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care & stability

Jacki Templin, VP of Business Banking 320.252.4200 131 6th Ave S, Ste 100, Waite Park, MN 56387


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CONTENTS GROW

|

NETWORK |

PROFIT

E X P L O R I N G C E N T R A L M I N N E S O TA’ S B U S I N E S S E S .

M AY/ J U N E 2 0 2 0 : 6 P r e s i d e n t ’ s L e t t e r / 8 E d i t o r ’ s N o t e / 1 3 To p H a t s / 1 8 N e t w o r k C e n t r a l

PROFIT

Cover Story

28 TELEHEALTH

32 RITEGUY Becoming a global company was not part of Bruce Hagberg’s business plan. But that’s what happened.

38 WOMEN WHO RUN

NETWORK 10 UPFRONT Valuable information designed to guide and educate 20 BUSINESS TOOLS Useful tips and intelligence on how to continue to grow your business

Remember the good old days when you could call your doctor for healthcare advice? They’re back.

46 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Frank Imholte, Black Diamond Auctions

A historic number of women are running for office... and changing the face of government in the process.

GROW

Br uce Hagberg, owner, riteSOFT and biking enthusiast.

ONLYONLINE BUSINESSCENTRAL MAGAZINE.COM

• Podcast Starter Guide • Creating Charisma • Influencer Marketing • Task Management

Celebrating 2000-2020 YEARS

42 WOMEN IN BUSINESS DIRECTORY

© Copyright 2020 Business Central, LLC. Business Central is published six times a year by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, 1411 West St. Germain Street, Suite 101, P.O. Box 487, St. Cloud, MN 56302-0487. Phone (320) 251-2940 / Fax (320) 251-0081. Subscription rate: $18 for 1 year.


With so many options for care —

primary, urgent or emergency — it can be confusing to know where to go when you need help. Let us help you make the right choice. Contact a CentraCare Connect nurse 24 hours a day / 7 days a week Call 320-200-3200

Right care. Right place.


PRESIDENT’S LETTER

2020 AC (After COVID)

M

y “President’s Letter” is usually completed five to

England — cancelled. Chamber life, as staff, volunteers and

six weeks before Business Central is published. I’m

members knew it, abruptly stopped.

taking a risk this issue to write about COVID-19, as I have

So, what are we doing? We are serving as your resource

worked on, and thought about, little else for the past week.

for information, news and business assistance. We are

If the virus miraculously disappears before publication, I’ll

taking calls for whatever comes up, acting as a clearing

joyfully admit humiliation.

house and navigator for many of our members. We are

On Monday, March 13 I returned to work after a three-week international vacation exploring Australia and New Zealand. I was WIFI enabled, so I kept up with

driving business to your door by promoting your special programs in response to COVID-19. We are connecting daily with state and federal

headlines and knew COVID-19 was gaining momentum in

government leaders, keeping them in tune with our

the US. The virus was still relatively quiet Down Under –

business community. We are working with local partners

until Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson tested positive the

and business associations to avoid duplicating initiatives,

last day of the trip. However, nothing prepared me for what

and build synergy among our community organizations. We

I would find when I returned to work.

are standing ready to reignite that networking excellence

COVID-19 engulfed everything. It seemed to be the only news story. Both Congress and the state legislature ceased to produce anything non-virus related. The stock market

our Chamber is known for throughout the state of Minnesota as soon as the “All Clear” sign is given. While there is fear, concern, and even despair in

plunged day after day, and people began to wonder what

the COVID-19 air, opportunity also abounds. WE are

they would do if they were laid off, or their businesses were

Minnesotans. WE are Americans. Finding and capitalizing

closed by the government.

on opportunity is what we do best. I have no doubt when

I laid awake at night, exhausted from the events of the

we come through this, however long that may take, we will

day, but thinking about what the future holds. Our Chamber

have weathered challenges we never considered, and we

cancelled all our events. No networking or programming

will be stronger and better than ever.

through at least April. Our Washington, D.C., trip — postponed. The Business Awards Luncheon — postponed.

It's time to see how much we can accomplish . . . . . together!

The Leadership Class Graduation — in limbo. A muchanticipated partner visit to SCSU’s program in Alnwick, Celebrating

2000-2020 YEARS

Teresa Bohnen Publisher

LOOKING BACK

Business Awards Recipients Three of the first people to grace the cover of Business Central were also recipients of business awards presented by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. Photos from left to right: Brownie Carlson, owner of C&L Distributing, was selected as the 2000 Small Business Owner of the Year. He passed away in 2007.; Colette Carlson, then a principal with LarsonAllen, now CliftonLarsonAllen, was honored with the Athena Award. Carlson has moved into retirement where she continues to share her talents on local boards of directors. (The Chamber has since transitioned the Athena Award to the Women's Fund of the Central Minn. Community Foundation, which continues to present it annually.); Gary Marsden, co-founder of Marco, received the Entrepreneurial Success Award and went on to receive the state award after being nominated by the Chamber. (Shown here above.) Also retired, he continues to invest in the community with his time and resources.

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2019-20 BOARD MEMBERS ____________________________ Marilyn Birkland, LocaliQ Main Phone: 320-251-2940

Ron Brandenburg, Quinlivan & Hughes, Board Vice Chair

Automated Reservation Line: 320-656-3826

John Bryant, Geo-Comm

Program Hotline: 320-656-3825

Christy Gilleland, Gilleland Chevrolet Cadillac

information@StCloudAreaChamber.com StCloudAreaChamber.com ST. CLOUD AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE STAFF ____________________________ President: Teresa Bohnen, ext. 104 Vice President: Gail Ivers, ext. 109 Director of Administration: Judy Zetterlund, ext. 106 Communications & Workforce Development Coordinator: Kelti Lorence, ext. 130

Executive Director: Julie Lunning, ext. 111 Director of Sports & Special Events: Dana Randt, ext. 110 Sales Manager: Nikki Fisher, ext. 112 Sales Manager: Rachel Thompson, ext. 128

Jason Hallonquist, AIS Planning, Board Chair

Social Media & Marketing Specialist: Emily Bertram, ext. 129

Joe Hellie, CentraCare Patrick Hollermann, InteleCONNECT Dennis Host, Coborn’s, Inc. Willie Jett, St. Cloud School District Kevin Johnson, K. Johnson Construction Bernie Omann, St. Cloud State University Mark Osendorf, Xcel Energy

Membership Sales Specialist: Antoinette Valenzuela, ext. 134

Bernie Perryman, Batteries Plus Bulbs

Administrative Assistant: Shelly Imdieke, ext. 100

Main Phone: 320-251-4170

Tanja Goering, PAM's Auto

Special Events Coordinator: Laura Wagner, ext. 131

Administrative Assistant: Vicki Lenneman, ext. 122

CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU STAFF ____________________________

Allison Waggoner, DCI, Inc. Chriss Wohlleber, Courtyard by Marriott-St. Cloud, Past Board Chair

• Car, Motorcycle and ATV Accidents • Insurance and Property Damage Claims • Slip and Fall Accidents • Wrongful Death Claims

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EDITOR’S NOTE

Clockwise star ting top lef t: This tour guide at Robben Island was a former political prisoner at the island. Bruce Hagberg, riteSOFT (L) with business associate John Foucault at Table Mountain in South Africa. Robben Island is easily visible from Table Mountain. Nelson Mandela's prison cell, Robben Island, South Africa Editor Gail Ivers with her aunt, Nancy Beck, and a cloud-shrouded Table Mountain in background.

Grace Under Fire Never forget that a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying. — Nelson Mandela

A

s I write this on March 21, I realize that by the time you read it in May our world will have changed dramatically. Yesterday — March 20 — I emailed SCSU economist King Banaian about a forecast he made exactly one month ago, Feb. 20, at the SCSU Winter Economic Institute. He replied, "That’s like reading a time capsule." So true. Check out how we decided to handle that story in Economy Central on page 24. Now, as I mentally prepare for "sheltering at home" (remember, I'm writing this on March 21) I can't help but think of other examples of government-imposed exile. Governments are well known for using exile to control behavior, and it rarely has anything to do with a pandemic. Regular readers of this column know I'm an avid traveler. It turns out that travel is something I have in common with Bruce Hagberg, owner of riteSOFT. (See the story on page 32.) Bruce and I have both visited Cape Town, South Africa and that city's famous Table Mountain. From Table Mountain you can see Robben Island, the prison island where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years behind bars. When I was in South Africa, well after Nelson Mandela had been released from prison, been elected

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president, and retired from public life, his legacy was still top of mind. Our guide, fluent in Italian, told us she had moved to Italy toward the end of apartheid and the early years following the country’s first multiracial general election. She feared there would be a bloody revolution in South Africa, as had happened in several neighboring African countries. But Nelson Mandela didn't come out of prison an angry, vengeful man. His speeches were calm and pacifying, always calling for reconciliation and unity. At the negotiating table, he persuaded whites to surrender power. He averted a tribal and civil war that many felt certain was inevitable, and managed to unite South Africans under his banner of nonracial democracy. Without the years of self-examination and meditation — seeing positive things in his darkest hours — he might never have become such a remarkable leader when he walked free. “At least, if for nothing else,” he wrote in a 1975 letter to his wife, “the cell gives you the opportunity to look daily into your entire conduct, to overcome the bad and develop whatever is good in you." I guess if he can do it for 27 years, I can do it for a few weeks. Until next issue, .


Publisher Teresa Bohnen Managing Editor Gail Ivers Associate Editor Dawn Zimmerman

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Teresa Bohnen, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Tim Ernst, BerganKDV Dr. Fred E. Hill, St. Cloud State University Gail Ivers, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Roger Justin, Rinke Noonan Kelti Lorence, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Jeanine Nistler, freelance writer Sean O’Neil, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Chris Panek, Christine R. Panek, CPA

ART Design & Production Yola Hartmann, Hazel Tree Media Cover Story Photography Joel Butkowski, BDI Photography ACCOUNTING Judy Zetterlund

Celebrating 2000-2020

WEBSITE Vicki Lenneman

YEARS

Cheri Tollefson Lehse, CentraCare

1411 West St. Germain Street, Suite 101, P.O. Box 487, St. Cloud, MN 56302-0487 Phone (320) 251-2940 Fax (320) 251-0081 BusinessCentralMagazine.com For advertising information contact Melinda Vonderahe, (320) 656-3808 Editorial suggestions can be made in writing to: Editor, Business Central, P.O. Box 487, St. Cloud, MN 56302-0487. Submission of materials does not guarantee publication. Unsolicited materials will not be returned unless accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

ADVERTISING Associate Publisher/Sales Melinda Vonderahe Ad Traffic & Circulation Yola Hartmann, Hazel Tree Media

Improving Lives

ONE SURGERY AT A TIME

Laurie Moline’s restless nights started 10 years ago with symptoms that soon took a scary turn. Not able to stay awake while working or driving, Laurie turned to Dr. Ron Hanson for help with her sleep apnea.

I just didn’t think there were any other options,” she said. “But then Dr. Hanson told me about Inspire Therapy.”

