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Park River Seminar #2

Participants of Rural Leadership North Dakota’s Class VI (2013-15) met in Park River for their second seminar on January 9-11, 2014. This event marked the first time that a RLND seminar has been held in Walsh County.

Class VI members received a presentation on Emotional Intelligence (EQ) led by Kathy Tweeten, Director of NDSU Extension’s Center for Community Vitality and Ron Wiederholt, SE District Director with NDSU Extension Service. Kathy and Ron taught RLND participants about how the personal and social competence skills that EQ is comprised of are a major contributor to an individual’s personal and professional success. Program participants studied how an awareness of their own emotions and tendencies can help them manage themselves more effectively.

Thursday night, Class VI members gathered at the Upper Deck Restaurant in Park River for the RLND Leadership Dinner. Special guests included Rep. Wayne Trottier and his wife Gladys, Rep. Chuck Damschen, RLND alumni Dawn Jarolimek and Kevin Hall. Robert Green, Chairman of the American Crystal Sugar Board of Directors, and Nicole Olafson, Keith Gemmill and Roy Rutherford, spouses of Class VI participants.

Class VI participant Darren Olafson gave a presentation on his business, Deceleration Technologies, LLC, including an overview of his “Slow-N-Tell” device that calculates the rate of deceleration on large trucks. Keynote speaker Robert Green gave an overview of sugarbeet production in the Red River Valley, and spoke about the importance of participants being actively involved in their industries and businesses. 

On Friday, Class VI members toured the American Crystal Sugar Company’s Drayton factory and received a firsthand look at how processing adds value to sugarbeets. After the factory tour, participants traveled to Hoople and met with Kevin Hall, a RLND Class III alumnus. Kevin gave the group a tour of Hall Farms, as well as an informative overview of the potato industry in Walsh County. Friday’s schedule also included a stop at the Northern Plains Railroad and a visit to the Hutterite Forest River Colony near Fordville.  Colony member Tony Waldner gave Class VI participants a walking tour of the colony and an informative overview of Hutterite production methods and way of life. The day wrapped up at Class VI member Julie Gemmill’s farm to see her family’s feedlot operation where Keith and Andy Gemmill shared information about their operation and cabinet business where Tommy and Mike Gemmill showed us their operation. Julie and Keith Gemmill also hosted supper for the group.

Seminar Two continued on Saturday with a review of the group’s operating principles and values. Participants also discussed their Leadership Challenge reading, and discussed the upcoming seminar in Washington D.C.  As Seminar Two came to a close, participants took time to reflect on what they had seen and learned. “This was a very rewarding experience,” said Stacey Lilja, a Class VI participant from Leonard. “It was great to see this area and its diversity of land and people firsthand. As I leave Seminar Two, I feel that I can be an ambassador for Walsh County and all that it has to offer.”

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