Friday, August 14, 2015
A small group of local business leaders meet on the 6th floor of downtown Fargo’s Black Building for a coffee roundtable. Kurt McSparron, North Dakota Representative with the National Federation of Independent Business, proposes the idea of a new club designed exclusively for CEOs, Presidents, Founders and entrepreneurs – “key decision-makers”.
“What’s the premise?”, is the first question. “A trusted inner-circle of colleagues, where conversations take place that can’t generally take place with employees, spouses, even leadership teams. Conversations around the challenges of leadership; the feelings of isolation; and the day-to-day onus of running an organization”, he replied.
“What are the rules?”, followed. “There’ll be no ‘rules’, just ‘guidelines’. We’ll allow the Members to form our agenda; to create their own value; to chart our direction…a ‘business initiative’.
- the ability to assess and initiate things independently.
- the power or opportunity to act or take charge before others do.
“What’s it going to cost to join?” “Let’s keep it simple. How about a dollar a day?” – Kurt suggested.
Wes Henry, Founder/CEO, True IT, took his checkbook from his briefcase, wrote a check for $365.00, becoming Member #1, and The100, Inc. Business Initiative was born.
Later that day, Kurt submitted his resignation to the NFIB, cashed out his 401k and began to recruit the Founding Members of the club.
Wes Henry, Founder, True IT…Member #1!
Our original logo. The lower case font represents the humility of our Members. The all-caps section represents our focus, and the largest all-caps, INITIATIVE, is how we do it. The Newton’s Cradle symbolizes teamwork, momentum, and exchange of energy…plus, the classic executive office item!
Between Monday, August 17 and Thursday, December 31, 2015, another 65 local business leaders wrote $365.00 checks, to join something they couldn’t quite yet describe, but something that had a certain appeal, a seeming necessity and an intriguing air of exclusivity. The name, The100, had been chosen because only 100 individuals were going to be permitted to be part of this new initiative.
the Founding Members…the Original 66!
- WES HENRY 08/14/15
- Barry Dresser 08/17/15
- JOSH CHRISTY 08/17/15
- Don Grande 08/17/15
- Dean Vollmer 08/18/15
- RON FUHRMAN 08/18/15
- Doug Johnson 08/18/15
- Wayne Bradley 08/18/15
- Paul Hannaher 08/20/15
- DEBRA ASP 08/21/15
- Ben Meland 08/21/15
- Julie Belch 08/21/15
- Neil Blanchard 08/21/15
- TODD FISHER 08/24/15
- Jeff Frey 08/24/15
- Guy Nelson 08/24/15
- Lonnie Laffen † 08/25/15
- Jeremiah Johnson 8/25/15
- MARK GIDDINGS 08/25/15
- Jim Kasper 08/25/15
- Jon Kungel 08/26/15
- TOM KADING 08/27/15
- NOLEN BERTSCH 08/27/15
- Cami Lee 08/27/15
- Jake Joraanstad 08/28/15
- HARLAN GOERGER † 08/28/15
- RICK BERG 08/28/15
- Patrick Emerson 08/28/15
- DARCY POPE-FUCHS 9/03/15
- Jorin Johnson 09/01/15
- BOB GIBB 09/02/15
- KRISTI LARKIN 09/03/15
- ZACH PAXTON 09/03/15
- Steve Koep 09/03/15
- Vince Wuebker 09/09/15
- SCOTT THUEN 09/10/15
- Josh Green 09/09/15
- KEVIN JOHNSON 09/09/15
- DAVID C. DIETZ 09/11/15
- Jon Haug 09/11/15
- MIKE GRAHAM 09/14/15
- JIM BUUS 09/14/15
- BEN KOPPELMAN 09/14/15
- John Haley 09/16/15
- Brian Meyer 09/17/15
- Kelly Blilie 09/18/15
- Debby Jaeger 09/19/15
- Shawn VanEnk 09/21/15
- Jason Gehrig 09/23/15
- Todd Funfar 09/24/15
- Don Fischer 09/24/15
- Corey Heiser 09/28/15
- Dan Altenbernd 09/28/15
- TIM LANDIS 10/05/15
- DAVID REID 10/16/15
- CINDY COLE 10/30/15
- Larry O’Brien 11/17/15
- CINDY TYO 11/30/15
- JON LOWRY 12/03/15
- Jim Heyer 12/03/15
- BRADY NASH 12/07/15
- David Karels 12/10/15
- DAN PARKER 12/11/15
- KENT SATRANG 12/18/15
- DAVE ANDERSON 12/21/15
- Tom Poole 12/21/15
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Our FIRST public event, CEO’s Roundtable, with Speakers: Bob Gibb, Kent Satrang, Jim Buus, Brady Nash and Harlan Goerger, kicks off a monthly executive series that continued through 2019
Our first press…
Lonely at the top: New Executives Club Provides Support For CEOs and Business Owners
May 30, 2016 FARGO—Many CEOs and business owners say it’s lonely at the top, but it doesn’t have to be thanks to a new executive club called The100, Inc.
