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EDITOR'S NOTE: Fair winds and following seas

I grew up on college campuses. My mom was a professor, and my dad was a college administrator.

So I guess it was inevitable that I’d wind up on a campus, too.

Which is a long way of saying that this will be my last issue as editor of Prairie Business. I’ve accepted a new job at the University of North Dakota in the marketing and communications division there.

But I’ll look back with great fondness on my time at Prairie Business, especially on the chance it has given me to get to know the region better. What exciting discoveries that offered, and what fun it has been to visit different workplaces and sense the incredible dynamism that’s powering the region’s economy.

I felt that vigor on my very first assignment, which was to tell the story of Digi-Key in Thief River Falls, Minn. TRF is an hours-long drive away from the nearest four-lane highway, but that hasn’t stopped Digi-Key from becoming the fifth-largest distributor of electronic components in the world. 

In 2017, the company amassed $2.3 billion in sales and now counts more than 4,000 employees. 

Nor is that energy confined to one sector. Ad agencies, law firms and financial-service corporations are among the most impressive I’ve encountered. 

The common thread tying all of them together is talent. Moreover, it’s talent dedicated to civic growth, not partisan politics. “As the national scene has polarized, people in local communities are working effectively to get things done,” the New York Times’ David Brooks has written, and I certainly found that to be true. In two years of talking about the future throughout our entire region, politics almost never came up.

It’s a great place to live; I knew that before, but I’m even more convinced of it now. We’re upper Midwesterners at what might be the most exciting time in our region’s history, and that’s a hard combination to beat. 

Good reading,

Tom Dennis