It’s an exciting time in the Bakken region of western North Dakota for everyone including the areas top journalists! And this includes the editor of Prairie Business Magazine, Kris Bevill. On today’s Hegg Bakken Report, Ms. Bevill talks about her publication, the most intriguing stories she’s covered in the Bakken, as well as offer advice for anyone, including entrepreneurs that are looking to relocate here.
Hegg Bakken Report: Today on The Hegg Bakken Report, we get in touch with a busy individual in the media business in North Dakota. She is the editor of Prairie Business Magazine; the editor Kris Bevill joins us today. Kris, thanks for joining us on the show today.
Kris Bevill: Hi Bill, thanks for having me.
Hegg Bakken Report: Absolutely. What led you to the position that you’re in now. Give us a little snapshot of your background Kris.
Kris Bevill: Sure. Well, I am a native of North Dakota and I have been working in the communications industry for about a decade and was writing about bio fuels actually for a niche magazine and I always wanted to write a little more locally and especially with all of the activity that we have going on in the States, I was really excited to take the opportunity to have in my home state a little more closely and get a handle on what’s going on up here.
Hegg Bakken Report: I’d like to talk to you about the ethanol industry at some time, but that’s not why we’re here today. We’ll save that for another visit sometime Kris. You’ve been with Prairie Business Magazine since August of last year, correct?
Kris Bevill: Sounds right.
Hegg Bakken Report: And tell us about that magazine, Prairie Business Magazine, what can you tell us about that?
Kris Bevill: Sure. Well, we are a unique magazine. We are the only magazine that covers the entire northern plains. So that includes both of the Dakota’s and Western Minnesota. We’re a business to businesses monthly magazine, covering all aspects of business in the region, which as you can imagine keeps us very busy these days.
We do a monthly credential magazine. We’ve got a website that we update daily with all of the relevant business news and we also do a weekly e-news letter to keep people up to speed with what’s happening in the area.
Hegg Bakken Report: Who reads your magazine Kris?
Kris Bevill: Mostly decision makers; CEOs, company managers, researchers, people at higher education institutions. We’re also pretty widely read by local and state officials. Anyone who has an interest in what’s going on in this area?
Hegg Bakken Report: So you would define your demographic how?
Kris Bevill: We just actually did a survey of that and found that the majority of our readers right now are in that 35 to 54 age range, primarily professionals and in the management level at where they work.
Hegg Bakken Report: What was it that appealed to you about applying for a position with Prairie Business Magazine?
Kris Bevill: Well, like I said, I have lived in North Dakota my whole life and anyone who has spent a lot of time in North Dakota or is from North Dakota knows that we’re a state that has always just kind of done our own thing and flown under the radar. In the last four or five years that has really changed and it’s been fascinating to watch and I jumped at the opportunity to be able to cover it. It’s the historic time for this State and I’m really pleased to be a part of it.
Hegg Bakken Report: Right, you’re absolutely right and we’ll get to that. But going back a little bit, what part of the State did you grow up in?
Kris Bevill: I’m really actually from the Devils Lake area, so the central part of the state and now I’m based in Fargo.
Hegg Bakken Report: Okay, as we move forward Kris, in your opinion, how much of your coverage that you do is influenced by events in Western North Dakota, particularly the Bakken.
Kris Bevill: There is a good portion every month. We do, like I said, cover all aspects of business, but the Bakken has such a significant position in the entire region that there is really not one topic that isn’t influenced by the Bakken in some way right now.
You know I just wrote an article about crowd funding, which you wouldn’t think would have a Bakken connection, but spoke with a company in Minnesota who is using crowd funding to get financial support for a company that they are launching in the Bakken and they are giving people a chance to kind of have a little role in what’s happening out there through giving money for this project. So it never ceases to amaze me how it kind of leads into every topic in the business community.
Hegg Bakken Report: A moment ago you alluded to history, making history in Western North Dakota. Do you want to elaborate on that a little bit? You really feel that this is a very significant time period in the history of the State of North Dakota, the United States of America and perhaps the world.
Kris Bevill: Absolutely. Well, you know because I’m from North Dakota I’m humbled, so I don’t know if I would go so far as to say the world. Even if it is, we would never admit that outright, but definitely for this State. I mean if you look at Western North Dakota and just the mass out-migration that is happening there for years and now it’s the exact opposite. Well, they can’t keep up with the number of people who are flooding into your part of the State and just overall the impact on the whole region. We see it here in Fargo.
Of course agriculture continues to be very strong as well. There’s a lot of big things happening that is making the state so successful right now, but the Bakken obviously to be right up at the top of the list of things that are going right for the state right now.
Hegg Bakken Report: Do you ever have an opportunity to come out and visit and see firsthand, say the Tioga area, Stanley, Williston, Watford City, have you been out here.
Kris Bevill: Oh yes, I was out there just a few months ago and took a drive around the whole area and you know it really is one of those things that even if you were there a couple of months ago and came back, it’s going to be much different, it’s in a constant state of change.
I have family who lived out there and just moved away, not too long ago, so I would get out there to see them and it is one of those things where you have to go out and see. I can’t imagine growing up – I spent time in Minot growing up as a kid and never would have imagined that I would drive into Minot today and be in Gredloc. Those are just some of the changes that when everybody says you have to come here to see it, they are right.
