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Downtown Fargo business group has new interim leader

Jonathan Holth

FARGO — The Downtown Community Partnership has hired the co-owner of the Toasted Frog restaurant as its interim president and CEO, the group said Tuesday, June 20.

Jonathan Holth, who starts his new job the same day, will replace Mike Hahn, who resigned May 16 after nearly seven years on the job.

"I'm just really excited and grateful for the opportunity," Holth said. With a strong board and excellent staff to work with, he said, "This is going to be a lot of fun."

"Jonathan brings a unique set of skills that we feel fits perfectly into our needs as we move forward as an organization," DCP Chairman Tim Flakoll said in a statement. He said the board will conduct a national search for a permanent president and CEO.

Holth's resume includes co-ownership of the Toasted Frog restaurants in Fargo, Grand Forks and Bismarck, leadership roles in downtown associations in Grand Forks and Bismarck, and consulting with downtown associations in other cities in the region.

The Forum interviewed him Tuesday about his new job.

Q. What excites you about this job?

A. A lot of my community and volunteer work over the years has been advocating for strong downtowns across the state. I look at this just as an exciting and unique opportunity to do something I love doing and do that in a really special place.

Q. What do you see happening in your first three months?

A. My focus first is making sure the organization is on firm footing, moving forward with all the events and great initiatives that the DCP has going on. The Street Fair is less than a month away and that's a huge event for the organization. A lot of my focus in coming weeks will be making sure that that event goes off as smoothly as possible.

My strengths are in relationship building and collaboration so I will be out talking to the community, walking the streets of downtown with DCP staff and just listening to people.

Q. How long do you expect to be in the interim role?

I'm willing to stay in the role as long as the organization needs me. I'll still maintain my duties at the Toasted Frog, but I've got a really good staff and an excellent business partner that'll keep things running as I dedicate time to the downtown Fargo job.

Q. Are you at all interested in becoming the permanent president and CEO?

That's a hard question to answer. I have not ruled that out. As we move forward and see how things go, that's something I would consider.

Q. What challenges does downtown Fargo still face?

A. Anytime a neighborhood experiences growth, whether rapid or slow — anytime that happens there are going to be growing pains. As we look into the future, it's important we recognize there are going to be challenges, that we're listening to people, that we understand that different people value different things and we need to respect those things whether it's parking, safety, cleanliness.

This interview has been edited for length.

Tu-Uyen Tran
Tran is an enterprise reporter with the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began his newspaper career in 1999 as a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald, now owned by Forum Communications. He began working for the Forum in September 2014. Tran grew up in Seattle and graduated from the University of Washington.
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