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Two Fargo business moguls share stories, laughs as their kids interview them

Bill Marcil Sr., left, and Ron Offutt speak about their business experience during 1 Million Cups on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, at The Stage at Island Park, Fargo.Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service1 / 3
Bill Marcil Jr., from left, Christi Offut, Bill Marcil Sr. and Ron Offutt speak during 1 Million Cups on Wednesday, Sept. 20, at The Stage at Island Park, Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service2 / 3
Christi Offutt, left, shares a laugh with her father, Ron Offutt, far right, and Bill Marcil Jr. during a Wednesday morning convening of 1 Million Cups in Fargo. Dave Olson/ Forum News Service3 / 3

FARGO — Two giants of the region's business world shared some stories and some laughs Wednesday, Sept. 20, during a 1 Million Cups event in Fargo.

Ron Offutt, founder and chairman emeritus of RDO Equipment Co., and Bill Marcil Sr., chairman of Forum Communications Co., which owns The Forum newspaper, chatted on the Stage at Island Park while answering questions posed by their children, Christi Offutt, CEO and Chairwoman of RDO Equipment, and Bill Marcil Jr., publisher of The Forum and president and CEO of Forum Communications Co., respectively.

Describing her father as the quintessential entrepreneur, Christi Offutt asked both interviewees about the biggest hurdle they faced building their respective businesses.

Bill Marcil Sr. said his most significant challenge was proving his mettle after marrying into a newspaper business owned by the family of his wife, Jane.

"I had to try harder. I worked hard at it, and I did it," Marcil said.

Ron Offutt, who created the largest potato-producing company in the country, said his largest challenge was selecting the right people to help bring his ideas to fruition.

Asked what advice they would give to their 20-year-old selves, Offutt said people should follow their passion.

"If you love it, do it," he said.

Bill Marcil Sr. said if he was 20 again and just starting his career, he would focus more on smelling the roses and spending more time with his family.

"I don't think I enjoyed it probably as much as I could have," he said.

That prompted levity from his son, Bill Marcil Jr., who told the 1 Million Cups audience they had just witnessed a personal moment between him and his father.

But, he added, "We're not gonna hug."

Dave Olson
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