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NDTO News Article

Greg Page, Cargill Inc.

CEO of Cargill speaks at Global Business Connections 2011

Bremer, Healthy Oilseeds earn 2010 Global Business Awards

What is the key to success in Global business? According to Cargill CEO Greg Page it’s not overacting.  Page addressed more than two hundred people at the 2011 Global Business Connections conference in Fargo.  The two day event held March 30 and 31 at the Ramada Plaza Suites included speakers, panel discussions, breakout sessions and networking for all levels of exporters and export service providers.

Page, a Bottineau, N.D. native delivered the keynote address on the first day of the conference.  His best advice on how to succeed in the often turbulent international business climate?  To resist the urge to overact to dramatic events and crises such as disasters and acts of terrorism. “It’s easy to lose your path and get caught up in the noise of what’s really disruptive and painful the moment it occurs.  These events have to be seen in context.”  Page also urged business to be more politically active and noted that hot topics and trade barriers such as free trade deals, energy policy and immigration issues require a greater degree of political involvement.  Page pointed out the competition for top talent is tough, but the current immigration laws are making it very difficult for companies to keep some of their brightest employees.  Page went on to say that immigration rules which require math and science students to leave the US after they earn their degrees are driving away much needed talent.  “To me, it is a stark fact that for every postgraduate science degree we confer in the United States, we confer 18 law degrees and 50 MBAs.”

North Dakota Trade Office executive Director Dean Gorder opened the conference with the state of trade address.  With exports up 15% in 2010 the office continues to work at creating opportunities for North Dakota exporters.  Several planned and potential trade missions are in the works for the coming year.

Governor Jack Dalrymple presented Healthy Oilseeds founder and president Roger Gussiaas with the 2010 North Dakota Exporter of the Year award.  Healthy Oilseeds is a second generation family farm and has grown flax and borage for more than 50 years.  Healthy Oilseeds began exporting in 2002, sending borage to a buyer in Spain. Currently, Healthy Oilseeds is exporting to Canada, Kazakhstan, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain and Taiwan and continues to expand its global market. Company sales are 61.6% international and 38.4% domestic. International sales increased more than 60% in 2010 and 450% in 2009.

Dalrymple also presented Bremer Bank with North Dakota’s 2010 Service to Exporters Award.  The award is given to an organization that demonstrates an exceptional commitment to increasing the state’s international business.  The company, which was founded in 1943, provides a comprehensive range of banking, investment, trust and insurance products and services to nearly 100 locations in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

The opening day of the conference included the Global Supply Chain Security panel discussion.  The panel was moderated by Doug Jacobson, an international trade lawyer based in Washington, DC.  Panelists included former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and former North Dakota Governor Ed Schafer; Principal of Trade Innovations, Inc. Michael Laden; David Nelson, State Entomologist with the ND Department of Agriculture and Pat Cayley, Supervisory Import Specialist with Customs and Border Protection.  The experts discussed how companies have restructured how they do business since the 9/11 terrorist attacks and how supply security has changed.  Panelist Michael Laden helped retail giant Target revamp it’s supply chain after the attacts. Laden noted, “We’ve come a long way in a short period of time.”

On the second day of the conference Director of Global Business Initiatives and bestselling author Michael Hick gave an energy filled talk on succeeding in international business.  Hick stressed the importance of knowing your client and how people in different parts of the country do business differently.  Following the presentation Hick moderated the Future of Exporting panel discussion.  Panelists included Senior Director of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Mark Green; CFO and treasurer of Daktronics Bill Retterath; and President and CEO of WCCO Belting and Chair of the ND District Export Council Tom Shorma.

Attendees of the conference also had the opportunity to attend a trade show and breakout sessions which included topics ranging from doing business in Africa to better time management.

Photos from Global Business Connections 2011
All photos courtesy of Legacy Photography