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By Gerry Gilmour, Published August 15 2003

F-M firms Sundog, Ness join

Fargo-based corporations GL Ness and Sundog Interactive have merged to form Correlat Inc., an integrated marketing communications holding company.

“We’re easily integrated. There is no overlap,” Brent Teiken, Sundog president and new chief operating officer of Correlat said Thursday morning. “It’s a nice marriage of talent and services.”

Teiken and Greg Ness, president of GL Ness and now chief executive officer of Correlat, later made the announcement to clients and others in a glitzy evening event -- complete with red carpet, limos and faux “stars” -- at the Fargo Theatre.

“Our vision would be to become a world-class company by 2008,” Ness said. “We expect to compete on a national level.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

GL Ness serves about 40 principal clients and does work in 14 states. Sundog has about 50 principal clients, and though it does 80 percent of its business within the immediate region, it has national accounts on the East Coast, according to Teiken.

The deal announced Thursday involves the dissolution of GL Ness and Sundog corporations and the creation of a new corporation under the name Correlat, according to Ness. He said GL Ness and Sundog will retain their identities and corporate offices. GL Ness has 10,000 square feet of office space on the top floor of Clarica Tower in southwest Fargo while Sundog leases 7,200 square feet of space on the 15th floor of Radisson Tower downtown.

The Clarica Tower location will serve as the company’s primary corporate headquarters, according to information filed with the North Dakota Secretary of State’s office.

The deal announced Thursday also rolls into Correlat two GL Ness subsidiaries: Bankshot Productions, an audio and video production company; and Shafer-Ness, a public relations and marketing company led by Ellen Shafer.

GL Ness, founded in 1978, and Sundog, founded in 1996, each have 35 employees, making a combined company of 70 in Correlat.

GL Ness, specializing in marketing and brand development, and Sundog, specializing in Web site development and

e-business, have been working closely together on projects for a number of years. Ness said the potential of a merger came up last fall as he and Teiken had lunch at Grazies, the restaurant at Clarica Tower.

“We were helping Sundog with strategic planning, and it just hit me when I saw how they did things, that it was the same as the way we do things,” Ness said.

He said the name -- a stylized version of correlate -- was chosen from among hundreds considered. “You can always find names you like. Finding one you can trademark is tough,” Ness said.

Ness, Shannon Charpentier and Erick Kuntz, partners in GL Ness, and Teiken and Justin Schardin, majority owners in Sundog, compose the board of directors for Correlat.

As majority stockholders of the new company, those five will control about 90 percent of its stock, according to Ness.

Teiken said employees of the newly formed company can participate in stock option and profit sharing programs. “It was important, moving forward, that our employees have the ability to take ownership in the company,” he said.

Teiken and Ness said they expect the company’s staffing level to stay about the same, but added that it could grow through expansion or acquisitions.

“This is just the beginning,” Teiken said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Gerry Gilmour at (701) 241-5560