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State of Technology Highlights Newest Trends

August 21st, 2014 by Danielle Teigen

North Dakota’s current economic success translates to being in a prime position to become one of the most technologically advanced cities. That assertion was made by both U.S. Sen. John Hoeven and Doug Burgum at the State of Technology yesterday.

“We can make Fargo the technology and entrepreneurial hub of not just North Dakota, but of this country, and I believe we are already on our way,” Hoeven said during his opening remarks.

Burgum’s presentation focused on the technology trends at work in the energy, agriculture, health care and education sectors, while issuing a new challenge regarding workforce development. He cited the more than 23,000 job openings as a challenge to be addressed immediately.

“That is work not being done, income not going to a family and progress not being made by a company,” Burgum said. He reissued his challenge to develop the fastest internet service available as a way to attract more workers and companies to the area to fulfill the workforce gap.

A highlight of the event was the social media engagement – nearly 700 hashtag mentions were recorded.

Be sure to check out the September issue of The Bridge to read more about the event! You can see photos of the event online.

Thank you to all the speakers who contributed to the event, including:

  • Katie Hasbargen, Microsoft
  • U.S. Senator John Hoeven
  • Gary Inman, ITCND
  • Kevin Czarnecki, Susan Brown and Peter Boesen, General Electric
  • Shane Waslaski, Intelligent InSites
  • Tristan Polluck, Storefront
  • Tim Brookins, Microsoft
  • Jake Joraanstad, Myriad Mobile
  • Jean Maaske, Z!ng

Thank you to our sponsors!

  • Midcontinent Communications
  • Microsoft
  • TMI Hospitality
  • Sanford Health
  • Otter Tail Corporation
  • KFGO-AM Mighty 790
  • NDSU Research and Technology Park
  • Enventis
  • Essentia Health
  • NetWork Center, Inc.
  • Onsharp
  • Media Productions


Honor Star Members Experience Camp Ripley

August 11th, 2014 by Jessica Lee

Ripley Group 1024x470 Honor Star Members Experience Camp Ripley

Honor Star members spent a day with the Minnesota National Guard as they conducted their Annual Training  at Camp Ripley. This day-long expedition was offered to Honor Star members at no cost to increase understanding  and appreciation for the skill and commitment of our service  members.

Honor Star members take turns firing pneumatic M16A4 rifle simulators. These simulators  are part of the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000, or EST2000, which enables soldiers to train on both basic and advanced marksmanship, on a variety of weapons systems, in an indoor or mobile platform.

Participants are briefed at the entrance to Camp Ripley’s Combined Arms Collective  Training Facility. This multi-acre facility incorporates a variety of houses and buildings  in order to replicate a small village, which can then be assaulted, patrolled, or defended, depending on the desired training.

Rampaart and members of the HHC 2-136 Infantry (CAB) Mortar Platoon give an overview of the 120mm Mortar Gun Tube mounted in an M1064 Mortar Track Carrier.  Rampaart serves as the Moorhead-based 2-136 liaison to The Chamber’s Military Affairs  committee.

Honor Star members ate a meal ready to eat, or MRE, for lunch while tank gunnery launch occurred down range.

Special thanks to Lt. Col. Jason Benson and Captain Peter Rampaart for the unforgettable experience.

Photo’s on Flickr



Join Us: Fargo Armed Forces Reserve Center Showcase

August 6th, 2014 by Jessica Lee

Ever wonder what kind of training and operations are taking place at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Fargo?

Join the Military Affairs committee on Thursday August 14 at 11 a.m. to find out.

For details and to RSVP contact Jessica at jlee@fmwfchamber.com or 218.359.0511.


  • Posting of the flag, Pledge of Allegiance – Auditorium
  • Welcome and introductions – Steve Blazek, Military Affairs committee chair
  • Briefing from Lt. Col. Lien – North Dakota Army National Guard
  • Station Demonstrations: Weapons System Display, Beam Hit (Weapons Trainer), Taser Demonstration, Funeral Honors and Static Displays.



Chamber Names Alexander Macdonald and Darrol Schroeder 2014 Legacy Leaders

August 3rd, 2014 by Danielle Teigen
Legacy Leader Chamber Names Alexander Macdonald and Darrol Schroeder 2014 Legacy Leaders

Alexander Macdonald (left) and Darrol Schroeder (right)

The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber has named Alexander “Mac” Macdonald and Darrol Schroeder the joint recipients of the 2014 Legacy Leader Award.

The Legacy Leader Award recognizes and emphasizes the important role and contributions of long-time local leaders in both shaping and serving The Chamber, metropolitan community and region.

Macdonald and Schroeder will be honored at The Chamber’s Annual Meeting on September 11 at the Holiday Inn in Fargo.

Macdonald and Schroeder were raised in Davenport, ND, and share a love for country and all things aviation-related. Both men held leadership positions in the North Dakota Air National Guards’ (NDANG) 119th Wing, the Happy Hooligans.

