Dr John Bagu
John Bagu has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry but his passion has evolved into clean energy and clean transportation. His family’s house was the largest solar producing entity in Fargo for 4 years and he has been keeping track of production and given numerous tours. He has the first inductive charging system set up in North Dakota for plug-less charging of his Electronic Vehicle. He has also been working with the City of Fargo to develop a Comprehensive Energy Study. In his research, John discovered that the Fargo community spends $500-$800 million every year on energy depending on the price of gas. He created a 30-year plan to make Fargo/Cass County air pollution free which would save $4 billion dollars in comparison to not changing our direction.
Dr. Nadim Koleilat
Contemporary Christian producer, songwriter, orchestrator and film music supervisor
Bismarck native, Greg Nelson is a Contemporary Christian producer, songwriter, orchestrator and film music supervisor. He has produced recordings for Sandi Patty, Michael Crawford, Steve Green, Larnelle Harris, Wayne Watson, Twila Paris, and Richard Smallwood, including multiple artist recordings with Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Jennifer Holiday, American Boychoir, Bebe and Cece Winans, Graham Kendrick, and Kathie Lee Gifford among others.
Jessie Veeder has been a symbol of folk music in Western North Dakota since she released her first original album when she was only sixteen years old. It was an effort that took her from performing at fairs and festivals around her home state to managing a national college and coffeehouse tour, launching a music career that recently landed her in Nashville to record her fifth original album. With unique and interestingly beautiful vocals, Veeder’s lyrics swell with references to her own life experiences growing up on a working cattle ranch. Veeder’s ability to captivate audiences with stories of her love for the landscape, the culture and the people of small town America is what pulls at the heartstrings of audiences across the globe and made her original music such a success.
Executive Director of Miss Amazing
When she was just thirteen years old, Jordan Somer had a desire to provide the opportunities that she had received through pageantry for the female athletes that she met at the Special Olympics. That year, she coordinated the first Miss Amazing Pageant in her hometown of Omaha, NE and became hooked. Jordan held the Miss Amazing Pageant on an annual basis and, upon receiving a Teen Nick HALO Award in 2010, began using her newfound resources to expand the program to other states. Jordan has been honored with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award, a Daily Points of Light Award, and a Silver Prudential Spirit of Community Award and was selected to be in the top 30 of L’Oreal Paris’ 2014 Women of Worth for her work with Miss Amazing.
Lea Black is a humanitarian photographer, focusing on utilizing photography as a tool to cultivate more unity and understanding in diverse and divided communities. She is committed to using photography as a force for good and aims to reflect back the distinct biographic portrait, and inherent value, of each the people she feels privileged to photograph. Lea received her BS in Interdisciplinary Studies with emphases in International Relations, African Studies, and Nutrition from the University of Idaho. She is a recipient of the Grace and Boyd Martin Award- recognizing students who demonstrate distinctive combinations of engagement in academic and experiential learning about the international system. After graduation Lea worked in Jamaica, first shadowing a local social worker at the S-Corner Clinic in the inner city ghetto in Kingston, and later taught basic nutrition at primary schools in the rural hillside village of Rhoden Hall, St. Ann’s Parish. She now resides in Bismarck, ND.
Director of Impact Institute
Scott Holdman is Director of the Impact Institute. He is an innovator in nonprofits who, through training, coaching and product creation helps organizations to thrive. He is a professional creative with 17 years of experience in the social sector solving complex challenges.
Walter Piehl was born in Marion, North Dakota in 1942. His family lived in a typical hard scrabble farm house without plumbing and minimal wind-generated battery-stored electricity until REA in 1950. Loneliness and lack of playmates shaped Walter. Classmates and indoor plumbing cemented his love of school, not necessarily education but school – He’s never been a particularly focused student. At home, he drew endlessly to entertain himself and give substance to his imagination and fantasies. Walter’s father bought farm horses and sold them to slaughter when they were being replaced with tractors. Lots of horses and cowboy culture dominated Walter’s childhood. Eventually his father partnered with another horse trader to supply horses and bulls for rodeos. Western Americana dominated his focus and passion from these experiences. Walter went to college to get out of the haystack and majored in art because he liked to draw.