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Recap: Military Appreciation Night at the RedHawks 2017

June 30th, 2017 by Amanda Hofland

We had another amazing time at our seventh annual Military Appreciation Night yesterday, June 29, at Newman Outdoor Field with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.

The evening opened with a picnic, inflatable games and photo opportunities with RedHawks players for military families.

The U.S. Navy SEAL team of Patriot Parachuters did an incredible display delivering the flag for the National Anthem from the sky.

Vocalists representing the American Legion Post 2 sang “Star Spangled Banner,” and recruits representing all branches of the military took part in a swearing in ceremony.

Lawrence Karels, an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, delivered the first pitch. Karels served as a sergeant in the Army National Guard and was honorably discharged in 2007. He has received numerous medals and ribbons for his service. Karels also won a giveaway for a year’s worth of groceries from Hornbacher’s.

Another emotional moment during the game was when David K. Halcrow, a Vietnam War veteran who served in the United States Army, was awarded medals he earned during his service that had not yet made its way to him. He also received a new Green Beret, which had been shot right off his head during battle.

veteran receiving medals

We want to thank our Honor Star members, Military Affairs committee, all sponsors and attendees, for supporting this great event and coming out to celebrate our region’s military.

D-S Beverages, Inc.
Bethel Church   Bremer Bank   CI Sport   Dakota Supply Group
Fargo Jet Center   Games Galore Party Rental   National Hospitality Services   Xcel Energy
American Crystal Sugar | Eventide Senior Living Communities | Sanford Health
Talecris Plasma Resources, Inc. A GRIFOLS Company
The Apartment Movers, Inc. | Aspire Financial | Beyond Shelter, Inc. | Blake Ristvedt Dental
Capital Credit Union | Cargill, Inc. – North American Multiseed Division | Crane Johnson Lumber Co.
Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation | Far From Normal Supply, Inc. | Fargo AirSho, Inc.
First International Insurance | Glass Doctor of Fargo-Moorhead | Happy Harry’s Bottle Shop
Heather’s Housekeeping | High Point Networks | Hope Electric Inc. | Integreon | KLJ | Lowry Engineering
Luther Family Buick GMC | Maintenance Engineering | Matrix Properties | McGough Construction
Mead & Hunt | Mengedoth Dental | Michael J. Olsen Communications | NAI North Central
Nodak Insurance Company | Red River Chapter of Credit Unions | Rick Electric, Inc.
Rose Management LLC / Anda Properties | Dr. R Twardowski MD PC | Spectrum Aeromed
Strata Corporation | TMI Hospitality | U.S. Bank | Wanzek Construction, Inc. | Western State Bank


Check out these Tweets for more highlights!


How to Retain Millennials

June 15th, 2017 by Amanda Hofland

Many employers are struggling to attract and retain a qualified workforce, which made our June 14th Business Training that much more relevant. Brein Haugen from Rasmussen College presented research into millennials, and Tamara Anderson of Dale Carnegie facilitated a panel discussion comprised of local working millennials to share their perspective.

millennial training panel

According to Forbes, by 2020, 1 in every 3 adult Americans will be a millennial, and by 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials. There are many misconceptions out there regarding millennials, but it seems millennials are just misunderstood. In fact, millennials are the most educated generation – 36% more of them have four-year degrees compared to Gen Xers. And seemingly the most vocal critics of millennials are the very generation that raised them: the Baby Boomers.

Millennials aren’t going away anytime soon, so understanding what motivates them is crucial for employers.

Millennials Value a Workplace in Which…

  • They are given help and support when needed
  • There are incentives for higher performance
  • There are flexible hours to allow for work-life blend
  • They can look forward to going to work
  • They are trusted to do their work and more
  • They can work with limited oversight

Millennials Value a Supervisor Who…

  • Communicates openly and honestly
  • Recognizes their contributions
  • Is trustworthy and trusting
  • Treats them with respect
  • Helps them learn a lot
  • Sets a good example
  • Gives them reason to have confidence in their leader’s abilities
  • Demonstrates interest in the personal lives of people on his/her team

Source: DCT/MSW Research

On the panel, Andrew Young, Hatch Realty, shared that flexibility goes a long way, and for him that means allowing work to happen when each individual is at their most efficient (for instance, working late or from home some days rather than a strict 8 to 5 schedule).

