Balance Restored Chiropractic was housed in one room within a shared office space. But Dr. Petry soon realized, “I had this business that I started, and I wanted more and really didn’t know where to start.” Then she heard about the North Dakota Small Business Development Centers (ND SBDC) and their no-cost business advising services. “When I had the idea that I wanted to build my own space, I started the conversation and a friend had mentioned how the SBDC is a great asset,” said Dr. Petry. She was pleasantly surprised to learn that the SBDC serves both new and existing businesses and then she connected with Paul Smith, Fargo’s ND SBDC center director, for business advisor.

data, and developing sound financial assumptions and three-year detailed financial projections. The project was financed through a SBA 504 loan, and the SBDC worked closely with her lending partners, First International Bank & Trust and Dakota Business Lending. “I was blown away by the professionalism that Paul Smith gave me,” said Dr. Petry of her experience. “It can be very intimidating to present your DREAM to someone as you become passionate and protective of what you believe you can do, and the last thing you want is for someone to squander that. However, the process was great. It was overwhelming as we went through a lot of information, but they provide you with the clarity of where you are now and give you an outline of what you need to do to get to your objective.” Thanks to Dr. Petry’s hard work and perseverance, Balance Restored Chiropractic’s brand-new building opened August, 2020. “I really enjoyed working with Dr. Anna who was very determined and quick to pick up what she needed to learn on the business side,” said Smith, “It was great to be at her Chamber ribbon-cutting ceremony in early September to see her dream come to fruition.” It’s a hard time to be a business owner, but Dr. Petry has some advice for other entrepreneurs, “Find a great support system. This doesn’t have to be within the same profession, however, find a few good people that are always constant supporters of you and your business. It's okay to have hard days and realize it’s also okay to ask for help when you need it!”

During the course of eight months, the SBDC assisted Dr. Petry in building a business plan, obtaining industry and local market




Q. In brief summary, what do you do? A. It might be easier to answer the question "What don't you do?" as I wear many hats. Let's start with the job that pays my bills: I am an Intercultural Consultant. I help build better integrated, more equitable workplaces and communities. The formula I use is both simple and complex. It involves pre and post assessments, customized education, mentoring and coaching. I am also a writer and have published one book, Being at Home in The World: CrossCultural Leadership Lessons to Guide Your Journey, and edited Turning Points: True Stories of Thriving Through Adversity. Both books highlight the interconnectedness of people and cultures. These books beautifully complement my consulting work. I am currently working on a short book to pay homage to my deceased father, as well as my first fiction. The table book in memory of my father will capture wisdom from native Burundi proverbs and will be illustrated with art images by my dad. Another job that I do consistently is motivational speaking at different events and for various organizations or groups. The topics typically range from my personal story that many find inspiring to the themes of leadership, faith, humanity and resilience that are weaved in my books. Sometimes, my speaking engagements are straightforward about how my consulting specialty can add value to different sectors and other issues related to inclusion, equity and racial identity/inequalities. One of my favorite titles is human rights activist. Maybe because I have been a minority in all the countries where I have

Laetitia Mizero Hellerud inspired attendees at the August 4 Virtual Ladyboss Summit with her presentation “Lessons From The African Philosophy of Ubuntu.� We sat down with Laetitia to learn more about her work to create stronger intercultural workplaces and communities where everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute.



lived and have experienced discrimination and racism firsthand, I am passionate about fighting for the underdog and being a voice for the underrepresented. In that respect, I have worked with the homeless population, people of lower socio-economics standing, New Americans, as well as women's and youth groups.

sector before even starting to work with my clients. As a self-proclaimed perpetual student, this in itself, is very fulfilling.

Another title that I recently added to my repertoire is Bush Foundation Fellow. My two-year fellowship will focus on civic engagement for New Americans. I am very excited about the growth that this opportunity will allow me as I seek to empower and equip fellow contemporary immigrants to be more involved in community life at all levels and in all sectors.

A. As a four-time refugee, I have lived in four different countries at various stages of my life. As a child, I lived in a small charming town called Cherbourg in the Normandy region (northern France). The weather, as I remember it, was always rainy and overcast and people walked with their umbrellas and raincoats on most months of the year. As a teen, my family lived in the Virunga (volcano) region of Rwanda on the coast of the beautiful lake Kivu. The climate was mostly temperate and comparable to what I would later experience from my hilly hometown of Gitega in Burundi when my family returned home.

