PRSRT STD U.S. Postage Paid Fargo, ND Permit #684

New plant opens in North Dakota.


Who’s thriving?

Architects/ Engineers Also in this issue: December 2011


Volume 12 No. 12


From the Editor’s Desk


Professional Spotlight


Matthew Mohr


Prairie News


Technology: A powerful component for commercial buildings


Prairie People


Company Spotlight: Pearce & Durick: Law firm that helps create business


Money: In a changing world, commitment to community service should not change


Leadership and Management: Leader’s role is to encourage ideas and allow them to grow


Economic Development: 25 year evolution on the High Plains

26 34 36

Cover Story: Under 40: A diverse group of business leaders Cover Story: Specialists becoming part of architects landscape Cover Story: Developing a solid business in the arts



Community Spotlight: Bismarck-Mandan: Central hub for North Dakota


Sales and Marketing: Taglines with legs


TrueNorth Steel simplifies and unifies with new name


New Chancellor: Working ‘hand in glove’ with business community




By the Numbers

4 Prairie Business

December 2011


Energy: Air charter flying to the Bakken


Energy: Connecting East and West journey


Energy: Gas plant could be operational this month

Road travel in the Bakken in western North Dakota is heavy. Some companies are turning to the air to get people and goods to the oil fields.

Phenomenal and mind numbing changes in the Williston Basin landscape.

Next Month In January, Prairie Business magazine will focus on a trio of subjects. In healthcare, one of the buzzword topics is health care exchanges. What does it all mean? What is the impact to our region? Biotechnology is healing, feeding, and fueling the world. What companies in this region are making it happen? Finally, in Energy, Prairie Business will look at three different energy sources in three different states and discuss where these sources are heading.

On the air Join Prairie Business magazine Editor Alan Van Ormer and host Merrill Piepkorn on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 3 p.m. on any Prairie Public radio station to hear more about the December cover stories and the upcoming Precision Agriculture Summit. To listen to Prairie Public, visit

From the editor’s desk

For daily business news visit

An SBA Award Winning Publication


of the brightest revealed in this issue

In my family, December is the month to celebrate two birthdays and the holidays.

In our Prairie Business family, December has also become the month to reveal and honor our annual 40-under-40 selection of business leaders from Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Like the past three selections, this year’s group was also a tough lot to choose from because of all of the quality individuals that were submitted. I would like to thank Lisa Gulland-Nelson, Communications Coordinator for the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, and Dwaine Chapel, Executive Director of the Lake Area Improvement Corporation in Madison, SD, for their help in selecting these 40 business leaders. This year’s selections are a diverse group. They come from rural areas and micropolitan and metropolitan regions of our three states. They include business leaders in technology, higher education, the financial industry, the arts, the government sector, the oil patch, engineering, and marketing, just to name a few. The average age of this year’s 40-under-40 business leaders is almost 33 years of age. Kate Muggerud, Client Relations Manager for KAT Communications in Bismarck, ND, is the youngest of the group at 24. Four – Shannon Breuer, Partner, Director of Real Estate for Eide Bailly in Fargo ND, Patrice Lahlum, President/Owner of Riverwind Consulting in West Fargo, ND, Dr. Steve Shirley, President of Valley City State University, and Scott Kringstad, Senior Projects Engineer/Vice President-Estimating for Construction Engineers in Grand Forks, ND, are 39. Also, there are 11 or more than ¼ of the selections in their 20s. In addition, 16 of the selections were women business leaders from around the region. As you can tell, this is a diverse group, but also deserving 40under-40 selections that have already made impacts in the business communities around the region and will play an important part as our business communities grow in the future. With that, turn to the pages in this issue and read more about our 40-under-40 business leaders for 2011.

Mike Jacobs, Publisher Alan Van Ormer, Editor Zach Ahrens, General Manager Tina Fetsch, Production Manager Beth Bohlman, Circulation Manager Jen Braaten, Marketing Manager Joe Greenwood, Multi-Media Consultant Kris Wolff, Layout Design, Ad Design


Zach Ahrens


Brad Boyd

800.641.0683 western ND/western SD

John Fetsch

701.238.9574 eastern ND/MN/eastern SD

EDITOR: Alan Van Ormer

December 2011


Editorial Advisors:

Dwaine Chapel, Executive Director, Lake Area Improvement Corporation; Bruce Gjovig, Director, Center for Innovation; Lisa Gulland-Nelson, Communications Coordinator, Greater Fargo Moorhead EDC; Dave Haan, Director of Public Relations and Digital Development at Lawrence & Schiller; Dusty Johnson, Chief of Staff for South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s office; Brekka Kramer, General Manager of Odney; Matthew Mohr, President/CEO, Dacotah Paper Company; Nancy Straw, President, West Central Initiative Prairie Business magazine is published monthly by the Grand Forks Herald and Forum Communications Company with offices at 375 2nd Avenue North, Grand Forks, ND 58203. Qualifying subscriptions are available free of charge. Back issue quantities are limited and subject to availability ($2/copy prepaid). The opinions of writers featured in Prairie Business are their own. Unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, artwork are encouraged but will not be returned without a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Subscription requests: Free subscriptions are available online to qualified requestors at

Address corrections: Prairie Business magazine PO Box 6008 Grand Forks, ND 58206-6008 Beth Bohlman:

Online: 6 Prairie Business




January 23-27

North Dakota State University


Professional Spotlight

Barb Stork

Ready for a challenge As the new President of the Greater Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Barb Stork is ready for the challenge and is excited about the opportunities. his chamber does so much for this region in helping businesses and advocating for business,” she says. “There is a talented board of directors and it is a little daunting being chair of this group.” Stork, 59, is the President and CEO of Midwest Provisions in Sioux Falls, a contract food service company that provides service and vending at different locations in Sioux Falls, Iowa, Indiana, Tennessee, Texas, and other sites in the Midwest. Midwest Provisions has more than 100 employees. Since 1990, Stork has seen the business evolve, in part, because food service is so varied that includes restaurants, fine dining, and fast food. One area that Midwest Provisions has evolved in is a cashless system. “Vending machines and points of sales are done through cards,” Stork explains. “It is much easier. It is much faster. There are fewer problems with vending machines.” Stork is quick to point out that she has enjoyed her career path


BARB STORK President, Greater Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

because she has had the opportunity to operate what she says is a successful business. “I also have a high priority of being a mother and I enjoy different community work and volunteerism,” she states. “I feel pretty lucky.” She adds that her faith has helped her through tough times. “During tough times there is always the possibility of failures,” she says. “It involves your reputation, your competitiveness, and not wanting to fail. Your pride inspires you to try and work even harder if you can to make it right.” For younger women starting on their career path, Stork advises that there are two truisms. The first is always taking on challenging assignments. Second is keeping your integrity. “Don’t trade integrity in your job for any reason,” she states. “Always give back to your community because they support your business.” Alan Van Ormer - PB

Business Advice

Forecasting Every business needs a plan for operating, and a component of all good plans is the financial forecast. any businesses put together a financial budget, but a budget lacks the guidance of a good forecast. Forecasting involves understanding what makes a business succeed, an understanding of all expenses, needs, and expectations. A good forecast is built on realistic revenue expectations, solid expense estimates, people, and equipment needs. All these components rolled up create a financial forecast, which will provide guidance to the operating cash needs and the resulting overall financial picture throughout the year. Great financial forecasting takes exceptional skill and understanding of a business and is an art. Anyone can get a spreadsheet and fill in numbers, but few can put together numbers which are consistently achieved. Having been involved with various business opportunities has exposed me to some ingenious, if not totally fallacious, financial presentations. I have seen


8 Prairie Business

December 2011

MATTHEW D. MOHR CEO, Dacotah Paper Company

proposals for investment returns of 10 times in just a few years! One investment involved a very sophisticated, high cost operation with highly educated professionals. As we reviewed the numbers, Randy Brown (Brown Companies – Grand Forks) said: “I run a similar but smaller operation and the payroll costs shown here seem way too low, especially if they want trained, high quality service oriented people.” Randy made this statement to a group of investors who were ready to put money into the project after the forecasts had passed reviews by state officials, CPA’s, and well-educated business owners. The investment was made, and the business failed. Randy was right because he understood the real cost of business. The other investors only looked at how the numbers looked. The ability to create great financial forecasts that are achieved is one of the attributes you will find in super successful business owners. PB

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Prairie News

Press releases and photos about business news and events in North Dakota, South Dakota and western Minnesota can be e-mailed to for consideration

HESS CORP DONATES $25 MILLION TO ENHANCE NORTH DAKOTA EDUCATION Hess Corporation is donating more than $25 million to fund “Succeed 2020,” a statewide education project aimed at helping North Dakota students become better prepared for college and careers. The project is designed for middle and high school students, beginning with next year’s fifth graders, or the graduating class of 2020, putting them on a path to being better prepared for their college and career goals. During this school year, planning grants will be distributed to bring together education, business, community leaders, and parents. Regional Education Associations (REAs) will have the lead responsibility for bringing partners together to design collaborative solutions. Specific goals of the Succeed 2020 project aim to increase ACT scores, decrease developmental or remedial education, and increase the number of students who complete high school and college programs on-time. The REAs will work with their local school districts and partners to design and implement programs that improve college and career counseling beginning in the middle school grades, increase access to and success in career and technical education programs and advanced placement courses for rural students, and provide professional development for teachers and counselors.

BLOOMBERG STUDY RANKS NORTH DAKOTA TOPS IN THE NATION IN ECONOMIC GROWTH North Dakota was credited with the best economic index in the nation, according to the Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of States Index. The study, which tracks the pace of state economic growth, ranked North Dakota No. 1 in the nation, citing job creation and increased incomes as key indicators. Bloomberg also reported that North Dakota was the only state in the nation to experience a positive economic index. With the exception of North Dakota, economic conditions in all other states are worse than they were at the end of 2008, according to the study. The index tracks growth by compiling data on six components that are given equal weight: job creation, personal income, tax revenue, housing prices, mortgage delinquencies and the performance of Bloomberg stock indexes that track the share prices of locally based companies.

DIGI-KEY CORPORATION RECEIVES 2011 DISTRIBUTOR PARTNER OF THE YEAR AWARD Digi-Key Corporation has been named the 2011 Distributor Partner of the Year for Micro Commercial Components (MCC), a supplier with which Digi-Key has maintained a decade-long business partnership. Pamela Cheng, vice president of MCC, presented the award to Mark Zack at Digi-Key Corporation in Thief River Falls, MN. As the leading integrated Internet-based distributor of electronic components, information about and inventory of millions of products is accessible to customers around the globe, with all products shipped from Digi-Key’s single, North American location. The company’s integrated business model provides product and support information online to help put engineers and procurement professionals in control as they solve tough product development challenges. 10 Prairie Business

December 2011

LOCAL CDFI RECEIVES FIRST ROUND CAPITAL GRANT IN NEW INITIATIVE TO SPUR JOB CREATION A local community lender has received a $116,000 capital grant from the “Create Jobs for USA” Fund, a collaboration between Starbucks and Opportunity Finance Network (OFN). The money will help the Rural Electric Economic Development (REED) Fund (Madison, SD) to create and sustain jobs in eastern South Dakota and parts of southwestern Minnesota as part of a national campaign to support small, community businesses. REED Fund is one of just 28 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), in the nation to win a grant in the inaugural funding round. The grant was made possible by a $5 million seed contribution from the Starbucks Foundation. The Fund expects to raise tens of millions of dollars more, according to a spokesman, and one hundred percent of these donations will go to CDFIs to finance underserved community businesses, and help create and sustain jobs in underserved communities On Nov. 1, the “Create Jobs for USA” Fund started collecting donations at and at nearly 7,000 company-operated Starbucks across the country. 100 percent of the donations will support organizations like REED lending for job creation and retention across the US. CDFIs that are Members of Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) will compete for these funds on a rolling basis.

MORE MINOT HOUSING ON ITS WAY The Minot housing market will ease some in the coming month because of a new housing project west of Minot. About 30 homes that will house up to 175 people were expected to be ready in November. The manufactured homes are being built in the other areas of the country and shipped in. The homes will go onto what was previously Talbott Mobile Home Park west of the Minot Country Club between Minot and Burlington. The homes feature 3, 4 or 5 bedrooms and a common living room and kitchen. Most bedrooms have individual vanities, and a safe is available in each room.

