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Chamber Seeks Government Affairs and Advocacy Manager

December 20th, 2014 by Julie Doggett

The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber is seeking a person to fill the role of Government Affairs and Advocacy Manager.

Responsibilities include enhancement and maintenance of positive relations with public policy decision-makers and other organizations in order to communicate The Chamber’s position and ensure that it is understood and fairly represented, coordination of committee and task force activities, and communication of Chamber positions through Chamber publications and other media.

The ideal candidate must have strong working knowledge of local, state and federal government relative to the needs of the business community, knowledge of the chamber of commerce industry, strong communication and public relations skills and ability to network effectively.

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in political science, public administration, business administration, journalism or related area.

Learn more about the Government Affairs and Advocacy Manager position.

To apply, email to cover letter with salary requirements, resume and references to jparsons@fmwfchamber.com. Deadline for applications will be Wednesday, December 31, 2014.

Leadership Class Learns the Importance of Innovation in the Workplace

November 25th, 2014 by Danielle Teigen

The Leadership Fargo Moorhead West Fargo class spent its November session at the Fargo Jet Center learning about driving innovation in the workplace and the importance of understanding communication styles.LFMWF 1

Eric Piela of Flint Communications, Inc., Casey Steele of Square One Kitchens, Mike Dragosavich of Spotlight Media and Dean Atchison of Spectrum Aeromed started our day off by sharing their own experiences of innovation in the workplace and entrepreneurship.

The class discovered that many of the traits one needs to be a successful entrepreneur — tenacity, passion, vision and flexibility — are also traits one needs to be a successful leader. Piela’s presentation said it all: they learned how to be entrepreneurs…without being actual entrepreneurs.

The class also learned about communication styles from Dawn Kaiser, The Village Business Institute. Studies have shown that each individual has a preferred mode of communication and that as a leader, one must be able to flex their style to connect with followers. Kaiser guided the class through the session to assess personal styles and then worked together to identify ways to be flexible in order to open up the communication channels and gain understanding with those being led.

The day ended with a tour of Drekker Brewing Company, Fargo’s newest brewery, to learn about their entrepreneurial story and how they’re developing an engaging, positive and downright fun workplace culture. The class even got to partake in their ribbon-cutting ceremony to help The Chamber’s Member Relations Ambassadors welcome Drekker to the organization.


Meet Your Legislators

November 25th, 2014 by Jessica Lee


Chamber Day at the Capitol

Thursday, February 12

Join us as we head to Bismarck for what will be our largest Chamber Day at the Capitol ever. Members will have the opportunity to attend committee meetings, hear briefings from legislative leaders, embark on an insider’s tour, sit with a legislator or observe the floor session from the gallery and attend a social with legislators from across the state. We’ve seen the impact business leaders can have when they engage in the public policy process during the legislative session. Mark your calendar, get registered and be a part of this great event.

Minnesota Business Day at the Capitol

Tuesday, March 3

Once again, The Chamber will be joining with chambers from around Minnesota for Business Day at the Capitol. Because the Minnesota Capitol building will be under extensive construction during the 2015 legislative session, the event will be slightly revamped. Rather than navigating the scaffolds and pylons, the MN Chamber will be bringing constituents to the capitol, lawmakers will be coming to us! Join us in representing the interests of Moorhead and Greater Minnesota during structured meetings with legislators and showcasing the value we bring to the state. Contact Jessica at jlee@fmwfchamber.com for more information.

New Minnesota Initiatives

November 25th, 2014 by Jessica Lee

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has launched three new initiatives that offer assistance
to help small businesses expand or improve their operations.

1. Greater Minnesota Job Expansion Program
Under this new program, businesses in Greater Minnesota will receive sales tax refunds on all purchases made during a seven-year period. To qualify, a participating business must have operated in Greater Minnesota for at least one year and must commit to expanding its workforce at a single facility. The business must increase full-time employment at the facility by two employees or 10 percent of current employment, within three years. Deed will determine the size of the sales tax refund that each business will receive, up to $2 million annually and $10 million over seven years, based in part on employment and capital investments.

