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ENTREPRENEUR. Webster’s dictionary defines it as “One who organizes, manages and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.
For some it means freedom. For others it’s the culmination of dreams.
To me, being an entrepreneur means hours of labor. Of hard work. Being able to think outside the box, being visionary, having an innate belief in myself, knowing that the first step is the hardest, being willing to help others, and the understanding that ‘NO’ is just a word.
My husband and I are both ‘entrepreneurs’. When we moved back to ND five years ago, he brought his business Tom Kat on Site Inc back with him. He is a mobile Caterpillar engine repair specialist. It’s defiantly considered a niche! Getting our business set up in ND wasn’t anywhere near as time-consuming or complicated as what was expected. Both our accountant and local banker were well-informed on what we needed to transition from Colorado to ND. With some creative marketing, a good work ethic and a great atmosphere, his business really took off and we are very happy with it.
Because of our success with Tom Kat on Site, we were able to start TomkatZ Repair (automotive) in Washburn and sell it to my cousin and his family who we had talked into relocating from Sacramento.
We also currently own D’Eggos Diner in Underwood. We’ve been there almost a year now. We decided that since I was already commuting to Bismarck to work in hospitality, I might as well work for myself. It’s been a little more challenging. Business is actually very good. Finding help is the issue at hand. With a little creativity we are overcoming that. Also through the Diner, we have been able to help one of our girls launch Connie’s Cowboy Cookies and Bakery. It works out great … She needs somewhere to bake, I need baked goods.
It’s like paying it forward. North Dakota Style.
For us North Dakota has been a great place to do business. The resources are seemingly endless. There’s networking opportunities, (we became active in the Ambassador program before moving here) free business classes, terrific support from our local lender, a state website that‘s easy to navigate, ‘atta boys’ from the community and much more. We tell everybody to come here! I would definitely say doing business in ND is rewarding. Not just financially, but personally as well.
Written by Guest Blogger – Katy Kassian | We could tell you her story, but she’s already done it so well above! Katy and her husband Tom live in the Regan area.
If Katy has aroused your inner entrepreneur, now’s the time to enter the InnovateND competition. Click the link and find out more!
Family first. That simple priority motivated John Nelson to return to North Dakota, Grand Forks and his former company, SimmonsFlint, as an account manager.
“The strong sense of family and community in the Grand Forks region is what residents value most and what brings Boomerangers back,” reveals the January 2010 Launch Grand Forks Findings and Recommendations report. Sixty-three percent of respondents agreed: family first is what they value most about living in the Grand Forks region.
Nelson and his wife Jill couldn’t agree more. When Miabella was born eight months ago, the couple was filled with joy, excitement and slight panic, like any new parents, especially those living 1,000 miles from the people who shaped them: their parents, their friends, their community.
“You don’t realize what you took for granted until you’ve moved away. A sense of community, safe schools, family first,” explains Nelson. “We take it for granted in North Dakota, but it’s not like that everywhere.”
The Nelsons packed up their ski gear and hiking boots, their professional experience in Colorado and Miabella’s diapers and drove home to North Dakota and their future closer to family.
“Grand Forks is safe, friendly, familiar—yet full of opportunity,” explains Nelson. “It’s the perfect place for us to grow.”
When Nelson called Grand Forks home six years ago, he had different priorities. A band member and regular performer with Crimson Creek players, Nelson was heavily involved in Grand Forks’ music scene. As a high schooler, a college student and a young professional, he regularly shared his musical talents with the community, from Summer Performing Arts (SPA) performances to his college band “Drambuee” to his funk and soul band, Groove Union aka Fatlip.
Nelson’s musical interests even blended into his professional life, as he formed Matrix Recording Studio in the old hospital building in downtown Grand Forks. The studio is still in operation today as Blue Tower Studio in downtown Denver.
Amanda Bentow, president of the Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals (GGFYP) group, explains, “We know that a lot of young professionals move back to Grand Forks because of their family connections, and we’re excited that people like Nelson are seeing the opportunities in the area and coming back to their roots.”
And he isn’t the only Flint employee to return to North Dakota after experiencing life in a bigger city. Libby Hall joined the agency last year after spending five years in Minneapolis. Twenty-four-year-old Hall, recent bride and new media strategist, came back for family, old and new: her parents in northern North Dakota and her husband Jameson. “It’s nice to be closer to our families,” says Hall.
