All of the StartupBREW Fargo Energized by Emerging Praire Speakers That Have Gone in 2022
StartupBREW, a weekly event held at Drekker Brewing Company on Wednesday mornings from 8:30-9:30 a.m., offers attendees the opportunity to hear from a wide range of inspiring community members while networking with fellow business professionals. Below you will find a snippet on each of the amazing StartupBREW speakers we’ve had the opportunity to listen to so far this year.
Aaron Halik, Founder/CEO, Trimxys
Aaron Halik is the founder and CEO of Trimyxs, a weed trimmer and edger that attaches to all major push lawn mower branders. This is the first product that Aaron has launched. However, he has many more ideas, stored in a glass jar on his nightstand.
While Aaron was born in Florida, at a young age, he and his family moved to Nevis, MN. After graduating high school, Aaron was unsure where he wanted to go to college, but he knew he wanted to pursue engineering. However that changed when Aaron toured North Dakota State University; he felt right at home. In 2013, he moved to Fargo and he has never left.
Aaron Juhnke, President, Junkyard Brewing Co.
Aaron Juhnke is the president of Junkyard Brewing Co., which is located in Moorhead at 1416 1st Ave N. Aaron transferred to NDSU after some time at Hillsdale College in Michigan, and then completed his bachelor’s degree in high school social studies education. He started his entrepreneurial route while in college, where he took up home-brewing beer and saw the opportunity to turn it into a business.
EllaNora Hayes, Inventor, Ice Eraser
EllaNora Hayes is a student at Sheyenne High School in West Fargo and is the inventor of the Ice Eraser, a product that helps clear ice off of windshields
Andrew Heaton, CEO, Tekniam
Andrew Heaton is an international businessman who has ownership interests in multiple companies. He has conducted business on five different continents, and has extensive experience dealing at the director/ minister level in numerous foreign governments. CEO Heaton’s passion is finding ways to increase the connectivity of our planet in hard to reach places, and providing an easy to use resource for humanitarian workers, first responders and business professionals worldwide.
Bjorn Solberg, Director of Wholesale Operations, Red River Harvest Cooperative
Bjorn Solberg grew up on his family’s farm just along the south outskirts of Fargo. Growing up on a farm near a growing city–paired with many other experiences in life–has led Bjorn to focus on enhancing our regional local food system. He currently owns Hugh’s Gardens LLC, a certified organic potato storage and supply business, helped create,and is the Director of Wholesale Operations, of Red River Harvest Cooperative and is involved in several community organizations as well.
Chris Hawley, Architect, Craftwell
Chris Hawley is the founder of Craftwell Architecture + Construction. Craftwell was founded in 2011 based on the principles of passion for design,, ‘it’s all about the details’ and North Dakota design excellence. Craftwell uses their unique skills to showcase architecture as storytelling. It is one of many factors that help Craftwell receive multiple design awards, year after year.
Clayton Cottman, Founder, Uncle Charlie’s Gourmet Snacks
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Chef C.E. Cottman has been known for his bold flavors and creative approach to the classics throughout his career. After training on both coasts and working in top restaurants from Washington, D.C. to Orlando, FL, he’s met newfound “snack-cess” in the Midwest, where he now shares his unique style of culinary creativity through his gourmet chocolate snack known as Charlie’s Chow.
Clever Mukori, Founder/CEO, Learn or Teach
Clever Mukori is the founder and CEO of Learn or Teach, a corporate training company that “creates custom courses and offers a learning management system for hosting and delivery course content.” Through simplicity, Learn or Teach is redefining stakeholder and employee training.
Corey Kratcha, CEO, c2renew
c2renew is a material designer and custom compounder. They utilize proprietary bio-composite formulations to meet a wide range of engineering specifications. With bio-composite materials made of recycled plastics and locally sourced agricultural byproducts, their materials support both the environment and the community.
Dieumerci Christel, President/CEO, Enlightapp Inc.
Diumerci Christel is the founder of Enlight, an app that helps teachers leverage students’ interests, aspirations and natural curiosity to create engaging learning experiences. When using Enlight, students can express their perspectives, and often unspoken ideas, to help their teachers create deeper personal connections and engaging learning opportunities. The app offers polls, weekly check-ins, surveys and more to bridge the gap between the educator and the student.
