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Frontier Partners offers a full (home on the) range of business services
“My partners tease me because I’m often photographed wearing a pair of jeans and the same boots and spurs that I’ve worn for years,” says Holly Hornung Remund, founder and co-owner of Frontier Partners. “I admit to the charge, but 40% of the time I end up on a horse sometime during the day.”
That may not surprise you if you knew Holly lived on a ranch near Arnold, Nebraska, but it might if you also knew she was regularly meeting and working with sophisticated clients, including a number of large agricultural organizations and manufacturers, on topics like marketing, business management and staffing.
In 2001, when Holly was sales manager for NorthWestern Corporation, then a Fortune 500 Company in Huron, South Dakota, she and three co-workers began to talk about the benefits and liabilities of owning their own consulting business.
“We explored ways to turn our skills and interests and values into a business, and we held many hours of discussion on the concept,” she said.
Their opportunity to move from concept to reality came when the CEO of an agriculture research offered them a market research project: collect data on the benefits associated with an animal identification product based on retinal scans and research systems appropriate for a national animal ID program.
“It was a great project for us because it required interviewing potential customers and surveying other animal identification projects that were in start-up phases," Holly said. “The project showcased our talents as a group, and we learned what we were capable of handling.”
Frontier Partners, Inc. was born.
A rural consortium
“We joined with 11 other men and women who had ranching or farming in common or who grew up in a small agriculture community. All of us worked for the same company, and we were like-minded, like-talented, shared similar values and had a strong belief in the rural lifestyle and rural communities.”
Together they capitalized on their organizational skill sets, a strong work ethic, and their experience in agriculture and businesses that served agriculture.
“We established contacts in the agriculture industry in South Dakota, and many opportunities developed for our company from this first project,” Holly said. The retinal identification product is in use today for high-end animals such as thoroughbred horses and dogs.
As Frontier Partners evolved, four women of the original eleven partners stayed with the company and contracted for a variety of agriculture or rural economy projects. In addition to Holly Hornung Remund, Tonya Ness, Cary Griswold and Dawn Mutchelknaus form the core of the company, working via phone, email and occasional meetings from their ranches in Arnold, Nebraska, and Wolsey, Piedmont and Kennebec, South Dakota.
“Our role on the ranch is a really big part of why we do what we do,” Holly said. “We balance our responsibilities among our families, our ranches and the Frontier Partners business.”
A full range of services
Frontier Partners brings a lot of talent to the table. According to their website, their menu of services includes:
- Develop a business, marketing/advertising and strategic plan
- Design a database, logo, or websites
- Conduct fundraisers, research projects and surveys
- Manage business, organizations and transition teams
- Contract professional speakers and trainers
- Provide accounting, communications, mailing, phone, and temporary services
- Plan conventions, events, and meetings
- Write budgets and grants
- Perform business analysis, foundation development and volunteer coordination
They’ve done work for an impressive list of clients, including the South Dakota Cattleman’s Association, Farm Aid Manufacturing, Secure Livestock identification, and Siouxland Staffing Services.
“My favorite part of the work is transition management,” Holly said. Frontier Partners has provided temporary management for four different organizations during a start-up or a change in company leadership.
Seeking new talent
Frontier Partners, Inc. gets new client projects mostly through referrals. But winning the contract is only half the equation – they also have to have people to do the work. How do you find people with business talent in rural areas?
“Typically, we meet them on a job we are doing and see how they are taking on the responsibilities of the work involved, or we meet them in our communities. We look for people like us. When we are asked to bid on specific projects that require a specific talent, we employ them.”
Frontier Partners looks for people with business skills, who are adaptable, decisive, motivated and happy to work in uncharted territory. Holly thinks that finding people to fit their criteria goes back to growing up in small towns and small town schools.
“Rural people are used to adapting quickly to a variety of circumstances such as driving a tractor and being a life guard in the same day; riding a horse and training in the martial arts; playing multiple sports and participating in drama, speech and the high school marching band,“ Holly said.
The key is balance
The future for Frontier Partners depends a lot on what is important to the Partners themselves. To Holly it means living in Arnold, raising kids in a small school, and supporting the ranch.
“We aren’t here to make Fortune 500 money. What I want to do is maintain life balance for me and the other people I’m working with. I believe the ultimate key to life is balance.”
Taking on interesting new projects and acting on the passion she feels for Arnold are among her plans for the future. “I want our children to experience growing up in a small agricultural community in Nebraska,” Holly said. “It is a place of magic that seems to work for nearly every kid.”