Inspire Therapy Patient Laurie Moline, St. Cloud

Inspire Therapy is a state-of-the-art procedure that opens a patient’s airway with a pacemaker-like implant. The device is attached to two leads, delivering mild stimulation to the tongue to move it out of the way. Laurie noticed a difference the first night she activated hers.

I jumped out of bed because I felt better than I’d ever felt before,” said Laurie. “It has literally changed my life.”

Better Care, Better Costs, Better Recovery… Better YOU. 1526 Northway Drive, St. Cloud, MN 56303 |

PH

800.349.7272 | stcsurgicalcenter.com

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UPFRONT GROW

|

NETWORK |

PROFIT

N E WS & P E O P L E T H AT M A K E U P T H E C H A M B E R N E T WO R K

I N S I D E T H I S I S S U E : Your Voice in Gove rnme nt / Pe o ple to Know / To p H a ts / T he Tro u ble w ith Bu sines s

BOOK REVIEW

NEWS REEL

Empowerment, Not Entitlement A dynamic culture is not a collection of personal preferences, but about attracting, growing, and retaining top talent. Reviewed by Dr. Fred Hill

T

here is a much longer subtitle for this book. It actually reads: “A Practical Guide to Building a Dynamic Culture so People Love Coming to Work and Accomplishing Great Things Together.” Dynamic Culture is the power term. Author Mathew Kelly states that there are six immutable principles of a dynamic culture: A Make Culture a Priority B Mission is King 3 Overcommunicate the Plan 4 Hire with Rigorous Discipline 5 Let People Know What You Expect 6 Grow Your People by Creating a Coaching Culture. Kelly’s work teaches that culture is about creating empowerment, not entitlement. It is not about a collection of personal preferences. He writes that his six enduring principles are intensely practical and inspiring, and will help

CMBA names 2020 Board The following individuals have been selected as officers of the Central Minnesota Builders Association (CMBA): Tony

businesses attract, grow, and retain top talent. Quite simply, it is his view that everybody wants to belong to a dynamic culture. The book’s editor believes that “once every twenty-five years or so a book comes along that completely redefines the way we think about work and the life of an organization. This is that book. Culture will be the most significant issue in business in the coming decades….” There are seven chapters: 1. Everybody wants a dynamic culture 2. Why culture matters 3. What matters most 4. What’s the plan 5. It all starts with hiring 6. Your brand 7. The pinnacle of culture Builders of organizational culture act decisively with courage to protect the mission and give the organization its best chance of becoming the best version of itself. They organize and

build around a principle, and it transforms people, marriages, families, and communities. A single principle alone can make an organization dynamic. Unity is created by providing a common, unchanging purpose and context for healthy conflict and clarity. Well trained people are key to mission achievement! The expectation of the culture solution process is that any organization can only become the-bestversion-of-itself to the extent that the people who are driving the organization are becoming betterversions-of-themselves. Scalable and sustainable organizational success cannot be created without a Dynamic Culture. Dr. Fred E. Hill is an emeritus professor at St. Cloud State University.

Steinemann, ADS Designs, president; Nate Moeller, Paramount Construction, first vice president; Jack Brandes, Lumber One Avon, 2nd vice president/treasurer; Robin Gohman, Liberty Bank Minnesota, secretary; Jeremy Salzbrun, H&S Heating & A/C, associate vice president; and Ron Euteneuer, Great Northern Environmental Solutions, past president. Seven directors were appointed to the board: Jim Alvord, Restore 24; Rachel Gruber, Dale Gruber Construction; Marty Czech, Premier Real Estate Services; Alex Mastellar, Rinke-Noonan; John Muller, SB Restoration Services; Stuart Swenson, Suncom Development, Construction, Management; and David Werschay, Werschay Homes.

Brenny Specialized recognized The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and CarriersEdge named Brenny Specialized one of the Five Best Fleets to Watch. To be considered for the Best Fleets program, companies operating 10 or more trucks had to receive a nomination from one of their company drivers or owner operators.

T h e Cul t ure S ol ut i on; A Pract i cal Guide to Bu ildin g a Dy nami c Cul t ure , by Matth ew Kelly, Blue Sp a rrow, U SA, 2 0 18 , IS BN 97 8-1 -635 82-02 4 -9

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Send News Reel items to Gail Ivers, givers@businesscentralmagazine.com for possible inclusion. News Reel is compiled by Kelti Lorence.


POINT OF VIEW

During what part of the day are you most productive? Spencer Hegstad, BadCat Digital Marketing

–––––––

Frank Imholte, Black Diamond Auctions

Ted Takala, retired, Wells Fargo

–––––––

–––––––

6 – 8 a.m. I always get my brain in gear as soon as I wake up. Whether it be reading or even just checking my emails, if your mind doesn’t show up until lunch you won’t get much done!"

I don’t have a specific time of day where I’m most productive, but I find the adrenaline rush of finishing tasks as the deadline approaches really gets me going. I do my best to take lots of notes and make a lot of lists, so even if I do procrastinate, I often have a fair share of the work already thought through when I finally sit down and knock it out."

Anytime in the early morning. I think it’s because of my farming background, you just are instilled with a work-based mindset where you wake up and get to work. Keeping lists of what needs to be done helps me stay on task."

Melinda Gau, Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A.

–––––––

I usually arrive at the office by 7 a.m. and this is my most productive time of the day. I see the day as a clean slate, the office is quiet, and I’m usually there before most other businesses around town are open so I have some time to just focus on my work without interruptions. I always try to make lists, even though I lose a lot of them. Simply going through the act of writing it down helps my brain memorize it."

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NETWORK

UPFRONT

NEWS REEL

YO U R VO I C E I N G OV E R N M E N T

CliftonLarsonAllen announces new principal

Exports Drive Growth

CliftonLarsonAllen advanced Karen Kilpatrick to principal of tax specializing in gift, estate and trust compliance. Kilpatrick has been with the firm for 25 years.

Marco named top company to work for Marco was recognized by The National Association for Business Resources on the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For list. The winning companies were assessed by an independent research firm reviewing their operations, employee enrichment, productivity and financial performance.

Microbiologics appoints vice president Microbiologics, Inc. appointed Raffaella Giardino, Ph.D., as the company’s vice president of sales and marketing. Dr. Giardino will lead strategy development and oversee execution for Microbiologics’ global sales, business development and marketing teams.

HMA Architects announces promotions, staff additions HMA Architects appointed Tim Gillet as the firm’s new president. Murray Mack, AIA, becomes CEO, focusing on project design and business development. Mike Juhl was promoted to senior project architect. Chris

The formula is clear, firms that export outperform those that do not. By Sean O’Neil

T

he new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement appears on a path to be ratified. That’s welcome news. Exports are an important ingredient for our statewide economy, and especially for Central Minnesota. The formula is clear from data collected in 2019 from the Grow Minnesota! Partnership: Minnesota firms that export outperform those that do not. Grow Minnesota! Partnership is the Minnesota Chamber’s private-sector business retention and assistance program conducted with 90-plus local chambers and economic development organizations. Partners conducted confidential one-on-one conversations with nearly 900 business owners and managers in 2019. Collected data includes on-the-ground business conditions, how businesses can stay and grow in Minnesota, and how companies can solve business concerns. For 10 straight quarters, Minnesota’s exports had grown. The streak ended in the second and third

quarters of 2019. The trade war with China hit especially hard. Year-end data showed Minnesota exports dropped two percent overall compared to a year earlier. The value of exports to the Central Minnesota economy is evident in Grow Minnesota! visits carried out by our two local partners: the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce and Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation. They visited with 22 Central Minnesota exporters last year. Those businesses were 18 percent more likely than nonexporters to report revenue growth in the past 12 months. Despite experiencing slower growth than in 2018, Central Minnesota businesses reported good news on key fronts: • 62% added new products or services, up from 54% in 2018. • 60% are planning new capital investments, just under the five-year average of 62%. • 69% project revenue growth in the next 12 months. The fact that the state’s economy has remained stable

and resilient is a tribute to Minnesota’s entrepreneurial spirit despite fears of an economic slowdown and the uncertainty surrounding international trade. The 2019 report also shows that job growth has slowed as businesses continue to struggle to find and retain workers. Businesses of all sizes and types across Minnesota continue to benefit from the conversations and personalized assistance of Grow Minnesota!. The partnership has visited with nearly 600 Central Minnesota businesses over the past five years including 155 in the 2018-19 program year. The St Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce and Greater St Cloud Development Corporation alone have done 824 visits in the 17-year program history, demonstrating their commitment to business retention in their community.

Hogan, AIA, was hired as a project architect.

Rice Companies expands Rice Companies, a 67-year old design-build company, is adding an office in Fargo, North Dakota.

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Contributor ________ Sean O’Neil is business development coordinator for Grow Minnesota! Partnership, a program of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

To review the 2019 Grow Minnesota!’s Year-end Executive Summary visit Business CentralMagazine.com


TO P H ATS

NEW MEMBERS Anytime Fitness, A locally-owned gym with a commitment to personal and group training; 24/7 access, 225 2nd Ave. N, Sauk Rapids. Pictured: Patrick Hollermann, Sam Freese, John Schultz, Jake Lubbesmeir, Matt Knutson.

NEW MEMBERS The Beautiful Mind Project, committed to changing the way we treat mental health, from both cultural and clinical perspectives. Our Urgent Care for Mental Health program provides same or next day appointments at eight locations across Central Minn., 417 5th Ave. N, Sartell. Pictured: Patrick Hollermann, Marc Van Herr, Matt Knutson.

NEW MEMBERS Companions Forever Pet Cremation Service, private and alone cremation services along with a full line of urns and remembrance items with customization options, 233 34th Ave. S, Waite Park. Pictured: Tauna Quimby, Marc Kelash, Russ Karasch, Bernie Perryman.

NEW MEMBERS Primerica Financial Services, helping earn more income, become properly protected, debtfree, and financially independent, 7525 Village Drive, ste 100, Lino Lakes. Pictured: Brian Jarl, Julia Gulbrandson, April Diederich.

Borrow

NEW MEMBERS American Welding & Gas, manufactures and distributes industrial, medical, specialty and beverage gases, welding and safety supplies, 1223 Wright Street, Brainerd. Pictured: April Diederich, Denine VanSteenwyk, Tauna Quimby.

NEW MEMBERS MC’s Dugout, locally owned and operated, home of the Hairy Buffalo, 501 W St. Germain Street, St. Cloud. Pictured: Caryn Stadther, Dave Fritz, Mike Larson, Inese Mehr.

With Us

For personal or business lending that’s as carefree as a day in the park, come on over to Farmers & Merchants State Bank.

Because friendly still counts.

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NETWORK

UPFRONT

NEWS REEL Leighton Broadcasting appoints vice president Leighton Broadcasting appointed Stephanie Theisen as vice president of sales and marketing.

PEOPLE TO KNOW

St. Cloud Area Leadership Graduates Congratulations to the following people who graduated from the St. Cloud Area

Theisen will oversee all aspects of

Chamber Leadership program in May. If you are looking for volunteers to serve on

sales and marketing throughout

boards and committees, these individuals are a good place to start.

the seven Leighton Broadcasting markets and Leighton Events.