“GRADUATE MINNESOTA” CAMPAIGN URGES FORMER STUDENTS TO RE-ENROLL AND EARN DEGREES Minnesota’s working adults who have earned some college credits are being urged to re-enroll and complete their twoor four-year degrees at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities to boost their job prospects and help meet the state’s workforce needs. The message is part of a new statewide outreach initiative called “Graduate Minnesota – Complete your degree. Anytime. Anywhere.” The initiative is designed to connect former students with advisers who can help them find the best and fastest route to complete their associate or bachelor’s degree. Each of the 31 state colleges and universities has at least one designated adviser to assist students in figuring out how to resume their studies and explore financial aid options. Returning students might be especially interested in taking online courses, enrolling in accelerated programs with flexible start dates and receiving course credits for work experience. To connect with an adviser, interested individuals can call a toll-free number, 1-800-366-7380, seven days a week or visit

North Dakota Wyoming Nevada Montana Hawaii Alaska Virginia New Mexico Utah Maryland Washington West Virginia South Carolina Texas South Dakota Oklahoma Arkansas Alabama Mississippi Florida Louisiana Iowa North Carolina Arizona Nebraska Rhode Island Tennessee Wisconsin Pennsylvania Nation

USD TO BEGIN OFFERING MASTER OF PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNTANCY DEGREE ONLINE The Accounting Program at the University of South Dakota (Vermillion, SD) will soon offer its master’s degree in professional accountancy online. The South Dakota Board of Regents recently approved the university’s request to extend the degree online, allowing students to enroll in the Master of Professional Accountancy (M.P.A.) program beginning January 2012. Accepted students may complete the graduate degree in as little as two years through part-time study and students may begin the program in January, May or August of any year. Online specialized accounting graduate programs are rare, according to recent market research conducted by the Beacom School of Business at USD. In fact, USD is one of only a handful of AACSB-International accredited schools that offer a specialized accounting master’s degree program online. The others include Stetson University, Auburn University and the University of Connecticut. USD’s online M.P.A. is designed to provide specialized training in accounting and related fields for students preparing for a career in public accounting or other higher level careers in industry, government service, or accounting education.

TRUSIGHT EXCELLENCE AWARDS REVEALED Trusight, formerly Employers Association, has been recognizing companies through its HR Best Practice Award since 2006. Now titled the HR Excellence Awards, the program recognizes human resources programs that improve work life, well-being or productivity of employees, an HR department, or a company overall. This year’s winners include Alexandria Extrusion Co. and Amerilab Technologies, which shared first place for their respective wellness programs; an honorable mention was awarded to Edina Realty for its employee recognition program. Alexandria Extrusion in Alexandria, MN, launched a wellness program in 2007 to manage health care claims and to encourage employees to adapt healthier lifestyles. The wellness program has had a positive effect on its insurance renewals. In 2010, they were $1,000 less per participant. Amerilab Technologies launched an HR wellness program named AmeriWellÒ a year ago. With the help of a Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) grant from Hennepin County that the company received early in 2011, it’s been able to get 86 of their 118 employees to participate in a “Do Challenge”, which is similar to the programs advocated by Blue Cross Blue Shield. Honorable Mention Edina Realty created an employee appreciation program called BOB-ER for Best of the Best Employee Recognition. Employees caught doing great work were awarded bobber-shaped trinkets, and their names were put into drawings for gas cards, Twins tickets, etc.

December 31, 1781 ON Job growth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) jobs for states above the national growth rate. Includes a two-year degree technician level jobs and higher. Source: EMSI Complete Employment, 1st Quarter 2011

The first modern bank in the United States, the Bank of North America, was organized by Robert Morris and received its charter from the Continental Congress. It began operations Jan. 7, 1782 at Philadelphia.



A ‘powerful’ component for commercial R buildings

ecent major advancements in technology, provides endless opportunities for the conservation of energy and resources in commercial facilities.

Over the last decade, technology has infiltrated every facet of our lives from the way we communicate to how we live, work and design buildings.

12 Prairie Business

December 2011

The most powerful component designed into commercial buildings has been a Direct Digital Control (DDC) system. The DDC system revolves around a desktop computer with an advanced software program, which can monitor and control just about every power-consuming device in a building. With the ability to monitor lights, motors, space temperatures and even human movement, the DDC system can react to changes in these parameters to conserve energy. In the Upper Midwest temperatures can range from -30°F in the winter to 100 °F in the summer. With this extreme temperature ranges the DDC system can adjust heating and cooling plants to perform at its maximum efficiencies at any outside air temperature. The ability to monitor the outside air temperatures and adjust everything from room temperature set points to hydronic water temperatures for heating and cooling systems has provided a leap forward in energy conservation in our industry. Another technological advancement is the occupancy sensor. Through the use of occupancy sensors the DDC system can monitor each individual room to see if it is being occupied. If not, the DDC system will shut off the lights, reset the space temperature and reduce the ventilation air into the room all in order to reduce the energy consumption in each individual room and also collectively for the entire

building. Over half of the energy consumed in a building comes from lights and conditioning the ventilation air being supplied into the building. In conjunction with the DDC system the use of Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) have also had a significant impact on the reducing the energy consumption by slowing down pump and/or fan motors during non peak demands. The VFD’s receive input from the DDC system to reduce speed based on demand parameters set in place to allow the system to perform adequately. Instead of “more is better” today’s philosophy of “just enough” seems to be the wave of the future. These are just a few of the technological advancements in the building systems industry, which help conserve energy and save natural resources. Recently, other advancements such as LED lights, energy recovery and geothermal systems have made their way into the industry. Technology through innovative products has made a long lasting and significant impact on energy reduction for all commercial facilities. PB Brent Wavra, Managing Principal of ONE, Inc., is a mechanical engineer and commissioning agent who has designed and commissioned over 200 commercial projects. He can be reached at

BRENT WAVRA Managing Principal ONE, Inc.

December 23, 1947 ON John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley of Bell Laboratories shared the 1956 Nobel Prize for their invention of the transistor, which led to a revolution in communications and electronics.


Prairie People


Please e-mail photos and press release announcements of hirings, promotions, awards and distinctions received by business leaders in North Dakota, South Dakota and western Minnesota to for consideration.



Meredith Quinn, a project engineer for Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc. (AE2S), has been chosen as the 2011 winner of a the George Warren Fuller Award, a prestigious award in the drinking water industry. The George Warren Fuller Award is given annually by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) for distinguished service in the industry and in commemoration of the sound engineering skill, brilliant diplomatic talent, and constructive leadership of people in the Association which characterized the life of George Warren Fuller, one of America’s most historically renowned engineers.

Charles Cooper has been named private banker for Wells Fargo Private Bank in its Fargo office. In his new role, Cooper will provide banking relationship management for clients, which includes access to banking and credit, investment management, trust and financial planning services. Cooper most recently served as a senior business relationship manager for Business Banking in Fargo. He joined Wells Fargo in 2003 as a personal banker and was promoted to a regional private banker before assuming his current role in 2008. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, he worked as a financial advisor for Waddell & Reed.




Mindy Pierson joins Ulteig (Fargo, ND) as a Graduate Engineer. She is currently seeking an Electrical Engineering degree from North Dakota State University. Mindy was previously employed with Ulteig as a Transmission Engineering Intern. She will work in Ulteig’s Fargo office. Dan Farnsworth joins the company as a Design Engineer. He graduated from North Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. Dan was previously employed with the Washington State Department of Transportation as a Transportation Engineer I and with Ulteig as a Civil Engineering Intern. He will work in Ulteig’s Fargo office.


Nadim Wehbe, professor of civil and environmental engineering at South Dakota State University (Brookings, SD), has been elected an American Concrete Institute Fellow. Only 672 of the more than 18,000 national and international members who comprise ACI are named fellows of the institute. Organized in 1904, the institute is a nonprofit, technical and educational society known as one of the world’s leading authorities on concrete technology. Wehbe and 27 others will be formally recognized as new ACI Fellows during the ACI Convention next March in Dallas, Texas.

Did you Know...


14 Prairie Business


that over the last 11 years South Dakota has awarded more than $3.8 million to rural hospitals through the federal Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility program for projects ranging from medication error reduction to telehealth. December 2011


INTELLIGENT INSITES APPOINTS CHIEF NURSING OFFICER Intelligent InSites Inc., the leading provider of enterprise real-time location systems (RTLS) software helping hospitals improve patient satisfaction and operational performance while supporting multiple RFID and RTLS technologies, has appointed Mary Jagim as its Chief Nursing Officer. In this position, Jagim will be responsible for developing and implementing strategic initiatives driving operational effectiveness and clinical excellence. Jagim will work closely with healthcare executives and healthcare information technology leaders to establish evidence-based standards of practice, both clinical and managerial, to enable improvements in care delivery and operational efficiency. Previously, as Intelligent InSites’ Director of Healthcare Solutions, Jagim led the development and implementation of the InSites’ Client Lifecycle Methodology™, which ensures successful enterprise implementation of RTLS/RFID projects and measurable return on investment. Leveraging her vast healthcare expertise, including serving as the national president of the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), Jagim has helped many Intelligent InSites’ customers realize meaningful and sustainable improvements to their operations and outcomes.

December 29, 1851 ON The first United States branch of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was organized in Boston.


Company Spotlight

Pearce & Durick

Larry Boschee is a partner with Pearce & Durick in Bismarck, ND.

Law firm that helps

create business Pearce & Durick has been a pillar in the Bismarck, ND community since the early 1900s providing legal counsel to Fortune 500 companies, regional corporations, and private interests. hroughout the years it has been diversification that has kept the law firm viable over the years. “Diversification helps in that if one area a law practice is down another would be in an upswing or at least maintaining,” states Larry Boschee, a partner in the law firm. “In addition, one lawyer working with a client in one area might find that client needs services in another area and we would be able to make the referral right within the firm.”

T 18 Prairie Business

December 2011

The firm started in 1919 when Edward Cox and Herbert O’Hare, two prominent Bismarck attorneys, formed a law partnership. In 1944, William Pearce joined the firm. Then in 1970, Pearce’s son, Harry Pearce, joined the firm and became one of the nation’s top product liability defense attorneys. The firm’s name was changed to Pearce & Durick in 1985. Today, Pearce & Durick focuses primarily on civil litigation. This includes an emphasis on product liability

the capped rate, in which a client pays an hourly rate, but with the total amount capped at a specific amount. Pearce & Durick is also seeing increased use in technology. “Technology has impacted greatly the practice of law from what it was 20, or even just five years ago,” Boschee says. “For the most part, lawyers no longer dictate their briefs or pleadings, but do their own word processing. Additionally, attorney’s no longer mail or fax documents, they send them by email and filings with the court are also now done electronically.” Then there is the increasing competition from national and regional law firms. “Aided by technology, law firms can represent clients anywhere in the nation,” Boschee says. “Lawyers can specialize not only in a particular substantive legal area, but in a particular substantive legal area for a particular client.” There has also become increasing competition for legal services from the clients themselves, as well as increasing competition from clients outsourcing work overseas. The primary challenge is to meet the competition and to continue to grow. “We are meeting this challenge by continuing to provide high quality legal services at a reasonable cost, and by expanding into new practice areas,” Boschee says, adding that another way the challenge is met is by having our lawyers stay at the cutting edge in the substantive areas in which they practice. While Pearce & Durick sees competition in North Dakota from out-of-state law firms, it also competes in other states. Then there is the challenge of maintaining the proper work/life balance for lawyers and staff. “We are addressing this challenge by being flexible in allowing time off from work, by Boschee allowing work to be done during nontraditional working hours, and in allowing work to be done remotely by using computers,” Boschee says. A law firm can also have a positive impact on a community or a region by volunteering to do civic service work, by doing pro bono work, and by having members participate and take leadership roles in committees and associations aimed at bettering the law or the legal environment. “A law firm can also have a positive impact on a community or region by helping to create new businesses, or by helping business come together for a business deal,” Boschee states. “By helping to create new business or new business deals, a law firm can help improve the economy and quality of life. Pearce & Durick lawyers have helped clients create many new businesses in the region, and have aided its clients in negotiating and structuring many business deals.” PB Alan Van Ormer -