In reference to North Dakota, Nelson says, “I just can’t think of a better place for my young family to call home.”
Written by Guest Blogger – Angie Laxdal (@angie_lynnae) | Angie Laxdal was born and raised in Crystal, North Dakota. She graduated from North Dakota State University in 2009 and currently works as a public relations specialist at SimmonsFlint in Grand Forks. Angie and her husband Kelby love living, working and playing in the Red River Valley.
BISMARCK, N.D. — Commerce Commissioner Shane Goettle today provided legislators on the interim Energy Development and Transmission Committee with a progress report on the state’s current efforts to address western North Dakota infrastructure needs.
“The growth in oil producing counties is having a positive effect on local economies but it is also posing challenges,” Goettle said. “The good news is that city and county officials are working together, and with the state, to make progress on immediate issues, while developing thoughtful plans for permanent, long-term investments that will enhance the infrastructure of this region for years to come.”
More than $210 million in direct funding will go to oil and gas producing cities, counties and schools in the current biennium. That includes $165 million in oil county revenues and $50 million from royalties on federal lands in the public domain.
The state implemented a record budget of $1.35 billion statewide for transportation in 2009-2011, a 50 percent increase from the last biennium. This includes $500 million for state and local roadways. In the 2010-2011 construction seasons, $237 million is dedicated to the western part of the state including the Dickinson, Williston and Minot areas. Goettle said for continued transportation improvements North Dakota needs a dependable, multi-year federal transportation bill.
Major western North Dakota highway projects integrated in the state transportation improvement plan include:
- US 85 - $75 million to Super 2 US 85 with passing lanes, intersection improvements & turning lanes, transitional to four-laning from Williston to I-94.
- ND 12 - $34 million to provide major rehabilitation of the road.
- ND 8 – $21 million to re-grade and add a traffic signal at the intersection of US 2 and ND 8 at Stanley.
- ND 23 - $16.5 million for major upgrades, intersection improvements, passing and turning lanes moving toward a Super 2 status, and designed to allow four-laning.
- ND 22 – $14 million for pavement upgrades.
Additional safety measures have been implemented to improve road safety, including rumble strips, turning lanes, education efforts and enforcement campaigns. According to the North Dakota Highway Patrol these steps are proving effective and fatalities are down in oil and gas producing counties. Fatalities for the 17 oil and gas producing counties are 56 percent lower than last year at this time, 21 fatalities compared to 46 at the same time last year.
More than 1,000 new units are in the works in Williston alone, including about 848 new units permitted or under construction in 2010-11. This includes 122 homes, 169 apartment units, 136 manufactured homes, 30 extended stay-hotel rooms, 233 standard hotel rooms, 158 crew quarters. It also includes a new mobile home park with accommodations for more than 300 lots already committed. In addition, a contractor in Dickinson is planning 170 single family and duplex homes, up to 320 apartment units, and 13 acres of commercial land to serve the community’s long-range needs. Other developers are in the early stages of developing approximately 250 more homes in the Dickinson area. State and local officials are also working successfully to attract additional investors. Several are breaking ground on new housing projects including:
- Granite Peak Development, LLC, in partnership with the City of Williston and Bank of North Dakota has 159 single-family and twin homes targeted for completion by Christmas; two apartment complexes with more than 100 units; and 850 new residential lots are being planned for next spring.
- Leadership Circle, L.L.C. has more than 130 single-family lots in various stages of construction and 16 nearing completion, with 32 targeted for completion by October. Six single-family homes are currently under construction with plans to start at least 10 more homes before October. A 5.5 acre lot is targeted for developing two apartment buildings with between 100 and 120 units.
- Roers Development, Inc., a Fargo-based company with projects in Minot, Jamestown and Fargo, is planning a major five-year project in Dickinson, which will include about 85 single-family homes; about 85 twin homes; up to 320 apartment units; and about 13 acres of commercial land for stores and services.
The State Water Commission has approved 34 groundwater and six surface water permits to help meet industrial and municipal water needs in western North Dakota. Depots in Dodge, Ray, Tioga, Stanley, Watford City and elsewhere are providing the water necessary to address the long-term municipal water supply needs of the petroleum industry to enhance industry sustainability.