Founder Kurt McSparron said he was motivated to start The100 because most of the business groups in town are geared towards sales professionals hoping for referrals. He saw the need for a group that would support those at the top.
Dan Altenbernd, Partner, H2M, leads a peer-to-peer discussion at one of our early signature programs, The Peer12 Workshop
Our Members talk about the Club…
DJ Colter, Founder and Owner, DJ Colter Agency, Inc.
DJ joined our Club July 27, 2017 and became a PLATINUM Lifetime Member July 5, 2022
Dave Nelson, President and Owner, Image Printing and Knight Printing
Dave joined our Club August 17, 2017
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
The first Executive Expo, hosted by the Club, welcomes nearly 400 business leaders to the Avalon Events Center. Over 50 business displays, 12 breakout sessions, and 6 featured speakers, including: Charley Johnson, Dayna Del Val, Jim Buus, Teresa Lewis and Dr. Jim Carlson.
Lisa Bortnem-Wiser, Managing Partner, Bortnem Family Limited Partnership
Lisa joined our Club July 18, 2018 and became an EXECUTIVE Sponsor October 1, 2021
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
The Club hosts Get a Grip on Your Business 2.0, featuring What The Heck is EOS Author, Tom Bouwer. Nearly 200 business leaders attend this day-long seminar, which included breakout sessions, buffet lunch and a social, sponsored by over a dozen “Traction-implementing” businesses.
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Executive Expo II is held at the Avalon, with the theme Leadership Unfiltered. We put 20 individual speakers on a small, uncomfortable platform in the middle of over 200 of their colleagues, to tell candid, real-life business stories. Business displays, dinner buffet and a social hour wrapped up a powerful day!
Sarah Koustrup, Chief Strategy Officer, National Hospitality Services, Inc.
Sarah joined our Club March 6, 2019 and became a GOLD Sponsor Member October 5, 2021
David Dietz, CEO, Preference Employment Solutions
David joined the Club September 11, 2015 and became a GOLD Sponsor Member October 2, 2017
Michael Johnson, Founder and CEO, ClearPath Advisors
Mike became a Member December 27, 2017 and became a GOLD Sponsor Member March 26, 2018
Miranda Burfeind, President, Phone-n-Fix
Miranda became a Member and GOLD Sponsor January 18, 2019
Jim Buus, Founder and President, JBC Commercial Real Estate
Jim joined the Club September 14, 2015 and became a GOLD Sponsor Member November 4, 2020
Jason Orloske, Founder and President, BTG Consulting
Jason joined our Club May 13, 2020
Tom Stadum, Founder and CEO, Fjell Capital
Tom took the initiative to join October 12, 2020
November 1, 2020
Grindstone, home to The Executives’ Club, opens its’ doors, for Member meetings, private events and executive socials!
Fargo INC! Business Magazine continues to introduce the community to MANY of our Members…
the Club has hosted over 400 private Wednesday lunches; over 200 seminars, presentations and workshops; dozens of strategy sessions, leadership team meetings, collaborative opportunities, birthday parties, retirement parties, private happy hours and exclusive events!
As we approach our 8th birthday, we thank the business leaders who’ve taken the initiative to engage with our Club and look forward to welcoming new innovators and entrepreneurs in the coming years!