UND Center for Innovation Foundation
The North Dakota/Minnesota EB-5 Regional Center is owned and managed by the UND Center for Innovation Foundation (Foundation), which was among the first entrepreneur outreach centers in the nation when formed in 1984. The Foundation provides assistance to entrepreneurs, developers, and students to launch new ventures, expand operations, commercialize new technologies, and secure access to capital from private and public sources. Over the past 30 years, the Foundation has fostered over 770 startups, which employs more than 7,000 people and have attracted over $140 million in investment. The Foundation’s mission is to maintain national leadership in entrepreneur outreach and education, and become the leader in tech entrepreneurship in rural America. It is through the Foundation’s expertise that the North Dakota/Minnesota EB-5 Regional Center is able to confidently identify and develop EB-5 investments opportunities. The Foundation’s goals include:
- Grow entrepreneur ventures
- Secure access to entrepreneur capital
- Economic development
The Foundation has received 15 national awards for excellence in innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic development. Since 2006, the Foundation has received four National Business Incubator Association “Soft Landings International Incubator” designations, one of only 25 incubators worldwide continuously proving itself as a business incubator that helps companies expand internationally.
The UND Center for Innovation Foundation won two awards for its innovative work in the Increasing Access to Capital category. In 2013, the Foundation was awarded the Excellence in Technology-Based Economic Development Award from the State Science and Technology Institute for its work in managing the North Dakota/Minnesota EB-5 Regional Center. One year later, in 2014, the Foundation was named recipient for the National Business Incubation Association’s 2014 Incubator Innovation Award. The Foundation was given the honor for developing a unique and varied menu of capital options for entrepreneurs, including EB-5 foreign direct investment. “We work daily to make it easier for ventures to secure the funding their progress requires. Our work is a reflection of the commitment of the North Dakota public and private sectors to entrepreneurship and innovation and more specifically, to increasing the flow of capital in the region. We are delighted to be a leader nationally and to be a model for others to follow.” Bruce Gjovig, CEO
World Renown Board Members
Chairman: Dale F. Morrison is a founding partner of TriPointe Capital Partners, a middle market private equity firm based in New York City. Prior to launching TriPointe Capital Partners, Morrison served seven years as Chief Executive Officer of McCain Foods, an international leader in the frozen food industry, employing 20,000 people and operating 53 production facilities in 14 countries on six continents. McCain products are sold in 130 countries around the globe. Prior to leading McCain Foods, Morrison was an Executive at Fenway Partners, a middle market buyout firm based in New York City, where he worked on a number of assignments in the consumer products space. Morrison was previously President and Chief Executive Officer of Campbell Soup Company and began his career at General Foods and PepsiCo, where he had significant international responsibilities. Morrison is a board member of International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. and InterContinental Hotels Group. Originally from Milton, North Dakota, Morrison earned a business degree from the University of North Dakota in 1971. Morrison currently serves as a member of the National Campaign Steering Committee to raise $300 million for the University of North Dakota and previously served as President on the University of North Dakota Foundation Board from 1995 to 2004.
Vice Chairman: Randy Newman is Chief Executive Officer and President of Alerus Financial Corporation. Alerus Financial Corporation is one of the largest and oldest independent banking and financial services companies in the upper Midwest with total bank assets exceeding $1.1 billion, $8 billion in customer assets under management and administration, and $350 million in brokerage assets. Alerus now operates 18 locations in North Dakota, Minnesota and Arizona, area. Newman has been Chairman of Alerus Financial Bank since 1993. Newman served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) in Des Moines, Iowa, from 2004 to 2008 and was named by NorthWestern Financial Review as the 2008 Banker of the Year. Newman received his Batchelor of Science in Business Administration in 1975 and his Master of Business Administration in 1979 from the University of North Dakota.
Treasurer: Chuck Ahearn is the Director and CFO of the Ray Foundation in Naples, FL and the Aviation Education Foundation. Chuck has been with the Ray Foundation since 2006.
Trustee: Bart Holaday was head of the private markets group of UBS Asset Management and its predecessor entities for 15 years prior to his retirement in 2001, during which time he managed more than $19 billion in investments. Holaday is currently the President and owner of Dakota Renewable Energy Fund, LLC, which invests in early stage ventures in North Dakota. He is on the Boards of Directors of Adams Street Partners, a private equity investment firm; Alerus Financial; Montana Dakota Utilities; the United States Air Force Academy Endowment (former-Chairman); the Falcon Foundation (former Vice President); and is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Dakota Foundation. Holaday previously served as Vice President of the InnoVen Venture Capital Group and was a past member of the Board of Directors of the National Venture Capital Association and Walden University. Holaday is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. Holaday was a Rhodes Scholar earning a master degree from Oxford University. Holaday also earned a law degree from George Washington Law School and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. In 2005, Holaday was awarded an honorary doctor of letters from the University of North Dakota. He has served on the University of North Dakota Center for Innovation Foundation Board since 2002.
