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wellness at the core

Allied Chiropractic

“The relationship really does make a difference”

“I have advocates for me and my business.”

Connect With Us.

“Everything I need”


CONTENTS GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

E X P LO R I N G C E N T R A L M I N N ES OTA’ S B US I N ESS ES .

Cover Story

30

PROFIT

TRUSTED PARTNER

Brad Goskowicz has helped move Microbiologics from a small water-testing lab into a global leader for quality controls.

NETWORK 8 UPFRONT Valuable information designed to guide and educate 22 BUSINESS TOOLS Useful tips and intelligence on how to continue to grow your business

42 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT John Koshiol, Now IT Connects

17 FARMING TODAY The science behind agriculture and the education that supports it. Join us for the inaugural “Farming Today” Conference.

GROW

J A N U A R Y/ F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 1 : 4 Pr e s i d e n t ’ s Le t t e r / 6 Ed i t o r ’ s N o t e / 1 6 N e t w o r k Ce n t ra l

ONLYONLINE BUSINESSCENTRAL MAGAZINE.COM

• Successful email campaigns

• Must see photos

36 GET HEALTHY!

• How not to lose

Gradual changes improve your odds for success.

• Building remote

customers teams

38 DISASTER! The best time to prepare for the unexpected is well before it happens.

© Copyright 2021 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.


PRESIDENT’S LETTER

Supporting Our Businesses While we need to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we must also protect the private sector economy.

T

he St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce has been working behind the scenes on behalf of our members’ interests every step of this COVID-19 journey. As we comply with the most recent closures and restrictions, we continue to discuss impacts on a weekly basis with the Governor’s office, state commissioners and Minnesota legislators about the hardships and closures our businesses are experiencing. Additionally, we sent a letter to our congressional delegation, along with 90 local chambers and trade associations across Minnesota, urging prompt action on federal resources needed to help mitigate the health and economic impacts caused by COVID-19 on Minnesota employers and employees. While we recognize the need for public health protections, that need must be balanced with efforts to absorb the economic blows from loss of customers and business activity our members are experiencing. The restrictions announced before Thanksgiving, and scheduled to extend for the most part into early January, make many of our members’ economic futures more precarious than ever. Most of us share the goal of limiting the spread of the virus, but we must also protect the private sector economy as much as we can. The impact on community spread through the loss of workforce and customers is a serious threat to our members. Businesses most directly impacted by closures, especially on short notice, deserve support and direct assistance from our government.

In support of those dual goals, we have asked our Minnesota congressional delegation to: Extend and enhance the Paycheck Protection Program in which so many businesses have found relief and support. Additional forgiveness of loans under $150,000, expanding the program to non-profits and 501(c)(6) organizations and offering a full tax deduction for PPP related expenses would all greatly assist small businesses. –––––– Expand Workforce Development programs to assist job seekers’ access to employment, education, training and support services. –––––– Provide protection from COVID-19 related exposure liability for employers who are following guidelines. –––––– Provide state and local government aid for one-time COVID-related expenses and revenue shortfalls. If you would like to know more about any of these recommendations, email me at tbohnen@ stcloudareachamber.com. We are supporting not just our members, but ALL businesses as we work our way back to a local economy that will be stronger than ever.

Teresa Bohnen Publisher

2020-21 BOARD MEMBERS ____________________________

Main Phone: 320-251-2940 • Automated Reservation Line: 320-656-3826 • Program Hotline: 320-656-3825 information@StCloudAreaChamber.com • StCloudAreaChamber.com ST. CLOUD AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE STAFF ____________________________ Special Events Coordinator: President: Teresa Bohnen, ext. 104 Laura Wagner, ext. 131 Vice President: Gail Ivers, ext. 109 Director of Administration: Judy Zetterlund, ext. 106 Communications & Workforce Development Coordinator: Kelti Lorence, ext. 130

4

CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU STAFF ____________________________ Main Phone: 320-251-4170 Executive Director: Julie Lunning, ext. 111