2. Innovation Voucher Pilot Program
This pilot program provides up to $25,000 to help small businesses pay for technical assistance and services from public higher education institutions and nonprofit entities. Qualifying companies will receive vouchers which can be redeemed for technical assistance and services that include research, technical development, product development, commercialization, marker development, technology exploration and improved business practices. Companies with 40 or fewer employees, with at least half of the employees based in Minnesota may apply.

3. Job Training Incentive Pilot Program
The program, an outgrowth of DEED’s Minnesota Job Skills Partnership, provides grants of up to $50,000 to new or expanding Minnesota businesses that need to train new workers as quickly and efficiently as possible. The program is available to businesses that have fewer than 150 full-time employees and are increasing their Minnesota workforce by at least 10 percent, with a minimum of five new jobs.

For more information, visit the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development website.

December 2014: Message to Members

November 25th, 2014 by Craig Whitney

Dear Chamber Members:Craig Cutout

While we hope our gratitude is evident year-around, we recognize that the holiday season is a traditional time of offering thanks and appreciation for the many blessings of the last year. As The Chamber’s President/CEO, I am blessed every day by so many things.

I offer my gratitude first to the staff of 14 incredibly talented, organized men and women who do such a wonderful job of serving you, our members, and moving our organization forward. I find it a blessing to work alongside these individuals on a daily basis, and I can testify that their dedication and commitment is what makes The Chamber so successful.

The 16 individuals who serve on our Board of Directors also deserve my thanks. These business leaders take time out of their busy schedules to champion our efforts and support our events and programs.

We have so many volunteers that I am overwhelmed with gratitude when I think of all that they do and accomplish in a given year. The individuals who serve on our eight committees have earned my respect and appreciation, and I know we couldn’t accomplish everything that we do without them.

Finally, I thank you, the more than 2,100 member businesses employing 94,000 people in our community. You serve as our daily inspiration for going above and beyond in our work to continue serving you in a way that brings you growth and success.

I wish all of you a safe and blessed holiday season, and I thank you, sincerely, for your membership.

Craig Whitney
The Chamber

Terry Bradshaw Entertains Historic Voices of Vision Audience

November 13th, 2014 by Danielle Teigen

In his signature gregarious style, Terry Bradshaw delighted an audience of more than 1,000 people with anecdotes, wisdom and more than a few jokes during The Chamber’s fifth annual Voices of Vision event.

“We’re always measured by how well we handle the bad things,” Bradshaw explained, talking about his early days as the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He noted several times that being in a huddle is like being in a place of business, and he had three principles for success in both realms.

“You want to be successful in business? Learn how to smile. We all have to work on caring about others,” Bradshaw said, “And we have to spend quality time getting to know the people around us.”

The crowd was the largest Voices of Vision has drawn in its five years of existence; it was also the largest event hosted by the Ramada Plaza & Suites and Conference Center.

Bradshaw kept the audience entertained with stories from his playing days as well as experiences he has had since retiring from football in 1983. But Bradshaw wasn’t afraid to get serious every now and then.

“We will never accomplish anything without needing to thank someone,” he explained.

As his address came to a close, Bradshaw offered some honesty.

“Even if I could stand up here and wish you happiness, I wouldn’t do it,” he said. “Because happiness ebbs and flows… But joy – joy is rooted deeply in your spirit…Joy will sustain you.”

The audience was prompted to suggest ideas for the 2015 Voices of Vision speaker, with nearly 40 individuals noted. Some of the suggestions include Arianna Huffington, Mark Cuban, Donald Trump, Marissa Mayer and John Maxwell. Search #VOV14 to see all the suggestions as well as other tweets from the event. You can also see additional photos from the event on our Flickr account.

Past Voices of Vision speakers included Oliver North, Bob Woodward, Joe Theismann and Jeb Bush.

The Chamber thanks everyone who attended as well as the sponsors who made the event possible.