Kramer Financial advisor recognized

2019-2020 Leadership Class Mahado Ali, CentraCare

Chris Hutton, Bluestem Brands

Rachael Sogge, Eyecon Graphics

Tara Bayerl, Edina Realty

Preston Irsfeld, American Heritage National Bank

Emily Steinmetz, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota

Jenna Binsfeld, Park Industries

Eric Johnson, Bradbury Stamm Construction

Ally Teclaw

John Blenker, Westwood Professional Services

Tim Johnson, CentraCare

Rachel Thompson, St. Cloud Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Gretchen Boulka, Paramount Center for the Arts

Ashley Kerzman, Landwehr Tax & Accounting

Brandy Wahl, American Axle & Manufacturing

Sheri Brown, Assumption Community

Kyle Knudson, Falcon National Bank

Duane Bryngelson, Park Industries

Kristina Liebel, St. Cloud VA Health Care System

Kelly Corbett, Gabriel Media

Kristin Lord, Playhouse Child Care

Darcy Freihammer, Marco

Matt Lovitz, BerganKDV

Ashley Green, Green Thumb Etc.

Angie Paulson, St. Cloud VA Health Care System

Dexter Hanson, BadCat Digital Marketing

Leah Pudlick, Doherty Staffing Solutions

Betsy Holan, Catholic Charities

Simone Rieger, U S Bank

James Kramer III, an independent LPL financial advisor at Kramer Financial, was recently recognized for his inclusion in the LPL Patriot’s Club. This elite award is presented to less than nine percent of the firm’s more than 16,000 financial advisors nationwide.

Gaslight Creative wins awards Gaslight Creative, a full-service, boutique-style advertising agency, took home seven awards at the 2020 American Advertising Awards Show.

2020 Central Minnesota Farm Show awards six scholarships Six high school and college

Ann Kennedy, WACOSA

students were each awarded a $1,000 “Unite for Success” Scholarship at the Chamber’s annual 2020 Central Minnesota Farm Show. College winners were South Dakota State University students Nicole Baumann, Austin

LEADERSHIP

Chair, St. Cloud Area Chamber Leadership Program

________ (320) 257-5191 akennedy@wacosa.org

Schnitzler and Madeline Weninger, and University of Minnesota student Katherine Gathje. High school winners were Emily Jopp, Rocori, and Noah Steffes, Sauk Rapids-Rice.

BerganKDV named top growth firm BerganKDV rose to #70 on the Top 100 rankings list released by national news publication Accounting Today.

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Paul Ravenberg, Central Minnesota CouncilBoy Scouts of America Vice Chair, St. Cloud Area Chamber Leadership Program

________ (320) 251-3930 Paul.Ravenberg@scouting.org

For more information about participating in the 2020-21 St. Cloud Area Leadership program, call Gail Ivers at 320-656-3809 or givers@StCloudAreaChamber.com.


P R O G R A M D E TA I L S

St. Cloud Area Leadership Program Grooms leaders who

Reinforces skills and

will contribute to your

imparts new knowledge

company

to employees

––––––––

––––––––

Provides professional

Provides greater

networking

understanding and a

opportunities and

broader perspective

enhanced community

of key issues in Central

connections

Minnesota

––––––––

––––––––

Helps employees

Encourages networking

develop greater personal

among emerging and

vision and confidence

established leaders

––––––––

––––––––

Applications for the Leadership program are available online at StCloudAreaChamber.com, select “Programs” then “Leadership Development.” Applications must be submitted to the Chamber by May 15.

TO P H ATS

NEW BUSINESS ProFusion CBD of St. Cloud, pharmaceutical grade, free of all THC, organic, lab tested, and made in the USA; legal in all 50 states, 10 Washington Memorial Drive, St. Cloud. Pictured: April Diederich, Cayla Nelson, John Henry, Tauna Quimby.

NEW BUSINESS Blacklight Adventures, an indoor family entertainment center, 240 33rd Ave. S, St. Cloud. Pictured: Jason Miller, Jay Mrozek, Tina Mrozek, Sheri Moran.

NEW BUSINESS Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, a fast-casual restaurant serving hot, fresh, cooked-to-order food; custard is batched in house and made fresh every few hours. 4110 W Division Street, St. Cloud. Pictured: Amanda Groethe, Nicole Natysin, Sheri Moran. NEW BUSINESS AT&T Retail, phones, tablets, wearables and more; also offering various TV and Internet options, 211 5th Ave. S, ste 300, St. Cloud. Pictured: Jason Bernick, Valerie Bruggeman, Whitney Segelke, Bryce Peterson, Kelin Wallace, Peg Imholte.

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NETWORK

UPFRONT

NEWS REEL

THE TROUBLE WITH BUSINESS

St. Cloud Financial Credit Union merges St. Cloud Financial Credit Union has completed their merger with Starcor Credit Union. The merged credit unions will operate under

Issuing Credit Is your business ready to start extending credit to your customers? By Chris Panek

the St. Cloud Financial name. This is the second merger in four years for St. Cloud Financial Credit Union, which has more than doubled its growth by partnering with two smaller credit unions.

Transworld Business Advisors hires employee Mark Shobe joined Transworld Business Advisors as a business broker with over 30 years of leadership experience with Fortune 500 companies.

Stearns Bank adds board member Kathy Persian, senior vice president and chief information officer for Schwan’s Company, joined the Stearns Bank Board of Directors. Persian’s appointment follows Don Weeres’ retirement from the Stearns Bank Board after 17 years.

Terebinth Refuge recognized Lana Kozak (L) and Cynthia (CeCe) Terlouw, Terebinth Refuge and Whitney Ditlevson, Stearns Electric Assoc.

__________

Terebinth Refuge, a St. Cloud based non-profit organization, received the 2020 Minnesota Touchstone Energy Community Award, which included a $1,000 cash donation to the non-profit.

Y

ou may be wondering why you would want to extend credit to customers when you could be receiving your payments at the time of the sale. Even better, why not have your customers pre-pay for their purchases? Why would you want to deal with the hassles of collecting payments? Believe it or not, there are benefits to extending credit to your customers. When you extend credit, your customers have more flexibility and purchasing power since they are not

limited to the cash they have at the time of the sale. Since they have a longer time to pay you back it may also lead to additional purchases. This could lead to increased sales for your business. Extending credit to your customers also shows you have trust in them and will keep your customers coming back – especially if your competition doesn’t offer credit. Develop a policy The first thing to consider when creating a policy is that

you are in control of who you extend credit to. Have customers fill out a credit application with all the client details. You will want to review your customers’ credit history and references. Other factors to consider are the amount of sale and total potential for sales from that customer, as well as payment methods. You may want to agree to a credit limit with a predetermined dollar amount for certain customers. When you extend credit to your customers, have them sign your credit policy. This will ensure everyone knows what is expected and there will be no surprises when, or if, there is a late payment. Never extend credit on a verbal agreement. Once you decide to extend credit, you will want to establish your terms. You can customize these terms to each customer based on how creditworthy you think each one is. If you have a customer with good credit you may want to extend a longer credit term. You can offer shorter credit terms for customers who have bad credit or if you think they may not pay

Terebinth Refuge is a safe home for women 18 years old and older who have been sexually exploited or trafficked. Stearns Electric Association recognized Terebinth Refuge in 2019 and nominated them for this additional recognition.

16

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Contributor ________ Chris Panek is a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and Certified Public Accountant at Christine R Panek, CPA with over 20 years of experience helping small businesses with accounting and bookkeeping, financial statement preparation, QuickBooks consulting and payroll services in the St. Cloud area.


their bills on time. Another factor to consider is how long the customer has purchased from your business. You could extend a shorter credit term to new customers, or don’t extend credit to customers that have been with your business for less than a certain number of years. Net 30 is a pretty standard payment term which means that the customer would need to pay the net amount of the invoice in 30 days. You can also offer other terms such as Net 20, 60 or even 90. Normally a longer payment term is reserved for customers you believe

have less risk of missing their payments. Plan for late payments How will you deal with late payments? Make sure you have a policy in place for customers who pay late as well as a collection process. Will you issue a penalty or late fee, or assess an interest rate on payments that are a certain number of days past their due date? When do you consider a payment delinquent and how will you begin the collection process? Your collection policy should include the steps you will be taking. Many businesses

will start by sending out a past due statement and will follow up with a phone call to the customer. If payment is still not received, a written collection letter to the customer asking for payment may work. Once you feel you have exhausted your ability to collect the payment you will want to contact a third-party collection agency. The benefits of extending credit to your customers can be great for your business, but be sure to weigh the pros and cons of the total impact to your business as well as your risk tolerance. If you are able to increase sales and gain

more customers than your competition, that’s great, but if you extend credit and your customers pay late or don’t pay at all this can be harmful to your business. Keep in mind the additional time it takes you to keep track of your receivables, follow up on past due customers, and receive payments. You are in control and are in charge of the amount of risk you are willing to accept. If you are just starting out, you may want to test out extending credit to a few customers at a time to see how it goes before extending credit to all of your customers.

WE BUILD PROJECTS AND PARTNERSHIPS THAT LAST We work as a dedicated partner with each and every client. You have our promise to be here long after the job is done to ensure and maintain the integrity of our work. Perhaps that’s why many of our clients call on us again and again to expand their facilities and build new ones. Do you have an upcoming building or development project you’d like to discuss? We would be happy to sit down with you and learn more about your business.

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NETWORKCENTRAL GROW

PROFIT

|

NETWORK |

PROFIT

E V E N T S A R O U N D T H E S T. C L O U D A R E A

M O R E O N E V E N T S : Fo r i n f o r m a t i o n o n t h e s e o r o t h e r b u s i n e s s e v e n t s , c a l l 3 2 0 - 2 51 - 2 9 4 0 o r v i s i t S t C l o u d A r e a C h a m b e r. c o m a n d c l i c k o n “ C a l e n d a r.”

2020 Central Minnesota Farm Show The St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored the 2020 Central Minnesota Farm Show in February. The sold out show attracted guests from around the state.

The Networ k Cen tral pho to s o f the Star Celebration , p rin te d in t h e J a n ua r y 2 0 2 0 is s ue we re in corre c t l y c re di te d. The photos were by To dd Myra, To dd Myra P ho to g ra p hy. O ur a p olog ie s for t h is e rror.

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BUSINESSTOOLS GROW

|

NETWORK

|

PROFIT

R E S O U RC E S T H AT H E L P YO U R B U S I N E SS G ROW

I N S I D E T H I S I S S U E : M a n a g e m e n t To o l k i t / E n t r e p r e n e u r i s m / E c o n o m y C e n t r a l b y Fa l c o n B a n k

MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT

The ERP Solution Cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions can make it easier to scale business systems to grow with your company. By Tim Ernst

T

ime and again when asked what is keeping them up at night, small business owners will more than likely tell you their primary issue is not having enough time in a day. But many small business owners still rely on manual processes, email, and spreadsheets to store and track their employee and customer information. An excellent technology resource strategy for small business owners is to embrace the cloud. So often, businesses

that grow rapidly end up with a hodgepodge of systems to handle their finances, inventory, online ordering, and more internal functions like customer databases. Simply moving your current systems to the cloud isn’t enough, though. All you will accomplish is moving the same inefficiencies to a different computing platform. A better choice would be to explore a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution which makes it easier to

Contributor ________ Tim Ernst, is a shareholder and ERP Solution Leader at BerganKDV.

