about prairie fire
The Prairie Fire Conference is the first Mid-West conference of its kind. Speakers will highlight the importance of fostering start-up communities and how to make them successful, the different roles government and business leaders hold in supporting our local communities and how to make the most of presented opportunities in the local area.
The Prairie Fire Conference aims to inspire innovation and support the nucleus of budding entrepreneurs and create and enhance broader regional and statewide involvement.
Jack Dalrymple was sworn in as the 32nd Governor of the great state of North Dakota on December 7, 2010, and began working to grow and diversify North Dakota’s economy and create good jobs and economic opportunities for its citizens. He brings to the office an outstanding record of agriculture, business, legislative and executive leadership.
Since taking office, Dalrymple has worked to fund the state’s priorities, provide expanded tax relief for North Dakotans, and maintain strong reserves for the future. Under his leadership, more than 70,000 new jobs have been created, more than $1 billion in comprehensive tax relief has been provided to North Dakota citizens, more than $2 billion has been invested in strengthening the state’s infrastructure, and North Dakota has the fastest-growing economy in the nation and has been ranked “the best-run state in America.”
Born October 16, 1948, Dalrymple grew up in Casselton on the family farm, established in 1875 by his great-grandfather. He graduated with honors from Yale University in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in American Studies and then returned to North Dakota to manage the farming operations.
Dalrymple came to the North Dakota Legislature in 1985, representing a rural Cass County House district. He served eight terms, including six years as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. In 2000, he was elected North Dakota’s 35th Lieutenant Governor with Governor John Hoeven and was re-elected in 2004 and 2008. He was elected to his first full term as Governor in 2012.
Dalrymple is a nationally recognized leader in value-added agriculture. He was the founding board chairman of Carrington-based Dakota Growers Pasta Company, the third-largest manufacturer and marketer of dry pasta products in North America. His work in helping to found the company earned him the 2007 Ernst and Young Midwest “Master Entrepreneur of the Year” Award. Dalrymple has served as chair of the National Governors Association Natural Resources Committee, North Dakota Trade Office and Governor’s Commission on Education Improvement.
Dalrymple and his wife, Betsy, have four daughters.
Brad Feld has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur for over 20 years.
He lives in Boulder, Colorado and Homer, Alaska with his wife and is on a quest to run a marathon in every state in the US.
Brad has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur since 1987. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital and, prior to that, founded Intensity Ventures. Brad is also a co-founder of Techstars.
In addition to his investing efforts, Brad has been active with several non-profit organizations and currently is chair of the National Center for Women & Information Technology and co-chair of Startup Colorado. Brad is a nationally recognized speaker on the topics of venture capital investing and entrepreneurship and writes the widely read blogs Feld Thoughts, Startup Revolution, and Ask the VC.
Brad holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Brad is also an avid art collector and long-distance runner. He has completed 23 marathons as part of his mission to finish a marathon in each of the 50 states.
In 2009, Kristen Hadeed was enjoying life at the University of Florida. On the surface, she seemed like the typical 20-year-old college junior—but unlike many of her peers, Kristen knew there was more to life than hitting the bars in downtown Gainesville.
For Kristen, it all started with a pair of jeans. Eyeing some expensive denim, Kristen asked her parents for a loan, but they laughed and told her to get a job. As a finance major with a challenging course load and little free time, Kristen needed a part-time position that was flexible enough to accommodate her demanding schedule. Kristen needed a job that would fit with school and her entrepreneurial spirit, so she chose to create her own opportunity. The only issue that remained was: what to do?
Kristen posted an ad on Craigslist to clean houses. A self-proclaimed “neat-freak,” she saw cleaning as a good fit. She cleaned houses after class, hired some friends to help, and the business grew – a lot. During her junior year, between football games and finals, Kristen founded one of Florida’s largest independently owned cleaning services, Student Maid™.
At only 25 years old, Kristen possesses the business savvy and experience of leaders twice her age. Her business—which began as a part-time cleaning gig with a couple of her friends—has blossomed into a company with more than 400 college student employees during its peak season. However, Kristen’s journey as a young entrepreneur hasn’t been a walk in the park. Along the way, she’s endured defeats and setbacks so devastating that most people, especially a college student, would have thrown in the towel.
From being denied a bank loan to hearing others in the business world say her dream was impossible, Kristen learned to see the word “no” as empowering. That attitude is what has allowed Kristen to grow Student Maid™ from a small business that started as just a few friends scrubbing toilets to an award-winning cleaning service that recently opened its second location and is making its way across the country.
With every setback, in business and in life, Kristen has learned to embrace failure as a priceless lesson and an opportunity to accomplish bigger and better things. She has never been afraid to think bigger than herself, lead others, and turn obstacles that seem doomed for failure into success. Through her eye-opening story, she inspires her audiences to transform into leaders and do the same.
