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Economic Outlook Forum Looks at Local & National Trends

February 25th, 2016 by Amanda Hofland

At the annual Economic Outlook Forum on February 25 at the Holiday Inn Fargo, nearly 600 individuals gathered to hear all about regional and global economic trends.

Jim Paulsen at EOF

Craig Whitney, Chamber CEO, opened the forum by recognizing the recent loss of Office Jason Moszer, thanking our Premier Partners and event sponsors, sharing some recent news about our metro, and inviting attendees to our upcoming Investor Panel Shark Tank event. Scott Handy of Cass County Electric, the event’s presenting sponsor, also gave a brief welcome to attendees.

Dan Staller, market president at Starion Financial, took a moment to share the results of our recent FMWF Business Conditions Survey, in which Chamber member companies provided feedback about how the economy has affected their business. By comparing this year’s results to prior years, he was able to draw some conclusions about the change (and sometimes lack thereof) in local economic trends.

The results showed that:

  • The top factor positively affecting performance was a domestic sales increase, which was second last year.
  • The top factor negatively affecting performance was a domestic sales shortfall, which was #4 last year. Interestingly, last year’s top factor of higher operating costs, jumped down to the fourth spot this year.
  • Expectations about the national economy compared to the prior year was down. Last year, 54% felt better about it; this year only 34%.
  • Regional expectations compared to the prior year were even worse. 75% felt better last year; this year only 43% did.
  • However, expectations about each person’s business stayed just about the same.
  • For the past four years, the same issue has remained at the top for adversely impacting business: difficulty attracting and retaining qualified employees. “Seventy one percent of us are having a hard time finding employees,” Staller said. “This chart would indicate it’s not just one industry…generally speaking across the board, 50% of businesses in every industry are having a hard time.”
  • On whether the FMWF infrastructure is adequate for future expansion, 55.2% said yes. “So what kind of work needs to be done to maintain our growth expectations in the region? Number one reason was expansion of affordable housing. This will continue to be an issue,” Staller said.
  • 43% of Chamber members said that the drop in oil prices impacted their businesses, whether positively or negatively.

2016 FMWF Economic Outlook survey coverCLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL SURVEY RESULTS.

Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management, was next up as the keynote speaker to explain some national trends.

His comments were seemingly in line with what Staller touched on locally. “The list today of things to worry about is about as bad as it’s been since the Eurozone prices,” he said. “Fears are higher than they’ve been for the last several years.”

However, his gut feeling is that we’re not going to have a recession any time soon. “I think the increase in fears is doing some good things in the financial markets.”

“We’re struggling with the slowest-growing recovery ever is mainly because you guys got old,” Paulsen said to a chuckle from the crowd. “I think we’re going to lift productivity over the next few years, which may result in elongating this recovery into the longest one in post-war history. One of the reasons we’ve got a good shot is because it’s growing so slow, and when you have a slow-growing recovery, you don’t have excesses.”

Other reasons he cited for low risk of a recession is because we’ve returned to full employment, balance rates and current interest rate and money supply policies. The last reason? “I find that the biggest risk to the next recession is when players get overly confident. When we get confident and we’re in a big boom, we start to do really stupid things. None of that is evidenced.”

Transitioning to growth in the U.S. and abroad, he stated that he doesn’t believe that we’ll have rapid growth anywhere soon, but does think we’ll have a synchronized balance in 18 months.

Paulsen explained that there are five forces for U.S. growth:

  • Credit creation
  • Better household world
  • Capital spending cycle still coming
  • Housing starts rising another 50%
  • Better growth abroad

Talking about fiscal stimulus and economic fear, Paulsen says that looking around the globe, it’s clear that this is not just a U.S. phenomena. The Eurozone volume has just collapsed, he said. This is an across the board, across the world issue.

Some other themes Paulsen discussed included China’s economy, commodity prices, income distribution, trade value of  the U.S. dollar, crude oil, inflation, stocks and more. It was a highly insightful presentation, and attendees walked away learning a lot about what’s really going on around the metro and around the world, and got the pleasure to hear Paulsen’s analysis of it all. He even made economics funny and got the crowd laughing at several points.

We were happy to have local media join us for the event as well! Check out what The Forum took away from the event HERE.

Check out some of our favorite Tweets from the event!



