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  • Friday, April 19, 2024 8:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Heather Syverson is North Dakota Professional Communicators’ 2024 Communicator of Achievement. Syverson has enjoyed more than 20 years in the communications industry, moving from traditional journalism to communications consulting over the course of her career.

    She had her first taste of press life as an award-winning reporter and news editor at the North Dakota State University student newspaper, The Spectrum. After graduating from NDSU with a Bachelor of Science degree in mass communication, Syverson became a news producer at KXJB TV, just before the station merged with KVLY TV. She was promoted to executive producer at Valley News Live, the combined KXJB and KVLY news stations. Working in local news provided a front row seat to the biggest news stories of the time, including catastrophic flooding on the Red River in 2009.

    The experience of helping manage the coverage of the historic flood piqued her interest in the infrastructure that keeps communities safe. In 2011, Syverson began working for AE2S, a civil engineering consulting firm that specializes in water projects. Over the past 13 years at AE2S, Syverson has provided communication consulting services for multi-billion-dollar water supply projects, as well as flood and drought mitigation infrastructure projects in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. Noteworthy projects include the Red River Valley Water Supply, Western Area Water Supply, Western Dakota Regional Water System, and the FM Area Flood Diversion.

    Currently, Syverson is overseeing communication initiatives for more than 50 AE2S clients in North Dakota, Minnesota, Colorado, and Utah related to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead and Copper Rule. In addition to her work as a communication strategist, Syverson serves as AE2S media manager overseeing the firm’s media relations and newsletter publications.

    Syverson has been a member of the National Federation of Press Women and its North Dakota affiliate since 2013. She has received multiple communications contest awards from NDPC and NFPW as an individual and alongside her AE2S colleagues over the years.

    Communicator of Achievement is the highest honor NDPC can bestow upon one of its members. It is presented annually to a member of NDPC and NFPW who has distinguished themselves within and beyond their profession. As NDPC’s honoree, Syverson advanced to NFPW’s national competition, which will be held June 20-22 in St. Louis, Missouri. 

  • Tuesday, January 16, 2024 9:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It’s time for NDPC members to choose our 2024 Communicator of Achievement (COA). This is the highest honor we bestow upon one of our members, and nominations are now open.

    Do you know an exceptional communicator who is a member of NDPC and NFPW?

    If so, nominate them for COA! Email, and tell us how your nominee has distinguished themself in professional achievement, community service, and service to NFPW and NDPC.

    Nominations don’t have to be lengthy or detailed but should address the award criteria identified above.

    Nominees must be NFPW members, so if you’re not sure, you can ask the person you plan to nominate or log in to the NDPC website and search the member directory:

    Don’t delay! Nominations are due Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024.

  • Thursday, October 19, 2023 4:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Communicators, it’s our time to shine! Entries are now being accepted for the 2024 NDPC Communications Contest! This is an excellent opportunity to share your top-notch work created in 2023 and get some public recognition for your hard work. State award winners will be announced in May. All first-place winners will advance to the NFPW National Communications Contest. Winners at the national level will be announced in June during the 2024 NFPW Communications Conference in St. Louis, Missouri.

    The contest is open to writers, authors, copy editors, public affairs professionals, photographers, publishers, graphic designers, and others in the communications field. Check out the list of categories 

    Early Bird Deadline is January 17, 2024
    Book Final Deadline is January 31, 2024
    Final Deadline for all other entries is February 7, 2024

    Entries submitted before January 17: $25 for first entry, $5 for each additional entry.

    Entries submitted after January 18: $50 for first entry, $5 for each additional entry.

    All work must have been created or published in 2023 to be eligible. According to NDPC bylaws, you must have a NFPW membership to enter the Communications Contest.

    We had some amazing submissions last year that went on to win awards at the NFPW conference. Let’s showcase more of our high quality communications work!

    - Heather Syverson, NDPC Contest Co-Chair

  • Sunday, September 10, 2023 7:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A big thank you to NDPC for the Ellen Crawford scholarship to attend the national conference in Cincinnati this past June. I am grateful and honored to receive it. 

