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Rick Electric, Inc.: Serving the Upper Midwest Since 1964

March 1st, 2018 by Amanda Huggett

A long-running Moorhead business has been a quiet staple in the fabric of the FMWF and surrounding communities for over five decades. Even now in their second generation, Rick Electric, Inc. is a humble family-owned and operated service company with down-to-earth employees and tried and true practices.

Today Rick Electric, Inc. is run by Greg Rick, who serves as president, Denny Rick as EVP and secretary treasurer, and Eric Moe as VP. Greg and Denny’s parents started the company in 1964 as an electrical contractor. Greg has worked there his entire adult life, doing a range of jobs from estimator to project manager. He purchased the business with Denny in 1998.

Many of Rick Electric Inc.’s employees have long histories with the business as well. With about 30 employees making up what Greg calls his “core crew,” seven have been there for over 10 years, five for over 20 and another five over 30. “In this industry, everything is about your people,” he commented.

While the business is based in Fargo-Moorhead, they do plenty of business in the surrounding region – and states – too. In fact, one of their longest-standing clients is the Grand Forks Air Force Base. Greg’s favorite project was when they did 600 new houses and related electrical utilities.

They’re currently working on the Best Buy remodel at West Acres and recently finished remodeling the John Carlson hockey coliseum in north Fargo. Locally, they also put their stamp on SCHEELS, Costco, the Concordia College Offutt School of Business and UND School of Medicine, one of the largest construction projects in North Dakota.

While they offer services for businesses, educational and government institutions, they also maintain a respectable offering for homeowners. Greg says some of the smaller projects they’re happy to do include those items on your honey-do list. “We have six qualified electrical servicemen with stocked vans scheduling those phone calls. A light fixture or a ceiling fan, things like that,” he said.

Throughout the years, they’ve monitored trends to be able to offer the services their clients need. The advancement of technology is the most profound change Greg can recall, including the “Internet of things,” modern security systems and cameras and LED lighting.

The Rick Electric, Inc. crew operates on the most basic customer service principles, which is likely why they’ve gained such a reliable reputation. “Your word is your contract,” Greg said. “If we say we’re going to do something, we do it.”

Looking ahead, Greg is concerned about the workforce and keeping young people interested in trades. To try and support those efforts, they offer a training program for apprentices to work during the day, go to electrical training school paid by Rick Electric, Inc. After the training is complete, they can take their State Electrical test to be a journeyperson and have no college debt.

Other ways they support the community include donating to Minnesota Hockey Day, Habitat for Humanity and the Red River Zoo, and sponsoring various sports teams as they’re able to.

Rick Electric celebrated their 50-year anniversary with a “wire cutting” ceremony with Chamber ambassadors in 2014.


2018 Economic Outlook Forum Highlights

February 20th, 2018 by Amanda Huggett

At the 2018 Economic Outlook Forum, we were joined by national economist Stephen Moore, who shared a keynote address on national economic trends and his bullish opinions on where we are as a nation.

He also shared much praise for North Dakota. “I believe you are one of the most prosperous and fastest-growing economies in the country, and I think that is going to continue for the next several years at least,” he said. “I am filled with good news today. I’m about the most bullish economist out there.”

Moore discussed his relationship with Donald Trump, including the tax plan and setting the economic agenda, and how it currently compares to some of the trends seen in previous administrations. He also included the importance of growth and how it can solve just about every problem out there. Putting Americans back to work and growing the economy has to be top priority.

Moore credits North Dakota’s contributions to the shale, oil and gas revolution as the single most important thing that happened in America in the last decade, as well as a key player in how we got out of our most recent recession in the first place.

Speaking to taxes, he noted a trend in residents from typically blue states migrating to red states, due in large part to the appealing tax climate and right to work states. He also praised Trump’s deregulation and noted its positive impact on economy. In fact, for every new regulation passed, Moore says he has repealed 22 regulations during his first year in office.

One more takeaway he included as a story from the Trump campaign was to not always trust the experts–in this case, political forecasters and pundits. “One of the lessons I learned has repercussions for all areas of life. That conclusion was that sometimes — and more often than you think — the experts are wrong.”

Moore’s prediction for 2018 is 3% to 4% growth, and the same for 2019, due to the tax cuts and deregulation from the Trump administration.

