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Investors take action after Bakken conference

MINOT -- Dave Coble may be the ultimate multi-tasker.

While he was in Minot making business connections at the Bakken Investor Conference, the Arizona man also was closing on a town home in Stanley and buying furniture.

The land planning and civil engineering firm Coble works for is opening an office in North Dakota, and Coble will be the first employee to relocate.

"It's just exciting," said Coble, associate for CVL Consultants, which has offices in Phoenix, Denver and Las Vegas.

More than 250 investors from about 30 states attended the conference, but they weren't there just to swap business cards and eat bacon-wrapped meatloaf.

Attendees immediately began working on deals from the hotel business center, arranging to look at properties and following up with their new connections.

Conference organizer Jeff Zarling said the event brought together the right mix of people. But what's important is the work that happens after the conference,he said.

Several participants talked about wanting to invest millions of dollars, many with an emphasis in housing development.

"We're starting to see real money coming in," said Zarling, president of Williston business development firm DAWA Solutions Group.

Randy Warner, a real estate developer from Dallas, has acquired some land north of Watford City and met potential investors and potential buyers during the conference.

Warner has been working in Watford City since June and is in the process of moving there permanently.

"There's unlimited opportunity," Warner said.

Marc Clingaman of Milwaukee attended the conference on a hunch. He had been reading about the Bakken for a year and finally took a road trip to North Dakota.

Clingaman, who is looking for opportunities to build houses or work for another real estate company, was wrapping up his trip when he heard about the conference and decided to check it out.

"I'm so glad I did," Clingaman said.

After making connections at the conference, Clingaman committed to work for one week in North Dakota doing housing inspections while he looks for other opportunities in the Bakken.

Clingaman said he was impressed with all the activity he saw while driving around the state.

"It's a good buzz," Clingaman said. "I love the electricity, the opportunity."

Dalrymple is a reporter stationed in the Oil Patch for Forum Communications Co.