Employees have spoken: You can do good work and make a great living in the upper Midwest.

That wasn't always the case. Not so long ago, young people in search of good jobs and good benefits went elsewhere. That's much less true today.

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The top 50 were determined by a monthslong process where about 1,300 nominations were received. The final list was compiled from those nominations by a committee at Prairie Business.


  • Headquarters: Brookings, S.D. (plant); St. Paul (corporate)
  • Employees: 91,000 nationwide, 1,120 Brookings
  • Description: 3M Brookings serves as 3M's largest health care manufacturing plant. For more than 46 years, the plant has applied 3M science to produce complex medical dressings and tapes, surgical drapes, biological indicators and food safety products.


  • Headquarters: Grand Forks
  • Employees: 273
  • Description: AE2S's primary focus is to help ensure clean drinking water, safe wastewater disposal and smart water resource development through planning, financing, designing and building infrastructure. In 2018, AE2S became 100 percent employee-owned.


  • Headquarters: Grand Forks
  • Employees: 811
  • Description: Alerus is an integrated financial services firm specializing in financial guidance. With a broad array of banking, mortgage, retirement, employee benefits and wealth management products and services, Alerus partners with individuals, families and businesses to help clients achieve financial confidence.

Apex Engineering Group

  • Headquarters: Fargo
  • Employees: 65
  • Description: Apex Engineering Group provides clients with engineering solutions and employees engrained with a deep-rooted belief that it's only the best solution if it's also the best experience. Apex has offices located in Bismarck, Dickinson and Fargo in North Dakota and Detroit Lakes in Minnesota.

Applied Engineering

  • Headquarters: Bismarck
  • Employees: 115
  • Description: Applied Engineering provides product design, engineering and manufacturing consulting services, as well as IT and programming services and large-format digital printing. Applied also sells industry-leading engineering software and provides training and support from its offices throughout North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.


  • Headquarters: Perham, Minn.
  • Employees: 800
  • Description: Established in 1950, Arvig has grown from a small, family-owned telephone company to one of the largest independent telecommunications providers in the nation. In addition to providing Internet, television and local telephone services, Arvig also provides business telephone systems, managed services, security and more.

Baker Boy

  • Headquarters: Dickinson, N.D.
  • Employees: 210
  • Description: Baker Boy is a manufacturer of premium bakery products for foodservice, bakery, convenience store and private-label customers. Over the past 60 years, Baker Boy has grown from a small bakery into a sophisticated and innovative production facility that bakes breads, buns, rolls, donuts, pastries, sweet rolls, cookies, croissants, biscuits and much more.

Bourgault Industries

  • Headquarters: Minot (plant); St. Brieux, Saskatchewan (corporate)
  • Employees: 54 in Minot, 976 worldwide
  • Description: Bourgault Industries is an agricultural equipment manufacturer that has grown to become a world leader in the design and production of leading-edge seeding, fertilizing and tillage equipment.

Construction Engineers

  • Headquarters: Grand Forks
  • Employees: 88
  • Description: Construction Engineers provides construction management and design-build services for a commercial division focusing on education, health care and public facilities and an industrial division that builds processing plants and infrastructure systems.

Cornerstone Bank

  • Headquarters: Decentralized, with banks located in North Dakota and South Dakota
  • Employees: 153
  • Description: Cornerstone's offerings include business and personal loans, deposits and cash management services, online and mobile banking. There are 14 locations in North Dakota and South Dakota.

EAPC Architects Engineers

  • Headquarters: Grand Forks
  • Employees: 120
  • Description: EAPC is a design consulting firm offering architecture, engineering, wind energy, industrial and business-excellence services from 12 offices throughout the United States and Argentina. EAPC has been in business for more than 50 years.

Eide Bailly

  • Headquarters: Fargo
  • Employees: 1,774 companywide
  • Description: For more than 100 years, Eide Bailly has offered a wide variety of traditional and specialty services and have grown alongside our clients to become one of America's top 25 accounting firms, with 33 offices in 14 states.

EMC Insurance

  • Headquarters: Bismarck
  • Employees: 2,500 companywide
  • Description: Organized in 1911 to write workers' compensation protection in Iowa, EMC Insurance Companies is now one of the top 60 property/casualty organizations in the United States and is one of the largest in Iowa, based on net written premium. EMC has 20 locations.


  • Headquarters: Sioux Falls
  • Employees: 32
  • Description: Epicosity is an ideas company specializing in creative, video production, web development, digital strategy, and media. They have clients in 23 states and five countries.