Prompted by one audience question about rising prices and supply and demand, Moore gave this thought: “I think we’re in a productivity revolution in this country because of robotics, automated cars, 3-D imaging, all this stuff is exploding. This is the single most exciting time to be on this planet.”

Starion Bank’s Fargo Market President Scott Green also presented on the results of this year’s economic survey from Chamber members.

Of the respondents, most represented the service industry and were small businesses. Half reported experiencing employment issues. Of those, over half said they saw a lack of applicants or unqualified applicants.

The top five business challenges reported were competitive factors, employment issues, growing sales, economic uncertainty, and customer retention. Green noted a pressure being placed on workforce and signs of inflation.

Almost 70% said their business either met or exceeded expectations in the past year. Green called this “outstanding” especially considering the ag and energy sectors have been suffering for the past five years. He also pointed out a more positive outlook for the future locally as compared to the national outlook.


Thanks to this event’s presenting sponsor, Cass County Electric, as well as Starion Bank and MSUM for conducting the economic outlook survey, and AM 100 The Flag for serving as emcees.

Check out this recap from The Forum: Economist gives Fargo audience glimpse into Trump’s world

Check out some of these Tweets from attendees!


Member profile: Nodak Insurance Company

February 1st, 2018 by Amanda Huggett

If you follow NDSU Bison football, you’ve probably noticed one local company consistently in support as a major sponsor of the region’s favorite team. And we’re sure you saw them splashed on our own materials as we promoted Voices of Vision with Shaquille O’Neal this past fall. But their support for their community goes far beyond sports.

You can trust that Nodak Insurance Company has North Dakota’s insurance needs covered. In fact, the company is recognized as one of the top 50 property/casualty companies in the nation by The Ward Group. They are also an A (Excellent) rated company from A.M. Best.

They want you to know that they’re not just agents. They’re your friends and neighbors. And more importantly, they’re agents with answers.

The company’s roots go back to the 1940s, when a group of farmers and ranchers got together to insure their buildings and livestock in response to a need from the North Dakota Farm Bureau. It began as a mutual insurance company and over time, grew to cover auto, home, farm and ranch, and commercial needs.

After a few acquisitions and affiliations that allowed them to diversify and spread, the business today is well-equipped to handle all your insurance needs. Nodak’s agents are multi-line. But one of the best things about working with a Nodak agent is that they’re not just there to sell a policy. They are also knowledgeable, and encourage all clients to use them as a resource for questions and information.

Nodak takes pride in their home state seriously. Fargo serves as their home office, and overall they have 135 employees across all companies, as well as over 70 agents and over 60 locations in North Dakota. Another plus, according to Jim Alexander, president and CEO, is that Nodak offers consistency.

Not only has the company been named to The Ward’s 50 for five of the past six years, but many of the business’ senior management have been on board since 2005. Alexander credits the Nodak employees as a key to their success. There’s something about the people in North Dakota,” he said. “You see hard-working and loyal employees who want to make this a career, and that makes us unique.”

So what can you expect from Nodak Insurance Company next? It’s all about continued growth and expansion of their offerings and a focus on increasing shareholder value. A change from being a mutual to a stock insurance company last year allowed them to raise more capital to do this.

You may think of insurance as a slow-to-change industry, but Nodak has evolved and changed with the times. From the use of technology to improve the customer experience, to use of big data, and cyber protection for customer’s data, and simple web portals to cut down on paper. “You have to look for ways to provide outstanding service and never settle,” Alexander stated. “We work every day to get better, and we’re excited for the future.”

Nodak at VOV

To meet the lifetime financial needs of our North Dakota Farm Bureau member clients by providing competitive products and superior service.

To be North Dakota’s choice as the single source for its insurance and financial needs.

• Customer-Driven
• Quality-Focused
• Strive for Excellence
• Success through Teamwork


What we learned from Robyn Benincasa

January 24th, 2018 by Amanda Huggett

Yesterday at the Delta by Marriott, over 500 women had the privilege of hearing from national keynote speaker and the inspiring and engaging adventure racer Robyn Benincasa for a special anniversary celebration.

Robyn women connect


Committee members Kristi Huber, United Way, and Carrie Carney, Eventide, welcomed attendees and played a video recapping the past year of Women Connect programming.

