2020 Commission Candidates - Downtown Community Partnership

2020 Commission Candidates

Copy of Copy of Great Candidate Debate (1)

The Downtown Community Partnership will be hosting a live debate to help the public learn what the candidates have to say. Tune into the live event from home on the City of Fargo public access channel or watch the recorded debate after the event on the Facebook page.

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Arlette Preston

A North Dakota native, I grew up on a farm in the Mayville-Portland area. I earned a nursing diploma at St. Luke’s School of Nursing, Fargo; a bachelor’s of nursing at Minnesota State University Moorhead; and a master’s in community health nursing at Texas Woman’s University, Denton.
I worked for MeritCare (now Sanford) Health Systems in Fargo for 21 years before starting a business, Home Instead Senior Care, which I operated for 16 years. I employed 85 individuals who provided non-medical services for the elderly in their homes.
During my previous tenure on the Fargo City Commission (1992-2000), I led the revision of the Land Development Code, which improved how neighborhoods are planned and developed. While I held the Planning and Development portfolio, a master plan for future land use was developed - also improving the process of neighborhood planning. I provided leadership in creating and implementing the first comprehensive downtown redevelopment plan. I also served on the Board of Education for the Fargo Public Schools from 2002-2006.
More recently, I assisted in starting the Downtown Neighborhood Association and I’m currently active in the Neighborhood Association Coalition. I’ve also served on a number of local non-profit boards and am an active member in a local Rotary club. Involved from the start, I helped the City of Fargo Arts & Culture Commission get established and am currently serving on it.
I have lived in Fargo with my husband, Richard, for the past 45 years. Richard owned 7th Avenue Auto Salvage from which he recently retired. We have a daughter, Chelsea, living in Texas.
Why are you running for a seat on the City of Fargo Commission?
I am running for the Fargo City Commission to a bring a fresh perspective and diversified experience to the team. As a lifelong nurse, business owner and community health consultant I have a passion to serve. I believe my background, proven leadership, and my history of serving the elderly and their families will bring a new voice to the decision-making on our commission
We are experiencing a unique and trying situation. Especially in a time like this, your City leaders must be proactive and provide reassurances we will come back stronger as a community. Ultimately, they must have a vision for what comes next.
As a City Commissioner, I will be forward thinking - looking to what's coming next. I will work to build thriving neighborhoods, a thriving workforce, and thriving families. We need to:
-Strengthen our community with more affordable housing options, property tax relief, and incentives to uplift our aging neighborhoods.
-Ensure living wages and provide workforce training to meet the needs of the job market and support entrepreneurs.
-Prioritize childcare access and affordability - essential for thriving families, thriving neighborhoods and a thriving workforce.

What would you like to accomplish during your time on the Commission?
The City has a library of comprehensive plans which are in various stages of development. Some have been completed but have stalled in their implementation – for example, the Downtown Infocus Plan. That plan requires both private and public sector involvement. Private development is happening but the implementation on the public sector has not advanced. I will work to ensure this plan, along with GO2030, the Public Art Master Plan, and the current Core Neighborhood Plan are re-examined and actions identified to move them forward.
Attainable housing in downtown, as well as the entire city, needs to be addressed. I will work to identify the gap in workforce housing and develop solutions to ensure the affordability of housing for our residents.
The core neighborhoods are important to the success of Downtown. Restaurants, retail and entertainment depend on those neighborhoods. The neighborhoods are facing some challenges and I will work to ensure they thrive by the implementation of the Core Neighborhood Plan when that is complete.
What would you bring to the table as a city commissioner?
My background has provided me the experiences to be an effective policy maker as well as one who can actually implement ideas. With my past experience on the City Commission, followed by 16 years of running my own business, I fully understand financial management as well as how to work with others to achieve goals. I have managed a staff of 85 employees and know the importance of investing in human capital. I have dealt with the public from a provider perspective and from an elected position. Those experiences have prepared me well for leadership in the city.
What do you see as opportunities where we can improve Downtown Fargo where you will lead or help with in the next 4 years?
Downtown has come a long way, but there are certainly opportunities to embrace. Going back to the Infocus Plan - the steps for achieving a stronger downtown are laid out. Whether it’s growing as a neighborhood, strengthening the business center, thriving as a destination, action steps for moving downtown forward were identified. We need to implement those ideas.
I will work to put an implementation structure in place, align our financing mechanisms, ensure funding and prioritize projects. There are many exciting possibilities with specific action steps to be taken identified in the plan.

