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We like to think of the Fargo business community as a giant puzzle and the people who comprise it as the different but equally essential pieces. Take one person, one company, or one industry away, and the picture becomes incomplete. Faces of Fargo Business is our chance to piece that puzzle together each month and celebrate the countless people who make this such a great place to work.
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Owner, The Fancy Dinosaur
When Margot Peterson was a high schooler in suburban Chicago, she started to sound like a raptor.
“My Tourette syndrome began with vocal tics,” says Peterson, who’s one of the rare people who developed the motor-and-vocal tic disorder after childhood. “As it progressed in college, I began saying words, and one of them was ‘rawr’ — no joke! My brother encouraged me to embrace it and follow up my word-tics with a sentence and make into a joke. By joking about what made me different, people felt at ease — like they were in on the joke with me.”
Since then, Peterson’s tics have gotten a lot less frequent, and in the spirit of fully embracing her connection to dinosaurs, she named her side hustle after them. A senior communications specialist with Sanford Health by day, by night, Peterson moonlights as the founder of The Fancy Dinosaur, a modern wreath-making and home decor business that she operates out of her home.
And why wreaths? (Beside the obvious of living in a place that looks like Christmas year-round)
“Your front door is the first impression for friends and family who visit,” explains Peterson, who, in true Millennial fashion, has worked a side job alongside all three of the full-time jobs she’s held since graduating college. “You open the door and let them in literally and figuratively.”
She concedes that things can get a bit hectic at times, trying to balance buying supplies, shooting product photos, and creating custom orders in addition to her day job, but she says she’s careful not to put too much pressure on the business or herself.
“I think it’s important to share with others that a small business can be what you want it to be,” says Peterson, who says the FM area is a highly supportive place for businesses of any size. “If you want to grow to be a large company, that’s an awesome goal, and you should go for it! But if you want to have a fun hobby that creates some extra income, that’s just as commendable.”
One of the effects of starting her company, Peterson says, is how much more aware and intentional she’s become about supporting local makers and shops.
“There are some incredibly talented people in our community who make amazing things,” she says. “When you’re looking for a gift or something to treat yourself, I encourage you to look up local makers and shops first. And if you know a maker, see who they’re following. You’ll find a whole new world of businesses right here in town.”
The Fancy Dinosaur | TheFancyDinosaur.Etsy.com
Founder, the100, inc.
For Kurt McSparron, there are two things that set apart self-made, successful people:
- Who they know
- Their ability to maximize the value of those relationships
“Networking is vital to success and practiced daily in every business circle,” explains McSparron, the founder of the100, inc., a local business, leadership and growth initiative founded in 2016 for the sole purpose of helping alleviate the pressures of life at the top, “but relatively few executives are actually good at it. Too many people mistake activity for productivity.”
This networking gap is one of the main reasons McSparron thought the Fargo metro needed a group like the100 and says that if you’re an FMWF executive, everything and everyone you need comprises the100’s membership. It’s a true executive’s resource network, as he puts it.
And who better to lead such a diverse network of presidents, CEOs and executive directors than a self-described “vocational nomad” who’s held more than 25 jobs over the course of his life, ranging from agriculture to manufacturing and seemingly everything in between?
“From the menial to management and ownership, from Fortune 500 companies and national nonprofits to the largest privately held and smallest startups, it has all led to this culmination of my career and the founding of the100,” McSparron says.
McSparron spends the majority of his days meeting with area business leaders, listening to issues and ideas, and making referrals and introductions — all for the purpose of trying to making someone’s day easier and more profitable, he says.
“Our wealth as a nation begins on Main Street, USA, in the hands of nearly 30 million private business owners,” he says. “Anything I can do to contribute to their success and play a small role in, I will.”
Inspired by the success of the group’s inaugural flagship event, Executive Expo, this past January, McSparron is setting his sights toward continuing to expand the100’s influence locally and facilitating more of the connections he’s so passionate about.
“We would like to see a broader scale and new ideas for collaboration between area businesses, business organizations, business-related nonprofits and educational communities,” he says. “Locally, we do a good job, but we can always do better. We can consistently do a great job!”
the100, inc. | the100.online
Founder, Imagination Builders
For Chris Edgerley, the path to economic and cultural development is pretty straightforward.
“If we can bring together the change-makers and make sure the town they live in, the company they work for or do business with, and the people they are surrounded by believe in Fargo, then we can grow together toward a future where no one leaves Fargo because they think they can’t build their dreams here,” says Edgerley, an experiential design fellow at Emerging Prairie. “Believe deeply that Fargo can be the best place in the world to live, and bring it to everything you do. That alone will strengthen our ecosystem.”
The Rhode Island native — who was recruited to Fargo by Emerging Prairie Executive Director Greg Tehven — will call Fargo home for the next eight months as he manages the Prairie Den coworking space downtown and works alongside the EP team on a variety of of projects.
Edgerley, who says he’s excited to immerse himself in “such a loving and purposeful community,” dropped out of college a couple years ago after becoming disenchanted with what he sees as an educational system that deprives young people of their creativity and joy and says he is instead building a school that he himself wants to be a part of.
“The university system and our ideas of success keep me up at night,” says Edgerley, who’s creating an alternative, experiential- and portfolio-based educational program through his company, Imagination Builders.
Imagination Builders, he says, is working to change the education paradigm from a question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” to “Why do you get out of bed in morning?”
“Millions of children are deeply depressed with no reason to get out of bed in the morning,” says the gregarious 21-year-old, who’s also currently writing a book called “Nurturing Normal.” “Suicide is on the rise in my generation, and it’s not their fault but rather the fault of systems we continue to overlook. It’s driving us directly to turmoil, if we aren’t already there. I believe our lives should be worth living, so I help liberate people from ideas of the world that limit their ability to love it.”
Imagination Builders | Imagination.Builders