Some of you may have heard me joke over the past month or so that reviewing nominations for our annual 40 Under 40 list always makes me feel lazy. This is not entirely true, although after imagining the hectic days that some of our nominees must endure, I do suddenly have the urge to take a nap. (Really, multiple kids, a full-time career, a passion project on the side and a full list of volunteer work? How is this possible?)
But mostly, I emerge from the nomination review and selection process feeling newly motivated to share with our readers the stories of young professionals throughout our region who can truly inspire all of us to do more. To strive for more professionally, to contribute more to our communities and to embrace the nonstop work of advancing our region in an economic sense as well as in a social sense.
We received more than 200 nominations this year, a new record, which I believe illustrates the power of the millennial generation as well as the deep bench of incredibly skilled professionals in our region. We are fortunate to have so many young, extremely talented members of the region’s business community and we sincerely congratulate all of this year’s honorees. Read “Promising Young Professionals” for this year’s list.
As this is our final issue of 2014, I think it’s also appropriate to reflect a bit on the year that has so quickly passed. Trending at the top of topics of interest among the region’s business communities this year have no question been workforce shortages and efforts to recruit and retain millennial workers. We’ve often covered these hot issues, sometimes not intentionally, as they tend to creep into all areas of business in the region.
This issue, for example, covers Fargo-Moorhead as the subject of our Talk of the Town article. This monthly article has often served as an avenue to provide readers with an overview of a community and its business sector in general. This month, however, the article took a different twist. Fargo has enjoyed a newfound role as a media darling of sorts this year as its economy has boomed and young entrepreneurs aggressively market the metro as a hip, quirky urban center. But the elephant in the room is that the metro’s shortage of workers rivals the Bakken region in terms of severity and without a resolution, the state’s historic economic powerhouse faces a leveling off for no other reason than there are just not enough people to meet business demands.
Other articles this month also address workforce and young workers, specifically. Contributing writer Rob Swenson follows up on the reported record number of exhibitors at university career fairs for future engineers in his article, “Mining for engineers.” He learned that while companies once recruited new hires in the spring, they are now finding that if they don’t have a student signed on by winter, they’re too late. Students also have the luxury of choosing their employer, so the race to attract new hires has become increasingly competitive.
In “Building a better project,” we highlight some of the cutting-edge technology being used to build Essentia Health’s medical facility expansion in south Fargo. As an interesting side note, hospital officials also shared that construction crews working on the project had to add additional security measures on the ground to prevent headhunters from visiting the site and luring workers away.
As we look ahead to the new year, we anticipate workforce and millennials will remain topics of interest to the community. We look forward to continuing to bring you slices of business life and encourage you to continue sharing your input with us. And despite the challenges, we are happy to toast a successful 2014 and even more fulfilling new year!
Read the entire December issue here.