Culture is also a big factor for many millennials, and working in an environment where they feel heard, trusted and supported. They want good relationships with their supervisors, they want one-on-one meetings, and they want consistent feedback. They value open communication and mutual respect.

Our panel was slightly divided when it came to annual reviews, but most agreed that they’re not effective. Instead of going over a whole year at a time, they prefer in-the-moment feedback in response to specific scenarios in which they excelled. Likewise, they want constructive criticism too, because they want to continually grow.

Millennials like challenges, and they like room to prove themselves. They want to try new things, and the trust to run with new ideas. Micromanaging does not align with this generation.

Millennials also value the ability to grow outside of the workplace. They’ll appreciate when employers encourage professional training, leadership opportunities or volunteer hours. They also tend to blend their personal and professional life, which goes beyond working late. They want to be social with their co-workers, so building in time for teambuilding or an after-work outing can go a long way.

Thank you to all our panelists for sharing so candidly with our attendees! Also featured was Kristina Hein, United Way of Cass-Clay; Alycia Peter and Mackenzie McFadden, Rasmussen College; Amanda Even, Dress for Success; and Tyler Fischbach, The Chamber.

Other Findings from Brein’s Study

chamber business training crowd

People change, mature, and develop their values, attitudes and preference as a function of age. This remains relatively stable over time.

Six Characteristics

  • A traumatic or formative event
  • A dramatic shift in demography that influences the distribution of resources
  • An interval that connects a generation to success or failure
  • The creation of a “sacred space”
  • Mentors or heroes that give voice to their work
  • The work of people that know and support each other

The 4 “I”s of Transformational Leadership Style

  • Influence
  • Inspirational
  • Intellectual Stimulation
  • Individual Support

Generational Breakdown

  • WWIIers – 1900 to 1933
  • Swingers or Silents – 1934 to 1945
  • Traditionalists – Anyone born before 1940
  • Baby Boomers – 1940-1946 to 1960-1964
  • Generation X – 1960s to 1975 – 1982
  • Millennials – 1982 – 1983 to 2000


Thanks to the Forum for this great article on the event! How to hang on to millennial workers, according to millennials

Check out these Tweets from attendees!


Eide Bailly: Where Culture & Consulting Collide

June 1st, 2017 by Amanda Hofland

Most everyone around here knows Eide Bailly as a CPA firm – and that has been the company’s roots since 1917 – but the advent of modern technology has shifted how this storied firm does business today.

One hundred years ago when Eide Helmeke & Co. opened its doors in Fargo, accounting was done with pen and paper. Not only has technology made this job quicker and more efficient, it also provided the opportunity to take customer service to the next level. Embracing change and focusing on innovative ideas has allowed them to grow with their industry and with their clients.

eide bailly 100 year

A critical moment in the Eide Bailly timeline was in 1998 when Eide Helmeke & Co. merged with Charles Bailly & Co. to form Eide Bailly LLP. Ross Manson, partner in charge of the Fargo office, says this move created a firm large enough to accommodate the growing workload and increase their offerings.

The Eide Bailly that we know today also offers a robust range of tax, audit and business advisory services. The technology consulting practice is an ever-growing area for the firm too. This includes being a reseller of NetSuite, Sage and Salesforce, systems optimization and contract work. Valuation and forensics also sits in the local office, and they have specialists for health care consulting and tax implications, among many others.

eide bailly jenni huotari ross manson

Ross Manson and Jenni Huotari

While their service offering has expanded, so too has their geographic footprint, as they enter new markets and acquire other firms. In fact, Eide Bailly is the 19th largest accounting firm in the United States. “To me, that’s a unique success story for North Dakota,” Manson said.

Though they’ve grown across many states, they generally don’t go East of the Mississippi. “We’re committed to our Midwestern roots, while still looking at Western expansion,” Jenni Huotari, director of business outsourcing and strategy, said.