20

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scale systems to grow with the company. This option allows you to have the features and functions you need when you need them, rather than paying for more than you need and not using them. A cloud-based ERP solution helps business owners overcome the feeling of not having enough hours in the day by: ––––––– Reducing manual and spreadsheet-based processes by up to 70 percent ––––––– Seeing real-time revenues, expenditures, and cash balances ––––––– Managing operations via dashboards and scorecards ––––––– Saving a substantial amount, in some cases 45 percent or more, in IT costs associated with maintaining, integrating and updating separate software applications ––––––– Having 24/7, real-time access to data across the organization to guide business decisions ––––––– Reducing financial close periods by 40 percent or more –––––––

HARD DECISION

Right Choice? Here are few things to consider when selecting the right solution for you: Integration The ERP solution only works if it helps ease your workflow issues. If your business relies on a specific software platform, make sure you pick an ERP that integrates with it. Study your vendor options Moving to an ERP system is a significant investment in time and resources. Make sure you partner with a vendor who is reputable and is keeping pace with the technology curve. And most importantly, make sure you select a provider who takes the time to truly listen to your pain points, provide you with the guidance you need, and will walk side-byside with you during the implementation process.


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Increasing speed of invoicing and reducing outstanding receivables ––––––– Maintaining 360-degree visibility around customers and operations Many small businesses are niche industries that are not easily served by off-the-shelf technology software and solutions. Exploring a cloud-based ERP could provide you with an affordable option to design the level of versatility and customization you need to improve your bottom line and help you take your business to the next level.

YOUR MARKETING JUST BECAME CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS.

BY THE NUMBERS

Cybersecurity

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Cyberattacks cost businesses $3.5 billion in 2019

$1.8 billion

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Losses resulting from business email compromise attacks

Losses resulting from ransomware attacks, up from $3.6 million in 2018

$475 million

114,702

Losses resulting from romance scams

Victims who reported financial losses due to phishing scams

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ENTREPRENEURISM

Implied Warranties

You might be making promises you don’t even know about. By Roger Justin

W

arranties affect the regular practices of small businesses on a regular basis, whether or not business owners and operators realize it. There are two general types of warranties – express and implied. An express warranty is one that is created by the overt words or actions of the seller – generally contained in the details of a contract for sale. An implied warranty is an obligation imposed by the law when there has been no representation or promise – a warranty arising by operation of law because of the circumstances of a sale, rather than by the seller's express promise. Express warranties are more easily identified, and can be modified to suit the parties’ needs. Implied warranties are not as clear, but they can still

have fairly serious implications when breached. There are two types of implied warranties governing transactions involving the sale of goods – the implied warranty of merchantability and the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. Minnesota also has a statutory warranty for companies building and remodeling homes. Merchantability and Fitness The implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose are laid out in the Uniform Commercial Code §§ 2-314 and 2-315. These warranties are fairly straightforward. First, the warranty of merchantability is a promise that the good you are selling will do what it is supposed to do – a car will drive, or a stapler will staple.

Contributor ________ Roger Justin is the president of Rinke Noonan. He has been practicing business law in the St. Cloud area since 1990. rinkenoonan.com

22

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The warranty of fitness for a particular purpose is similar, but it more specifically relates to a seller giving advice that a particular good will fit some special purpose – “this sleeping bag is rated to withstand frigid temperatures, it would be great for a hike up Mount Everest.” A breach of these implied warranties could make the seller of the goods liable to the consumer for some type of damages or compensation, such as a refund of the purchase price or the cost of damages caused by a defect. For example, a new ATV has a defective throttle, hits a neighbor’s fence, and is totaled. The manufacturer or

Unlike implied warranties under the UCC, statutory warranties cannot be as easily disclaimed. The main statutory warranty affecting local businesses is in Section 327A.02 of the Minnesota Statutes. These warranties apply to construction companies and contractors engaged in the sale of new homes or the sale of major home improvement services. Specific levels of protection are given to the consumers of these services over specified time intervals – warranties at one, two, five, and ten years for different things such as faulty installation of electrical or workmanship defects.

In Minnesota a sale labeled “as is” is sufficient to extinguish any implied warranties. “As is” sales are not allowed in all states. retailer could be liable for the cost of the vehicle itself and the cost of repairing the fence. Disclaimers However, implied warranties can be avoided through a disclaimer. A disclaimer of an implied warranty is an express statement that those types of warranties will not apply to the transaction. Best practice is to disclaim implied warranties in writing. It doesn’t need to be complicated, but it must be crystal clear. For example, in Minnesota a sale labeled “as is” is sufficient to extinguish any implied warranties. (“As is” sales are not allowed in all states.)

Overall, it is important for business owners to be aware that they may be warrantying the goods they sell. It is also important to understand that very specific steps must be taken to disclaim implied warranties or avoid liability under statutory warranties. At the end of the day, being prepared and proactive is the best strategy, whether that means consulting an attorney to properly disclaim implied warranties or creating a process to address warranty issues as they arise. Having knowledge and awareness is a great place to start.


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mall and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-fordollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. Eligible employers are businesses and tax-exempt organizations with fewer than 500 employees that are required to provide emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid family and medical leave under the Families First

Coronavirus Response Act. Eligible employers will be able to claim these credits based on qualifying leave they provide between March 20 and December 31, 2020. Equivalent credits are available to selfemployed individuals based on similar circumstances.

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Source: IRS.gov

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Economy Central presented by

Editor's Note:

"As a state and nation, the economy is decently balanced – but for how long?" That was the message from local economists at the February 2020 SCSU Winter Economic Institute. It was also before COVID-19 became a pandemic. What follows is a summary from the original presentation updated with new comments shared by St. Cloud State University's King Banaian only one month later. It turns out 'tomorrow' can be a distant future in the world of economics.

ECONOMY CENTRAL

A Goldilocks Economy? My how things can change. By Kelti Lorence

A

strong national labor market has helped maintain an elevated labor force participation rate in 2020. Minnesota has a record number of over three million employees working, and St. Cloud has seen the highest employment growth statewide at 1.4 percent. “We have a ‘Goldilocks economy’ that’s just right at the moment,” said Nimantha Manamperi, associate professor of economics and the director for data analytics graduate certificate at St. Cloud State University. That was the situation on Feb. 20 during the 2020 SCSU Winter Economic Institute. Even then it was thought the charts could turn downward as soon as 2021. The large number of employees nearing

24

retirement could result in fewer workers, which in turn would lower real GDP (gross domestic product) and encourage wages to increase as employers compete for available workers. While Minnesota did see record employee participation, we ranked 49th in statewide job availability growth in 2018/2019, according to Luke Greiner, the Department of Employment and Economic Development's (DEED) regional analyst for central and southwestern Minnesota. Local stock market growth had slowed, but was still rising, commercial building permits had increased, and initial claims for unemployment insurance were down. “We still must consider two factors looking

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forward,” according to King Banaian, dean of the School of Public Affairs at St. Cloud State University. First, the economic boost from recent commercial construction projects will likely slow in coming years. Second, negative external shocks still matter, including international trade deals and the coronavirus outbreak. “This is not a recession forecast!” Banaian said. “However, it does reflect the vulnerabilities we face today.” Interviewed one month later, Banaian felt like the Winter Institute forecast was a time capsule from a point in time when there was doubt. “There’s no doubt anymore that we will suffer some kind of recession starting this month,” Banaian said. “The question is how deep and how long?” Banaian observed that there are about 10,000 jobs in ‘manual services’ like leisure, hospitality, and transportation that will all suffer severe reductions. Some of those were imposed by state government beginning March 17. “Many of those jobs came to a sudden stop,” Banaian said, “and then there will be a reduction in spending by laid off employees. Businesses

King Banaian, far left and Nimantha Manamperi presenting at the 2020 SCSU Winter Economic Institute

will face lease payments and utility bills that don’t stop even when you are required to close. Bankruptcies will almost certainly increase if there is more than a couple of weeks of closure, unless landlords, utilities and banks accept late payments or government policies provide some business interruption insurance plan.” Manamperi said in February that the Federal Reserve was prepared “to increase interest rates near the end of 2021 to help meet their long-term objectives of keeping inflation under control.” He cited high and rising federal debt as problems to be addressed. But the March COVID-19 crisis has completely changed the direction of policy. Higher deficits will come, Banaian said, and in March the Federal Reserve reduced its lending rate to zero and added over a trillion in liquidity. Kelti Lorence is the communications and workforce development coordinator at the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. Special thanks to King Banaian for his assistance with this column.


0,077*

885,721

$300M

Residential Building Permits

November

E PARK,

467,193

$80M

E PARK,

7,934*

24,272

22,542

0M

December

Home Sales Closed

October

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK, ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH

Economy September

E CO N OM I C I N D I C ATO R S & T R E N D S

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD

Central presented by ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH

COLOR KEY:August

TOTAL: $2,450,077* Compiled by Shelly Imdieke, data current as of 4/15/2020

July 2020 Jan Feb December Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec

2020

December

November

September

Commercial 2018 2019 2020* August #/$ #/$ #/$

TOTAL: $12,337,934*

St. Cloud Sartell

TOTAL: $178,724,272

2020

383 338 30 $231,596,447 $116,566,743 $10,457,568

July December

50

36

3

June $13,856,200 $12,784,000 $219,000 November

Food and Beverage 1

2019

Sauk Rapids 34 May $16,509,793 October

55 $24,841,483

$14,000 ST. CLOUD

Waite Park 83 136 31 Apr September $7,260,629 $15,234,330 $1,222,196

TOTAL: 152*

TOTAL: 1823

2018

St. Joseph Feb July

$2M

$200M $250M $300M TOTAL: $178,724,272

Jan

TOTAL:1815

St. Augusta 7 7 -Mar August $1,587,313 $271,600 2020 --

TOTAL: $12,337,934*

$150M

ST. CLOUD

70 61 $18,129,160 $9,026,116

June *Total as of 4/15/2020.

2000

$100M

500

Food and Beverage

1500

TOTAL: $261,882*

TOTAL: $1,604,677

TOTAL: $1,566,952

$1.5M

$50M

25 $117,800

B U I L D I N G P E R M I T S BY C O M M U N I T Y

1000

$1M

2019

November

Home Sales Closed in St. Cloud Area

500

$500k

$0M

---

0

October

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK, ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH TOTAL: $288,822,542

2020

2018

98 73 $6,043,519 $3,304,271

February

December

Commercial Building Permits

2018

73 $5,979,717

January *Total as of 4/15/2020.

