October 12, 2016

Governor to Present Award Posthumously to Dahl Family October 28

eugene-dahlBISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Jack Dalrymple today announced he has named entrepreneur and business leader Eugene Dahl the 43rd recipient of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, the state’s highest commendation for its citizens. Dahl led the successful growth of several equipment manufacturing businesses in North Dakota, including Bobcat and Steiger, and was responsible for creating thousands of manufacturing jobs in the state. Dalrymple will officially present Dahl’s family with the award during an event in Fargo on October 28. Dahl passed away in 2008 and will be receiving the award posthumously.

“Eugene Dahl was an extraordinary leader, entrepreneur and philanthropist whose name is synonymous with innovation in manufacturing and agriculture not only in North Dakota, but nationally and globally,” said Dalrymple. “He played a pivotal role in some of North Dakota’s largest manufacturing businesses, including Bobcat and Steiger, and was instrumental in bringing jobs and economic opportunities to the state. Eugene also mentored his sons and other young entrepreneurs in creating businesses such as Concord, Amity Technology and Phoenix, laying the foundation for another generation of successful manufacturing innovation. His numerous achievements and innovative spirit will have a lasting impact on our state and our people.”

A native of Gwinner, Dahl graduated from Gwinner High School and attended North Dakota State University (NDSU) and Michigan State University before serving in World War II with the 75th Infantry at the Battle of the Bulge. He served as a cryptographer, working with new technology that was used extensively during the Second World War to code and decode important and secure messages. After the war, he finished his education at the University of North Dakota (UND) with a degree in math and chemistry.

In 1947, he married Evelyn Melroe. They taught school for one year in Cavalier before returning to their hometown of Gwinner where Dahl became a partner in the Melroe Company, which was founded by Evelyn Dahl’s father, E. G. Melroe. Dahl and his four brothers-in-law built the Melroe Manufacturing Company, now known as Bobcat, before selling it in 1970 to Clark Equipment. Bobcat is North Dakota’s largest manufacturer, producing skid steer loaders with sales across the globe.

It was in Gwinner that Dahl and his wife, Evelyn, raised their four children – Howard, Laura, Joan and Brian. Dahl served in numerous leadership roles in church and the community, including two terms in the North Dakota House of Representatives.

In 1971, Dahl assumed the role of CEO of Steiger Tractor and the family moved to Fargo. Under his leadership, the company grew from $2 million to $105 million in sales in six years, and the company became a world leader in the manufacture of four-wheel drive tractors. While at Steiger, Dahl formed one of the first employee stock ownership plans in the nation. Steiger was sold to JI Case in 1986.

Throughout his career, Dahl mentored several employees and entrepreneurs, including his sons, Howard and Brian, helping them successfully develop pioneering manufacturing businesses in the state.

He helped his sons establish Concord, Inc., which became the leading manufacturer in the U.S. of air seeders, used primarily for the planting of small grains and oil seed crops. He served as board chairman from 1977 until the company’s sale to Case Corporation in 1996. He was also pivotal in the creation of Amity Technology, an industry-leading firm specializing in the manufacture of agriculture machinery, including the WIC Sugar Beet Equipment line. Amity is the leading manufacturer of sugar beet harvesters and defoliators in North America and Russia.

Dahl co-founded First Dakota Capital, North Dakota’s first venture capital firm, and served as the first chairman of the Center for Innovation at UND. He served on numerous boards and received many honors, including an honorary doctorate from UND, induction into the North Dakota Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame and the 2008 NDSU Harvest Bowl Agribusiness Award.

“It has been my privilege to travel the world and see the fingerprints of North Dakota everywhere: Bobcat loaders, Steiger Tractors, Concord Airseeders and Amity sugar beet harvesters amongst other machines built in Fargo, Gwinner and Wahpeton,” said Howard Dahl. “Eugene Dahl had a singular role in the development of these companies and the equipment manufacturing business in North Dakota. Our family could not be more proud of our father as well as deeply appreciative of Governor Dalrymple for this nomination.”

Dalrymple will officially present Dahl’s family with the award during a ceremony October 28 at the Sanctuary Events Center, located at 670 4th Avenue North in Fargo. The ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. and will be followed by a reception. During the program, Dalrymple will unveil a portrait of Dahl that will hang in the state Capitol in Bismarck, along with the portraits of other notable North Dakotans.

The award presentation ceremony is open to the public. Please RSVP to Kelsie at by October 25.

An honorary rank of Colonel in the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Riders was established during the 1961 Dakota Territory Centennial. The award recognizes present and former North Dakotans who have been influenced by the state in achieving national recognition in their fields of endeavor, thereby reflecting credit and honor upon North Dakota and its citizens.