“By helping to create new business or new business deals, a law firm can help improve the economy and quality of life.”


defense, commercial litigation, insurance defense work, oil and gas litigation, school law litigation, and governmental liability. Boschee believes that what sets Pearce & Durick apart in litigation issues is the work the attorneys do learning the facts of the case and researching and knowing the law that applies to the facts. “There are more nuances in the law as it develops. You need to know the nuances.” On the non-litigation side, attorneys work with patents and trademarks, advise people about business issues including business formation, business transaction, probate work, advice on estates, advice on oil and gas issues, and provide title opinions for oil companies. Boschee notes that the practice of law is becoming more competitive and demanding. “A great emphasis exists on delivering high quality legal services faster and at a lower cost,” he adds. One trend is the increasing use of alternative dispute resolution. “More civil cases are being settled and fewer cases are being tried,” Boschee says, adding that only 10 percent of civil lawsuits are tried today, which is down from about 25 percent twenty-five years ago. “Parties are settling cases because trials are expensive and the outcomes are uncertain. Parties are increasingly using alternative dispute resolution methods to resolve cases.” Another trend is the growth of oil and gas law in western North Dakota. “Many lawyers who never practiced oil and gas law before are acquiring the skill sets needed to meet the tremendous demand for legal services in this area,” Boschee states. Pearce & Durick’s oil and gas - Larry practice has been its strongest growth area. Pearce & Durick offers clients a wealth of services in the oil and gas industry. “We represent clients in the litigation of disputes including environmental and personal injury matters,” Boschee says. “We have experience in the examination of title and preparation of drilling and division order title opinions. Members also handle probates, lease reviews, negotiations and legislative matters.” Then there is the growth in the number of lawyers in western North Dakota. “The Bakken oil boom has generated not only more oil and gas legal work, but the ripple effect has generated more legal work in many other areas as well,” he says. Another trend is movement away from traditional hourly billing. Many clients are seeking representation on a basis other than the traditional hourly billing method. Forms of alternative billing systems include the flat rate, in which a client pays a fixed fee for the lawyers work, and


The U.S. Small Business Administration in North Dakota reached the highest mark in the agency’s history. During the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, SBA approvals supported $154.7 million in 7(a) and 504 loans through partnered efforts with lending institutions. Loan dollars approved in FY 2011 increased by 58 percent over FY 2010. Nationally SBA loans supported over $30 billion in small business lending. Source: Williston Wire



In a changing world, commitment to community service should not change We live in a State and Region where the unemployment rate continues to be low, and our quality of life is second to none. et, with the challenges facing our national economy, the non profit world has been severely challenged to come up with the resources to continue their missions, making a commitment to community service all the more imperative. One of the best ways to fill this void is with increased contributions from the private sector. As Regional President for the Southeast North Dakota Region at U.S. Bank, I am proud to work for a company that believes so strongly in giving back to the communities in which it operates. U.S. Bank encourages its employees to be active in community service, providing them eight hours of paid time off to volunteer. We also support those employees with an excellent matching gift program for employee donations to qualified non profit organizations. U.S. Bank was recently awarded the United Way’s highest honor, “The Spirit of America Award� for our commitment to the communities we serve. That commitment to service is certainly evident here. Earlier this spring, when the potential for flooding from the Red River appeared to be imminent, U.S. Bank employees in our bank branch network as well as at the U.S. Bank Fargo Service Center teamed up to provide more than 1,600 hours of volunteer service to support the sandbagging operations of our community. I am proud that our employees joined this effort. U.S. Bank is one of numerous great corporate citizens in our community. We are blessed to live in a community of individuals, organizations, and businesses that do wonderful work for a substantial number of worthy causes. I am many times awestruck at the large number of stories and examples of community service work that take place time and time again in our local area.


BUT MORE CAN BE DONE. Wherever you are personally or wherever your business is at from a commitment to community service standpoint, I would 20 Prairie Business

December 2011

challenge each of us to see what we can do to take community service to the next level. For employers of any size, this should be a part of the mission and culture. Continue to encourage employees to get involved in a non profit or other organization that reaches out to areas of need, and where they have a passion to serve. I have had the good fortune of living and working in four wonderful communities in the State of North Dakota. Many of my best memories are from the various community service activities that have taken place in those locations. Community service not only provides a benefit to those in need, but it has also provided me with an opportunity to make many life long friends along the way. It is hard to put a price tag on that benefit! In a world of constant change, let us do our part in making sure we, as a business community, never change our commitment to Community Service. It is the one easy thing to do that will continue to set our community, state, and region apart. What a difference we all can make in the lives of someone we may or may not even know.

PB Delton Steele is the Regional President, Southeast North Dakota Region, U.S. Bank. He can be reached at

It is simply the right thing to do. DELTON STEELE Regional President Southeast North Dakota Region, U.S. Bank



Leader’s role is to encourage ideas and allow them to grow In the world of business literature much information exists on managing change and change agents, individuals brought into an organization just to manage change. or a long time, corporate boards saw this phenomenon of managing change and employing change agents as indispensable to the competitive


edge. My problem with this old paradigm is that it assumes that in the lifecycle of a corporation (or a college, nonprofit or school system) a status quo exists. And, that it will take deliberate effort to change such an institution from where it lays statically on the continuum to a point where it gains that much sought-after competitive edge. But, due to the rate of technological change occurring today, this model is now wrong. There is no such thing as status quo in the corporate world. Change is not something that one manages anymore, nor does one hire a change agent. Rather, an institution must be in a constant state of evolution from its past into its future, a future that changes every day. One futurist predicted that in the 21st century we will experience in human terms the equivalent of 20,000 years of change. If we accept that argument, the rate of change

2011 BEST PRACTICES AWARD PROGRAM HONORS NDSCS HUMAN RESOURCES The Human Resources Department at the North Dakota State College of Science (Wahpeton, ND) has been honored with a 2011 Central Association of College and University Business Officers (CACUBO) Best Practices Award. NDSCS’s winning submission titled, “Paperless Human Resources: a Best Practice Model,” showcased the College’s transition from a paper-based human resource office at a state institution to a paperless one. Through its efforts, North Dakota State College of Science went “live” $31,000 under budget with institutional savings to-date of $14,000 in printing costs alone. 22 Prairie Business

December 2011

the world has witnessed since the latest Ice Age until today is going to be equaled in this century alone. We can’t manage such change. Rather, staying on par or ahead of the technological curve must become part of an organization’s DNA; that is, part of its core structure, operations and personnel. We must redefine an organization from its static mission to an adaptive one. We must ensure operations, including decision-making processes, are aligned to this constant techno-evolution. An organization must be agile enough to adapt new technologies, and to respond quickly to changing markets and market threats. We also must ensure that individuals both adapt to and readily embrace this evolution. Folk hoping to hold on to the old will be anachronisms in this century. To ensure organizations evolve in this technological age (don’t forget about Charles Darwin’s survival of the fittest), I advocate for creating a culture of innovation. If an institution isn’t talking about innovation, encouraging it, creating ways to promote and even fund innovation, I

suggest it start now. Clayton Christensen’s body of work on innovation recognizes two types of innovation: sustaining (“improve product performance” incrementally) and disruptive (“dramatic breakthrough”). And as sure as the rising morning sun, both are constantly transforming every organization. Christensen argues that organizations already in a given industry do best at sustaining innovations that improve performance, products, services and so forth. He also claims that disruptive innovations generally come from outside an industry (think Steve Jobs-Apple-iPod and the music industry). I can’t argue with Christensen’s research, but as an optimist I believe that disruptive innovations can come from within an industry as well (think Sam Walton’s Ben Franklin store-cum-Walmart). A leader’s role in this age, I propose, is to facilitate brightness throughout an organization. One never knows from whence the brightest sustaining or, better yet, disruptive innovation may come. Remember, Andrew Carnegie started as a messenger boy with a telegraph company. A leader’s role is to ensure the best ideas are encouraged and allowed to grow. That’s the best guarantee that an organization will evolve during an age of constant change. PB Dr. Larry C. Skogen became the sixth president of Bismarck State College on March 1, 2007. He can be reached at

DR. LARRY SKOGEN President of Bismarck State College

Photo: From left to right: Former NDSCS Human Resources Director David Lindberg, Interim NDSCS Human Resources Director Ann McGray, Christine Jackson – Chair of Best Practice Award Program committee.


Economic Development

25 year on the High Plains As the title would indicate, this article will discuss my personal view of a quarter century of changes I have witnessed in the economic development process. efore I speak to the changes, I wish to state the constant throughout all those years; JOBS, they are always in demand. Seldom is any politician elected on the community, state or federal level that does not have job creation as a plank in the election platform. In the 2012 presidential election, job creation will again be center stage. In one form or another, each candidate will recite the old quote “The best welfare program is to give a man (or woman) a job.” My earliest efforts in job creation were in the mid1980s and mostly centered on working to recruit out-of state manufacturers by encouraging them to relocate or consider an expansion in our community. Some called this “smoke stack chasing”. Many of these companies produced durable goods and with their recruitment, the demand for welders and metal fabricators sky rocketed. Manufacturers of trailers, industrial fans, construction/farm equipment, and military hardware all prospered by the pro-business, superior work ethic found on the high plains. The next wave of activity centered on electronic assemblies. The emergence of technology dictated new products and thus new business opportunities. Numerous companies chose to expand into the Dakotas during this time. The “border wars” were on, with state governors going public, rebuffing the others comments. The Federal Reserve even entered the debate stating that economic development through conventional industry attraction was “a zero sum game” with no winners. But come they did. Manufacturers of audio transformers, wave-length multiplexers, flexible printed circuit boards and other products that were only a figment of someone’s imagination just a year or two earlier were now going full force in product development.. The next wave was the “information super highway”. No longer was distance from major markets and transportation costs the big challenges for economic


JIM BARRINGER Aberdeen Development Corporation

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growth. Now it was bandwidth, phone capacity, redundancy, etc. Up until then, only the largest of cities possessed the advanced technology to become major banking and financial centers. Now, even the smallest of communities could play in the economic development game. This “back office” phenomenon brought forth development of reservation centers, telemarketing centers, credit and collection services, student loan processors, insurance claim agencies, mortgage bankers, etc., truly having a positive economic impact on small, rural communities. Agriculture is widely regarded as the single largest industry in our region. For too long, the highest profit margins in the industry, such as the processing of grain and livestock, were enjoyed elsewhere. The push for renewable fuels and a national desire for some level of energy independence gave the ethanol industry the push it needed. Today there are 40 ethanol plants in the Dakotas and Minnesota, consuming 949 million bushels of corn annually and producing 2.6 billion of gallons of ethanol each year. It is good to see the Dakotas being an integral part of the supply side of the nation’s insatiable need for energy. The oilfields in northwest North Dakota, the wind farms throughout the Dakotas and Minnesota, and the manufacturers of turbine blades in Grand Forks, ND, and Aberdeen, SD, are all good for our region and our country. We are also making great strides in the processing of our livestock. Northern Beef Packers of Aberdeen is in the final stages of construction of a 1,500 head-a-day processing plant. There is also conversation of a group or two contemplating a similar facility in North Dakota. It makes little economic sense to ship Dakota beef south, fatten them in part with Dakota grains, then slaughter them and label them Omaha Steaks. The Northern Beef Packers facility will make the South Dakota Certified Beef program a reality. As they say about the weather “if you don’t like it, wait a little while, it will change soon enough”. After 25 years, I believe economic development is like the weather, ever changing and, from my viewpoint, always for the better. PB Barringer has been with the Aberdeen Development Corporation since 1986. He previously worked for Bethlehem Steel and has a BS in Accounting. He is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day functions of the Development Corporation and reports directly to the Board of Directors. He can be reached at






















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40 under 40

A diverse group of business leaders Throughout 2011, Prairie Business has been receiving submissions from our readers in North Dakota, South Dakota, and western Minnesota nominating business leaders for our annual 40-under-40 section in the December issue. It is finally here: our list of business leaders who our readers are saying make a difference in our region. Helping us make the selections for 2011 was Lisa Gulland-Nelson, Communications Coordinator for the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation in Fargo, ND, and Dwaine Chapel, Executive Director, Lake Area Improvement Corporation in Madison, SD. After browsing through many submissions, here are the young leaders that have been selected for the fourth annual celebration of the top business professionals under the age of 40:

Carrie Brimhall

Justin Stansbury

Brian Meckler

(34) Interim Provost Minnesota State Community & Technical College Fergus Falls, MN Brimhall is currently the Interim Provost of M State Fergus Falls, which has locations in Detroit Lakes, Moorhead, and Wadena (MN.) She received her bachelor’s degree in communications and advertising at Concordia College, and her master’s degree in organizational leadership at Capella University.