$80M

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK, ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH

2019

October

St. Augusta 72 March $6,469,120

Commercial Building Permits

2020

2019

Waite Park 46 39 1 April $1,509,887 $1,084,477 $15,184

St. Joseph

$70M

500

Sauk Rapids 174 165 29 May $8,409,293 $8,585,270 $637,949

TOTAL: $66,467,193

$60M

74

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK, ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH

$50M

September

$40M

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH

Sartell 380 309 13 January$20,426,812 $18,954,216 0$65,900 June

2020

$30M

2018

607

2019

$20M

597

2018

$10M

Home Sales Closed

$25,555,950 $25,977,770 $1,613,244 February July 2020

0

$0M

August

St. Cloud

$60M $70M $80M TOTAL: $63,885,721

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

ST. CLOUD

$0 2018

August

$50M

July

$40M

June

September

2020

2019

2018

2019

$30M

May

$20M

April

$10M

2019

Residential 2018 2019 2020* March #/$ #/$ #/$

2020 $0M

May October

BUILDING P E R M I T S BY C O M M U N I T Y April

TOTAL: $2,450,077*

2018

March

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK, ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH TOTAL: $66,467,193

June November

February

January

December

Residential Building Permits

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

Apr

Mar

Feb

Jan

2019

TOTAL: $63,885,721

9 $0

$500k

$425,170

2019

May and St. Joseph. Sources: Building departments for the following cities: St. Cloud, Sauk Rapids, Sartell, Waite Park, St. Augusta, Apr

TOTAL: $288,822,542 2018

2019-2020

2018

Non Farm Jobs Mar

Unemployment Rates

2019-20 % CHANGE

Source: positivelyminnesota.com

Source: positivelyminnesota.com $0 $500k

Feb 1.5%

December

November

0.5%

October

September

August

July

June

Jan

May

April

1.0%

March

$300M

February

$250M

December

November

October

$200M

September

August

$150M

July

$100M June

May

$50M April

March

February

January

$0M

January

5%

4%

0.0% -0.5% 3%

-1.0% -1.5% 2%

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

J

St. Cloud Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota United States

-2.0%

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

J

St. Cloud, MN MetroSA Minnesota United States

M AY/ J U N E 2 0 2 0 // BusinessCentralMagazine.com

25


December

November

October

September

TOTAL: $1,566,952

February

$0

January

$500k

$1M

$1.5M

Source: Tax Collections – City of St. Cloud *Total as of 4/15/2020.

500

GROW $500k

BY THE NUMBERS December

Employment Woes 1000

$1M

Home Sales Closed in St. Cloud Area

March

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK, ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH

2000

TOTAL: $230,393*

November

$2M

Just a few short months ago most employers were October

TOTAL: $1,599,444 Food and Beverage Tax Collection

desperately seeking workers. With mandatory shutdowns

ST. CLOUD

resultingSeptember in unexpected layoffs, the employment situation right jobJuly is never easy, even in a recession. In a survey DEED, only nine percent of respondents said they had done

$2M

May

nothing in response to hiring difficulties. Other companies

2019 Source: Tax Collections – City of St. Cloud *Total as of 4/15/2020.

April

have taken one or more of the following actions:

$2M

2000

TOTAL: $1,566,952

61%

Sheriff’s Foreclosure Auctions STEARNS AND BENTON COUNTIES

$0

$500k

TOTAL: 18* $1.5M

$1M

$2M

March

60%

February

Changed advertising or recruitingJanuary methods

Made the job more attractive to reduce turnover without increasing wages

2020

39%

24%

Partnered with high schools or colleges to recruit students, outsource training or design curriculum

Lowered minimum requirements

Stearns Co.

84

102

14

41%

31

21

4

Increased training for new hires

BusinessCentral Magazine.com // M AY/ J U N E 2 0 2 0

December

Offered an internship

Benton Co.

Benton County Sheriff’s Civil Process; Stearn’s County Sheriff’s Office *Total as of 4/15/2020.

November

2020

150

October

120

September

August

July

June

90

2019

23%

TOTAL: 115

SHERIFF’S FORECLOSURE AUCTIONS Residential 2018

May

60

April

30

March

January

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

January

Increased wage or benefits packages

2018

0

February

56%

TOTAL: 123 2019

TOTAL: 152*

$1.5M

TOTAL: 1823

conducted with manufacturing companies in 2019 by June

TOTAL: $1,604,677

TOTAL:1815

$1M

August has turned fluid. Still, finding the right employee for the

1500

$500k

TOTAL: $261,882*

TOTAL: $1,748,626

TOTAL: $261,882*

$0

TOTAL: $1,604,677

TOTAL: $1,566,952

$1.5M

2020

2018

26

August

2020

2019

0 2018

Mar Feb1500

July

June

May

April

April

http://stcloudrealtors.com/pages/statistics. *Total as of 4/15/2020.

2020

TOTAL: $1,604,677

TOTAL:1815

$150M Housing/Real $200M Estate $250M sources:$300M St. Cloud Area Association of Realtors,

ST. CLOUD

May

2019

Jan

Lodging Tax Dollars

March

June

TOTAL: 1823

Apr

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

1000

July

2020

May

ST. CLOUD

500

TOTAL: $261,882*

August

2018

2020

2019

2018

$0 0

October

ST. CLOUD September

June

TOTAL: $288,822,542

November

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

August

TOTAL: $178,724,272

February

January

December

December

July

2018

2000

Jan December Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

Apr

Mar

Feb

Jan

TOTAL: $12,337,934*

2019

E PARK,

$300M

M

1500

COLOR KEY:

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK, ing Permits ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH October UD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK, SeptemberTOTAL: 152*

2018

1000

BUSINESSTOOLS

Home Sales Closed in St. Cloud Area November

2019

500

0,077*

0

885,721

January

E CO N OM I C I N D I C ATO R S & T R E N D S

2020

467,193

$80M

$80M

$70M

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$60M

7,934*

$50M

24,272

22,542

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February


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Carris Health Heart Failure Care Coordinator Roxie Covert, RN, uses t e l e h e a l t h w i t h a p a t i e n t i n W i l l m a r. Photo courtesy of CentraCare

Healthy Options SPECIAL FOCUS

Telehealth

Non-metro patients in Greater Minnesota more commonly used telemedicine for real-time visits initiated by providers or for specialty consultations. Examples include a telemedicine visit with a neurologist to help make decisions in the emergency room for treating a patient with a suspected stroke, or the use of telemedicine to provide psychotherapy and medication management for clinical depression. Examples of telemedicine use in Minnesota include: TeleEM, emergency telemedicine consult service with nurses and physicians at Mayo Clinic, launched in October 2019. When TeleEM is activated, a Mayo Clinic nurse or physician is present

eClinic: An on-demand service available to patients for common conditions. ––––––– TeleStroke: Connects local emergency departments with a stroke and vascular neurologist from St. Cloud Hospital. TeleStroke reduces the time it takes to make critical treatment decisions which improves patient outcomes. ––––––– Kidney Care: Offers a full range of kidney services at many outreach locations to keep care close to home for patients. ––––––– Maternal-Fetal Medicine: For high-risk pregnancies, virtual health allows patients to be cared for by their local pregnancy team, as well as Maternal Fetal Medicine doctors in St. Cloud. This service is currently available in Alexandria, Baxter and Monticello.

Continued on page 30.

Continued on page 30.

Remember the good old days when you could call your doctor for healthcare advice? They’re back.

D

id you know that telemedicine technology first began as a form of health care delivery in the late 1960s? It was driven by the needs of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Telemedicine, also called telehealth or virtual health, uses telecommunications technology to connect providers to patients virtually in order to evaluate, diagnose and treat health conditions. Benefits of telemedicine: • It increases access to quality care, especially in rural areas. • It provides quick response to patient needs, including emergency situations. • It reduces patient travel time and provides convenience.

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Between 2010 and 2015, telemedicine visits in Minnesota grew from 11,113 to 86,238 according to a recent University of Minnesota School of Public Health study published in Health Affairs. In metropolitan areas, which include Duluth, Rochester, St. Cloud and the Twin Cities, the majority of telemedicine services were online evaluation visits for primary care provided by nurse practitioners to patients with commercial insurance. Examples in Minnesota include Zipnosis, virtuwell, and CentraCare’s eClinic. Such “direct-toconsumer” telemedicine visits provide care for common non-emergency conditions, such as the common cold or strep throat.

BusinessCentral Magazine.com // M AY/ J U N E 2 0 2 0

CentraCare Virtual Health offers services throughout Minnesota and in partnership with many organizations. These include:


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any medical clinics claim Minnesota Family Physician of the to offer a unique patientYear in 2020. Anderson has been provider relationship and an active member in the American health care services that are different. Academy of Family Physicians and Once you meet Julie Anderson, currently serves as their foundaM.D. and Julie Johnson M.D. with tion’s president. Simplicity Health, you will know that Dr. Johnson, who joined earlier they truly stand apart. this year, brings over 25 years of Being treated like family is family medicine experience to more than just their vision - it’s a the clinic. Her background has led way of life with Simplicity Health. her to incorporate a strong sense You will notice this the moment of listening into her practice. She you are greeted by a friendly front believes that taking the time with Simplicity Health doctors, Julie Johnson M.D. desk staff in the warm, cozy atmothe patient to truly hear what they and Julie Anderson, M.D. sphere. “When folks come to the need allows her to provide the best doctor, they are often concerned about something. We are proud care she can. Johnson also has a passion for emotional well being that our clinic is able to address the worries while putting people and you will often find her speaking at several area conferences. at as much ease as possible, using the power of compassion and Caring for patients of all ages, Johnson spends time focusing on communication.” the caregivers along with the patient. “The caregivers are just as Anderson started Simplicity Health in order to provide effiimportant in the healing process as the patient. These individuals cient, price transparent (their comparative prices are posted in each have insight into the health of the patient and giving them strength room!), and high quality primary care services to her patients. Her and understanding ultimately results in a better outcome.” work in the medical field is not limited to Simplicity Health. A tireAs medicine becomes more corporatized, it is encouraging to less medical advocate, she has worked locally to raise the smoking see physicians breaking from the mold. At the end of the day, the age to 21 and met with legislators to help make important changes reason you go to see a family physician is to build a relationship of in medicine at the national level. She was acknowledged as “Best of trust and mutual respect so that you have a health care navigator Central Minnesota Physician” this past year and recently awarded when you need them.

Healthcare the way it was intended In an increasingly fragmented world of health care, one thing remains constant: family physicians are dedicated to treating the whole person. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focusing on integrated care. Unlike other specialties that are limited to a particular organ or disease, family medicine is versatile, integrates

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SPECIAL FOCUS

Healthy Options, cont. Weight Management: Adults and children can receive ongoing support and virtual health coaching. ––––––– Pediatric Urology: Pediatric Surgical Associates provide virtual care to patients at CentraCare – Plaza. ––––––– Neurology: Board-certified neurologists in St. Cloud provide care for patients in Baxter who have neurological disorders including dementia, epilepsy, headache, movement disorders, multiple sclerosis, neuromuscular disorders and stroke.