Adam Zach, Co-Founder, Home Equity Partner
Adam Zach is a co-creator of Home Equity Partner, a service that provides a variety of custom housing options to future homeowners through a unique renting option. At Home Equity Partner, they have developed a new tool that allows you to pick any home listed “for sale” and live in it. They specialize in Rentto-Own, Lease Purchase Options and Contract for Deeds, and seek to help individuals and families gain homeownership to live the American Dream. Home Equity Partner also works with real estate agents, bankers and investors.
Erika Berg, Associate Professor and Bison Strides Program Director
Erika Berg is the Program Director and Founder of NDSU Bison Strides and an Associate Professor in the Animal Sciences department at North Dakota State University. In August of 2017, NDSU Bison Strides became the first Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International Premier Accredited Center in the state of North Dakota.
Frederick Edwards Jr., Founder, Fred’s Dissonance
Frederick Edwards Jr. is the founder of Fred’s Dissonance: a platform striving to build an educated and enlightened world that connects people together. Fred’s Dissonance’s mission is to recognize and uplift the true narrative of Black people across the globe by centering the voices and experiences of Black people. By providing educational cultural events and sober fun activities, this organization creates opportunities for Black and Brown communities to celebrate their uniqueness, embrace their talents, and build their legacy… ultimately leading to success.
Gregory Carlson, Projects Producer, Fargo Film Festival
Dr. Gregory Carlson is a Professor and Director of Film Studies and Multimedia Journalism, Communication Studies, and Theatre Art at Concordia College in Moorhead. You can find him on the third floor of Olin Center on the Concordia College campus.
Holly Anderson, CEO, Elinor Coatings
Holly Anderson is the co-founder and CEO of Elinor Coatings, LLC, “a research and development company that specializes in solutions for corrosion and surface protection.” Currently, Elinor Coatings is using chemists and engineers to help create new formulas that do not use toxic ingredients.
Jared Hardy, Co-Founder, Fargo Brewing Company
Jared Hardy is the Co-Founder of Fargo Brewing Company which serves the FM Area through their taproom, which includes not only serving brews, but also a barber shop and a host of many community events in their space, The Hall, including Emerging Prairie’s StartupBREW. Customers are also able to find brews from Fargo Brewing at their favorite bars, restaurants, and liquor stores.
Jay Evans, CEO/Owner, Off Color Media
Jay Evans is CEO and Owner of Off Color Media which uses creativity to create content for businesses. They support a variety of businesses ranging from startups to Fortune 500. They have found solutions that not only make sense to the business, but they have also created growth within organizations.
Jérôme Boissonneault, Co-Founder, AYOS Diagnostics
Jérôme Boissonneault-Laroche is co-founder and Vice President of Business Development at AYOS Diagnostic, which was created from a strong desire to increase the agriculture industry’s awareness about “the possibility of exploiting and preserving the natural genetic resistance of plants to effectively curb diseases.”
Jared Winmill, Founder, Seed & Spore
Jared Winmill is the Founder of Seed & Spore, a gourmet mushroom and microgreen urban farm located in Fargo, ND. They are committed to intentional growing and take pride in delivering beautiful specialty produce to local communities. Seed & Spore believes that food is medicine and serves as a focal point for culture while nurturing relationships at the dinner table.
Jeff Raymond, Co-Founder, Eden Grow Systems
Jeff Raymond, CTO/COO, was named one of Motherboard Magazine’s Humans of the Year for his work on the Genesis bioregenerative food and energy production system. At Eden, they want to put technology to work for everyone, to equip families, communities, churches, retirement centers, hotels, restaurants and small growers to do more with less effort. Harnessing the power of aeroponics and automation will increase food production while making it easy to do in any indoor space.
Jess Azure, Founder, Spadesso
Jess Azure is the Founder of Spadesso, an appointment booking application that connects searching consumers with local salon and spa providers. The best salon and spa providers know that the secret to growing their client base is through introductions, and Spadesso was designed to help make those introductions. For consumers, Spadesso makes searching and booking appointments faster and easier than ever before.
Jim Manney, Producer, Tankhouse
Jim Manney has produced regionally broadcasted TV shows, four documentaries, and the feature film, Tankhouse.
Joe Wright, Owner/CEO, Wright Foot
In college, Joe Wright was known for the wild socks he would wear and one day he realized he could make his own socks.
Johanna Zinke, Founder/CEO, Ramp Girl
Johanna Zinke is a middle-schooler and the Founder of Ramp Girl, her business where she forages for and sells “ramps” or highend wild onions, for local chefs in the area.