(34) Vice President/ General Manager Corporate Technologies, LLC. Fargo, ND Justin has worked in the IT industry for 12 years and has been with Corporate Technologies since 2005. While at Corporate Technologies, he has served as a service sales executive in Fargo, sales manager in Boise, ID, vice president/general manager in Boise, and most recently vice president/general manager in Fargo.

(36) Marketing Advisor/Partner Absolute Marketing Group Moorhead, MN Brian graduated from NDSU with a business administration degree in 1998. After graduating he worked as a product marketing manager for a software company and as an advertising rep at The Forum. In 2006 he co-founded Absolute Marketing Group where he works as a marketing advisor. Absolute Marketing Group is a full service marketing firm.

Benjamin Victor

Chris Schilken

Jordan Woodbury

(32) Sculptor, Benjamin Victor Studios, Aberdeen, SD Benjamin describes his natural ability to create monumental works of art as “a gift from God.” He received his first large commission at 23. His passion and drive show in each of his unique and profound creations.

(29) Executive Director, Forward Devils Lake, Devils Lake, ND Chris is responsible for formulation and implementation of strategies leading to development of primary sector industries to the Lake Region, and retention/expansion of existing businesses. Chris began employment with Forward Devils Lake in 2008 after spending a brief time working in the banking industry.

(38) Director of Quality Assurance and Food Safety, Dakota Provisions Huron, SD Dakota Provisions is a state-of-the-art turkey processing plant that manufactures and produces poultry and protein products that are specially designed for retail and food service partners. Jordan is responsible for all quality assurance, food safety, research, and development and sustainability functions of the organization that employs more than 750 people.

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December 2011

Eric Trueblood

Nathan Conway

LaTresse Snead

(28) Co-Owner, Aircorps Aviation, Wahpeton, ND Eric is an owner of Aircorps Aviation, a WWII aircraft restoration facility. Aircorps, which specializes in fighter aircraft, uses its rebuilding and fabrication expertise to serve a worldwide customer base. Aircorps Aviation’s most recent restoration work on a WWII combat veteran P-51 Mustang won Grand Champion of EAA Airventure.

(34) Chief Operating Officer, Ward Williston Oil Company, Westhope, ND Nathan began his career at 16 and worked his way through college in the oil fields. Upon completion of his college education, he took a job as an assistant to the President of Ward Williston Oil Company and quickly moved through the ranks to become the Chief Operation Officer. He earned his M.B.A. from the University of Michigan in 2010.

(36) Community Relations Team Lead, Tastefully Simple, Alexandria, MN With more than 10 years of nonprofit and corporate experience, LaTresse is an energizing leader, a strong advocate and thoughtful advisor, and an expert professional with the unique ability to create philanthropic programs that maximize business and community success. She also has her own consulting firm, LaTresse Snead Consulting, in which she helps companies create their own corporate philanthropy programs.

Mary Urlacher

Kevin Boyum

Jacquelyn Johnson

(36) Customer Service, Local Office Manager, Job Service North Dakota Dickinson, ND Over the past five years, the office has seen many changes under her leadership, including the downsizing of the office to the current number of six. Under her direction, the office is fully capable of managing all of the workforce needs of the Dickinson and southwest North Dakota area.

(38) Operations Manager, Dakota State University, Madison, SD Kevin Boyum is the Operations Manager for HealthPOINT, South Dakota’s Regional Extension Center. As a federallydesignated REC based at DSU, HealthPOINT is dedicated to helping health care providers in clinics, small hospitals, and other settings in South Dakota select, implement, and effectively use electronic health records through education, outreach, and direct technical assistance.

(33) Financial Advisor, Dice Financial Services Group, Mitchell, SD Aside from being a volunteer with many state and community groups, Jacquelyn has received a number of awards and served in many leadership positions. She is a Partner and Part-owner of Dice Financial Services Group and has been named ‘Mitchell Businesswoman of the Year’ in 2011.

Rachel Lundbohm

Patrice Lahlum

Rachel Retterath

(29) Associate Director of the Center for Rural Entrepreneurial Studies and instructor in the Business Department, University of Minnesota, Crookston Crookston, MN Rachel works as an instructor in marketing and management in the Business Department at the University of Minnesota-Crookston. She teaches in the area of marketing including integrated marketing communication, internet marketing, and brand management.

(39) President/Owner, Riverwind Consulting, West Fargo, ND Riverwind Consulting, LLC., provides clients with a wide range of consulting services including marketing, communications, and policy analysis and development. Current areas of focus are agriculture, energy, natural resources, and organizational development. Patrice currently works as a consultant to the Great Plains Institute (GPI) on its communications, electricity, and biomass programs.

(37) Communications Specialist Great River Energy – North Dakota, Underwood, ND Rachel is a corporate communication specialist for Great River Energy working at its Coal Creek Station and Stanton Station plants and Bismarck, ND office. She spends her time developing and implementing internal communications programs, e-newsletters, company events and public relations, and marketing activities.



40 under 40

Dr. Steve Shirley

Eric Dukart

Jill R. Henning

(39) President Valley City State University Valley City, ND Dr. Steve Shirley became the President of Valley City State University in July, 2008. Under his leadership, the University has seen several significant accomplishments including: three consecutive years of enrollment growth to the University’s largest enrollment in 40 years; the largest number of on-campus residential students in over a decade; legislative appropriation in 2011 of $10.3 million for the Rhoades Science Center capital construction project; the creation of two new academic centers: the Great Plains STEM Education Center, and the Prairie Waters Education and Research Center.

(35) Chief Operating Officer/ Executive Vice President of Insights and Planning Sundog Fargo, ND In 2011, Sundog was named by the North Dakota Young Professionals as the ‘Best Place to Work in North Dakota’ and by Ad Age magazine as one of the top 30 ‘Best Places to Work in Marketing & Media.’ Eric is responsible for leading and delivering on Sundog’s product and service strategies and ensuring that the company’s more than 70 team members are equipped with the knowledge, support, and processes to deliver exceptional services to clients in an efficient and effective manner.

(29) Agent State Farm Insurance Fargo, ND Jill graduated Summa Cum Laude from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. In October 2007, she opened the doors to her very own State Farm Agency. She has achieved some of the highest honors and awards State Farm has to offer. Jill is ranked as a top 100 State Farm Agent nationally and ranks among the top 50 of State Farm agents nationally for production of health insurance.

Jason LaValley

Shannon Breuer

Jordan Schuetzle

(34) President and CEO LaValley Industries Bemidji, MN Jason, who is the President and CEO of LaValley Industries, is also the inventor and patent holder of the DECKHAND pipe-handling attachment. The DECKHAND represents a quantum leap in the handling of pipe in the pipeline and directional drilling industries allowing a single operator total control in the loading, stacking, and positioning of multiple kinds of pipes, which introduces a new level of safety and efficiency to the process.

(39) Partner, Director of Real Estate, Eide Bailly, Fargo, ND Shannon is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Employee Benefit Specialist. She is on the committee for a second year with the AICPA Partnership Tax Technical Resource Panel and is currently in class 7 out of 10 in pursuit of her master’s of science in Taxation. She received her bachelor’s of science degree in Business Administration from North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND.

(28) Entrepreneur, Attorney, Director of Entrepreneurial Tech Commercialization Libera, Inc., Schuetzle Law Office PLLC, UND Center for Innovation Grand Forks, ND At 28, Jordan has started five companies including his own law firm focused on entrepreneurs, Kazzam Video Editing, Northern Route Adventures, Renta-Man handyman company, and now Libera, Inc., which is commercializing a university technology called Zonemap.

Joe Sandin

Janna Bergstedt

Amber Rae Bernhardt

(31) President Onsharp Fargo, ND Joe was only a sophomore at the University of Minnesota-Morris when he and another student started Onsharp. At its inception, Onsharp was a two-person operation specifically focusing on web design services for educational institutions. Today, Onsharp employs a team of 12 that helps its clients solve real world business problems through a variety of web consulting products and services.

(27) Marketing Manager First Community Credit Union Fargo, ND FCCU is the largest credit union in North Dakota with 14 branches in 12 communities and more than $360 million in total assets. Janna has spearheaded a major rebranding campaign spending countless hours working out the details for an on time kickoff in February 2011.

(32) Executive Director Dakota Stage Ltd. Bismarck, ND Amber Rae stepped into the role of executive director at Dakota Stage Ltd., approximately one year ago and has made a significant impact on the theater. The theater has gone from struggling to keep the doors open to being able to move cash back into the theater’s savings. She is a bundle of energy, constantly tossing new ideas out to expose the theater to new people.

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December 2011



40 under 40

Dr. Blake Feil

Kate Muggerud

Aaron W. Hautala

(30) Orthodontist Feil Orthodontics Bismarck, ND Blake offers new techniques and appliances not found elsewhere in Bismarck, such as Incognito braces that are placed behind the teeth for a more cosmetic appeal. He is also in the process of being published for his study and innovative use of temporary anchoring devices, or mini-screws, which have eliminated costly surgeries and long recovery times.

(24) Client Relationship Manager, KAT Communications, Bismarck, ND After graduating from the University of Mary (Bismarck, ND) with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, Kate moved to Minneapolis to work in the merchandising department of ShopNBC, a home shopping network. She returned home and joined the family business – KAT Communications – a 23-year-old marketing consulting company with 30 employees.

(35) Creative Director and Owner, RedHouseMedia, Brainerd, MN RedHouseMedia started in 2003 with one table, one computer, and two creative minds. Aaron and Beth Hautala transformed the front porch of their red Brainerd home into a business venture that has continued to grow for the last eight years. Aaron started RedHouseMedia, an advertising agency, to fully unleash his creativity.

Jackie M. Stebbins

Sara Rowe

Rodrigo Cintra

(28) Limited Partner Bliss & Stebbins Law Firm, LLC Bismarck, ND Jackie is currently a limited partner at the Bismarck law firm of Bliss & Stebbins. In less than two years, she has performed many trials and has argued before the North Dakota Supreme Court on three different occasions. She also serves on the Board of Governors for the North Dakota Association for Justice and serves as a role model for young individuals striving to participate in the legal community.

(28) Owner and Licensed Massage Therapist, Om Therapeutics, Bismarck, ND Sara has been able to grow a solid, booming massage and bodywork private practice. A graduate of the prestigious Boulder College of Massage Therapy, she began practicing in 2004 in Colorado. In October of 2010, Sara started Om Therapeutics in Bismarck and built it into a thriving private practice in less than six months.

(30) EB-5 Regional Center Director and Director of International Marketing UND Center of Innovation Grand Forks, ND Rodrigo Cintra currently manages the North Dakota/Northwest Minnesota EB-5 Regional Center, the first and only EB-5 designated center in the region. The program is designed to attract foreign direct investment into North Dakota and Minnesota in order to generate economic development, create new jobs, and increase capital investment in growth ventures.

Andy Skatvold

Scott Kringstad

Cody Byrum

(34) CEO FM Rentals, LLC Moorhead, MN Andy brings more than 14 years of real estate, development, investment and construction experience to FM Rentals, LLC. He has developed a wide range of products in the upper Midwest from housing developments to franchise restaurants. Current projects include housing, industrial warehouses, frac sand, and oil rail facilities in western North Dakota.

(39) Senior Project Engineer, Vice President – Estimating Construction Engineers Grand Forks, ND Scott, a 1995 North Dakota State University graduate, leads the estimating and preconstruction efforts for Construction Engineers, a Grand Forksbased general contractor. In 17 years with the firm, he has managed dozens of complex commercial and civil/industrial construction projects in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Idaho ranging in value from $500,000 to $22 million.

