News & Updates

Former Director of the ND Racing Commission Gunner laCour Joins Primacy Strategy Group

Feb 15, 2019

Primacy Strategy Group is proud to announce a major addition to our growing multi-state public affairs team with the hiring of Gunner laCour.

An experienced regulator and fixture at the North Dakota State Capitol for the past five years, Gunner R. laCour served as the Director of the North Dakota Racing Commission from 2013 – 2018.

While at the Commission, he oversaw hundreds of millions of dollars in pari-mutuel wagering activity as well as live racing at two facilities in the state. laCour was also responsible for the oversight and investigation of all Commission-regulated activity and regularly represented the Commission before the North Dakota state legislature and related administrative hearings.

As North Dakota’s top horse-racing regulator, laCour’s groundbreaking work with national and international regulatory bodies developing and employing modern methods of regulation and disclosure led to the state becoming an important player in international wagering markets. As a tireless advocate for the state’s horsemen and a natural consensus-builder, he forged multiple agreements among industry stakeholders resulting in some of the most active live racing seasons in the history of the state.

At Primacy Strategy Group, laCour will draw from his extensive experience working with state lawmakers, rule-making bodies, executive branch agencies, and global regulatory agencies to effectively advocate on behalf of PSG clients on a variety of topics at all levels of government.

“I am excited to be joining the dynamic team at Primacy Strategy Group” said laCour. “I look forward to drawing upon my years of experience as a regulator and advocate to advise clients on complex legislative matters as well as help them to navigate regulatory and administrative issues in multiple jurisdictions.”

Prior to his time with the Commission, laCour served as in-house counsel for a shipbuilding company contracted with the U.S. Navy to supply vessels for over $100 million dollars in foreign military sales. His focus in this role included both transactional and contract work, maritime law, as well as regulatory compliance on a wide range of issues including export/import, Federal Acquisition Regulations, and International Traffic in Arms Regulation.

“We are thrilled to welcome Gunner to the growing PSG team” said Ryan Kelly, President and CEO of Primacy Strategy Group. “His experience as a regulator and his knowledge of complex regulatory systems at the state, national, and international levels will be of tremendous value to our clients, many of whom have business issues that cross state and national boundaries.”

“As someone who has led a department, prepared and presented agency budgets, and worked with lawmakers in both parties in North Dakota to advance legislation over the past five years, Gunner is eminently qualified to advise our clients with legislative matters at the state capitol,” said Rebecca Kanninen, PSG’s Senior Vice President.

Mr. laCour obtained his Juris Doctorate from the University of Kentucky College of Law with a focus in business law and his Master’s of Law in Admiralty with distinction, from the Tulane University School of Law, where he served as a member of the Tulane Maritime Law Journal and was recognized with the Edward A. Dodd Jr. Award as the outstanding candidate in the graduate Admiralty Law program.

Lockridge Grindal Nauen and Synergetic Endeavors Announce
New Public Affairs Company
Primacy Strategy Group to Serve Midwest

Dec 5, 2018

Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P. and Synergetic Endeavors are excited to formally announce the launch of a new jointly-owned company, Primacy Strategy Group. The new firm will provide lobbying, regulatory, and public affairs services to clients throughout the Midwest region.

Primacy Strategy Group is a dynamic 50/50 partnership between Lockridge Grindal Nauen, a Minnesota-based state and federal lobbying team with offices in Minneapolis, MN, Bismarck, ND and Washington, D.C., and Synergetic Endeavors, a St. Paul-based consulting firm specializing in grassroots advocacy, public relations, association management, and event planning. Each firm will continue to serve their respective clients in Minnesota, but will join forces to provide a wider array of services as they expand throughout the Midwest.

“Considering how frequently our two firms have successfully worked together it was a natural next step that we formally come together in an exciting new venture that will utilize our combined talents for the benefit of all our clients,” said Ryan Kelly of Synergetic Endeavors, who will now also serve as the President of Primacy Strategy Group.

Rebecca Kanninen, Partner at Lockridge Grindal Nauen, will also serve as the new company’s Senior Vice President. “Drawing on the combined strengths of both our firms, Primacy Strategy Group will provide more comprehensive services to clients with streamlined efficiency in more states, with the same commitment, results, and trusted counsel they have come to expect,” said Kanninen.

The new company’s clients include a wide range of businesses, trade associations, and non-profits, including several with regional interests that cross state lines. Primacy Strategy Group is equipped to help organizations advance policy initiatives through multiple state legislatures, work with local governments and state agencies, or build grassroots support for an advocacy agenda at any level of government.

“Our clients needs don’t stop at a state border,” said Ted Grindal, Partner at Lockridge Grindal Nauen. “The demand from our clients for high-caliber multi-state public affairs work is yet one more reason why we are expanding into these new marketplaces.”

The Primacy Strategy Group team also includes former North Dakota State legislator Blair Thoreson and long-time association executive Rudie Martinson, who will continue to be based out of the company’s Bismarck offices to manage the day to day needs of the the firm’s clients in North and South Dakota.

About Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P.

For 40 years, Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P. has served clients throughout the Midwest and in Washington, D.C., with a focus on business litigation and governmental relations at the local, state, and federal levels. The firm represents public and private sector clients and has extensive experience in local, state, and federal government relations, complex business litigation, campaign finance and election law, environmental law, health care law, and government law. The firm has offices in Minneapolis, MN, Bismarck, ND, and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit

About Synergetic Endeavors

Synergetic Endeavors, headquartered in Saint Paul, Minnesota, has built a national reputation in the Midwest and throughout the country for providing exceptional service in the areas of Association Management & Coalition Building, Grassroots/Grasstops Mobilization, Public Relations, Government Affairs, Business Development, Fundraising, as well as National Convention and Event Planning. For more information, please visit