Forbes Publishes Extensive Interview with Governor Burgum
Recently elected North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum recently had a chat with Forbes Magazine.
It's a fairly comprehensive interview spanning 12 (internet) pages that talks about Governor Burgum's beginnings all the way to his time now as Governor of his home state.
A few excerpts of note from the interview are below:
On technology in the oil industry:
Q: Digital technology has transformed oil and gas extraction.
BURGUM: The miracle of the Bakken is how rapidly they dropped the break-even price. Thanks to precision drilling, you can drill 16 wells on one four-acre pad. You, therefore, need fewer roads, which is better for the environment. We need the same kind of revolution in health care and education.
Q: What’s stopping that?
BURGUM: The forces of both economics and technology are unstoppable, yet institutions don’t fully grasp that. My role as North Dakota’s elected leader is to use my influence to unleash innovation. There are innovators in state government, you just have to find them and help them get freed up.
Q: Health care or education? As governor, which is your higher priority?
BURGUM: Education. Half of our general fund in North Dakota is going to K-12 and higher education. That’s a huge commitment for us as a state. But education needs to transform. I just read in Forbes that the U.S. has $1.3 trillion in student debt, with an 11.2% default rate, which I don’t think is going to go down. So education has to change; it has to provide a much higher ROI.
Q: Therein lies the rub. Education – higher ed, especially – has an entrenched constituency that likes things the way they are.
BURGUM: Yes. If you look at a university, what do you find? You’ve got tenure, you’ve got a faculty senate, you’ve got hundreds of years of tradition. There's a sort of entitlement thing going on--the sense that because you’ve been around so long you’re always going to be around. Too many leaders in higher ed don’t feel the existential fear that they could actually go out of business.
On business innovation:
Q: So how do you instill that fear--and a sense of urgency?
BURGUM: You have to get transformative leaders across all these institutions. When I took office I was very clear. In my State of the State talk, I said: “I will meet with anyone, any time. I’ll meet until midnight if you want to have a discussion about how to reinvent your cabinet, your institution, your whatever – I will do that. But if you want to have a meeting with me to defend your institution, I won’t have time on my calendar.”
Q: Has that worked?
BURGUM: Some people come in and say, “Hey, we want to tell you about all this exciting stuff we’re doing,” but pretty quickly the talk becomes a defense of why they’re doing everything the way they’ve been doing things and why they don’t need to change. Those meetings are shorter and less fun than the ones with people who come in and say, “Hey, look, we’re up against a big challenge here, and we know we need to change. How can we do that?” You’ve got to have leaders who are willing to drive the transformation. And then you have to keep communicating with them.
On the Dakota Access Pipeline:
Q: Final question. The Dakota Access Pipeline.
BURGUM: It was potentially a very dangerous situation. You had the Obama Administration actively supporting the protest, as opposed to trying to enforce federal law on federal ground. The Administration helped create a tinder box that was ready to explode. This could have ended as a Wounded Knee, Waco or Ruby Ridge.
Burgum covers these topics more in depth and a whole lot more. Check out the full interview on the Forbes website.