Metro in the News

February 19th, 2016 by Amanda Hofland

The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo community continues to receive recognition nationwide for its high quality of life and standard of living. Here are just a few of the acknowledgements from recent months.

FM downtown aerial

Fargo America’s Tech Hub

A December 2015 Fortune article called Fargo America’s most undervalued tech hub. Stating “It gets 50 inches of snow a year and is so cold that its bikeshare moves inside for the winter, but its homegrown tech community is on fire,” the article went on to reference 1 Million Cups, hyped drone startup Botlink, Emerging Prairie and Kilbourne Group.

ND’s Population Surging

It’s pretty evident that this area is rapidly growing, but new numbers back it up. A December 2015 Forum article stated that North Dakota’s population grew by 16,887 to reach an estimated population of 756,927 as of July 1, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The state grew at a rate of 2.3% for the 2015 year, the highest percentage gain in the nation, and a distinction the state has held for the past four years. It also stated that North Dakota is becoming younger, with a median age of 34.9 years, two years younger than a decade ago and the nation’s fourth youngest.

Minnesota Second Strongest State

Politico magazine compiled an annual head-to-head competition to find out which state is most “strong.” The results put Minnesota in second place, according to their January 2016 article. To pull the list together, Politico consulted 14 existing rankings from sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and the FBI. The list doesn’t promise scientific infallibility, but claims basis “on the simple idea that education, health and wealth generally make us better off, while crime, unemployment and death do not.”

Fargo in Top 10 Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs

Fargo was placed in the top 10 list of Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs by NerdWallet. This list analyzed 181 metropolitan areas in the United States and was determined from data like how easy small business financing is in various cities to their local economic factors, such as unemployment and age.

ND and MN States with Best School Systems

WalletHub released a list of “2015’s States with the Best and Worst School Systems.” North Dakota was ranked #7, and Minnesota was #8. The report also claimed North Dakota having the #1 best average SAT scores and second lowest pupil-teacher ratio. They compared the quality of education in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia by analyzing 13 key metrics that range from student-teacher ratios to standardized-test scores to dropout rates. “By shining the spotlight on top-performing school systems, we aim to encourage parents to help their children realize their maximum potential and to call the attention of lawmakers on the work that remains to be done to improve America’s schools.”

Metro #2 Mid-sized City with the Shortest Commute

A SafecoInsurance.com post summarizes a recent report putting the Fargo metro area second in U.S. mid-sized cities with the shortest commute to work, referencing a 17-minute average commute and a population of 213,718. It goes on to say: “Ranked as the United States’ fourth fastest-growing small city by Forbes in 2014, Fargo still manages to keep its small-town feel. And the distinct “Minnesota nice” accent, made famous by the movie “Fargo,” isn’t the only thing that makes this metro area a great place to live and work. Fargo’s downtown area has been going through revitalization, with an emerging dining, arts and entertainment scene. And for those living on the North Dakota side of the metro area, making a living in this part of the country looks pretty attractive, due to low unemployment and crime rates, combined with a rise in income and jobs.”

What else do you love about the metro?


Spotlight on Fargo Glass & Paint Co and World Vets

February 1st, 2016 by Amanda Hofland

The Chamber is redoing our Member Spotlight section of The Bridge! This section now profiles various member companies with unique stories to tell. We’re looking for small businesses in current good standing with The Chamber that have a unique offering, interesting history or are just doing something spectacular. Tell us who you think deserves to be featured! Fill out the form at bit.ly/BridgeMS to suggest a business.

Fargo Glass & Paint Company

Fargo glass and paint photo

Fargo Glass & Paint Company (FGP) was founded in 1917 as a glass contract business and has evolved into a wholesale distributor of glass, paint, flooring and specialty building products. It continues to be the largest contract glass business in the state offering a variety of products from hollow metal and hardware, custom shower doors, Besam automatic doors and all-glass related products and services.

Q: What makes your organization unique or interesting?
A: FGP will be celebrating our 100th anniversary next year, which in itself is quite unique as there aren’t a lot of businesses that are able to sustain themselves for that amount of time. Then you add to this the fact that we are the oldest distributors for both the Benjamin Moore paint company (1917) and the Congoleum Company (1924) and are one of only two independently owned distributors for Andersen Windows and Doors and you can see that tradition and quality products are what we are all about.