Ritchell Aboah

Hello! My name is Ritchell Aboah and I am a first generation immigrant. I moved to America with my father and oldest brother in 1999 from Ghana, West Africa. I graduated from Eleanor Roosevelt high school in Greenbelt Maryland. I later moved to Minnesota to attend National American university in Saint Paul for business and finance management. In 2014 I was offered a banking position at Wells Fargo, in Fargo North Dakota. With fair and excitement, I packed my bags and moved along with my son to this wonderful city where I love and live. When I came to Fargo I soon found a church family and started getting involved with various volunteering such as habitat for humanity, churches united and share house. I also work with the immigrant community on employment, financial literacy and ESL. With my volunteering and time in the community I realize that we need a vice that can represent inclusivity.
Why are you running for a seat on the City of Fargo Commission?
Although Fargo is a wonderful city we still have room to become greater! I want a seat on the city commission because I no longer want to sit back and expect things to happen. I want to be a part of the change that we all want. A city that will be greener, cleaner and safer for every single resident. It’s time the city of Fargo reflects the diversity and inclusion that many have worked hard for. On the other hand small business owners and homebuyers/owners will always know that they have a vice in the city commission that will stand up for their needs.
What would you like to accomplish during your time on the Commission?
During my time as city commissioner, I'll like to have grants in place for small businesses that are struggling in their early years. With the help of the city the special for first time homeowners to be lowered at a reasonable percentage. With my leadership in the city, I will create more higher paying jobs for our graduates which will retain the number of people moving out of Fargo after graduation.
What would you bring to the table as a city commissioner?
With my 6 years as a financial advisor, I bring the knowledge of proper usage of taxpayer dollars in Fargo. I also bring the diversity we see in the city of Fargo to the commission. I’ll bring the drive of determination to have an impact on the life and livelihood of the people in the city of Fargo, as well as the confidence of getting things executed. I will bring integrity and commitment to be true to the values of the city and the people I will represent.
What do you see as opportunities where we can improve Downtown Fargo where you will lead or help with in the next 4 years?
I see the opportunity to invite willing investors to invest in our historical movie theater, historical buildings and create a recreational center for more tourism. I also see downtown Fargo does not have much tech sector and our educational system is willing to welcome entrepreneurs in the growing tech sector that will make the metro an attractive choice for a highly qualified workforce and that is what we need in our growing downtown.