Q. What do you love most about your work? A.Each project I work on is always unique, challenging and exciting. I love meeting new people, working across different sectors, and the challenge of figuring out each endeavor from start to finish. One day I am working with a grassroot non-profit organization, a big corporation or a government agency with multiple departments and the next day I am working with a consortium of churches, a multisector coalition or coaching a singular person. There is something energizing about each project I take, but at the end of the day they all stretch me in new ways and allow me to meet individuals and leaders I would otherwise never get to work with. As I work in various fields, I certainly enjoy brushing up on the fundamentals of each

Q. How does your background in religious studies and counseling apply to your current work?

Then, as a young mother, I left again and lived under the deserting climate in Burkina Faso (where the extreme heat can climb up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit), before moving to North Dakota where we are known for our endless winters and their subzero temperatures. Besides Rwanda and Burundi whose cultures and languages could easily pass for "cousins," none of the other countries where I lived had much in common. The weather was not the only big thing to acclimate to as I moved from one place to another. Living in those places allowed me to develop a high level of adaptability. I can live pretty much anywhere fit for human

beings and I can work with anyone regardless of differences, perceived or real. I have learned that there are many truths and that my dominant culture is not the standard to "evaluate" others. Living in multiple countries helped me appreciate others' perspectives and keep my ego in check. There are many things that are fluid as you go from one culture to another. Growing up and living in collectivist cultures was the foundation of my community involvements. In Burundi, Rwanda and Burkina Faso, the lines between nuclear, and extended families, as well as the community at large are blurred. One takes care of the needs where one sees them and to the extent of one's abilities. It's not always done by everyone but that's what society expects.

Q. What do you think are the most important qualities in a leader? A. A good leader is someone whose motivation is to advance the greater good in whatever they do. Efficient leaders are in tune with their environment's needs and the role they can play to make a positive impact. Leaders are listeners and servants. Leaders know that it's not about them and that it doesn't matter what it takes to get a job done. Effective leaders are steady and always seeking to grow to meet the changing realities. They have a good selfawareness and, in that respect, know what values they can or can't compromise with and why. Leaders don't "fight" to win or to be right because they are not confused about their contributions to society. Leaders



are both independent and interdependent because they understand that when we work united, we grow. Leaders show up in life with compassion, patience, respect, understanding and love-agape. More than anything, conscious leaders know that selfcare is not only necessary but essential, as one cannot pour from an empty vessel or give what they don't have. Q. What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given, or received A. The best career advice I have ever received stems from Robert K. Greenleaf's Servant Leadership Philosophy, which states that the main goal of a leader is to serve. According to this school of thought, the main focus of a leader is summarized as below:

Be involved in the community. That's the best way to create new relationships and integrate faster. Don't let language or culture be barriers to building new connections in your neighborhood, at church, your children's schools, work, the gym, etc. The sooner you are disillusioned about life in the USA, the better. Life is hard here as anywhere else, but it's possible to rebuild, continue moving forward, and even prosper.

"Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?"

Winter, too, shall pass! It may feel like it's endless, but eventually the grass will grow again, and warmth will succeed the cold.

Another great advice I recently heard from a woman I consider a leader in the FargoMoorhead -West Fargo area is: "You do not need to step on others to climb the ladder."

Q. What are five things we can do to help new immigrants with their integration journey?

My all-time favorite is, of course, the saying "a candle does not lose its light by lighting other candles." Q. What advice do you have for new immigrants on their integration journey? A. The best advice was modelled for me by my parents as we lived in multiple countries: treat each community you live in as "home," which means that there are rights and responsibilities with that kind of


relationship. You take from the community when you need to and you give to the community whenever you can. It could be time, talent, money or a combination of those three but when "home" needs you, you step up and when you are in need of care, you turn to home for nurturing.


