Valley Prosperity Partnership Research Phase Well Underway

The consultants continue to send out surveys and have met with community and business leaders in the Grand Forks, Fargo and Wahpeton areas. The consultants interviewed roughly 80 people in the Fargo region in group and one-on-one interviews as well as through  phone calls.

The initiative was started with a $100,000 investment from Forum Communications Company Chairman, William C. Marcil. Close to 30 business, education and economic development leaders have invested in the process and make up a steering committee to lead the effort.

Leading the initiative are steering committee co-chairs Tammy Miller, CEO of Border States Electric in Fargo, and Steve Burian, CEO of AE2S in Grand Forks. The GFMEDC and the Grand Forks Regional Economic Development Corporation are also an integral part of the process.

North Dakota Sees more airlines, destinations and passenger connections

Airline travel in North Dakota is up more than 10% from last year’s record-breaking numbers. Williston currently leads the state in growth, boarding two and half times the number of passengers compared to April 2012. Fargo, Grand Forks, Bismarck and Williston airports all had their highest April boardings on record.

United and Delta Airlines are scheduled to start servicing Dickinson in June. Bismarck, Dickinson, Williston, and Minot are all being serviced by four airlines, and Fargo has five airlines for travelers to choose from.

North Dakotans can now fly directly to Minneapolis, Denver, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Orlando, Dallas/Ft Worth, and Los Angeles.

“The state is making good use of its 89 airports, and now is a perfect time to invest in aviation infrastructure,” says Larry Taborsky, Director of the Aeronautics Commission. “Our office anticipates the numbers to continue to increase, especially with increased capacity coming this summer.” event builds on Fargo Moorhead’s entrepreneurial ecosystem (April 26)

Innovation and entrepreneurship have been transformative for many in our region, and it has been a driving force in the development of our economy. To continue to support and fuel the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the GFMEDC and Arthur Ventures invite you to join us at the first ever event.
Friday, April 26 10:00 a.m. – noon
Fargo Theatre
Tickets (free) at: will feature two global leaders in the entrepreneurship community: Forbes Publisher and North Dakotan, Rich Karlgaard, and Atlassian Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Mike Cannon-Brookes. Rich and Mike will share their experience of entrepreneurship and innovation as well as their ideas for the future.

Arthur Ventures and the GFMEDC are committed to supporting regional entrepreneurial efforts. Inspired and encouraged by the success of TEDxFargo and Startup Weekend, we hope to build on this momentum. Tickets are limited, and we expect a packed crowd for the event. Please make sure if you sign up for a ticket that you attend. If you have questions, please contact Greg Tehven at

About the Speakers:

Since 1998, Rich Karlgaard has served as Publisher of Forbes, where he writes a biweekly column called Innovation Rules. Rich is also a regular panelist on cable news’ popular business show, Forbes on FOX and frequent guest analyst on CNBC’s The Kudlow Report. In 1997, he founded Garage Technology Ventures with Guy Kawasaki.  As a journalist, investor and thought leader, he is passionate about driven leadership, innovation, and growth. Learn more about Rich –

Mike Cannon-Brookes is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Atlassian – an award winning enterprise software company that helps teams of all sizes track and share everything, work smarter, and create better software together.  Atlassian currently has over 25,000 customers globally and has been named one of the “Fastest Growing Companies” by both Deloitte and BRW Magazine. Mike has received international recognition for his work, including the “Australian IT Professional of the Year” award in 2004 and “Australian Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006. He’s also been honored by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2009, and is currently a member of The Forum of Young Global Leaders.  Learn more about Atlassian’s growth –

GFMEDC, Chamber Urge Members to Join in Flood Fight

Together, the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber and the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation (GFMEDC) are urging members, investors and their employees to get involved in sandbagging efforts and help prevent spring flooding.

The organizations are asking that members allow their employees to volunteer to sandbag during the hours of 2 and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, beginning April 3, 2013 at Sandbag Central in the 2400 block of Eighth Avenue North. The City of Fargo is hoping to complete a million sandbags in 10 days to protect the city to 42.5 feet.

The Chamber and GFMEDC have made long-term flood protection a top priority. The Business Leaders’ for Permanent Flood Protection task force continues to advocate for the diversion project and the importance of comprehensive flood risk reduction.