Through the years, some core values have remained key pillars for the company. “We have a strong commitment to our people and our clients,” Manson said. “Those two things are what lead to a successful foundation and what we will continue to focus on.”

Huotari added that Eide Bailly is also committed to lifelong learning. “As a firm, I think we invest more in continuing education than most. We also have a strong commitment to personal development and soft skills … which enhances what we do individually and allows us to work better together.”

The company believes that their success is tied to the communities that they serve, so it’s important to give back. Houtari acknowledges that accounting knowledge is sought after by non-profits, so a corporate responsibility insists upon volunteer hours for staff to donate time and talents to area organizations.

As Eide Bailly celebrates a successful first 100 years, with anniversary events across all offices, what might be next? Manson says they’re working on outsourcing accounting opportunities for clients. “I’m really excited about utilizing technology and resources in another way,” he said. You’ll also see their advisory services evolve for clients looking for additional skill sets outside of their traditional compliance, and an enhancement to their core tax and audit services.

“Technology will remove the need for human function in some parts of our jobs,” Huotari said. “But it will open the door to serving at a higher level. We’re trying to be ahead of that and prove our worth. That’s where our client commitment is essential.”


Celebrating the 2017 ChamberChoice Winners

May 19th, 2017 by Amanda Hofland

Earlier today, we hosted another fantastic ChamberChoice Awards luncheon to honor the best of the best busineses in our community. James Cunningham was back for the fifth year as emcee, and once again had everyone “bubbling” over with laughter. Tom Dawson and Roger Reierson, representing the event’s presenting sponsors, opened the event with about 800 people in attendance.

We unveiled the winning businesses—and entrepreneur—in six categories according to our judges’ votes, and named the People’s Choice winner from your own voting prior to the event.

2017 ChamberChoice winners

The winners are …

  • Small Not-for-Profit of the Year: Youthworks
    Finalists: Legacy Children’s Foundation and Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley
  • Not-for-Profit of the Year: Access of the Red River Valley, Inc.
    Finalists: Great Plains Food Bank and Vocational Training Center, Inc.
  • Small Business of the Year: Moorhead Dairy Queen
    Finalists: Mojo Fit Studios and Prairie Winds Veterinary Center
  • Business of the Year: Laney’s, Inc.
    Finalists: Office Sign Company and Park Co. Realtors
  • Young Professionals Best Place to Work: Sundog Interactive
    Finalists: Appareo and Western State Bank
  • Entrepreneur of the Year: Josh Teigen – Protosthetics
    Finalists: Jill Berg, Spherion Staffing, and Zac Paulson, TrueIT
  • People’s Choice: Homeward Animal Shelter

The ChamberChoice Award finalists and winners were selected by a panel of independent judges from the regional business community, who evaluated accomplishments in the areas of business growth, innovation, creativity, community involvement and unique achievements relating to a specific business or industry.

Chamberchoice room


Check out the entire photo album HERE on Facebook!

Congrats to everyone, and thank you to all that helped make this event possible.

Check out some of these Tweets from event attendees!

What was your favorite part of the event? Share with us in the comments below or on social media using hashtag #ChamberChoice17.


“No-Sort” Recycling Coming Soon to Moorhead

May 12th, 2017 by Member Contributor

By Stephanie Reynolds, Recycling Program Manager, and Steve Moore, Public Works Director, City of Moorhead

The City of Moorhead is transitioning to “No-Sort” recycling this July. Instead of separating all of your recyclables, you can put them loosely into one container!

If you currently have a grey garbage tote, a blue 96-gallon recycling tote will be delivered to your driveway between June 8 and June 17. Your recycling day and week will remain the same with the first residential pick-up scheduled for Monday, July 3. If your recycling day is on Tuesday, July 4 (Independence Day holiday), your recycling will be picked up on Wednesday, July 5. For days following holidays, please have your totes out by 4:00 am.

Live in an apartment? No problem! You too will be able enjoy the ease of “No-Sort” recycling! Just look for a blue 300-gallon container or a blue dumpsters located near your garbage dumpster. Blue recycling containers and dumpsters will be delivered to your apartment building by the end of June. The City will begin servicing these dumpsters on July 3. Please remember, only recycling goes in the blue containers or dumpsters. Trash will contaminate the entire container or dumpster and it will be taken to the landfill instead of being recycled.

