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Regional Workforce Study Results Revealed

June 30th, 2015 by Amanda Hofland

The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo area has seen substantial growth recently. With a host of new businesses and more housing, continued low unemployment and a high standard of living, there is no doubt that our region is growing strong, and our economy is thriving.

Yet, we continue to hear from local businesses a common concern: They’re not finding enough qualified candidates to fill all of the job openings.

This was the catalyst for a recent comprehensive Regional Workforce Study that five area organizations teamed up to commission. The Chamber, along with the Economic Development Corporation, Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, the FM Area Foundation and the United Way of Cass-Clay, hired consultants TIP Strategies, to study and strategize how we can collectively tackle this issue. On June 18, we held an event to highlight some of the findings and suggestions.

workforce study eventCraig Whitney addresses the Cultivate strategy at the Workforce Study presentation. Photo courtesy United Way of Cass-Clay

Among the study findings was a projection that over the next five years, the region is expected to see at least 30,000 new job openings. It was also revealed that there is a mismatch between the current job openings and the degrees being awarded at area colleges and universities.

The study suggests four main pillars to serve as a framework for action: Cultivate, attract, build and innovate. Going forward, each of the five organizations will work with committees on each of these pillars to discuss, further strategize and attempt to resolve this gap.

We have posted the full report to our website that goes in even greater depth to the research that was conducted.



Par for the Course

June 1st, 2015 by Julie Doggett

Golf Picture representing Golf Courses in the FMWF metro area
These Chamber member golf courses will have you swinging in no time.

Living in a climate with extreme seasons, we know to appreciate warm weather when it’s available. One great way to enjoy the higher temperatures is to hit the golf course. Check out the list of member golf courses below and book your tee time!

Edgewood Golf Course
Established in mid-1920’s, Edgewood is the only tree-lined public golf course in Fargo-Moorhead metro area. Edgewood is annually on the Golf Digest “Best places to play” list. They are an 18-hole, par 71 Championship course beautifully located along the Red River.

Fargo Country Club
The Fargo Country Club is widely considered to be one of the top golf courses and country clubs in this part of the country. In addition to their 18-hole championship golf course, other amenities include tennis courts, swimming pool, practice greens, driving range and a par 3 executive course.

Leonard Country Club
Leonard Country Club is a full regulation nine-hole golf course located just 30 minutes southwest of Fargo in Leonard, ND. They have a full restaurant, bar, pro shop, driving range and practice green.

Maple River Golf Club
Offers an 18-hole golf course, driving range, pro shop, cart and club rental, lessons, group events and full dining and bar service; the only facility in the Fargo Moorhead area to offer on-site cart storage for personally owned, gas or electric golf carts.

The Meadows Golf Course
The Meadows is fashioned after the traditional Scottish links courses of the yesteryear. Complete with mounding, tall prairie grasses, wildflowers, bunkers, a hidden creek, and prevailing winds, the golfer playing The Meadows is transported to a far off Scottish links course with challenges over every shot.

Moorhead Country Club
It offers challenging fairways, true and fast greens, and strategically placed water hazards—all of which is appreciated by both serious and casual golfers.

Osgood Golf Course
Osgood is the premiere nine-hole golf course and learning center in the area. Its rolling hills make it a challenge to even the best players yet with five different tee-box options, all players can enjoy the course. Don’t have time for nine holes? Play our three-hole loop for $5. Join one of our leagues or take a lesson.

Oxbow Golf & Country Club
Oxbow Country Club is committed to providing exceptional service in a rustic country atmosphere. Oxbow is the perfect place to host business meetings, company golf outings, seminars, holiday parties and much more. Their location is just minutes south of Fargo.

Prairiewood Golf Course
Prairiewood Golf Course is a great way to play a quick nine holes of golf. The course is designed for golfers with any level of ability, but is especially good for beginner golfers and senior golfers. Tee times are preferred. Some walk-on times are available.

Rose Creek Golf Course
Rose Creek, a Richard Phelps design, features four sets of tees, generous landing areas and large bent grass greens. It’s a wonderful experience for all levels of players and recently, Golf Digest recognized Rose Creek as a “Best Places to Play” golf course.

Village Green Golf Course
Village Green opened its original nine holes in 1981 and has developed into one of the region’s most popular public golf courses. An additional nine holes were added in 1994 and are possibly the most enjoyable nine holes in the region.


Innovating the Movie Experience: Marcus Theatres

June 1st, 2015 by Julie Doggett

Marcus Theatres
The movie industry is changing. According to a March 2014 Wall Street Journal article, overall theatre attendance was down, even while revenues were up. The article attributed the decrease to a couple of factors: increased price of tickets and greater access to better at-home movie experiences.