When Robyn took the stage, she immediately engaged the crowd with her high energy, intriguing stories and relatable jokes. The presentation featured numerous video clips of her adventures around the world that illustrated her key takeaways, and there were countless inspirational quotes uttered.

Throughout the talk, Robyn shared the four essential elements that make winners win.

  1. Courage

The way you show courage is by finding a way to bring your best self even on your worst day, she said. “You don’t have to stop crying; you just have to keep walking.”

  1. Luck

“When I say luck, I mean the moment where opportunity meets preparation. Great winners are always scanning the horizon for opportunities.”

  1. Adversity management

This refers to the ability to adapt and respond to change. “It’s not about the setback; it’s about the comeback. … Do the best you can with what you’ve got.”

  1. We-thinking vs. me-thinking

Learn to work with a team. If your goal can be accomplished alone, it’s too small. “Being a winner isn’t about a particular outcome. It’s about who you are and what you do.”

All attendees were also treated to cute desserts from the Delta, take-home inspiration coasters, and a challenge from Robyn herself: Set one huge personal goal to achieve in the next 60 days and tell two people about it.

Here are a few responses from attendees in our survey!

“I was so inspired by Robyn. She had a strong message yet was relatable enough to make me believe it was achievable.”

“Loved her and her story. Great enthusiasm and energy. She tied her racing with so many wonderful life lessons.”

“She was AMAZING!!!!! and INSPIRING!!!”

Check out these Tweets from attendees!


State of the Cities 2018 Recap

January 11th, 2018 by Amanda Huggett

On a stormy winter morning, over 600 people gathered at the Holiday Inn for an update on our metro cities from four local mayors at the 2018 State of the Cities. We heard updates on achievements from 2017 and looked ahead to plans and priorities for the coming year. The mood was once again positive, and we celebrated themes of growth and prosperity. Joel Heitkamp, KFGO, and Mark Nisbet, Xcel Energy, served as emcees.

Thank you to presenting sponsor Xcel Energy!

Updates from Chad Olson, Dilworth

In our easternmost city, mayor Olson lamented the closing of their local Dairy Queen, but noted the silver lining in the opening of Kool Kone. Casey’s is expanding, and is even in talks of buying the city hall. “In 2018, we have to have a larger look to how we effectively use space and maximize tax dollars,” he said.

It’s big news that some industry giants like BNSF and ALDI are investing in building in the town. “Symbolically, as you see the 34th Street corridor grow, this is the ideal opportunity to grow businesses from its infant stages and develop throughout the region. This also highlights the interconnectedness of our region,” he said.

Looking at housing in Dilworth, mayor Olson noted that residential lots were full in 2017, which makes growth a challenge. Ultimately, what prevailed was an outside company that came in and will build approximately 20 lots in the Summerwood 3rd addition. In addition, in September, an extension to the East was approved to build a Keystone development. “When we put these two together, we’re looking at nearly a 100-acre property,” he said. “These will resolve our issue with lots, maintain the integrity of existing neighborhoods, offer high-quality affordable housing and we’re going to grow the city of Dilworth in a very pragmatic and sustainable fashion.”

Olson also praised some of the city’s employees, including the police’s efforts to serve the community. Last year’s Home for the Holidays program served over 200 families in the region, and 18,000 pounds of supplies were donated to hurricane relief.

Updates from Del Rae Williams, Moorhead

In Moorhead, we heard about population growth to near 45,000, and the building of 640 new single family homes and 964 new multi-family apartments. The schools grew as well, with the new Dorothy Dodds opening, as well as West campus for Horizon Middle School, and expansions on the college campuses. Moorhead is also proud to boast about its new diverging diamond interchange on 8th Street and I-94. We now look ahead to the railroad grade separation.

The city debuted a new recycling program, and an upcoming materials recovery facility in Clay County will save on recycling transportation costs. A new law enforcement center coming soon will also increase efficiency, safety and effectiveness of police efforts.

An arts & culture commission and its projects is one of mayor Williams’ favorite accomplishments.

“Along with strong department leadership and a dedicated workforce, Moorhead is well positioned to continue to grow and prosper,” she closed with.

Updates from Tim Mahoney, Fargo

Mayor Mahoney used four key words to describe the city of Fargo: innovative, responsive, efficient and strategic.