Veterans Day Activities

November 6th, 2014 by Jessica Lee

To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations. ” – President Woodrow Wilson, November 11, 1919

9 a.m.     Ceremony at Veterans Memorial Bridge, VVA Chapter 941, Russ Stabler Color Guard Commander

10:30 a.m. Form up at Great Northern Depot on 4th Avenue North and 5th Street for the parade.

10:55 a.m. Raising of the Colors at Fargo Civic Memorial Auditorium Flag Pole – Flyover by Toby McPherson, P51

11 a.m.    Community Program, Fargo Civic Memorial Auditorium, Centennial Hall

  • Posting of the Colors and Veterans Organization Flags. Mark Wagemann, Past AMVETS Commander, Department of North Dakota, Master of Ceremonies
  • National Anthem – Red River Valley Veterans Concert Band
  • Opening Prayer – Sharon Kaseman, Fargo VFW Post 762 Chaplain
  • Welcoming Remarks – Moorhead Mayor Del Rae Williams
  • Welcoming Remarks – Dilworth Mayor Chad Olson
  • Welcoming Remarks – Fargo Deputy Mayor Tim Mahoney
  • Keynote Address – Michelle Olson, American Legion Commander Post 2, Fargo
  • Closing Prayer – Sharon Kaseman, Fargo VFW Post 762 Chaplain
  • Honor Guard to Fire Volly & Taps

West Fargo VFW Post 7564, Ladies Auxiliary and AMVETS Post 8 Annual Veterans Day Program

VFW Club, 308 Sheyenne Street, West Fargo – Open to the public and all ages.

10:45 a.m. Flag raising

11 a.m.        Program with music by West Fargo High School, an address by LTC Deb Lien, North Dakota Army National Guard and a 21-gun salute by VFW Honor Guard.

4:30 p.m.  Stew Dinner (ends at 6:30 p.m.)

7 p.m.         Red River Valley Veterans Concert Band Performance

Moorhead American Legion

11 a.m.   Merle’s Stew

Noon      Park Christian Choir

1 p.m.     Meat Raffle

3 p.m.    Red River Valley Veterans Concert Band

4 p.m.    Ladies Auxiliary 96th Birthday Cake & Vets Day “Christmas Raffle” drawing (Fergus Falls Veterans Home)

7 p.m.    Bingo. Happy Hour All Day.

American Legion, Post #2

Noon               Stew served in Legacy Hall (Red River Valley Veterans Concert Band at 12:15 p.m.)

12:35 p.m.    Honoring John Hillerson, a 26-year member of Post 2 and WWII Veteran. Hillerson turned 100 years old this past August.

1:20 p.m.      POW/MIA ceremony

Fargo VFW, Post #762

11 a.m.           Ladies Auxiliary Bake Sale (ends at 2 p.m.)

Noon              Stew and Ladies Auxiliary

2 p.m.            Red River Valley Veteran’s Concert Band

Activities throughout the afternoon.

AMVET’s Post #7

1 p.m.             SOS will be served

2 p.m.            Fargo AMVETs Ceremony – VA Hospital

Dilworth VFW Post

4 p.m.            Mulligan Stew and Auxiliary program at held at Eventide

Harwood American Legion

Noon              Legion Opens

4 p.m.            Stew

For more information contact Terry Richardson, Commander, United Patriotic Bodies 701.850.2590.






LFMWF Committee Chair Profile: Amber Vogel, Sundog

October 27th, 2014 by Danielle Teigen

LFMWF_Amber VogelAmber Vogel, a senior business analyst at Sundog, has been serving as committee chair since June.

How long have you been involved with the committee and program? This is my third year of involvement in the Leadership Program Committee. The year prior to being a committee member I was a program participant.

What have you enjoyed most about working with the LFMWF committee? I have enjoyed working with a diverse group of individuals from the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo area and learning about their personal and professional experiences. This group brings a wealth of knowledge on what is happening in our community and is committed to providing the best experience possible during the 9-month program.

I also enjoy planning the sessions for the program each year. Because the program format changes from year to year, we have an opportunity to tailor the classes’ experience to what is currently happening in and around our community.

