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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


Business Leaders Push Flood Protection Forward

July 16th, 2014 by Jessica Lee

The Business Leaders for Flood Protection Task Force continues to actively support the FM Diversion projects. The task force is a joint effort of The Chamber, the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Authority, and the Home Builders Association of F-M with a cross-section of more than 30 business leaders who are committed to the success of the FM Diversion.

On May 23, the taskforce held a press conference with Senator John Hoeven to announce the congressional authorization of the project. Mayor Dennis Walaker, Councilmember Nancy Otto and Diversion Authority Board Chair Darrell Vanyo along with task force Chairperson Tom Dawson noted the significance of the event and recognized the efforts of everyone involved.

On July 9, the taskforce held their regular quarterly meeting with an exclusive focus on Minnesota. More than 50 people attended that meeting, including Mayor Del Rae Williams and several Moorhead council members as well as Clay County Commissioners; additionally, the three members of the Minnesota Legislature from District 4, Senator Kent Eken, Representatives Ben Lien and Paul Marquart heard from numerous Minnesota business leaders on their support for the F-M Diversion project.

Eventide Senior Living CEO Jon Riewer remarked on regional impact the project has and noted that Eventide has nearly 500 jobs located in Minnesota and more than  200 Minnesotans cross the river to work in North Dakota.

Moorhead Public Service Commissioner and Moorhead resident Dave Anderson spoke about the impact the floods have had on Sanford Health and reminded the group of the trauma of scattering patients during their evacuation and the $4.5 million dollar one-year economic impact that had. He concluded by commenting on affect it has on Sanford as they continue to have a downtown presence.

Bryce Johnson from the Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead talked about the economic impact on the region that the 2009 flood had when the building industry shut down. In a three-month time period she reported less than 12 building permits were pulled.

Brad Schlossman spoke to the impact the flood fight had on retail activity and pointed to the lasting impact the flood has had the Columbia Mall in Grand Forks.

Several other business leaders, including former Representative Morrie Lanning commented on the importance of regional cooperation and reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring this project continues to move forward.

Vanyo and Moorhead City Engineer Bob Zimmerman also provided the task force updates on Moorhead’s current flood protection levels, mitigation efforts, and funding.

Community Partners Serve As Bedrock to Health Care Reform Questions

July 9th, 2014 by Jessica Lee

The way we shop for and buy our health insurance has changed dramatically since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010. Fortunately, navigators may be a trusted source for in-person assistance when applying or enrolling.

Lakes and Prairies Community Action Partnership, Inc., has several navigators on staff to assist families and individuals through the MNSure System.

“All Lakes & Prairies staff have had background checks by the State of Minnesota and passed or they would not be on staff,” explained Joe Pederson, executive director of Lakes and Prairie Community Action Agency.

In Minnesota, navigators are not insurance agents or brokers, but they have completed 20 hours of training and passed a required exam. Certified navigators in Clay County, Minnesota, can be located by visiting the MNSure website.

Learn more about the changing world of health care at our upcoming Health Care Summit on July 22. Check out our panels, speakers and register for this informative event today.

Public Affairs Committee Chair Profile: Jim Roers, ROERS

June 30th, 2014 by Danielle Teigen

 Public Affairs Committee Chair Profile: Jim Roers, ROERSThe Public Affairs committee serves as the advocacy arm of The Chamber. A cross-section of Chamber members comprises the committee, which assesses public policies and offers support to those that preserve the integrity of the business climate.

Jim Roers, chief executive officer and founder of ROERS, is completing his first year as the Public Affairs committee chair.

What have you enjoyed most about serving as committee chair for the Public Affairs committee? I have enjoyed getting involved with the concerns of the community at a higher level. I have been meeting people from many different professions and in numerous business fields. Holding this position has allowed me the opportunity to convey experiences from ROERS with others and utilize my knowledge and experiences from across the state in ways that benefit the community from both a local and statewide perspective.

What is one thing you would like other people to know about the Public Affairs committee? I’d like people to know about the different issues that affect businesses in the Red River corridor. Originally I thought this committee was going to be an easy task; once I joined, I realized there are new items facing our area on a daily, weekly, monthly basis and that the topics that become important can change quickly. Changes affect our area businesses, and I feel it is very beneficial to have a committee like this that allows for input from the business community so we can decide t always have time to discuss each of these items that affect their own business, so relying on this committee to tackle these issues is a huge benefit in being able to investigate the details.

What are major public policy issues you see impacting Chamber members in the near future? Flood protection, water supply, educational systems, taxes (property, income, sales), conservation measures and legislative issues.

YPN Committee Chair: Dustin Dale, AE2S

June 30th, 2014 by Danielle Teigen

Dustin Dale 200x300 YPN Committee Chair: Dustin Dale, AE2SThe Young Professionals Network committee plans, schedules and coordinates quality, cost-effective training programs and networking events that enhance the personal and professional development of young professionals and helps connect them to the Chamber, community and each other.