A. 1. Understand that we need both the soil and the seed to "interact" for something beautiful to grow. New immigrants have the responsibility to work towards integration. "Older immigrants" or native populations can help that journey by creating a welcoming environment. 2. Don't assume, ask questions. 3. Think about your own family history, something that applies to anyone whose ancestors are not Native Americans, and allow your imagination to go back 200 or so years ago. How would YOU have liked

to be treated? What stories have you heard from your parents/grandparents on what was helpful and what was not? How can you apply that to people like me today? 4. Connect with new immigrants with the intention to teach and learn from one another, rather than to "save" them. 5.Build from what we share as human beings, women, fathers, runners, fellow church members, neighbors, colleagues, gardners, etc. whatever the connection is. Eventually, that mutually respectful relationship will help create a safe space to talk about what seems or is different like faith, race, dress, food, family dynamics, concept of space or time and much more.

BY Adrienne Olson, Kilbourne Group




hen Fargo’s cherished St. Patrick’s Parade had an uncertain future last year, the Mayor called the Downtown Community Partnership (DCP). He knew the DCP had the event expertise, the business partnerships, and the direct line to City resources to be able to fill downtown Fargo with revelers of all ages to ring in the new spring. Large scale downtown events are something the DCP does quite well. What we’ve lost this year to the pandemic will most certainly be built again and brought back better than ever.

the DCP, need your support now more than ever. The DCP is also serving Fargo’s leaders of large business and industry by creating a downtown that is not only a desired destination for visitors but a critical recruitment tool that can be the lynchpin in someone’s decision to move to Fargo to pursue a career opportunity.

But it’s the daily work of the DCP team, in between parades and street fairs, is what keeps the downtown business community on the track of positive economic growth.

A strong downtown is good for a city’s business community because it makes your city a place people want to live. It provides culture and lifestyle choices that retain people by providing diversity in choices in where and how to live with urban, suburban and core neighborhoods. A strong downtown is your city’s gathering place and where we go to support each other, and it is a reflection of the health of our city.

The DCP pulls together the voices and needs of the small business owners and advocates for them at the city and state levels of government. Through the last months of pandemic, it has become very clear the vital role the DCP plays in connecting our neighbors struggling to keep their business doors open with the resources available to help them do just that. Small business is down, but it’s not out. They, and

The DCP is navigating the departments, task forces, and committees of the City of Fargo to ensure the best possible outcomes for the downtown business community. The DCP influences everything from the gargantuan task of downtown snow removal, to the twinkle of holiday lights, to the bursting baskets of flowers lining the sidewalks. The DCP keeps downtown ready for business.



Fargo’s St. Patrick’s parade.

This summer, as the pandemic has continued to reduce the patronage of downtown restaurants, the DCP team persisted through right of way ordinances and the momentum of “we’re not sure how that will work” to create al fresco islands; picnic tables placed in parking spaces around downtown surrounded by traffic barricades, providing outdoor seating for all restaurants. The al fresco islands are a way the DCP provides direct support to small business to improve their bottom line. The DCP administers the Business Improvement District (BID), which is a team of four Ambassadors charged with keeping downtown clean, safe, friendly, maintained, and promoted. On any visit to downtown Fargo, you are sure to see the team in blue, ready to welcome you, share recommendations and directions, weed the planter beds, and sweep the sidewalks. The DCP and BID also work closely with critical partners, like the Gladys Ray Shelter, Harm Reduction Services, and the Downtown Resource Officers, providing a social safety net for anyone in our community who needs it.

promoters, advocates, and visionaries of historic downtown Fargo and its future. After two decades of the hard work of revitalization, Downtown Fargo and the DCP are, again, at a critical point in their evolutions. The DCP will rise to the challenge in the coming year with a new strategic plan and focused priorities designed to lift downtown into its next phase of growth. The Board of Directors of the DCP invites you to join us in our work to support downtown Fargo’s small businesses, for without them, downtown would be a much different place. Visit downtownFargo.com or find us on Facebook to explore becoming a member or investor in the DCP, purchase a Downtown Fargo gift card, or simply learn more about the work of the Downtown Community Partnership.

For more than 50 years, the Downtown Community Partnership has been dedicated to bringing together and supporting the businesses,



Academic Insight


n elementary school, I had a teacher who would often say to the students in our class, “Now let’s all put our thinking caps on!” And whenever I heard my elementary school teacher say that phrase, it was my verbal cue to really focus on the task at hand. While elementary school was a long time ago for me, I still find myself reflecting on that simple statement whenever I am facing a difficult or complex task. I’ll typically stop and say to myself, “Ok, let me really think about this.” Saying that helps me get into the mindset that this problem or task currently in front of me requires my complete attention and focus.

