About Jon Melgaard

Jon was born in Minot but grew up in Detroit Lakes, MN. Demonstrating an early entrepreneurial spirit, he and his sister set up a 25-cent lemonade stand near a We Fest campground when he was about five, generating over $300. After graduating high school, Jon studied Nonprofit and Entrepreneurial Management at the University of Minnesota, where he was also a member of the NCAA Division I diving team. Unable to find an internship that aligned with his interests in Minneapolis, he accepted the role of Entrepreneur in Residence at the Kilbourne Group, working on venture philanthropy projects such as Connected Puzzles and co-organizing TEDxYouth@Fargo. After completing his fellowship with The Barry Foundation and working with the Aspen Institute on projects including the Aspen Ideas Festival and Event Conex, Jon returned to Fargo, excited to build his company in the vibrant community.

About Event Conex

Event Conex is dedicated to helping event organizers avoid burnout and manage their events more efficiently. The inspiration for Event Conex came in 2021 when Jon personally experienced the toll that event planning can take. After checking himself into the ER following an event due to severe physical exhaustion, Jon realized the extreme lengths event organizers often go to ensure success, even at the expense of their own health. Events are inherently chaotic, with last-minute information and data spread across various platforms like Google Docs, spreadsheets, and emails. The rapid pace of our world means changes are constant, and errors can and do occur. Many event organizers, including Jon, strive to prevent anything from slipping through the cracks, often driven by a perfectionist mindset.


Tell us about your company and your mission.

“Event Conex aims to fill those cracks by streamlining the flow of event information, ensuring it moves from one place to another at the right time, in the right format. Our mission is to save event organizers time by eliminating tedious tasks and automating mundane ones, allowing them to focus on what truly needs their attention. By providing these tools, Event Conex enhances the efficiency of event operations and minimizes the stress and chaos behind the scenes of events.”


What are some wins you are celebrating?

“Event Conex just wrapped up working with the Aspen Ideas Festival, which used its Invite & RSVP software to manage invitations and track RSVPs for over 40 events and 3,000 guests. Event Conex also recently wrapped up its participation in the 2024 spring gBeta cohort, gener8tor’s pre-accelerator program.”



What is the most important lesson you’ve learned throughout your entrepreneurial journey?

“Patience. It’s fairly easy to visualize a plan and the trajectory of a company, but it’s much harder to patiently work towards that end goal day by day. I definitely underestimated the amount of time it takes to get something off the ground. Building a successful business requires consistent effort, resilience, and the ability to stay focused on long-term objectives despite short-term setbacks. Each step, no matter how small, is progress towards achieving the larger vision.”



Event Conex Academy is officially a part of the Fargo-Moorhead founder family. How can our community support you in your next stage of growth?

“I’d like to meet with as many event organizers as possible to learn about the pain points they are experiencing. I’m thinking about hosting a breakfast the morning of TEDx for event organizers attending the event. If there’s any opportunity to partner, I would love some help identifying folks to invite. We are not trying to sell anything right now—we are in our listening and learning era. Connecting with event organizers and understanding their challenges will help us tailor our solutions to better meet their needs.”



What are you grateful for today?

“I am grateful for many things in my life, but one of the most important is feeling safe and comfortable being an openly gay man in this community. This sense of belonging and safety allows me to thrive and focus on my passion for creating meaningful experiences through Event Conex.”




Readers can learn more about Jon Melgaard and Event Conex by visiting his LinkedIn page or website!

Carly Pfennig

Carly Pfennig is from Bismarck, North Dakota currently studying at Minnesota State University of Moorhead for both Communications and Marketing. Carly is very passionate about forming connections within both the community as well as being the helping hand for people in need!