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Published September 11, 2012, 02:22 PM

ND Entrepreneur Named Honorary Consul to Kazakhstan

FARGO – Howard Dahl said despite their geographic distance, the Republic of Kazakhstan and North Dakota have a lot in common.

By: Ryan Johnson, Forum Communications

FARGO – Howard Dahl said despite their geographic distance, the Republic of Kazakhstan and North Dakota have a lot in common.

Both boast plentiful natural resources, growing oil and gas development and a similar climate.

And if the new Honorary Consul of the Upper Midwest to Kazakhstan has his way, the country will become even more like his home state in the coming years as North Dakota gets more opportunities to trade in the Kazakh markets.

“We’re looking how the partnership for some of our companies and farmers in North Dakota can benefit, and the country of Kazakhstan can benefit,” he said. “It’s a great partnership.”

Dahl will get his new title Tuesday morning during the Big Iron International Visitors Program welcome ceremony at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds in West Fargo. Kazakhstan Ambassador to the U.S. Erlan Idrissov will be on hand to make the appointment.

Howard Dahl was born in Grand Forks, although raised in Gwinner, N.D.; and is a 1971 graduate of UND.

Dahl and his brother, Brian Dahl, are the grandsons of E.G. Melroe, who founded Melroe Co., which developed the Bobcat loader.

The brothers first started doing business in the former Soviet Union countries decades ago, and Dahl said his company at the time, Concord Inc., made its first sale to Kazakhstan in fall 1991.

Concord sold more than 500 air drills to the region before being acquired by Case Corp. in 1996. The Dahls then founded Amity Technology in Fargo, where Howard Dahl continues to serve as president and CEO.

He said he’s traveled to Kazakhstan and the other former Soviet countries 65 times over the past 20 years and has hosted hundreds of guests in Fargo while selling equipment and helping other companies establish trade relations.

Dahl said there’s already a good trade partnership. Many of the cattle now being shipped to Kazakhstan to rebuild the country’s cattle herd come from the Dakotas, Montana and Nebraska, and are flown out of Fargo’s Hector International Airport.

But with his new job, he said he will work to more firmly connect the Upper Midwest with Kazakhstan as the country’s economy, standard of living and agricultural production continue to improve.

Dahl said that includes helping other companies from the region get involved in the former Soviet Union, as well as building up exchange programs between North Dakota State University and Kazakh research universities.

“There’s some great opportunities to just build upon what’s already begun,” he said.

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