BY Shontarius D. Aikens, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Management at Offutt School of Business at Concordia College 116



It Is Time to Put Your Thinking Cap On: All 6 of Them I’ve always admired individuals who have the ability to come up with solutions to what may seem like complex problems. The way those individuals think and how they approach tasks and problems really intrigues me. And in my quest to learn additional methods to improve my thinking abilities, a colleague introduced me to Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats method which is based on the concept of parallel thinking. Parallel thinking requires individuals to look at a problem from the same viewpoint at a particular given time. In order to do this, a verbal cue is given for all individuals to demonstrate only one style of thinking at that particular time. In de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats framework, the different types of thinking correspond to six hats of different colors:

• White Hat: “The white hat is concerned with objective facts and figures.” • Red Hat: “The red hat gives the emotional view.” • Black Hat: “The black hat is cautious and careful. It points out the weaknesses in an idea.” • Green Hat: “The green hat indicates creativity and new ideas.” • Yellow Hat: “The yellow hat is optimistic and covers hope and positive thinking.” • Blue Hat: “The blue hat is concerned with control, the organization of the thinking process, and the use of the other hats.” While the list above provides the general textbook definitions of the different thinking styles attributed to each hat, I highly recommend that you read this book in its entirety, as it

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

provides more detailed information and how to’s than can be provided in this short article. The biggest takeaway is that by focusing on one thinking style at a time, the end result is less confusion and a better overall view of the big picture in the end. Below are some possible ways to apply this tool within organizations and the potential benefits. Better Quality Proposals and Recommendations As a manager, it is common to have direct reports who come up with all kinds of problems that exist in the organization but no solutions or recommendations. I had a supervisor one time that told me “If you are going to bring a problem to me, you need to bring at least three solutions or recommendations as well.” This required me to fully vet my ideas beforehand and to make sure that I had given as much thought to a solution before presenting it to my superiors. In fact, in Peter Drucker’s book titled Management Challenges for the 21st Century, he discussed that continuous learning and continuous innovation are key components for the productivity of knowledge workers. Since having

the ability to look at a task or problem from multiple viewpoints in order to come up with a solution is at the core of The Six Thinking Hats framework, this tool could be beneficial in improving the quality of proposals or recommendations to be considered for approval by upper management or decision makers. For example, a proposal template could be designed that would guide individuals to provide comments and evidence that a task, problem and solution had been looked at using all Six Thinking Hats. Improving Message Tone in Written and Oral Communication Personally, I have found that using The Six Thinking Hats framework has helped me to be more intentional when it comes to communicating. I’ve used this framework as a mental model to guide me on the best medium to use for communication based on the message I want to convey as well as the appropriate tone to be used. One time, I was drafting an email to share some important information to another person, and my intent was to communicate my message in a tone to be predominantly White Hat (just

sharing facts and information). Before sending any important message, I always ask someone to proofread my work, and it just so happened that the person I asked to proofread my draft was well-versed in Six Thinking Hats. After reading my first draft, his reaction was, “You wrote this hoping to convey a message tone of White Hat? This email is dripping with Red Hat (emotions). You need to revise this!” After reviewing the comments, he was correct, and I made substantial revisions. The final version conveyed the appropriate tone for that message, and it was received in the way that I had intended. I’ve found that this works not only in written communication but also in oral communication as well. Using the Six Thinking Hats framework to guide our interactions and the tone of our messages with colleagues, clients, and customers can have tremendous benefits and value to an organization.






uring unsettling times like the ones we’ve experienced over the last six months, you might feel like “planning” is something that is just impossible. In fact, how can you think about one, two or certainly 10 years from now when you don’t have any idea if you’ll be able to go to work, your kids will be in school, or if a loved one won’t be here in a month? The fact of the matter is that all of us are mostly just reacting in times like these. However, for those precious few of us who can look beyond today, tomorrow, or even this week, opportunities abound. And, for the rest of us who don’t look beyond the present, deep down we know in our heart that opportunities will be lost.