Q: What do you like best about doing business in Fargo Moorhead West Fargo?
A: Living and working within this metro area and throughout the state of North and South Dakota is always rewarding because all the people are so dedicated, hardworking and honest. It is always nice to be able to deal with the local people because you can trust that they are working for the same goal as you, which is to take care of our customers.

Q: What is one thing you most want our area or other Chamber members to know about you?
A: Although our main office location has remained at our 1801 Seventh Avenue North location, we made the decision last year to move our retail paint showroom to a new location in the Shops at Osgood located at 4323 45th Street South #107 (Osgood Hornbachers by Jimmy Johns).

Q: What’s your best business tip?
A: Be honest in all that you do because telling the truth sometimes might hurt initially, but your customers will always respect you for doing it and you will never have to wonder what story you told them.

Q: What do you like most about being a member of The Chamber?
A: The Chamber has been a driving force in the quality business climate of our communities over the years and continues to be a promoter and visionary organization as we move forward. It’s great to be a part of such a strong Chamber.

World Vets

world vets building

World Vets is an international veterinary aid organization, working in 44 developing countries around the world. The organization leverages volunteer veterinary professionals to bring veterinary services to areas in need. Programs range from large-scale spay/ neuter programs in Central and South America to teaching animal husbandry to nomadic herdsman in rural Mongolia to veterinary service for donkeys of the Maasai tribe in Tanzania. In 2014, the United Nations Foundation recognized World Vets as the Top Animal and Wildlife Charity worldwide.

world vets volunteer ecuadorQ: How many employees do you currently have?
A: Eight full-time employees plus over 1,000 volunteer veterinarians.

Q: What year were you founded?
A: 2006

Q: What makes your organization unique or interesting?
A: World Vets got started 10 years ago from an idea and spare change collected in a donation jar. It is now one of the largest veterinary aid organizations in the world. We are a 501c3 non-profit organization. Although we work primarily in developing countries, we strive to bring first-world medicine and surgical practices to all of our work.

Q: Are there any initiatives you’re focusing on right now?
A: We are putting a big focus on programs that take a “One Health” approach. This concept is a worldwide strategy for expanding interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of health care for humans, animals and the environment. We are bringing together professionals from veterinary medicine, human medicine and the environmental and social sciences to tackle global health issues in developing countries.

Q: What do you like most about being a member of The Chamber?
A: The Chamber has been a great way to learn about and network with the many interesting and unique businesses and organizations that make Fargo great. We are proud to be members of The Chamber.


Robert Gibb & Sons, Where Customers are Part of the Family

February 1st, 2016 by Amanda Hofland

Robert Gibb & Sons has been woven into the fabric of the Fargo business community for 100 years. First founded in 1915 by Robert Gibb Senior, who immigrated to the United States from Scotland, the company is now run by a third generation of Gibbs – Bob and Greg.

bob and greg gibb

The company started out as a small plumbing and heating provider, but took a turn after the war when Robert’s four sons were added and they expanded to also offer sheet metal and HVAC, sewer and water services. Today, Robert Gibb & Sons is a leading full-service mechanical contractor, and they take their role in the community seriously.

Most everything seems to revolve around the theme of family at the company. Aside from being a family-owned and operated business, Bob and Greg shared with us that there are many other generations of employees that have worked for the company. The culture itself there is very family-oriented, and they even consider the customers part of the family. When you’ve been around that long with such good service, it’s no surprise that the same families just keep coming back to Robert Gibb & Sons. It’s a theme that starts at the top and follows through in all areas of business. “We really emphasize taking good care of our customers,” Greg said. “With generations of customers, we’re trying to keep that strong going forward.”

While the company has been around such a long time, it certainly doesn’t mean they’re behind the times. Looking to the future is just as important as the past to the Gibbs, and they make a point to stay on top of technological trends and to provide timely training to employees.

“Like any business, technology moves so quickly that if you don’t keep ahead of it, you can get lost in the shuffle,” Bob said. “I don’t know of any other company that’s doing what we’re doing, technology wise, in our industry.”

“We believe we are on the cutting edge when it comes to technology in areas such as Building Information Modeling (BIM). In addition, all of our technicians have iPads and iPhones to communicate with our internal accounting system and for better communication throughout the company.”

