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2023: 1 Million Thanks Awards

Emerging Prairie and Grand Farm recently announced its annual 1 Million Thanks Awards recognizing individuals.

Gary Tharaldson

Dr. David Wells Belief Award

This award is given to individuals who believe in the potential of entrepreneurs and the difference they can make in our community. Gary Tharaldson is an entrepreneur and founder of Tharaldson Ethanol, Tharaldson Hospitality, and Tharaldson Investments. Gary has been a huge driver in making North Dakota the best place to thrive—whether it’s within the startup, technology, or innovation ecosystems.

North Dakota Small Business Development Centers

Entrepreneur Community Champion

This award is given to organizations that contribute to the ecosystem in a meaningful way, allowing us to energize and elevate our startup community. The North Dakota Small Business Development Centers (ND SBDC) has a network of credentialed business advisors that work to empower North Dakota small businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive.

Jessie Azure

Kick-Ass Award

This award is given to early-stage entrepreneurs that have made significant progress throughout the past year. Jessie Azure is the creator and founder of Spadesso. In 2020, she saw a growing need to help consumers connect with local salon and spa providers, and made it her mission to bring faster and easier search & booking to salon and spa appointments. In April, she successfully launched Spadesso’s MIVP, the Appointment Finder.

About 1 Million Thanks

1 Million Thanks is an evening program dedicated to celebrating the incredible things that entrepreneurs, innovators, and technologists do in our community. It’s a time to connect with old (and new!) friends, reflect on the amazing progress our community has seen over the past year, and look forward to the impact we’ll make in the year ahead. Each year we have delicious appetizers, our signature champagne toast and live music.

KWS Group

Grand Farm Champion

This award is given to an organization that drives immense agricultural innovation in our region. KWS Group is one of the world’s leading seed suppliers offering innovative solutions to farmers in 70 countries. Focusing on grower’s challenges and responding with innovative tools, technology and hybrid performance, KWS provides seed with high-performing genetics supporting today’s progressive farmers and producers.

Ron Holiday

Innovative Grower

This award is given to an individual that provides helpful feedback and embraces the advancement of innovations in agriculture technologies. Ron is a 4th generation farmer who is originally from Naples, South Dakota. He grew up on a grain and livestock operation. He started working for Harvest Partners in the fall of 2006 near Casselton, North Dakota. In 2008, Ron took over operations for Harvest Partners where they raise corn, soybeans, wheat and edible beans.


Technology Workforce Champion

This award is given to an organization that has contributed in meaningful ways to support the technology community in our region. Perficient is a leading global digital consultancy with locations in the United States, Latin America and India. They imagine, create, engineer and run digital transformation solutions that help their clients exceed customers’ expectations, outpace competition and grow their business.

Jase Kraft

Technology Community Advocate

This award is given to an individual that has shown immense commitment to upskilling the technology workforce of North Dakota. Jase Kraft is a software developer and advocate for the advancement of technology in North Dakota. He currently hosts Full Stack Fargo, a monthly meetup dedicated to creating a community of full stack developers in the FM area.

Emerging Prairie invites the community to celebrate the award winners along with the entrepreneurs, technologists, and innovators in our region at 1 Million Thanks from 7 – 10 pm on Thursday, January 26th at the Fargo Air Museum!

What do you think?

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