The article talked about a new idea in cinema to offer discounted tickets on one weekday. That’s exactly what Marcus Theatres has done with their $5 Tuesday offer.

Marcus, the fifth largest theatre circuit in the U.S. with 685 screens across 55 locations, has three theatres with 31 screens in Fargo and Moorhead. The offer has been successful for local theatres, according to Rick Solarski, Marcus West Acres 14 general manager.

“We’ve had really good turnouts on Tuesdays with minimal impacts to weekend sales,” Solarski said. He explained that Mondays and Wednesdays have seen decreased attendance, but he believes the majority of people who take advantage of the deal are people who wouldn’t normally go to movies or are even seeing the movie for a second or third time. They also have specific discounted tickets for students, teachers and seniors.

Discounting isn’t the only way Marcus is looking to draw more moviegoers. They are working to create a theatre experience that is as comfortable as your home while adding top of the line audio and visual elements.

The most notable change at local theatres is the seats. “Most people are going to notice the Dream Loungers first,” Solarski said. The new leather recliners offer moviegoers the ability to sit back and relax while offering additional legroom and the ability to reserve your seat in advance. All the auditoriums at Marcus Century Cinema and the UltraScreen at Marcus West Acres feature the new recliners.

One of Solarski’s favorite updates is the new Dolby Atmos sound system in the two UltraScreens. The system, which can support up to 64 speakers, envelopes viewers in the environment filmmakers wish to create. The staff used the example of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” when it sounds like the rain is falling all around you, right from the comfort of your seat.

Some of the changes affect the experience before viewers even step foot into an auditorium. When adding the new seating, Marcus also renovated the entire ticketing and snack areas. You can also purchase your tickets before you even get to the theatre using the new Marcus Theatres app. Surcharges for purchasing are also a thing of the past as long as you are member of the new Magical Movie Rewards program. You’ll also earn points as you buy tickets and treats at the theatre.

After all these updates and changes, Marcus is still doing what they have been for the last 80 years: making movies into an experience for viewers.


Message from Michelle Kommer: Women for Women

June 1st, 2015 by Julie Doggett

Michelle Kommer Speaking at Women  ConnectFriends,
Thank you for attending the April Women Connect session, Women for Women, and for investing in yourself.

I would like to challenge you to apply something you heard at this session – think of one thing you can do (or stop doing) for one day. Have you heard of the “48-hour rule”? If you do not act within 48 hours after you are first inclined to, your chances of acting on that thing diminish by over 90 percent. So, think of one thing you can do today (and again tomorrow, and the day after that), and do it.

Please join our Facebook group, FMWF Chamber Women Connect, and share your ideas! Remember, “practice makes better, not perfect.” Keep practicing what you learned yesterday. The rewards are worth it!


2014-15 Leadership Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Class Graduates

June 1st, 2015 by Julie Doggett

The Leadership Fargo Moorhead West Fargo class concluded the nine-month program by celebrating their hard work and dedication to the betterment of themselves and the community at Bluestem Center for the Arts. The day started with Heather Ostrowski, Dale Carnegie Business Group of ND, working with the class to renew their vision beyond community leadership. A graduation luncheon and ceremony followed.

Congratulations once again to this year’s Leadership Fargo Moorhead West Fargo class.

2014-15 Leadership Graduating Class


Honor Star Supports the Honor Flight Program

June 1st, 2015 by Julie Doggett

On May 14, the Military Affairs committee was able to present a check donation to the WDAY Honor Flight program. Through the Adopt a Vet program, the Honor Star members will be supporting five veterans to go on this year’s Honor Flight. This Honor Flight will be focused on Korean War veterans. “The Chamber, it’s Military Affairs committee and the Honor Star program are humbled to support this outstanding effort. We look forward to supporting this program throughout the coming months,” said Chamber President and CEO Craig Whitney.


Thank you to our Honor Star Members.


June 2015: Message to Members

June 1st, 2015 by Julie Doggett

Craig WhitneyIn a recent Forbes.com article, they described entrepreneurs as “those who identify a need – any need – and fill it.” To me, that seems like a simple definition for something that takes a lot of faith, hope, hard work and dedication.

Entrepreneurship is one of the strongest ideals our great nation is founded on. Every
business started with an idea, one person standing up to say they had a solution to a problem. They took big risks on blind faith, hoping their one idea would be the right idea. Without these risk-takers and dreamers,
our nation would not be where it is today.

The beating pulse of the entrepreneurial start-up community in Fargo Moorhead West Fargo has never been stronger. We are striving to create a culture that welcomes thinkers, makers and doers from across the world, showing them our community is the best place to work, play and do business.

Recently, Greg Tehven, Emerging Prairie, asked me to connect with some of the outstanding entrepreneurs in the area. Last month, Doug Restemayer, Chamber Board Chair, and I hosted a dinner for a few of the thriving, local entrepreneurs who are starting national and international companies.

