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EDITOR'S NOTE: Schooled for success

Two interests of mine come together in this issue. The first is the region’s remarkable economy and the leaders who’ve helped it grow.

In this issue, we honor 10 of those leaders. They’re the winners of our inaugural Leaders & Legacies awards, an award created to call attention to the area’s top entrepreneurs and CEOs.

Some of our winners started their own business and nurtured it to exponential growth. Others assumed leadership of a firm and ratcheted up its performance. 

But all proved adept at planning, hiring and innovating, and to a person, they poured resources into community service.

Search America from sea to sea, and you won’t find a more talented group. 

Now, my second interest: the fact that Prairie Business-area families entirely escape the pressure on teens to get into selective colleges.

Don’t take that gift for granted, because it’s a huge differentiator between Bismarck and Boston, and the difference is entirely in Bismarck’s favor. For local teens and their parents, it’s a blessing to know that you’re welcome to try to get into Harvard – but you’re also welcome not to do so, and if you choose to stay in the region, we have plenty of institutions where you’ll thrive.

And here’s the link: None of our Leaders & Legacies winners went to Ivy League schools. All were “schooled” (via higher ed or life experience) right here at home.

As Art Hagg, counseling director at O’Gorman High School in Sioux Falls, S.D., says in this issue, “a lot of our kids realize that they don't have to go to a highly selective school in order to be successful.” Truer words were never spoken, and every Prairie Business reader should be grateful for that.

Good reading,

Tom Dennis  

I welcome your feedback and story ideas. Call me at 701-780-1276 or email me at