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September 2011

Hospitality Fall, spring seasons important to hospitality industry pg 24

Retail Retail industry seeing steady growth pg 26

Community Spotlight:


Watford City: Flurry of economic development pg 28

Growing companies and jobs through angel investment or venture capital pg 20

Company Spotlight: Avera partnering to improve people’s health and lives pg 16


pg 19

pg 18

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Volume 12 No. 9


From the Editor’s Desk


Professional Spotlight


Matthew Mohr


Prairie News


Prairie People


Company Spotlight: Avera Partnering to improve people’s health and lives Avera prides itself on partnering with people and organizations who are seeking to improve the health and lives of people in the communities that the health care organization serves


Economic Development How are our states stacking up?


Sales and Marketing Digital display marketing has power


Cover Story: Growing companies and jobs through angel investment or venture capital A variety of different types of companies are finding that an angel investor or those working with venture capital just might be the best way to garner funds to start a business

24 26 28 30

Cover Story: Fall, spring seasons important to hospitality industry When it comes to the hospitality industry, people have different perceptions about the four seasons.

Cover Story: Retail industry seeing steady growth Retail leaders in North Dakota and South Dakota are finding that the industry continues to steadily grow despite economic worries that have hit other parts of the nation

Community Spotlight: Watford City flurry of economic development

Money Acquiring small business funding Leadership and Management – Maximizing productivity and profitability




Technology - Importance of the development of the different online training packages By the Numbers

4 Prairie Business

September 2011

Taking a second look at South Dakota’s Oil and Gas Resources A South Dakota initiative to pull together all of its oil and gas resource data in one comprehensive, online location could have a sizeable impact on economic development in the state


Sound environmental practices essential in oil country


Biofuels policy supported, but more needs to be done

Those who live in Watford City, ND have never seen anything like what has happened over the last three years




Hess Corporation views North Dakota as one of its legacy homes in the world and wants to make certain that it is the employer and neighbor people want for the long term

Many industry leaders support a biofuels policy, but also believe that more things can be done to help address any deficiencies in a national policy

Next Month In October, Prairie Business magazine will discuss why a technology web strategy is important for business growth and also feature how the region’s health care industry is solving bringing health care professionals into the region.

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

From the editor’s desk

For daily business news visit

An SBA Award Winning Publication

Another way to develop our economy

Mike Jacobs, Publisher Alan Van Ormer, Editor Scott Deutsch, Sales Manager Tina Chisholm, Production Manager Beth Bohlman, Circulation Manager Kris Wolff, Layout Design, Ad Design


Scott Deutsch

In this month’s issue I dove into the discussion of how angel investment and venture capital fits into the overall economic picture of developing jobs and companies.


I knew very little bit about the topic when I started. However, after talking to those who have been taking risks for many years, I found out just how important this niche can be to the evolution of companies and the creation of jobs in our region. In short, an angel investor or a person who works with venture capital provides some sort of risk capital to companies who are unable to find a source of capital from other sources. What I find very interesting is the fact that many of these individuals or groups are taking great risk in helping get these companies off the ground and therefore, growing jobs in our area. These people have to put together a pool of money to invest, then find a successful investment over a period of time, and then exit the investments in a timely and profitable manner. In addition, there is the chance of a great failure rate of the investments. One number that I was given is that seven out of 10 of these investments fail! That is a great risk by these individuals and groups. Angel investment and venture capital is all about starting and growing companies, which also means providing jobs for our local economy. It is also about an angel investor or venture capitalist finding that successful investment that will give an investor a good return and make the investor able to re-invest into the community. Many individuals would not take this kind of risk, but imagine what our economy would be like if these individuals did not stick their necks out to develop companies and jobs! PB

EDITOR: Alan Van Ormer

701.232.8893 Grand Forks/Fargo/Moorhead/northwestern MN

Brad Boyd

John Fetsch

800.641.0683 Bismarck-Mandan/ west central ND/western SD 701.232.8893 Fargo/Moorhead/eastern ND/western MN/eastern SD

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 808 3rd Ave. S., Ste. 400, Fargo, ND 58103. 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

Online: 6 Prairie Business

September 2011

Professional Spotlight

Non-traditional career path to the top Marcia Hendrickson makes no bones about the fact that she made her way to her current position as a partner in ValAd Services by a non-traditional route. s a partner for the past year, she is a business consultant for agri-business and technology companies across the nation. Currently, she is working on a wind farm project in New York, as well as working with small manufacturers in South Dakota, and assisting major venture capital companies like Linn Grove Ventures with different projects. Hendrickson, who lives near Lennox, SD, but works in Sioux Falls, SD, started working in microbiology and chemistry at a crime lab. After that she went to a CPA firm and then worked with a medical group. She has a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology and also received her CPA. Then Hendrickson had her first taste of working with new businesses as the Executive Director of the Enterprise Institute, an organization known for working and helping entrepreneurs get up and running in South Dakota. “Every experience has helped with what I am doing now,” she says.



“Initially, this is not what I wanted to do. I expected to be a scientist in a lab. After working at a CPA firm, I began to see how things fit together, especially in the technology and business side.” Hendrickson says her parents were a huge influence on her career path. “They taught me how to bounce back when things weren’t going the way I expected. In addition, they instilled in me that there is always more than one way to do things.” As for young women heading down a career path, Hendrickson recommends they not forget the training. “You have to do the hard work to get anywhere,” she advises. “Don’t take short cuts. Grow your support network. They help you every day. “You can never have enough people to give you opinions,” she adds. “Your network helps you grow and helps you fill in your weaknesses. All of those things do tie together.” PB Alan Van Ormer -

Business Advice

Technology Policy Personal cell phone usage, web browsing for personal needs, and constant text message “chatter” is a rapidly growing problem for businesses. he proliferation and accessibility of technology creates the need to have a written technology use policy. From cell phone and texting to web browsing, many potential abuses can be averted by having a policy in place. Most people have observed a customer waiting while the person employed to serve their needs takes a phone call from a child or finishes a game on their computer. Leaving customers waiting to handle simple personal needs does not lead to business success or customer satisfaction, so managers tend to “police” personal activity during working hours, but many people are very creative hiding their personal use of technology. Without a policy in place it is hard to control the amount of time employees spend using convenient technology (either personally owned or business property) to handle personal affairs instead of taking care of business needs. Pornography, language choices such as using swear words, are easy to prohibit, but hard


MATTHEW D. MOHR CEO, Dacotah Paper Company

8 Prairie Business

September 2011

to control. With a policy in place, action can be taken if abuse is discovered. Unfortunately, many people will make poor communication choices often offending others, so a business manager is often put in the position of monitoring all employee communications. A business technology policy should reflect the culture of the organization and keep the customer’s opinions and needs in mind. As technology proliferates, every business is placed in the position of having to decide what is and is not acceptable use of information services and equipment. Most business law offices will have a sample policy available for their clients to review.



Downtown Fargo’s largest multi tenant office building has been sold. The Dakota Center Building at 51 Broadway, formerly known as Dakota Bank Building, was recently acquired by NetREIT, Inc., a real estate investment trust with headquarters in California. The seller was Chicagobased Dakota Bank Building Limited Partnership which had owned the property for nearly 20 years. The sale price was not disclosed. Key tenants in the building include Merrill Lynch, Restaurant Technology Services, UBS Financial, State Bank & Trust, and Fredrikson & Byron Law Firm. NetREIT plans major upgrades to the property including renovations to the lobbies, elevators, rest rooms, common areas, parking lot, as well as redesigning the primary Broadway entrance. “Our vision is to re-energize this property to once again make it the flagship office building of downtown Fargo,” says Gary Katz, Senior Vice President of NetREIT. NetREIT is a diversified real estate investment trust which owns property in several western states. NetREIT was drawn to Fargo and the Dakota Center property after researching the stable regional economy, strong track record of recent redevelopment in downtown Fargo, and the property’s stable tenant history. Katz says, “I was in Fargo several times last winter and was continually impressed with the local economy and resurgent ’vibe’ of downtown… this in spite of coming to Fargo for the first time in the middle of a Fargo winter.” The Dakota Center property was developed in the 1980s in two phases as the headquarters of Dakota Bank & Trust and for tenant lease space. Dakota Bank & Trust was acquired by US Bank in 1992 and since then, US Bank has been in control of a majority of the property.

Let’s make our own positive indicators. The economy is made up of millions of businesses – large and small. But we’re here to focus on the most important one. Yours. Let’s seize opportunities and get growing. Together. Building your business. Strengthening our economy. Let’s take action. Your business. Our bank.

Call 1-800-908-BANK or visit

Member FDIC. ©2011 Bremer Financial Corporation. All rights reserved.


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

NDTO HOSTS INTERNATIONAL VISITORS PROGRAM AT BIG IRON The 2011 Big Iron Farm Show will be held at the West Fargo, ND fairgrounds from Sept. 12-15. Big Iron was designed to promote the global sale of North Dakota agricultural equipment. This year more than 100 guests are expected to attend the International Visitors Program. Those buyers will be traveling from Australia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Romania, Turkey, South Africa, Angola, Uruguay, Ghana, Canada, Russia, and Malawi. The International Visitors Program is a joint effort put on by the North Dakota Trade Office and the U.S. Commercial Service. During their week visiting North Dakota, guests will attend equipment demonstrations including an equipment parade, tour NDSU’s animal research center, as well as local farms.



