Chairman: Brent Sanford, Lt. Governor of North Dakota
Brent Sanford took office as North Dakota’s 38th lieutenant governor on December 15, 2016. A Watford City native and third-generation business owner, Sanford served as mayor of his hometown from 2010 to 2016 when he led the city through a massive population and infrastructure increase amid the state’s oil boom. Sanford is a University of North Dakota alumnus and was a certified public accountant for Eide Bailly in Fargo, chief financial officer for Transwest Trucks in Brighton, Colorado, owner and president of S & S Motors in Watford City and a Waterford City councilman. As lieutenant governor, Sanford serves as president of the state Senate, leads the North Dakota Trade Office and chairs the State Investment Board, the Capitol Grounds Planning Commission, the Higher Education Challenge Fund Commission, the Early Childhood Education Council and the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Authority. Sanford and his wife, Sandi, have three children.
Vice Chairman – Treasurer: Representative Chet Pollert
Chet Pollert has served in North Dakota’s House of Representatives since 1999 and became House majority leader in 2018. He has served on the House’s budget writing committee and chaired the human resources division. Pollert is a graduate of Valley City State University and now owns and operates G & R Grain and Feed in New Rockford, which sells fertilizer as well as manufactures pelleted feed for bison and beef cattle. He and his wife, Jo, have three children, live in Carrington, and attend Trinity Lutheran Church.
Secretary: Michelle Kommer, North Dakota Commerce Commissioner
Michelle Kommer was appointed by Governor Doug Burgum as Commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Commerce in December 2018. She previously served as Labor Commissioner and Executive Director of Job Service North Dakota. Kommer’s 20+ years’ experience in the private sector includes roles as chief administrative officer and general counsel for Western State Bank. She received her law degree from the University of North Dakota School of Law and is licensed to practice in both North Dakota and Minnesota. Kommer is a passionate advocate for child welfare in North Dakota, both as a foster and adoptive parent and as founder of the North Dakota Heart Gallery, a non-profit that promotes awareness of the need for adoptive families for North Dakota children.
Eric Bartsch, AGT Foods
As the Director of the Global Ingredients Division of AGT Foods, Eric Bartsch oversees the production, sale and R&D of all the pulse-based products such as pulse proteins, flour, and fiber that are produced by AGT. Formerly, Bartsch served as executive director of the Northern Pulse Growers Association and general manager of U.S. operations at United Pulse Trading Inc., which is now known as AGT Foods. Bartsch was raised on a family farm near Velva, North Dakota. He graduated from North Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Crop and Weed Sciences. He currently resides in Bismarck, North Dakota with his wife Kathryn and their three children.
Bio coming soon.
Steve Dickinson, Cozen O’Connor
Steve Dickinson’s law practice centers on domestic and international business transactions for both U.S. and international companies. Dickinson represents U.S. and global companies in their international business, including acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic alliances, construction and sales contracts, and distribution arrangements, as well as operational issues such as international tax planning, entity formation, financing, employment, intellectual property, and compliance matters, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and export control regulations. Dickinson has represented many companies in doing business in China and throughout Asia, as well as in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, the former Soviet Union, and Canada.
Beverly Flaten, JM Grain
Beverly Bauman Flaten is Vice President of International Marketing for JM Grain in Garrison, North Dakota. After a career in education administration, she joined her son, Justin, and husband, Marvin, to found JM Grain, where they began exporting peas into Canada to help their family and local farmers in the Makoti-Roseglen area receive more value added for their products. They now export pulse products to 38 countries and won North Dakota’s Exporter of the Year award in 2012. Flaten received her bachelor’s from Minot State University, master’s in organizational leadership from Montana State University and a doctorate in organizational change from the University of Montana.
Doug Goehring, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner
Doug Goehring has been North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner since 2009. A third-generation farmer, Commissioner Goehring, along with his son, Dustin, operates a 2,000-acre, no-till farm near Menoken, ND. Goehring is a member of the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, the North Dakota Grain Growers Association, the North Dakota Soybean Association, the North Dakota Corn Growers Association and the National Association of Corporate Directors. Commissioner Goehring attended Bismarck State College and is a licensed medical laboratory technician. He and his wife, Annette, have six children, seven grandchildren and attend Evangel Assembly of God in Bismarck.
Laura Oberst, Wells Fargo
Laura Oberst has been the Head of Business Banking Group at Wells Fargo & Company since 2016. Oberst serves as a Senior Vice President and Minneapolis Regional Manager for Wells Fargo Commercial Banking. Oberst’s career with Wells Fargo started in 1984 as a management trainee before advancing to oversee more than 350 team members in 10 states, from the Dakotas to Ohio. Oberst serves on the Board of Directors of HealthPartners, Inc. and the Greater MSP Economic Development Partnership. She chairs the Wells Fargo Minnesota Leadership Council and its Metropolitan Contributions Committee. Oberst holds a B.S. in Business Administration from North Dakota State University and Associate’s Degree (AS) in Accounting from Minnesota State University.
Bob Sinner, SB&B Foods
Robert Sinner grew up working in the family farming business that his great-grandfather started in 1906 near Casselton. After graduating from North Dakota State University in 1975 with a degree in Agriculture Economics, he spearheaded the company’s expansion into global identity-preserved, non-GMO soybean markets. Sinner is president of both the farming operation’s processing company, Identity Ag Processing and its marketing entity, SB&B Foods, which won the North Dakota Exporter of the Year award in 2007 and North Dakota Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2009. Sinner currently serves on the United States Soybean Export Council Advisory Board, is chairman of the Human Nutrition Committee and is active on the National Agriculture Transportation Coalition Advisory Board.
Tom Shorma, WCCO Belting
Since 2002, Thomas Shorma has been CEO/President of Wahpeton-based WCCO Belting, Inc., a privately-owned manufacturer of agricultural and industrial rubber belting and conveyor products. During his tenure with WCCO, the company has received the President of United States E-Award for export excellence, the E-STAR Award for sustaining export growth and was named the 2003 North Dakota Exporter of the Year. Shorma currently chairs the North Dakota District Export Council. He is a business, marketing, and advertising graduate of the University of North Dakota and the North Dakota State College of Science. He lives in Fargo with his wife, Julie, and has four children.
Sherm Wehlander, Doosan
Sherm Wehlander has more than forty years of experience in logistics, supply chain, manufacturing, export sales, import & export logistics, and trade compliance. He has served his entire career at Doosan Bobcat, and currently serves as the Director of Global Trade and Compliance for Doosan Bobcat and related companies, where he oversees all aspects of North America/Oceania import and export operations, as well as other trade and cross-border activities. Wehlander lives in Fargo with his wife, Sue, and his children and grandchildren live nearby. He is originally from the Milnor/DeLamere area of North Dakota.