Use of HCPCS Q3014 (Telehealth Originating Facility Fee) 12,000 10,000 8,000 6000 4000 2000 0 2010 Non-ED

2011

ED

ED

2012

s sit vi

ED no N

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019 (prelim)

OP al t To

2010 8 444 452 2011 3 485 488 2012 3 559 562 2013 9 808 817 2014 18 1155 1173 2015 101 1359 1460 2016 364 4076 4440 2017 703 6807 7510 2018 1068 8998 10066 2019 1359 9755 11114

during the patient’s treatment and may speak to the patient directly. –––––––––––– Children’s Minnesota partners with a number of health care systems in Minnesota and Wisconsin to deliver virtual consultation services for neonatal stabilization and pediatric emergency medicine.

These virtual care services connect clinical staff at the partner site with 24/7, yearround access to Children’s Minnesota pediatric and neonatal specialists through real-time, interactive audio and visual tools. This service allows local providers to deliver specialty care closer to the child’s home. –––––––––––– The TeleHeart program of The Minneapolis Heart Institute®, a service of Allina Health, allows patients with cardiovascular health care needs to meet with a Minneapolis Heart Institute provider who can assess, diagnose and treat heart conditions just like going to the in-person clinic.

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“Prior to offering telehealth, patients that previously only had the option to drive to St. Cloud for their heart failure appointment, would often forgo the visit.” —Nick Sanner, director, CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center Clinic.

In St. Cloud, the CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center began to use a virtual application in January 2019 to assist patients in managing their heart failure. It was the brainchild of Carris Health Heart Failure Care Coordinator Roxie Covert, RN. It’s a video platform — similar to Skype — with an electronic stethoscope, and includes Covert’s assistance during the patient examination. By the end of 2019, the Heart

Failure Management Program had completed 205 telehealth visits, which included 60 new patient referrals. Primary care providers referred patients to the service from Madison to Belgrade and many points in between. In total, 21,788 miles were saved because patients could simply drive to nearby Willmar instead of making the longer drive to St. Cloud. “Often our patients are older — some in their 80s and

90s,” said Nurse Practitioner LaRae Lymer, CentraCare Heart Failure Management Program. “But many already use FaceTime and other technology, so it’s actually been a smooth transition.” “Prior to offering telehealth, patients that previously only had the option to drive to St. Cloud for their heart failure appointment, would often forgo the visit,” said Nick Sanner, director,

CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center Clinic. “Then, when their condition worsened, they would end up in the ER, or admitted to the hospital. By making these regularly scheduled heart failure checkups more convenient through telehealth, it’s easier to monitor and intervene with treatment plans that can help patients avoid being admitted to the hospital. We felt that the heart failure population was a great use for this service and we are currently rolling out this technology to other groups of our cardiac patients.” Compiled by Cheri Tollefson Lehse, CentraCare

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COVER STORY

riteGUY Stor y by Ga il Iv e r s / Ph otography by Joe l Butkowski, Butkowski Digital Im aging

Becoming a global company was not part of Bruce Hagberg’s business plan. But that’s what happened.

S

Sometimes, if you work hard, take advantage of the resources around you, and stay optimistic, things work out. Just ask Bruce Hagberg, owner of riteSOFT. “I’m the poster child for using the resources provided through state and federal programs and being able to turn around and give that money back,” Hagberg said. “And yes, I’m an optimist. I just am. Probably too optimistic.” A finance major, Hagberg worked for five years in finance at Bankers Systems before becoming director of software operations. During the next ten years he developed people, departments and systems from start-up mode with no staff or revenue to a $30 million division with 125 employees serving over 4,000 financial institutions in 10,000 locations. Hagberg recalls those 10 years with enthusiasm, citing the excitement of developing and growing the software operations. In 1998 he was transferred to a new position in the company and during the next seven years he held six different positions. In 2005, after 22 years with the company, he received a severance package. “I thought I would retire from there,” Hagberg said. “They had gone through several layoffs and I thought I was safe, but I wasn’t.” Hagberg was 45. Faced with a new reality he and his wife examined their options. “I’d always kind of had in the back of my mind that I’d like to try my hand at owning a small business,” he said.

He had subscribed to Inc. magazine since his 20s and had always found it an inspiration for people who wanted to take risks and start a business. “I kept thinking, if I do go and get another job, what happens when this occurs again in 10 years?” He believed his experiences at Bankers Systems, now Wolters Kluwer, had prepared him to be able to start and run a small business. “Starting the software division from nothing and growing it was very much like running a small business,” Hagberg said. Though, as he readily points out, “it’s a lot easier to make money when you’re spending someone else’s money.” All the same, Hagberg and his wife agreed, “that if I didn’t do it now, the timing would never be good.” He made a connection with Tom Ardolf who owned a business called SRT Enterprises, a reseller of SYSPRO ERP software. ERP is an industry acronym for Enterprise Resource Planning. Basically ERP is the information system that an organization uses to automate and integrate its core business processes, such as taking customer orders, scheduling operations, and keeping inventory records and financial data. Ardolf was looking for a business consultant, with the ultimate goal of selling the company. “I went in as a business consultant with the intention that if everything looked good and worked out, that I would buy the company,” Hagberg said. “I wanted to buy a business where I could build a software company, but I wasn’t

TIMELINE 1970

1978

1982

Bruce Hagberg finds his first job at age 10 as a paperboy

Hagberg graduates from Montevideo, MN High School

Hagberg graduates from St. Cloud State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance; during his years at SCSU he competes in NCAA Division II football Tim e line photos courte sy of r ite S OF T

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BusinessCentral Magazine.com // M AY/ J U N E 2 0 2 0


BUSINESS PROFILE riteSOFT, LLC 3717 23rd Street South, St. Cloud, MN 56301 320.252.6830 contact@ritesoft.com ritesoft.com ––––––– CEO: Bruce Hagberg riteSOFT Leadership Team: Bruce Hagberg, Kari Voigt, Susan Pogatschnik, Ryan Wieneke ––––––– Ownership: Bruce and Vicky Hagberg; 10 minority shareholders ––––––– Business Description: Developers of the software solutions riteSCAN and riteTIME, warehouse management and shop floor time tracking solutions for small to mediumsized manufacturers to automate data collection and optimize efficiency. ––––––– Total number of employees: 12

Uncertainty is both the most challenging and most rewarding part of owning a small business. You don’t know until months — or even years — later if some of your actions were worthwhile. —Bruce Hagbe rg, owne r of rite SO FT

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COVER STORY

interested in being a reseller long term. My intent was to develop my own software package that would integrate with an ERP.” SRT Enterprises’ relationship with SYSPRO was appealing because of SYSPRO’s large global customer base, and what Hagberg saw as gaps for automating inventory and shop floor labor/data collection. Hagberg believed that by creating commercial software programs that filled those gaps and integrated with SYSPRO, he would be able to leverage their network of customers and resellers. Hagberg’s experience with Wolters Kluwer suggested that there was a need for packaged software in the manufacturing/ warehousing industries. “Lots of people were customizing software,” he said, “but I wanted to build a package software, something that would meet 80 percent of the customers’ needs at 20 percent of the price.” Though the company needed a lot of work, Hagberg was optimistic. He and Ardolf struck a deal and Hagberg renamed the company RT Enterprises, and later riteSOFT. “Fortunately Vicky and I were always savers. Our house was paid off. We put the maximum in our retirement. We had no debt and good credit ratings.” Using a combination of a mortgage on their house, a business loan from the bank, and seller financing, they bought the company. Hagberg quickly realized he hadn’t asked enough questions. “Well, you don’t know, what you don’t know, right? I badly underestimated what I needed to know.” For one thing, he needed to learn about manufacturing. For another, he had come out of an international company with enormous resources. “I was used to a particular type of business infrastructure,” he said. “Teams of people I could rely on — accounting, graphics, legal…. Now I was it. Those early years were really, really tough. There was a whole lot of learning going on.” He had to hire software developers and felt fortunate to find talented people who he already knew. “The world recession hit not too long after we bought the business,” Hagberg said, “so that was a curve ball. The company was a fixer upper and I just didn’t realize

how badly it needed fixing up. So that added a lot of additional expenses and uncertainty. The whole world of FUD.” FUD stands for fear, uncertainty, and doubt, the underpinnings of disaster for any small enterprise. “And with a small business there’s a lot of fear and there is a lot of uncertainty you have to deal with, and if you doubt yourself then you’re in trouble. I wouldn’t go back to those days for anything,” Hagberg said. In search of more cash, he tapped into his 401k retirement and used his good credit rating to take out additional credit cards. “It was a whole process of adapt and improvise,” Hagberg said. “We needed to make payroll.” He admits that he recognized from the beginning that he might have to use his retirement to help fund the company, “but, like I said, I’m an optimist. If we hadn’t had that as a reserve, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable enough to even look at taking on the risk of buying a business.”

TIMELINE JUNE 1982 Hagberg marries his high school sweetheart, Vicky Peters

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1982 Hagberg works at Kanabec County Hospital, Mora, MN in finance and operations


COMFORTABLE BEING UNCOMFORTABLE

Despite fear, uncertainty and doubt, Bruce Hagberg, owner of riteSOFT, has used optimism and opportunity to give his software company an international presence.

I ADVICE TO A WOULD-BE ENTREPRENEUR

Know yourself and believe in yourself. Are you really wired for this? If so, surround yourself with great people who share your passion, go make it happen and don’t look back!

1983 – 2005 Hagberg works at Bankers Systems/Wolters Kluwer in a variety of positions including finance and software support

In 2005, after 22 years with Bankers Systems/Wolters Kluwer, Bruce Hagberg received a severance package and found himself looking for a job. “I’d always kind of had in the back of my mind that I’d like to try my hand at owning a small business,” he said. “I thought if I don’t try it now, I never will.” In 2006 Hagberg and his wife Vicky purchased SRT Enterprises, a reseller of an existing software product. Hagberg immediately began turning the business into a software development company, creating packaged software for the manufacturing/warehousing industries. “Lots of people were customizing software,” Hagberg said, “but I wanted to build a package software, something that would meet 80 percent of the customers’ needs at 20 percent of the price.” It turned out the company, which Hagberg recognized as a fixer-upper, needed more work than he had anticipated. When the recession hit shortly after the purchase, payroll remained while cash flow dried up. Hagberg tapped into his 401k retirement and used his good credit rating to take out additional credit

cards. He worked with the bank to secure a guaranteed loan from the Small Business Administration and a line of credit. He secured 10 shareholders, who continue to hold minority interest in the business. Today Hagberg has 12 employees, two software products, and customers in 10 countries with 8,000 endusers of his software products. His successful move from unemployment to international business owner earned him the 2020 St. Cloud Area Chamber’s Small Business of the Year Award. Hagberg, along with Melinda Tamm, Ms. Melinda’s Dance Studio, the Business Central Mark of Excellence-Woman in Business Champion, and Richard Hobbs, Simonson Lumber, the Entrepreneurial Success Award recipient, will be honored at a luncheon later this year.