Membership Specialist: Antoinette Valenzuela, ext. 134

Director of Sports & Special Events: Dana Randt, ext. 110

Administrative Assistant: Vicki Lenneman, ext. 122

Sales Manager: Nikki Fisher, ext. 112

Administrative Assistant: Shelly Imdieke, ext. 100

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

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Sales Manager: Rachel Thompson, ext. 128

Marilyn Birkland, LocaliQ Ron Brandenburg, Quinlivan & Hughes, Chair John Bryant, Geo-Comm Christy Gilleland, Gilleland Chevrolet Cadillac Tanja Goering Jason Hallonquist, AIS Planning, Past Board Chair Ray Harrington, Pioneer Place on Fifth Joe Hellie, CentraCare Patrick Hollermann, InteleCONNECT Willie Jett, St. Cloud School District Kevin Johnson, K. Johnson Construction Bernie Omann, St. Cloud State University Bernie Perryman, Batteries Plus Bulbs, Board Vice Chair Brenda Sickler, Theisen Dental Allison Waggoner, DCI, Inc. Chriss Wohlleber, Courtyard by Marriott-St. Cloud Colleen Zoffka, GB & Company


EDITOR’S NOTE

Rare and Unusual

O

n a lovely spring day in May I was tying up rose canes when one came loose and buried a thorn

in the index finger of my left hand. This is not an unusual gardening occurrence – my hands are often full of scratches and cuts from plants that don’t like being E d i t o r G a i l I v e r s f o l l o w i n g h a n d s u r g e r y i n O c t o b e r.

disturbed. This one was different. It swelled up and the painful spot moved around my finger. When my arm started to

this particular microorganism is not known to live

hurt a week later, I decided it was time to consult the

on vegetation, so we still don’t know where I picked

professionals.

it up. (Even so, that particular rose is now in the

By July the back of my left hand was swollen, there was a distinct lump below my wrist, which the doctors

compost pile. It never performed that well anyway.) Skin infections with Mycobacterium marinum

called “impressive,” and my little finger and the knuckle on my middle finger were swollen and red. By this time I had also met with four doctors, had a CT scan, an MRI, a biopsy and given a gallon

in humans are relatively

By October, doctors number five and six decided hand surgery was urgent and the next thing I knew I was in a cast.

of blood in the search to identify

uncommon and therefore particularly hard to diagnose. Brad Goskowicz and his team at Microbiologics (see the story on page 30) are in the business of helping prevent diagnosis

the cause of what the doctors called “a slow growing

errors. They provide microorganisms for quality

atypical infection.”

control testing and research in a range of industries,

Because of the rose-thorn puncture, the best

including health care. When it comes to diagnosing

educated guess was that it was a fungal infection. It

microorganisms, quality control is critical — false

even has a common name: rose-gardener’s disease.

positives or negatives slow down identification and

But all that blood they were testing wasn’t showing

impact treatment.

positive for a fungal infection. And so we waited and I

I don’t know about you, but the next time I have

gave more blood and they did more cultures and still

something rare and unusual happen, I hope it involves a

they came back negative.

lottery ticket.

By October doctors number five and six decided hand surgery was urgent and the next thing I knew I

Until next issue,

was in a cast, out of a cast, and as I type this (painfully, and with lots of errors) I’m trying to teach my left

hand how to go back to work. Unfortunately, those microorganisms haven’t finished with me and it looks like I’ll be doctoring for some time to come. On the plus side, the doctors have now identified this nasty microorganism. It’s called Mycobacterium marinum and it, too, has a common name: fish tank granuloma or swimming pool nodules. I do not have a fish tank nor do I swim in a pool. My doctor discounted my encounter with the rose thorn saying

6

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. Gail Ivers Editor


Publisher Teresa Bohnen Managing Editor Gail Ivers Associate Editor Dawn Zimmerman