Alerus Financial has sold its land appraisal and farm management services business to Farmers National Company of Omaha, NE. A leading landowner services company, Farmers National Company operates in over 24 states, employs more than 230 employees, and has over 80 years experience in landowner services. The purchase transaction was scheduled to be complete on Sept. 1 and will include Farmers National Company offices in Grand Forks and Fargo, ND, as well as the hiring of several Alerus employees currently working in these areas. Alerus is selling the select business lines so it can dedicate all resources to growth of its core financial service-driven business lines. Farmers National Company’s primary focus is landowner services. Alerus firmly believes their customers will benefit from working with a company with such specialized focus and expertise. Expansion in the Red River Valley is a significant step for Farmers National Company.

The University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD, is one of the nation’s best institutions for outstanding undergraduate academics, according to The Princeton Review and its “The Best 376 Colleges: 2012 Edition.” USD is the only college or university from South Dakota featured on this year’s prestigious list and earns praise for its honors program for being “the bestkept secret in the country” and for having professors that are “nearly always willing to go the extra mile for students” in classes such as pre-medicine, biology, business, psychology, and law. Additional comments in the guide’s review states that the University boasts winners “almost every year for big scholarships like the Goldwater and Truman, competing with big, Ivy League, private colleges that charge quadruple the amount for the same education.” “The Best 376 Colleges” is the New York-based education services company’s flagship annual college guide and lists only 15 percent of America’s 2,500 fouryear colleges along with three outside the United States. The Princeton Review does not rank the colleges academically or from 1 to 376 in any category. The lists are entirely based on The Princeton Review’s survey of 122,000 students attending the colleges in the book and not on The Princeton Review's opinion of the schools. A profile in the guide includes student responses to academics, student life as well as the publication’s own breakdown of admissions, financial aid, and the “Inside Word.”

FOR FIFTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR, U OF M, CROOKSTON NAMED “A BEST IN THE MIDWEST” COLLEGE The University of Minnesota, Crookston is one of the best colleges in the Midwest according to the nationally known education services company, The Princeton Review. This announcement marks the fifth consecutive year the Crookston campus has been recognized. It is one of 153 institutions The Princeton Review recommends in its “Best in the Midwest” section of its website feature, “2012 Best Colleges: Region by Region,” that posted Aug. 1, 2011, on For this project, The Princeton Review asks students attending the schools to rate their own schools on several issues — from the accessibility of their professors to quality of the campus food — and answer questions about themselves, their fellow students, and their campus life. In the profile on U of M, Crookston on the site, one student said that “During the week, life at UMC is ‘easygoing and enjoyable,’ focused on studying, sports, and club meetings.” Another student commented that the small size of the campus “give[s] you an opportunity to be a student leader and be important on campus.” 10 Prairie Business

September 2011


Sept. 16, 1908 General Motors automobile manufacturing company was founded by William Crapo ‘Billy’ Durant, a Flint, MI, entrepreneur.

The 153 colleges that The Princeton Review chose for its “Best in the Midwest” list are located in 12 states: Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The Princeton Review also designated 220 colleges in the Northeast, 121 in the West, and 135 in the Southeast as best in their locales on the company’s “2012 Best Colleges: Region by Region” lists. Collectively, the 629 colleges named “regional best(s)” constitute about 25 percent of the nation’s 2,500 four-year colleges.


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

On This Date September 4 1882


Four hundred electric lights came on in offices on Spruce, Wall, Nassau, and Pearl streets in lower Manhattan as Thomas Edison hooked up light bulbs to an underground cable carrying direct current electrical power.

The Watertown WorkReady project, a community-wide effort to showcase a quality, skilled work force, is underway. The Department of Labor and Regulation can identify and validate the work ready skills of the work force through the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), a program developed by ACT. South Dakota began issuing the NCRC in April 2010, and is currently one of 38 states issuing the national credential. Through the Watertown pilot project, businesses are encouraged to have their employees complete the necessary assessments to earn this certification. The data can then be compiled to showcase the work readiness of a community. As an economic development tool, it quantifies the capabilities of the work force. Businesses are also asked to have at least one occupation profiled, using this skills assessment system to determine the skills needed for the job. This information is then used in the hiring process to ensure potential applicants have the right set of skills.

CATERPILLAR ANNOUNCES MAJOR WEST FARGO EXPANSION Caterpillar Inc.’s Remanufacturing & Components Division is planning a major expansion at its West Fargo, ND plant. In August, Caterpillar officials started a $50 million expansion project that will create about 250 new jobs during the next three years, nearly doubling the West Fargo plant’s current workforce of 300 employees. The project includes building a 225,000-square-foot addition to the West Fargo plant where Caterpillar employees remanufacture parts for Caterpillar mining equipment. The expansion project is slated to be completed in June 2012. Caterpillar’s remanufacturing operations return end-of-life components to their original condition in terms of reliability, durability, and performance. The West Fargo expansion will help Caterpillar meet the strong demand for remanufactured drive train components for large, off-highway trucks and other mining equipment, including final drives, transmissions, torque convertors, and steering clutches. The plant’s expanded footprint will house high-tech machining, metal additive processes and a state-of-the-art metal sciences lab which will support the company’s increased production of remanufactured parts and advanced wear coatings.

MINNESOTA STATE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES TRUSTEES APPROVE $277.7 MILLION IN PROJECTS The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities will seek authorization for $277.7 million in funding next year for construction and remodeling projects across the state in a request approved by the Board of Trustees. The request is for $221.8 million in state general obligation bond financing with $55.9 million in debt service paid by the state colleges and universities system and its institutions, bringing the total project authorization to $277.7 million. It is the system’s smallest request in six years. The 25 capital improvement projects focus on updating science and allied health facilities; renovating, demolishing and reconfiguring classrooms and other facilities; enhancing classrooms and lab spaces for workforce development projects; and adding much-needed space at overcrowded campuses.

Midwest Seasonally Adjusted Net Employment Outlook: +9% Increase


No Change

Don’t Know

Net Employment Outlook

Seasonally Adjusted







All Industries – Midwest













Education & Health Services






Financial Activities


















Leisure & Hospitality






Manufacturing – Durable Goods






Manufacturing – Nondurable Goods






Other Services


Professional & Business Services

27 25

6 5

78 65

2 3

8 22

– –

5 3

68 72

2 2

20 20

– –

Transportation & Utilities Wholesale & Retail Trade

12 Prairie Business

September 2011


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.



The Ulteig (Fargo, ND) Board of Directors named Shepherd G. Pryor IV as Chairman of the Board. Pryor brings 40 years of experience as a senior-level financial services executive, corporate director, and management consultant. He currently leads Shepherd G. Pryor IV Management Consulting, a firm serving major financial institutions, Fortune 500 companies, and law firms. He also provides value-based management consulting as Managing Director of Board Resources, a division of TeamWork Technologies, Inc. Previously, Pryor served as a Senior Vice President and Deputy Group Head for Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., where he was responsible for Corporate Banking in the Midwest, Mountain, and Pacific Northwest states. Pryor joined the Ulteig Board of Directors in October 2009.



Entrepreneur Magazine announced Paul Ten Haken, President and founder of Click Rain, Inc. (Sioux Falls, SD) was recently named as one of the top ten finalists in their “Emerging Entrepreneur of 2011” contest. Each year, Entrepreneur Magazine, along with the support of The UPS Store®, selects one outstanding entrepreneur to receive the reward. Along with a list of other specific criteria, the individual must own their own business, be involved in the day-to-day operations, and must show significant positive impact on their industry, community, and employees. The ten finalists were recently narrowed down to five semi-finalists, who were announced on Aug. 2. Ten Haken did not make the final five.



A study released in the September edition of Consumer Reports gives Drs. Timothy Pansegrau and Sean Russell, Medcenter One, Bismarck, ND, cardiovascular surgeons, a ranking of three stars, which is the highest ranking possible. The study ranks 323 surgical groups across the country that perform heart bypass surgery based on overall performance, complications and additional quality measures. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons compiled data for the national study.




14 Prairie Business

September 2011

Bonanzaville, operated by the Cass County Historical Society, has named Troy White as its new Executive Director. White, who has been the general manager of Odney Fargo, will be in charge of managing the operations of Bonanzaville as well as promoting the attraction. White has 15 of years experience in marketing and management, most recently as the general manager of the Fargo branch of Odney, a Bismarck based marketing agency. Prior to joining Odney, White spent 12 years as the owner and president of Image Communications. “Bonanzaville is such an understated asset to our community and region,” said White. “I have always had a passion for historical preservation. When given the opportunity to combine my passion with my strengths to make a difference in my community, I had to take it.”



U.S. Bank Institutional Trust & Custody in Fargo, ND, hired Becky Walen as vice president and relationship manager. Walen will be responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with U.S. Bank Institutional Trust & Custody clients primarily in North Dakota, South Dakota, and northern Minnesota. Her role includes providing a broad range of institutional products and services that best suit each customer’s unique needs.



“The golden rule for every business man is this:

“Put yourself in your customer’s place”. – Orison Swett Marden

The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber has named Ronald D. Offutt the 2011 Legacy Leader. The award recognizes and emphasizes the important role and contributions of long time local leaders in both shaping and serving the metropolitan community and region. Offutt will receive the award on Sept. 15 at The Chamber’s Annual Meeting at the Ramada Plaza & Suites and Conference Center from noon to 1:30 p.m. Offutt is the founder and chairman of R.D. Offutt Company, the nation’s largest producer of potatoes, and RDO Equipment Co., the largest network of John Deere construction and agricultural equipment dealerships in the United States. Offutt’s companies employ over 3,000 people across the nation. Offutt is a former member of Concordia College’s Board of Regents, a position he held for 20 years. From 1998 to 2010, he held the position of Chairman of the Board. Offutt currently serves as a member of the Global Leadership Board of the Offutt School of Business at Concordia, is a board member for the Farm Foundation Round Table, the Rabobank North American Agribusiness Advisors, Minnesota Agri-Growth Council, Minnesota FFA Foundation Sponsors Board and the Oak Grove High School Foundation. Offutt is also active in the Red River Valley Potato Growers Association, NDSU Teammakers Club, Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, Trollwood Performing Arts Center, Boy Scouts of America and Future Farmers of America.