Bob and Greg are excited about the new opportunities emerging technology has provided them. They’ve been employing the use of 3-D and prefabricated models to make sure the job is done right, and they even made mention of a Trimble robot and GPS to install ductwork and concrete. “It’s really amazing,” Bob commented. “Being technologically forward gives us a huge advantage in the service we provide. As an initiative, we will continue to stay ahead of the curve in terms of technology.”

It’s no surprise that community involvement is important to the team at Robert Gibb & Sons. As a whole, the company has been very active and supportive of numerous charity organizations over the years to give back. Currently, Kevin Riley, VP of sales and marketing, is a Chamber ambassador, board member and treasurer of the Fargo Rotary Club and on the board of the Downtown Community Partnership. Melissa Fluge,  construction operations coordinator, is also active in the Young Professionals Network. Bob himself was even on The Chamber board years ago. “It’s all about the commerce, but also about the camaraderie,” Greg said of\ what is best about the FMWF region. “It’s kind of the nature of this whole community.

So what else is next for this family-owned Fargo favorite? Just one other initiative is continuing to help revive and redevelop the city’s infrastructure and Fargo’s downtown.

They also want to convey how great of a career can await in their industry. The team there encourages young people to consider making a living in the trades because of the high demand and shortage of workers. Aside from being able to make good money, they maintain that it’s also simply fun and cool.

“Preparing for tomorrow” was Robert Gibb & Sons’ 100-year anniversary slogan, which is indicative of how they feel about the business. “We’re looking ahead to the next 100 years,” Riley told us. “We basically spent the last 100 practicing for it. We’re here for the long haul and want to keep growing with this community.”

Robert Gibb ribbon cutting


February 2016 Message to Members

February 1st, 2016 by Amanda Hofland

craig whitney headshot

When I first joined The Chamber six years ago, we took a stance on permanent flood protection right away. Sandbags simply aren’t enough.

There are certainly differing opinions out there regarding the F-M Diversion, and people are certainly entitled to their own opinions. The thing is, this project is designed to provide permanent flood protection to the Red River Valley, and when opinion tries to trump fact, there’s a problem.

In a recent letter to the editor that ran in The Forum, the writer asks for “answers” about the Diversion and says that no answers as to why a diversion is needed have been provided. However, there has been no shortage of answers. Enough answers for a very long read, in fact. The facts are not hard to find. There are numerous websites providing information, plenty of meetings on the subject and regular news coverage. For these past six years, The Chamber has been on the forefront of not only trying to be part of the solution, but also a critical part of the education process to make sure that the answers are easily accessible.

Being an elected official is surely a challenging job, but we applaud the congressional delegation for their work in advancing flood protection in the region. Senator John Hoeven, in particular made great strides with the recent omnibus bill.

In fact, both of North Dakota’s two U.S. senators – Senator Hoeven and Senator Heidi Heitkamp – in addition to Representative Kevin Cramer, have worked tirelessly to deliver a solution that will work for all. They both have spent their careers in the service of their constituents, and if there is compromise to be made, they will work hard to make it.

At some point, however, tough decisions need to be made in order to move forward. I’m optimistic that because of the many facts provided by experts in so many fields, and the unquestionable commitment of our congressional delegation, that we are closer than ever to making the valley safe from flooding – a disaster that would cripple an economy essential to thousands of people in Fargo, Moorhead and our surrounding area.

I believe it is high time for the people that oppose the Diversion understand that every test that’s been done has proven that this will fix the flooding problem our community faces each spring.

This is not only my opinion, but also the opinion of those who understand the facts behind the critical need for a Fargo Moorhead Diversion project.

Craig Whitney
President & CEO
The Chamber


Fawning Over Fawn Germer at Women Connect’s Anniversary Event

January 29th, 2016 by Amanda Hofland

This January marked the first anniversary of The Chamber’s series of Women Connect programming. To say it was a good year would be an understatement. Events continue to sell out, sponsors are consistently added, the Facebook group has grown to over 800 members and Coffee Connects have been embraced. We were thrilled to throw an anniversary celebration.

