The Entrepreneurial Perspective: Emerging Technologies brings industry leaders to MSU

MINOT, N.D. – Minot State University and the Minot State Severson Entrepreneurship Academy are proud to sponsor The Entrepreneurial Perspective: Emerging Technologies & AI on March 26 at the MSU Student Center Conference Center.

The panel discussion will focus on the entrepreneurial spirit of various emerging technologies including AI, blockchain, cybersecurity, agtech, sustainability, and venture capital. The event is free and open to the public, with lunch available for individuals who preregister at MSU’s Entrepreneurial Perspective WEBSITE.

“We are excited to offer this event to the public. This event will feature excellent keynotes, speakers, and panel discussion on how emerging technologies, especially AI, align with business strategies and entrepreneurial opportunities,” said Chad Fenner, Minot State professor of business information technology. “AI is the hot topic in every field, including business, government, technology, and academics. There are new opportunities entrepreneurs have been looking to utilize, and this technology is for ambitious individuals with the vision to identify them.”

The event has multiple sessions starting at 9:30 a.m. The morning keynote will be given by North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott, while the afternoon session features Shawn Riley of BisBlox.

“The Severson Entrepreneurship Academy is happy to partner with our cybersecurity and management information systems teams here at MSU to bring this event to campus,” said Randy Conway, director of the Severson Entrepreneurship Academy. “The Entrepreneurial Perspective series started in the fall to great success, and this topic, emerging technology and AI — with the lineup of speakers and guests — promises to be equally informative.”

Hagerott has been the Chancellor of the North Dakota University System since 2015. Prior to that, he was a deputy director and distinguished professor at the Naval Academy Center for Cyber Security Studies. Chancellor Hagerott’s research and writing are focused on the evolution of technology, education, and changes in technical career paths. He is an author of multiple articles and book chapters, with a recent emphasis on unmanned systems and cyber security. While serving in uniform, Hagerott held numerous leadership positions in the U.S. Navy, both aboard ships and in administrative positions in the Department of Defense. He is currently on the Secretary of the Navy Education Advisory Board.

“The ND University System and the State Board of Higher Education has been looking to the future through the Envision 2035 study that started last spring. Nine groups ranging from energy, agriculture, and healthcare to the student and the teacher of the future found an overriding theme in every area is the transformational impact that digitization is having on society,” Hagerott said. “We are in a technological age not ever experienced before, and we need to be prepared to meet the demands the evolution of technology will make on our workplaces and prepare our students to navigate the technological paradigm shift.”

Riley is a co-founder of BisBlox, a company helping entrepreneurs and mature businesses take their passion and turn that into products, revenue, teams, and successful businesses. Riley was the chief information officer and cabinet member for the State of North Dakota under Gov. Doug Burgum from April 2017 until December 2022. He has spent over 20 years in various executive leadership roles, including as an IT executive for the world-renowned Mayo Clinic Health System.

“Entrepreneurs have been a critical part of changing the face of the worldwide economy,” Riley said. “In the last 50 years, startups have enabled the movement of more people out of poverty and into the middle class than was possible in the previous 5,000 years.  Technology is now acting as a force multiplier to that incredible impact. The future looks to be incredible.”

The Entrepreneurial Perspective: Emerging Technologies begins at 9:30 a.m. with registration and a continental breakfast. Minot State President Dr. Steven Shirley will welcome guests and introduce Chancellor Hagerott at 10 a.m. A lightning round speaker session with 20-minute talks is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., featuring Minot State graduates Arnie Strebe ’86, co-founder of BisBlox, and Dustin Miller ’04, owner of Pro IT.

Clint Severson, a 1973 alumnus of Minot State and retired CEO of Abaxis who started the Severson Entrepreneurship Academy with a historic gift to the University in 2016, will give opening remarks and will be part of a question-and-answer session with Conway during a box lunch from 12-1 p.m.

Riley will give his afternoon keynote address at 1 p.m., leading into an afternoon panel discussion with Dorman Bazzell, Megan Gjovig, and Darla Lewandowski starting at 1:30 p.m. The afternoon session is moderated by Strebe. Riley will return for closing remarks at 3 p.m., followed by a social/networking event from 3-3:30 p.m.

Bazzell is the former chief data officer for the State of North Dakota. He is a Crypto Board advisor and founder of the North Dakota Blockchain Council. Gjovig is an executive, venture capitalist, and technology co-founder who is a managing partner at Goel Fund, a company focusing on making seed-stage equity investments in companies that have extraordinary rapid-growth potential. Lewandowski is the operations coordinator of Eden Grow Systems, a company helping to provide food and energy independence, and a start-up owner of Daily Harvest.

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 02/14/24   

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