It was early October 2002 when I first heard of the town Minot, N.D. Needless to say, I thought it was pronounced with a French flair "Min-no," instead of "My-knot." Yet I didn't let that inauspicious beginning have a long-term negative impact on my opinion of northwest North Dakota and The Magic City.
It was KMOT-TV and managers Dick Heidt and Stacy Frank that took a chance on a green, fresh-out-of-college reporter with too much pride and inadequate writing skills. For their choice, I will be forever grateful. It was through this, my first "real" job, where I learned that working in television in Minot was a wonderful way to get to know our close knit community and learn how a city works.
And for me, six years at KMOT will always be about the people. The many people who said yes to an interview with a young reporter. The people who told me no (did you know that at least 300 or 400 Minot residents are part of the witness protection plan?). And the people (elected officials) who didn't have a choice!
Working in broadcast journalism was a "dream come true" for me, thanks to KMOT-TV and a willing audience within the Minot region.
The second phase of my employment in the Magic City was a welcome, yet unexpected turn in my career. Public relations at Minot State University never occurred to me as a job possibility until about two years before the job became available. Thinking that Minot State wouldn't be interested in my meager resume, I honestly didn't think I would get the position. Two and a half years later, it's hard to imagine that I'm leaving.
My time at MSU was filled with many "learning experiences." Finding out some of what it takes to work with a wide variety of people and personalities. Understanding what it means to represent one of the pillars of our community. And most importantly for me on a personal level learning that I truly enjoy the work of being in public relations/communications. I don't see myself ever leaving this particular field.
It's tough saying goodbye, because you want to mention all the many people that helped you, or the groups that are important in your life. I can't do justice to that part of saying goodbye, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention a few "thanks."
Thanks to the members of our church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Without the support and friendship of hundreds we have come to know and love, my family simply wouldn't be the same.
Thanks to the Minot Daily News for allowing me to showcase my poor writing skills through this community column for the past two years. Bryan, you took a chance on me, and I appreciate that!
Thanks to the many co-workers I've had the pleasure to be associated with, both at KMOT and at Minot State University. While different in many ways, both of these workplaces taught me many important life lessons and helped shape me into the person I am today.
Thanks to the groups that allowed me to participate in their organization; the Burdick Job Corps, the Heritage Singers, the Boy Scouts of America Northern Lights Council, the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce, the Souris Valley Animal Shelter and others.
Thanks to a loving extended family in Minot who have gone out of their way to include me, my wife and our two kids into their lives. Remember, Fargo is only a quick four-hour drive away even less if Grandpa is driving!
So, if you are ever in the Fargo area and have an extra 15 minutes, look me up or just drop by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota building, and I would love to catch up.
(Mark Lyman is a community columnist for The Minot Daily News)