The Red River Valley Research Initiative names Tammy Miller, Border States Electric CEO and Steve Burian, President AE2S as co-chairs

The initiative is aimed at bringing together universities and economic development organizations in the Red River Valley along both sides of the river. It promises to be one of the most comprehensive strategic plans the region has seen.

The idea was initiated by Bill Marcil Sr., Forum Communications, who committed $100,000. Marcil Sr. also committed to raising additional funds to support an economic development study evaluating strengths and challenges along the Red River Valley.

The group is soliciting proposals from consulting firms with extensive experience providing strategic planning services to economic development organizations. The effort will lead to the development of a comprehensive economic development plan for the Red River Valley region of North Dakota and Minnesota.

The group expects the consulting work to be completed by August 2013 resulting in a document that lays out a three to five year strategic plan.

American Airlines adds non-stop service from Fargo to Dallas/Forth Worth

Fargo, N.D. (October 24, 2012) – American Airlines announced that starting February 14, 2013, it is adding non-stop service between Fargo and Dallas/Fort Worth.

“We are very excited about American Airlines decision to add Dallas service and increase their presence in Fargo with the additional route,” said Shawn Dobberstein, Fargo Municipal Airport Authority Executive Director. “The Dallas route will bring significant benefits to area leisure and business travelers and is consistent with our community’s economic plan.”

“In today’s global economy, air service is and will continue to be critical business infrastructure. It is a major factor in our community’s efforts to retain and grow jobs. It also affects the quality of life for residents, and we are excited about the opportunity for this additional route to Dallas.” said Jim Gartin, GFMEDC President.

FMAA was able to secure a $750,000 Small Community Air Service Development Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. That grant along with contributions from the GFMEDC, the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce Fargo Moorhead West Fargo helped secure American service to Dallas/Fort Worth.

“We believe the addition of American Airlines will immediately benefit area businesses with better access to international markets and potentially serve as a springboard to additional hubs in the future,” said Brad Schlossman, GFMEDC Board Chair.

“The EDC Board of Directors along with the Cass and Clay County Commissions have developed and adopted an economic strategy that recognizes the critical role competitive air service plays in supporting existing businesses and attracting new businesses,” Schlossman said.

American Airlines began service between Fargo and Chicago in April 2010.

Fargo #2 on Forbes Best Small Places for Business and Careers

With healthy job growth and relatively low costs to live and do business, the Fargo MSA was recently ranked #2 on Forbes list for Best Small Places for Business and Careers.

The 14th annual ranking uses 12 metrics relative to job growth, costs of living and doing business, education and several quality of life factors.


Frontier Airlines Announces Return to Fargo Market, November 9

Frontier Airlines has announced new nonstop service between Fargo and Denver with three weekly nonstop flights beginning on November 9, 2012.

“We are pleased to hear Frontier Airlines is returning to Fargo Moorhead. Business and leisure travelers in our community and surrounding region are delighted to hear the good news,” said Shawn Dobberstein, executive director of Hector International Airport. “We look forward to enhancing our partnership with Frontier to expand air service opportunities in our market that support our business community and leisure travelers.”

Frontier last served the Fargo market in 2010 with a 74-seat regional turboprop aircraft. The new service will use the Airbus 319 aircraft with 138 seats.


West Fargo teacher calls four-week teacher internship “transformative”

Adam Gehlar, a social science teacher at the West Fargo STEM Center, spent four weeks in Sanford Health’s Office of Continuous Improvement learning about lean engineering. Employees at Sanford use lean engineering to evaluate and improve processes related to work spaces and workflows.

“The experience opened my eyes to the possibilities for collaboration between business and education to create a more competent and engaged workforce.” said Gehlar. “The lean engineering concepts and knowledge of the change process has created a platform for continuous improvement at Sanford Health. I will be leveraging those same concepts as I continue educating and leading the 21st century school.”

Four teachers took part in teacher internships this past June. The teachers from West Fargo, Fargo and Moorhead Public Schools spent four weeks in industry learning more about how employees collaborate, communicate and manage projects. Besides Sanford, John Deere Electronic Solutions, Microsoft and Bobcat Company all hosted teacher interns.

Each teacher received a $2,000 stipend and will earn three continuous education credits through NDSU’s Distance and Continuing Education. The teachers will be required to incorporate what they learned into their classroom curriculum.


John Deere Electronic Solutions celebrates 25 years of success in Fargo while Deere & Co., celebrates 175 years

In 2012, Deere & Company marked the 175th anniversary of its existence, which began when company founder John Deere successfullymanufactured and marketed the self-scouring plow in 1837.

Things have changed tremendously since then. From the one-man shop at its inception, Deere currently has more than 60,000 employees worldwide. Today, John Deere designs and manufactures high-tech products in some of the industry’s most modern factories.

John Deere Electronic Solutions (JDES), based in Fargo, N.D, strengthens and differentiates Deere’s global business by developing reliable and rugged electronic components and systems that function under the most extreme conditions, thereby increasing our end customers’ productivity. To enhance innovation, expertise and competitiveness, JDES also provides Phoenix branded custom and off-the-shelf electronics and power electronics for original equipment manufacturers worldwide.

In honor of the 175th anniversary celebration, the John Deere Foundation provided a $175,000 grant to help fund Feeding America’s BackPack Program that provides children nutritious and easy-to-prepare food they need over the course of a weekend.

Locally, JDES is collaborating with United Way of Cass-Clay and the Great Plains Food Bank to pilot the 2012 Summer BackPack Program to celebrate through citizenship.

Throughout the summer, JDES is providing the volunteers and resources to fill 500 backpacks each week for 12 weeks. JDES is also matching employee donations of food and money.

“There are programs in place when school is in session, however, during summer break, many of these children have to struggle with hunger again,” said JDES General Manager Tom Budan. “The John Deere Electronic Solutions team is working to fill that gap this summer and, hopefully, create a program that is sustainable into the future.”