First International Bank & Trust

  • Headquarters: Watford City, N.D.
  • Employees: 573
  • Description: Today, four generations strong, the Stenehjem family continues to lead the company with a focus on long-term customer relationships. They operate 27 locations throughout North Dakota, Minnesota and Arizona.

First Western Bank & Trust

  • Headquarters: Minot
  • Employees: 174
  • Description: First Western Bank & Trust is proud to maintain longevity with our personnel by offering exceptional pay and benefits, flexibility for family commitments and a friendly, professional atmosphere.

Fisher Industries

  • Headquarters: Dickinson, N.D.
  • Employees: 1,030
  • Description: Fisher Industries is a vertically integrated family of businesses that can work on jobs as large as bridges, levees, roads and walls.

Gate City Bank

  • Headquarters: Fargo
  • Employees: 630
  • Description: Gate City Bank offers benefits such as paid maternity and paternity leave, PTO packages, paid volunteer time, mission leave assistance and more. Gate City Bank is a $2.1 billion mutual community bank with 36 convenient banking offices across North Dakota and west central Minnesota.


  • Headquarters: Fargo
  • Employees: 17
  • Description: H2M is an integrated marketing and communications firm with a concentration in Brand Development. H2M emphasizes being a "proof of performance" agency by always measuring success on pure business objectives.

Hess Corp.

  • Headquarters: Minot and New York City
  • Employees: 486 in North Dakota
  • Description: Hess is a global independent energy company engaged in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas.

Houston Engineering

  • Headquarters: Fargo
  • Employees: 192
  • Description: Houston Engineering, Inc. is a multidisciplined firm that consults on infrastructure, environmental, planning and technology solutions. HEI has been serving clients for 50 years.

Jamestown Regional Medical Center

  • Location: Jamestown, N.D.
  • Employees: 331
  • Description: Jamestown Regional Medical Center is a 25-bed critical access hospital serving 55,000 people in Stutsman County and the surrounding communities.


  • Headquarters: Founded in Grand Forks
  • Employees: 106
  • Description: JLG is a 100-percent employee-owned full-service architecture firm, founded in 1989 by Lonnie Laffen and Gary Johnson. Today, the firm has grown to 12 offices with more than 100 employees. JLG is led by CEO Michelle Mongeon Allen, previously named one of Prairie Business' Top 25 Women in Business.


  • Headquarters: Bismarck
  • Employees: 488
  • Description: KLJ plans, designs and supports infrastructure such as roads, runways, pipelines and parks across the country. KLJ currently has 28 office locations throughout North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming and Florida.

Lawrence & Schiller

  • Headquarters: Sioux Falls, S.D.
  • Employees: 72
  • Description: Founded in 1976, Lawrence & Schiller is a nationally recognized marketing agency located in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Liberty Business Systems

  • Headquarters: Fargo
  • Employees: 40
  • Description: Since 1986, Liberty Business Systems has specialized in copiers, printers, wide format, postage meters, IT and managed print services.

Lloyd Companies

  • Headquarters: Sioux Falls, S.D.
  • Employees. 190
  • Description: Founded in 1972 by Craig and Pat Lloyd, Lloyd Companies is a family-owned, community-oriented business that has evolved from a single apartment property to a collection of real estate companies focused on promoting well-maintained and profitable investments.


  • Headquarters: St. Cloud, Minn.
  • Employees: 1,156
  • Description: Marco is a technology services company with 51 locations that serves more than 32,000 customers throughout the Upper Midwest and nationally. It provides IT services, copiers/printers, managed services, carrier services, hosted/cloud services, phone systems, document management and audio/video systems.


  • Headquarters: St. Paul
  • Employees: 713
  • Description: McGough is a developer, general contractor and construction management firm offering full-service real estate capability.Originally incorporated in 1956 by Peter McGough and his six sons, all descendants of an Irish family of master craftsmen, the firm remains a family-owned company today.

MDU Resources Group

  • Headquarters: Bismarck
  • Employees: 12,353 nationwide
  • Description: MDU Resources Group started in 1924 as a small electric utility company serving communities on the Montana-North Dakota border. Today, it is a multibillion-dollar corporation doing business in 48 states. It delivers natural gas and electricity, and builds the pipes and wires that connect homes, factories, offices and stores.

MetroPlains Management

  • Headquarters: Key locations in Devils Lake and Fargo
  • Employees: 162
  • Description: MetroPlains' portfolio ranges from high-end luxury housing to tax credit and affordable housing. Since 1983, its client list has included financial institutions, private partnerships, sole owners and affordable state and government program administrators.


