Speakers + Performers
Grace L Chao
Grace Chao graduated with a PhD in Applied Anthropology from Columbia University in 2013. She also received an MA in Education specializing in family counseling in 2002 and a BA in English in 1990. She is a certified substance abuse counselor in the state of California.
Howard Dahl follows in the proud tradition of his Grandfather E. G. Melroe, the founder of the Bobcat Company, and his Father Eugene Dahl, the CEO and Chairman who took Steiger Tractor from $2 million of sales to $105 million of sales in six years. In 1977 Howard and his brother Brian founded Concord, Inc, which was the innovative leader in North America and Eastern Europe for Air Seeders. Concord was central to the movement toward no-till farming. When Concord was sold in 1996, Amity Technology was founded and is the leader in sugar beet harvesting equipment in North America. Howard has served on numerous boards both locally and nationally.
Ross DeVol is President and CEO, Heartland Forward. Heartland Forward’s goal is to promote regional innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems that foster job creation, wage gains, health and wellbeing and economic growth for the American Heartland. DeVol is a former chief research officer for the Milken Institute where he spent nearly 20 years, an economic think tank headquartered in California. He oversaw research on international, national and comparative regional growth performance, access to capital and its role in economic growth and job creation and health-related topics. He has been ranked among the “Superstars of Think Tank Scholars” by International Economy magazine.
Jay Doan is a 5th generation rancher and agripreneur at the historic Black Leg Ranch in McKenzie, North Dakota. Homesteaded in 1882, the ranch has broadened traditional commercial cattle ranching into a multifunctioning, value-added agricultural enterprise that has diversified into a hunting outfit, international agri-tourism operation, wedding and events venue, craft brewery, and its most recent venture, commercial meats. Having hosted all 50 states and over 40 foreign countries to the ranch, Jay and his family are extremely passionate about spreading the positive word of agriculture and the importance of regeneration.
The ranch comprises 20,000 acres in central North Dakota and partners with farmers on 3,000 acres of cropland, allowing guided crop rotations, no-till practices and cover crops, while also providing residue for cattle forage. Across the approximately 17,000 acres of grazing land, close attention is paid to soil health, which generates greater forage production, limits erosion and reduced costs. The ranch has also implemented an intensive grazing program after installing more than 65 miles of high-tensile fence to create 90 pastures, allowing cattle to be moved to new grass regularly to closely mimic the natural grazing behavior of the bison herds that once roamed the Plains. Just recently, the Doan family and ranch were honored to receive the inaugural Aldo Leopold Conservation Award and they were also the prestigious Environmental Stewardship Award Program National winners.
Jay is currently a member of the North Dakota Rural Development Council, appointed by Governor Doug Burgum, which seeks to assist in the development of rural North Dakota communities by creating a mechanism for collaboration of leaders across the state. He was also recently a member of the Central Grasslands REC Advisory Board (CGREC) and a proud Class V graduate of Rural Leadership North Dakota, which strives to prepare and develop effective leaders to strengthen rural North Dakota. This program not only enhanced Jay’s personal growth and professional network, but further reinforced his dedication and passion to supporting the agriculture industry and community in general.
Prior to moving back to North Dakota, Jay lived in both Arizona and Texas working as a financial advisor and in marketing/brand development for Hensley & Company and Anheuser-Busch, Inc. One of the best decisions he ever made was to move away and broaden his horizons in these other industries to think “outside the fence” as it also made him come to miss and appreciate what his legacy was back in North Dakota. Now, over a decade later, he is submerged into sustaining and diversifying the ranch and utilizing these past experiences to both enhance current practices and continue to bring more opportunities to the ranch for the community and future generations.
Jay lives in Bismarck with his wife Kari, and their two beautiful children, Jamisyn (7) and Jayston (5).
