Salonen was keynote speaker at the Vermillion Chamber of Commerce and Development Company's annual banquet Friday at the Eagles.
"The purpose of this is to get a couple of thoughts running through all of our minds," he said.
Salonen said his world changed when a friend convinced him that he needed to go to college, and actually took him to Dakota State College, introduced him to everyone in town, and helped him enroll.
"That moment changed everything," he said, "and maybe we need to think about all the things that change our orbit just a little bit."
People experience change because they are 1) bored, or 2) are in pain or 3) realize that change is possible.
Salonen noted that nine new businesses have located in Vermillion in the past year, and the VCDC office has entertained a dozen prospects.
The community, he said, is a prime example of a place where people aren't afraid to change.
The VCDC has helped 50 people write business plans in the past year.
"That is a realization that things could actually improve," Salonen said.