New pipeline capacity is helping to reduce wear and tear on state and county roads. In fact, pipeline and rail capacity in the state now exceeds production in both North Dakota and Montana, resulting in reduced discounts for producers of North Dakota petroleum and less stress on the state’s infrastructure. For example, the new Four Bears Pipeline scheduled to be completed late this year or early next year will be able to transport 60,000 barrels of oil per day, enough to take 300 trucks a day off ND 22 and ND 23 between New Town and Dickinson. Other intra- and interstate pipelines and gathering systems throughout western North Dakota are reducing traffic on the roads.
Studies and Initiatives
To help cities and counties with their planning, Goettle said the Commerce Department is collaborating with the Oil and Gas Producing Counties and other state agencies on studies and initiatives to gather information about transportation, housing and workforce needs prior to the upcoming session.
- Transportation: The study is compiling an assessment of current traffic counts on key county and township arteries in order to quantify short-, intermediate- and long-term needs. Goettle said a draft report is expected by mid-November.
- Housing: The North Dakota Housing and Finance Agency, the North Dakota Department of Commerce and the Bank of North Dakota are providing 70 percent of the funding for a comprehensive housing assessment to identify opportunities and barriers to housing development in these communities. When completed, sometime in December, the final report will include an examination of housing issues from the employers’, communities’ and developers’ perspectives. The communities of Watford City, Williston, Tioga, Stanley, New Town and Parshall have joined this study.
- Workforce: The North Dakota Petroleum Council and the North Dakota Department of Commerce are conducting a workforce needs assessment to project the workforce and skill needs for the oil and natural gas industry and industry sub-sectors. Seventy-seven oil and gas employers were targeted for this survey. This survey also includes a series of questions designed to assess short and long term housing demand to feed into the housing study described above. The study is to be complete before the legislative session begins in January.
- Technical Assistance: This $300,000 technical assistance matching grant program available through the North Dakota Department of Commerce will help cities and counties in oil development areas craft plans for water, sewer, zoning and other infrastructure needs connected with oil and gas development. To date, Commerce has received formal applications from McKenzie County, Adams County, Stark County, Parshall, Crosby, Stanley and Killdeer and interest from a number of other communities.
State Agencies Working To Help
Meanwhile, the state is working to help through existing agencies and programs. The ND Public Finance Authority is providing assistance with bonds, up to $10 million in two phases to reduce risk. The Bank of North Dakota is providing Flex PACE loans; letters of credit to mitigate risk for necessary infrastructure in support of housing developments; access to credit with local lenders; and a variety of housing programs, including a $10 million pool to purchase USDA Guaranteed Loans. The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency is providing a total of $4.2 million in western North Dakota through a broad range of programs to provide financial assistance for low- and moderate-income housing.
“We’re working with cities and counties to provide the funding and technical support necessary to substantially boost their ability to meet both the immediate and long-range transportation, housing, and water needs of their communities,” Goettle said.
Goettle said the various studies are advancing to fully assess needs. The challenge for lawmakers and local authorities will be to find consensus on how those needs will be presented and funding will be administered and distributed.
“North Dakota is investing significant sums of money to address infrastructure needs in this region,” Goettle said. “In doing so, it’s essential that we not only make funds available but that we ensure the money is being used wisely and in a way that will provide meaningful long-term solutions.”
I love it when a young person in North Dakota gets it! As a whole, people in North Dakota talk a little too negative about our state and it’s time we stopped. This University of North Dakota student, Madi Whitman, captured it great in a recent post for the Dakota Student that was shared by the Youth Forward blog. I hope you enjoy the frank and fresh perspective.
Madi Whitman, a student at UND, offers her opinion on the upside of calling North Dakota home. This article was originally published on the Dakota Student website. Click here to read the full article http://www.dakotastudent.com/opinion/north-dakota-has-definite-merits-1.1577739
Throughout my last few years in Grand Forks, I have heard many complaints regarding our present location. I understand many of them, as Grand Forks is not exactly the most thrilling of places to live, but I tend to become a little irritated when the distaste is extended to the entire state.
I will admit that I do not enjoy dressing for the winter like I am preparing for the Iditarod, and I despise I-29 with the intensity of a January blizzard, but these are all minor blemishes on an otherwise flawless profile.
I will skip the lecture about low crime rates, our good economy, work ethic, and that crap about us being the friendliest (although I have found this to be at least somewhat true, but more on that later) and will instead focus on the core of the state, that which produces the attributes of our residence we proudly display.