.John Williams is an attorney with Fredrikson & Byron in Fargo. He provides sophisticated estate planning, business succession, and trust and probate administration solutions for business owners, farmers, ranchers, executives and professionals. He can be reached at fjwilliams@fredlaw.com

Whether you are a planner or not, please join me for a few minutes here to see what economic opportunities you might have not yet realized during all of this chaos. I promise it will be worth your while. Interest rates make a huge difference in mortgages and interfamily loans

annual interest rate prescribed by the Internal Revenue Service for interfamily loans was 1.85 percent for loans up to three years, and 2.21 percent for loans greater than nine years. Today, those rates are 0.14 percent and 1.00 percent respectively. This means the total interest paid on a 15-year $100,000 loan this year versus last year will cost the borrower approximately $10,400 less over the life of the loan than it did just one year ago. Now, multiply that result by 10, and significant wealth transfer starts to occur. And, the benefit in interest rate reduction is not just limited to interfamily loans. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate in September of 2019 was about 3.5 percent. Today that same rate is about 2.9 percent. On a $500,000 home with an 80 percent loan-to-value ratio, the savings are over $47,000 over the life of the loan. The fact of the matter is that interest rates, across the board, have gone down quite dramatically since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Many businesses took advantage of payment protection loans, but others also took advantage of refinancing to save on longerterm debt, mortgages, and interfamily loans.

In my law practice, I’ve spent the last six months refinancing nearly every single interfamily loan that exists. One year ago, the



Market valuation decline can be a big benefit for interfamily transfers

Laws are changing, benefits today may not be here tomorrow

At first glance, the fact that your business is worth less today than it was one year ago doesn’t sound like an “opportunity.” However, for those who have concerns about gift or estate taxes, the ability to transfer wealth from one generation to the next without incurring a gift or estate tax is a significant concern. One doesn’t need to look much further than at all of the farmers in our community. Like just about all farms, other closely held businesses can’t withstand an additional tax on the transition of the business from one generation to the next. And, like just about all farms, many businesses won’t continue, unless one generation can pass it to the next.

When fear and uncertainty are prevalent, our government will also spring into action. Since March of this year, federal and state governments have injected trillions of dollars into the U.S. economy to keep workers paid and companies running. One need not look further than the Paycheck Protection Program, where the government allocated billions of dollars to loan to businesses to provide low-interest loans that may partially or even fully be forgiven. Did you hear that? FREE MONEY!

Therefore, when a global pandemic hits the world and uncertainty abounds, it’s really hard for anyone to be too optimistic about the going concern of just about any business or asset. This is the case of the outlook with appraisers, who might appraise real estate, minerals, equipment, or a business itself. Take for example the value of a business that, per the business appraisal, is worth a million dollars less than it was one year ago. The gift or estate tax reduction of this market decline could equate to over $400,000 in gift or estate tax savings. Now, if you layer the market valuation with the interest rate reduction, the wealth transfer from generation one to generation two gets significant. Since the family will still continue to operate the business, the market decline is never actually realized. By taking advantage of this unique time in history, a family can save potentially millions of dollars.



In the context of the trust and estate planning, laws can also change and change quickly. Those fast-paced laws that I tend to focus on are tax laws. With a major election in the fall, significant federal stimulus, and polarizing viewpoints, I can only expect that the laws in place today may not be around forever. And, in fact, the gift and estate tax laws passed in 2017 are set to expire on Jan. 1, 2026. The point here is that tax benefits identified today may not be available tomorrow. After you’ve taken advantage of your financial opportunities, you will see another very sober truth about a pandemic. This sober truth is that life is precious and fragile. What we know today about our health and our loved ones is not what we can always expect for tomorrow. It doesn’t have to be COVID-19. It can be a car accident or injury on the job or sobering medical diagnosis. The fact of the matter is that life for all of us ends the same way. So take care of your business. Don’t leave your family in a fog of uncertainty. Prepare a Will, Power of Attorney and Health Care

Directive. Make sure your family knows where the documents are located, and make sure someone knows your wishes. Uncertainty creates fear. While we never know what’s certain about our health and our families, we can know for certain how we will leave our loved ones once we’re gone. Don’t procrastinate. Take action. Finally, after you’ve taken your last lap around and finished your work, look to your left and to your right. Realize that everyone in your life is on this ride with you. You can’t take advantage of the opportunities or set your affairs in order without affecting someone else; and if you tackle the pandemic with trusted colleagues and advisors, your plans have a better chance of working out the way you hope they will.

