Leadership Interview: Ward Tongen, President of MnSearch

By July 3, 2012Board, Interviews
Ward Tongen - President - MnSearch

Ward Tongen - President - MnSearch

Ward Tongen is a man of many names – Weirdo Wardo, Psycho Ward, Wardly – and a man of many talents. As principal interactive strategist within Medtronic’s Neuromodulation division, Ward is in charge of making things like neurostimulation systems and implantable drug delivery systems both web-friendly and relatable to the common person, while also supporting the division’s web metrics and social media effort.

Since Medtronic’s mission is to alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life, Ward often tells people that he’s a search marketer who saves lives.

It’s no mean feat, but Ward is a man of no mean skill – skills that are now being applied to the Minnesota Search Engine Marketing Association.

We sat down with Ward to discuss his role with MnSearch.


Forest Taylor: So what exactly is your role with the Minnesota Search Engine Marketing Association, Ward?

Ward Tongen: I was nominated to be the first president of the association board by eight search professionals that I greatly respect and admire.


Forest: Tell us a bit about your day job.

Medtronic LogoWard: I am now a Principal Interactive Strategist at Medtronic Neuromodulation. I also support the Neuromodulation division on Web metrics and social media.


Forest: Any hobbies, projects or passions outside of search marketing?

WardoWard: I am a certified SCUBA diver, and enjoy traveling and strange foods. I’m also one of the few Caucasians that actually likes the taste and smell of the exotic durian fruit – the king of all fruits. When I am not speaking about interactive topics or saving lives with search, I am seeking and collecting National Geographic experiences.


Forest: Why the Minnesota Search Engine Marketing Association and why now?

Ward: Look around! Minnesota is a hotbed of search marketing activity. There are many Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the Twin Cities. The metro area is known as “Medical Alley” due to the high number of biomedical and life science organizations. We even have several “search celebrities” in this state. Ask them; they’ll tell you.

This is fertile ground for search engine marketers and now is the time to strike. We are upon the hockey stick of change and the flipping point where large corporations are finally realizing that they need to realign their marketing efforts from traditional to Interactive, which is how their audiences are getting their information.


Forest: Say that I’m a local marketer who’s really just interested in digital, and I’m trying to figure out which local group is best for me. Why should I consider the Minnesota Search Engine Marketing Association?

Ward: Search marketing is an art and a science. In fact, it’s rocket science; it really is. It’s complicated and changing constantly.  As a result, search marketers have special needs and the Minnesota Search Engine Marketing Association was formed to address those needs. Learning from our peers is often the best way to improve our skills.


Checkout Ward’s bio to learn more about MnSearch’s Prez, follow him on Twitter, or connect with him on LinkedIn. Tune in next week, when we’ll be featuring an interview with James Svoboda, Vice President of the Minnesota Search Engine Marketing Association.

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