Company Spotlight


Avera Cancer Institute (photo courtesy of Avera)

Partnering to improve people’s health and lives Avera prides itself on partnering with people and organizations who are seeking to improve the health and lives of people in the communities that the health care organization serves. or example, in the past five to 10 years, Avera has partnered with physicians and medical clinics to form Avera Medical Group, as well as expand its hospital system by adding Avera Marshall Hospital in Marshall, MN, and Avera Creighton Hospital in Creighton, NE. “The Avera mission calls us to serve people and communities with an emphasis on rural communities,” states John Porter, President and CEO of Avera, headquartered in Sioux Falls, SD. “Avera continues this focus on providing quality care close to home for people across our five state region. A unique model Avera has employed to extend specialty care to facilities is Avera eCARE™, an offering of telemedicine products that support local practitioners.” Avera eCARE Services is Avera’s nationally-recognized model that provides rural patients 24-hour access to specialty care physicians and pharmacists through advanced information and communication technologies. The Avera brand is 13 years old, but the tradition of care has been constant since the Benedictine Sisters, who founded Sacred Heart Monastery in Yankton, SD, left Switzerland in 1857 and opened their first Dakota


The Avera region includes:

51 South Dakota counties,

14 Minnesota counties,

9 Iowa counties,

8 Nebraska counties, and

3 North Dakota counties

16 Prairie Business

September 2011


Territory hospital in 1897. The Presentation Sisters of Aberdeen, SD, opened St. Luke’s Hospital in 1901 as the first hospital in their health ministry. On March 11, 1998, Presentation Health System and the Benedictine Health System changed its name to Avera Health. Recently, Avera has been involved on major construction projects. On the Avera McKennan campus in Sioux Falls the Prairie Center was built to house the Avera Cancer Institute and Avera Surgery Center. In addition, medical clinics and office buildings have been constructed in communities across South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska. Hospital facilities have been remodeled and updated in communities across the region. Avera has also committed itself to implementing an interoperable electronic medical record system connecting all Avera clinics, hospitals, and care providers using one record for the patients. “Our hospitals and many of our clinics are already onboard and working with the new software,” Porter reports. “Each month over the next couple of years new features and facilities will go live on the EMR until all

patient information is entered electronically and is accessible to patients electronically.” Like many health care systems, Avera has had to adapt its services to a changing landscape. “Health care reform has a dramatic effect on the business of health care,” Porter states. “Avera is working to prepare for the new regulations in the health care reform law. This will affect the way we do business.” Porter adds that some of the regulations will improve the way Avera delivers care while others will challenge the health care system to examine processes and procedures. “The bigger challenge coming from the law and from the South Dakota Legislature is the reduction in reimbursement,” he explains. Another change involves the Avera Research Institute, which has been conducting research trials. “Over the past decade we have stepped up the participation in trials and has partnered with major universities and laboratories across the nation to bring studies to the patients in this area,” Porter says. “Our research is shared on the national stage to benefit everyone.” Heading into the future, Avera will continue to offer Avera eCARE to more of its facilities throughout the system and even those outside the system. “Sharing this technology with other facilities is of great benefit to the patients and medical staff served by other health care providers,” Porter explains. “We are reaching out to facilities in other states to help support the care that is currently provided.” Avera will also continue to focus on research using the clinical staff to conduct research and partner with South Dakota State University and other universities and laboratories across the country to benefit the patients in the region. In addition, Avera is a growing system that is reaching out to approximately 100 communities in five states. “Over the next several years, we will work on gaining efficiencies and leveraging the system strength through system-wide initiatives,” Porter says. “These projects will bring high-quality care close to home for patients and their family while maintaining access.” Then there is the planning of several construction projects; a few being planned will recommit Avera to providing care in the longterm care centers. Avera currently has 20 such type facilities. “Several of these facilities will focus on improving environments for residents and families over the next several years,” Porter states. “These projects range from remodeling to providing private rooms for residents to new construction expanding the services provided.”


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Alan Van Ormer -

About Avera Avera is South Dakota’s largest private employer with more than

16,000 employees and physicians. With assets in excess of $1.5 billion, Avera continues to hold a solid position in the regional health care market. Avera has consistently high ratings for financial management – A1 by Moody’s and A+ by Standard and Poor’s.

In Fiscal Year 2009-2010, inpatient, outpatient, and clinic visits totaled more than 2.4 million, a number equal to almost 2 ½ times the population of the Avera service area. The Avera Heart Hospital is one of the top 50 cardiovascular hospitals according to Thomson Reuters. This is the first year the list has been limited to a more elite list of only 50 hospitals nationwide. For four consecutive years prior to this year, the Avera Heart Hospital achieved the Top 100 cardiovascular hospitals distinction.



Economic Development

How are our states stacking up? More than 18 months into the recovery from the Great Recession, job creation in the U.S. economy is far from satisfactory. tates are making hard choices about where to invest in light of constrained budgets, and must do without budget support from the federal stimulus. With Washington effectively forced to the sidelines, states must address fundamental economic issues on their own. The 2011 Enterprising States report recently released by the National Chamber Foundation and U.S. Chamber of Commerce highlights state-driven initiatives to redesign government and implement forward-looking, enterprise-friendly initiatives to create jobs in each state. Enterprising States is an attempt to find some of the most important regional and policy differences to provide new information to local leaders and lawmakers. The report profiles economic development efforts in all 50 states and measures the states in 32 metrics covering economic performance, entrepreneurship and innovation, taxes and regulation, workforce and training, exports, and infrastructure.


LOCAL RESULTS North Dakota made a strong showing in the report’s rankings, placing second in overall economic performance, third in infrastructure performance, fifth in workforce quality and training, and ninth in tax and regulation. The state landed in the top ten in twelve of the 32 metrics in the report, including top five rankings in five of seven economic performance measures. Ranking fourth overall in economic performance, South Dakota’s low tax and regulatory burden put it second in that category and fifth in infrastructure performance. It placed third in growth of overall economic output and saw its productivity – measured in output per job – grow faster than 48 other states in the past decade. Minnesota landed in the sixth spot in the report’s workforce and training measures. The state is second only to Massachusetts in the educational attainment of its young workforce, it ranks fifth in output of college graduates, and its workforce placement system was the third most efficient in the nation in 2009. Ultimately, the road to sustainable state economies must include continued investments in education and infrastructure; support of the small businesses and the expanding companies by which most jobs are created; a business-friendly environment free of excessive taxation and regulation delays; and development of basic industries such as energy, agriculture, and manufacturing. PB 18 Prairie Business

September 2011

MARK SCHILL Vice President Praxis Strategy Group


Digital display marketing has power Your current customers are your best resource when it comes to sales. he challenge is to market to them effectively while they are in your store garnering additional sales of merchandise or services that they may not know you offer or have in stock. As customers wait in checkout lines they are perfect targets for a marketing message. How do you send a marketing message to them? One answer is with digital display advertising centers. A trip down the Las Vegas strip will give you an idea of the power of digital display marketing. Large screens are driven by in-house computer networks that display everything from headline concerts to gourmet choices for restaurants and buffets. Although installing digital display systems was once very cost prohibitive for smaller retail outlets, new technology has significantly changed the digital display landscape. With your own in-house server, a reasonably priced service computer, and a large screen television you can build an in-house television network in any retail location. But what keeps my digital display television network exciting? The answer is; you do. By offering your customers tidbits of information like current weather forecasts, sport scores, trivia questions or news and current events, they become entrenched in viewing the screens. It is their choice to watch, a different approach than force-feeding audio announcements that are often too loud and interrupt casual conversations. Mixed in with these bits of information are marketing messages directed at your customers. No need for address, phone number, or web address because they are already in your store and have to go through the purchasing process. In addition to marketing and sales messages you can mix in community service or employee congratulation messages. Location of the screens has no limit! They can be large and in common waiting areas, or small screens next to tills and checkout lines. Messages are easy to change and the changes are immediate. On a hot summer day you can run a special on ice cream, on a cold winter day remind them how great a cup of hot chocolate would be. The goal is to be creative and timely in management of the network. Looking for a marketing pick me up in your retail location? Investigate a digital display network. PB


ROD WILSON Owner/Partner Results Unlimited


Finance CS

Growing companies and jobs through angel investment or venture capital

A variety of different types of companies are finding that an angel investor or those working with venture capital just might be the best way to garner funds to start a business. “

e’re growing companies and that means we are growing jobs,” states Jim Buus, President, FargoMoorhead Angel Investment Fund, LLC. “It all revolves around talent. The effect of growing companies is hiring three to five people with the potential to reach 50100 people. There is great synergy among all for these young emerging companies. That is what economic development is about these days.” Gene McGowan, CEO and Founder of the McGowan Capital Group in Sioux Falls, SD, adds that successful investment also provides good returns for investors, which in turn can be reinvested into the area. Then there is the jobs aspect. McGowan Capital Group invests in early to mid stage companies in solid business models with a mission to provide select investors with private equity opportunities in regional companies. “We believe that because of our efforts over the last several years, there are several hundred people who have jobs that wouldn’t have them,” he explains. “We did that without getting a vote of Congress. It is very difficult for individual investors to have time and energy to structure deals and opportunities. Entrepreneurs don’t usually have


that skill set or time to put it together. Someone has to work the middle to help bring capital to the entrepreneur.” To be an angel investor or a person who works with venture capital means that you are providing risk capital to young companies who are unable to source capital from more traditional sources, such as banks, states Michael Jerstad, PrairieGold Venture Partners in Sioux Falls. PrairieGold Venture Partners is an early stage venture capital firm focused on life sciences and green technology, but also is seeing an increased interest in the bioagriculture sector. “From an entrepreneur’s perspective, the primary difference between venture capital and traditional debt financing is that the former takes some level of equity ownership and control in a company, whereas the latter is a secured creditor, but does not own or control the business,” Jerstad explains. “Importantly, many start-ups are not bankable because their only collateral is difficultto-monetize intellectual property. From the venture capitalists perspective, it is a higher risk, higher reward proposition. Their capital is unsecured, but their ownership position entitles them to greater upside if a





