A FAMILY GUY. Michael and his wife, Charleen, live in Fargo in a household busy with the activities of their children—Grace (10), Charlie (8) and Rose (6)—whom they traveled to China to adopt in 2009.
PRESIDENT OF A GROWING COMPANY. In 2004, Michael joined Bell State Bank & Trust as its chief operating officer; in 2009, he was named president. The family-owned company is the largest independently owned bank in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
A BELIEVER IN GREAT WORKPLACES. Michael has helped guide Bell State Bank & Trust through unprecedented growth during his tenure, at the same time the Bank has received regional and even national recognition as a great place to work.
AN EVANGELIST FOR PAYING IT FORWARD. In 2007, Michael and Charleen launched the Bank’s groundbreaking Pay It Forward program. Annually, every full-time employee receives $1,000 (part-timers get $500) to personally pay forward to those in need. Plus, each employee can choose a customer, vendor or community member to receive $1,000 to pay forward to someone in need or to invest in a cause they care about. To date, the program has paid forward more than $5 million.
A PROUD MIDWESTERNER. Born in Finley, North Dakota, raised in Fargo, and a graduate of both Concordia College (Moorhead, Minnesota) and William Mitchell College of Law (Saint Paul), Michael believes that the Midwestern work ethic, strong faith and dedication to community and philanthropy make North Dakota the best place to build a business, a family and a life.