  • Headquarters: Minneapolis
  • Employees: 1,426 full-time
  • Description: Founded in 1931, Midco provides internet and networking, cable TV, phone, data center and managed services, home automation and advertising services in the Midwest. More than 385,000 residential and business customers use Midco services in 342 communities in Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Missouri Valley Family YMCA

  • Location: Bismarck
  • Employees: 116
  • Description: The Missouri Valley Family YMCA is a nonprofit association of men, women and children joined together by a shared commitment to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility.

Moore Engineering

  • Headquarters: West Fargo, N.D.
  • Employees: 160
  • Description: Moore Engineering has a presence in more than 100 communities and aims to find sustainable solutions to the challenges communities face. The company is 100 percent employee-owned.

North Dakota Guaranty & Title Co.

  • Corporate office: Bismarck
  • Employees: 135
  • Description: Founded in 1955, North Dakota Guaranty & Title Co. now has 17 locations across North Dakota and western Minnesota. Team members coordinate and complete real estate closing and title services in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Network Center

  • Headquarters: Fargo
  • Employees: 73
  • Description: Serving 12 states and more than 500 customers, NCI is one of the largest IT solution providers in the Midwest. It specializes in industry-specific technology solutions, service, support and expertise for small to enterprise businesses.

Nexus Innovations, Inc.

  • Headquarters: Bismarck
  • Employees: 17
  • Description: Nexus Innovations is a strategic consulting firm that delivers strategic technology solutions. It takes a customized approach to clients to ensure organizational goals, business requirements and cultural impacts are both understood and addressed.

National Information Solutions Cooperative

  • Headquarters: Mandan, N.D.
  • Employees: 1,259
  • Description: National Information Solutions Cooperative is an information technology cooperative that develops, implements and supports software and hardware solutions for customers.

Obermiller Nelson Engineering

  • Headquarters: Fargo
  • Employees: 63
  • Description: Obermiller Nelson Engineering provides clients with detailed mechanical, electrical and civil design and coordination for building systems. ONE has been working with clients since 1992.

Pediatric Therapy Partners

  • Headquarters: Locations in Fargo, Bismarck
  • Employees: 91
  • Description: Pediatric Therapy Partners provide comprehensive and advanced services specializing in neurobehavior, applied behavior analysis, mental health, early intervention, occupational, physical and speech-language services.

Sandman Structural Engineers

  • Headquarters: Moorhead, Minn.
  • Employees: 36
  • Description: Sandman Structural Engineers works to deliver high quality structural engineering services and cost-effective building solutions to its clients. Company engineers are registered in almost every state and multiple Canadian provinces.

Starion Bank

  • Headquarters: Bismarck
  • Employees: 248
  • Description: Starion Bank is family-owned and offers a full range of services, including personal and business banking, agribusiness, mortgage, insurance and investments. Starion has been serving customers since 1969


  • Headquarters: Dickinson, N.D.
  • Employees: 425
  • Description: Steffes is an original-equipment manufacturer headquartered in Dickinson with additional manufacturing facilities in Grand Forks. It specializes in steel fabrication and electrical services for a variety of diverse industries, including oil and gas, contract manufacturing and electric thermal storage.

Stoneridge Software

  • Headquarters: Barnesville, Minn.
  • Employees: 130
  • Description: Stoneridge Software is the largest Microsoft Gold ERP Partner in the region and has industry expertise in manufacturing, agriculture, construction, engineering, distribution and professional services.

Sundog Interactive

  • Headquarters: Fargo
  • Employees: 100
  • Description: For more than 20 years, Sundog Interactive has been specializing in marketing strategy, lead management, analytics, technical integration and more. Sundog has been named to the Inc. 500/5000 list of the nation's fastest-growing companies three times.

Swier Law Firm

  • Headquarters: Avon, S.D.
  • Employees: 14
  • Description: Swier Law Firm delivers legal solutions to a wide array of clients, from individuals in rural South Dakota to small businesses, government entities and Fortune 100 companies.

TrueNorth Steel

  • Headquarters: West Fargo, N.D.
  • Employees: 600
  • Description: TrueNorth Steel has experience throughout the Midwest and Rocky Mountain area, producing structural steel, bridges, ag tanks, oil tanks and stormwater and drainage solutions.


  • Headquarters: Fargo
  • Employees: 375
  • Description: Ulteig is an employee-owned company that delivers design engineering, program management and technical and field services that strengthen infrastructure.

WCCO Belting

  • Headquarters: Wahpeton, N.D.
  • Employees: 192
  • Description: WCCO Belting designs, manufactures, and ships custom rubber belting products worldwide.

Dakota Wesleyan University

  • Location: Mitchell, S.D.
  • Employees: 143
  • Description: Founded in 1885, Dakota Wesleyan University is a four-year liberal arts college in Mitchell, S.D., affiliated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church.