Photos by Paul Flessland and J. Alan Paul Photography
We like to think of the Fargo business community as a giant puzzle and the people who comprise it as the different but equally essential pieces. Take one person, one company, or one industry away, and the picture becomes incomplete. Faces of Fargo Business is our chance to piece that puzzle together each month and celebrate the countless people who make this such a great place to work.
Founder Of Cereal
If you’re a creative in Fargo-Moorhead, Jeff Knight is probably no stranger to you. The industry veteran has been an active member of the commercial-design and fine-art scenes in the area for the better part of the last decade and an instructor at Concordia College for about half as long.
While Knight says he’s enjoyed his time at the front of the classroom, his gut told him it was time to flip the page and start a new chapter.
“As much as I loved to teach and be among students and the campus community, I missed doing creative design work full-time,” says Knight, who serves as the first vice president of the American Advertising Federation of North Dakota (AAF-ND) and on the Rourke Art Museum’s board of directors. “And I had an opportunity to partner with Ryan Fritz of Office Sign Company to start Cereal, an entrepreneurial idea I had been thinking of for a while.”
Cereal will launch in June as a full-service creative studio and will occupy a middle ground for companies in need of creative services.
“I want to serve clients who expect world-class design and marketing options but fall somewhere in between using a single freelancer and a full-scale agency,” says Knight, who has won numerous awards over his 15-year design career. “I also want Cereal to be an outlet where I am allowed to really embrace the creative side of design. I will miss teaching, but I know that my passion still lies heavily in the creation of work.”
In addition to his newfound role of entrepreneur and founder, Knight says he’s looking forward to a couple other initiatives he’s recently gotten involved with.
He’ll serve as manager of The Arts Partnership’s recently opened creative incuabator, APT—a space from which he will help coordinate programming and promote resident-artist studios—and is helping with the design of the Bluestem Center for the Arts’ Terra Madre festival, an annual celebration on Earth Day where people come together to celebrate food and how it relates to the place we live.
- Co-creator – Little Free Gardens
- Co-creator – Cropped
- Co-creator – Good for Nothing
- Co-creator – Ugly Food of the North
- Co-creator – Wandering Ghost
- Creator – Albino Buffalo
President & Technical Director of Livewire Entertainment Media Services
Kent Kolstad is the president and technical director of Livewire Entertainment Media Services in Fargo.
Livewire Entertainment Media Services
Design & Marketing Web Developer of Intelligent InSites
“Working at a startup has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
Where some people flounder in the chaotic, constantly changing world of entrepreneurship, Madison Christensen thrives in it.
“We generally have to wear a number of different hats, which means we’re constantly adapting, mastering new job skills, maybe failing at them for a while and finally doing the new job well,” says Christensen, a design and marketing web developer at Intelligent InSites, a healthcare software company based in Downtown Fargo. “The lack of a hierarchical, corporate structure has allowed me to create one based on the things I’m willing to try and the challenges I’m willing to accept—whether I had prior technical knowledge or not.
“From day to day, I get to use and expand my skills of graphic design, UX/UI design, web design and marketing.”
Christensen, who’s a Fargo native and 2014 graduate of NDSU, spends most of her days developing and managing Intelligent InSite’s website, which she rebuilt a little more than a year ago. When she’s not thinking about custom plug-ins and potential ROI, though, she’s volunteering and participating in one of a number of extracurriculars she’s passionate about.
Over the past year and a half, she’s been heavily involved with uCodeGirl, a Fargo-based nonprofit that works to increase the number of young girls who participate in technology careers.
“The organization really hits home for me,” says Christensen, who’s also currently working on side projects for Miss Teen North Dakota International and Concordia College’s athletic department. “I was one of those young girls who was scared to get involved in a male-dominated career field. Most girls are taught to avoid risk and failure, where boys are taught to be risk-takers. I want to help motivate girls to strive for bravery, not perfection.
“Whenever I speak with these girls, I think to myself, ‘Be who you needed when you were younger.'”
A two-time participant in NDSU’s Innovation Challenge, Christensen has also been a part of three separate Startup Weekend Fargo teams.