InvestAmerica Venture Group

Fargo Moorhead Angel Investment Fund, LLC

PrairieGold Venture Partners

Managing Director Arthur Ventures

20 Prairie Business

September 2011 hepper

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Finance company succeeds.” One capital venture firm with headquarters in Cedar Rapids, IA, but having a foothold in the Fargo-Moorhead area is InvestAmerica Venture Group. The company is a general partner and investment advisor for small venture funds. “The focus is expanding rapid growth and working with companies who have a difficult time in finding funding,” says John Cosgriff, Manager in the Fargo office. “InvestAmerica is investing in the equity of the company, meaning we have ownership and agree to invest in the company.” For example, Cosgriff says that if a company has $2 million in equity, InvestAmerica would possibly put in $1 million and retain 33 percent ownership of the company for a five-year period. This would mean participation on the board, but not operation of the company. “The return on investment comes from the increased value of the company,” Cosgriff states. “After the five-year period, the investment firm exits from the company. The easiest way for them is selling. Another way is allowing the owner to buy that one-third share.” Arthur Ventures, located in Fargo, is another venture capital firm that focuses on investments from $1 million to $2 million. “There is a real need for early stage venture capital,” states James Burgum, Managing Director for Arthur Ventures. “There are very few active funds participating at that level.” One of Arthur Venture’s success stories is Preventice, a mobile health care software company that develops mobile applications that are downloaded to a mobile phone to treat patients. The applications provide real time information for health care providers. Arthur Ventures invested in 2010 and now has helped form a Fargo office with six people with the expectations of having as many as 12 employees by year end. “The whole idea is to improve quality of care and reduce cost,” Burgum says.

THE BEST CHANCE FOR GROWTH For many who work with angel investment and venture

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capital the main growth involves those companies related to information technology. Burgum believes that information technology and health care IT (in particular) because of the inefficiency in health care will be hot markets. “Another area is ag technology, such as GPS systems and other new technology embedded into equipment,” he states. PrairieGold Venture Partners seems to like the life sciences and energy sectors. “The demographics are in our favor, and the demand will only increase,” Jerstad explains. “These sectors tend to be less cyclical, unlike technology, where booms and busts occur. We also think ag will become an increasingly important sector as worldwide demographics evolve and international trade becomes even more borderless.” The Fargo-Moorhead Angel Investment Fund is focusing on research and talent, as well as working with economic development groups in the region that are targeting specific industries. “Our Angel Fund will try to align with these groups,” Buus says. McGowan Capital Group is an investor in the South Dakota Innovation Partners. “Everything that is accomplished in that organization is about growth,’ McGowan says. “They are busy in growth of research and innovations in new technologies. The opportunity for high growth is there.” McGowan adds that just simply adding money and management to good companies with teams in place is another opportunity for growth.

THE BIG CHALLENGE(S)! From Cosgriff’s perspective, he sees three challenges. “The first is putting together a pool of money to invest. The second is getting a successful investment over a five-year period. The third is exiting the investments on a timely and profitable basis,” he states. “Many people think it is easy. It is not! The most difficult is exiting from a company that is just doing okay.” McGowan adds a little different spin by stating the major challenge for buyer, like McGowan Capital Group, is finding great companies at the right price with good leadership and team in place. “We are talking to possibilities all of the time,” he says. “Ours is not about quantity. Excellence is really important. We want to take our time and be thoughtful about what we do.” Buus says more and more entrepreneurs and business plans are coming before the Fargo-Moorhead Angel Investment Fund. “There is money for first round of money, but a hurdle we have is not having a lot of second round financing between $1 million and $5 million,” he explains. Burgum says it has been a great start for Arthur Ventures and others who work with angel investment or venture capital, but there is still more work to do. “We have to continue to be successful in moving the needle for job growth,” he states. “We also need to aggregate more capital in our region and do a better job of that. Aggregation of capital is important as these initial funds are a critical tool in company building and job creation. It is high risk, but high reward for both investors and policy makers. Regions that have aggressive strategies to attract and build capital formation capacity will ultimately create more jobs.” PB Alan Van Ormer -




Fall, spring seasons important to hospitality industry

When it comes to the hospitality industry, people have different perceptions about the four seasons. any think that the busy seasons are winter and summer, but many who work with hospitality will tell you that the other two seasons are just as busy and just as important for the bottom line. “Spring and fall are important to everyone’s financial success,” says Carol Johnson, General Manager, Ramada Plaza Suites & Conference Center in Fargo, ND. “We’re able to handle business all year around. For smaller communities there needs to be a draw.” Jeff Jackson, who owns the Wrangler Inn in Mobridge, SD, and is also president of the South Dakota Retailers Association, says while the summer season may be the most important for all the state, the second, third, and fourth season may be different due to what area of the state you are in. “In some areas, there are three good seasons,” he states. Out in western North Dakota, Sheri Grossman, who works with the Bismarck-Mandan Convention & Visitors Bureau, says people assume that summer is the busiest time in our industry, but they forget that conventions and meetings play a significant part in this industry, making spring and fall prime time for visitors to explore our area. “People so often ask, “What are your summer travel plans?” she says. “However, for those who don’t need to worry about school calendars, spring and fall can be an ideal time to travel. The pressure to have a summer vacation isn’t something new, but spring and fall definitely have merit.” In Fargo, Johnson breaks it down even more specific. She says that in the summer there are massive numbers of weddings, reunions, and association meetings. Sports are becoming a yeararound affair. During the school year there are corporate meetings and specifically in the winter time, families, the entertainment industry, and special events book the Ramada. “It is amazing what this city brings in,” she says. “Travelers are so much smarter. We have to stay up to speed with everything. We always have to keep relevant because travelers are very savvy. We have to take it seriously. We want to have to earn their dollars and we should.” Johnson adds that the economy plays a factor in hospitality, as well as blizzards and floods.


Jeff Jackson, President South Dakota Retailers Association

Carol Johnson, General Manager Ramada Plaza & Suites

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“Hospitality has a major impact on the economy,” she says. Grossman agrees. “The nice benefit about tourist dollars is that it is new money to our community,” she explains. “It is not just locals buying items, it is out-of-town and out-of-state people bringing dollars to Bismarck-Mandan. Even though visitors may spend money in just a few areas, it certainly has a trickledown effect.” For example, meetings, conventions, and events bring more than 160,000 people to BismarckMandan annually spending over $35 million while they are in the area. “While July was our biggest month in 2010, April, May, September, and October brought nearly 52,000 delegates to our area,” Grossman states. “We estimate convention, meeting, and event attendees spent over $13 million during those four months.” Jackson states there are advantages to the ‘off ’ season in most areas. “While not the prime or busiest seasons, there are still many events, activities, and recreational opportunities in all the regions of the state,” he comments. “Often better rates on lodging, guides, and admissions are available during the non prime seasons. The shoulder seasons are also a great time to find a more relaxed atmosphere and a less hectic pace. Traffic is not heavy and often more personal attention is able to be offered to a visitor.” For example, in May hotel revenue throughout the state was more than $25 million in 2010 compared to more than $24 million the year before. In October, hotel revenue was almost $30 million in 2010 compared to almost $27 million in 2009. Jackson adds that for many businesses, the shoulder seasons are the opportunity to generate that extra income that allows for improvements in their business. “There are challenges, but the main objective is to develop a service that can be offered to the type of clientele that is available for travel at those times of the year,” Jackson states. “As with all seasons, the availability of leisure time and disposable income is a major factor in the success and profitability that a hospitality business will enjoy each year.” PB Alan Van Ormer

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Retail industry seeing steady growth

Retail leaders in North Dakota and South Dakota are finding that the industry continues to steadily grow despite economic worries that have hit other parts of the nation. hawn Lyons, Director, South Dakota Retailers Association, says there is no shortage of bad economic news that starts to play on people’s psyche concerning the last few years of crisis and impact on retail. “What we’re hearing from our members is somewhat the opposite,” he states. The South Dakota Retailers Association conducted a survey of its members and reflecting on the sales tax numbers, the retail industry seems to be doing well in South Dakota. The state has had 15 consecutive months of increase in taxable sales, Lyons says. As for employment, it has been noted that one in five jobs in the United States have been linked to the retail industry. “A decade ago, there were 22,000 employed in the South Dakota retail industry,” Lyons says. “Today, more than 23 percent or 95,000 are employed in retail in South Dakota. This tells me retailers and small businesses continue to stay open.” In Fargo, ND, Brad Schlossman, CEO of the West Acres Development, says traditionally there has been steady growth since the West Acres Mall was developed in 1972. The mall has 120 stores. 2009 was an exception, but in 2010 the mall was full and Schlossman expects that to be the same in 2011. Schlossman sees pockets of strength and areas of concern. “For example, there is more demand for space than the mall has available. However, several neighboring big box spaces are still vacant,” he explains. “Even with our relatively healthy local economy, the size of North Dakota markets, including Fargo, is not at a level which meets the demographic criteria of many national retailers.” Lyons agrees that within the retail community itself, there are always battles between big box stores and independent businesses. “We have to learn different ways to compete with one another,” he states. Then there is the challenge of what is going to happen with the new health care law? In addition, there is diversification in the day-to-day aspects of the retail industry. “At the end of the day, shopper’s memory of an experience lingers far longer than the impact of the specific purchase,” Lyons says. “What did I think about the store? What type of experience did I have?”