In addition to Student Maid™ and speaking to colleges and businesses across the nation, Kristen and her team also launched a tech company, MaidSuite. MaidSuite is an application that optimizes scheduling and streamlines business processes for cleaning companies.
During the spring of 2013, Student Maid™ launched FreshSpark, an events division. Kristen produced and emceed for FreshSpark’s inaugural event, reThink: Success, where 12 renowned thought leaders gave lessons of success to an audience of more than 500 business professionals, students and entrepreneurs. Kristen and her team are currently producing the next reThink: event, which will be held in July of 2014.
A young entrepreneur, industry pioneer and highly regarded marketing expert, as well as a man who has surpassed new heights of commercial and financial success, are just a few ways people have described Daymond John. Over the last 20 years, Daymond John (The Shark) has evolved from one of the most successful fashion icons of his generation to a highly sought-after branding expert, author, consultant, and as a speaker in business and motivational genres.
John’s creative vision and strong knowledge of the marketplace created one of the most iconic fashion brands in recent years. FUBU, standing for “For Us by Us,” represented a lifestyle that was neglected by other clothing companies. Realizing this need in the marketplace, John helped to create the untapped urban apparel space and laid the groundwork for other companies to compete in this newly established market.
John grew up in the community of Hollis, Queens, which was an incubator for stars of a new genre of music called Hip-Hop. With acts like RUN DMC, Salt-N- Peppa and LL Cool J rapidly making names for themselves, John was surrounded by people who gave him the inspiration to create a clothing line, which would ultimately change the fashion world.
Based on the early success of selling affordable tie-top hats, John recruited some of his neighborhood friends: Keith Perrin, J. Martin and Carl Brown, and FUBU was born. They created a distinctive FUBU logo and began sewing it on T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats. The brand hit a tipping point when John convinced Hollis native and Hip- Hop superstar, LL Cool J, to wear FUBU for a promotional campaign. This was the catalyst behind the Hip-Hop community supporting the new brand and instantly giving it credibility.
FUBU quickly became an international success and, in 2001, it grew almost 75 freestanding stores in countries such as Mexico, Korea, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, China and Japan. Acquiring and operating so many diverse products slowly made John an expert in marketing and branding. The media and large corporations alike quickly took notice and sought out John for interviews, consulting and speaking engagements.
In 2009, John joined the cast of the ABC entrepreneurial business show, Shark Tank, produced by acclaimed TV producer Mark Burnett. As one of the “Sharks,” John and four other prominent executives listen to business pitches from everyday people hoping to launch their company or product to new heights. Investing his own money in every project, John becomes partners with the entrepreneurs, helping turn their dreams into a reality. Millions of viewers tune into the show as he demonstrates his marketing prowess and entrepreneurial insights, which have earned him his nickname as “The Shark.”
Since his humble upbringing in Hollis Queens, John has never forgotten the importance of giving back, which is why the FUBU foundation has given away millions to various organizations. In addition, as John grew to be a sought after speaker, his dedication to his company would not permit him the time to share his knowledge with as many people as he would of liked. Therefore, in 2005, John entered the literary world with his first book Display of Power: How FUBU Changed A World of Fashion, Branding, And Lifestyle, which tells the story of his awe inspiring journey and provides a roadmap for those who aspire to succeed in business and in life. John followed up with his second book, The Brand Within: How We Brand Ourselves, From Birth To The Boardroom, which examines the loyal relationships companies seek to establish with the public by attaching celebrities to their brands and the instantaneous impulses consumers exhibit when purchasing a product.
In recognition of his contributions to fashion and the face of American business, John has been celebrated with some of the most prestigious awards including: keys to over a dozen cities, Brandweek Marketer of the Year, the Advertising Age Marketing 1000 Award for Outstanding Ad Campaign, the first ever Essence Award given to a company, Crain’s New York Business Forty Under Forty Award, Ernst & Young’s New York Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the Brandeis University International Business School’s Asper Award for Excellence in Global Entrepreneurship, the NAACP Entrepreneurs of the Year Award and the Congressional Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship, just to name a few.
Called “a driven, visionary leader” (Russell Simmons) who knows that “building your brand never stops” (Kim Kardashian), John acts as a seasoned guide to organizations striving to create an enduring brand. Arguing that branding relationships have seeped into every aspect of daily life, John’s message draws on both his own experiences as an entrepreneur as well as his hardwon insights as a consultant to the world’s most cutting-edge trendsetters and tastemakers.
- Diversity: A Good Business Practice
- The Brand Within: Branding Yourself from Birth to the Boardroom
- Fostering Creativity
- How to Negotiate: Lessons from an Entrepreneurial Icon
- Negotiating for Women: Going Toe to Toe with the Big Boys
- Take the Plunge: You Can Swim with the Sharks
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