Firstly: wheat. As current occupants of Grand Forks County, I am willing to venture a guess that you have all at least seen it at some point or another. But have you really seen it?
The ways in which the wind acts on the green sheaves and the waves of wheat rolling across a field are simply glorious. I had always thought the “amber waves of grain” line from “America the Beautiful” was a little lame, but seeing it in person is quite moving.
For those of you who are not from our lovely state or have not explored it extensively, it may come as a surprise that the region is not wholly flat.
“A place exists with a higher elevation than the Columbia overpass” you ask? Indeed, the far west of North Dakota is rather stunning with its rugged terrain and commanding buttes. But perhaps it is not so much the landscape that defines the state as it is the people who inhabit it.
I am slowly realizing that part of the “North Dakota nice” broadcasted to the population is partially a front. I once had a friend from out of state tell me that once the cold moved in, we were just as mean as everyone else, although I think the “we” in that statement is perhaps reserved for our behavior on the days in which the weather is too bitter for anyone. The term does have validity, though, especially in rural areas.
Once, several months ago, I parked in a farmstead outside of a very small town, waiting for a coworker. As I sat in our vehicle, a large tractor drove up, and a one-armed woman maneuvered out of it to speak to me. Over the roar of the motor, I shouted the reason for my presence. Although it was not explained particularly well and I am convinced she could not hear me, she smiled warmly and nodded before firing up a truck and heading into town to continue her business, trusting that I would remain as a benevolent presence. Perhaps “nice” is not the word I am trying to demonstrate, but “friendly.” However, even that does not seem to fit well.
Another example: on a separate occasion, I was at another farmstead, waiting in our vehicle while my coworker spoke with a rancher about his land. I went to give them some paperwork, and the rancher introduced himself to me and said: “now, I’m not a male chauvinist and I’m not sure if you’re one of them women’s libers, but I’m going to ask you this as a father and a grandfather: would you like to use the bathroom?”
I am not sure if such a question would be asked in other places, and I doubt it is specific to North Dakota, but it is so typical of our great state that I think it demonstrates my point.
I know NoDak has its cons, but I think the pros far outweigh them. There is something about this place that cannot be found once one crosses the border. Complain all you want about the cold and the flat portions of the land, but please, don’t hate the state
It may seem like a mystery to some people, but soon thousands of North Dakotans will be getting up before the crack of dawn for hunting season. Why? Because they love it!
North Dakota is one of the few places that allow for ample hunting opportunities from waterfowl to bigger game. We gladly welcome back the many North Dakota Ambassdors who return each year for the hunt. This year, thanks to the American Heart Association, we’re also asking them to be save while hunting and remember to think of their heart as well.
Every year media reports include stories of hunter suffering heart attacks during this season. If you’re not prepared, haven’t had a physical and haven’t exercised much in the year since the last hunt, you may be putting yourself at risk for a heart attack.
A recent study compared the heart workload of an individual while hunting to that of the same individual while exercising on a treadmill on a different day. The results of the study showed that hunting puts the heart under more strain.
Hunters, who have not been to their doctor in the year since the last hunt, should take this opportunity to get a checkup before hunting season begins. Ask your doctor if you should have a stress test.
Smoking is a major risk factor for heart attack and heart disease, so one of the best things you can do for your heart is put out the cigarettes.
Other tips include avoiding a heavy breakfast before heading out into the woods and to avoid hunting alone. Bring a cell phone to reach emergency services if needed and tell friends or family your location and scheduled return. Also, make sensible plans for moving any game taken.
According to the American Heart Association, warning signs of a heart attack are an uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing, or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back again. Also, the pain may spread to the shoulders, neck and arms and is often accompanied by lightheadedness, sweating, nausea and shortness of breath.
Stroke is also a concern while hunting and its warning signs include a sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, and a sudden dizziness and loss of coordination.
The American Heart Association Start! program has a series of online tools that can encourage conditioning and get individuals walking to better heart health. For every hour of regular, vigorous exercise, like brisk walking, one can expect two hours will be added to their life expectancy.
The Start! program offers free online tools at www. heart.org/start
For more information on warning signs of a heart attack – go to: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/Heart-Attack_UCM_001092_SubHomePage.jsp