Doug Rymph

As a child growing up, I was the son of a minister in the Congregational Church. While my father was serving a church in Omaha, I graduated from both Omaha Westside High, class of 1970, and the University of Omaha, class of 1975. Subsequent to that, I received an MBA from Emporia State University and a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina.
Currently, I am a retired NDSU business college faculty member who taught introduction to management, organizational behavior, and international management courses. Working with the students at NDSU was a wonderful experience for me and I am pleased to report that many of my former students are still on speaking terms with me.
While at the university I became a fervent fan of Bison women’s basketball. Over the last twenty years, I would estimate that I have attended over 95% of our home games, and most recently, over the last year, was there for 100% of our home games. If you were to ask me who my favorite coaches of all time are, I would quickly respond Amy Ruley and Kelli Layman.
When not attending Bison athletic events, I can often be found at my home in the Hawthorne neighborhood, where I have lived the last fifteen years. Life in the Hawthorne area has been generally good. I have been blessed with good neighbors, but plagued with an abundance of dandelions. Every year I try to win against the dandelions, but so far, I have consistently lost. My record to date is dandelions fifteen wins to my zero wins.
Why are you running for a seat on the City of Fargo Commission?
I am running for city commission because the existing city commission has upset me too many times. The upsets started one day when I received a property tax assessment increase.
The increase would not have upset me so much, but the very same day The Forum ran an article about how a wealthy property development group was getting a sizable tax rebate from our city commission. It seemed totally unfair. Why should another get a break I didn’t?
From there, my annoyances with the City Commission grew. A discussion occurred in the city commission chamber that involved immigrants to our community. From my perspective, the commission was not any where near as welcoming and respectful of these residents as they should have been.
Then to make matters worse, the Commission chose to approve, over the objections of local residents, a five story mega complex in the middle of the residential neighborhood known as ‘Roosevelt.’ And incredulous as it may seem to believe, the city commission also granted $1,250,000 in tax breaks to the developer for this complex many did not want in the first place. I wonder what our City Commission was thinking.
I could go on and on here, but I won’t because I believe you get the point. In short, I am running because we deserve better from our city government. It is time for the same old, same old, to change.
What would you like to accomplish during your time on the Commission?
There is a lot that needs to be done. The following is not an exhaustive list, but will serve as a starter:
First, to make changes to our property tax system. Wealthy land developers and such are routinely excused by our city commission from paying their property taxes. When this happens those who are less wealthy are required to make up for those lost revenues. This means that the less wealthy are left to pick up, through higher taxes, the costs of fire, police, schools, and garbage services for those of greater wealth.
Second, to enforce our zoning ordinances. Zoning ordinances exist to protect the ambiance, as well as the underlying property values, of our neighborhoods. Our existing city commission chooses all too frequently to grant variances to these ordinances. It is time to tell the land developers ‘no’ when they need to be told ‘no.’
Third, to raise the minimum wage. The minimum wage in Fargo has been $7.25 per hour since 2009. Minnesota’s is $10.00, South Dakota’s is $9.30, and Winnipeg’s is $8.77 USD ($11.65 CAD). And yet, the minimum wage remains $7.25 in Fargo. Isn’t an increase to our minimum wage way overdue?
Fourth, ending school lunch debt. Placing toll booths for our hungry children in our school cafeterias is a particularly cruel act. I have been told our school districts do not have sufficient funds to end this practice. But given the resources of multiple levels of government: the schools, the municipalities, the states, and the federal government, sufficient resources do exist. Let’s get this done.
Fifth, for the city to acknowledge that there is a global warming crisis and that all of us, including the city government, need to do our part to mitigate this crisis. Setting goals for our city to reduce its carbon imprint is good, but that is easy to do and only a start. The real work begins when we take concrete measures to minimize our carbon imprint.
Sixth, to create a social environment in our city commission chambers that is welcoming and respectful of all individuals, regardless of their skin color, accents, gender identity, sexual orientation, or religion. And moreover, for all who enter the chamber to be viewed as essential, full members of our community.
So, in summary, there is a lot of work to be done. This is the year to get going!
What would you bring to the table as a city commissioner?
There are two very important things that I would bring to the city commission that differentiate me from other candidates.
The first is that I am not a political insider. My past is not burdened by making the wrong decisions for the wrong reasons. Not having been in city hall means I can call a mistake, a ‘mistake,’ and move on from there.
The second is that I am not indebted to any moneyed special interests. This means I have chosen not to accept any financial contributions to my campaign. My campaign budget of $1,000 is totally funded by myself. I do this so that you can with confidence know that any decisions I would make on the city council are for the right reasons.
What do you see as opportunities where we can improve Downtown Fargo where you will lead or help with in the next four years?
There is one glaring issue that we need to get through for our downtown to be the downtown that we all want – and that issue is Covid-19. All downtowns pack a lot of people into a relatively small space and that is a big problem during a global pandemic.
I want our sidewalks brimming with people again and our downtown stores filled with customers. But, as I see it, there is only one way to get there and that is to closely adhere to the advice of our medical community. That means temporarily putting up with much inconvenience for a much larger long-term gain.
However, the time to reopen downtown is coming, hopefully soon. I envision this happening in a series of stages. First by opening up the smaller shops and then eventually working our way up to the highly packed venues like operas and football games.
I practice social distancing and encourage all others to do so as well. Meanwhile, be safe and take care of each other!