Fawn Germer at FMWF Chamber WOmen COnnect

On January 19, 600 women gathered at the Ramada Plaza & Suites to celebrate a successful year. We heard from Chamber President & CEO Craig Whitney who provided opening remarks, the committee’s chair Pam McGee and vice chair Jodi Heilman who helped recognized the work of the entire committee, we watched a fun year-in-review video (find it on our YouTube page!), learned about a brand-new program called PUSH, ate delicious desserts and heard an amazing keynote address from a very special speaker.

Joining us from Florida was national Oprah-featured author, journalist and speaker Fawn Germer who spoke on “Work-Life Reset,” the same name as her most recent book. Germer spoke on her own story starting out as a reporter and the people that challenged her early on (some in a good way; others not so much), taking us through her decision to leave her career and follow a new-found dream to write a book, and all the hard work that went into selling herself and her ideas. She was initially rejected several times before finally getting that first book published, leading to one of the first life lessons she shared with us: “Fall down seven times, get up eight.”

She preached the power of never giving up, having a plan for your success and believing in yourself. She even wrote to Oprah 29 times before finally getting her endorsement!

The number of takeaways we all got from Germer’s speech is too many to list here, but suffice it to say she taught many of us valuable lessons for life and business. She was candid, relatable, funny and frank, and truly captivated the whole room. After her inspiring address, attendees lined up to get their books signed by her and share a moment with the Floridian who became a new friend.

Germer certainly made an impression on all of us, but we must have left an impression on her too, as she stated “Fargo’s got the best people I know!” We definitely agree, and left feeling inspired and ready to take on our own lives and perform any needed resets.

To see an album of photos from this event, please visit our Facebook page. To learn more about Germer, visit fawngermer.com.

Introducing PUSH!

PUSH is a new program within Women Connect and stands for Pursue Dreams, Unite Women, Shatter Barriers, Have Heart. Its goal is to provide a network of professional women to support and empower each other to achieve their goals while providing accountability and encouragement. Just announced in January, we are now looking for groups of eight women to form PUSH groups and meet monthly to discuss topics from the prior month’s Women Connect event that will be provided by group organizers, Chelsea Monda, Sundog, and Carrie Carney, Bell State Bank & Trust.

To learn more or join a group, visit fmwfchamber.com/PUSH or find our group on Facebook at facebook.com/groups/FMWFPush.

Check out a few of our favorite Tweets from the event!

Thank you to all who came out and attended or sponsored this amazing Women Connect event. We hope to have you back at upcoming events!


Community Growth a Theme at 2016 State of the Cities

January 20th, 2016 by Amanda Hofland

The mood was upbeat and hopeful at our biggest-ever State of the Cities address with our four metro mayors. Held at the Ramada Plaza & Suites in Fargo, this year’s event featured presentations from Dilworth’s Chad Olson, Moorhead’s Del Rae Williams, Fargo’s Tim Mahoney and West Fargo’s Rich Mattern, and included Q&A from the audience and live polling. Xcel Energy’s Mark Nisbet and area radio host Scott Hennen served as emcees.

fargo chamber event state of the cities

Each mayor shared updates from their cities in the past year, offered a look at priorities moving forward and showed off personality and pride for the metro. Starting in the easternmost city, Olson shared that the Dilworth housing market is strong, jobs and population is growing and the city is a great place for families, especially as they place emphasis on education and community health through active lifestyles.

Williams touted Moorhead’s recognition as the Best Small City in America and noted how great the people and community are. She shared that the city saw 500 new housing units in the last year, its schools are growing, and on a more tasty note, they’ve doubled the amount of free doughnut balls. Looking ahead, the city will be working to increase walkability especially along the river, will be cleaning up the roads on 8th Street and Main Avenue, and will be adding 85 new pieces of sidewalk art.

Moving across the river to Fargo, Mahoney made a special point to highlight the work of the city’s police department, which included showing their “spunk” via a fun video. Talking about challenges the city is facing, Mahoney commented on the workforce shortage, housing gap and health care issues for those with lower incomes. “We rise with the rising tide and we have to talk about shared prosperity,” he said.

Showing Fargo’s growth, Mahoney noted that building permits were up 7% from last year. Coming up, he shared that they continue to work on a new city hall and quad, which is expected to be bid out this spring, as well as infrastructure, keeping up the city’s streets and looking at energy efficiency. “Our vision is that we will be a vibrant, sustainable city with a high quality of life, robust economics and welcome community atmosphere,” he said.

