Chris Norgaard, Tioga
In 2008, the nation's economy was stagnant while North Dakota thrived on a strong agricultural economy and a technology base on the east side of the state.
Meanwhile, the start of the state's energy boom caught my attention. At the time, I led a small business in northern Minnesota that I had founded in 2003. While the business had done well and still does a visit to western North Dakota opened my eyes to the vast opportunity that lays in the region for small business owners. Few other places offer entirely new markets where an entrepreneur can enter as the first provider of a good or service in an area.
Convinced of the opportunity, my family and I moved to Tioga and we haven't regretted it. We have invested money and sweat into new businesses, volunteered throughout the community, and enrolled our children in school. We are proud to call Tioga and western North Dakota our new home.
As small businesses continue to flow into western North Dakota, the area will become a better and better place to live and work. The area's entrepreneurs will provide the restaurants, retail, and daily services that provide the simple pleasures of life to us all.
We feel fortunate to be a part of the growth of the area and look forward to it only getting better. The Bakken is full of folks who knew a better life was out there, said no to accepting hard times and handouts, and chose the hard work of building businesses and careers, providing for their families, and helping secure our nation's energy supply.
The best news: there's still plenty of room to start new ventures and careers out here.