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Meet our DBL Board of Directors: Mike Connor

Mar 14, 2022

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Mike Connor first joined the Dakota Business Lending Board of Directors in January of 2002 and is currently the longest standing member of the board.

Originally from Devils Lake, ND, he has spent a majority of his professional career in economic development and has served his community for 40+ years through a variety of management jobs, boards, and organizations, including J.C. Penney Co. in ND, MN, and WI, Devils Lake Chamber of Commerce, City of Devils Lake, Ramsey Bank, and the Credit Bureau of Devils Lake, Inc.

Q. You have served on the Dakota Business Lending Board for almost 20 years now. What has kept you on the Board for so long?

I will be completing my final term in June of 2022. These past 20 years have been a privilege and pleasure to provide economic development funding and support to a wide variety of small businesses. I appreciate the opportunity to work with an outstanding group of individuals who share the same goals as board members.

Q. What are you passionate about?

I love economic development and have spent a majority of my professional career growing that passion through my various jobs, boards, and organizations. On a more personal side, my wife and I have a love for trees and have planted over 1,000 evergreens at our farmstead and rural family cemetery over the years. We love Christmas and have hosted a “Christmas in the County” event at our farmstead for the past 25 years, which brought in over 800 vehicles to view Christmas lights the last year of display in 2013.

Q. What has your involvement with the Dakota Business Lending Board of Directors looked like over time?

It was definitely involved over the years. When I first joined the board, we were called Dakota CDC and we met in a rented office in downtown Fargo. Then, we moved to our new office in south Fargo and, finally, to our beautiful building we are in now. Not only have we changed our name since then, but our service to small business has matured and we have expanded our lending with more programs and with a larger reach into western Minnesota and all of Montana. It has been a pleasure to be a part of these important milestones.

Q. Looking back, what is something memorable about your time serving on the Board of Directors?

Thinking back to when I started working in economic development in the early 1970s, I remember a project where the tax-free municipal bonds sold for 15% with a no-call. This past year, Dakota Business Lending has made loans for less than 3%. It’s been amazing to see this opportunity become more available and affordable to business owners of the years!

Q. How would you describe the impact Dakota Business Lending has had on the communities they serve?

Dakota Business Lending in the “bridge” that steps into the breach, making a huge different on whether many new or expanding businesses succeed in their goals or objectives. Whether it is a self-owned business or a larger existing company, Dakota Business Lending can help them fulfill their goal or dream!

Meet the entire Dakota Business Lending Board of Directors here.