(30) Deputy Commissioner, South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Pierre, SD As Deputy Commissioner of the GOED, Cody is responsible for day-to-day management of the office and its staff and takes a lead role in project management. Prior to his current duties, he was the Deputy Legislative Director for the South Dakota Governor’s Office from 2006 to 2010, being responsible for state government’s legislative actions and responses. He has also served as a policy analyst for the Governor’s Office.

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December 2011



40 under 40

Preston Steele

Jason Abbott

Emily Johnson

(38) Executive Vice President, American Bank & Trust, Huron, SD Preston grew up on his family’s farm northwest of Wolsey, SD. He attended the University of South Dakota (Vermillion,SD) and graduated in 1998 with a business degree. He is a thirdgeneration banker of a family owned bank (American Bank & Trust.) He is also President of American Trust Insurance.

(33) Manager, Business Development Aevenia, Inc., Moorhead, MN Jason is an accomplished business professional with more than 15 years in sales, marketing, and business management. He has played key roles in business development throughout his career and brings new ideas to the electrical and energy field.

(29) Marketing Manager, Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson, Bismarck, ND Emily’s prior financial industry experience developed a strong ability to build resilient teams of skilled and excited individuals. She enjoys the marketing groups’ creative environment and empowers her team daily.

Drew Molstad (37) President/Sole Owner, ICS, Inc. (dba Industrial Contract Services, Inc.), Grand Forks, ND

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December 2011

As an accounting graduate from Arizona State University, Drew handles the financial aspects of his general contracting business of ICS, Inc. ICS is a growing general contracting firm with annual revenues between $30 million and $50 million. The company delivers all phases of construction, management, and design.

Brian Johnson

(31) Recruiting & Staffing Manager, Preference Personnel, Fargo, ND Kara is a recruiting and staffing manager for Preference Personnel’s Professional Placement and Office Support division. Preference is an independent staffing firm that provides hiring solutions in direct hire, contract, and temporary staffing.

(36) Chief Executive Officer, Choice Financial Group, Grand Forks, ND Brian joined the Choice Financial team in 2001 and assumed his current position as Chief Executive Officer in February of 2011. He has also served as Chief Operating Officer and President of the financial group’s retail and ag/commercial banking locations in Grand Forks.

Will Kusler (29) Chief Financial Officer, Ntractive, Grand Forks, ND

Ntractive was founded in 2006 and Will became the CFO after completing his MBA at the University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, ND) in 2007. He has helped the company raise more than $1 million in angel financing and directing the financial growth of the SaaS software venture aimed at small business management application that use MacOS X computers and iPhones. hepper

Kara Jorvig

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Specialists becoming part of architects landscape The economy has become a big story for architects and engineers. The field is tied very closely to construction and the ability for financial institutions to loan money for projects. here “ have certainly been a lot of struggles in the profession nationally,” states David Crutchfield, an assistant professor in the Department of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at North Dakota State University James Galloway, JLG Architects in Fargo, ND. “I think we are currently in a tough phase, but I tend to be an optimist. Soon things will settle down and the economy will come back around.” Ward Whitwam, who has been an architect for 57 years and is with the AIA in South Dakota, hears that every office has work, but architects are losing jobs to out of state firms who are specialists. “The major challenge is to compete with this type of work situation,” he says. “I don’t “We’re always very think we are doing it. We can’t compete because cognitive of the cost. we aren’t specialists.” It really heightens awareness Alan Dostert, President and CEO of and it changes the way EAPC Architects Engineers, agrees that we deliver the design.” in order to compete, architects have to hire - Alan Dostert, President/CEO, specialists. One of the firm’s EAPC Architects Engineers strengths is health care, which is considered a specialty job. EAPC was recently named one of the 200 fastest growing architecture, engineering, and consulting firms in the United States by Zweig White. This is the third year out of the last four years that EAPC has been recognized as the Top 200. “The methodology for doing business has become very complex,” Dostert says. “These specialists bring a high level of design credibility to the table. The cost of service is also much higher and we are sharing more of the fee to get that expertise.” Sustainability has also become a buzzword and is something that is setting firms apart. “It is a common sense approach and our industry is in the process of catching up to that,” Dostert states, adding that this new concept does impact the way architects design projects. “We’re always very cognitive of the cost. It really heightens


34 Prairie Business Energy

December 2011

awareness and it changes the way we deliver the design.” What it also means is that architects and engineers have to hire consultants to help with the different strategies. James Galloway, AIA, LEED AP, for JLG Architects in Grand Forks, says his firm is good at managing the design process. “We approach the business side with much more of a strategy than before,” he states. “We need to have a system in place to manage projects.” JLG Architects is a full-service architecture firm with offices in Grand Forks, Fargo, and Bismarck, ND, and Minneapolis and Alexandria, MN. One of the challenges Galloway is noticing is recruiting and retaining talent. “As the rest of the country is not very busy, our area is,” he states. “More outside groups are coming in and going after projects. People we work with know the value that design has. The state of North Dakota has done a good job in keeping the state educated.” As a licensed professional architect who has worked more than 20 years around the country and the world, Crutchfield says one thing that architects and engineers need to understand and respond to is globalization and its impact on local practice. “I would say that there are measured improvements in segments of the economy, but projects may not be picking up as quickly as everyone David Crutchfield, North Dakota State University would like,” Crutchfield comments. “Along with institutional projects, renovation is going to be big for a while. Fortunately, we have some great existing building stock here. As the market begins to pick up, renovations are the first projects that begin to develop. Later, people will start considering new structures.” PB Alan Van Ormer -



Developing a solid business in the arts T

his also means those who work in the arts and culture also must have a solid business plan to stay afloat. “Money has to be tied to the strategic plan of any organization to be successful,” states Dayna Del Val, Executive Director of The Arts Partnership in Fargo, ND. “I am generalizing, but too often arts organizations have had the approach that we are doing great work. People will come.” Del Val notes that is not necessarily the case anymore. “The new model is thinking outward in. What do people want? The successful ones are thinking that way,” she

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December 2011

When businesses are recruiting employees, arts and culture are just one of the areas that need to be considered if people are not only going to come here, but also stay here. states. “They are looking into the community to see where are the links, where are the gaps, how can artists fill them to engage in the community.” Spider Johnk, the owner of Spider and Company, a graphic design and advertising company located in downtown Fargo, says in a business plan for an arts and culture group, measurements are a little “iffy,” adding that most businesses have a market value people can put on what is sold. “In the arts it is a little more intangible and harder to measure success,” he explains.


For The Test Of Time. Engineering affects everything from the water that flows from your kitchen faucet to the roads you drive on to the buildings where you live, work and shop. We provide a full line of high quality engineering services: A r t s a n d Dayna culture Del Val, does have an Executive economic impact Director of The Arts on the FargoPartnership, Fargo, ND Moorhead area and other communities around the region. In 2005, an economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audience was conducted for Fargo-Moorhead. The report shows that more than 1,380 jobs support arts and culture organizations in the area. Almost $2 million was generated for local government and another almost $3 million generated for state government. Almost 900,000 people attended arts and culture events, which also means that there was almost $24 million generated for event-related expenditures. The average event-related spending per person was just over $27. All told, nearly $42 million goes into the local economy from the arts on an annual basis. “That is a significant piece of the pie,” Del Val states. “One of our goals is to make sure that people understand that the arts are important from a passion standpoint, an intellectual standpoint, and can’t deny the educational component that the arts has, but the economic impact is also tremendously significant.” Johnk notes that the Fargo-Moorhead area has a good energy among the population. It includes the opera, live music, the symphony, theatre projects for young people, acting. “We have plenty of options, but we have to treat it more business like,” he states. “Arts and culture is a quality of life issue. Quality of life helps attract businesses. If a community lets their arts and culture slip and a slide, it is a step away from losing their infrastructure.” Moving forward, Del Val believes several things have to happen. One is programming has to be dynamic. Another is artists have to rethink the way things have always been done. Then, time needs to be a consideration because it is so precious. “What it really comes down to is listening to your audience,” she states. “In the past, the arts were paid for by people. Ticket prices almost never are enough of a budget. It comes down to significant sponsorships from individuals or businesses.” Del Val notes that Fargo-Moorhead has a community of incredible arts. “A lot of people participate in one way or another,” she says. “We have to find ways to continue to engage the arts. What you have to gain from it far exceeds what you are giving to get it.” PB Alan Van Ormer -

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Air charter flying to the Bakken

Paul Vetter is the Chief Operating Officer for Executive Air Taxi Corporation, a company that provides 24-hour aircraft charter services. (Photo by Alan Van Ormer)

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December 2011

Executive Air Taxi Corporation conducts EMS helicopter training with members at oil rig sites in western North Dakota (Photo courtesy of Executive Air Taxi Corporation)

Road travel in the Bakken in western North Dakota is heavy. Some companies are turning to the air to get people and goods to the oil fields. Executive Air Taxi Corporation is just one of those air charter companies that is providing that kind of service. “

t is getting busier all the time,” states Paul Vetter, Chief Operating Officer for Executive Air Taxi Corporation. “Massive increase of traffic is creating problems. We are filling a void out there by providing a wide range of services with a connection to the oil fields so travelers can go from Bismarck and other communities to the western part of the state.” Executive Air Tax provides 24 hour aircraft charter services, which includes Bakken Air, an airplane shuttle service between Bismarck and Mandan, ND utilizing aircraft that can seat as many as six people on Monday and Friday during the week. Other charter flights are available based up on the needs of clients. “Our goal is to be as flexible as possible.” Another service is an emergency medical helicopter transport. NorthStar Criticair, established in 1992, is contracted through Trinity Hospital in Minot, ND, to provide emergency transport service in the northern and western part of North Dakota. Angel Air Care went into service earlier this year and provides emergency medical helicopter service based in Bismarck, serving southern and western North Dakota and northern South Dakota. Both helicopters can land at an oil rig, an intercept with a ground ambulance, an inter-facility transfer with another hospital or any place in the Bakken where vehicles cannot go. The helicopters do not have to follow roads and can land right at the hospital helipads meaning patients get the care they need that much quicker. Vetter explains that some days there are three flights in one day. Some none. “Weekends are a little busier.” It is estimated that 25 percent of the flights involved with the helicopter services are associated with something happening in the oil fields. “It definitely gets people rapidly to definitive care,” Vetter explains. “Ground ambulance service may take several hours at a time if they can get access to a scene at all.”


During the winter months and when the snow piles up, it becomes more difficult because roads become blocked. “We can land right out on the rig sites,” Vetter says, adding that his crews also train those working in the area on how to set up a landing zone, helicopter safety, and loading a patient safely. Vetter notes that all three services fit into the bottom line of Executive Air Taxi Corporation. “Helicopter service is a big part of what we do,” he explains. “Not only is it a big part of our business, it is also a big part of creating jobs in our company and community, but most importantly to provide the service that is so badly needed.” Angel Air Care alone employs a team of four pilots and also 22 paramedics and nurses. Executive Air’s services include everything the air service does including refuelers, mechanics, pilots, customer service personnel, and infrastructure for passenger boarding. In 2007, Vetter, along with two others bought Executive Air. Since then the three have been continuing to grow the

company. Executive Air added an interior completion shop from Detroit Lakes, MN, in 2007. The next year an avionics shop was purchased in Minot and moved to Bismarck. It is all part of a long-term strategy that would provide complete aviation services under one roof. This includes aircraft maintenance, avionics, sales and service, parts department and accessories, complete interior refurbishing, 24-hour refueling service, 24-hour aircraft charter service, flight instruction, and rental. Angel Air Care was added in February 2010 and Bakken Air was started in 2011. “Interesting enough most of those who use the shuttle service are oilfield support services including engineers, contractors, state and federal officials needing to get back and forth from Williston and throughout the region,” Vetter states. “Many folks have a hard time finding housing so some are living here and shuttling back and forth.” Angel Air Care and NorthStar Criticair were started to provide medical services for ill and injured. “There are an increasing number of injuries in the oilfields,” Vetter states.

MDU Resources reports third quarter earnings “

MDU Resources Group, Inc. (NYSE:MDU) today reported third quarter consolidated earnings of $63.8 million, or 34 cents per common share, compared with $60.8 million, or 32 cents per common share for the third quarter of 2010.

