Pride of Dakota slates annual meeting

BISMARCK – “Your Business Image” is the theme for the 2014 Pride of Dakota annual meeting, Thursday and Friday, March 20-21, at the Ramada Bismarck Hotel, 1400 E. Interchange Ave., Bismarck.

“This year's meeting will focus on improving business image through presentation, marketing and customer relations,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, who will speak at the group's annual banquet Thursday evening. “The meeting also gives member companies an opportunity to network with one another, to develop new business, marketing and entrepreneurial skills and to learn more about the Pride of Dakota program.”

The keynote at the banquet will be leadership speaker and chalk artist Bob Upgren.

The opening session Friday features Deb Eslinger, executive director for the Center for Technology and Business, who will discuss customer service and business releationships.

North Dakota Department of Agriculture staff members Dana Hager and Kelly Wald will update member companies on new Pride of Dakota policies and the new website.

Following a break, participants can choose from a variety of breakout sessions – financial resources, interstate shipping of products, wholesaling, local sourcing, social media and branding. Presenters include representatives from USDA Rural Development, NDDA, ND Dept. of Commerce, North Dakota Highway Patrol, the Small Business Development Center, Maple River Winery & Distillery and Wild Inspire.

Pride of Dakota provides member companies with cooperative marketing and promotional events, such as in-store demonstrations, Pride of Dakota Day and the Harvest and Holiday Showcases. The program also provides educational opportunities and representation at regional, national and international marketing expositions. More than 500 North Dakota companies are Pride of Dakota members. The program is administered by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture Marketing and Information Division.