John Strand

After serving eight years on the Fargo Board of Education starting in 2008, John Strand was first elected to the Fargo City Commission in 2016. A co-owner of downtown Fargo’s newsweekly newspaper, the High Plains Reader, since Dec. 1996, Strand has decades of experience listening to and advancing causes of people of all walks of life, especially underprivileged communities.
A native of Crystal, ND, he graduated from Valley High School in Hoople, ND, in 1973, and from NDSU in 1977, where he established himself as a visible leader: Student Body Vice President, Blue Key President, and Class of 1977 Graduation Speaker. The youngest of seven, he followed the footsteps of his mother who was a weekly newspaper editor for years and who also was mayor of her hometown for eight years. Public service is part of his culture and family experience.
Since elected in 2016, Strand has served on 13 boards and commissions, including Community Development, which he chairs, Board of Health, Native American Commission, Human Relations Commission, and the Arts and Culture Commission. His portfolio also includes Transit and more recently the Airport Authority where he was instrumental in mediating and negotiating a new long-term operating agreement to continue that working partnership years into the future. He also is a founding board member of the Cass Clay Community Land Trust which he championed creating. As the only Fargo commissioner with a Public Health portfolio, the COVID-19 pandemic and opioid crisis both put Strand at the forefront of community actions and reactions to these two larger than life challenges.
Why are you running for a seat on the City of Fargo Commission?
In all my years of public service, my highest priority has always been the people. In North Dakota’s most diverse city, we need to ensure every person has a seat at the table when our government makes impactful decisions. In a city where 60% of its residents are renters, we need to ensure families of all backgrounds have their concerns addressed. And, right now, with many of our residents out of work, we need a commission that leads with empathy and understanding.
As humbling it is to be elected and to serve the people, it’s important the people have access to those same elected officials. Oftentimes, it’s the little things that matter: how to navigate the system, how to get a problem resolved, how to address concerns or questions about public policy. It’s things like pot holes, noisy neighbors, cluttered yards, unsightly/unsafe properties, snow removal and street cleaning; these are the things people face on a daily basis.
Far too many people are not easily visible in far too many discussions about our city. They may be disenfranchised, left out, or simply invisible. I look for those people and work to bring their voices to the table.
If the voters are OK with my approach to government, to leading at times and listening at others, while lifting up voiceless citizens and bringing the people to the table, then I am fully-equipped to continue my work.
What would you like to accomplish during your time on the Commission?
Whatever the subject, my seat on the commission should amplify the concerns of our residents. When my service time is up, I want my legacy to be one of public service and safety. This COVID-19 pandemic is a world-changer and my sense is nothing will be “normal” for some time, if ever again.
This is a critical time to be attuned to how ALL of our people are doing and to home in on meeting their needs in this time of crisis. Security, safety, and structure are key. Food, shelter, and jobs are key.
Aside from the present pandemic and the havoc it has wreaked upon our community and country, there’s always room for focusing on the basics. Affordable Housing, healthy, vibrant neighborhoods, and responsible fiscal oversight.