Please no plastic bags in ANY recycling container, including our drop sites. Plastic bags can’t be recycled with other recyclable material and damages material recovery facility sorting equipment. However, plastic bags can be dropped off at local retailers such as Target, Wal-Mart or Hornbachers.

The city has a supply of our current 18-gallon recycling bins still available. The 18-gallon bins are great for garage storage or for apartment residents to carry recyclables to their recycling container or dumpster. Bins can be picked up at City Hall or Public Works Department for free while supplies last; one bin per household.

The “No-Sort” recycling guide, detailed color-coded map, and recycling schedule is available at www.cityofmoorhead.com/recycle. If you have any questions or want additional information, please call public works at 218-299-5422.

Thanks for recycling and making Moorhead green!


Member Profile: Hannaher’s

May 1st, 2017 by Amanda Hofland

Hannaher’s can bring design and function to any workplace. From innovative and collaborative work space design to a basic office chair and everything in between, this team prides themselves in engineering an environment where you and your team can do your best work.

hannaher's exterior

The Hannaher’s office in Fargo – just next to I-29 off of Main Avenue – also serves as a showroom, and it’s hard to not get excited about the possibilities just by stepping in the door. In fact, it’s a new building, built just for them. Since last September, they’ve been using the new space to show off product and design options—and everything you see in there is something they can offer your own organization.

While Hannaher’s is still a family-owned business, it’s definitely not your father’s office supply company anymore. Today, Paul Hannaher is at the helm, and the business has evolved throughout the years. It started as Ridley’s in 1939 with Paul’s father Tom joining the company in 1959. The Moorhead company changed its name to Hannaher’s in 1964. A few decades and a new building later, the next evolution came in 2011, when they acquired Gaffaney’s of Grand Forks. Since then, they’ve also opened another location in Detroit Lakes, now enabling them to serve further into Minnesota.

Now, Hannaher’s also has their own commercial flooring division and is placing a larger focus on technology, offering work tools like room scheduling devices. Of course, they also offer a wide range of items to enhance employee well-being and make space more efficient and flexible, including adjustable-height work stations, moveable wall systems and seating for a variety of work environments.

“One of the fun times meeting with a customer is when you see their ‘a ha’ moment,” Paul said. “When a business comes from having traditional cubicles and they see what a flexible work environment can do, you see their lights go off as things start to make sense. You can’t get those responses unless you’ve got talented people who know how to communicate that message. That’s the fun part of what we do.”

Steelcase is Hannaher’s primary manufacturing partner. Steelcase leads the way in innovative, research based furniture design, and is an industry leader in sustainability initiatives. This partnership allows their team access to Steelcase’s research and attention to industry trends and technology.

When working with Hannaher’s, you can rest assured that they put you top of mind. “I always stress that our customers are making a change in their office,” Paul said. “Our experienced team understands the stress that comes with change. We take pride in making our customers feel comfortable and confident in their new space.”

You can also count on their professionalism and knowledge. Paul says that they believe in investing in their team through ongoing training and development, as well as achieving levels of certification unmatched in the marketplace, providing the highest level of service, and knowledgeable partnerships for our customers.

Outside of the workplace, it’s also important for them to serve their community. Hannaher’s promotes a family-first atmosphere and encourages team members to be involved in service clubs and civic groups. They also give back by partnering with the local schools and universities, the United Way and Sanford Health Foundation.

Going forward, Paul says technology will be an integral part of the business, and they will continue to focus on giving employees resilient workplaces that provide a choice in how, when and where they work. “It’s really changing the way people work. This is all about retaining, hiring and attracting employees. Creating thoughtfully-curated workplaces will become destinations where people actually want to work.”