Photo provided by Dakota Business Lending

Ann-Marie Grob Owner Stanza D’Amore


Stanza D’Amore





s a small business lending partner, we have had the privilege of working with hundreds of innovative and inspiring entrepreneurs throughout the state from a multitude of industries. Where our honor lies, however, is in the faces and places of these small businesses and the success stories they have to share. Among these is the story of Ann-Marie at Stanza D’Amore – a ND lingerie store with a unique story to tell. Her story is one of hard work, determination and confidence. For this issue, we wanted to take a deeper look into the journey of how Ann-Marie used her “figure it out” attitude to find a creative solution. For Ann-Marie, becoming a business owner was nothing more than finding a solution to a problem she was tempted to complain about. She was finishing up her third year of college in Dickinson, ND, and wondering where life will take her next when she realized that the nearest womenswear shop was over 100 miles away. Frustrated with this reality, Ann-Marie asked herself, “Why don’t I just open my own shop right here in Dickinson?” From then on out, Ann-Marie found herself dedicating her time, energy, and finances to fulfilling this dream. But that’s only the beginning…

“It was kind of an ‘aha’ moment for me where I thought to myself: ‘If I have a problem with something, why don’t I just fix it myself?’ That thought spiraled into this thing where, the more I learned and the more I talked to people, the more I felt a sense of community where I live and support that encouraged me to keep moving forward. I finally began to feel like I was on the right track.” From there, Ann-Marie began a long journey towards starting, financing, and managing Stanza D’Amore, which eventually opened in November of 2019. What sets Ann-Marie apart from other women entrepreneurs is her “figure it out” attitude coupled with her strong community interactions. She has placed a strong emphasis on supporting the community with various events and partnerships. In addition, she has focused heavily on her social media platforms, building them into online communities where women can find support, encouragement and confidence right from Stanza D’Amore’s business pages. But how did she do it? Today, we got the chance to visit with her about this journey and the secrets to success she learned along the way:

1. Capitalize on your strengths. “I’ve always felt something inside of me that wanted to pave a way like a leader. I don’t really take ‘no’ for an answer and I’m always willing to make something happen if I want it to work. I think that’s a great quality to have as a leader.”

2. Find your “why”. “My ‘why’ is to help people on a deeper level no matter what I end up doing with my life. When I’m able to help a client find something that they look beautiful and feel comfortable in, they walk away with an extra spring in their step and that energy transfers into all other aspects of their life. I want to do that for women.”

3. Follow the example of others. “There are so many different influences in my life that have helped me become the leader that I am. Of those, my top four are: my faith in God, which I have always had to fall back on; my mother, who has pushed through every challenge of life with such grace and perseverance; my husband, who has supported and encouraged me since day one, no matter how crazy they seem; and my friend Krystal, who is a woman business owner who has been a mentor for me since the start of this journey. These people have helped me get to where I am today.”

4. Let your roots shine through. “I didn’t grow up in ND my whole life, but the piece I have taken away from here is how hospitable people are and that they are always willing to help. ND has inspired me to be a better person, to help other people, and to think about what I can do for my neighbor.”

5. Shift your mindset and follow your dreams. “I think the biggest challenge young women entrepreneurs face comes from themselves and their mindset. We need to make a shift and have the confidence to follow our dream. Ultimately, it comes down to having the confidence to think ‘Yes, I can do this.’ Is it hard? Yes. Is it worth it? Even more yes.” As you can see, the journey towards finding a solution isn’t always an easy one. But, if you’re like Ann-Marie, you’ll use your “figure it out” attitude to develop a creative solution that you can share with the world. Congratulations Stanza D’Amore on your journey to success! To learn more about Stanza D’Amore and the products they offer, read their success story at www.dakotabusinesslending.com/stanzadmore.