SHAWN LYONS Director South Dakota Retailers Association

BRAD SCHLOSSMAN CEO West Acres Development

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Shoppers stroll through West Acres Mall in Fargo, ND (photo courtesy of Scott Thune)

Lyons feels there is also a concern about Main Street fairness or specifically, the collection and remittance of sales tax from online companies. From the West Acres Mall perspective, Schlossman believes the challenge is attracting and keeping the best stores for the customers. Technology has changed the retail business. “There are certain lines of businesses that are devastated by online competition such as music stores,” Schlossman states. “However, for most retailers, it is not a concern. The Internet is often being used to research products, but the actual transaction is taking place locally. There is also a change in how the message gets communicated to customers. Social media has also become a factor.” Lyons adds that the retail industry is seeing an increase in social media attracting the customer to a specific store. “This depends on the customer. The younger generation wants instant gratification, wants to see it now, wants access right now,” he states. “Part of the business plan is how to use social media.” The industry must also look at maintaining what it has. One thing that is occurring is seeing more interest in secession planning as part of the overall business plan. “They think about it a lot more than they used to,” Lyons says. Then there is the need to stay relevant. “Retailers are no different than other industries,” Lyons says. “Retailers want to make sure they appeal to consumers to come into the store.” Then there is the development and education of a skilled work force, which Lyons says is starting earlier at the high school level. “It’s working with our universities and technical schools,” he says. “It’s important developing work force to meet demands we are seeing in the work force development.” At the West Acres Mall, Schlossman has been focusing on making it a positive customer experience. “A recent market survey asked customers to provide two words that describe West Acres Mall,” he says. “Fun and convenience tied for first. By convenience, we need to make the experience easy for the customer. As for fun, we’re delighted the response came back so high.” PB Alan Van Ormer -

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Community Spotlight

Watford City

Kristen Bolken, Member, Chamber of Commerce

Brent Sanford Mayor

Watford City Visitors Center

Flurry of economic development

Denton Zubke, CEO Dakota West Credit Union

Those who live in Watford City, ND have never seen anything like what has happened over the last three years. “

Steve Stenehjem Chairman/CEO First International Bank & Trust

Gene Veeder Executive Director McKenzie County Job Development Authority

28 Prairie Business

ow!” says Kristen Bolken, who has lived in Watford City for three years and is a member of the Board of the area Chamber of Commerce. “It is so busy. It has gone from zero to 125 in terms of business.” Mayor Brent Sanford, who is also owner of S&S Motors in the community, sums it up by saying “the feel of our town is chaotic. We are just trying to manage it the best we can and stay positive.” Statistics back up what residents in Watford City are seeing. The community has seen a 74 percent growth in sales in the first quarter of 2011. One local bank has seen growth hovering around 20-25 percent over the last five years. And over a two-night period in July, traffic stopped and nothing was moving because of road slide damage; something that those who have lived in Watford City all of their lives have never seen. In addition, county taxes were up almost 50 percent in 2010. During calendar year 2010 in McKenzie County, taxable sales and purchases totaled more than $78 million compared to $52 million in 2009. In Watford City, taxable sales and purchases totaled $47 million in 2009 compared to $71 million in 2010.


GROWING A COMMUNITY BEFORE OIL Energy, tourism, and agriculture all have had an September 2011

economic impact on the town that was once around 2,000 people. But community leaders had already started planning economic development before oil even hit the area. It was needed in order for the town to continue to grow. Denton Zubke, CEO of Dakota West Credit Union, says before the oil boom it was day-to-day in Watford City. “We were just trying to keep this town alive,” he states. Steve Stenehjem, Chairman and CEO of First International Bank & Trust, was one of the catalysts of the economic growth. He kept the bank headquarters in Watford City and also developed a sort of convention center for the community that included a steakhouse lounge and movie theater, as well as meeting space and convention center. He also added a parking lot to the 37,500 square foot facility that also includes the company headquarters. What makes it even more convincing is the fact that when travelers come north on Highway 85, and just before they turn left to go to Williston, they can see this eyepopping building on Watford City’s Main Street. It was done to attract visitors to the community. “The building got people to stop and take a look,” Stenehjem says. “I always felt if they stopped, we would get them to take a look at the town.” Stenehjem and other economic development leaders didn’t stop there. To help pay for the remodeling of the facility, city voters approved a 1 cent penny sales tax or

what was conveniently called the ‘Roughrider Fund’ to help businesses relocate and improve their stores. First International Bank & Trust tore down 13 buildings to build the Main Street complex, but did not do that until the other businesses in those buildings were relocated in town, Stenehjem says. The fund provided up to $25,000 per building to spruce up a building. “It gave people confidence to improve their stores,” Stenehjem explains. “I think it worked.”

ALONG COMES OIL Back in 2004, Sanford moved from Denver back to his ‘sleepy’ hometown. “Dad thought I was nuts,” says Sanford, who is a CPA by trade. “It slowly picked up.” Then came the gush of oil. One thing the oil boom has changed is the real estate industry. Based on state and industry projections, Sanford has been told that as many as 30,000 people could be working near Watford City or in the county. “It is an unbelievable commute from Dickinson, Minot, and Williston to the oilfields,” he says. “Living in town would help ease this burden.” Dale Patten, Senior Vice President for McKenzie County Bank, says he has been chief real estate lender for the bank for more than 20 years and that part of the banking industry has skyrocketed, as has homes, credit, short term loans, and limited down payments. “Opportunities come with challenges,” he says. “Loan activities in all respects are seeing transition in the business environment. We are seeing opportunities for companies to get a foothold in the county or possibly buying existing businesses. Their goal is to grow the company.”


Community Spotlight

Watford City

WATFORD CITY HAS A LITANY OF CHALLENGES There is a housing challenge. A workforce housing project is being developed in nearby Arnegard and 23 homes are being constructed in Veeder Estates in Watford City. Electrical needs are growing. According to a report to co-op members recently, McKenzie Electric Cooperative has seen monthly sales of electricity grow from $1 million to $3 million. The annual revenues have increased from $22.8 million in 2009 to $29 million in 2010. In addition, the cooperative is taking out four short-term loans of $12 million to build new lines to serve oil field growth needs. Road improvements and infrastructure are also major needs. McKenzie County is using $24 million to gravel 122 miles and pave 12 ½ miles. As for infrastructure needs, Watford City is using $12.3 million in state assistance to add water and sewer lines in identified growth areas surrounding city. There is a 62 mile natural gas pipeline through McKenzie County being developed by ONEOK Partners of Tulsa, OK that will process 100 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Also, a $110 million Western Area Water Supply project is underway for domestic and industrial use. In addition, a $680,000 grant allows McKenzie County Healthcare System to add Avera Health’s eCare services. There are discussions for long-term vision to expand the hospital. Also, a $4.9 million, 20,000 square foot wellness center project is expected to be completed in 2013.

CONTINUING CHALLENGES INTO THE FUTURE There are at least four challenges that will burden the community as it moves into the future. They include permanent housing needs, an improved highway system, an upgraded water system, and health care issues. Gene Veeder, Executive Director, McKenzie County Job Development Authority, says maybe the biggest challenge is emergency services. There are 2-4 calls per day with only one full-time paramedic on staff. In addition, there is the recruitment of health care professionals. And as for workforce, Veeder says attracting workforce is not an issue, but hiring is the issue. “The rest of the world does not take these problems we have seriously,” Veeder states. “We have four to six people a day that stop in and want to start a business. The challenge for us is who is real?” Stenehjem believes western North Dakota has forever changed. “And I think in a good way.” PB Alan Van Ormer -


Acquiring small business funding Tips to help you prepare for the business loan application process mall businesses are the lifeblood of the American economy and essential to our communities. To be successful, small business owners need funding – often in the form of commercial loans and credit. Recent economic conditions have caused banks everywhere to take a closer look at lending practices. Even in states like North Dakota, which has weathered the financial storm fairly well, banks continue to seek higher-quality credit applicants to minimize their risk. The bank will be more likely to lend if the small business applicant is well prepared. There are important steps every small business owner should take when applying for financing to make the process smoother and possibly even qualify for more affordable credit terms.


PREPARE OR UPDATE A BUSINESS PLAN Small businesses need a well-prepared business plan when they apply for a loan. This formal document should identify your company and include its mission and statement of purpose, owners and key personnel, a company history with milestones, a description of products and services, and a list of your facilities. It should contain a market analysis, including major customers, suppliers, competitors, and potential risks facing your company. It’s also a best practice to include a marketing plan. Preparing a business plan will take time, but it’s essential to the lending process and will serve as a valuable guide for policies, daily decisions and the success of your company.

PREPARE OTHER DOCUMENTATION Gather copies of your tax returns and make sure your tax filings are current. Lenders may request your personal tax returns, especially if you are just starting your business or are a sole proprietor. Sites of a growing community.

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September 2011

You will generally need three years of financial statements and cash flow history and projections. If your business is a start-up, bankers will want to see realistic income and expense projections before making any lending decisions. Contracts with potential customers help prove future income. Provide references from creditors, a list of suppliers, and proof of insurance.

