Barry Batcheller is a North Dakota State University graduate and honorary doctorate recipient who has charted the entrepreneurial course during his career and is now opening doors for more entrepreneurs in the Fargo area. As an engineer and creative thinker, Barry Batcheller has founded or co-founded 4 businesses and is currently the Chairman and CEO of Appareo. Barry gives credit to NDSU for drawing him to Fargo with a degree that combined engineering and aerospace sciences. “I pursued a degree in the engineering field that included aerospace science because my father was a pilot and I have always been a creative thinker,” explained Barry.

From the Basement to Business

After retiring from Deere and Company in 2005, Barry Batcheller found himself continuing his passion for creating and innovating while working out of his basement. “People do what they love when they retire, so I continued to create and innovate things in my retirement,” shared Barry.

The hobby Barry pursued soon led to the creation of a company that is now called Appareo. This new business was launched to provide hardware and software solutions in the aerospace industry. “After years applying engineering in the field of agriculture, I began to apply my engineering knowledge in the aerospace industry,” shared Barry.

Today, Appareo’s mission statement (Innovate. Create. Inspire. Grow.) is being fulfilled as the company leverages intellectual property into industry leading products. Because Appareo experienced growth from innovation and creation of products used in airplanes worldwide, they began to innovate and create products in the agriculture industry. Barry explained that the innovation taking place at Appareo leads to “an average of one new patent every month.” In fact, in the Horizon building owned by Appareo in North Fargo, there is a wall of plaques that showcases their growing number of patents.

From Business to new Ventures

Over the last few years, Barry has utilized the business growth and resources to facilitate the creation of new businesses. Instead of pursuing capital investments from venture funds, Appareo functions as a foundation for entrepreneurs within the company to create new businesses from their ideas. “I recognized that top class engineering talent was arriving from NDSU to work for us at Appareo….and I didn’t want to lose them as employees as they pursued and created companies from their ideas,” Barry recalls.

Appareo is currently working with two such start-up ideas. One company is Intelligent Malt based here in Fargo, and the other company is related to agriculture that is still in the infant stages of launching. Barry views these endeavors as the product of the work environment he has facilitated at Appareo. “I want Appareo to be a place where employees enjoy coming to work to make a difference in this world,” explains Barry. In the last year, Appareo has put together this video to explain how employees are engineering a better future right here in Fargo.

Learn more from Barry Batcheller and Appareo as he speaks at 1 Million Cups Fargo on Wednesday, March 29th, 2017 at 9:15 a.m. at The Stage at Island Park.

Brent McNeal