Macdonald was the first NDANG member to assume the state’s top post of adjutant general, while Schroeder led the Happy Hooligans as a flight commander, director of group operations, and later founded an agricultural aviation company called Schroeder Aviation, Inc.

Macdonald and Schroeder are also known as the founders of the Fargo Air Museum and remain active in the organization. In addition to a host of military and leadership awards, Schroeder and Macdonald were both inducted into the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

Cost to attend the Annual Meeting is $35 in advance or $45 at the door.

Public Relations Committee Chair Profile: Tom Thompson, VTC

July 31st, 2014 by Danielle Teigen

Public Relations profile Tom Thompson 200x300 Public Relations Committee Chair Profile: Tom Thompson, VTCThe Public Relations Ambassadors attend ground-breaking and ribbon-cutting ceremonies for new and expanding businesses as official representatives of The Chamber as well as assist with the recruitment and retention of Chamber member firms.

Tom Thompson, employment placement services coordinator at the Vocational Technical Center, has served as the Public Relations committee chair since September 2013.

What have you enjoyed most about serving as committee chair for the Public Relations Ambassadors committee? I have enjoyed developing the relationships I have with the other ambassadors both professionally and personally. The networking and fun we have during ribbon cuttings and the social events brings about a very tight group of professionals.

What is one thing you would like other people to know about the public relations ambassadors? We are the first to represent The Chamber at their event so it is important to show your support
for that business. Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo are thriving communities, so the ambassadors make a considerable time commitment; in addition, employers make a significant commitment to support the employee by allowing them to take the time to attend events businesses have invited us to. We average approximately 60 Public Relations ambassadors, some in single roles as an ambassador and some in duel roles. This year we average 12 ribbon cuttings a month.

What is the biggest benefit for a Chamber member holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony? The most common comment we hear from the Chamber member is “I didn’t realize there would be this many people here.” We average approximately 33 ambassadors per event, depending on the day and time. A ribbon-cutting event is a great opportunity to show off, explain what you do and hand out information to a large group of businesses.

Home Run for Military Appreciation Night

July 31st, 2014 by Jessica Lee

military appreciation 243x300 Home Run for Military Appreciation NightAt the age of 90, Norm Felde bought his last baseball glove and figured it was his last time throwing a ball in a baseball stadium. The World War II veteran and Dragon Hall of Fame member took the field to kick off our largest Military Appreciation Night at the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. After throwing out the first pitch, he signed his new mitt and presented it to five-year-old Wyatt Clarke, a member of the North Dakota Air National Guard’s 2014 Family of the Year.

Representing the significant role of the military spouse, Kelly Obach threw out a ceremonial first pitch before being surprised by a greeting on the digital video board by her husband, Mike Obach, currently stationed at Camp Lemonnier on the Horn of Africa as part of a Combined Joint Task Force of the U.S. African Command. This is his second deployment.

Fans were also treated to a special event by witnessing 16 men and women pledge their commitment to service by raising their right hand and reciting the Oath of Enlistment and vowed to protect and defend our freedoms. The recruits were celebrated with a standing ovation.

Military members and their families enjoyed a pre-game picnic with a special ops course from Games Galore Party Rental along with pictures and autographs from players and Hawkeye.

Check out more photos from the event online.

Thank you to the event sponsors and the dozens of member firms that contributed to the purchase of tickets for the families!


Drivers and Disco: Annual Chamber Challenge Golf Outing Features Groovy Seventies Fun

July 31st, 2014 by Danielle Teigen

Last month, we hosted our annual golf outing at Edgewood Golf Course. The sold-out event featured a seventies theme that members celebrated by wearing tie-dye and dancing to disco.golf outing 300x200 Drivers and Disco: Annual Chamber Challenge Golf Outing Features Groovy Seventies Fun

Congratulations to the following winners:

Two teams tied for best score, so a scorecard playoff determined the top two finishers.

First place, with a score of 57, was the Protection Systems, Inc., team of Marvin Fletcher, Floyd Moltzan, Randy McFarland and Bill Short.

Second place, with a score of 57, went to the Cass County Electric Cooperative, Inc., team: Marshal Albright, Chad Brousseau, John Kuhn and Steve Ratti.

Third place, with a score of 58, went to the First International Bank & Trust team: Shannon Campbell, Jeremy Helgoe, Jake Klobuchar and Trevor Keney.

Closest to the Pin – Hole #3
Women: Dani Arnold, Avis Rent A Car – Off Airport
Men: Kyle Prodzinski, Arvig

Longest Drive – Hole #16
Women: Jessica Staher, BW Insurance Agency, Inc.
Men: Ryan Heyer, Heyer Engineering, P.C.

Best Seventies-Themed Team

Best Theme Tee/Hole Box Sponsor
Fargo Jet Center, Inc.

2014 golf outing1 Drivers and Disco: Annual Chamber Challenge Golf Outing Features Groovy Seventies Fun

Check out more photos from the event online.


