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Matthew Mohr

Matthew Mohr, Dacotah Paper, Fargo: Here’s to success before – and after – 40

FARGO, N.D. – This month in Prairie Business, we have highlighted 40 individuals under the age of 40, many of whom have already achieved more than some do in a lifetime.  

Why is the age of 40 meaningful? Because it’s a milestone. Achieving success at any age is something to celebrate, and excelling at an endeavor before reaching the age of 40 is tremendous.

And as we look at young successful people, we naturally expect great things from them in the future. But continued success over many years is not easy.

Success is wonderful and something to celebrate. If a person reaches a goal or makes an important achievement, some form of recognition or a reward is important.  

Our society started recognizing everyone rather than just the top performers, which has had some good and many negative repercussions.  Even a small reward for performing is better than no reward. High achievers are motivated from within, and pretending the average person has produced a result deserving a reward equal to the high performers is not going to get either one excited.

For some people, unfortunately, no reward is ever enough. I once had a valued employee who claimed to have made big income elsewhere, but when offered the chance to earn based on performance, he scoffed at the amount as being too low. One added income opportunity was based on doing just the minimum of what he set out as a goal.

It became clear the man was decidedly unhappy, and his job history indicates he probably will never get enough pay. I’ve been told he consistently overspends as well, which probably led to his unhappiness with his paycheck.  

It’s good to strive for more, but not accepting how to earn more or not being willing to work hard for ongoing success is a sure path to disappointment.

One of my favorite examples of a lifetime of success is the late Charles Bailly. Mr. Bailly, or “Chuck” if you prefer, started in our community with a drive and a level of ambition which propelled him to the top of his field, to the top of our community and to immeasurable respect.  

Charles Bailly built a tremendous accounting firm in Fargo which is one of the foundations of what is now Eide Bailly, a powerhouse in the accounting field nationwide.  

Chuck was heavily involved in our community and was a true builder. He was known to give his time and lend a hand whenever needed. He always made the effort to leave things better than when he arrived, even picking up small scraps on a golf course to make the course better for those who followed him.  

Other great successes in our region who started young and continued on include such great people as Katherine Burgum, C. Warner Litten, Fred Scheel and William “Bill” Schlossman, along with many others.  

But for every one of these lifetime successes in our community, there are many more who fizzled out. It will be fascinating to see who among our 40 under 40 continue to thrive and excel over the next few decades.

Matthew Mohr

CEO, Dacotah Paper Co.

Fargo, N.D.