Fargo Events

Kira Kimball, Chief Innovation Officer & Certified Diversity Professional

OCTOBER 8 Unconcious Bias: Self-Awareness Leads to Organizational Awareness Thursday, October 8 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

As individuals, each of everyone has unconscious biases, and if they remain unchecked, these biases show up in organizations in hiring practices, how we promote individuals, policy development and workplace culture. The third webinar in this series will introduce participants to the concept of unconscious bias from an individual and an organizational perspective and will illuminate how these biases become barriers to creating the best organizations in terms of innovation, differentiation and employee engagement. Strategies to change trajectory as individuals and businesses will be shared. fmwfchamber.com



1 Million Cups Fargo

The Lowdown on Our Downtowns

Every Wednesday 9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

Scherling Tennis Court Complex in Island Park 1 Million Cups is a free, national program designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs. 616 1st Ave S, Fargo emergingprairie.com

Wednesday, October 7 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Get the lowdown on our downtowns. The speakers will share about the current business, entrepreneurial and cultural spirit of their downtowns and the successes they are most proud of! You will get infrastructure updates, strategic plans, and, of course, current and predicted future effects of COVID-19. Tune in Wednesday, October 7, as the speakers give the need-to-know in our metro!

POC Discuss, Connect & Reflect: Walking with the Wind by Congressman John Lewis Wednesday, October 7 from noon to 1 p.m.

Come for Professionals of Color’s newest opportunity, a book club you will discuss readings, connect on topics and reflect on how content resonates with you! For the first meeting, please read to the end of Part IV (Chapter 12, “Keep you Stick Down”) and come prepared to discuss. fmwfchamber.com






Fargo Events OCTOBER 14 Workforce Transformation: Navigating the New Normal Wednesday, October 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Not since the advent of the Industrial Revolution has the workplace undergone greater transformation than it has in the last 25 years. Beyond the not insignificant impacts of economics, technology and demographics, the workplace is influenced by the rising power of workers whose demands have gone well beyond traditional concerns about pay and benefits, work/life balance and community outreach. Business leaders today must address new questions relating to ethics, transparency, diversity and inclusion, purpose-driven business initiatives and more. Amid a continuously shrinking pool of talent, employers need new approaches as they face an ever-widening array of challenges in how to effectively recruit, engage and retain the talent they need to grow and prosper. Steeped in more than 20 years of research into the motivations and beliefs of the American workforce, the Emerging Workforce® Study, commissioned by Spherion, offers insights to inform those approaches. fmwfchamber.com



Chamber 101: Connect. Engage. Maximize.

Chamber 101: Connect. Engage. Maximize.

If you're not familiar with The Chamber, are a new member, new contact, new hire, or just want to re-engage with us, this session is for you! Chamber 101 is a laid-back discussion designed to share some of the great benefits of Chamber membership and what opportunities exist that you need to know.

If you're not familiar with The Chamber, are a new member, new contact, new hire, or just want to re-engage with us, this session is for you! Chamber 101 is a laid-back discussion designed to share some of the great benefits of Chamber membership and what opportunities exist that you need to know.

Here, Casey Sanders, The Chamber's manager of membership, will walk you through events, programs, discounts, online tools and more, so you can begin maximizing your membership right away. It's a great way to introduce new faces to what's have available or to simply say hello to us and meet fellow business professionals.

Here, Casey Sanders, The Chamber's manager of membership, will walk you through events, programs, discounts, online tools and more, so you can begin maximizing your membership right away. It's a great way to introduce new faces to what's available or to simply say hello to us and meet fellow business professionals.

Tuesday, October 20 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

All attendees will be muted for this virtual event, but Q&A will be available via the chat function. Instructions to join will be emailed to all registrants before the event.

Thursday, October 22 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

All attendees will be muted for this virtual event, but Q&A will be available via the chat function. Instructions to join will be emailed to all registrants before the event. fmwfchamber.com


Virtual Series: 4 Cultural Competencies: What They Are & Why They Are Important Thursday, October 22 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

As employers step into becoming a diverse, equitable & inclusive organization, they start thinking differently about talent attraction

and who the future of their workforce is. They become intentional about recruiting talent with diverse worldviews, which often means different norms, beliefs, customs and values. This diversity adds to the richness of an organization, but it’s important for businesses to equip themselves with cultural competencies to set both the individuals and organization up for success. This webinar will introduce participants to the skillset and mindset of cultural competency and strategies for its development in your workplace. fmwfchamber.com