Hegg Bakken Report: And you are absolutely right. Absolutely everybody that we interview on The Hegg Bakken Report says that you’ve got to come out and see it for yourself and yes, I know what you’re saying. I am also born and raised in Western North Dakota and yes, it is absolutely mind blowing and I never cease to be amazed even though I have seen it most of my life.
Moving forward Kris, how do you stay current on the latest business news?
Kris Bevill: I do a lot of reading. I keep up with the local news, be it local newspapers. We’re big fans of social media, at the magazine. We use it a lot ourselves and I used it for information. Twitter is a great source of information for us. We read the local papers. We read any other regional magazines that we can get our hands on and just sheer word of mouth through things that are going on.
Hegg Bakken Report: And you develop story ideas from all the above, correct?
Kris Bevill: Absolutely, yes.
Hegg Bakken Report: What books influenced you as a reported. You said you read a lot. Were there some books that stand out in your mind that kind of influenced you in your career?
Kris Bevill: Well, I laughed actually when you had mentioned the book question earlier, because I write a magazine every month and I’m a mom to two young kids, so I wish I had time to read books, but right now that’s not in the cards.
Hegg Bakken Report: So maybe you’ll get a kindle for Christmas and that will change.
Kris Bevill: Right, right. Because I read a lot of other magazines; National magazines, I enjoy reading, entrepreneur magazine and other, like I said, a lot of local national newspapers and then I try to put a local spin on what’s happening for national issues as well.
Hegg Bakken Report: Going back to the Bakken, since you started covering it, how in your opinion has it evolved?
Kris Bevill: I think it’s settled down if that’s the right word to use. Definitely everything is still on a very hectic fast pace out there, but there is a level of sophistication that I’ve seen come into place since I started covering it. It’s not quite the wild west cowboys coming in and doing just whatever they want kind of a thing that was maybe going on a little bit more a couple of years ago. We’ve got more of a clear focus from communities on what they’d like to see and what they need and how they are going to get that and so while it’s definitely a frenzy pace, I think there is a little more order to the chaos than what we’ve seen before.
Hegg Bakken Report: Here are somewhat the sentiments of Lynn Helms at the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources. He said that the Bakken is now at cruising altitude. It’s okay to get up and move around now, so.
Kris Bevill: That’s right. Although when it comes to the Bakken, always keep one hand on your hat, because you never know when it’s going to change.
Hegg Bakken Report: Exactly, exactly. What has been some of the most interesting stories that came out of Western North Dakota, particularly in the Bakken since you started covering this for your publication?
Kris Bevill: Well, I continue to be very interested in the natural gas aspect of things. Flaring is a big problem, it’s a very complex issue and there are a lot of people working on some pretty cool things to try and alleviate the flaring that’s going on and make use of the natural gas. So that’s the topic that I continue to be fascinated in. I’m sure you referred just recently, just this week, the Governor unveiled the energy corridor idea that might help that out a little bit. Obviously that’s a massive project. That would take years to accomplish. Things like that I enjoy keeping an eye on.
Hegg Bakken Report: Do you have any advice for any entrepreneurs or small businesses that have aspirations of perhaps locating in the Bakken.
Kris Bevill: I would echo what we talked about earlier, that you hear everyone say. It sounds a little cliché now at this point, but you have to go out there. Don’t call, don’t email, you have to go there. These people and I mean that kindly, these people as in the people who live there every day are absolutely inundated with everything that has gone on and they don’t have the time for a stake oil person or somebody who thinks they could just come in and make a quick buck anymore.
So you’ve got to go out there and establish a connection and also look for a solution that is really going to help people; someone other than just yourself making money. It’s great to make money, but if you’ve actually got a project that’s designed to help people, make life easier, you’re going to have a great chance getting that project off the ground.
Hegg Bakken Report: Good point, good point. Do you talk to any of the school officials or school leaders out here?
Kris Bevill: You know I haven’t yet. I know that that’s been in quite a state of flux this year, so we’re waiting to see how this school year goes.
Hegg Bakken Report: I think everybody from kindergarten all the way to college students every year, institution is facing an influx of students, so they are all kind of reeling at this point and still trying to get their feet on the ground with the new school year just started here, relatively not that long ago. So yes, I understand your sentiments on that.
One final question for you Kris, for decision makers that are looking to expand into the Bakken, how should they educate themselves about this area?
Kris Bevill: I would suggest read. Read the local papers, read Prairie Business Magazine, shame on you, but it’s true. In all honesty the local media and regional media can cover the Bakken area in a way that national media simply can’t. We are an independent area; we understand the people a bit more and the background of the issues going on, so I think you’ll get a lot more context if you follow things on a local level than if you weren’t just – look at CNN once in a while.
Hegg Bakken Report: As editor for Prairie Business Magazine, Kris Bevill, are you having fun?
Kris Bevill: We are always having fun. It’s a fast pace life, but we love it.
Hegg Bakken Report: We greatly appreciate you spending a few minutes with us here on The Hegg Bakken Report and I certainly hope we have an opportunity to have a cup of coffee sometime and perhaps continue the conversation. Kris Bevill, our guest today, thank you so very, very much.
Kris Bevill: Thank you Bill. Looking forward to seeing you in Dickinson soon.