West Fargo also had much to report on, which Mattern did through a fun video that showcased the city’s growth and initiatives, from a city hall remodeling project to business, housing and school growth and infrastructure projects. He noted that West Fargo schools are seeing 500 new students a year and that the city’s new single-stream recycling program boosted recycling in the city from 10% to 80%.

It was clear that all our metro communities are seeing incredible growth and development, and in the Q&A portion of the event, the mayors were able to address some of the other issues, tackling topics such as single-stream recycling in the other cities, traffic flow in downtown Fargo, arts and culture efforts, specials and markups, and more.

Live Poll Results

We asked attendees to weigh in on a few issues affecting our community. Here’s what you said!

Which of these do you see as the biggest issue impacting the community?

poll 1 results

Do you think the cities should redevelop already purposed land or continue to grow by expanding their city limits?

poll 2 results

Is growing enrollment at our area’s higher education institutions an important initiative or should they look at maintaining their current numbers instead?

poll 3 results

And here are a few of our favorite Tweets from the event:

Thanks to all our event sponsors, speakers and attendees. We really had a great time and learned a lot about this great place that we call home.

fargo chamber state of the cities event

Missed the event?
Catch the rebroadcast on the city’s public access channels during these times:

Thursday, Jan. 21 at 2 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 22 at 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 24 at 12 p.m.


The Impact of Oil in North Dakota: Eggs & Issues Recap

January 5th, 2016 by Amanda Hofland

Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, recently traveled to Frisco for the Bison game and estimates that he saved $1.30 per gallon in gas on his road trip thanks to the Bakken. It’s just one example of how much impact the North Dakota oil industry has on all of us.

ron ness at fargo chamber eggs and issues

North Dakota still has quite an impressive production of oil, despite current prices and the slowdown of the industry. In October 2015, there were 62 drilling rigs (compared to 186 a year ago) and 13,036 producing wells.

Currently in North Dakota, we’re producing 1 million barrels of oil a day. According to Ness’ statistics, one oil well produces 2.4 jobs, $860,000 in in-state expenditures, $23,500 in sales, use and income taxes and a $1.7 million direct and secondary impact.

The Bakken impact on North Dakota alone is notable, with 15.3% or one in seven jobs attributable to oil and gas related employment, 28.5% of total wages and a $43 billion economic contribution. Yet 20,000 jobs were lost in 2015 due to the slowdown.

“From an environmental standpoint, there is no place in the world that is producing oil with a smaller footprint than what we’re doing right here. This is farmland with energy development. The technology is simply amazing, and we developed that right here.”

Ness also took time to speak on the Oil Export Ban, thanking our congressional delegation for overturning it as it helps us better supply the world with energy and oil as it opened up the market.

“For the last 30 years, every time there’s been unrest in the Middle East, oil went up by about $7,” Ness commented. “That’s not happening anymore. With all the things in Paris, we didn’t even see a blip. I think oil went down that day! And I think that’s because we’re producing more oil here.”

While some may think of the current oil market as a bust, Ness says that’s not so due to our current production numbers with fewer rigs and long-term estimates. It’s simply a slowdown and a market correction.

That being said, for the meantime, optimism is not great among leaders. “We certainly hope that there is some recovery in price,” Ness said. “I fully expect things to get worse the first half of 2016, but hopefully some recovery later in 2016 and into 2017.”

The question then becomes how to recover and become more efficient. “There is no proven technology today that teaches us how to get more oil out of shale like the Bakken,” Ness said, “but I am fully confident that technology will be developed right here in North Dakota. We’re going to be the leader in the world in how to get that extra 5 or 10% of oil out of that reservoir. …I am confident that we will tackle this.”

After Ness’ presentation, State Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger took the stage to share some of his own insights, including the significance of the revenue stream.

ryan rauschenberger at eggs and issues

  • North Dakota has two oil tax types: Oil & Gas Production Tax of 5% and an Oil Extraction Tax of 5%.
  • Oil production is forecast to collect $3.96 billion in oil taxes in the 2015-17 biennium.
  • Fargo and West Fargo are defined as hub cities in HB 1176, which means that we meet population requirements and have enough percentage of private employment engaged in oil and gas-related endeavors. Nine cities in North Dakota are hubs (with just three located in oil producing counties), and receive funding for school districts.