PAINT THE WHOLE PICTURE Loan officers consider many factors when making their decisions, including your financial records, collateral and credit history. It’s important for your organization to build a good track record by making timely payments to your suppliers and vendors, and establishing reputable business practices.

loan programs available. For example, the Small Business Administration (SBA) backs some loans for qualifying businesses, and the Bank of North Dakota offers attractive options in our state as well. Your lender should help you explore other special financing programs available in your area through state, county and city economic development offices. Bankers know how important small businesses are to the local economy, and our goal is helping entrepreneurs and small business owners succeed. We can provide information and help you select the financing that matches your organization’s needs and helps you grow your business. PB

CHOOSE THE RIGHT LENDER AND LOAN Small business owners probably have broad knowledge of many aspects of their business, including financing and lending, but sometimes they need help with the details. That’s why it’s important to have a working relationship with a banker you can trust, and one who has knowledge of your business, industry and the community where you operate. Your lender should be able to explain the variety of

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Taking a second look at South Dakota’s oil and gas resources A South Dakota initiative to pull together all of its oil and gas resource data in one comprehensive, online location could have a sizeable impact on economic development in the state. erric Iles, State Geologist and administrator of the state geological survey program, calls South Dakota “under-explored” when it comes to oil and natural gas. With an eye on what it could mean for the state’s economy, an effort is underway to change this by enticing industry to take a second look at what South Dakota has to offer. “We’re pulling together every shred of information the state has that could be relevant to the exploration of oil and gas,” comments Iles. “We’re pulling it together and making it available electronically.” Iles explains that the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources has a wealth of data that may be relevant to oil and gas exploration, but it is housed in at least three different locations, three different parts of the DENR. The geological survey program has maps, reports, and test-hole data. The minerals and mining program, which regulates the oil and gas industry and issues permits, has hard-copy files located in the Rapid City office. And the DENR’s water rights section has tens of thousands of drilling records from water wells,


32 Prairie Business Energy

September 2011

which may be useful especially for shallow gas exploration. By making all of these records and maps digital and collecting them in a single location, the state hopes that it will be easier for oil and gas companies to find the information they need without traveling to separate office locations to peruse files. “We are hoping that by making all of the relevant data available, in the formats industry wants to see them in, we will get them to take a second look at South Dakota,” says Iles. The department hopes to have the multi-year project complete by June 30 of next year, and Iles says they are already responding to requests from industry for this type of information. “The push is coming from the desire to have more economic development in South Dakota,” comments Iles. “One way to do that is to encourage more exploration for oil and gas resources. We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for industry to decide that South Dakota is a good place to explore.” North Dakota’s Bakken formation has garnered national attention for its vast crude oil reserves and the economic boom that has resulted from its production. Since 2004, crude oil production in North Dakota has grown an average of 22 percent per year. Last year, it ranked fourth in crude oil production out of 31 oil-producing states. A study done earlier this year by North Dakota State University shows that in 2009, the petroleum industry in North Dakota provided more than 18,000 full-timeequivalent jobs in the state and achieved a gross business volume of $12.7 billion. Lynn Helms, Director of the North Dakota Industrial Commission, says petroleum activity in the state is currently three times those 2009 levels. Contrast this with South Dakota, where fewer than 200 people are employed in the oil and gas extraction sector. But South Dakota officials believe there is potential for growth. Iles notes that, although South Dakota’s geologic setting is not quite as favorable as North Dakota, it

nevertheless has many of the same rock units. A look at a cross-section of a geophysical log of the rock formations along South Dakota’s northern border shows the similarities. At a drilling depth of about 8,000 feet, South Dakota has the Three Forks Shale, which Iles says is a large oil producer in North Dakota. Above that is the Minnelusa Formation, which only a county and a half north into North Dakota is producing oil, but there it is called the Tyler Formation. South Dakota also has the Englewood Limestone – a rock unit at the same depth in North Dakota is called by a different name, the Bakken Shale. “We have similar rock units here, but we are just under-explored,” says Iles. The Greenhorn Formation is currently the target of exploration near Faith, SD, after the city struck oil while drilling a water well in 2009. Nakota Energy is a small company doing some test drilling there; Pete Sutton with Nakota says they have drilled one well and are waiting on the results, and they will also have a look at the city’s water well where the oil was originally found. The first oil in South Dakota was discovered in Harding County in 1954, part of the Red River Formation. Oil production in South Dakota today occurs in Harding, Custer and Fall River Counties. The Williston Basin lies mainly in North Dakota but comes down into northwestern South Dakota as well, though there is it shallower. A very small part of the Powder River Basin touches the southwestern corner of the state in Custer and Fall River Counties. Luff Exploration is the largest oil producer in the state today, followed by Continental Resources Inc. Iles notes that the potential for exploration is not limited to West

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River. For example, in the late 1800s a water well being drilled near Salem revealed natural gas at very shallow levels. Test drilling done in 2004 found that the methane gas is still there, although no one knows if it’s present in commercially viable quantities. A site in Spink County near Ashton is also being test drilled. In the early 1900s, the city of Pierre fueled its street lights with natural gas from the local Dakota Sandstone, the same methane gas that provided the “Flaming Fountain” at the state capitol. “The potential is there,” says Iles. Hunter Roberts, South Dakota Energy Policy Director, says that while it’s difficult to measure the exact potential economic impact, similar activity to what’s being experienced in North Dakota – even on a smaller scale – would certainly be a “shot in the arm” to South Dakota’s economy. “Development of this industry will create jobs, provide new career opportunities to our young people, and increase the tax base which provides funding for our schools, and state and local governments,” comments Roberts. “Additionally, further access to these natural resources would help make South Dakota and the nation more energy independent while helping to stabilize energy costs.” Iles says it is unreasonable to presume all of the oil and gas resources stop at the state line. “We have many units that have potential, but most of them are under-explored,” says Iles. “We don’t know enough about them. Unit somebody can provide me with the actual scientific data, I’m not willing to give up.” Kristin Brekke Vandersnick is a Willow Lake, SD-based freelance writer. She can be reached at

Sound environmental practices essential in oil country Hess Corporation views North Dakota as one of its legacy homes in the world and wants to make certain that it is the employer and neighbor people want for the long term. ess Corporation, who has been in the state since 1951, is one of many oil companies operating in the Bakken formation in western North Dakota. It is also one of the companies that views environmentally sound oil fields as a key to business success. “We view compliance with the law, as well as values based on consideration for leaving the environment in a manner that minimizes our footprint,” states Dave McKay, Director of the Bakken Project for Hess Corporation. “We want to leave landowners and other stakeholders with the feeling that we are good neighbors.” Others agree that sound environmental policies and practices are essential to having a successful business. “Protecting the environment and the health and safety of all concerned are basic ingredients of good corporate citizenship, whether in the oilfield or any other place,” states Brian Engel, Vice President, Public Affairs for Continental Resources. For Engel, being environmentally sound means being committed to protecting the environment through our business policies and practices and to meet or exceed all environmental regulations. Joseph Icenogle, Director of Environmental Affairs for Fidelity Exploration & Production Company, adds to be a responsible environmental steward means that your organization has personnel that are knowledgeable with the regulatory process and are proactive in obtaining the necessary permits. “In addition, environmental stewardship goes beyond just compliance with regulations. It means taking ownership in your facilities and maintaining them to a higher standard than what is mandated,” he explains. “This may mean placing facilities where surrounding landowners are minimally affected along with conducting surveys on wildlife, soils, vegetation or water wells prior to conducting operations.” Continental Resources has developed at least three programs including employee and contractor training. Another program involves ECO-Pad®: drilling four wells on one pad to minimize construction and transportation impacts, and Closed Loop Drilling Operations: controls and recycles drilling mud to minimize environmental impact. MDU Resources has implemented a plan called PIMA. “Through


36 Prairie Business Energy

September 2011

“planning” we take the responsibility to be a good neighbor by working with the landowners on whose land we conduct operations. We “implement” that plan and focus on doing what we said we would do,” Icenogle explains. “Once the plan is in place, we “monitor” our operations and carefully watch field operations and any potential impacts. Finally, we “adapt” as we move forward by applying new ideas and new methods based on what we see. It is important to be constantly learning.” Hess Corporation is eliminating liquid reserve pits from drilling sites and moving all rigs to a closed loop system. “We aren’t digging and leaving pits in the ground with any fluid in it,” McKay explains, adding that he believes the state is going require all oil companies to do that. “We view this as one of the things we should be doing.” Another major undertaking is changing the typical configuration of drilling in the Bakken, including moving fluid to the tanks and flaring gas. To date, Hess Corporation has invested $100 million in gathering and processing infrastructure to conveying fluids and natural gas by pipeline to a central treatment facility. McKay believes this will have a major impact on gathering and processing to extract liquids and sell gas, as well as reducing the impact of trucks on the road.

COMMUNICATION IS A BIG CHALLENGE “Our work involves complicated scientific and technical operational data. The oil and natural gas business, especially in the Bakken in western North Dakota, involves a lot of technology and geophysical information,” Icenogle says. “Communicating this science and technology to the public, elected officials and regulators is challenging but very important. Engel states the major challenge is staying abreast of and incorporating industry best practices at the speed of today’s technological innovations. “(Our focus) is doing it the right way every single day and striving to continuously improve our health, safety and environmental performance,” Engel states. Another challenge is just staying in compliance with regulations. “In many cases, we are trying to stay ahead of compliance and regulations, something that we view we are doing successfully,” McKay states The big challenge right now is the pace of activity, McKay adds. “Many of the workforce in North Dakota is new to the industry,” he states. “Keeping them safe, aligned, and making decisions that are appropriate is important. That is challenging given the scope in the workforce and the speed we are moving right now.” Icenogle says environmental stewardship leads to less waste which fuels a stronger return on investment dollars. “Furthermore, when a company has a strong environmental commitment they are generally strong in safety which provides a better work environment which helps in retaining and motivating a professional workforce,” he explains. Icenogle adds that our environmental goals are very similar to our safety goals where we strive for no injuries. Alan Van Ormer

Working in the oil fields (Photos courtesy of Hess Corporation)


Biofuels policy supported, more needs to be done


Many industry leaders support a biofuels policy, but also believe that more things can be done to help address any deficiencies in a national policy.