Dustin Dale, a project engineer at Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc. (AE2S), is serving his second year in a YPN leadership role, with one left. Leaders begin as Vice Chair, move to Chair and end as Past Chair.

What have you enjoyed most about serving as committee chair for the YPN committee? There are many things to enjoy as chair, but the best part is working with motivated YPN volunteers and Chamber staff. Their creativity and can-do attitudes serve as a constant reminder of what makes this community great!

What is one thing you would like other people to know about the Young Professionals Network? Attending YPN events are a great way to learn and network, but becoming involved on a committee provides great opportunities from leadership to networking as well as a chance to learn more about The Chamber, YPN and the area.

What upcoming YPN event are you most looking forward to? There are great events coming up including a summer picnic and night at the RedHawks, but the big event we’re planning for this fall is a celebration of YPN’s 10-year anniversary. Watch for more details on that to come in the next few months.

President’s Corner: July 2014

June 30th, 2014 by Danielle Teigen

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

Flooding has been a persistent threat to our community for too long, and we are hopeful that the threat is even closer to being eradicated with the presidential signing of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). The Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion Project has received the federal support it needs to move forward in providing permanent flood protection for nearly 200,000 people in North Dakota and Minnesota.

The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo business community has been affected greatly during past flooding events when businesses have to shut down to protect facilities or allow employees time to protect their homes. In addition, the threat of even minimal flooding can impede new businesses from opening in the area. When we organized the Business Leaders for Permanent Flood Protection Task Force a year and a half ago, we sought to educate state and federal lawmakers about the significant and devastating impact flooding has on our economy and the businesses within this community.

At the beginning of North Dakota’s 2013 Legislative Session, lawmakers had only heard from a few local elected officials about permanent flood protection and funding for the project had been stripped from the bill. Clearly, more voices were needed to truly impart the importance of building a diversion to protect the community; our task force responded in droves.

Ultimately, the North Dakota legislature provided the intent to fund North Dakota’s share of the project up to $450 million. The federal authorization of the WRRDA and its $846 million for the project means the Corps and local sponsors represented by Fargo, Moorhead and the Diversion Authority will work on signing a project agreement regarding cost sharing and construction of the project, according to a press release on the F-M Area s website.

Our task force remains ready to step in at a moment’s notice to advocate for the importance of this project whenever the need arises as this project moves forward. Permanent flood protection is crucial to the success of our business community, and while we celebrate this victory and the support this project has received, we know we have a long road remaining to realizing the protection this community wants and deserves.

Thank you for your membership,
Craig Whitney
The Chamber

Fraud Expert, Former Con Man Shares Prevention Measures

June 23rd, 2014 by Danielle Teigen

After spending more than 35 years working for the FBI, Frank Abagnale, Jr., knows a thing or two about fraud and how to prevent it.Frank 300x200 Fraud Expert, Former Con Man Shares Prevention Measures Last week, more than 500 people gave Abagnale their rapt attention as he described how white collar crimes are committed and ways for audience members to protect themselves and their businesses. Abagnale successfully impersonated a pilot, pediatrician and lawyer as a teenager before serving time in prison. His memoir, “Catch Me If You Can,” became a movie directed by Stephen Spielberg.

During “The Art of the Steal” presentation, which is based on his book of the same name, Abagnale said opportunity is most often cited as the reason criminals commit fraud.

Here are some other interesting and helpful tips Abagnale offered the audience members:

  • If an employee ever steals from you, file a 1099. Abagnale said any money acquired by theft is considered taxable income, and an employer has three years to file a 1099.
  • Children are often victims of identity theft because criminals can use the stolen identity for long periods of time before the theft is detected.
  • Spot counterfeit bills by paying attention to a few details, like a visible watermark, color shifting ink, and micro printing on the edges and collars of the featured presidents.
  • Positive Pay is one of the most effective check fraud prevention tools a business can use. This service allows a business to match checks it has issued with those that have been presented for payment and reject any that do not match exactly.

Abagnale closed his presentation by explaining that prevention is possible if people are educated and aware of the white collar tactics criminals use to steal billions of dollars every year. He also said he is happy to answer questions people have about fraud prevention; he can be contacted through his website, www.abagnale.com.

Abagnale’s presentation was followed by a panel discussion of local cases involving a variety of scams. The panelists included:

  • Tom Irvin and Adam Henney with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service
  • Shane Conroy with Homeland Security Investigations
  • Ryan Nelson with the Moorhead Police Department and Amy Getz with the Fargo Police Department
  • Nathan Glur with the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division
  • Nick Chase with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in North Dakota
  • Lisa Jemtrud with the Better Business Bureau of MN and ND

Tim Purdon with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in North Dakota moderated the discussion.

To learn more about “The Art of the Steal,” check out the July issue of The Bridge. Check out the Twitter conversation by searching #FrankStealsFargo.

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