John O’Mahony, CTO/COO, CorVent Medical
John O’Mahony is the CTO/COO of CorVent Medical which has elevated ventilation design to provide ICU-standard respiratory support in an elegant and robust system that removes unnecessary complexity and cost. They aim to produce reliable solutions that are easy to use for daily and off-the-shelf ventilation so providers can focus on critical patient needs.
Kent Kolstad, Founder/President, Livewire
Kent Kolstad is the Founder and President at Livewire live event and video production company based out of Fargo with clients all over the nation.
Kyle Voltin, Owner, Xtra Apparel
Kyle Voltin was inspired to start Xtra Apparel after being reminded of the difficulties his younger brother had faced to find appropriately-sized clothing. Being born with the most common chromosomal condition in the U.S., Down syndrome, Kyle’s brother Brett was not alone. Xtra is on a mission to create clothing that properly fits AND benefits individuals born with Down syndrome.
Laura Caroon, Co-Founder, Ladyboss Midwest
Laura Caroon is Co-Founder and former President of Ladyboss Midwest.
Lynn Kotrba, Executive Director, Harvest Hope Farm
Lynn Kotrba is a wife, mother to eight amazing children and co-founder of Harvest Hope Farm with her husband Jason. Her dream is to find a cure for Huntington’s Disease, which took her mom in 1989, when Lynn was 13 years old, and her sister in 2001. Lynn is at-risk for HD and is hopeful that the sheep at Harvest Hope Farm carry hope for a cure for HD.
Matt Paulson, Founder/CEO, MarketBeat
Matt Paulson is the Founder and CEO of MarketBeat, which empowers “individual investors to make better trading decisions with real-time financial data, in-depth analysis and best-in-class stock research tools.”
Matthew Faul, Founder/President, Red E, LLC.
Red E, LLC started with the vision and passion of twin redheaded brothers who grew up spending countless hours out on the farm learning the value of hard work and what it meant to earn something you’ve worked hard for. It wasn’t just basic life that was shared but rather a passion to help people and to do all things well.
Melissa Marshall, Partner/Consultant, CoreCounts
Melissa Marshall is the managing partner in CoreCounts, a company that allows her to geek out on all things culture. With CoreCounts, she is on a mission to help build workplaces people love showing up to every day. As a lifelong learner, she focuses on strategy, leadership and mindfulness. Melissa strives to balance her obsession with personal and professional growth with rest and presence.
Mike Allmendinger, President, Kilbourne Group
Mike Allmendinger is the President of the Kilbourne Group. Founded in 2006, Kilbourne Group has a deep passion for urban spaces with proven expertise in urban development, fund management, real estate, construction management and property management. They are guided by the knowledge that vibrant downtowns create smart, healthy cities. The team has focused on historical redevelopment and mixed-use infill projects in downtown Fargo, aiming to create a vibrant 18-hour city that offers unique experiences and places designed for people.
Mike Dragosavich, Founder/CEO, Spotlight Media
Mike Dragosavich is the founder and CEO of Spotlight Media, the magazine publishing and full service marketing firm that created the very magazine you’re reading.
Nick Hawkins, Co-Founder, Dynasty Elite Athletics Youth Football
Nick Hawkins of Dynasty Elite Athletics is a visionary embarking to inspire, empower and impact the youth in our community. He believes that his passion and purpose is to give back to all student-athletes looking to compete in sports (football) while planting seeds of four core values (Efffort, Intensity, Accountability, and Encouragement) that will help them excel in their academic responsibilities while preparing them for life.
Nick Waverek, Co-Founder, Lykkly
Nick Waverek is the Co-Founder of Lykkly, a personal financial wellness platform that blends innovations in behavioral science, technology and user experiences to reduce stress and make you happier with money. Now you can build momentum towards life’s milestones and create a positive money mindset—via personalized experiences, healthy habits and specialized support—right from your phone.
Nicole Rodenburg, Director/Writer/Producer/Actor/ Editor, Glob Lessons
Nicole Rodenburg is a filmmaker and writer based out of New York City. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theatre B.F.A. Actor Training Program.
Patrick Revier, Owner/President, Revier Family Farms
Patrick Revier is a fourth generation Minnesota farmer. Pat grew up on a dairy farm in northwestern Minnesota. When he wanted to get back into farming, Pat stumbled into the wonderful world of edible insects and never looked back. He loves the farm life, working with animals and spending every day with his family. Revier Family Farms is owned and operated by Patrick and Madeline Revier. Located in Moorhead, MN, their mission is to provide sustainable, environmentally friendly, nutritious protein sources for people and pets.