In 2017, Fargo signed wastewater agreements with West Fargo and Horace. Police hosted various Unity events to interact with local youth. The city won a national energy prize. The Roberts Commons parking garage opened, marking one of the first P3 projects downtown.

We’ll also be seeing work to improve the landfills, and single-sort recycling program is now in motion. On the roads, the 32nd Avenue corridor project was completed last year with the NDDOT. In 2018, we’ll see work on improving University Drive, 10th Street North, Roberts, Fourth Street South and 13th Avenue.

Narcan is now in schools, and police and firefighters are trained in administering Narcan, to address the opioid crisis.

The new city hall is expected to be completed in 2018, and the F-M Diversion remains a top priority for the city.

He also mentioned a public arts master plan, FARGODOME attendance records, Bison football wins and the new Sanford hospital.

Mayor Mahoney’s video closed with a thank you message to everyone that helps make Fargo the best place to live, raise a family and operate a business.

Updates from Rich Mattern, West Fargo

In our westernmost update, the city of West Fargo now boasts a population of 35,000, with 9,000 people coming into town for work. Mayor Mattern mentioned various infrastructure improvement projects, including the major Sheyenne Street reconstruction and the partnership with Fargo for sewage treatment.

The city is also seeing major growth in its schools. The 13th elementary school opened last year. A 14th is being built now, and a 15th is planned.

Veteran’s Blvd continues its development, and Sheyenne Plaza was completed. More developments are providing infill growth. Plans for Lights at Sheyenne 32 were unveiled for even more mixed-use buildings. A West Fargo Convention Center at the fairgrounds is another major project coming soon.

Mattern also mentioned that the fire department transitioned to a volunteer system for faster response time and better safety.

If you missed the event or want to rewatch it in its entirety, you can find re-airings on TV Fargo 56.

Live Poll Results

We conducted two live polls to engage our audience and see what they think most matters.

On question 1, we asked which community issue you thought was most important right now. With 39% of the vote, the top answer was once again workforce.

In question 2, we asked if you think the cities should continue to take advantage of business tax incentive programs. 70% of you said YES.


Check out these videos from the cities.

Here’s the recap from The Forum: Fargo-Moorhead area enjoyed growth in 2017, mayors say in annual ‘State of the Cities’ address

Check out these Tweets from attendees!


Homeward Animal Shelter: Connecting Families with Furry Friends

January 1st, 2018 by Amanda Huggett

One can hardly mention Homeward Animal Shelter without getting warm fuzzies over everything this organization does for animals in our community.

volunteer with dog

You may remember them as the former Humane Society, which served our community for 51 years, with the mission of preventing the euthanization of impounded animals in the area. Since July 2014, they’ve been known as Homeward Animal Shelter with the core value of bringing pets and people together. And, they’re the only shelter in the area that rescues both cats and dogs.

This shelter takes in over half of the stray, lost and abandoned animals that end up in local pounds. They also take in pets surrendered by their owners as well as transfers from other rescues. Once in their care, they make sure all their basic needs are met while they wait to be placed with their human companion.

homeward leadership teamDuring the last 51 years, it is estimated that Homeward Animal Shelter has placed 35,000 cats and dogs into lifelong homes. In 2016 alone, 837 animals found families to call their own.

In fact, they achieved the impossible in 2016 by adopting every single dog in their care. It is something that has never been done before in our area. And the records don’t stop there. This past October, they adopted out over 100 animals in that month alone.

At the helm of it all for over 10 years is the shelter’s executive director, Nukhet Hendricks, whose passion for her work overflows when she speaks about the animals in her care. “The organization is about not just rescuing, but creating a partnership with our community, educating people about the compassionate care of animals, being an advocate for them, and making sure that families have a four-legged friend in their home, because pets are the fabric of our lives,” she said.

Homeward Animal Shelter has also been a major player in emergency animal sheltering, as demonstrated in 2009 while successfully housing and caring for over 200 animals belonging to misplaced families during the flood.

cat at homeward shelterVolunteers are an invaluable part of the organization. Over 160 volunteers every week assist with socializing pets, assist with fundraising, adoption events and processing adoptions. They provide volunteer opportunities for individuals of all abilities and ages as young as 8.

