Articles

Donald Pederson | Nice Alumni Series

The design of electronic chips that power today’s cell phones, computers, and robotics were built on a foundation laid by Donald Pederson. He developed the Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis (SPICE), one of the most important tools in electrical engineering of the last 50 years. But before he created groundbreaking technologies, Pederson held a weekend job repairing motors at Fargo Electric Motor Company.

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Manny Ohonme | Nice Alumni Series

Growing up hungry compelled Manny to pursue an education that would enable him to work for the UN Food Program. This goal led him to study supply chain management at NDSU’s School of Transportation. Years later, Manny traveled back to Nigeria when his father passed away. While there, he saw children without shoes and reflected on how shoes had encouraged him to dream big dreams. He learned over 1.5 billion people in the world were infected with diseases transmitted through the feet, so he and his wife began working to create a world where there were zero shoeless children.

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Jake Joraanstad & Ryan Raguse | Nice Alumni Series

Bushel is headquartered in Fargo and Ryan notes that, “Fargo chose us. The entrepreneurial ecosystem accepted us kids into that world and there was so much momentum staying here. We would have been stupid to go anywhere else.” Reflecting on their active journey, they agree hard work and dedication is essential. According to Jake: “You have to be willing to hit your head against the wall until you break through.”

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Chad Johnson | Nice Alumni Series

The experience of nearly losing his job compelled Chad Johnson to start his own design and rendering firm, working alongside his brother from coffee shops and a home office. But as business grew, he was drawn to collaborative coworking spaces that were beginning to become popular at the time. He and his brother partnered to create their own space and, somewhat suddenly, he became both an architect and a business owner.

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Keenan Hauff | Nice Alumni Series

Growing up in Bismarck, North Dakota, Keenan Hauff displayed the archetypal traits of a budding entrepreneur. He sold lemonade to construction workers, mowed lawns in his neighborhood for cash, and set his creativity free by making videos with friends. (One day, this last activity would become much more than a hobby.)

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Erik Hatch | Nice Alumni Series

Following university, Hatch spent a decade in ministry. He waited to make the leap into entrepreneurship until he had clarity about what he was running toward. The new target was real estate, and he started working toward it part-time while continuing full-time in ministry. By 2015 Hatch Realty was established.

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Alf Clausen | Nice Alumni Series

Alf began his undergraduate work at North Dakota State University as a mechanical engineering student before his cousin, a pianist, inspired him to consider studying musical theory. That seemingly small decision opened him up to the entire music industry, a place where his prolific work has left an indelible mark on music in entertainment.

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Doug Burgum | Nice Alumni Series

Doug’s early foray into entrepreneurship involved a chimney sweeping business that he started during his senior year at NDSU. The local newspaper ran a story with a photo of him sitting atop an icy chimney in freezing temperatures. Around this same time he had applied to Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. The news story made the AP wire service and eventually caught the attention of Stanford’s admissions office. He went on to study there alongside eventual Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

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Jennifer Burgard | Nice Alumni Series

During the summer, Jennifer Burgard worked on her grandparents’ farm, sorting sprockets and belts they bought from auctions. At a rate of three cents per sprocket, she grasped the concept of earning one’s pay early on. And though she hadn’t thought she’d run her own business someday, the foundations of her work ethic were laid at that farm.

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Kevin and Kalli Black | Nice Alumni Series

Kevin and Kalli Black are the founders of Creedence Energy Services is a leading production chemical company in North Dakota and Texas with over 70 employees and an eye towards growth with recent investment from Tower Arch Capital. Learn more about their entrepreneurial journey in this edition of Nice Alumni Series.

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