In addition, we need to address our looming climate crisis. This is an issue with which we simply cannot afford to be wrong. From our Diversion plan town to the carbon footprint of our city as a whole, this needs to be a major priority for our city leadership and its residents. Fargo needs to be protected from wildly erratic weather events from floods to droughts. As for the FM Diversion, it’s simply time to reach a resolution with our neighbors upstream who have voiced their concerns with the project’s presentations. We cannot afford the time delay- an estimated $60 million cost escalation for each year of delay, and the lack of protection, plain and simple.
What would you bring to the table as a city commissioner?
A strong track record of community-building. Owning a newspaper is nothing without a strong, vibrant, diverse community. In media, we see firsthand the value of empowering the underprivileged, and giving a voice to those who have not been heard. Our community is stronger as a whole when we uplift each other. When our city government brings everyone to the table, our city as a whole is better off. We do better when we all do better.
The skill set I bring to the table reflects a lifetime of service, engagement and interpersonal skills. I’m passionate about Fargo and its people who represent a wealth of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. It’s important we set the bar high when it comes to personal and public safety, quality of life, all the while instilling neighborhood pride and a sense of connectedness and community.
My decades of experience as an entrepreneur helps me understand those growing their dreams and their businesses. My eight years on the Fargo School Board gives me a keen insight into our families, children, demographics and especially our neighborhoods.
It’s important the people have leaders they can access. It’s important to meet the people where they are at, to listen and to learn, and to co-create paths forward for the greater good. That is my record, and if elected to a second term, I will continue that tradition.
It’s important the people have leaders they trust. That’s me. Transparency and honesty are critical and necessary foundations for good governance.
What do you see as opportunities where we can improve Downtown Fargo where you will lead or help with in the next 4 years?
At the moment, our focus needs to be on people and businesses downtown, and elsewhere, that have been impacted by this coronavirus pandemic. This is an urgent priority.
While we for years have looked at workforce development as a huge priority, now it’s different. We have reverted immediately from record low unemployment, to record high unemployment. We have private and even commercial tenants who cannot meet their rent obligations and are struggling to get by. Fear is present and as leaders it’s our jobs to lead, to instill confidence, to be exactly the type of leader they need in a time of crisis such as this. I am, and will continue to be that leader.
Affordable housing in our downtown corridors will be an ongoing need, even after this pandemic subsides. By maintaining access to our downtown for families of all incomes, we become a better city; our amenities should be accessible to all. Additionally, we need to ensure that our city maintains a variety of offerings for all families to enjoy. A vibrant city is a strong city.
Public safety is always a top priority downtown. Police, fire, medical services and the like are foundational. Public works, clean streets, efficient snow removal, traffic management, parking, good lighting -- all play a role toward a safe and thriving downtown economy. People who know me know that I’ve dedicated the last two decades of my professional life to growing a weekly newspaper based downtown, while promoting downtown, challenging downtown, and celebrating downtown. The early years were anything but easy, and now with this COVID-19 crisis, even the downtown newspaper I’ve owned for nearly 25 years is absolutely challenged to try come back. Downtowners need a leader who can relate to being a downtowner, even one who has a long history of doing just that. I’m proud of my experience downtown, and have a vested interest in contributing to its sustained future success.

