Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives


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National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, Dulles, VA

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Co-operate 2020

Hosted by

The Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives and in partnership with the North Dakota Coordinating Council for Cooperatives.


Bismarck State College National Energy Center of Excellence
November 17 & 18, 2020
1200 Schafer Street
Bismarck, ND 58501


Dan Thurmon 

A teacher of peak performance, an author of impactful books and presentations, and a lifelong student of success, happiness, and achievement, Dan Thurmon is on a mission. To encourage attendees' uniqueness and contributions. To discover a sense of purpose and greatness. To have meaning at work, and in their lives.

At an early age, Dan learned the power of performance, on stage and in the various parts of our life. When he was eleven years old, he encountered a mentor who taught him some amazing physical skills, but also gave him a channel for his bountiful energy. He quickly excelled as a variety artist, comedy entertainer, and entrepreneur. Even in his high school years, the connection between business awareness, high level service, and self-improvement became evident and fascinating.

Graduating with honors, his entertainment business paid for his business degree at the University of Georgia. He applied the lessons in sales, management, and marketing to his entrepreneurial ventures in real time.

Since that critical pivot of life and work, he has worked with organizations around the world, in every spectrum of business: Fortune 500 companies. Startups. Associations across hundreds of industries. Troops on the front lines. Students, teachers, and entrepreneurs. Through his presentations and workshops, Dan helps these organizations to accelerate improvement, facilitate true breakthroughs and enable and encourage greatness.

Inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame and a member of the illustrious Speakers Roundtable, Dan also served as President of the National Speakers Association, leading their CEO, staff and 3,500 world-wide members in a profound transformation.

Dan believes deeply that the right words, presented in the right way, at the right time, can change everything. His lifelong study of language and presentation skills have enabled a mastery of landing the critical idea that will shift an individual...or an organization. His opening presentations enable more productive and transformational meetings. Or as a closer, he provides a call to action that elevates the experience and the ROI of a meeting investment.

Organizational change happens when people make breakthroughs. Dan's presentations help organizations to become more of who they strive to be. When that happens, people become better. Companies become better. And the world becomes better.

Shel Holz

Shel Holtz, SCMP (Certified Strategic Communication Management Professional), is currently director of Internal Communication at Webcor, a San Francisco-based commercial contractor. He is responsible for employee and executive communication, as well as social media. He also supports Webcor’s corporate public relations efforts.

Before joining Webcor in October 2017, Shel spent 21 years as principal of Holtz Communication + Technology, where he brought more than 40 years of organizational communications experience in both corporate and consulting environments to his long list of clients. He is experienced in employee communications, corporate public relations, crisis communications, media relations, financial communications, investor relations, marketing communications, and compensation and benefits communications. In addition to integrating technology into communications strategies, his expertise includes strategic communications planning, change management, organizational culture, business initiatives, and communications research.

Before forming Holtz Communication + Technology, Shel was senior communications consultant and the communications practice leader for Alexander & Alexander Consulting Group in San Francisco, California. (A&ACG has since been acquired by Aon Consulting.) Other positions include director of corporate communications for Allergan, Inc., a Fortune 400 pharmaceutical company, and at Mattel, Inc. He also has worked for William M. Mercer, Inc., ARCO and Transamerica Financial Corporation.

In addition to his consulting and development work, Shel is a regular speaker on topics surrounding the application of online technology to strategic organizational communication. He speaks regularly at IABC and Ragan Communication conferences. He also has been on programs for the International Quality and Productivity Center, The American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business, the American Gas Association, the American Institute of Certified Public Accounts, the Association of California Water Agencies, and the Western Pension & Benefits Conference, among others. He also spoke regularly on the Lexis-Nexis touring seminar, “Communicating in a Wired World.”

Shel is a five-time winner of IABC’s Gold Quill award (most recently winning in 1997 for external Web sites) and was named IABC/Los Angeles’s Communicator of the Year in 1988. Shel served six years on IABC’s executive board, two as director of U.S. District 6 and four as a director-at-large. While a director-at-large, he held the Technology portfolio, among others. During his term on the board, he served three times as a member of the executive committee. He has also served as chapter president for IABC/Los Angeles and in a variety of other volunteer positions in IABC at the chapter, district and international levels. Shel earned his IABC accreditation (ABC/Accredited Business Communicator) in 1984.

In 2005, Shel was named an IABC Fellow, the highest honor IABC confers on its members. He also is an Accredited Business Communicator through IABC.

Shel is a Senior Fellow with the Conference Board’s Marketing and Communications Center and a Platinum Fellow of The Mayo Clinic Social Media Network.

Shel has applied online technology to his communication efforts on behalf of companies and clients since the mid-1980s. His most recent book is “Tactical Transparency,” co-written with John C. Havens and published by Jossey-Bass, an imprint of Wiley. Shel is also the co-author of “How to Do Everything with Podcasting,” co-written with Neville Hobson and published by Osborne/McGraw-Hill and “Blogging for Business,” co-written with Ted Demopoulos and published by Kaplan. Earlier books include “Corporate Conversations,” a guide to employee communications, published by Amacom. “Public Relations on the Net,” published by AMACOM; and “The Intranet Advantage,” published by Ziff-Davis Press. He also wrote the manuals, “Communication and Technology” and “Communicator’s Guide to Intranets,” published by Ragan Communications and “Writing for the Wired World,” published by IABC.

Shel graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in Journalism from California State University, Northridge, in 1976.

Daniel Cote

Professor Côté earned his PhD in Economics from Lousiana State University in 1985. He has been teaching at HÉC since 1983, where he was associated with the Centre of the Management of Co-operatives from 1977 to 2003, including serving as Director from 1992 to 2003. Since the winter of 2006, Professor Côté has also been offering the course on “Co-operative Management and Strategic Planning” in the Masters of Managmenet of Co-operatives and Credit Unions at St. Mary’s University (Halifax).

Involved in co-operative research for more than 30 years, since the late 1990’s Professor Côté has focused on financial services cooperatives. Out of his research has emerged a new cooperative paradigm that examines cooperative management in terms of loyalty, learning organization, mobilization by the values, the quest for meaning and legitimacy. Professor Côté is particularly noted for his use of action research, which he employs to test the relevance of his model, especially with regard to its ability to generate competitive advantages for co-operative businesses.

Professor Côté has published extensively, most notably on issues of co-operative management, strategy and entrepreneurship in the financial services and agricultural sector. He is regularly invited to give lectures on the management of cooperatives, both in Canada and abroad.

Dr. Mike Cook

Michael L. Cook is the Robert D. Partridge Endowed Professor in Organization Economics in the Division of Applied Social Sciences at the University of Missouri, Columbia (MU).  His research activities include work in more than 60 countries and 100 published works.  His primary research addresses the ownership costs of vaguely defined property rights in patron-owned and controlled enterprises.  His research and outreach work is embedded into Graduate Institute of Cooperative Leadership (GICL) programs. 

Dr. Cook is Executive Director of GICL.  He served for 12 years in senior management positions with three global enterprises, two of them cooperatives, and has occupied board positions with numerous cooperatives, subsidiaries, and associations.  In May 2012, Cook was inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame at the National Press Club, Washington, DC.  In 2015, Cook received the Frederick B. Mumford Outstanding Faculty Award at MU, which recognizes a faculty member with a sustained record of excellence in teaching, research, and/or extension/outreach who is viewed as an exemplary educator by both students and faculty. 

For more information contact:

Frayne Olson, Director QBCC


Kristi Schweiss, Assistant Director QBCC

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