What is one thing you would like other people to know about the Leadership Fargo Moorhead West Fargo program? One thing everyone should know about the program is that each month is organized around a particular theme that is relevant to our community. This means that the local speakers and activities will support this theme. For example, November’s theme is entrepreneurship, and December’s theme is volunteerism and diversity. This is an example of how robust the program’s curriculum is and what a wealth of knowledge the participants are exposed to.

Leadership Class Experiences Education Firsthand

October 27th, 2014 by Danielle Teigen

FM Chamber Leadership (2)For the fifth year in a row, the Leadership Fargo Moorhead West Fargo class focused on education in October by visiting at Madison Elementary School in Fargo. We partner with Junior Achievement to facilitate hands-on, experiential lessons that teach key concepts of work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy to grades K-5.

To make the day even more entertaining, students dressed the part for their dream professions, which included soldiers, chefs, doctors, police officers and our favorite, a butler! The impact was not only seen with the students, but with the LFMWF class as well.

Many participants gained appreciation for our educators and were pleasantly surprised with the creativity, intelligence and excitement the students possessed.

LFMWF class members also toured and participated in a service learning project at the Great Plains Food Bank, a division of Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota. Caroline McGuire, volunteer coordinator, gave participants a tour and facilitated the filling of the backpacks for the weekend BackPack program. This program delivers backpacks to students in need filled with cereal, bread, peanut butter, jelly and other minimal preparation foods. More than 52 percent of students at Madison Elementary School receive a backpack each Friday, so the impact the LFMWF participants had on the students went far beyond the classroom.

To keep on the topic of education in our community, participants heard from President John Richman of North Dakota State College of Science, President Anne Blackhurst of Minnesota State University Moorhead and President Bill Craft of Concordia College about how local higher education institutions are preparing the next generation of the local workforce.

The eventful day ended with nonprofit representatives presenting project proposals to the class. Part of the nine-month curriculum requires that participants work in small groups with a nonprofit organization on a service project. The skills, talents and passions the LFMWF participants help make a significant, positive impact on each of the nonprofit organizations.

Thank you to the following nonprofits for applying and congratulations on being selected to participate: Emergency Food Pantry, Faith Lutheran Church/Journey in Faith, Farm in the Dell, FM Coalition for Homeless Persons, Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Dakota, Red River Zoo and Youthworks.

Introducing the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!)

October 27th, 2014 by Danielle Teigen

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a ground-breaking and exciting program that transforms middle and high school students into real, confident entrepreneurs.

Program Coordinator Elly Peterson explains the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!).

Program Coordinator Elly Peterson explains the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!).

The program runs during the school year and gives students in grades 6-12 the opportunity and skills to generate business ideas, conduct market research, write a business plan, pitch the
plan to potential investors and launch the company. In addition, students learn from local business leaders and visit companies in the area to learn more about becoming a successful entrepreneur.

The Chamber is excited to launch the program, which will begin accepting applications for the 2015-16 academic year in November. YEA! was originally developed at the University of Rochester in 2004 with support from the Kauffman Foundation, a private organization that aims to help individuals attain economic independence through entrepreneurial success.

Elly Peterson from The Chamber will serve as the program coordinator for YEA! Peterson has been working with local schools to gauge interest and support for the program, which will be promoted in both public and private schools in the area. The program will be capped at 24 participants.

How Is YEA! Different?

YEA! is unlike any other program for youth because of its real-world application and long-term involvement. The exercises are not just simulations; they are preparation for the actualities of business ownership and management. Other programs directed at young entrepreneurs can serve as a feeder for YEA! by identifying students who are enthusiastic and successful with entrepreneurial activities.

Rather than discussing concepts and careers within business, YEA! guides students through each step of creating and launching their own, real enterprise, in a fun, projects-based approach.

The YEA! program puts students on a path to college and career success and enables students to transition successfully to adulthood; achieve higher financial literacy; develop business acumen; build character based on personal principles and values; connect to local business leaders and become involved in their communities and
pursue their dreams by harnessing their creativity and energy.

To learn more about YEA! and how you can get involved, contact Peterson at 218.359.0512 or epeterson@fmwfchamber.com.

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