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  Norgaard, Vance
AffiliationMN Independence  
NameVance Norgaard
Northfield, Minnesota , United States
Website [Link]
Born Unknown
Last ModifedThe Oncoming Storm
Apr 02, 2008 11:04pm
Tags Freemason - Unitarian -
InfoBorn in the northwestern Minnesota town of Fosston and raised on a small grain and livestock farm near Gully and Gonvick Minnesota, Vance Norgaard worked his way from laborer to leader, achieving success in business while maintaining a steady concern for ethical and civic issues. Norgaard spent most of his career at Minnesota-based Northern Pipeline Construction Company (NPL), beginning in 1969 as a pilot and assistant bookkeeper. By 1978, he’d been promoted to Vice President of Administration and later became a partner in the company.

Recognized for his management abilities, Norgaard was given the task of helping NPL clean up business practices that drove the company into bankruptcy in 1980. Within three years, he led the company to solvency and paid off its debts. He’s proud to report that every creditor who asked to be paid in full was paid in full, and all who asked for a discount to be paid immediately were paid immediately. NPL became a major contractor for Minnegasco by replacing 22,000 faulty service lines in seven months. Norgaard set up systems that created positive cash flow and accountability throughout the company. By the time Norgaard retired in 1988, NPL was a national company with 600 employees and $48 million in annual income. It was and is recognized today as a major player in the natural gas distribution industry.

In 1968, just prior to joining NPL, Norgaard married. Over the next three years, his sons, Eric and Christopher, were born. In 1972, Norgaard was elected to the Gonvick City Council and served on the fire department. He volunteered as a ski patrol and was a local golf champion. He also joined the Free Masons. A past master of Fosston and Northfield Lodges, he is currently a member of Zurah Shrine Temple.

Divorced in 1980 with joint custody, Norgaard married Jean Hedin in 1984, and they had a daughter, Celia, and a son, Charles. In 1989, Norgaard purchased American Aviation Company at Flying Cloud Field. Having lived in Eagan and St. Patrick, the family moved to Webster Airpark. Norgaard sold the aviation business in 1994, and the family moved to a farm outside of Northfield where the Norgaards practice organic farming.

Having made a career in the pipeline business, Norgaard became interested in studying the term “peak oil” and renewable energy resources. He wanted to know more about the planet and its eco-systems. He also studied economies, their functionality and how they were impacted by changes. Additionally, he studied local, state, national, international and global situations to understand how they affected financial, environmental and humanitarian conditions. An advocate of energy conservation, he sees the potential for Minnesota to lead the nation in energy policies.


Norgaard graduated with honors from Gonvick High School. He then completed two years of college, one in Bemidji, MN and the second one in Moorhead, MN. Graduating third in his class in a two-year program, he earned the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aircraft Mechanics Ratings (Airframe, Powerplant) through Northland Community & Technical College, Thief River Falls, MN. He went on to earn his Commercial Pilot’s License from Bemidji Aviation. Knowing that education can take many forms, he believes in the power of a variety of work experiences. “During hard times, everyone is looking for a leader, and during good times, everyone thinks s/he is a leader.” Norgaard has proven longstanding leadership capabilities. Having led a business through financial solvency with business savvy, acumen and a strong work ethic, he understands the value of an educational foundation. An advocate of lifelong learning, Norgaard reads daily selections from his personal library.

Norgaard strongly supports education. His oldest son graduated from Bemidji High School and the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks; his second son graduated from New Prague High School and Mankato State University; his daughter graduated from Northfield High School and is a senior at North Dakota State University, Fargo; and his youngest son graduated from Northfield High School and is a junior at Gustavus Adolphus College, St.Peter, MN.


Norgaard is part of a diverse, religious family. He was raised in the Lutheran tradition, baptized and confirmed. He believes there are many paths to a God. When his family moved to Northfield in1994, he attended the Moravian Church with his wife. He also has two grandchildren who are Catholic. In 1995, he joined the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northfield and honors the following seven principles:

1) The inherent worth and dignity of every person.

2) Justice, equity and compassion in human relations.

3) Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.

4) A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

5) The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.

6) Goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all.

7) Respect for the interdependent web of all existence, of which we are a part.

Norgaard’s Favorites

Friend: Jean, his wife

Music: Classical

Authors: Naom Chomsky, Richard Hienberg and many more

Newscast: Democracy Now

Newscaster: Amy Goodman

TV Station: Link TV

Pastimes: Norgaard enjoys his family, including three grandchildren; sailing; the outdoors; deer and waterfowl hunting; and restoring and conserving forests and wetlands. As a hobby, he shoots trap and skeet and shoots long-range high power rifle and pistol. He owns a permit to carry a gun in Minnesota, and is a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA).



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  01/03/2008 MN State Senate 25 - Special Election Lost 2.40% (-52.75%)