“Non-profits are created because one person cannot do what they believe in by themselves,” Hendricks said. “Donors invest and trust in us to know we will do the right thing by the animals. They invest in our organization, and we can do more together than we could alone. That’s what keeps us going. I have the best team ever, and they never cease to amaze me.”

The impact of Homeward Animal Shelter is immeasurable, affecting both humans and pets alike, and it’s clear that they’re leaving a positive paw-print on the community.

How to help

Monetary donations are most helpful for Homeward Shelter to care for their animals and continue their mission. To donate, volunteer, adopt or learn more, visit homewardonline.org or call 701.239.0077.


Entrepreneur of the Year: Josh Teigen

December 1st, 2017 by Amanda Huggett

Josh Teigen may only be in his mid-20s, but he’s already a seasoned entrepreneur with a number of successful business ventures under his belt, earning him the title of this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year.

Josh Teigen

His business journey started at age 14 when he began working as a diesel mechanic. By high school, he took that income and began investing in the stock market during classes. This caught the attention of his schoolmates and teachers, and soon he capitalized on his day trading expertise by starting an email newsletter. One of those who ended up on Teigen’s email list was none other than Doug Burgum, who took note and eventually hired him at Kilbourne Group.

While working for Burgum, Teigen used the opportunity to observe others he viewed as successful in business. It rubbed off, because by Teigen’s freshman year of college, he was already acting as CEO of a startup in Pittsburgh from his dorm room in Grand Forks. After that, he started his own consulting firm, Crossfox Innovation.

But once he met a man named Cooper Bierscheid, a new idea flourished. Both men realized they could be stronger together than alone, and they teamed up to run what is now known as Protosthetics, an innovative startup that designs, manufactures and distributes 3-D printed devices.

Teigen maintains that Bierscheid is the engineering brain behind the operations, and he handles the sales and marketing, strategy and finance. Teigen says that the Protosthetics business model has two functions: to manufacture products for the clinics they serve, and R&D for new products. “These feed into each other, and it’s cool because we can leverage state-of-the-art technology and bring that innovation to an industry that has done things the same way since the ‘50s,” he said. 3-D printing is able to provide mass customization versus mass production, which had been the norm.

Their hard work paid off, and Teigen has lead Protosthetics onto a national and worldwide stage, not to mention, has doubled revenues every year since its inception. The company even had an offer for a reality TV show for a time.

“Being able to be a disrupting force is really fun,” he said. Referring to what Uber did to the taxi industry, his goal is to do the same for their market and grow the company as big as they can.

Teigen’s work ethic is unmatched, and his drive for success is undeniable. One of his own guiding principles is to outwork everyone. By balancing this with treating others with respect and leading by example, it’s no wonder so many look up to him.

Protosthetics employs about 15 people, many of them interns from NDSU’s engineering department. “I’ve learned that you don’t build a business; you build people, and people build the business for you,” he said. “Invest in developing your team. Get the right people on the bus, and then all you have to do is steer.”

Teigen gives back by serving as instructor for our own Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!). One of the pieces of advice he gives to budding entrepreneurs is to pursue something you’re relentlessly passionate about. He also serves on the board of directors for Mind Shift, an organization that partners with businesses to recruit, assess, train and employ skilled and motivated people on the autism spectrum.

When he’s not busy saving the world, you might find Teigen outdoors, most likely fishing, hunting, skiing or spending time at the lake.

Teigen stays humble in the fact that Fargo is his roots. He says North Dakota is the best place in the world to start a business. “You’re only as successful as the community you’re in,” he said.


Community rallies for Kusters family

November 17th, 2017 by Amanda Huggett

You may have seen the media stories about Lukas Kusters, the 10-year-old who made national news for his affection for Carson Wentz. ESPN originally aired a piece about the child’s wish to meet his favorite athlete. Thankfully, he was able to fulfill that before his passing too soon from stomach cancer. It was both a heartbreaking and heartwarming story that captured many.

kusters at NDSU

It was a pleasure for our community to rally together in the aftermath and provide an opportunity for Lukas’ family to visit Fargo. It was an idea spurred by our own president Craig Whitney, who saw the story and thought of the incredible opportunity to bring the family here. Thanks to the generosity of many Chamber members, the Kusters family came to town for the NDSU Bison’s final home game in November and received the red carpet treatment.

kusters at CVBThank you to the following Chamber businesses that donated, supported, hosted and helped make a great trip possible for this family.