Trustee: Howard Dahl is President and Chief Executive Officer of Amity Technology in Fargo and Chief Executive Officer of joint venture AGCO-Amity JV since 2010. Amity markets farm equipment in 14 countries while AGCO, based in Duluth, Georgia, has more than 2,700 dealers and operates in 140 countries. Dahl heads the AGCO-Amity effort to manufacture and market air seeders and tillage equipment. Dahl continues to run Amity Technology with its sugar beet manufacturing equipment. Dahl started Concord Inc. in 1977 with his brother, Brian Dahl, and father, Gene Dahl, who was Chairman on Steiger Tractor Co. Board. Dahl received an honorary degree from the University of North Dakota in 2010.
Trustee: Jerry Van Eeckhout joined the Board of Directors in 2008. Van Eeckhout is Chairman of Evergreen Enterprises, LLC and previously served as Chief Executive Officer of ConferTech International (NASDAQ) from 1982 to 1990 and Chief Executive Officer of ACT Teleconferencing (NASDAQ) from 1990 to 2003, when he retired. Van Eeckhout’s management career includes seven years as Controller, Vice President, and Chief Financial Officer of Medtronic, Inc (NYSE), five years as Chief Financial and Planning Officer of the Pillsbury Co. International Division (NYSE), and eight years as a CPA with Touche Ross and Co., in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Van Eeckhout received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of North Dakota in 1962 and is a 1976 graduate of the Stanford Business School Executive Program. Van Eeckhout served as a Director of several public and private companies in the United States and China in the telecommunications, food, medical technology and non-profit sectors. Van Eeckhout is a former national Director of the American Electronics Association, a past President of the University of North Dakota Foundation where he served for nine years. Van Eeckhout was named to the North Dakota Entrepreneur Hall of Fame in 1998 and received the 2001 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Rocky Mountain region. Van Eeckhout has served as a professor of accounting, finance, marketing, and international management at the University of Minnesota, the University of Denver and the University of Shanghai.
Trustee: Richard McConn is President and Chief Executive Officer of M International of McLean, Virginia which he founded in 1979. M International has become a leading solutions provider of new aviation parts, overhaul and repair, and aftermarket and technology support in the aerospace and defense industries in North America, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, South America, and Africa. McConn is a native of Valley City, North Dakota and a 1966 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. McConn served in the office of the United States Air Force Vice Chief of Staff and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and then as a White House aide to President Nixon. McConn was a founding Director of the United States Air Force Academy Endowment and is currently on the boards of the Falcon Foundation and the National Defense Industrial Association. McConn received the United States Air Force Academy Distinguished Graduate Award for 2011. McConn has served as Trustee of the University of North Dakota Center for Innovation Foundation since 2013.
Trustee: Linda Pancratz is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Mountain Capital of Edwards, Colorado. Pancratz was Chairmain of the University of North Dakota Foundation Board and Co-Chaired the National Campaign Steering Committee for the $300 million fund raising campaign recently completed. Pancratz was a telecommunications entrepreneur holding several senior management positions with U.S. West including Vice President for small business services. Pancratz retired as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of TDL Infomedia in the United Kingdom. Pancratz is a native of Grand Forks, North Dakota, and a 1977 graduate of the University of North Dakota.
Trustee: Phil Gisi was raised on a farm near New Rockford, ND and is a 1982 graduate of the University of North Dakota with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Major in Accounting. Phil first served as the CFO for an oil field service and construction company, then spent 10 years working for St. Joseph’s/UniMed Medical Center in Minot, ND, where he was the Vice President/CFO and later President/CEO. Gisi is currently the majority owner and CEO of the Edgewood Group of Companies, and the President/CEO of Edgewood Real Estate Investment Trust, a company specializing in the ownership of senior housing facilities under the REIT ownership structure. He is also the Chair/CEO of SBG Energy Services LLC, a North Dakota-based oil field services company. Gisi serves as a board director of Tulsa, OK-based Cypress Energy Partners LP (NYSE:“CELP”), a community board member and Secretary of Altru Health Systems of Grand Forks, a board member of the University of North Dakota Alumni Association Foundation, and a member of the Alumni Advisory Council of UND’s School of Business and Public Administration. Phil and his wife, Patricia, have two children and live in Grand Forks, ND.
Trustee Emeritus: James C. Ray is President of the Aerospace Capital Group and President of the Ray Foundation of Naples, Florida. Since the late 1960s, Ray has served as President of the Ray Foundation, which distributed millions of dollars in royalties earned from the development and sale of a cattle vaccine to a variety of programs especially in aerospace and entrepreneurship. Ray has invested in more than 300 high tech aerospace and computer ventures, including Compaq Computer. Ray is also the lead investor in the Hilton Garden Inn located adjacent to the University of North Dakota Center for Innovation. Ray has contributed more than $12 million to the University of North Dakota, making him one of university’s largest benefactors. Ray has served on the University of North Dakota Center for Innovation Foundation Board since 2001. Additionally, the Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation awarded Ray the 2012 Lindbergh Spirit Award, which is given every five years for pioneering achievements in an aviation career with the spirit and character that represents the best of this nation.