A renewable fuels standard was introduced in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act.

This renewable fuels standard established a ceiling of 15 billion gallons per year made from corn starch by 2015 with the potential for up to 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022 including advanced biofuels and cellulosic ethanol. Cornbased ethanol, advanced biofuels, and cellulosic ethanol are all required to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions by specific levels.

unter Roberts, State Energy Policy Director for South Dakota, believes that Congress should rethink the biofuels policy. “There are a lot of good things going on right now through the stimulus package that includes research dollars and loan guarantee programs funneling down to support beginning and mid-stage biofuels programs,” he states. “The federal government on the demand side has been lacking. If we’re to increase production, we need more demand for fuel.” Alan Anderson, the Commissioner for the North Dakota Department of Commerce, says getting everyone to agree on a policy is the best course of action. “It’s really about educating each other and then working jointly to find solutions and generate results,” he states. Rodney Larkins, Special Project Director of the Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment at the University of Minnesota, says there are existing and near-term technologies available which look to have the ability to dramatically improve the profitability, carbon footprint, and regional impact of ethanol plants and turn them into true bio-refineries. “Unfortunately, it is currently very difficult to secure the investment capital necessary to fund these innovations or transformations,” he states. “Policy which strengthens the industry, encourages investment, and promotes energy independence on a local, regional, and national basis is critically needed.” Biofuels are developed from biomass. It is considered carbon neutral, as the biomass absorbs roughly the same amount of carbon dioxide during growth, as when burnt. Some biofuels currently in use are biobutanol, biodiesel, bioethanol, biogas, and even vegetable oil. Doug Tiffany, Assistant Extension Professor at the University of Minnesota, who specializes in renewable energy economics and technologies, says government subsidies were formulated to protect the ethanol industry from the fate experienced by the small ethanol plants that came on line in the 1980s. “The small plants were run out of business when crude oil prices dropped in the mid-1980s,” he says. Tiffany comments that the nation is not meeting the targets for the advanced biofuels and cellulosic ethanol made from things other than corn starch. “The government identified targets in the 2007 bill, but there


38 Prairie Business Energy

September 2011

have been challenges in technology and bigger challenges in raising the capital needed to build those plants,” he states. “Many start-ups spent considerable time waiting for federal loan guarantees.” In addition, Tiffany believes that plants have to be built and operating for at least three years before there is much hope of enticing private investors. “I expect some more modifications for these targets,” Tiffany states. “Dry-grind ethanol plants using corn represent technology that works reliably and has been improved considerably in recent years in terms of water usage, energy usage, and reduction of Greenhouse Gases. There are a number of ways to improve the environmental performance of the existing plants by using biomass to provide process heat and electricity or perform extraction chemistry on the byproduct, distillers dried grain and solubles (DDGS). Infrastructure is in place to transport corn to the ethanol plants and then move the ethanol to get it blended into all the gasoline in America. With a poor economy and reduced consumption of gasoline, less ethanol is needed to be blended at current levels, which are scheduled to be increased in the near future.” Many believe that biofuels can help with energy security, as well as providing a substantial availability of fuel for the nation. North Dakota officials believe that they have a model that could be used as part of a national policy. The North Dakota EmPower program was launched in 2007. Leaders from nearly every major traditional and renewable energy company in North Dakota meet regularly to share insights and ideas about all types of energy including biofuels in the state. The EmPower policy supports doubling North Dakota’s energy production by 2025 and also supports the nation’s increasing renewable energy 25 percent by 2025. “The beauty of what we do at EmPower is to bring individuals from traditional and renewable energy together all at the same table,” Anderson explains. “Our goal is simple. We need to create a very cohesive and synchronized energy development plan for the state of North Dakota and biofuels is a vital part of that process. The nation really needs to look, learn, and listen to what we have done in North Dakota.” In South Dakota, ethanol is the major biofuel being produced and used. There is a cellulosic ethanol pilot

project that POET is running in Scotland, SD, that is expected to produce 20,000 gallons per year. In addition, there is a biodiesel plant near Alexandria, SD, that could provide 6 million to 9 million gallons. The three-state region is focusing on blender pumps now that the new policy is supportive for that infrastructure. More than half of the nation’s blender pumps are located within the three-state region. South Dakota was the first state to allow blender pumps. North Dakota has installed 155 pumps and has another 115 in progress. South Dakota has funded around 70 blender pumps. South Dakota will have $3.5 million over the next five years to provide incentives for ethanol blender pumps and other infrastructure; approximately $1 million of that amount is available in 2011. “Our state’s and country’s biofuels needs requires all players in the industry to be engaged in the process together,” Anderson says. “We need to work collectively to develop policies to overcome obstacles, eliminate barriers and economic growth in the biofuels sector.” Tiffany believes the country needs consistent policies in order to foster biofuels investments or crude oil prices above $80 per barrel. “Another policy that would help the biofuels industry would be policies or taxes (permit fees) on Greenhouse Gases,” he states. “That would provide the incentive to improve the existing corn ethanol plants and encourage the use of cellulosic crops or residues to produce biofuels as well as process heat and renewable energy.” Alan Van Ormer -

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Maximizing productivity and profitability We are fortunate here in North Dakota with a healthy unemployment rate of 3.2 percent, which allows many companies to grow and hire for management and leadership positions.

he majority are seeking employees that fit their organization’s success characteristics. Every organization has to maximize productivity and profitability in order to remain competitive. To align individual performance with their specific business goals, many companies utilize a Behavioral Assessment tool such as the Predictive Index®. This type of tool helps business leaders identify the behavioral strengths of their current workforce and new hires for improved communication, teambuilding, succession planning and maximum productivity. It allows them to make important decisions about people with objectivity and specificity. Without such a tool in place, it can be difficult for the employer to identify that ‘fit’ from a resume. Part of the evaluation process is to review the work history and years of experience, education and certifications required. Leadership positions carry expectations and candidates most likely to land these positions must have the following characteristics. Proven ability to lead and inspire a team to accomplish company objectives. Look for examples of cost savings or process improvements on the resume.


KATHLEEN TOFT Professional Recruiter Spherion Staffing Kathleen

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September 2011

Strategic thinking and planning abilities. What has been developed, led, or differentiated. Critical thinking and problem solving skills. Were they successful at driving strategy and building consensus? Emotional Intelligence which often times is viewed as Empathy, humble confidence, and/or Intuition.

INTELLIGENT AND MOTIVATED INDIVIDUAL From the resume, one must discern if the candidate meets the minimum of requirements; and if so, is there enough to justify an interview? Those conducting the interview must have a solid picture in mind so they stay focused on the job requirements, not just that they “like” the candidate. Some candidates are good at saying what you want to hear or selling themselves to the point of distraction from the goals. Staying on target is crucial. Background checks are becoming the norm and should be part of the offer and completed before the person starts. It is not for the faint of heart to take on the role of hiring. You must have the ability to ascertain the accomplishments, skills and gifts of the candidate in front of you. PB

SDSU College of Nursing receives grant The South Dakota State University College of Nursing received a $1.09 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to strengthen the quality and delivery of rural nursing education. he grant addresses simulation, informatics and technology enhancement over the next three years. “We pursued this funding because we were convinced that our undergraduate nursing students need to continue to receive cuttingedge education that prepares them to provide the highest quality and safest patient care possible,” said Nancy Fahrenwald, who serves as the associate dean for research and program evaluator for the grant. “Ultimately, our students will be better prepared to provide for rural family health needs when they enter the nursing workforce.” The HHS grant will provide funding for the college to purchase infant and child mannequins for students to practice with patients of all ages. The College of Nursing currently owns four adult mannequins for laboratory simulations. The mannequins connect to a control room where faculty can create a patient care scenario. Adding infant and child mannequins will give students the opportunity to practice pediatric scenarios that are common in rural environments. Students will also be introduced to new technologies to aid rural patient cares, such as electronic health records, informatics applications and telehealth resources. An example of informatics applications is the use of electronic monitoring devices to record vital signs and other measurements needed to make a diagnosis. Using telehealth resources comes through programs that allow health professionals to view, send or store video and digital images for patient assessment, diagnosis, treatment and evaluation over video conferencing technology. The process can be especially helpful for health facilities with limited resources, found often in rural hospitals. By incorporating these new health care technologies into the nursing curriculum, students can easily adapt to clinical settings as they advance. “Students will have the opportunity to utilize technologies already being used in the health care setting,” said Paula Lubeck, a nursing faculty member who serves as the grant’s project manager. “With so many new things occurring as they take on their first nursing job, what a boost for students to be able to say, ‘Yes, I am familiar with this, we had this in school.’" A key part of the grant to aid rural health needs includes a rural health fellow program for senior clinical practitioners. Stationed in a rural setting, the student fellow is exposed to an intense clinical experience with unique health situations. In addition, quicker technology helps these rural health fellows receive instant direction and information from larger health systems when the need arises. “The closer to reality we can make the learning, the easier it will be for students to transition to the work world as skilled, confident nurses,” said Lois Tschetter, who serves as the assistant undergraduate nursing department health and grant project director. By researching and evaluating the SITE program, SDSU College of Nursing expects to give better quality of care and safety to the patients through an intensive, technology-based training program for its nursing students. Lubeck, Tschetter and Fahrenwald direct the program. Other faculty members are involved as content experts and site coordinators.


Program directors of a $1.09 million HHS nursing grant, Lois Tschetter, on left, and Paula Lubeck observe nursing students from the nursing simulation laboratory at SDSU.