Leadership Class Presents Community Projects

April 19th, 2017 by Amanda Hofland

This past month, the Leadership Fargo Moorhead West Fargo class unveiled their group projects. These Community Change Initiatives (CCIs) apply and reinforce the skills and insights gained throughout the Leadership program while allowing participants a chance to envision, develop and bring to fruition real and lasting community change in collaboration with others. Having worked on these projects for the past seven months, each group gave a 20-minute presentation to the community at Dakota Medical Foundation, offering a first look into their hard work and dedication to helping find a solution to a number of our community’s issues.

Team Go Green – All in One Recycling, City of Fargo

Team Go Green– Andy Erickson, Kinetic Leasing
– Adam Ruud, Houston Engineering
– Kelsey Erbes, Stoneridge Software
– Kevin Mehrer, Boy Scouts of America
– Matt Gruchalla, Bell Bank

The City of Fargo is bringing single-sort recycling to 26,000 residents starting July 2017. “Team Go Green” has partnered with the city to develop a marketing plan that educates citizens, increases the amount of recycles tonnage in Fargo and decreases the amount of waste in Fargo’s landfills. You can see their work on local billboards, in many local publications and online.

Looking for more information? Visit https://www.cityoffargo.com/CityInfo/Departments/SolidWaste/Recycling/.

Duffels 4 Dreams

Duffels 4 Dreams– Chad Brousseau, Cass County Electric
– Chelsey Agather, Discovery Benefits
– Dave Bietz, Fargo Park District
– Jennifer Swenson, TMI Hospitality
– Sam Wheeldon, John Deere Electronic Solutions
– Tim Stokka, Gate City Bank

In 2016, 225 local children were removed from their homes and 107 were in foster care. While each experience is different, many of the children’s belongings are thrown in a trash bag during their transition, which is just one more stress added to their situation. The individuals in the Duffels 4 Dreams team, in conjunction with Cass County Social Services, are fundraising to provide a bag containing hygiene products, a comforting item (blanket or teddy bear), and passes for local attractions. Considering supporting the Duffels 4 Dreams mission? Your gift will provide:

• $20 = 1 Blanket
• $10 = 1 Teddy Bear
• $50 = 1 Complete Duffel Bag
• $200 = 4 Complete Duffel Bags
• $500 = 10 Complete Duffel Bags
• $1,000 = 20 Complete Duffel Bags

For more information, contact Dave Bietz at dbietz@fargoparks.com.

Financial Planning Day

Financial Planning Day– Jamie Grant, Microsoft
– Kurt Lysne, Moore Engineering
– Paul Jarvis, United Capital
– Shane Cullen, Park Co. Realtors
– Thomas Loegering, Wanzek
– Toby Krone, Moorhead Police Department

Financial Planning Day is a day dedicated to getting your financial and future plans in place. On April 29 at the FARGODOME, this group will be putting some of the region’s best financial planners, insurance providers and professionals right in front of you. This day is 100% free and will include workshops and classes catered to your questions and needs; keynote address by Erik Hatch; and the opportunity to schedule one-on-one planning meetings with some of the best financial planners our community has to offer.

To register for this event, visit www.getaplannow.com.

Home for Good

Home for Good– Donna Block, Lux Communities
– Erik Stenehjem, First International Bank and Trust
– Jenna Studt, Flint Group
– Jordan Cook, Choice Financial
– Rob Riness, Mortenson

Home for Good is bringing the Housing First model to the FMWF area through partnerships with local non-profits and the Apartment Association in hopes of connecting the community in ways to relinquish the stigma of homeless individuals. The Housing First model is an approach that offers permanent, affordable housing as quickly as possible for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, and then provides the supportive services and connections to the community-based supports people need to keep their housing and avoid returning to homelessness.

The World’s Table

The Worlds Table– Allyson Peterson, NDSU Development Foundation
– Cortnee Jensen, MindShift
– Maria Steen, Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership, Inc.
– Nikki Berglund, Luna Fargo/Bernie’s Wines & liquors
– Sarah Arntson, Dakota Medical Foundation
– Teran Germscheid, Wimmer’s Diamonds

The World’s Table is an event series focused on promoting cultural acceptance by building camaraderie between long-time local residents and New Americans. They will use food as our bridge and create a safe environment to try new foods, forge new relationships and learn about each other. They will gather regularly over ethnic dishes to make New Americans feel welcome, supported and connected to F-M. At the same time, they will introduce long-time residents to the foods, cultures and traditions these new neighbors have brought to the community. The first event will be held on April 27 at the Dakota Medical Foundation.