  • Gateway Chevrolet
  • Gate City Bank
  • NDSU Athletics
  • The Boiler Room
  • Herd & Horns
  • Lucky’s 13 Pub
  • Granite City
  • Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitor’s Bureau
  • Cyclebar
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Dakota

Check out the original video on Lukas with this ESPN segment:

Catch our own president Craig Whitney live on KVRR-TV’s morning show to talk more about the family’s visit: LIVE: How The Kusters Family Came To Town

Letter: Thanks for making the Kusters family visit a memorable one

Kolpack: Memory of the ‘Dutch Destroyer’ landing in Fargo this weekend


A recap on the metro’s regional and economic growth

November 7th, 2017 by Amanda Huggett

With noticeable growth in population, new businesses and schools, continued low unemployment, incentives and more, there’s no doubt that our metro is booming. So, what are our city leaders planning to keep up with this growth and how will it affect us in the coming years? Our November Eggs & Issues event looked at that very issue.

Jim Gilmour, Director of Planning and Development, City of Fargo; Cindy Graffeo, Executive Director, Moorhead Economic Development Authority; and Matt Marshall, Economic Development & Community Services Director, City of West Fargo; each sat down with our room full of 200 engaged attendees.

Gilmour provided an overview of the region’s population, housing and development stats, and what specific units and businesses are coming for the city of Fargo. The MSA has a projected population of 276,560 by the year 2025, which amounts to about 12 new people per day.

Another special note for Fargo’s downtown development: Property values have increased by $300 million since the revitalization effort there. That’s $4.8 million in property tax revenue. If we didn’t have the Renaissance Zone, the mills would be about 4% higher, Gilmour said.


In West Fargo, the city’s population is about 35,000, a median age of 33.9 and household income of $73,402 — the latter is 26% higher than the rest of the region. Marshall also noted that now, almost as many people travel in to the city to work and those that leave to work in nearby cities.

He also referenced West Fargo’s Main Street initiative and its own downtown development, as well as the new Hornbacher’s and Sheyenne road reconstruction, and the proposed West Fargo Convention Center.

New initiatives there will include replacing aging infrastructure, continued work on Sheyenne, new growth areas, workforce and decommissioning lagoons.

Over on the Moorhead side, they’ve added about 10,000 people since 2002, and expect to have over 47,000 residents by 2020. “As we grow, Moorhead is committed to providing for the needs of our residents, but we want to meet those needs well,” Graffeo said. “We are committed to staying the best small city in America, even as we grow larger. We know that this will take planning.”

Three areas of the city have been identified for future expansion in the Southwest, Southeast and East. They will be also focusing on a downtown revitalization, but also keeping infill development top of mind. Specific projects in the works include “The Grove,” housing on First Avenue and the new mixed-use building on Eighth and Main.

Things to watch out for in Moorhead include changes to twin-home sprinkler recommendations, the 20/21st Street grade separation, new businesses and M State’s new workforce development center.


Check out The Forum’s coverage of this event and topic: City leaders discuss rising population, emerging needs in FMWF

Check out these Tweets from the event!


Position available: Government Affairs and Advocacy Coordinator

November 7th, 2017 by Amanda Huggett

The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce is seeking candidates to fill the role of Government Affairs and Advocacy Coordinator.

This position assists the President with the development of public policy related to business and community issues within the scope of The Chamber’s mission on advocacy, education and engagement, as well as the development of all programming functions within the government affairs areas. This position will advocate for The Chamber and its members at the local, state and federal levels. This position coordinates four corresponding committees and serves as a resource to research and assist in forming The Chamber’s position on policy.

Successful candidates will possess strong working knowledge of local, state and federal government; written and verbal communication and public relations skills; multi-tasking capabilities; as well as the ability to network effectively and adapt to a dynamic environment. Requires a bachelor’s degree in political science, public administration, business administration or related field and three years of related work experience. This is an exempt, full-time position with benefits.

Download the job description.

Apply by emailing your cover letter outlining salary requirements, resume and professional references to jparsons@fmwfchamber.com.

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