Edward Krystosek

I am a 48 year old husband and father of 2 daughters. I grew up in Thief River Falls, MN until I graduated high school and joined the military. Both my parents were school teachers and I have 3 older sisters and one younger brother. As a youth I spent a lot of time in the outdoors, working on my car and participating in school activities.
My family currently resides in South Fargo and I am employed by Case IH as a Service Rep, working with 29 dealerships across ND, MN and MT. I started with CNH as a production welder, in the Fargo tractor plant, and clawed my way to my current position with the help of a good work ethic and tenacity. Just like most of Fargo’s population am squarely placed in the middle class. My wife and I both work full time jobs and put pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else. I have worked as a cook, welder, mechanic, wrecker driver, farm hand and a soldier.
I have a bachelor's degree in business management from Rasmussen College. I accomplished this later in life, while I held a full time job and while fulfilling my duties as a husband, soldier and father. All this is due to the great support of my wife and family. I received my degree in February 2017 and graduated with Suma Cum Laude honors.
I am a retired US Army National Guard soldier with 2 combat deployments to Iraq and Kuwait. In the military I have worked as a supply sergeant, unit clerk, communications specialist, training NCO, range controller for small arms/tanks/aircraft and artillery, range officer, marksmanship coordinator, budget manager, section sergeant, platoon sergeant and battlefield spectrum manager. I also operated the most modern and realistic indoor live fire shooting facility in the area and was designed to train our soldiers and police forces to efficiently and safely clear a building.
I enjoy spending time with my family, fishing, hunting, shooting, riding ATVs and playing with my dogs. I enjoy going to movies, meatloaf and sitting on my patio on a summer evening with friends and neighbors. Both my daughters are in dance and going to dance competitions or recitals has become a way of life for our family. I also volunteer my time as the treasurer for the Sheyenne High School Booster Club.
Why are you running for a seat on the City of Fargo Commission?
I feel that the average Fargo resident is not properly represented in the Fargo city commission. I want to be the voice of the middle class. I also want do something about the horrifically high property taxes and special assessments in Fargo as well as bring some fiscal responsibility to the commission. Wasting taxpayer money appears to be rampant in our city's government. We need to focus on the needs and not the wants of this city.
I also want to ensure that Fargo government does not, in any way, infringe on our constitutional rights and works to protect those rights, not stifle them. Less government is more.
What would you like to accomplish during your time on the Commission?
Eliminating special assessments and lowering property taxes is my main focus and this is accomplished through fiscal responsibility. I also want to see the completion of the diversion so Fargo is not on the edge of our seat every spring.
What would you bring to the table as a city commissioner?
I possess the critical thinking skills, work ethic, and leadership that is needed in city government. I have a wide variety of work experience which allows me to see things through the eyes of the middle class and act in their best interest. I have experience in civil service, leadership, and staying cool in critical situations through the military. I have experience managing budgets, and not spending money on thigs that are not necessary. I was activated with the national guard, during the 1997 flood and helped evacuate towns, provided emergency service and patrolling the dykes.
What do you see as opportunities where we can improve Downtown Fargo where you will lead or help with in the next 4 years?
Traffic, no question, and not just automobile traffic but foot traffic as well. Parking in DTF is horrific and I know of people who will not even venture downtown because there is no place to park and there is too much congestion. Parking needs to improve, and a stronger police presence is required. Unfortunately I don't have the answer and feel a collaboration between the city and residents of the downtown area is necessary.
My wife works downtown and must walk 1.5 blocks to get to her parked car and that is an uneasy feeling for me.

Brad Shaffer

Registered Professional Civil Engineer, North Dakota and Minnesota
Father of (8), (4) of which reside in Fargo
Board Member, North Dakota Adult and Teen Challenge
Founding Board Member, Redemption Road Ministries
Founding Board Member, Community Youth Organization
Member, Gideons International
Over 35 years of experience in the infrastructure construction field as a Project Engineer and Project Manager

Why are you running for a seat on the City of Fargo Commission?
As a taxpayer I have witnessed an alarming trend of tax and spend policies from our current commission. Because of the current economic challenges we face, these policies are not sustainable. Once elected, I propose we revisit the current budget and prioritize spending for the remainder of the fiscal year. It will be a challenge to project revenue and the subsidizing of our municipality by the federal government is crucial. Our focus should be on police and fire protection and public health.

What would you like to accomplish during your time on the Commission?
1) Construction of the Red River Valley Water Supply Project. Natural climate change is real, and our municipal water supply must be protected from a prolonged drought. Flooding has been critical to the valley, however a prolonged drought would have devastating consequences.
2) Provide adequate workforce training. Our growth has been stifled because of the shortage of qualified workers.

What would you bring to the table as a city commissioner?
Common sense from an experienced engineer's perspective. Fargo has wasted valuable tax dollars by authorizing construction projects to proceed without proper permitting. One such project was stopped after construction was started due to improper permitting. The project of constructing a dam on the Red River and a 30-mile ditch has had extensive cost overruns. I feel during this time of economic uncertainty a watchful eye by someone who has had 35 years of construction experience would prove to be very beneficial.

What do you see as opportunities where we can improve Downtown Fargo where you will lead or help with in the next 4 years?
I have had extensive experience with transitional housing for returning citizens. Through mentoring and helping these men find housing and employment, our society is the better. Fargo Public Health can (and has) offered tremendous assistance. Fargo has prepared studies to eliminate homelessness, and I feel the strength of any city can be measured in how they treat all of their citizens. Downtown Fargo is vibrant and great place to shop and visit. We can keep downtown vibrant and safe by improving the health of all of its inhabitants.