    A highlight was visiting the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The museum has three floors packed with the history of slavery to freedom. It includes an authentic slave pen built in the early 1800s in Kentucky. Murals, movies and interactive displays tell stories of stepping into freedom through the Underground Railroad. A couple of freedom trails ran through Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin to reach Canada. One display focuses on the current state of trafficking and other forms of exploitation.

    Keynote conference speakers also featured the Underground Railroad with stories of enslaved ancestors, abolitionists and freedom seekers.

    Other topics and workshops included becoming an entrepreneur and how to embrace change, as well as funding sources from the Scripps Howard Fund for journalism education and childhood literacy.  

    Workshop panels addressed ChatGPT, what it is, how it works and its impact on media and technology. Other topics included finding different publishing routes, a refresher on editing, and how print and digital teams can work together. 

    I encourage members to attend and apply for the scholarship to next year’s conference in St. Louis,  June 20-22. It will enrich your knowledge and friendships from around the country.

    – Merrie Sue Holtan

  • Friday, June 09, 2023 6:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Tracy Frank of West Fargo is North Dakota Professional Communicators’ 2023 Communicator of Achievement.

    An award-winning writer and communicator, Frank has more than 20 years of experience working in a variety of communicationsPhoto of Tracy Frank platforms, including print and broadcast journalism, advertising, marketing, internal communications, social media, and public relations.

    Frank became a writer to tell the stories people were unable to tell themselves, to use the written word to make a difference, and to change how people view the world around them. She recently started working at CCRI Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Moorhead, Minn., that is dedicated to enhancing and enriching the lives and learning of people with disabilities.

    The past seven years, Frank worked as a marketing writer at Bell Bank. Before that, she was a Forum Communications reporter for 10 years. Frank co-wrote the locally inspired musical, Weather the Storm, which was based on the 1957 Fargo tornado. She is heavily involved in community service for a variety of local nonprofits including theater groups, animal rescue organizations and human services.

    A member of the National Federation of Press Women and its North Dakota affiliate since 2018, Frank has received numerous communications contest awards from the organizations, including NFPW’s 2022 National Sweepstakes Award.

    COA is the highest honor NDPC can bestow upon one of its members. It is presented annually to a member of NDPC and NFPW who has distinguished themselves within and beyond their profession. As NDPC’s honoree, Frank advances to NFPW’s national competition, which will be held June 22–24, 2023, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

  • Saturday, April 29, 2023 9:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Nominations are open for the 2023-2024 NDPC Board. There are several board positions available and we are looking for volunteers to step up and get involved. If you or someone you know would like to take on a leadership role - this is a great opportunity! Email nominations to NDPC President Tammy Fogle by Friday, May 12. 

  • Wednesday, April 26, 2023 9:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    NDPC/NFPW members who are interested in attending the NFPW Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, are eligible to apply for the Ellen Crawford NFPW Conference Memorial. 

    Funds were donated in Ellen’s memory to support continuous development for NDPC, NFPW and its members. NDPC will cover the early bird registration expense, up to $405 for one member. Apply today!

    Application requirements
    The applicant must:

    • Be a current NDPC/NFPW member.
    • Provide a written request of what the applicant hopes to gain from attending the conference. 

    Application deadline

    • Applications are due by Monday, May 15. 
    • Email written request, stated above, to  
    • Recipients will be notified by Wednesday, May 17.
  • Monday, February 27, 2023 7:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We received the sad news that NDPC treasurer and much-beloved NDPC and NFPW member Ellen Crawford passed away this morning after her third battle with cancer. Ellen was a longtime leader and member of NDPC and served the organization in many ways, most recently, and almost permanently, as treasurer. 

    Ellen spent 26 1/2 years as a reporter, copy editor and page designer for The Forum in Fargo and 17 years as an information specialist for North Dakota State University Agriculture Communication, retiring in 2022. Her editing skills and grammar knowledge were unparalleled. Her work was recognized throughout her career with numerous state and national awards from NDPC, NFPW and the North Dakota Newspaper Association. 

