Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation
Chief Innovation Officer
Photo by Hillary Ehlen
Originally from Langdon, North Dakota, Machacek moved here to attend MSUM and has lived in the Fargo Moorhead area ever since. Machacek’s jobs have varied as he built his career and evolved into who he is today – retail management, collections, catering, restaurant management, business banking and non-profits. His most recent prior positions were with United Way of Cass-Clay and U.S. Bank. Machacek has been with GFMEDC for a total of 11 years, holding a number of positions.
John is married to Jeanine who is a stellar bookseller with Barnes & Noble. His son Jack just finished his first year at MSUM and has been a chip off the old block with his social and community activity. Machacek’s daughter Kate will be a junior at Oak Grove and is developing into a strong, independent young woman. And they just began hosting an international student – Katarina from Montenegro who is an awesome piano player and a former boxing champion.
What is your favorite thing about your professional life?
I like that my job is to be resourceful and helpful to others, I have a lot of variety and I get to meet and connect with so many interesting people. I get a ton of personal fulfillment; we have a cohesive team; and our work environment is outstanding. My job is a nice combination of human interaction and behind the scenes stuff like managing our revolving loan fund.
Three unique facts about yourself
- I was an assistant manager of a Krispy Kreme.
- I worked part-time for Yelp.com a few years ago to help build their Fargo Moorhead presence and got to plan social events.
- I help create the weekly The Fargo Beat e-newsletter for 10 years to over 1,000 subscribers and now manage its social media accounts.
What are some of your favorite things about the Fargo- Moorhead area?
I love the people here and I love how our metro is reshaping itself. With the population growth and the retention of younger residents, this city has changed tremendously since I moved here for college. The area is full of doers who are willing to be creative and try things, and the people reciprocate by supporting those endeavors. This area is full of community engagement rock stars and I’m fortunate to connect with many of them.
If you weren’t working in your current profession, what would you be doing?
Gosh, I love my job and the EDC, so honestly, I don’t really think about it. I guess if I had to create a job, it may be a mix of community and employee (or student) engagement for a company or university, with maybe a dash of development to help the organization grow and succeed. But if I had a magic
wand, I would love to spend just one week with the writers and cast of Saturday Night Live working on an episode.
What are some things you like to do in your spare time?
Pre-kids it was watching sports, going out with friends, painting and drawing. Once I became a father, I wanted to spend my free time with them maximizing all the moments because they have been such a joy and I knew they’d be out of the house before I knew it. I guess I’m only a couple of years away from needing to find hobbies again.
What are some books or podcasts you recommend people check out?
I’m the non-reader in our house except for newspapers and magazines, so I’d be bad about book advice – go ask my wife at Barnes & Noble. My go-to podcast is Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, but I mostly zone in on episodes with comedic actors as they discuss their craft, insecurities and fun stories.
If you could change or impact one thing in our business community, what would it be?
One thing? Hmmm. This may seem a bit random but I think it would be great if we could see a fast pattern of businesses choosing to provide and encourage paid parental leave. I think it would reduce a lot of worry and stress of new parents and ideally having them feel pretty good about their employer. How awesome would it be if Fargo Moorhead was known for that? I would think it would be an excellent way to attract and retain residents.
Why work with Fargo INC?
I have a knack for noticing what businesses have going on and what may be of interest, so I want to be helpful to the Fargo Inc team by providing story ideas and connections. The magazine itself is always beautifully crafted and does a great job of sharing interesting information. It showcases why our community is such a great place to do business.
I don’t know that I’m in a place to give business tips. I’ll leave it at if you are a primary sector company AND you are not acquainted with GFMEDC, give us a call. Also, engage with your community and your employees to help make it better and them better.