To register for this event, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-worlds-table-episode-1-nepal-tickets-33471065859.

The Welcome Home Project

Welcome Home Project– Jenna Frost, American Crystal Sugar Company
– Mark Honzay, JLG Architects
– Vanessa Lystad, Vogel Law Firm
– Melissa Rystad, Rasmussen College
– Brandon Haney, Midco
– Kayla Gefroh, Purpose Learning Group

The Welcome Home Project’s mission is to provide necessities that will welcome families to their new homes, who are moving from transitional housing to permanent housing. Having already raised over $8,000, many local families who are currently working with Fraser, LTD, will be gifted what many of us often take for granted – beds, silverware, shower curtains, towels and so much more.

Interested in supporting this group? Contact Kayla Gefroh at kaylagefroh@live.com.

Experience Fargo Moorhead West Fargo

Experience Fargo Moorhead– Amanda Even, Dress for Success of the Red River Valley
– Amanda Maslowski, US Bank
– Caitlin Stoecker, The Village Family Service Center
– Chantel Carlson, United Way of Cass-Clay
– Mitch Johnson, CoreLink Administrative Solutions

Experience Fargo Moorhead West Fargo has partnered with The Chamber for a new program launching fall of 2017. They are bridging the gap between students and local businesses to create a community where engagement and service are an integral part of life. By doing this, it is hoped that the local workforce will be positively affected by retaining local higher-education students through community engagement, exposure to local business and service learning.

Interested in getting involved with Experience Fargo Moorhead West Fargo? Contact Mitch Johnson at mitch.johnson@corelinksolutions.com.


Be a part of next year’s class!

Applications are open for the 2017-18 Leadership Fargo Moorhead West Fargo program through May 18. Apply online at fmwfchamber.com.


Debuting New Program Logos

April 1st, 2017 by Amanda Hofland

Starting April 1, you may notice a new set of logos for some of The Chamber’s events and programs. Business Training, Eggs & Issues, Leadership, Women Connect and the Young Professionals Network all recently received a new look.

These new logos are designed to mimic the main Chamber logo, but now gives each program a specific color and unique identity. Soon you’ll see them on all of our materials, including the website, social media and at events.

The idea behind the change is to strengthen The Chamber’s overall look and brand as we evolve as an organization. We’ve got some other exciting things in the works, and we feel that new and distinct program logos are an important part of this work. We hope you like them, and stay tuned for what is still yet to come!

business training logo

eggs logo

leadership logo

women connect logo

ypn logo


Looking at Legislation

April 1st, 2017 by Amanda Hofland

craig whitneyheadshot

The legislative season has been interesting to say the least. Through our public affairs efforts, we have been keeping a close eye on what the Minnesota and North Dakota legislative bodies are working on.

In North Dakota, revenue shortcomings are dictating the conversation. With major belt tightening underway, it seems everyone is feeling the effects. However there are certain areas that seem to be seeing devastating cuts. We are fortunate to have a strong higher education system in the North Dakota portion of the Red River Valley. North Dakota State University and North Dakota State College of Science are not only an integral part of the future of our workforce, but they are also some of the top regional employers. They are facing nearly 20% and 24%, respectively, budget reductions. This extreme of a cut causes organizations to not just tighten the belt but make decisions that may take years to recover from. The Chamber stands by our higher education institutions and we our dedicated to supporting them far into the future.

Minnesota is facing a different set of money issues as they evaluate priorities when it comes to their close to $1.4 billion surplus. Tax cuts for residents and business owners are a top priority with lawmakers. The historic Sunday liquor sales legislation was passed and will take effect on July 2, 2017. Another important piece of legislation, the REAL ID bill ended up failing in the Senate. Currently, Minnesota IDs will not be federally recognized and Minnesota residents will not be able to use them to board an airplane as soon as 2018. This is a hindrance to all Minnesotans. We are thankful to Representative Ben Lien, who voted in support of this bill and we hope this may be revisited before it is too late.