President’s Corner: August 2014

July 31st, 2014 by Craig Whitney

Craig Whitney e1384196398346 207x300 Presidents Corner: August 2014Dear Chamber members,

Every year at this time our fiscal year comes to a close and I am reminded once again of the successful year we at The Chamber enjoyed. It is a privilege to represent more than 2,100 businesses in this special and thriving community, and I hope each one of you knows how much we appreciate your membership in our organization.

Our staff recently dissected the results of our annual membership satisfaction m pleased to report that the consensus among the respondents was that we are doing a pretty good job. We are humbled to see comments such as, We have a strong, involved Chamber and their input and events promote a very and
one of the best avenues toward keeping informed of events and ”

Thank you for your support of our efforts and recognition of all that we do to serve our members and keep our local economy strong. However, we would be remiss not to mention that we also received feedback about areas for improvement, such as reaching out to our small business members with more focused training and affordable marketing opportunities as well as more entrepreneur-focused programs and training.

We take your feedback seriously. We wouldn’t ask for it if we didn’t want to know what we did well in the past year and how we can improve our events and programs in the future. The fiscal yearend is a prime opportunity to reflect on our successes but evaluate our shortcomings to determine how we can improve them. We want to see all our members benefit from being affiliated with The Chamber, because we are only as strong as the members we serve. Thank you again to those members who took the time to respond to our survey; we appreciate your time and feedback.

Thank you for your membership,
Craig Whitney
The Chamber

Dakota Fiber Initiative Survey

July 31st, 2014 by Jessica Lee

The Dakota Fiber Initiative emerged at The Chamber’s 2013 State of Technology through a challenge posed by Doug Burgum. Led by the Information Technology Council of North Dakota (ITCND), the private sector and government leaders, the initiative seeks to create an environment that would allow existing businesses to operate at optimum capacity by bringing bleeding edge bandwidth infrastructure to North Dakota.

To better understand the interest for high-speed data services, the ITCND is seeking your company’s input on broadband internet capabilities in the region. Please take the time to respond to this short survey by Friday, August 8. This information will be used to help plan for and promote high-speed broadband in North Dakota.

To eliminate duplicate data, please coordinate with your company’s IT staff to ensure only one survey is completed per physical business location. However, businesses with multiple physical locations should complete one for each location receiving a separate invoice for internet service.

Take the survey.

Read more about the Dakota Fiber Initiative.


Health Care Summit Highlights Challenges and Opportunities of ACA

July 23rd, 2014 by Danielle Teigen

One of the challenges regarding the Affordable Care Act is its dynamic nature.

It was fitting, then, that on the day The Chamber hosted its Health Care Summit — which featured a nationally recognized health care policy expert who denounces the current law — the ACA was dealt another blow when the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia ruled that federal health exchange participants were not eligible for tax subsidies.

Betsy 300x203 Health Care Summit Highlights Challenges and Opportunities of ACAPatient advocate Betsy McCaughey said that means 5.5 million people will not receive assistance with their health care costs, and they may see those costs as much as quadruple. McCaughey said several times in her brief remarks that the law is threatening our basic rights in life and lowers the standard of care patients will receive, specifically citing how seniors will suffer under the law.

“The sheer size of the law is what makes it so dangerous,” McCaughey said as her hand rested on the 2,572-page binder she set on the podium. “But we can replace the law with something better.”

McCaughey cited that a new health care law is needed that is brief—no more than 20 pages—and protects the freedom of choice by allowing buyers to purchase the best health care policy regardless of state affiliation as well as setting up health savings accounts to encourage consumer involvement.

During the afternoon, attendees selected breakout sessions about the following topics:

  • Health insurance industry leaders sharing their perspective on the changing law.
  • Strategies and ideas for incorporating worksite wellness programs. (Click here to view the presentations shared during the session.)
  • How large employers have been dealing with ACA compliance.
  • Issues small employers have been managing while complying with the law.

The event concluded with a discussion on how technology is changing health care and the response of both providers and partners when it comes to making sure patients receive quality care. (Click here to view the presentations shared during the session.)

“Technology is a driver when it comes to the cost of health care,” said Dr. Joshua Wynne from the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “But the past is not a prologue to the future. There are ways to apply technology in an optimal way.”

Ruth Krystopolski from Sanford Health agreed. “We need a consistent way to evaluate data, and technology can do that. Paper can’t do that,” she said.

The Chamber would like to thank all the event sponsors as well as speakers:

Ross Manson, Eide Bailly LLP
Luther Stueland, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota
Jay McLaren, Medica Health Plans
Pete Seljevold, Healthy North Dakota
Diana Barta, KLJ
Laurie Lundstrom and Tammy Enright, Spectrum Aeromed
Linda Otterson, Cass County Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Leann Moos, Fargo Moorhead Human Resource Association
Jeffry Volk, Moore Engineering, Inc.
Sarah Koustrup, National Hospitality Services
Alissa Partee, The Marvin Companies
Shannon Breuer, Eide Bailly LLP
Jim Nyhof, Dawson Insurance
Tim Sayler, Essentia Health

Presenting Sponsors
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota
Eide Bailly LLP
Essentia Health
Medica Health Plans
Sanford Health

Social Media Partner Sponsor


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