2005 Hagberg loses his position at Wolters Kluwer in a downsizing. He becomes a business consultant for SRT Enterprises

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COVER STORY

Cash Flow

T Happy Day When Bruce Hagberg bought SRT Enterprises, a small software company in Waite Park, he discovered his learning curve was steeper than he had anticipated.

After 22 years with a multinational business he was suddenly without the resources of a major corporation. Since he couldn’t turn to the legal department to help find a suitable new name for his company, he turned to the internet. “We had to have a name for our company and we had to have a name for our products,” Hagberg said. He had already renamed the company RT Enterprises, but didn’t like how it flowed off the tongue. Adding an ‘I’ to RTE, however, raised lots of possibilities. “I thought, ‘Wow. You can spin all kinds of things off of that.” Certain that ‘rite’ would already be in use, Hagberg’s natural optimism drove him to do a search anyway. “I couldn’t find a registered trademark and thought

‘Whoa-oh! This is great! This is a great day!’ Then I thought about ‘rite soft.’ This is just too obvious, it has to be taken. But it wasn’t. That was a very happy day for me,” he said. Hagberg made what he calls “the good decision to invest money I didn’t have” to register riteSOFT, riteSCAN, riteTIME, and a product called riteLINK. “Now naming products is easy! I probably get too excited about that.” Hagberg is unconcerned that he isn’t the only “rite” software. He owns the registered trademark and he believes that adds value to his company. “Whether that meant something in the beginning, I don’t know. But it means something now. There’s value in scalability, there’s value in a foundation of international customers, and there’s value in brand.”

o help ease his cash challenges, Hagberg’s bank provided a line of credit and helped secure a guaranteed loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA). But the pinch of the recession continued to deplete his resources. He learned about a program sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) specifically designed to encourage people with means to invest in small technology companies in Minnesota. “Primarily because of that Angel Tax Credit I was able to recruit 10 great shareholders and raise capital when we needed it most,” he said. Hagberg and his wife maintain majority ownership of the company and use the shareholders as an advisory board. “They don’t have operational authority,” Hagberg said, “but I’ve always looked for their advice and guidance because they’re really smart and I’m thankful to have them as a resource.” Another resource, SciTech’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) internship program, not only provided riteSOFT with an intern, but ultimately with an employee. SciTech is a state-funded program that connects STEM college students to a wide variety of paid internships in small to mid-sized for-profit Minnesota companies. Qualified companies receive a wage match that covers 50 percent of a STEM intern’s wages, up to $2,500. “We’ve been aware of, and taken advantage of a lot of the funding available through the state and federal governments and the reason that they do those programs is because they want businesses to succeed, they want businesses to grow,” Hagberg said. “Like I said, I think I’m a poster child for government programs getting their money back. And the payback to taxpayers is that we’ve been able to create some really nice jobs here and help stimulate Minnesota’s economy. I’m very grateful that they had those programs at the time that we needed them.”

Adapt and Improvise

U

ncertainty is part of the life of a small business, Hagberg said, and has probably been his biggest challenge as a business owner. “I grew up never wanting to ask people for help. That was a tough thing for me to do. But when you get into a small business you have to learn to reach out to friends, family, advisors…you have to get comfortable being uncomfortable.” He found networking was an important and powerful business tool. And Hagberg acknowledges that timing helps. “If DEED hadn’t had that program at the time they did it would have been a lot harder for me to raise capital. So luck plays a role in success, but you know what they say… ‘the harder you work the luckier you get.’”

TIMELINE 2006 Hagberg purchases SRT Enterprises, renaming it RT Enterprises of St. Cloud Inc.; begins developing riteSCAN mobile warehouse software, and joins the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce

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2008 RT Enterprises begins developing riteTIME software


B E ST B U S I N E SS A DV I C E YO U ’ V E R E C E I V E D

The biggest risk in life is not taking risks. —Va r i ous mentor s, a d vi sor s, c oa che s and frie nds . An early adopter of LinkedIn, Hagberg says the social media platform has been an important tool for him. The company’s products, riteSCAN and riteTIME are sold primarily through resellers. But software resellers aren’t always easy to come by. SYSPRO, the ERP software that riteSCAN was built for, is not a public company, making it hard to find out who the key players are. “Finding a reseller you don’t know, gaining their trust, and convincing them that you’ll stand behind your product is hard,” Hagberg said. “When people are doing their research on a business, they look at your website and they look at your LinkedIn profile and see connections you have in common. That helps establish trust in a market where there isn’t a lot of public information available.” In 2007 Hagberg followed up a Sunday Vikings’ game by going to work for a few hours. He typed in the keyword “SYSPRO” into LinkedIn to see what he would find. “Boom! This guy from the UK pops up,” Hagberg said. “I sent him a message through LinkedIn and introduced myself and asked if he’d care to connect on a call.” The reseller replied immediately that he was available, and two minutes later the two businessmen were talking to each other face-to-face via Skype. “As a result we’ve got a couple dozen customers in the UK that we probably would not have had otherwise. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue was generated through LinkedIn.”

The Future

H

agberg has definite plans for growth. Their software product, riteTIME has been rewritten so it is cloud and mobile ready, allowing them to partner with ADP, one of the largest payroll outsourcing providers in the world. They plan to expand their existing products into the markets they are currently in, expanding into new markets,

JUNE 2011 Hagberg renames the company riteSOFT, LLC and moves the company from its original office in Waite Park to an office in St. Cloud

and building new products that they don’t have today. “The other opportunity that we have is to OEM our products,” Hagberg said. “If we find someone who has the need for our product we’ll ask them ‘What do you want it named? We’ll rename riteTIME to whatever you want it named and you can white label it or OEM it.” White labeling is when a product or service, such as riteSOFT, removes their brand and logo from the end product and instead uses the branding requested by the purchaser. Whatever they do next, Hagberg is firm that their focus will remain on scalability. They aren’t a custom software developer, he emphasized, and they don’t intend to become one. “Part of this vision isn’t to have hundreds of employees. It’s to have a base of people and leverage – that’s the key word, leverage – leverage the relationships that we have, leverage the design of the products that we have, and leverage our knowledge of the market that values what we have. We’ll be cautious about going outside of manufacturing and distribution,” he added, “because right now we see that worldwide market as large enough for us grow.” It’s no surprise that this optimist is bullish on the future. “We have a small team, but it’s a fantastic team,” he said. “We share the same vision and passion and we’re all people who want to be part of a small enterprise where everyone can have an impact on changing the course of the company. And I really like my team,” he added. “Being around people I like and trust is really important to me. “I’m having more fun in life and career right now than I’ve had in my entire life.” Gail Ivers is the editor of Business Central magazine and vice president of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce.

2016 riteSOFT moves from St. Cloud to an office in St. Joseph

PERSONAL PROFILE Bruce Hagberg, 59, CEO ––––––– Hometown: Montevideo, MN ––––––– Education: St Cloud State University, Bachelor of Science degree in finance ––––––– Work History: 22 years at Bankers Systems/ Wolters Kluwer; 13 years at riteSOFT ––––––– Family: Wife, Vicky (38 years); Children: Melissa, Britta, Andrea, and Blake; one grandchild, Everet; ––––––– Pets: Dog – Toby and Cat – Cash ––––––– Hobbies: Family first, bicycle riding, tennis, golf, games (especially bean bags/ action games), fishing, canoeing and boating, travel, concerts, reading, learning, teaching, coaching

––––––– FUN FACT: My dad delivered me as a baby.

2019 riteSOFT moves to their current location at 3717 23rd Street South, St. Cloud

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F E AT U R E : WOM E N I N B U S I N E SS

Women Who Run A historic number of women are running for office... and changing the face of government in the process. By Jeanine Nistler

Thinking of running for office? Consider these tips: 1 Start by seeking an appointment to a park board or planning commission where you can learn more about how government works, get some experience and make connections. Volunteer for committees with the chamber of commerce, church, school and other community organizations to build a network of potential supporters.

Tarryl Clark, HomeFront Resources (center) faces off with Steve Gottwalt, Central Minn. Builders Assoc. during a debate for Stearns County commissioner in 2 018 . ; B e l o w : F o r m e r S t e a r n s C o u n t y C o m m i s s i o n e r R o s e A r n o l d

T

imes have changed for women in public office since 1958. Back then a letter to the editor headlined “Coya Come Home” urged Minnesota’s first congresswoman to return home from Washington, D.C. Coya Knutson’s husband signed the letter, believed to have been written by people from her own Democratic party who resented that by serving in Washington, Knutson was doing something women weren’t supposed to do. Today historic numbers of women are running for office, most notably for president of the United States. Consider the original 2020 slate of female Democratic candidates: Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Marianne Williamson. However, women are still under-represented in the halls of government, according to Stearns County Commissioner and former state Sen. Tarryl Clark. In its 165-year history, Stearns County has had just two female commissioners:

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Rose Arnold (left) who served for 14 years following her election in 1988 and now Clark. “Women in general are more reluctant to run,” Clark said. They look at their homes, children, jobs and community obligations and think, “How do I add one more thing?” And, Clark said, women tend to doubt their readiness for office. If a young man and a mature woman see the same five characteristics as being needed to serve, the young man will run if he has one or two of them. “The woman,” she said, “will think ‘I’ve got 4, 4½, maybe in a couple of years I’ll go for it.’” Michelle Kukoleca Hammes, associate professor of political science at St. Cloud State University, agrees. Historically, men start their political careers earlier because women are more likely to weigh their personal obligations against running for office. “Men will see themselves as qualified much more readily than women,” she

2 Sit in on some government meetings, meet with some elected officials. “Come to the Capitol and visit with somebody here and tour," recommended state Rep. Lisa Demuth. 3 Assess your strengths. “Do you want to solve problems? Do you like to learn? Do you listen to others? Are you curious? Do you like people?" Stearns County Commissioner Tarryl Clark, said. Though, she added, that's not a requirement, "I’ve seen some introverts who are very effective.” 4 Talk to your family members to make sure they understand the time commitment, the number of meetings you’ll attend – and that they support your efforts. 5 Recognize that you may lose an election or two before you win. “That’s OK,” Clark said. “Know that


it might take a while to win. It will take people a while to get to know you. No matter how many people you think you know, most people don’t know you.” 6 Heed the words of St. Cloud State University Associate Professor Michelle Kukoleca Hammes, “It’s important to have more women’s voices in politics.” And Sauk Rapids City Council Member Ellen Thronson: “The only time you fail is if you fail to try.” 7 Look online for candidate classes or campaign boot camps.