ND Oil Tax Presentation Page6




January’s Eggs & Issues speakers and sponsors. From L to R: Ron Ness, Mark Nisbet with Xcel Energy, Dave Anderson with Sanford, and Ryan Rauschenberger.

Thanks to the Courtyard by Marriott for hosting Eggs & Issues for the first month. We look forward to the next year at the facility and to more delicious breakfasts, great networking and meaningful discussion.

Check out these Tweets from attendees!


Metro in the News

January 4th, 2016 by Amanda Hofland

The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo community continues to receive recognition nationwide for its high quality of life and standard of living. Here are just a few of the acknowledgements from recent months.

Best Performing Small Metro
Milken Institute’s annual Best-Performing Cities report named Fargo, ND-MN the #1 best small metro for the second year in a row. They reported that our well-diversified economy with strength in finance, insurance, health care and higher education helped offset declines in shale-oil exploration. While more recent job growth tapered off, Fargo outpaced the national average in both job and income gains. The Milken Institute report identifies the latest trends and most relevant factors powering regional growth. The index uses a comprehensive, fact-based set of criteria to rank the nation’s metropolitan areas.

Fargo Second Most Diverse City in the U.S.
Fargo was named the second most diverse city in the U.S. by HomeInsurance.com. To find the most diverse cities, analysts looked over U.S. Census Bureau statistics that include the number of residents self-identifying as being of multiple ancestries and also looked at the different mixes in each city. Fargo holds the second spot with 43% of residents reporting multiple ancestries. About 27% reported being of German descent.

Moorhead Best Small City in America
NerdWallet named Moorhead the best small city in America. They looked at places that hit three key areas: economic health, affordability and quality of life. They examined over 1,300 cities with fewer than 75,000 residents and used data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Moorhead topped the list because of its affordable housing, low unemployment and a good work-life balance, plus the added economic boost from Fargo.

Fargo Best College Town to Find a Job
Fargo was named the #1 best college town to find a job by ZipRecruiter. To find out which 20 college towns had the best job markets, they looked at anonymized application actions from their database of job postings, calculated the ratio of job applicants to open positions, and ranked U.S. college towns according to the level of competition.


Fargo Linoleum & Announcing the New Member Spotlight

January 4th, 2016 by Amanda Hofland

The Chamber is redoing our Member Spotlight section of The Bridge! Starting in January, this section will now profile various member companies with unique stories to tell (with the aim of one or two a month). We’re looking for small businesses in current good standing with The Chamber that have a unique offering, interesting history or are just doing something spectacular.

Tell us who you think deserves to be featured! Fill out the form at bit.ly/BridgeMS to suggest a business, or email ahofland@fmwfchamber.com.

Q & A

Fargo Linoleum Co., Inc. is a long-standing business in the metro area and a long-time Chamber member as well. Here’s what President and Owner Jana Bye shared with us.

Fargo Linoleum Co

Q: Please share your company history and what you offer today.
A: Fargo Linoleum was founded in downtown Fargo in 1926 as a full-service retail floor covering company. Today, we continue to be a full-service floor covering company offering carpet, hardwood, sheet vinyl, ceramic tile, custom showers, laminate, luxury vinyl tile and, of course, linoleum. As we begin our 90th year in business, we continue to offer residential and commercial floor covering expertise, free estimates, design advice, a full range of floor covering products and full-service guaranteed installation.

Q: What do you like best about doing business in Fargo Moorhead West Fargo?
A: It has been exciting to be a part of the revitalization of downtown Fargo, our home since 1926, and we enjoy the loyal relationships we have with so many people and businesses in the Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo communities.

Q: What is one thing you most want our area or other Chamber members to know about you?
A: At Fargo Linoleum, we strive to be informed about the best floor covering products to fit the needs of our customers, and equally to help you choose from the wide array of products to best suit your project.

Q: What’s your best business tip?
A: It’s very important to learn what your customer wants and how they perceive the project will unfold and work within your structure to make that happen. Quality communication with your employees and customers is important to long-term success.

Q: What do you like most about being a member of The Chamber?
A: The Chamber has been a driving force in the quality business climate of our communities over the years and continues to be a promoter and visionary organization as we move forward. It’s great to be a part of such a strong Chamber.

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