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UND student rings the closing bell for the NASDAQ Stock Exchange.

What started as a small endeavor that gave Pierson Painter  the flexibility to work and play three sports in high school grew into a business that earned him the rare opportunity to ring the closing bell for the Nasdaq Stock Market.

The Grand Forks native launched Dakota Lawn and Landscape in 2017.

“I was a three-sport athlete in high school,” the University of North Dakota senior said. “I didn’t have time for a normal job. I needed something that I could work around with my schedule. And this was it.”

In the early days, Painter had a single piece of equipment: his father’s lawn mower. Some three years later, Dakota Lawn and Landscape does lawn and property maintenance, landscaping and snow removal. Aside from residential clients, the business caters to large, commercial customers such as local strip malls and churches.

Painter’s firm is also the first one in Grand Forks to introduce liquid salt for deicing in wintertime. Liquid salt is an eco-friendly way to dissolve ice that’s also more effective and less costly than the widely used rock salt.

Painter’s business plan for liquid salt won the 2020 Red River Valley Business Plan Competition. One of the prizes was ringing the Nasdaq closing bell on Sept. 2. Due to the pandemic, Painter rang the bell virtually, while the UND logo loomed over Times Square in New York City.

Read Pierson’s story and the stories of other inspiring leaders in action.