$63.8 million 40 Prairie Business

December 2011

e are pleased our diversified business strategy continues to demonstrate its value in a challenging economy," said Terry D. Hildestad, president and chief executive officer of MDU Resources. "Our businesses are operating well, and more important, they are keeping us financially strong so that we can invest in future growth. We have a strong balance sheet, good liquidity and credit rating, healthy cash flows, and are paying a competitive dividend. "We are investing approximately $3.5 billion over the next five years, much of it in projects that are already under way, to increase production and expand our ability to serve key markets. As a result, we expect to be in a very competitive position when the economy strengthens," he said. For the third quarter the company's exploration and production business, Fidelity, reported earnings of $22.5 million compared to $18.7 million in the same period last year. Oil production increased 13 percent over the prior year while natural gas production declined 8 percent, reflecting the company's progress in increasing liquids as a percentage of overall production. Oil production represented 33 percent of total production this quarter, up from 28 percent a year ago. The company expects to have six rigs deployed by year end, up from two at the beginning of the year, with a target of 10 rigs by the end of 2012. Average realized natural gas prices declined 9 percent compared to the third


The major challenge is just being able to meet the demand to have that balance of aircraft to meet the needs and demands that we have, Vetter notes. “Some days we have four to five flights. The next day we might not have any,” he explains. “It also includes having the right aircraft for the right need.” Executive Air Taxi Corporation also hauls freight. “If someone out there has a breakdown and needs a part, we can rush it out there so they can keep going,” he states. Vetter notes that the company did not know when it started that it was going to grow as quickly as it did in the oilfields. “We know we wanted to provide that service,” he states. “There are a lot of flights that come in here because Bismarck is centrally located. Corporate aircraft flying in here have business in the oilfield, especially when the session is in. It is a final destination, but they still need to get to that little town that larger aircraft can’t get into because of runways. We are here to fill that void.” Vetter believes there is opportunity in the Bakken and is excited about the future. “The economy has had its

downturn, but North Dakota – and specifically Bismarck – has been the shining spot in the nation,” he says. “Aviation is really a national industry. Throughout the country – and we see it here in Bismarck – aviation has been hit hard. That has been turning around again. “People are realizing more and more the value of aviation in moving people, equipment, parts or just finding out that it is not as expensive as envisioned to be,” Vetter states. “(Many) People in the oil industry do not move to North Dakota. They commute in and out, work for the week, and go on. We provide that flexibility to them.” Alan Van Ormer

quarter of 2010, but were offset by a 27 percent increase in average realized oil prices. The pipeline and energy services business reported earnings of $5.2 million, compared to a third quarter 2010 loss of $7.4 million that resulted from a one-time arbitration charge. Following two consecutive years of record storage volumes, the average storage balance declined significantly. Total throughput decreased 13 percent in the third quarter compared with last year, primarily the result of lower volumes transported to storage and lower gathering volumes. The electric and natural gas utility continues to perform well reporting a normal natural gas operations third quarter seasonal loss. The loss of $2.9 million reflects higher operation and maintenance expenses, largely related to increased employee benefit plan costs of $2.6 million (after tax) tied to the performance of the markets, which experienced significant volatility during the quarter. Excluding this item, operation and maintenance costs were lower for the quarter compared to last year. On a year-to-date basis, the utility business increased earnings by 12 percent compared to the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2010. The construction materials and contracting business had earnings of $33.1 million compared to $40.3 million in the third quarter last year. Contributing to lower earnings were the effects resulting from the Minnesota state government shutdown in July of approximately $3 million, as well as weather related delays early in the quarter, and lower margins including asphalt oil margins. Work backlog at Sept. 30 was relatively level with that of one year ago. The construction services business reported earnings of $5.1 million. The company's equipment sales and rental business, which specializes in equipment used in electric transmission construction, continued to report strong sales. This group's backlog at Sept. 30 was $331 million, remaining relatively steady with work backlog levels over the past year. MDU Resources Group, Inc., a member of the S&P MidCap 400 index, provides valueadded natural resource products and related services that are essential to energy and transportation infrastructure, including regulated businesses, an exploration and production company and construction companies. MDU Resources includes regulated electric and natural gas utilities and regulated natural gas pipelines and energy services, natural gas and oil production, construction materials and contracting, and construction services. For more information about MDU Resources, see the company's Web site at or contact the Investor Relations Department at



Connecting East and West journey


It was an eye-opening experience for a group of business leaders from eastern North Dakota while visiting Williston, ND, and learning more about what is happening in the Bakken on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 he changes and growth in the Williston Basin landscape since last year are simply phenomenal if not mind numbing,” states Bruce Gjovig, Director of the Center of Innovation in Grand Forks, ND, one of at least 25 people who made the trek to Williston. “Western North Dakota has the most dynamic market economy in the United States, and growth through construction, expansion, and oil activity is abundant every place you look. Everywhere there is a ‘now hiring’ sign at the same time housing is booming but not keeping up with job creation. This economy is a wild west mix of great opportunity, constant chaos, and severe challenges.” Tom Rolfstad, Executive Director for Williston Economic Development, commends Grand Forks for taking the initiative to visit Williston, help, and for their willingness to work together to build our future.


Bruce Gjovig, Director for Center of Innovation in Grand Forks, ND, discusses the impacts of the oil play during an interview. (Photo by Alan Van Ormer)

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“Obviously, it is helpful for us to meet with civic, elected, and business leaders from across the state to share our problems, opportunities, and concerns,” he explains. “North Dakota has a great economy and is the talk of the world after all the publicity we have received. Yet, we do face many challenges, and hopefully this oil income can help us overcome them.” Rolfstad adds that oil provides a great income to the state, but to sustain it we need to make sure we maintain our business climate and invest in the needed infrastructure. “Beyond oil, infrastructure still looms as a big ticket item that North Dakota continues to face,” he states. “When we have built up our infrastructure adequately to sustain oil as a reliable source, we need to hold some of that surplus reserve for a rainy day, but also to build North Dakota to poise us for the future. How can we diversify and expand the economic base of our state, plan and build key infrastructure projects, and provide the quality of life that will sustain our children and families? I think is an important part of the discussions.” Gjovig points out the following: Oil fields are investing $2 billion a month to capture the opportunities provided by the Bakken and Three Forks shale It is reported that there are 200 rigs drilling around 2,000 wells per year in the Bakken, as North Dakota has moved from ninth to the fourth largest oil producing states with predictions that it will become the second largest oil producing state in the next year There are more than 6,000 producing wells in western North Dakota according to the experts, and it is predicted that 25,000 or more wells will be developed in the next 14 years that will create more than 30,000 longterm jobs We heard reports of an oil play lasting more than 15 years “That is the economic engine, but it is creating

the air base and long term steady stream of construction projects the air base has provided. We need their talent to build out all that is going on here.” He also states that UND has training programs and research that western North Dakota needs for the oil play. “I continue to find more and more ways that Grand Forks is able to help us either directly or indirectly.” As for Fargo, Rolfstad says similarly Fargo is a major wholesale, distribution, and manufacturing hub that can help us for the task at hand and the challenges ahead. “Fargo also provides us with many of the allied construction and investment experience we need to address the growth we faced,” he states. “I would guess there is someone working in the oilfield from virtually every city and county in North Dakota that is either directly, or indirectly helping us meet the needs of the Bakken whether it be building oil tanks in West Fargo, constructing Buffalo Homes in Jamestown or working in Williston and returning home with a paycheck on the weekends.” Rolfstad notes this is a ‘We’ thing, and we need to continue to learn more and more about each other and how we can create a ‘win-win’ from this tremendous economic engine that technology has made possible right here under our feet. “I don’t view this visit as a one-time visit, but rather the building of a relationship between our people and our communities,” Rolfstad states. “To put it in modern terms, we are developing a far greater ‘social network’ than we ever would have conceived in historical North Dakota. Just as on the Internet we all have all greatly expanded out connectivity with Facebook and LinkedIn, etc., so too have we created a good old fashioned relationship by visiting each other, having coffee together, and sharing problems and opportunities and hopefully developing a consensus on solutions that will be sustainable and effective for our communities and state.” Alan Van Ormer -

Gas Produced and Price

North Dakota Historical Monthly

opportunity in construction, retail, service, and every kind of business you can think of,” Gjovig says, adding that we are all in the same state and in the same economic boat, so we want to be rowing together on the opportunities and challenges. “The Grand Forks business community has an opportunity to grow and expand with this booming market economy, as we help meet their needs and solve their problems,” he adds. “There is a natural alliance between the Williston Basin and Greater Grand Forks because of Highway 2, the strong historical connection between UND (University of North Dakota), and Williston State College, and the fact that so many young people went to UND from the northwest quarter of the state. Many of us still have relatives and friends from our hometowns like Stanley Tioga, Ray, Watford City, New Town, Crosby, and Williston.” It is estimated that at least 50 Grand Forks area contractors and businesses are already working in the Williston Basin, some finding work since the delegation last visited in June 2010. “The Grand Forks business delegation went on this trip to build an existing business relationship to look for new opportunities and to work together,” Gjovig explains. “Grand Forks firms are already doing hundreds of millions of dollars of work in eastern North Dakota as contractors, engineers, architects, and service providers. There continues to be a tremendous opportunity for even more eastern North Dakota business to benefit directly from the tremendous growth in western North Dakota.” Rolfstad notes that it seems that we have noticed the same kind of thinking by our friends in Grand Forks and Fargo and across North Dakota. “While the drilling might be in our back yard, the social and economic impact is being felt across North Dakota, the United States, and the World. To be blunt, we can’t grow like we are without help from many businesses and employees far from the oilfield,” Rolfstad states. “Grand Forks has a very strong contingent of architects, engineers, and contractors as a result of

Source: North Dakota Oil and Gas Division


Gas plant could be

operational this month The Belfield Whiting Gas Plant could be up and running later this month, according to Plant Supervisor Marvin Welnel.

atural gas is worth something,” Welnel states. “One thing that people don’t realize is the clean burning fuel that we produce. The country needs to look more at natural gas. It is used for a lot of things because it is a clean burning fuel.” The Belfield Whiting Gas Plant, owned by Whiting Oil and Gas Corp. is located two miles south of Belfield, ND,


just off of Highway 85. It is expected to produce between 30 and 35 million cubic feet of gas per day. There will also be at least 10 employees on the site once it is up and running. According to the company website, Whiting Petroleum Corporation, a Delaware corporation, is an independent oil and gas company that acquires, exploits, develops, and explores for crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids primarily in the Permian Basin, Rocky Mountains, MidContinent, Gulf Coast, and Michigan regions of the United States. The Company’s largest projects are in the Bakken and Three Forks plays in North Dakota and its Enhanced Oil Recovery fields in Oklahoma and Texas. Welnel notes that it is difficult to know how much gas will be out there when the plant first begins operations. “The drilling program is in its early stages at this point,” he says. “Within the next year or two we will have to expand because we feel there will be that much gas out there.” Right now, Whiting has at least five oil wells that are producing gas that will be coming to the gas plant. Welnel states there will be potential for more from Whiting and other oil companies in the Bakken. The gas and oil are separated at the location, the gas is gathered into a pipeline, and pumped to the Belfield Whiting Gas Plant. “We are looking for other producers out there that are interested in bringing their gas into here for processing,” Welnel says. Westcon, Inc., based in Bismarck, ND, was the construction company hired to construct the plant. As many as 65 people were working during the construction phase. Westcon built concrete foundations, the structure work, set up the equipment, and processed the piping on the 30-acre site. All the pipeline fabrication was done on site, as was the mechanical installation. Westcon, Inc. was incorporated in 1981. Regional offices have been established in Utah, Iowa, and Ohio. Westcon, Inc. is an industrial general contractor with diverse experience. Industries served by the company are petroleum, chemical, oil and gas, power, food, ag and bio, and mining, metals and minerals. Alan Van Ormer -

The Belfield Whiting Gas Plant. It is expected to produce between 30 and 35 million cubic feet of gas per day. (Photo by Alan Van Ormer)

