Every month Prairie Business asks several regional business leaders a question, and they answer with their perspective and insight.

The question we asked for August is: "What efforts are being done to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a company?"

Below are how four of the region's exemplary business leaders responded:

Amy Hass, senior vice president , EPIC Companies, West Fargo, N.D.

Amy Hass
Amy HassImage: Courtesy of EPIC Companies


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EPIC continues to grow and develop by creating a culture of continuous learning and adapting to changes. We gain knowledge from each project we develop and evolve accordingly.

Our employees are hired on personality and passion; we create their job description after, allowing our staff to grow in areas they enjoy and excel in. We welcome growth and continue to work with communities to create projects that enhance the quality of life.

Joel Bird, CEO, Legacy Financial Partners, Bismarck, N.D.

Joel Bird
Joel BirdImage: Courtesy of Legacy Financial Partners


At Legacy Financial Partners, we are committed to growth and development by believing in people first and then company. There are many companies and teams in the financial services world; however, I don’t believe that any have more talent, resources, integrity, and dedication than we do at LFP.

Growth doesn’t happen unless we develop as a team. It is our focus to establish strong company and personal goals by holding each other accountable and engaging in high-quality training. Specifically, we have encouraged company growth through the development of teams dedicated to company culture/values as well as implementing a weekly educational program for the betterment of our financial advisors.

I believe in LFP and the people we have. The possibilities are endless when we continue to think big and change the reality of what’s possible. By keeping a growth mindset, we have been able to achieve the most success and create a culture filled with inspiration, education, and creativity.

* Legacy Financial Partners is a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC

Ryan Ackerman, president and CEO, Ackerman-Estvold, Minot, N.D.

Ryan Ackerman
Ryan AckermanImage: Courtesy of Ackerman-Estvold


AE takes a thoughtful approach at how we have expanded our operations over the past 17 years, considering the markets, resources, and talents we can access to best serve the communities we work and live in.

We utilize long-term interns, who are learning the newest of innovative ideas and creative solutions and are proud to hire them as a member of our skilled team when they have completed their degrees. We have found the best blend of experienced professionals who mentor excited, driven graduates, is key to our future development as a company.

We believe in providing premiere services to our clients, which means having the best staff of highly skilled civil engineers and architects. We have continued to expand our depth, which encompasses 11 disciplines, and in addition have a highly trained support staff from design, financial and communications fields to enhance what we provide to each client.

Every client gets a unique experience specific to their needs, we pride ourselves on providing a first-class experience.

Dan Oakland, CEO/senior HR consultant, Alternative HR, LLC, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Dan Oakland
Dan OaklandImage: Courtesy of Alternative HR

There are multiple dimensions of business growth and employee development that we intentionally pursue at Alternative HR, LLC. We are, after all, in the ‘people’ business, and we believe that organizational growth cannot be sustained without individual growth.

First, we challenge our team members to grow individually: learn something new or improve something you do – both professionally and personally. When individuals have an improvement mindset, that naturally translates to other areas of their life, and to all aspects of our business. It also creates a more positive workplace, where individuals encourage each other’s growth.

Second, we look at how we can improve our internal processes and consistency of results. That translates into better deliverables for our clients. The goal is to build and maintain high customer satisfaction and client retention. When we do that, we know that adding new customers actually grows the business rather than just replaces customers who had unfulfilled expectations.

Third, we set goals in terms of external growth – reaching and bringing in new clients, and expanding business with existing customers. In truth, this third goal is a natural outcome of doing well on the first and second goals.