Leadership and Civic Engagement


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Join Us in Oakes

Energizing Entrepreneurs Conference

May 7 and 8, 2019 | Oakes, ND

Energizing Entrepreneurs, a statewide conference for entrepreneurs in rural communities, is designed to inspire and provide resources for anyone who wants to start or support a small business in their rural community. High School students are encouraged to attend at no cost (meals not provided).

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Keynote Speakers

Edie Ramstad – Ada, Minnesota 

Ramstad is the founder of Weave Got Maille, a manufacturer of chain maille supplies. The company has dabbled in prop and costume work, crafting pieces for the HBO series Game of Thrones.  Mostly though, Ramstad and her 16 employees produce jump rings, the tiny metal hoops from which maille is woven, as well as clasps, ear wires and other materials for chain maille jewelry making. The company turns out an estimated 2 million jump rings each day in a variety of metals.

Scott Bintz – Jamestown, North Dakota

Bintz is the founder of RealTruck.com, an online truck accessories store that grew from his basement to more $100 million in sales, while receiving numerous customer service awards. Bintz has been an adjunct professor at the University of Jamestown, an investor in several tech start-ups and also published the book, Principles to Fortune.  His newest venture, Red Headed Rebel, is a consulting company that advises on business strategy, e-commerce, digital marketing and building positive work culture.

Breakout Session Themes (print here)


Local Food, Opportunity or Fad
Jamie Good, Marketing Specialist for ND Dept. of Ag - Local Foods & Organics
What does the term “local food” really mean? This session will discuss marketing food under the brand of “local.” How can a food entrepreneur selling local food set realistic goals for short- and long term success.
Tuesday- 3 PM
Location: Oakes City hall

From Urban to Rural
Owner of Lunch Box Eatery- Fort Ransom, ND
Tuesday 4:30
Location: The Bakke Shoppe

So You Want to Sell Your Secret Sauce Commercially?
Julie Garden-Robinson Ph.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension
North Dakota has a growing number of food-related businesses. This interactive session will explore best practices in food safety useful to home food businesses of all sizes, along with labeling of food products for the market.
Wednesday- 10 AM
Location: Oakes Chamber of Commerce Office

Ashley ND Entrepreneurs start Successful Food Truck Business
Joshua & Robin Schock-Ashley, ND- Owners 58 Street Grill
Uncertain about the ag economy Robin and Josh Shock of Ashley, ND, felt the need to try something new. From this entrepreneurial spirit came their mobile food truck and catering business, 58 Street Grill. Learn about how they have found success by being creative and focusing on the freshest local ingredients possible.
Wednesday 8:30 AM
Location: The Bake Shoppe

Opportunity Creators

The Power of Social Media on the Prairie
Jessica Quandt, Owner JQ Clothing Company and Co-Owner Computer Express- Oakes, ND
For an independent small business owner, social media opens a whole new world. Join Jessica Quandt as she shares Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat tips and tricks to staying “Plugged in on the Prairie.”
Tuesday 3PM
Location: JQ Clothing Co.

From a Tough Break Came the Toughest Camera Systems
Charissa Rubey, Director of Marketing for Dakota Micro, Inc. Cayuga, ND
When an injury caused Dave Rubey to wear a neck brace for eight weeks, the North Dakota farmer needed a way to see behind him when harvesting crops. Along with wife Charissa, Dave built a new camera system that worked.Dakota Micro, Inc. was incorporated in 2002, and became known as one of the most rugged and dependable camera systems in the
Tuesday 4:30 PM
Location: Columbia Grain Office

From Rutland to Manhattan
Shannon Mehrer, Vice President of Dakota Precision Fabricating, Inc.Rutland, ND
Sticking to their rule of sending out a high-quality product consistently, Dakota Precision Fabricating has completed metal fabricating projects for the World Trade Center, Boeing and and the University of Iowa, as well as a variety of commercial and residential customers.
Location: Seasons Lounge
Wednesday 8:30 AM
Location: Seasons Lounge at the Harvest Inn

Making a Living with What’s Right in Front of You
Anita Fettig – Owner, Nita’s Attic and Fettig Daycare in Napoleon, and Nita’s Attic and Coffee Haus in
Jamestown N.D.
Dreaming of doing what you love and having the passion and opportunity to make those dreams come true, does not happen
to many people. Taking care of children, looking through clothes, helping people and meeting new people lead to Anita’s success. Learn more about Anita’s inspiring story that all started by accident.
Wednesday 10-AM
Location: 502 Flair


Community Success

Building Unique Opportunities for Young Entrepreneurs|
Dan Spellerberg, Ag Instructor SE Region Career & Tech Center- Oakes
Dan Spellerberg welcomes you to the Southeast Region Career and Technology Center, where he will showcase the facility and explain how they are able to provide students with real-world food safety and sanitation concepts, while promoting the farm-to-table concept. Samples of student work will be available for your enjoyment.
Tuesday 3:00 p.m.

Location: SE Region Career and Tech Center Culinary kitchen

Thinking Outside the Box for Community Success
Lindsay Bofenkamp – Executive Director, Garrison Area Improvement Association
McKaila Behles – Convention and Visitors Bureau Director, Garrison, N.D.
Learn about the workings of a unique economic development group and a small town Convention and Visitors Bureau approach to tourism and community engagement.
Tuesday, 3:00 p.m.