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December 2011


Bismarck State College starts new courses in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) training Nov. 14 in response to regional employers preference for Environmental Research Institute (Esri) certification. Focused on current workers, the training at BSC’s National Energy Center of Excellence involves three courses that range from basic to advanced levels using ArcGIS software. “These new GIS classes are a great example of BSC’s nimble response to industry needs,” said Larry C. Skogen, BSC president. “The classes allow us to be a partner in advancing the industries that drive our region’s economy.” Esri-certified instructor Aaron Norby works at the Bismarck office of Kadrmas Lee & Jackson, an engineering company that has offered GIS training to KLJ employees and the public in the past. Norby is a member of the BSC Geographic Information Systems program advisory committee. He also has taught GIS and Esri-certified professional courses at Austin Community College in Texas. Norby said the training works well with business intelligence computer techniques used in identifying and analyzing business data. GIS has many other applications including natural resources, engineering, oil pipelines, coal and insurance industries, airport design, precision farming, real estate, county and state agency work, homeland security, and more. “Employers like to see Esri certification,” Norby said. Bismarck State College, an innovative community college in Bismarck, N.D., offers high quality education, workforce training, and enrichment programs reaching local and global communities. For more information visit

ENERGY NEWS MCKAY HIRED AS GREAT PLAINS ENERGY CORRIDOR DIRECTOR Emily McKay has been hired as the director of the Great Plains Energy Corridor. McKay is responsible for promoting North Dakota’s energy industry through education and outreach, as well as facilitating collaboration among the various segments of the industry. This federally funded position is housed in the Bismarck State College National Energy Center of Excellence. A former Peace Corps volunteer, McKay has worked in the energy industry for more than six years, most recently at Basin Electric Power Cooperative in Bismarck. For more information about the Great Plains Energy Corridor and its mission, visit Bismarck State College, an innovative community college in Bismarck, N.D., offers high quality education, workforce training, and enrichment programs reaching local and global communities. For more information, visit


Community Spotlight

Bismarck/ Mandan

Mike Seminary Bismarck City Commissioner

Eric Hardmeyer, President/ CEO, BND Bismarck, ND Airport


Bismarck and Mandan are quickly becoming a central hub in North Dakota for those doing business in the oil fields of western North Dakota, as well as continuing a strong tradition of education, health care, tourism, and state government.

Russ Sorenson, Operations Manager, AE2S

Dot Frank, Mandan City Commissioner

Dr. Larry Skogen, President, Bismarck State College

46 Prairie Business

hub for North Dakota

e have a booming economy and I see it everywhere,” states Eric Hardmeyer, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of North Dakota, located in Bismarck. Hardmeyer adds that Bismarck-Mandan is starting to see the impact of what is happening west of the two communities. “The spillover effect is making its way down to Bismarck,” Hardmeyer says. “The resources in the community are stretched thin. It is all positive. It is a growing economy. It is a growing population.” Brian Ritter, Director of Business Development for the Bismarck-Mandan Development Association, says the Bismarck-Mandan economy has always been driven by government, energy, and medicine. A fourth key industry – higher education – has made headway in the communities. In addition, Ritter states that Bismarck-Mandan has long been the home of Basin Electric Power Cooperative and MDU Resources (North Dakota’s only Fortune 500 company.) It is important to remember that the BismarckMandan Development Association represents the


December 2011

primary sector business development for Bismarck and Mandan, as well as Burleigh and Morton counties, Ritter notes. “Each city has their own, focused efforts such as Mandan’s efforts to attract retail and Bismarck’s efforts to revitalize downtown, but we focus on primary sector development for the entire BismarckMandan MSA,” Ritter states. The latest statistics shows that the BismarckMandan unemployment rate is 3 percent, compared to the state’s average of 3.3 percent and the national average of 9.1 percent. Ellen Huber, Business Development Director for Mandan, notes that Mandan is a progressive and growing city. “Thanks to our community’s resilient character and the still evident pioneer, can-do spirit of citizens, Mandan has overcome many obstacles to become a place of great economic opportunity with a strong sense of community, possibilities for achievement, and widespread sources of adventure,” Huber says.

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Delton Steele Regional President Fargo, ND 701-280-3553

Dave Rozenboom Regional President Sioux Falls, SD 605-339-8639

Cindi Walsh Regional President Aberdeen, SD 605-226-4103

Pat Burchill Regional President Rapid City, SD 605-394-2021

John Snustad Regional President Grand Forks, ND 701-795-6175

Community Spotlight

Bismarck/ Mandan

EDUCATION AND HEALTH CARE LEADING THE WAY Dr. Larry Skogen, President of Bismarck State College, believes that in a “burgeoning” economy and community like Bismarck-Mandan and central North Dakota (in general), health care and education are two vital elements for growth. “We are sitting in the sweet spot in development of North Dakota,” Skogen states, adding that BismarckMandan is close to oil and gas development, coal development, wind development, hydropower, and agriculture. “We are sitting on the vortex of all that development going on in western and central North Dakota.” The Bismarck-Mandan area is considered the fastest growing K-12 system in the state. For example, in Mandan, public school enrollment in 2010 was up 122 students and in 2011 increased another 49 students. There are more than 3,280 students in the public school system. Bismarck boasts more than 10,700 K-12 students in the school system. The higher education system includes United Tribes Technical College, the University of Mary, Rasmussen College, as well as Bismarck State College. Bismarck State College also has relationships with Dickinson State University, Minot State University, and the University of North Dakota; who all deliver four-year and graduate programs on campus. Skogen believes that two things are essential for education to be effective. Educators have to be held accountable for learning outcomes. Second, it takes funding. “State legislature has been marvelous in providing funding in higher education,” he states. “The growth of education has gotten more expensive. The technology today is incredible.” Skogen notes that if Bismarck-Mandan has a strong, effective educational system, families are going to be supporting the economic drive of North Dakota and will be more inclined to settle here. The St. Alexius Medical Center and Medcenter One are the largest health care systems in the community. St. Alexius has more than 2,100 employees, while Medcenter One employs more than 3,500 people. “Last year there was a five percent job growth rate in Bismarck-Mandan. It was all health care,” states Dr. Craig Lambrecht, President/CEO of Medcenter One. “Other than government, we are the dominant economic force in the community. “People come and stay in communities because of health care and education,” Lambrecht adds. “If we provide outstanding (health care and education), they not only stay, but the community thrives. If we do that and do it well it is a cornerstone in the community.” Two issues that could cloud the continued development of health care in the two communities are the Frontier States Amendment and health care exchanges. Lambrecht says the Frontier States Amendment is making sure the health care systems are paid fairly for 48 Prairie Business

December 2011

Bank of North Dakota

Medicare. “We were reimbursed 20 percent less than the national average for Medicare,” he states. “If we don’t keep the Frontier States Amendment North Dakota will lose $64 million. That means we will have to make difficult decisions on services.” The state legislature will decide whether or not the federal government or state government will be running these insurances, which are mandated by the federal health care law. The exchange will dictate how insurance will be provided to North Dakota residents. “It will be up to the legislature on how it is modeled and how we are going to get paid,” Lambrecht adds. “Health care services and jobs will be impacted. We would be looking at services and job cuts.”


Harvest Brazilian Grill

National Energy Center of Excellence

NISC Campus

Capitol Grounds

6 Buggies-N-Blues

The Bank of North Dakota has been in the picture since 1918. It was a financier for agriculture, now its mission is to promote agriculture, commerce, and industry. The Bank of North Dakota has become a $5 billion bank with 180 employees. “We have a pretty wide range of flexibility to assist with economic development,” Hardmeyer states. “There are unbelievable things happening today that we didn’t see five years ago.” Bismarck is also the seat of state government. “There is a movement across the country to restrict government growth,” Hardmeyer says. “It will be an interesting time for us as we try to deal with that philosophy while continuing to deliver.” Hardmeyer also believes that as Bismarck-Mandan continues to grow leadership is a number one factor. “We have strong leadership at the top,” he notes. “State and local governments have to be strong.” One hundred years ago, Cloverdale Foods Company started out as a dairy business. Now, TJ Russell is the fourth generation of the family to lead the manufacturing company that manufactures and distributes processed meat. Russell says a diversified economy is critical for community growth and manufacturing is just one segment of that diverse economy. “We have terrific manufacturing in town, but we don’t have the width and depth,” he says. “It is more challenging than it was five years ago for labor.” Cloverdale continues to seek ways to grow its group of products and is looking at other products. Currently, the manufacturing firm has $70 million a year in total sales and almost 300 employees. “The economy has been pretty good for North Dakota,” Russell states. “Ag business, energy, oil, and gas have all been terrific. We’re not in the thick of it, but pretty close.” AE2S has been the water engineer for the City of Bismarck since 1998 and has been Mandan’s water engineer since 1999. They work on planning and projects behind the scenes to provide infrastructure improvements and keep the communities up to speed on regulations and demands of the systems. In Mandan, AE2S has completed a series of water

Community Spotlight

Bismarck/ Mandan Huber says that Mandan will continue to advance. “Energetic, committed city and business leaders, as well as enthusiastic citizen volunteers are working to improve our community,” she says. ‘We are aggressively seeking to fill gaps in the retail and restaurant offerings in the area. “We have an opportunity – with North Dakota’s robust economy – to attract more businesses to headquarter here,” Huber continues. “Mandan offers a central location within commuting distance of oil activity. Mandan also has considerable upward potential in the area of tourism and visitor attraction as we build our history, unique shopping, and entertainment available.” PB Alan Van Ormer -

treatment improvements and completed a 4 million gallon reservoir, while in Bismarck, the firm increased Bismarck’s maximum water treatment capacity from 24 million to 30 million gallons per day over a series of projects. “The biggest strength is being in the state capital," says Russ Sorenson, Operations Manager for AE2S in Bismarck. “We’re on the cusp of the oil play right here. Being a regional firm, with an office located in the state capital, we have opportunities to help Bismarck-Mandan grow.” Sorenson notes that what needs to happen in the engineering field for the communities to grow is developing funding and making sure the infrastructure stays up to speed. “Bismarck-Mandan does a really good job of staying out ahead of operations and maintenance issues,” he says. “Limited water can halt your growth.”

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT IN THE TWO COMMUNITIES Bismarck-Mandan also is a magnet for development with its regional airport and because of its position along Highway 83 and Interstate 94. Mike Seminary, who is a Bismarck City Commissioner, believes that what also helps Bismarck-Mandan is the beauty of the region, a phenomenal Missouri River, gorgeous prairies, and the start of the rolling hills. Another factor is that Bismarck is the capital city. “One thing about a capital city it is fairly predictable even during a slow economic turn,” he states. “There is a very predictable growth in government. We’ve gone beyond the little city of Bismarck to becoming a small, big city.” Seminary notes that the downtown is growing, two new schools have been built, and the oil play has had a significant impact on the region. In addition, Seminary adds that the Northern Plains Commerce has been active with what is happening in the oilfields, the medical community is booming, the energy sector is booming, utility companies are booming, retail sector is very strong, and the construction industry has been good. “There are always challenges with growth,” Seminary says. “The biggest challenge that we will have is how to pay for the infrastructure improvements that we will have to have over the next 10 years.” Across the river, in Mandan, Dot Frank who is a city commissioner for Mandan sees the community focusing on retail and restaurant recruitment. “There is a lot of revival and interest in downtown Mandan,” she says. “There have been renovations of existing businesses through our storefront improvement program. We have created interest and excitement in our community.” Frank adds that the real strength of Mandan is its strength of community. “One thing we recognize and promote is the strength of our community and its uniqueness and inclusiveness,” she says. 50 Prairie Business

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572 501 413 404 378











4,400 3,038 2,176 1,200 864













Taglines with Legs When we think of a strong tagline, Just do it and Think Differently come to mind almost immediately. ust as fast, we think Nike and Apple. These solid, strong taglines work because they have legs. In other words, they have endured the test of time, they are closely associated with the core values of the company, they are memorable, and they work across all target markets served and products offered. Finding a tagline with legs is both critical and difficult. The Nike tagline, Just do it, resonates with their diverse audience. It appeals to the young aspiring athlete that dreams of being a professional ball player to the 42 year old runner training for a marathon the first time. The Just do it tagline has been around since 1988. It speaks the same message to all audiences – take the chance, experience the experience…Just do it. Apple’s tagline, Think Differently, embodies Apple. It speaks to the company’s mission and values. It is a directive to its employees of how they are expected to approach their job. It appeals to the counter-culture of MAC users and the innovative devices that have completely redefined communication and media. It really says it all. Higher education faces the same challenge of finding a tagline with legs. Like Nike and Apple, our audiences are considerably diverse. Our target markets go beyond the fresh out of high


KAREN MEUWISSEN Marketing/Sales Instructor, Alexandria Technical and Community College, Alexandria, MN

52 Prairie Business

December 2011

school young adult. It includes older adults undergoing their first higher educational experience or returning students looking for retraining or additional schooling. Our markets also extend beyond the student to parents closely involved in their child’s educational decision, high school teachers and counselors, and potential employers. It is difficult to find a tagline that speaks to all of these markets and epitomizes who we are and what we value in a few words. Since 1961, Alexandria Technical and Community College has used the tagline, the college that cares. When we recently changed our mission from a technical college to a college that also offers an AA degree, we thought we would need a new message. Yet, over and over again our students, community, employers, and alumni told us the college that cares works. Our personal attention, flexibility, and responsiveness to industry sets us apart from other colleges. So, it makes sense to stick with our somewhat corny tagline, the college that cares. We found one that works. It has legs. It is who we are. PB Karen Meuwissen is a marketing and sales instructor at Alexandria Technical and Community College in Alexandria, MN. She can be reached at

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TrueNorth Steel simplifies and unifies with new name In an effort to unify the company internally and simplify the message externally, Rommesmo Companies has now become TrueNorth Steel.

