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Lake Park couple honored for leadership

TAMI AND BRANT BIGGER OF LAKE PARK are Becker County's representatives in the Red River Valley Emerging Leadership program. They will be honored as part of the Agassiz Leader Awards banquet in Crookston on March 26th.

Brant and Tami Bigger of Lake Park will receive special recognition for their commitment to leadership and their community at the Agassiz Leaders Awards Banquet on Saturday, March 26, at the University of Minnesota Crookston.

Brant and Tami are Becker County's representatives in the Red River Valley Emerging Leadership Program. They have been taking part in educational sessions along with other rural leaders since November 2010.

Though they have not yet completed the training, Tami said she felt they had already been getting some "good tips" from the program.

"We've been learning all the ins and outs of being a good leader and being involved in the community," she said, noting that she hoped the experience would enable them to become "good future leaders" for Lake Park and the surrounding area.

The Biggers, along with individuals from 15 other counties in northwestern and west central Minnesota will be recognized for their involvement with the leadership program.

Though she's not sure who nominated them for the program, Tami said that they both have several friends and relatives who were involved in Agassiz leadership program in the past.

"They also look for people who have a farming background, and both Brant and I grew up on farms just east of Detroit Lakes on Highway 34," Tami said.

Both are graduates of Frazee High School.

Brant, who grew up on a dairy and beef farm, went on to major in biotechnology at North Dakota State University in Fargo.

He currently works as a lab technician with the USDA Agriculture Research Service, in a molecular biology laboratory in Fargo.

"He's involved in plant research," Tami said.

She also grew up on a small dairy farm, and went on to become a registered nurse (RN). She currently works at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Fargo.

The Biggers have three children: Hailey, 7; Blake, 4; and Hannah, 4 months.

Tami said that the Agassiz program involves four sessions focused on personal leadership styles, communication, community leadership, legislative issues, and personal vision and goal setting.

Their upcoming session will involve a trip to the State Capitol in St. Paul on Feb. 15.

"It's pretty exciting," Tami said.

This is the 27th year the Emerging Leadership Program has brought together individuals from across the region for recognition and training seminars.

There are now more than 900 leaders in northwest and west central Minnesota who are alumni of the program.

The program, which grew out of the King Agassiz Program of the Red River Valley Winter Shows, was developed in 1985 by a small group of people who felt there was a need to help individuals develop their leadership potential.

It continues to focus on the belief that effective leadership can be learned and that leaders grow into positions of leadership, motivated by a sense of responsibility for themselves and their communities.

The Emerging Leadership Program is a program of the University of Minnesota Extension and the Northwest Minnesota Foundation.

Major financial contributions for the program are made available through the Red River Valley Development Association and the West Central Initiative.

Additional support for the program comes from ag producer groups, electric cooperatives, and community businesses and individuals in counties throughout northwest and west central Minnesota who contribute financially to the program each year.

Family and friends of Brant and Tami Bigger, as well as Agassiz program alumni, are invited to attend the March 26th banquet in Crookston.

Tickets can be ordered from the Extension Regional Office-Roseau by calling 218-463-0291, or toll free, 1-888-241-4546.

"It's a great honor," Tami said of the Agassiz Leadership Award.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454