Location: Sweets N’ Stories

Real Things, Real Places, Real People
Carmen Rath-Wald, Tri-County Tourism Alliance Chairperson and NDSU Extension - Logan County Agent, Acacia Stuckle, Tri-County Tourism Alliance Secretary and NDSU Extension - Emmons County Agent
The Tri-County Tourism Alliance
was formed to boost tourism in Emmons, Logan and McIntosh counties. Come and hear how sharing authentic German-Russian heritage resources is creating opportunities to share the rich heritage of the region. Food is an important aspect of cultural heritage, so we will have sausage samples!
Tuesday 4:30 p.m.
Location: Chamber of Commerce Office

Transitioning Main Street Businesses to Potential Buyers

Carrie Johnson, Ph.D., AFC®, Personal and Family Finance Specialist, NDSU Extension
Whether you are transferring your small business to the next generation or selling it, there are many things to consider
before taking the next steps. This breakout session will discuss NDSU Extension’s program to help you prepare for a positive succession experience and how to develop a plan for the businesses future.
Wednesday 10AM
Location: Hardware Hank


Doing Business Differently

Designing a Profitable Business You Love!
Katherine Roth, Executive Director, University of Jamestown- Jamestown Regional Entrepreneur Center
Kimberle Nagle, CEO / Sr. Strategist, Upgrow Business International, Inc.
Are you thinking about starting your own business or need to jumpstart an existing business? This session will provide tools to help you identify your ideal customer, explore regional resources to turn your ideas into action and provide actionable next
Tuesday 3 PM
Location: Quilt-N-Sew

Making Your Community Entrepreneur Ready!
Scott D. Meyer, Executive Director of Entrepreneurship Initiatives- NDSU
In this dynamic session, Scott D. Meyer brings his passion for entrepreneurship and combines it with the resources every
community should offer to be entrepreneur-ready. Meyer will share numerous resources that aspiring entrepreneurs can use to get their ideas off the ground and help their communities grow.
Tuesday 4:30 PM
Location: Wellness Central

Shifting your FOCUS (Fundamentals, Originality, Creativeness, and Success) to Attract Your Clients to Your Service and Build Your Business.
Ellie Lux, Owner Rustic Roots Photography
Ellie Lux will share with you how to apply the FOCUS (Fundamentals, Originality, Creativeness and Success) method to your business through branding, social media, advertising and more! Lux will also share her entrepreneurial journey
including the ups and downs along the way.
Wednesday 8:30 a.m.
Location: R&R

Event Schedule and Session Descriptions

(print here)

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Noon Registration, Light Lunch and Conversation
Location: Wellness Central

1:00 p.m. Welcome
Oakes Mayor – Monte Zimmer
Oakes Chamber of Commerce President – Rebecca Undem

1:30 p.m. Keynote: Edie Ramstad – Entrepreneur and Owner of Weave Got Maille – Ada, MN
Edie will share the story of how hand-making small metal rings for a jewelry class has turned into a million dollar business with 16 full-time employees, despite the challenges of building a business in small town.

2:30 p.m. Break

3:00 p.m. Breakout Sessions

4:00 p.m. Snack Break

4:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions

5:30 p.m. Break

6:00 p.m. Social, Evening Meal and Entertainment

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

7:30 a.m. Breakfast
Location: Oakes Community Center

8:30 a.m. Breakout Sessions

9:30 a.m. Snack Break

10:00 a.m. Breakout Sessions

11:00 a.m. Break

11:15 a.m. Keynote: Scott Bintz, Owner of Red Headed Rebel – Jamestown, ND
Bintz is the founder of RealTruck.com, an online truck accessories store that grew
from his basement to more $100 million in sales, while receiving numerous customer service awards.
Location: Wellness Central

12:15 p.m. Conference Wrap-Up – 15 Ideas in 15 Minutes!

12:30 p.m. Lunch On Your Own – Use your $10 chamber bucks for lunch or shopping in Oakes before you head home

Print Schedule

Host Locations

Local businesses


Twin Pines Inn: 1417 Main Ave Oakes ND
Double rooms with 2 full size beds for $59.95/night. Single rooms with 1 queen bed for $49.95/night.


Noonan House B&B and Event Venue
215 7th St S, Oakes, ND, PH: 701-353-5255
(2nd Floor offers 4 bedrooms, two full bathrooms, laundry and coffee bar. 3rd Floor private suite.)

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Harvest Inn Hotel

751 Dakota Ave, Oakes, ND, PH: 701-742-2166
(Mention you are attending the Energizing Entrepreneurs Conference when you make
your reservation for the conference rate.)


$55.00 including some meals. High School students can attend at no cost, but meals are not provided.

Tuesday May 7

  • Box lunch
  • Evening social with hors d'oeuvres

Wednesday May 8

  • Breakfast
  • $10 in Oakes Bucks will be provided for lunch in the community

List of Restaurants in Oakes from Chamber of Commerce oakesnd.com/dining

Bush Foundation logo

Register button


Energizing Entrepreneurs Oakes poster

Questions? Contact:

Jodi Bruns
Extension Specialist
Leadership and Civic Engagement
701-349-3249 ext. 127

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