“We are fortunate to have made it through past floods largely unscathed,” said President of the GFMEDC Jim Gartin. “We must remain vigilant in ensuring that the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo region remains open for business 365 days a year. Let’s remove major flooding from the long list of national headlines about our community.”

February Economic Indicators Released

The unemployment rate for the Fargo Moorhead MSA sits at 4.7% compared to a national unemployment rate at 8.5% (not seasonally adjusted). North Dakota’s unemployment sits at 4.3%.

Housing starts for the MSA totals 87 year-to-date compared to 53 last year.

Total passengers at Hector International Airport also shows 9% growth compared to the same time last year with 64,521 January 2013 compared to 58,742 January 2012.

Third quarter 2012 taxable sales for Cass County was up 9.4% (compared to the same time the previous year) at $824,200,648.

About the data:

On a monthly basis, the GFMEDC gathers data that provides a glimpse of the region’s economic health and stability. Data is collected from Job Service North Dakota’s Workforce Intelligence Network, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, National Association of Homebuilders, Hector International Airport and the North Dakota Office of State Tax Commissioner.

The Fargo, N.D. – Minn. Metropolitan Statistical Area (referred to as the Fargo Moorhead MSA) is delineated by the Office of Management and Budget as the region of Cass County, N.D. and Clay County, Minn.  Complete Economic Indicators

American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth connection will make doing business nationally and globally a little easier

The addition of an American Airlines flight between Fargo and Dallas/Fort Worth has created better access to both national and international destinations. Better connectivity allows companies to do business more efficiently. It also makes the Fargo Moorhead Metro a more attractive location to locate a business.

The added service has proven to be a popular option for travelers. “As soon as we announced that the service was available for booking, Fargo was the number one booked route of the new routes we were flying.” said Dale Morris, American Airlines.

According to Morris, a direct flight to Seoul, South Korea from Dallas is expected to begin in May.

The Dallas/Fort Worth connection will be offered daily. DFW is the largest of American’s five domestic hubs offering more than 740 departures to nearly 170 cities in Asia, Europe, North America and South America. American Airlines also connects Fargo to Chicago.

Regional business leaders shape plan for Valley’s economic future

Spurred by the vision and a $100,000 investment from Forum Communications Company Chairman William C. Marcil, the Valley Prosperity Partnership (VPP) has been formed to identify strategic economic opportunities to bring the Red River Valley region of North Dakota and Minnesota together to focus on workforce, job creation, social infrastructure, and economic needs of the region.

Led by business leaders, the Valley Prosperity Partnership initiative brings together higher education, economic development, and industry leaders in the Red River Valley. The VPP promises to deliver a comprehensive strategic plan for the region.

“Through this initiative, the Valley’s private sector will build a roadmap for our region’s economic prosperity,” Marcil said, “and identify actions we can take to augment the resources of our great research universities.”

Leading the initiative are steering committee co-chairs Tammy Miller, CEO of Border States Electric in Fargo, and Steve Burian, CEO of AE2S in Grand Forks.

“Our state’s economic landscape continues to grow and change, due in large part to booming oil and agriculture sectors. For all areas to prosper and grow, Valley communities must be more collaborative and strategic in our planning” said Miller.

“Through this process we will define what communities in the Red River Valley can do together to capitalize on opportunities and strengthen our region’s economic and employment base,” said Burian.

VPP retained Wadley-Donovan GrowthTech, a New Jersey-based firm specializing in comprehensive economic development strategic planning, to evaluate the region and to develop a strategic plan. Work on the plan will begin in this month and is expected to be delivered in September 2013.

Steering committee members have invested at least $20,000 each to support the work of the VPP.  Joining Miller and Burian on the committee are:

