Join us for the 2022 Annual Celebration and Legacy Leader presentation
Tuesday, October 18 | Noon to 1:30 p.m. | Delta by Marriott
Each year, The Chamber’s Annual Celebration is an opportunity to highlight successes of the past year, recognize and thank our countless volunteers, and outline our priorities for the coming year. It’s a time to reflect, celebrate, laugh and network with community champions and Chamber volunteers as we also make time to honor our Legacy Leader.
As our communities continue to grow and evolve, so does your Chamber. Join us for an afternoon that will inspire you as we head into the next year with energy, focus, momentum and collaboration. You don't want to miss this!
2022 Legacy Leader: Richard Solberg
The annual Legacy Leader Award is presented to an individual who has made significant contributions to the community. The award recognizes and emphasizes the important role and contributions of long-time local leaders in both shaping and serving the metropolitan community and greater region.
Richard H. Solberg serves as board chairman of Bell Bank. From 1968 to 1982, he worked for First National Bank, Grand Forks, N.D., and Citizens State Bank in his hometown of Finley, N.D. Solberg was named president and CEO of Citizens State Bank in 1979. Solberg became president and CEO of Bell Bank (at that time State Bank of Fargo) in 1982.
During Solberg’s tenure at Bell, the bank grew from a single north Fargo location to a regional bank and trust company, with multiple banking locations in North Dakota and Minnesota.
Solberg’s son, Michael, was named Bell Bank's president in January 2009 and CEO in 2014.
Solberg has served on numerous boards including the F-M Economic Development Corporation and the Concordia Board of Regents. He has received the college’s Alumni Achievement Award, President’s Award, Regents Award and Mission Medallion. Solberg and his wife, Jo Ellen, live in Fargo and have 3 grown children and 11 grandchildren.
More about Richard Solberg
Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. (1969) – B.A., business administration
- Started his banking career in Grand Forks, N.D., then served as president of Citizens State Bank in Finley, N.D.
- Joined State Bank of Fargo (now Bell Bank) in 1982 as president and CEO, becoming a major shareholder along with founder Thomas L. “Buck” Snortland and his son, Thomas M. “Mickey” Snortland, farmers from Sharon, N.D.
- Named chairman of the board in 1985, a position he continues to hold.
- Celebrated 40 years of leadership and service with Bell Bank in August 2022.
- Oversaw expansion of State Bank of Fargo (now Bell Bank) from a single north Fargo location with $28 million in assets to what is now more than 20 full-service locations in North Dakota, Minnesota and Arizona, mortgage offices in 11 states, and assets reaching $10 billion in 2021
- With his son, Michael (named president in 2009 and CEO in 2015), has guided Bell’s growth to what is now one of the nation’s largest family- and employee-owned banks, with nearly 2,000 employees
- As one of Bell’s majority owners, helps guide the bank’s growth while ensuring the company’s leadership and employees retain the bank’s “bottom line” mission of “happy employees, happy customers” – the simple philosophy that if people enjoy what they do and are proud of where they work, they will take great care of their customers while building their careers, and the numbers will take care of themselves
- Helped lead a culture that is consistently recognized nationwide, including recognition on Fortune’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2022
- With Bell’s majority shareholders, established an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) that, along with the company’s 401(k) and profit-sharing plans, is a cornerstone for providing employees with a secure retirement
- With Bell’s majority shareholders, also established Pay It Forward program, which since 2008 has empowered more than $22 million in employee giving by giving every full-time employee $1,000 and every part-timer $500 every year to give as they choose to individuals, families and organizations in need; owners have expanded that total during times of need (doubling it during the 2020 pandemic year) and in celebration of company milestones
Community Involvement and Philanthropy
- Longtime active member of Hope Lutheran Church and Bible Study Fellowship
- Active supporter of Red Willow Ministries/Red Willow Bible Camp near Binford, N.D., leading several fundraising campaigns to connect donors who have “Hearts for Red Willow”
- Co-chaired Concordia College’s C-400 alumni giving organization along with his wife, Jo Ellen, and chaired C-400’s business division, during which time he helped lead significant fundraising campaigns, including for scholarships to keep Concordia affordable for students
- While serving on the Concordia College Board of Regents, co-chaired a capital campaign (with Ron Offutt) that raised more than $100 million for the college
- Served as first chairman of the board of the Greater Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development Corporation (GFMEDC)
- Led Bell Bank’s support of the historic Fargo Theatre and its Fargo Film Festival (with the bank as a major sponsor every year since the festival began) and many other sponsorships and gifts to community nonprofits
- Served as president of Kiwanis Club of Fargo (1992-93), and held longtime leadership roles with the club’s annual Pancake Karnival; instrumental in the club’s successful Guinness World Record effort in 2008, when the club’s drive to be the world’s largest pancake feed gained international attention
- Concordia College Alumni Achievement Award (2006)
- Northwestern Financial Review’s Banker of the Year (2012)
- Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For – Bell Bank (2022)
- Married to Jo Ellen for more than 50 years; they divide their time between Fargo, Pelican Lake and Fountain Hills, Ariz.
- Three grown children and 11 grandchildren
Past Legacy Leader Winners
- 2021 Legacy Leader Mark Nisbet
- 2020 Legacy Leader Steve D. Scheel
- 2019 Legacy Leader Steve Swiontek
- 2018 Legacy Leader Judy Lee
- 2017 Legacy Leader Bernie Dardis
- 2016 Legacy Leader Roger Gilbertson
- 2015 Legacy Leader Morrie Lanning
- 2014 Legacy Leaders Alexander Macdonald & Darrol Schroeder
- 2013 Legacy Leader Margie Bailly
- 2012 Legacy Leader Bruce Furness
- 2011 Legacy Leader Ronald D. Offutt
- 2010 Legacy Leader John Q. Paulsen
- 2009 Legacy Leader James R. McLaughlin
- 2009 Legacy Leader Dr. Roland Dille
- 2008 Legacy Leader Edward Stern
- 2008 Legacy Leader Frederick B. Scheel
- 2007 Legacy Leader William C. Marcil, Sr.
2020 Steve D. Scheel
2018 Judy Lee
2016 Roger Gilbertson
2021: Mark Nisbet
2019 Steve Swiontek
2017 Bernie Dardis
2015 Morrie Lanning