I was amazed to see the innovative nature of these companies. Shawn Muehler, Botlink, is creating software for drones that are used in multiple industries across the country and soon, across the world. Jake Clark, Fargo 3D Printing, and his team are taking the 3D printing market by storm. Clint Howitz, dogIDs, and Jeff Vanlaningham, RealTruck.com are creating massive e-commerce companies that are receiving national media attention along with phenomenal sales. Edie Ramstad, Weave Got Maille, created her company as a hobby following retirement, but due to her high quality product and tremendous demand, she was quickly pulled
out of retirement and continues to grow her staff and products.

Hearing the stories of these dedicated individuals who follow their dreams inspires me to continue to create a Chamber that supports local business owners. The Chamber is committed to providing top-notch events, quality professional development opportunities, stellar networking and support for entrepreneurs and
business owners.

Craig Whitney
The Chamber


ND Legislative Wrap-Up: From oil prices to early education

May 29th, 2015 by Julie Doggett

On May 5, the Chamber hosted five local legislators and a few special guests at our North Dakota Legislative Wrap-Up. Sen. Judy Lee, Sen. Tim Mathern, Rep. Al Carlson, Rep. Thomas Beadle and Rep. Ben Hanson were all there to share their thoughts on the session. Chris Berg, Host of 6:30 Point of View on Valley News Live, was able to moderate a very lively discussion.

Topics ranged from budget uncertainty, which plagued the beginning months of the session, to House Bill 1476 which made changes to the oil tax formula, ultimately creating more of a flat tax system versus the current trigger tax system. The end of the session was a contentious one, with the legislature closing with one bill left on the table. The legislative panelists shared their opinions on the closing of the session and what that means moving forward for
the state.

Andy Peterson, President and CEO of the Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce, covered just a few of the top bills the North Dakota Chamber focused on this year. Peterson highlighted Senate Bill 2151, which provides $3 million for early childhood education programs across the state. Another championed bill was Senate Bill 2292 which affects the apportionment formula for businesses operating in the state.

All of our speakers highlighted the tax relief the legislature passed. This includes property tax relief and a few significant reductions in the individual and corporate income tax for the state.


Kegs & Issues: Minnesota Vikings Stadium Update

May 29th, 2015 by Julie Doggett

Michele Kel-HelgenMay 7, over 100 attendees packed D-S Beverages, Inc. for a chance to hear from Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, as she spoke about the new stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

Attendees were astounded to hear the economic impact this $1 billion project is already having in the area. Spurring new construction and development is only the beginning of the potential for this project. Kelm-Helgen highlighted the opportunities to host events such as the NFL Superbowl, NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four, all Minnesota Vikings home games, and many other concerts and events. Another focus was the commitment to using Minnesota-based companies and creating
local Minnesota jobs.

Other speakers included former Minnesota Representative Morrie Lanning and Paul Cossette, Vice President of Mortenson Construction.


Cities Built for People

May 20th, 2015 by Julie Doggett

Provide sense of place and increased safety

An urban planner from Ulteig asserted last month that building cities people want to live in requires a major shift from the current design standards.

Mike Zimney told a crowd of approximately 120 people at Eggs & Issues that engineers and planners began laying out urban areas by emulating how interstates are designed – with wide lanes and minimal roadside hazards.

That design aesthetic has resulted in places that do not encourage walking and socializing, Zimney explained.

“A place is walkable when people want to walk because they feel like they are missing out if they don’t,” he said.

Modern street design also encourages faster driving and less caution, leading to increased traffic fatalities and less safe neighborhoods. Before the design shift occurred, the United States ranked behind only the United Kingdom in safest streets. Today, the United Kingdom still tops the list, but the United States has dropped off the list.

Creating great places comes down to two concepts:

1. Providing a sense of place where people can see without being seen, a natural instinct that has transferred from our time as hunters.

2. Designing streets for people, not for cars. On-street parking, narrow lanes, frequent intersections, tight curb radius, the presence of trees and pedestrians automatically result in slower traffic.

If you see fences along streets, chances are traffic is moving too fast because homeowners and business owners are blocking out road noise, Zimney said.

“Mike Zimney’s presentation was a very eye-opening presentation in seeing the different studies of what people want versus what people actually buy,” said ROERS Marketing Director Brianne Hoffman. “Because many of our developments are from the ground up, we found this information very useful both for commercial development as well as residential.”

City of Fargo Commission Mike Williams also provided an update on issues affecting the downtown area such as the need for in-fill to increase property values, additional parking, the new City Hall as well as a bike share program.

Developers Steve Iverson and Steve Stoner described challenges they face balancing the desire for neighborhoods with a sense of place while keeping costs at a reasonable level.

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