DJ Colter is Serving with Purpose

Written by: Brady Drake

Some people in the community just go above and beyond—DJ Colter is one of those people. Raised in a family of educators, Colter initially followed in his parents’ footsteps but soon discovered his entrepreneurial spirit, leading him to a successful career in insurance, real estate, and a host of other business endeavors. However, those personal pursuits don’t keep him from making a deep impact in the community he has come to love.

From Teaching to Business

“I should have gotten a business degree,” Colter said. “My parents were both teachers so that’s what I took in school. I went to Montana and I was mainly there to play football. So, I got the teaching degree.”

From there, Colter went out to the Portland area, met his wife, who was born in North Dakota and went to college in North Dakota, and began teaching. It took a few years for him to find his new path.

“I just got back here and was pheasant hunting during Christmas break in 2003 and the territory manager with American Family Insurance had this opening in Fargo and they asked if I wanted to try it. And they told me that if I didn’t like it, there could be possible management opportunities due to potential expansion into Montana,” Colter said. “My goal was to eventually get back to Montana, but 20 years later, here I am.”

Colter stayed in the Fargo area for a host of reasons, but the thing that first set him on the path towards staying was a book he read called “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.”

“That book taught me how money worked,” Colter said. “Back then, you could buy a rental with almost 100% financing, so I bought a rental property over by Concordia College. From there, I started selling insurance and got into some other real estate stuff.” By 2010, Colter was well on his way to his goal of owning 10 businesses—he owned 8, including Mr. Fields Cookies in the mall.

“I was close to my goal, but I realized I was spreading myself too thin,” Colter said. “I realized it’s better to swim in deep waters with a few things instead of shallow waters with a lot of things. So, I sold out on a bunch of companies between 2011 and 2014 until I had just three, and the insurance agency really took off and I was able to start buying locations and we became one of the bigger Am-Fam agencies in the Midwest.”

The Importance of Giving

According to Colter, the success of his business and the spirit of giving are tied at the hip.

“I probably have a different marketing concept than a lot of people in the sense that I’ve really tried to just help people,” Colter said. “I kind of go by the Givers Gain concept from the book ‘Givers Gain: The BNI Story.’ I’ve tried to serve on a lot of boards and serve in a lot of different ways—I have been blessed tenfold. It’s amazing. I don’t try to do it for business either. I have never asked someone I have served with or for their business—it just happens.”

“I’m probably like this because I was raised by teachers,” Colter said. “My dad taught me how to be a servant leader. My dad was a school superintendent in a small town and I remember my dad going over and watering the football field in the summer. He didn’t need to do that—he was the superintendent. He would get to the school early in the morning and make breakfast for all his janitors and all his staff. I watched him serve and not talk about it.”

About DJ Colter Agency

DJ Colter Agency is an insurance agency foucisng on auto, home, business, farm, and life that represents American Family Insurance and many other companies. They have locations in Fargo, Grand Forks, Rugby, and Cando and are licensed in 30+ states.

The Importance of Giving

The YMCA Of Cass & Clay Counties

“I serve on the board for the YMCA. The President of the board asked if I would serve on it and I originally said no because I know how important the work they do is and I wanted to make sure I had enough time to do the job the right way. Thankfully, they made it work for me. The YMCA helps so many people in the region with childcare and fitness and I’m proud to be a part of it.”


“Another board I serve on is YoungLife. My good friend Jason Boutwell asked me to join that board. There are a lot of kids that don’t have a lot of support and YoungLife is a great organization that gives support to young people. My two daughters went to their Castaway Club camp in the summer and they didn’t want to leave. There aren’t a lot of opportunities anymore for kids to go to things like this where they can make this level of connection with others. So I serve there because it has been amazing to my kids.”

Horace Lions Club

“They just do things for kids. They take all the money they raise and give it to kids organizations in the area.”


Horace Hawks Booster Club

“I’m really excited to serve on the Horace Booster Club, which helps raise funds so that kids in grades 6-12 can be involved in activities that are crucial for their development.”


Valley Christian Counseling Center

“I also serve on the board for Valley Christian Counseling Center, which I’m really proud of. Mental health is a huge thing. It’s awesome to see all of the families who support Valley financially and it makes us realize that we all need help physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.”

Fellowship of Christian Athletes

“I’m also on the board for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which is really near and dear to my heart. What Nate Safe has done with that organization is amazing. That organization has helped so many kids and coaches in our region and it’s just exploding. Sports have always been a love for me and I was blessed to receive a scholarship that payed for my college.”

Emergency Food Pantry

“I used to be on the board for the Emergency Food Pantry and that is such a great organization. I tell people to go down there and serve once. If you do, you’ll see the need that is there immediately. You’ll also see how lucky and blessed you are. They make $1 go so far—it’s amazing.”

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.