The Nurse Education, Practice and Retention Program within the Health Resource Service Administration of the HHS is responsible for SITE’s funding. SDSU program sites in Rapid City, Sioux Falls and Brookings will benefit from the grant. PB

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Access to reliable, efficient transportation is necessary for business North America’s bountiful resources and Northern Plains were largely untouched until Christopher Columbus, a transportation shipper and entrepreneur, initiated formal commercial trade in North America. oday, successful trade still relies on transportation as a key factor in determining economic activity and business success. The Northern Plains evolved through transportation system improvements, first with overland ox carts and riverboats, followed by railroads and national highway system development. As transportation progressed, it became evident that reliable and efficient transportation is one of the best investments a developing country can make to improve their economy. The same philosophy is as vital today as it was when our country was evolving. An outdoor advertiser once described traffic to me as “a river of money.” Savvy developers and business owners recognize the value of tapping into the “river of money” as much as possible, not only by developing on the biggest traffic stream, but providing the right spigot to access the

T BOB SHANNON Senior Transportation Engineer Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson

river. Modern spigots include quality internet and telecommunications access or driveway access during peak traffic to avoid blocking potential customers or access to rail shipping. Many have experienced times when transportation access was interrupted or less efficient. Recent examples include landslides in western North Dakota closing highways and requiring detours more than 100 miles or temporary interruptions due to weather, flooding or road construction. Successful businesses have action plans to endure occasional interruptions. In addition, business developers often conduct traffic impact studies of proposed developments to ensure reliable and efficient transportation access to their sites. A successful business works with community and transportation professionals, to achieve the best access to facilities for everyone’s continued success. Happy trails! PB

Organized capital important Capital is undeniably important in our everyday lives and we use it for many purposes. t is critically important to our continued growth and success as a country. Many individuals strive for wealth (accumulated capital) and others are happy with a great lifestyle (making ends meet). As a venture capitalist, capital is a big part of my life professionally and personally. In my personal life, Kelly and I use it for everything from mortgage payments to groceries to donations. It is normal day-today activities and frankly our capital carries some power and influence but not much. Professionally, I have raised over $230 million and invested in 45 companies. The power of the organization and accumulation from numerous sources has many benefits. With organized capital you will attract the best deals and entrepreneurs. Most experienced or professional managers are attracted to capital that can be counted on for numerous rounds. This reduces financing risk. Organized capital also allows the investor to influence the value of the investment opportunity. Being in the market gives the venture capitalist a better sense of the market and appropriate pricing of the enterprise. This improves potential returns and lowers the chances of down rounds later in the companies’ life.


42 Prairie Business

September 2011

Organized capital brings the appropriate transaction together and encourages terms that are appropriate for the risk capital being provided to the company. It is almost always sophisticated capital and delivers enough financing to reach value added milestones and appropriately incentivizes the management team and Founders. Organized capital will bring a significant network and generally helps drive a great board of directors that includes experienced independent directors. These independent directors are important from both a financial and fiduciary point of view. Finally, organized capital generally has experience in syndication of financing transactions and can bring other investors to the table. It also has significant experience in risk identification and management plans for companies. The more that early stage angel investors band together and organize themselves the more likely the financial and economic development success. PB John Deedrick is Managing Director of Linn Grove Ventures. He can be reached at


Importance of the development of the different online training packages Have you ever heard the statistic that only 30 percent of classroom students are paying attention at any one time? f course, every class is different, depending on the students, the subject, and the teacher, but classrooms can be inefficient for post secondary certifications for several reasons: Students can have a wide background, some students can have 30 years experience, others can just be finishing high school Students can have different intellectual capabilities Students can have different states of mind, some might have worked all night, and others might be fresh and ready to learn. Online education provides a method to verify all students have learned the information. Live training classes usually require students to pass a multiple-choice test, and obtain a score from 60 to 75 percent. Online training schools can require the students to pass a test at a 90 percent rate (or higher), as they can retake the test online, as many times as needed. Online education has several other advantages, such as saving travel dollars, allowing students to work at their own pace, and allowing 100 percent compliance (nobody can say they were sick on training day). For example, if someone wants their Rserving certification for Responsible Serving of Food or Alcohol, they can enroll online, immediately get their course access, and finish the course that day. This allows students to finish their classes before they start work. Responsible Serving of Food trains kitchen and wait staff on the importance of food safety, to reduce incidents of food borne illness, and food poisoning. The 24-hour flu is a myth, if you have the 24 hour flu, it is normally due to food poisoning, which can happen either at home, at a friend’s house, or at a restaurant. For training in Responsible Serving, each state has different requirements for the training, hence the delivery method can be slightly different. Some states require countdown timers on each page, to ensure students are spending time on the pages, some states have their own testing system to interface to, and states have different methods of generating diplomas or databasing students. Another example is home inspectors. Many home inspectors are experience contractors that are starting to retire from construction, but have a wealth of knowledge in construction. Some are electricians, others are framers, or can be general contractors. Online education allows students to focus on the material they do not know, and allows the contractors to breeze through the material that is their specialty. These courses allow students to learn at their own speed, and provide a capability to obtain 100 percent certification. In the case of Responsible Serving of Food and Alcohol, 100 percent participation is very important. PB Robb Graham, President, Professional Training Service, Online Education Specialist. He can be reached at



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By the Numbers EMPLOYMENT

(NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED) UNEMPLOYMENT RATE June 2011 North Dakota 3.8 % Fargo MSA 4.2 Bismarck MSA 3.6 Grand Forks MSA 5.1 Minot MiSA 3.5 Dickinson MiSA 2.3 Williston MiSA 1.4 Jamestown MiSA 3.9 Wahpeton MiSA 4.1 South Dakota 4.6 Sioux Falls MSA 4.5 Rapid City MSA 4.6 Aberdeen MiSA 3.7 Brookings MiSA 4.6 Watertown MiSA 4.1 Spearfish MiSA 4.4 Mitchell MiSA 4.0 Pierre MiSA 3.5 Yankton MiSA 4.6 Huron MiSA 3.4 Vermillion MiSA 4.6 Minnesota 6.9 Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA 6.9 Brainerd MiSA 8.2 Winona MiSA 6.8 Fergus Falls MiSA 6.3 Red Wing MiSA 6.8 Willmar MiSA 6.0 Bemidji MiSA 8.7 Alexandria MiSA 6.1 Hutchinson MiSA 8.0 Marshall MiSA 5.6 Worthington MiSA 5.4 Fairmont MiSA 7.0

June 2010 4.2% 4.4 4.0 5.0 3.7 2.9 2.0 4.2 4.8 4.5 4.6 4.5 3.4 4.4 4.2 4.0 3.8 3.0 4.6 3.4 4.4 7.2 7.2 8.2 7.0 6.4 7.0 5.9 8.2 6.1 8.5 5.4 5.2 6.9

EMPLOYMENT June 2011 June 2010 368,189 364,141 113,986 116,175 60,029 61,089 52,513 52,223 33,046 33,543 17,357 15,684 22,127 17,272 10,897 11,540 13,639 11,955 434,945 431,660 125,045 123,940 65,355 65,915 23,090 22,770 17,385 17,310 18,545 18,270 13,230 13,385 12,910 12,750 12,895 12,475 11,580 11,465 9,855 9,700 6,850 6,875 2,782,497 2,766,588 1,723,729 1,716,072 45,253 46,033 26,899 23,270 29,714 29,560 24,525 24,500 23,104 23,270 20,365 20,244 19,314 19,963 18,798 18,703 14,499 14,405 11,161 11,292 10,962 11,101

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


Intl Falls-Rainer Grand Portage Baudette Warroad Roseau

JUNE 2011



63839 35813 17473 15803 4999

7.0% 23.7 - 6.2 7.7 22.4

1990 1559 792 1111 681

0.2% - 2.4 5.5 24.3 10.2

30666 7709 5435 7110 4577 2381

11.2 -11.8 23.0 3.0 30.4 -28.7

18299 6277 740 2611 1052 178

3.9 - 9.5 -28.8 -10.5 2.2 -60.4


Pembina Portal Neche Dunseith Walhalla Noonan

Source: US Customs and Border Protection

46 Prairie Business

September 2011



Production Oil-BBL/day

$94.69 $78.19 $79.10 $60.10

361,407 348,400 344,100 296,422

MAY 2011 FEB 2011 DEC 2010 MAY 2010

Drilling Permits 154 155 134 102

MAY 2011 FEB 2011 DEC 2010 MAY 2010

July Rig Count


Producing Wells 5,570 5,324 5,331 4,893

All Time High Rig Count

Rig Count 175 167 163 114


Source: NDOMB


Minneapolis-St. Paul Fargo Sioux Falls Rapid City Bismarck Duluth Grand Forks Minot Pierre

% CHANGE/2010-2011

1,495,302 29,496 36,713 27,905 16,055 NA 9,437 13,322 1,286

2.2 - 4.1 18.2 -12.1 - 3.2 NA 3.7 71.4 4.6

Source: US Customs and Border Protection




U.S. to Canadian Dollar

$1.03 or $0.9718

$0.96 or $1.0370

$0.95 or $1.0484

U.S. to Euro

$ 0.77 or $1.3068

$0.69 or $1.4523

$0.70 or $1.4387

U.S. to Chinese Yuan

$6.77 or $0.1476

$6.46 or $0.1547

$6.44 or $0.1554

U.S. to Japanese Yen

$86.47 or $0.0116

$80.63 or $0.0124

$77.17 or $0.0130

U.S. to Mexican Peso

$12.64 or $0.0791

$11.72 or $0.0853

$11.72 or $0.0853

Source: Bank of Canada

Data provided by Kingsbury Applied Economics

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