Fastest Growing States for Middle-skill Jobs, 2001-2010

TrueNorth Steel Headquarters

Wyoming Utah Texas Alaska Arizona Hawaii Florida Nevada Maryland New Mexico Georgia North Dakota Montana New Hampshire Louisiana Delaware Oklahoma South Carolina Idaho Washington Virginia South Dakota West Virginia Colorado North Carolina New Jersey Alabama Nation

54 Prairie Business

his will allow us to diversify our company by selling multiple product lines under one brand and focus on opportunities,” states Dan Kadrmas, President of TrueNorth Steel. “It simplifies the message to our customers and offers them an array of products.” TrueNorth Steel has facilities in Fargo, ND (3 facilities), Mandan, ND (2 facilities), Blaine, MN, Huron, SD, Rapid City, SD, Casper, WY, and Gillette, WY. It also includes recent acquisitions – Roscoe Steel and Culvert Co., which fabricates structural steel, bridges, and corrugated pipe (located in Missoula and Billings, MT, as well as Casper, WY.) What is unique about the change is that the company built the name around its core values – trust, reliability, and dependability and the headquarters was designed with unique colors and schemes that depict the steel industry that TrueNorth Steel has been successful with since the start of Fargo Tank in 1945. Kadrmas states that the blue color scheme is a bold statement that focuses on trust, reliability, and dependability. In addition, the headquarters building has a silver color that is meant to represent the steel industry. The logo has a star similar to the North Star signifying how TrueNorth Steel can help customers successfully navigate through the construction process, Kadrmas explains. “Management realized it was necessary to unify the companies under one name about 18 months ago when the company was finding many customers were becoming confused by using multiple names,” Kadrmas states. “The name change process from the assessment stage to completion took approximately 12 months.” Narrative, based out of Fargo, ND, was hired to do the branding because of its previous work with TrueNorth Steel in the past and its unique approach to the project. “They rolled their sleeves up and gained a good understanding of our business,” Kadrmas states. Along with identifying the three core elements, the marketing company also helped develop a branding program that included structural, tanks, corrugated pipe, bridges, and logistics; which have now become the trademark of TrueNorth Steel. After the brand design was developed, the design of the building was turned over to TL Stroh in Fargo. TL Stroh used the unique color scheme and highlighted the companies steel products in the design of the headquarters building located in West Fargo, ND. PB Alan Van Ormer -


Growth in jobs for “middle” education levels, including long term on-the-job training, up to associate’s degree or other postsecondary credential for states above the national average growth rate. Source: EMSI Complete Employment 1st Quarter, 2011.

December 2011

After Rock Center previewed on NBC about Williston, ND, and the oil boom, the Williston Chamber of Commerce had to stop answering the phone after their phone calls went from 70 per day to 300. The Williston Economic Development office also had hits on their website jump from 6,000 per week to 67,000. Source: Williston Wire

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New Chancellor

Working ‘hand in glove’ with business community Steven Rosenstone, the new chancellor for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, believes that higher education and the business community need to work “hand in glove.” ur major responsibility is preparing students for working in the communities and businesses across Minnesota,” Rosenstone states. “We have that responsibility to serve the community.” Rosenstone was named chancellor in February by the Board of Trustees and started his term in August. He is responsible for leading the seven state universities and 24 community and technical colleges that serve more than 430,000 students in 47 communities across Minnesota. He also serves on the State of Minnesota Higher Education Advisory Council, the Governor’s Workforce Development Council, the Minnesota P-20 Education Partnership, the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, the Itasca Project, the Board of Directors of the Guthrie Theater, and the Governing Board for Minnesota Compass. Rosenstone was a professor of political science at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN) before assuming the chancellor role. He holds a PH. D. and a master of arts, both in political science, from the University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Washington University in St. Louis. Rosenstone states that he thought he knew a lot when he first took over the chancellor position, but once he hit the road he really

O “

56 Prairie Business

December 2011

started getting an education. He visited 29 of the system’s 54 campuses, logging more than 4,000 miles before August. “By talking to people I found out about the depth of partnerships between the businesses and the college and technical schools,” he states. “It is going to be a challenge to keep technology up to date to meet the needs of businesses.” What Rosenstone believes will help are the advisory councils that provide real-time feedback from employers. Many of the programs – particularly the career technical programs – at each college and university have advisory councils that advise faculty on curriculum and standards for workforce readiness. Despite the good things happening in the communities with higher education, Rosenstone feels that the higher education system can do better. One of the challenges is doing a better job of scaling up statewide solutions. “I don’t think we are as good as we need to be in sharing solutions broadly with each other,” he states. Then there is the quality of what higher education is doing. “We want all our programs and services to be truly extraordinary,” he says. “Businesses and individuals can help us set the standards for what extraordinary is.” Maybe the major risk is continuing to do business as usual. “In part, it is a puzzle that we have to solve,” Rosenstone states. “That is what Minnesota is counting on us to do.”

PB Alan Van Ormer

Steven Rosenstone, Chancellor, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities



Why Plan? As population continues to surpass development in several communities throughout North Dakota, particularly in the west, many towns and cities are struggling to provide orderly and attractive development, while preserving community character.

ommunity planning can alleviate growth pressures, correct negative attributes associated with rapid development and provide a vision for how the town or city can improve quality of life for future generations. Additionally, it assures tax dollars are spent wisely on major public investments, protects existing land uses and property values, encourages economic development and preserves historic buildings and the natural environment. The American Planning Association defines planning as a “dynamic profession that works to improve the welfare of people and their communities by creating more convenient, equitable, healthful, efficient, and attractive places for present and future generations.” To put it simply, planning is a way for the community to ensure its


JOHN HOW Planner Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson

values and vision are carried forward in an orderly and rational manner. Planners – in effect – work with local communities to establish a vision, goals, objectives, strategies, policies and programs to implement plans for growth, redevelopment and preservation. Planners and communities also work together to create unique plans for different activities. For example, planners can assist communities in creating housing plans to address affordable housing shortages or preparing disaster mitigation plans in response to natural hazards such as the recent floods that have afflicted communities across the state. Other plans may include downtown revitalization, economic development, transportation and recreation, capital improvement programs, and environmental and historic preservation. While some consider planning a long-range activity, it also effectively addresses current needs and issues. Planning provides a clear decision-making process for day-to-day development and city-related items. Many North Dakota communities are growing and rapidly changing. Without planning, communities may face deteriorating quality of life, sprawling development, lacking a sense of place, increasing traffic congestion, loss of open space and natural resources, and incompatible land uses. However, planning can chart a new course for North Dakota communities by creating and maintaining viable places that have made the state such a great place to live, work and play. PB

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Williston State College Lake Region State College North Dakota State College of Science Bismarck State College 58 Prairie Business

December 2011


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By the Numbers EMPLOYMENT

(NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED) UNEMPLOYMENT RATE Oct. 2011 North Dakota 2.7 % Fargo MSA 3.3 Bismarck MSA 2.5 Grand Forks MSA 4.1 Minot MiSA 2.7 Dickinson MiSA 1.6 Williston MiSA 0.9 Jamestown MiSA 2.8 Wahpeton MiSA 3.2 South Dakota 4.1 Sioux Falls MSA 4.1 Rapid City MSA 4.2 Aberdeen MiSA 3.2 Brookings MiSA 3.3 Watertown MiSA 3.5 Spearfish MiSA 3.9 Mitchell MiSA 3.3 Pierre MiSA 3.0 Yankton MiSA 3.9 Huron MiSA 3.1 Vermillion MiSA 3.3 Minnesota 5.9 Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA 6.0 Brainerd MiSA 7.0 Winona MiSA 5.6 Fergus Falls MiSA 5.3 Red Wing MiSA 5.5 Willmar MiSA 5.0 Bemidji MiSA 7.3 Alexandria MiSA 5.0 Hutchinson MiSA 6.7 Marshall MiSA 4.7 Worthington MiSA 4.7 Fairmont MiSA 6.1

Oct. 2010 3.1% 3.5 3.0 3.6 2.8 2.0 1.4 3.3 3.8 4.2 4.4 4.4 3.2 3.5 3.7 3.8 3.5 2.9 4.2 3.3 3.5 6.4 6.5 7.7 6.0 5.6 6.0 5.2 6.8 5.3 7.8 4.6 4.7 6.0

EMPLOYMENT Oct. 2011 Oct. 2010 369,461 360,259 115,870 115,445 59,468 60.091 53,349 52,711 32,765 32,977 18,105 16,207 23,574 18,220 10,698 11,232 13,596 18,220 429,695 426,175 123,440 122,585 63,390 63,980 22,820 22,700 18,490 18,210 18,950 18,200 12,810 12,870 13,050 12,765 12,305 12,165 11,390 11,200 9,870 9,635 7,500 7,255 2,803,512 2,780,196 1,747,877 1,726,852 44,940 43,734 27,559 26,924 29,458 28,999 24,666 24,533 22,830 22,862 20,315 21,291 19,466 19,341 18,800 18,909 14,159 14,388 10,889 11,169 10,640 10,878

MSA — Metropolitan Statistical Area MiSA — Micropolitan Statistical Area Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Job Service North Dakota, South Dakota Department of Labor


Sweet Crude Price/BBL

Production Oil-BBL/day

$81.43 $90.60 $69.07 $67.35

444,142 424,975 326,915 321,127

AUG 2011 JUL 2011 AUG 2010 JUL 2010

JULY 2011 JUNE 2011 APRIL 2010 JULY 2010

Drilling Permits 207 136 138 145

October Rig Count All Time High Rig Count (8/31)

Producing Wells 5,951 5,756 5,115 5,051

Rig Count 192 177 140 135

196 201

Source: NDOMB


Minneapolis-St. Paul





- 9.88

Sioux Falls



Rapid City


- 8.90






- 3.72









Grand Forks

Source: US Customs and Border Protection

62 Prairie Business

December 2011


% CHANGE 2010-2011




U.S. to Canadian Dollar-

$1.02 or $0.9802

$1.02 or $0.9780

$0.996 or $1.004

U.S. to Euro

$0.72 or $1.3928

$0.73 or $1.3627

$0.71 or $1.4164

U.S. to Chinese Yuan

$6.69 or $0.1496

$6.39 or $0.1564

$6.36 or $0.1573

U.S. to Japanese Yen

$80.97 or $0.0123

$76.53 or $0.0131

$75.72 or $0.0132

U.S. to Mexican Peso

$12.41 or $0.0806

$13.38 or $0.0748

$13.10 or $0.0763

Source: Bank of Canada Data provided by Kingsbury Applied Economics

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Prairie Business December 2011  

Northern Plains Business Resource

Prairie Business December 2011  

Northern Plains Business Resource