Tony Grindberg

Tony Grindberg was first elected to the Fargo City Commission in June, 2016. His commissioner portfolio includes: Planning Department, Diversion Authority, Metro Area Transit Coordinating Board, MetroCOG, Renaissance Zone, Board of Adjustment, Board of Appeals, Civil Service and Housing Authority. He is employed by the North Dakota State College of Science, based at the Fargo location.
From 2012 to 2016, Grindberg led the aviation division for Appareo, an international technology company headquartered in Fargo, ND. Before that, Grindberg launched and served 10 years as executive director of the NDSU Research and Technology Park. During his tenure, the start-up entity research park environment produced nearly 900 jobs. Grindberg also was employed for 10 years as senior vice president for the Fargo/Cass County Economic Development Corporation.
Grindberg served in the North Dakota State Senate from 1992 to 2014. His legislative tenure led to accomplishments with several key issues important to North Dakota, including economic/workforce development, education, student scholarships, and fiscal responsibility. Grindberg was committed to North Dakota’s future and worked to maintain a strong pro-business climate, lower taxes, and develop common-sense solutions for government. In 2013, his leadership resulted in the State of North Dakota funding commitment for the FM Diversion project.
Grindberg has received various awards and recognitions, including: Legislator of the Year award from the North Dakota Association for Career and Technical Education, and the National Federation of Independent Business Guardian of Small Business. Also awards from the North Dakota State Chamber of Commerce for Education Partnership, Alumnus of the Year from the North Dakota State College of Science, the U.S. Small Business Administration Small Business award and the Jaycee Outstanding Young North Dakotan award.
Grindberg has served on the national and local boards for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Association of University Research Parks, Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce, and Economic Development Association for North Dakota.
Grindberg has degrees in business and aviation from Minnesota State University Moorhead and North Dakota State College of Science. He earned certificates from the University of Oklahoma and the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. He is a licensed private pilot. He and his wife Karen have three grown children.
Why are you running for a seat on the City of Fargo Commission?
Fargo is a community of opportunity and excitement. Our success is a result of strategic visionary collaboration, perseverance, and commitment, which are all values I promote. These values create a strong sense of community pride which result in a great city to live, work, play and raise a family.
I am running for re-election to apply my experience and passion to move our great city forward during the next four years.
What would you like to accomplish during your time on the Commission?
Since 2016, I’ve enjoyed the great honor of serving as a city commissioner where I’ve worked tirelessly for the citizens of Fargo in the areas of economic development, flood protection, planning, and strong fiscal control.
Below are a few of my priorities for the future:
•Investing in our public safety protection for all our residents
•Developing a Core Neighborhood strategy by establishing “Legacy Zones” for reinvestment in housing
•Downtown City Plaza, Mid-America Steel and Park East site development
•Completion of the FM Diversion project to protect our growing city
•Finalizing the Red River Valley Water Supply project
•Implementation of a new Land Development Code to manage future growth

What would you bring to the table as a city commissioner?
My experience in both the public and private sectors uniquely qualifies me for this position. The skill set I bring to city government includes, sound fiscal budget planning, public/private partnerships, results driven actions, knowledge of state and federal government, common sense, a vast network and a growth “jobs” driven mindset.
My leadership over the past four years has led to positive changes in city organizational reform, election process and special assessment reform.
What do you see as opportunities where we can improve Downtown Fargo where you will lead or help with in the next 4 years?
I believe opportunities over the next four years include the following:
•Redevelopment of the Mid-America Steel and Park East sites.
•Development of our city plaza, which will lead to expanded opportunities for downtown Fargo as a destination center.
•Working collaboratively with or partners we will ensure downtown is a safe environment to work, live and play.
•The investment tools like the renaissance zone and emerging opportunity zones will leverage the financial investments required to grow downtown Fargo.