said. “Women question their qualifications” as a result of social conditioning. Hammes also noted that some women are turned off by what they see as a “zero-sum game” in the political world – and many feel that they are “subject to a different kind of scrutiny when running,” not to mention that the incumbents they challenge are generally older white men. “It takes so long to overturn that,” Hammes said. St. Cloud School Board Member Natalie Ringsmuth said her own conservative religious upbringing sometimes gets in her way. “I can be the biggest hindrance to myself,” she said. “I can feel myself deferring to the male voice. I have to be intentional. How can I step away from how I was socialized?” Of course, not all female candidates and office holders encounter barriers. After Sauk Rapids Councilman Paul Weber encouraged Ellen Thronson to run for the seat he was

vacating in 2014, “I plunked my $5 (filing fee) down and I ran,” Thronson said. She won. “It felt like the next step in my process to serve my community,” Thronson said. “Men and women have different thought processes. We are going to look at things from a different set of eyes” before reaching solutions. “There’s such a level of respect” among the men and women on the City Council, she said. Sauk Rapids City Administrator Ross Olson echoes that sentiment. In his two decades working with the council, there have been very few years in which the group was all male. “There’s a history here of a welcoming environment for women to participate,” according to Olson. “People no longer think that elected office is a man’s job. The wonderful thing about democracy is that there are different opinions coming to the dais and reaching a majority vote.” “I don’t look at things as male or female,” State Rep. Lisa Demuth said. “I’m

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F E AT U R E

Women Who Serve Central Minnesota has a long history of women being elected to office. Here’s a snapshot of those who currently serve in the more common elected positions: City Councils St. Cloud: Carol Lewis Sauk Rapids: Dottie Seamans, Ellen Thorson ________ School Boards St. Cloud: Shannon Haws, Vice Chair; Natalie Ringsmuth, Monica Segura-Schwartz Sartell: Amanda Byrd, Lesa Kramer, Pam Raden Sauk Rapids: Jan K. Solarz, Vice Chair; Robyn L. Holthaus; Lisa J. Braun; Lisa Loidolt; Tracy L. Morse ________

Minnesota Legislature Representative Tama Theis (14A) Representative Lisa Demuth (13A) Representative Sondra Erickson (15A) ________ County Boards Stearns: Commissioner Tarryl Clark, Vice Chair (1st District) Sherburne: Commissioners Raeanne Danielowski, Vice Chair; Lisa A. Fobbe; Barbara Burandt

going to do what I feel I’m supposed to do – no matter what.” Demuth started her political career with a successful write-in campaign for the Rocori School Board more than a decade ago, even though her initial instinct was that her husband should run. She had placed a St. Cloud Times article about a school board vacancy next to his place at the dinner table. He encouraged her to be the candidate. She enjoyed her three terms and was ready to leave public office – until Memorial Day 2018 when state Sen. Jeff Howe called to ask whether she had ever thought of running for the Minnesota House. She had not. But like the challenge to seek a school board seat, she took the suggestion and

made a successful run. SCSU’s Hammes, who teaches a Women and Politics class, says that some campaigns are launched because there are “tangible things that women see in the local community that they feel they can affect immediately.” That’s how Ringsmuth found her way to the St. Cloud School Board. About five years ago, she started the UniteCloud blog to address misinformation and resolve tension about changes in the community’s demographics. Soon, UniteCloud formed as a non-profit offering programming and opportunities for people to take tangible steps. That experience gave Ringsmuth name recognition and connections that Continued on page 42.

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SMART BUSINESS: QUINLIVAN & HUGHES

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Quinlivan & Hughes Attorneys Share Best Advice

ike many industries, the number of women holding leadership positions in the legal field continues to lag behind men. That’s not the case at Quinlivan & Hughes. The full-service law firm is setting a new standard in the legal profession with its long line of leading female attorneys and its leadership by a female CEO. Serving as leaders in their industry and community, these attorneys share some of the best advice they’ve received:

SMART BUSINESS: QUINLIVAN & HUGHES

Quinlivan & Hughes Attorneys Share Best Advice

Be yourself Be part of the Never stoop to (everyone else is solution, not part conquer.” e many industries, the number of women holding leadership positions in the legal field continues to lag taken).” problem.” hind men. That’s not the case at Quinlivan & Hughes. of Thethe full-service law firm is setting a new standard Laura Moehrle

Melinda Gau, CEOline of leading femaleDyan Ebert and its leadership by a female Insurance Defense, the legal profession with its long attorneys CEO. Professional Liability Employment Law, Employment Law, ng as leaders in theirEstate industry and community, these attorneys share some of the best advice they’ve received: Planning Insurance Defense

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F E AT U R E

helped when she ran for a seat on the board of Stride Academy, a local charter school, where she learned a lot about setting public policy, managing school budgets, and the realities of a board’s extensive purview. When her Stride term ended, Ringsmuth ran for the St. Cloud School Board. She’s in her second year of a four-year term. “It’s a big task and it weighs heavily on me,” Ringsmuth said. “I realize how important public policy is and how much it can hinder or help.”

Ringsmuth acknowledges that public office may be out of reach for low-income women, for those who are raising children alone, and for those who don’t have strong, reliable support systems. “It's because of my economic privilege that I'm able to serve,” she said. “How can I make sure I’m hearing the voices of people who need change the most?” Like Clark and Hammes, Ringsmuth believes that “it is still novel for women to seek office" because of perceived barriers

and their feelings that their plates already are overflowing. But women have a lot to offer, she added. “We're better emotional managers. Women are the first to call out and say, ‘This doesn’t feel productive’ or ‘This talk doesn’t make me feel safe.’ That’s the bravery that women bring to the table.” Jeanine Nistler is a former St. Cloud communications professional who now lives and works in the Twin Cities.

2020

WOMEN IN BUSINESS DIRECTORY

Introduces you to some of the women who are Redefining Business Turn the page to see more!

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WOMEN TO WATCH: D.J. BITZAN JEWELERS

The Women of D.J. Bitzan Jewelers

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Leading The Way to a Bright Future

hey say diamonds are a a memorable experience for girl’s best friend, but for each guest,” comments Emily. Erin Bitzan, diamonds Erin’s keen eye and trend mean family. Before her ears spotting skills have also helped were even pierced, she can lead the store in exciting, new remember learning about her directions, especially in profamily jewelry business. That’s viding the Central Minnesota because her grandfather, Don jewelry store access to new Bitzan, founded D.J. Bitzan designer lines and the latest in Jewelers with a tight budget, custom design technology. a supportive wife, seven preMegan Carlson, the Mercocious kids, and a dream back chandising Specialist at D.J. in 1966. Bitzan Jewelers, is one of the Since then, Dick Bitzan, first to get to see the breaththe second generation, has taking new designs Erin brings grown D.J. Bitzan from a budinto the store. I am gifted to get to spend each day with an ding Crossroads Mall staple to “I love getting to enter new incredibly talented team of women. Central Minnesota’s Engagejewelry into our inventory be– ERIN BITZAN ment Ring Headquarters. Now, cause we have such a wide with her father Dick’s suprange of styles and price points. port, Erin is leading the charge and cultivating a strong team of Erin is so great at selecting one-of-a-kind, elevated pieces that women leaders. can’t be found anywhere else in Central Minnesota. She has “I believe it is essential to our business to provide tools and taught me how to take risks and be confident in my skills,” resources that help our team grow in their individual positions details Megan. and become confident leaders,” remarks Erin. Erin is committed to continuing to offer D.J. Bitzan diamond Currently, Erin inspires a team of ten women all with unique shoppers the ability to purchase some of the world’s most beautitalents, ambitions, and goals. One of these talented women, Emily ful diamonds and engagement rings at a tremendous value. She Swanson, is the Sales Manager at D.J. Bitzan Jewelers. She highcredits her incredible team of ladies in helping her grow as well. lights the passion Erin has for the customers of D.J. Bitzan as a “I am gifted to get to spend each day with an incredibly taltrait that has inspired her for many years. ented team of women. They each demonstrate strong leadership “Erin treats every customer that comes into D.J. Bitzan as a skills both at D.J. Bitzan and in the community. They push me to member of her own family. She has done an excellent job of inbe on top of my game and I am certain they will continue to help spiring the rest of the team to share that same drive and create propel D.J. Bitzan into a bright (and shiny!) future.”

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WOME N IN B U SINE S S DIRECTORY

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PROFIT

BUSINESSSPOTLIGHT

BLACK DIAMOND AUCTIONS

AT A G L A N C E

Many Talents You may know Frank Imholte from attending one of his household auctions. But he can also be the entertainment at your barn dance ... before helping sell the barn. By Gail Ivers

Business Central: People know you as an auctioneer, but you're also a musician. Imholte: I had Black Diamonds Orchestra in 5th or 6th grade with my brother Paul, who’s a professional musician now. We even made a couple of records as Black Diamonds Orchestra. I played the accordion, Paul played guitar and violin. My brother Glenn, who passed away a few years ago, played drums and sang, though not on the records. All of my kids are musicians. We still do barn dances a few times a year. BC: You also sell real estate. Imholte: I’ve been an auctioneer since 1979, but I worked primarily in real estate for

about 15 years, which included auctioning property. In 1999 I sold my interest in RE/MAX and turned the auction business into Black Diamond Auctions Real Estate and Personal Property. I got to the point that I only wanted to sell property at auction. When you're selling property at list price, you’re chasing buyers. At auction, the buyers come to you. You get to set the date, time, and terms. My job is to get the best price possible. Once we come to an agreement with the client, the auction takes place and the sale is done. BC: Have auctions changed much over the years? Imholte: Not the process, but what sells. There isn’t as much draw for old furniture and antiques. Young people don’t want grandma’s stuff. Depression glass used to sell for $25 or $50 per piece. Now a box of it might sell for $25. BC: What do you like best about the business? Imholte: It’s a fun business. People come to auctions to be entertained. They part with their money better if they’re entertained. We have people who have been coming to our auctions for years -- they’ve become friends.

F U N FA C T:

Frank and Peggy Imholte live in the house in which Frank grew up.

Frank Imholte, 66, owner, Black Diamond Auctions Hometown: St. Cloud Education: Cathedral High School graduate; auctioneering school graduate; Certified Auctioneers Institute (CAI), fewer than 850 professionals currently hold this designation; Accredited Auctioneer-Real Estate; Certified Estate Specialist

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Family: Wife, Peggy, "The managing partner in the business...."; Children: Andy, Katie, Joe, Mike, and John Hobbies: Motorcycle riding; playing cards Association Involvement: President of the Minn. State Auctioneers Assoc. (MSAA) in 1991 and on the board of directors - six years; conference coordinator - 10 years; executive vice president of the MSAA (a paid position) for 18 years and EVP of the MSAA Foundation.

Black Diamond Auctions 8160 County Road 138, St. Cloud, MN 56301 (320) 241-1200 Blackdiamondauctions.com Established: March 1974 Owners: Frank and Peggy Imholte Business Description: Complete real estate, personal property, and benefit auction service providing clerking and auctioneering. Number of Employees: 3 part time Chamber member since March 2004

TIMELINE

=

1971 Frank Imholte graduates from Cathedral at 17 years old

1977 Frank and Peggy marry 1979 Imholte attends auction school and starts Black Diamond Auctions, selling personal property

1984 Imholte receives his real estate license and works for Dave's Realty for two years 1986 Imholte receives his broker's license 1989 Imholte and four others purchase Dave's Realty from the Kuefler Group 1994 Imholte and eight partners purchase the RE/MAX franchise

1999 Imholte sells his interest in RE/MAX and establishes Black Diamond Auctions Real Estate and Personal Property

2007 Imholte receives the Golden Gavel award at the MSAA Conference


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