    An officer and active member of NDPC, Ellen served the organization as college contest chair, membership directory editor, second vice president/contest chair, first vice president/membership chair and president before becoming treasurer for life in 1999. In 1997 and again in 2012, NDPC named her its Communicator of Achievement, the highest honor bestowed by the organization. Rarely missing an NDPC or NFPW annual conference, Ellen also served NFPW in various roles, including Education Fund Board director and treasurer.

    Ellen was an avid antique collector, a voracious reader, a walker and traveler, and a lifetime cat lover and owner. Her beloved Maine Coon, Quincy, has been adopted by a friend.

    Most importantly, Ellen was a mentor and good friend to many, and she treasured her NDPC connections and friendships. 

    A memorial gift from NDPC will be used for a grant or scholarship award to support others in their communication journey. NDPC members are welcome to contribute to this award.

    Ellen Crawford funeral service details: 
    Monday, March 6, 2023
    9-10 a.m. 
    Funeral Service: 10-11 a.m. 
    Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center, 123 10th St., Fargo, ND, 58103

    Burial will be at Rosehill Memorial Cemetery, Minot, N.D.

    The full obituary can be found on the Boulger website:


  • Monday, January 30, 2023 7:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Are you or do you know an outstanding communicator? NDPC is currently seeking nominations for our 2023 Communicator of Achievement (COA) award, the highest honor bestowed by NDPC and NFPW upon members who have distinguished themselves within and beyond their field.

    The COA award recognizes exceptional achievement in the communications field, as well as service to our state and national organization and the community. Nominations need not be lengthy or detailed but should be persuasive and address the award criteria identified.

    More details about the award are available online. Submit nominations to Sarah Mudder by Friday, Feb. 24, 2023.

  • Tuesday, July 26, 2022 11:26 PM | Anonymous member

    It’s been a month since NDPC hosted the NFPW national conference, and we can hardly believe how fast that month has flown by. It was a delight to have so many NFPW members join us in Fargo and experience so much of what our incredible community has to offer. 

    As we organize our conference notes and begin to apply what we learned, we wanted to share a few important takeaways:

    • Nicole Phillips, Kindness advocate, taught us that we are in control of our thoughts and it’s important for us to be aware of where our thoughts are throughout the day; in fact, she challenged us to set an alarm as a reminder to stop and think about what you’re thinking about as well as to create a mantra to reject and replace unhelpful thoughts.

    • Former Washington Post reporter and “If You Lived Here You’d Be Home by Now” author Chris Ingraham delighted us with stories about his entertaining experiences in Red Lake Falls, but also shared the challenges of publishing work through a newsletter versus a larger distribution method. 

    • Bold North brand creator and former Michelle Obama staffer Andrea Mokros enlightened us on building a brand that is both authentic (real and true) and accessible (everyone can embrace and relate to) and reminded us that a brand is not just what you say but what you do and how people experience it.

    • In his delightful presentation, consultant and fundraiser Patrick Kirby gave us several ideas for treating customers/clients like nonprofit donors, such as leading with appreciation, engaging creatively and not being afraid to pick the phone to make a phone call or send a thank you note (or five!). Patrick also mentioned some important questions to ask donors/clients/customers to get to know them and said he'd send those later, which he did. These are the questions:

    1. In your own words, tell me a bit about the work you do! (My website interpretation is only so good!)
    2. What are you most proud of in the last year?
    3. What are you most excited about in the next year?
    4. Where are you seeing others struggle in your industry?
    5. What are innovations that make you excited for the future of your work?
    6. What do you love the most about your job? Your team?
    7. Where do you see your team focusing their efforts? How do you show up for each other?
    8. What issues is your team passionate about?
    9. Where do you look for ideas to innovate your work?
    10. Is there anything I can do to help?

    The conference was full of so much more information, but those are some highlights and follow-up info we wanted to share. You can read so much more in the July edition of Agenda, including more about LuAnn Schindler, the national COA; our very own Tracy Frank, the sweepstakes winner, and so much more from the national conference.

    We can't wait to see everyone again in 2023 in Cincinnati!
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