OCTOBER 27 Fortitude & Resilience in a Time of Extraordinary Change Tuesday, October 27 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Undoubtedly, COVID-19 is one of the most extraordinary events of our lifetime. It has generated exceptional financial, social and economic challenges for individuals, families and corporations. Women’s roles as professional, parent, spouse and caregiver, have become ever so demanding. This session will address the many ways in which women are being called upon to work harder due to COVID-19. As part of a coping toolkit, the session focuses on fortitude and resilience. The speaker will provide a better understanding of fortitude and resilience. More critically, the audience will learn about how to strengthen fortitude and resilience. fmwfchamber.com


CALENDAR OCTOBER 29 YPN Book Club: "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey

Thursday, October 29 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Enjoy reading and discussing books on leadership and professional development with like-minded individuals? Join the YPN Book Club! Each month, YPN will select a book and meet over lunch to discuss it. Amazon says, “In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principlecentered approach for solving personal and professional problems.” More details about this book discussion to come soon! fmwfchamber.com

NOVEMBER 3 November Eggs & Issues

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

Join the Chamber for another exciting topic at Eggs & Issues! fmwfchamber.com

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

Recruitment, retention & engagement strategies have always been central to any employer’s success, but with the current fierce competition for talent, the stakes are high. This employment climate creates a great opportunity for employers to cast the net wider and enter uncharted waters to expand their talent pool. When you begin to recruit differently, it’s also important to think about retention and engagement differently. The fifth webinar in this series will not only help you with strategies to recruit diverse talent, but also how to retain and engage this talent, all while building your employer brand. fmwfchamber.com

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

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

We’re in a bizarre new reality where there is an expectation and desperate need for personalization from clients and customers. So how do you, as a business, transform the way you interact with those you serve? Look to the non-profit world. Organizations that solicit individuals and businesses for donations are the key to understanding how to attract, and more importantly keep, customers. Using over 15 years of experience in nonprofit fundraising work, this session will extrapolate some of the best practices that nonprofits use to make transactional gifts and turn them into transformative relationships – and how your business can get into the business of celebration and appreciation to develop customer relations better than you ever have before. fmwfchamber.com

NOVEMBER 3 Virtual Series: Creating A Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Scorecard: How to Define Success & Measure It

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

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

Grand Forks OCTOBER 13 Business Builders: Cybersecurity in Today's World Tuesday, October 13 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Cybersecurity is more important than ever. Join Eric Giltner, Grand Forks Senior Area Manager for SBA, and Nicole Evans, Grand Forks Center Director for SBDC, as they cover some of the recent headlines, myths, challenges, threats, and facts regarding cybersecurity. They will also discuss how to manage your cybersecurity requirements for your small business. Ramada by Wyndham Grand Forks 1205 N 43rd St., Grand Forks gochamber.org

OCTOBER 15 Chamber Business After Hours Thursday, October 15 from 4:45 p.m. to 7 p.m. gochamber.org

OCTOBER 22 Webinar: Simple Steps to Starting a Business Thursday, October 22 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

This webinar will explore how to start a home-based or other type of business. Topics will include idea evaluation, financing options, legal issues, creation of a business plan, and tips for running a home-based business. gochamber.org

OCTOBER 29 Webinar: Telling Your Story to Increase Sales Thursday, October 29 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

If you currently have a business or are thinking of starting one, one of the challenges is getting the word out to potential customers without spending a lot of money. This webinar will identify personal networking practices needed to connect with current and future customers. It will also include social media strategies for promoting your business. gochamber.org





Bismarck Events OCTOBER 20 Chamber EDC 101: Maximizing your Membership Tuesday, October 20 from noon to 1 p.m.

Are you interested in learning how to make the most out of your membership? Save the Date and come to the Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC to hear from Chamber EDC staff about our programs, benefits, committees, and other opportunities on how to maximize your membership. Whether you are a brand new member, a long-time member or just want to learn more about membership this is the event for you! bsmarckmandan.com

NOVEMBER 3 State of the Cities Address 2020

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

Join Mandan Mayor Tim Helbling and Bismarck Mayor Steve Bakken for the 2020 State of the Cities event. On this morning, participants will gain insight from both Mandan and Bismarck Mayors along with community leadership, and also hear about successes and challenges each city faced throughout 2020.