On March 15, we were able to host Ron Eidshaug, vice president of Congressional and public affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for a meeting. He was able to share a brief overview of the U.S. Chamber’s priorities in working with Congress members. Dedicated to regulatory reform, the U.S. Chamber has been urging congress members to streamline agency rulemaking and make it a more transparent and efficient process. We are thankful for the work they do advocating for business on the federal level.

As we do every legislative year, we look forward to hosting our legislative wrap ups for Minnesota and North Dakota. I hope to see you there!

craig's signature

Craig Whitney
The Chamber


Bridget McManamon Takes Top Honors at 2017 “Shark Tank”

March 31st, 2017 by Amanda Hofland

bridget mcmanamonAfter an incredible Investor Panel Shark Tank event, we’re thrilled to announce that Bridget McManamon, a junior at Moorhead High School, took first place in the competition for her business, Herstory, receiving the most funding and advancing to the YEA! semi-finals.

Held on March 28 at Concordia College’s Offutt School of Business, a panel of investors from local businesses heard pitches from 17 local high school and middle school students who competed for real funding as part of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) program. McManamon was chosen to move on and will be among more than 100 students nationally selected to compete in the Saunders Scholars Competition in New York in May. There, she will compete for the opportunity to advance to nationals to win college scholarships ranging from $25,000 to $50,000, an all-expenses paid trip to America’s Small Business Summit hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., and business startup prizes.

Josh Teigen, president of Protosthetics, served as the students’ instructor throughout the year and gave opening remarks before the event kicked off. Dan Michaels, president of Dan Michaels Audio, Mix 101.9 talk show host and public address announcer for NDSU Bison football games, emceed.

Each student gave a 5-minute presentation, sharing an overview of their company, market research, marketing plan and goals. Then, they had a few minutes to answer questions from the investors. In the end, all students received varying amounts of funding for their business, and McManamon was awarded the most, placing her on top as our second ever YEA! winner.

McManamon’s business is a membership-based organization that serves to raise awareness and distribute menstrual hygiene products to local students that otherwise do not have access to them. She has already received a $3,000 grant for her business and has been able to make a donation of hygiene packages to women in need in Africa.

The other students’ businesses are as follows:

  • Taranvir Johal, Oak Grove High School, Protein+
  • Chase Monson, Fargo South High School, Greasel
  • Habiba Heshmat, Davies High School, Heshmarks
  • Josh Gronneberg, Davies High School, EvoManage
  • Evan Ohren, Cheney Middle School, E’s Clothing
  • Connor Dahlvang, Davies High School, Quick Shopper
  • Anushka Sikdar, Cheney Middle School, Light the Way Corp.
  • Chase Ohren, Cheney Middle School, Chillingtons
  • Fardosa Hassan, West Fargo High School, Reves Doux Patisserie
  • Derek Phelps, Davies High School, The Greenhouse
  • Max Lavitschke, West Fargo High School, TekLite Software
  • Assraa Al-abase, Cheney Middle School, Viz
  • Joanna Lin, Davies High School, Ecopotz
  • Logan Heger, Cheney Middle School, Dry Kicks
  • Cooper Chwialkowski & Tanner Paler, West Fargo High School, MN Pro

2016-17 yea class

Check out the photo album on Facebook!

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy has been such an amazing experience,” McManamon told us. “Some of my favorite parts have been working with my mentor Veronica Michael from the Impact Foundation and hearing from business leaders throughout our community. I have learned so much from this program and I have no doubt the skills and knowledge I have gained will be applied in my future. I am super excited to have won, I put a lot of work into my business and I really enjoyed getting to share it with the investors.”

Thank you to all volunteers and supporters of the program, and a special thanks to presenting sponsor Cornerstone Bank. We’re so proud of all the students’ work and can’t wait to cheer Bridget on at the semi-finals in New York!

If you know a great student for the next class, please encourage them to apply today. Applications are available at fmwfchamber.com/YEA.

Check out some of our favorite Tweets from the night!

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