Partners in business: corporate world meets agricultural work ethic

North Dakota State Roundup

Published October 1, 1991  | October 1991 issue

In August 1988, Rosenbluth Inc., a $1.3 billion worldwide corporate travel service headquartered in Philadelphia, opened a temporary data processing office in Linton, N.D., population 1,500.

Firmly in the grip of a severe drought, Linton welcomed the 40 part- time data entry positions. The jobs provided farm families with much-needed income for living expenses. Linton, 60 miles southeast of Bismarck, is in the heart of wheat and beef country.

The operation was a "gesture of compassion" for a drought-stricken area, says company Vice President Melinda Rippy Smith, as well as a way for the company to have its customers' travel profiles entered into its computer. But it was only scheduled to last three months.

Three years later, the business is thriving, has expanded and has settled permanently. What Chief Executive Officer Hal Rosenbluth discovered that summer was a wealth of employee efficiency and commitment, according to Rippy Smith. "Linton has been very favorable, extremely positive for the company," she says.

The travel agency soon expanded from data processing to a corporate travel agency. Also, Rosenbluth built a luxury corporate training and workshop facility, the Rivery, outside Linton on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River. There are now over 100 permanent, full-time employees combined at the two businesses.

Nettie Pignatello