Oscar Stebleton, founder, Oscar Pooper Scooping
Oscar Stebleton is the 10-year-old founder of Oscar Pooper Scooping, an extremely diligent dog waste cleanup business.
Paul Gambill, CEO, Nori
Paul Gambill is co-founder and CEO of Nori, which is building a global commodities market for carbon so that everyone in the world can “look to a reference price for carbon.” Nori’s suppliers are farmers, who adopt regenerative practices, who then sell that carbon to buyers.
Ramsey Shaffer, Co-Founder, Babbl
Ramsey Shaffer is the Co-Founder of Babbl which began as a college project seeking to develop a method to measure the effects of financial news on the stock market without the noise of individual bias. With a background in computer science and finance, Founders Ramsey Shaffer and Sam Cartford developed what is now known as Babbl—an algorithm with the capabilities to measure stock mentions and language correlations across thousands of daily, online scraped financial news articles.
Reyna K Bergstrom, Miss North Dakota
Reyna Bergstrom, from Fargo, North Dakota, is the former Miss North Dakota. This past December, she competed at the 100 Year Anniversary Competition of Miss America in Connecticut and has spent the past year traveling around North Dakota speaking to schools and businesses about her social impact initiative, “The Influencer Era: Impact Beyond the Screen,” a message about the importance of prioritizing in-person connection.
Rick Brandvold, Founding Partner, Icewind Brewing
Rick Brandvold is a founding owner/partner of Icewind Brewing, managing most day to day taproom operations, sales and distribution as well as the accounting. He attended Minnesota State Community and Technical College, formerly known as Northwest Tech, for culinary arts. After homebrewing for nearly 20 years, and then being let go from his job for investing in a brewery, he knew that pursuing the entrepreneurial route and becoming involved in a brewery was going to be his dream come true.
Ricky Pallay, founder, Pallay Enterprises
Ricky Pallay is the founder of Pallay Enterprises, which is the umbrella from which other aspects of his business fall under. Right now, the primary business is a club, festival and mobile DJ, 1PrettyRicky, which serves corporate clients, venues, wedding couples and universities. He also offers MC/host/officiant services, graphic design services and promotion services.
Rolland Elendu, Co-Founder, Elendu Textile LLC
Rolland Elendu, co-founder of Elendu Textiles, started his business with one goal in mind: to develop innovative solutions for a seamless and exciting recycling experience.
Sara Lien, Founder/Owner, Paisley and Dash
Sara Lien was a financial advisor for 15 years until January 2020 when she resigned to pursue being an entrepreneurial baker. She has now founded Paisley and Dash, named after her two beloved pets, which delivers gourmet cupcake jars to cupcake lovers across the country.
Sharon Traylor, Shop Owner/Master Barber, Roots Hair & Soul
Sharon Traylor is the cofounder and Master Barber of Roots Hair & Soul, a salon and barber shop based in Fargo, North Dakota. She is also a barber radio show host and soon-to-be barber instructor. Roots Hair & Soul is a strong advocate for natural hair and lifting up Black female entrepreneurs and change leaders in the hair industry. Their belief is that if you haven’t found the right style to work with your hair, maybe you haven’t found the right stylist that can work with your natural texture! The salon’s most popular services include loc retwisting, box braids, fades, hot oil treatments, loc detoxing, two strand twist styling and more.
Tim Weelborg, Managing Partner, Homegrown Capital
Tim Weelborg is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Homegrown Capital, a traditional venture capital firm that has raised $17 million from various investors who are seeking financial return on their investment.
Tyrre Burks, CEO, Players Health
Tyrre Burks is the CEO of Players Health, a Minneapolis-based sports technology platform providing digital risk management services, reporting tools and insurance products to sports organizations to comply with the changing athletic environment and responsibilities. Working towards establishing the safest environment for athletes, Players Health views the health and safety of athletes as a priority in today’s sports landscape.
Verna Kragnes, Executive Director, Prairie Rose Agricultural Institute
Verna Kragnes is founder of New Roots Farm Incubator Cooperative, which serves local immigrants who desire to establish their own farm enterprises/businesses. She is also a Farmer at Prairie Rose Farm, and Research and Innovation Director at Prairie Rose Agricultural Institute for Research, Innovation and Education. Verna grew up on a farm near Moorhead, MN.