  • William C. Marcil, Chairman, Forum Communications Company
  • Dave Anderson, Director of Public Affairs, Sanford Health
  • Barry Batcheller, Chairman & CEO, Appareo Systems
  • David Berg, President & CEO, American Crystal Sugar
  • Karl Bollingberg, Executive Vice President, Alerus Finanical
  • Dean Bresciani, President, North Dakota State University
  • Doug Burgum, Founder, Arthur Ventures
  • John Eickhof, President, Construction Engineers
  • Jim Galloway, Principal, JLG Architects
  • Jim Gartin, President, Greater Fargo Moorhead EDC
  • Hal Gershman, Owner, Happy Harry’s Bottle Shops
  • Robert Kelley, President, University of North Dakota
  • Dennis Millirons, President, Sanford Health
  • Dave Molmen, CEO, Altru Health System
  • Mark Nisbet, North Dakota Principal Manager, Xcel Energy
  • Ronald Offutt, Chairman & CEO, RDO Equipment
  • John Richman, President, North Dakota State College of Science
  • Wes Rydell, Owner, The Rydell Company
  • Thomas Shorma, President & CEO, WCCO Belting
  • Anne Temte, President, Northland Community & Technical College
  • Klaus Thiessen, President & CEO, Grand Forks Region EDC
  • Paul von Ebers, President & CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota

GFMEDC Adds New Board Members, Elects Officers

Fargo, N.D. (January 23, 2013) – Nine area professionals joined the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation (GFMEDC) board of directors.

Six at-large directors:

  • Judd Graham, Wells Fargo Bank, Market President
  • Bryce Johnson, FM Home Builders Association, Executive Director
  • Denise Magness, Warner & Company, Executive VP & COO
  • Bill Marcil, Jr., Publisher The Forum, COO Forum Communications Company
  • Marshal Albright, Cass County Electric Cooperative, VP Member and Energy Services
  • Randy Gerhold, Microsoft, Fargo R&D Site Leader

Three new agency directors:

  • Chad Peterson, Cass County Commission
  • Kevin Campbell, Clay County Commission
  • Mayor Rich Mattern, City of West Fargo

New members, Graham, Johnson, Magness, Marcil, Albright, Gerhold, Peterson, Campbell and Mattern began their terms on January 1.

The board also elected and re-elected officers for 2013.

Board officers are:

  • Board Chair:       Brad Schlossman, West Acres Development, President
  • Chair-Elect:        Dennis Millirons, Sanford Health, President
  • Treasurer:          Tammy Miller, Border States Electric, CEO
  • Secretary:       Tom Dawson, Dawson Insurance, President

Guidance from the board helps the GFMEDC achieve its goals and lays the groundwork for the economic health of Cass County, N.D. and Clay County, Minn. The board is made up of 33 directors. It includes a nine-member executive committee; ten at-large members elected from investor businesses; representatives of the Fargo City Commission, West Fargo City Commission and Moorhead City Council; representatives of the Cass County Commission and Clay County Commission; one development council representative; the superintendents of Fargo, West Fargo and Moorhead public schools; and the presidents of Concordia College, Minnesota State University Moorhead and North Dakota State University.  Board members can serve up to three terms.

The GFMEDC strives to grow the economy ofCass County,N.D.and Clay County, Minn. by attracting, expanding and retaining primary-sector businesses.  A primary-sector business is one that brings new dollars into a community through the sale of its products and services outside the trade area. The primary sector is the foundation of an economy and the principal driver of community growth and development.


Lisa Gulland-Nelson
VP, Marketing & Public Relations

Start-up Weekend, a 54-hour entrepreneur event is coming to Fargo

In March, Fargo will host its first Startup Weekend, an event bringing together entrepreneurs, designers, developers and startup enthusiasts to participate in 54 hours of taking innovative business ideas from concept to launch.

Local CEOs, founders, and startup veterans will be on hand to provide expertise and give talks on their experiences in the fast-paced world of technology startups.

Keynote speaker is Phil Soran, serial entrepreneur in the technology field. He was most recently the president and CEO  of Compellent Technologies.

Registration is open for anyone interested in what it takes to be an entrepreneur. If you don’t want to participate, join us on Sunday for the pitches and post party. It’s going to be a blast! For more information check out the website at


State of Global Economy Trade Talk

Our partners at the ND Trade Office are putting on a great event focused on the state of the global economy. Registration ends Monday, January 7.

What is the state of the global economy as we enter 2013? Join NDTO Wednesday, Jan. 9, to discuss the future of worldwide trade with experts and peers at the 2013 State of the Global Economy Trade Talk. In addition to gaining insight from Wells Fargo International Economist Aryam Vazquez, this breakfast event will provide an arena to exchange predictions about the future of the economy in both established countries and emerging market to help provide valuable insight for North Dakota exporters as we continue to navigate the global economic situation.

Click here for event information and registration.