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MSU Profiles

Mastering the entrepreneurial spirit

Watford City, N.D. - Carla (Trotter) Schwartzenberger '10 was looking for something to enhance her existing skill set.

After deciding to go back to school, she found that in Minot State University's Master of Science in Information Systems graduate program.

"I always feel that a person should continue to grow - and to look for varying ways to do that," Schwartzenberger said. "I discovered the program at Minot State and felt that would enhance experiences. It took a lot of dedication to complete it, especially while working full time, but it was made easier by the wonderful MSU faculty."

Fast forward from graduation in 2010 to 2017 and the skills she learned have helped her and her business partner Eric Mauch grow Razor Consulting Solutions into one of the fastest growing private companies in North Dakota and the tri-state area of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, according to Inc. 5000's 2016 list.

Schwartzenberger and Mauch were named the U.S. Small Business Administration's 2017 North Dakota Small Business Persons of the Year, recognizing exceptional small business owners who demonstrate the entrepreneurial spirit in starting and growing a successful business. Schwartzenberger was also selected as one of North Dakota's Top 25 Women in Business in 2016 by Prairie Business Magazine.

"It feels very humbling, yet rewarding to receive the recognition," she said. "Although, without the great group of people we have working at Razor, none of it would have been possible."   

The Watford City-based professional services company was formed by Schwartzenberger and Mauch in 2010. The company has grown to over 50 employees, working with a wide variety of clientele ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies and provides software development, outsourcing, and additional workforce. While much of their business is based in Fargo, Schwartzenberger believes there are opportunities to grow in western North Dakota.

"There aren't many businesses like Razor in western ND," she said. "The concept of some of our services isn't yet understood completely by many of the industries on the western side of the state, but we hope to change that. With the fantastic capabilities of modern technology, several of our employees work remotely from home and the majority work on customer sites."

Schwartzenberger stays busy pushing Razor forward, branching out into other business ventures, and raising a family. She is excited for what the future holds.

"We value our employees first and foremost. Although we have very high employee satisfaction and very low attrition, we are always exploring different ways to improve our company culture," she said. "We also carefully evaluate business partnering opportunities and new industries in order to expand Razor's playbook and keep things moving along.

Eric and I are many years away from retirement age, so the future of Razor Consulting Solutions is bright."