Randy Hedberg is the Associate Head Coach/Quarterbacks Coach for NDSU football. His hometown is Parshall, ND and he graduated from Minot State University with a degree in Mathematics and Physical Education. Randy was drafted into the National Football League as a Quarterback and played two years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Prentice Keller attended Providence College where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Spanish. She was also a member of the Division I Women's Ice Hockey Team at Providence College. She began her career as a founding employee of the startup Love Your Melon, a philanthropic apparel brand benefiting pediatric cancer patients. She then went onto a software sales role at HubSpot where she worked with startups in Silicon Valley. She was the first employee of WeWork in Minneapolis, where she was in charge of opening and operating the new office space locations throughout the city, handling corporate relations and building brand recognition. During her time in Minneapolis, she opened and managed three separate coworking spaces, totaling over 250,000 square feet. She was responsible for the financial success of these buildings and the overall market. She then transitioned within WeWork to the Global Expansion team where she worked globally to launch new cities and grow strategic partnerships.
She worked cross-functionally with Enterprise sales, Strategic Account sales, Market sales, and Account Management to grow spatial occupancy aggressively. Keller joined gener8tor as a VP in early 2020 to lead their strategic growth initiatives. She quickly grew in the company to oversee all business development, the Corporate Innovation Network, the conference series, OnRamp and all grant efforts. Keller was promoted to SVP in 2022 and continues to lead all revenue generating efforts at gener8tor.
Tom Kemmer is a skateboarder, artist, musician, carpenter, father, and loving partner. Not necessarily in that order. He has been skating for 34 years.
Tom's goal is to bring visibility to skateboarding in the FM area in an effort to build a new regional public skate park to motivate, and encourage youth, and give back a little bit of what skateboarding has given him over the years.
Dr. Arica Kulm
Dr. Arica Kulm is the Director of Digital Forensic Services at the DigForCE Lab at Dakota State University. Arica received her PhD in Cyber Defense from Dakota State University in December of 2020, has a master’s degree in Cyber Defense from Dakota State University, a bachelor’s degree from South Dakota State University and holds several industry certifications. In her off time, she enjoys spending time with her 4 college-age kids who grew up way too fast.
Chris Martin was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is a student at North Central University. On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was his customer at Cup Foods, and Chris was a close eyewitness to all the terrible events that occurred that day and subsequently in his Minneapolis neighborhood. He has a powerful story of how personal tragedy can lead to redemption, if we are willing to "Rise."
Kim Pladson is President/CEO, and one of the co-founders of TNT Kid’s Fitness. An organization built to serve and help all abilities unlock potential through movement! Kim is the visionary behind their ground-breaking work and has grown its organization within its own footprint and state-wide. She launched school community partnerships and works on policy and practice to generate changes on a much broader level.
Bruce Rastetter is the founder and CEO of Summit Agricultural Group, a leading agribusiness and renewable energy firm with operations in North and South America. Rastetter’s hands-on experience in global agricultural and renewable energy sectors, matched with his strong focus on strategic business development, has been key to building successful companies and advising government leaders on policy matters.
Growing up on a 300-acre family farm near Alden, Iowa, Rastetter started his career with his own feed management business. He managed additional start-up companies that merged into Heartland Pork, a Midwestern pork production company acquired by Christensen Farms that has since become one of the largest pork producers in America. He also founded Hawkeye Renewables, which became one of the country’s largest pure-play corn-based ethanol producers, and FS Bioenergia, a Brazilian low-carbon biofuels and energy platform that owns the largest biofuels production plant in South America.
Today Summit Agricultural Group is an agriculture and renewable energy business with farmland holdings across in North and South America. The company supports capital investments with strategic private equity partnerships and manages agricultural assets, including extensive beef, pork and grain production facilities. Rastetter is an active philanthropist and has served as an advisor and member of several boards, including the American Agriculture and Energy Council, AltEnergy, Cultivation Corridor, Iowa Premium Beef, FS Bioenergia, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Rural American Fund. He previously served as president of the Iowa Board of Regents, working on initiatives across the Regents system, which consists of more than 27,000 employees, 80,000 students and an annual budget of $5.6 billion. A graduate of the University of Iowa, Rastetter holds a bachelor’s degree in political science.
Passionate about improving behavioral health services for children and families, Heather Simonich currently serves as an Operations Director for Nexus-PATH Family Healing in Fargo, North Dakota. Heather has a deep belief that when children and families have access to timely and effective services, they can overcome almost any challenge that lies before them.
Barking up trees with The Doge NFT (ownthedoge.com), the original doge photo and most iconic meme in the world, and PleasrDAO (pleasr.org), one of the most notable DAOs in crypto.