Allison Bily and Lynn MacDonald, St. Cloud State University

ADVERTISING Associate Publisher/Sales Melinda Vonderahe

Teresa Bohnen, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce

Ad Traffic & Circulation Yola Hartmann, Hazel Tree Media

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Dr. Fred E. Hill, St. Cloud State University Gail Ivers, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Roger Justin, Rinke Noonan Carrie Karki, Whitebox Marketing Ari Kaufman, Freelance Writer Kelti Lorence, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Mary MacDonell Belisle, mary macdonell belisle – wordingforyou Steve Penick, Stearns History Museum

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

Jeanine Nistler, Freelance Writer Dawn Zimmerman, The Write Advantage

EEP YOUR DISTANCE. DO YOUR PART.

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.

WEAR A MASK. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE. DO YOUR PART.

WEAR A MASK. KEEP YOUR DISTA

THEY’RE DOING EVERYTHING THEY CAN. ARE YOU?

EEP YOUR DISTANCE. DO YOUR PART.

WEAR A MASK. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE. DO YOUR PART.

WEAR A MASK. KEEP YOUR DISTA

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UPFRONT GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

N E WS & P EO 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 W O R K

I N S I D E T H I S I S S U E : You r Voice in Gover nment / Dig g in g H is to ry / T h e Tro u b le w it h Bu s in e ss BOOK REVIEW

NEWS REEL

Breathe, Empower, and Achieve Just five minutes of mindfulness can be your springboard to success. Reviewed by Dr. Fred Hill

T

he title may be directed to women, but Breathe, Empower, Achieve – 5-Minute Mindfulness for Women Who Do It All is a valuable read for anyone. I like, enjoy, and respect this book and its contents. Though I’m a male, it very much applies to me. I regularly practice mindfulness, meditation, and tai chi, and Shonda Moralis’s book adds additional consideration for me. For so many women, ‘work-life balance’ is a myth. And when you’re already juggling a career, personal life, and family – plus your side projects, a smidgen of self-care, and the occasional need to sleep – ‘mindfulness’ can sound like just another thing to do. But, if you take five minutes for mindfulness now and then, it may not only save your sanity – but also springboard your success. Let psychotherapist Shonda Moralis coach you through 50 ‘mindful breaks’ ingeniously tied to your hectic schedule.

BerganKDV receives top ranking; advisor recognized BerganKDV was ranked in the top 100 of the nation’s largest 400

– From Breathe, Empower, Achieve – 5-Minute Mindfulness for Women Who Do It All There is a lengthy introduction, three chapters, an additional section for further reading, and a resource guide. The chapters are: • Chapter 1: Breathe Mindful Breaks • Chapter 2: Empower Mindful Breaks • Chapter 3: Achieve Mindful Breaks Breathe Mindful Breaks promotes calm and awareness. They are tools to help you find peace in any situation. Empower Mindful Breaks enables you to notice and modify limiting self-beliefs, power up assertiveness skills, increase and sustain energy, and bolster selfconfidence. Achieve Mindful Breaks coaches you on your path to success and offers specific, doable steps toward intentional, progressive growth. Author Moralis provides over 50 opportunities to breathe,

empower, and achieve these breaks. One can use any of them in any of the categories. Here are a few examples: Commuting: Designate at least a portion of your commute to complete silence. Desk body scan: Focus on the parts of your body. How are they doing today? Kindness: In your mind, send kindness and happiness to specific others. Fear mistakes: Ponder where you fall on the risktaking continuum. Your inner mentor: Imagine your inner mentor and bring her to life in your mind. Make it happen: What do you want to accomplish? Be specific. Are your goals in alignment with your values? Moralis encourages us to ditch the stress without losing the edge! Dr. Fred E. Hill is an emeritus

public accounting firms by INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA.) IPA also identified BerganKDV as one of the fastest-growing IPA 100 firms. In addition, Construction Executive magazine listed BerganKDV as #20 of “The Top 50 Construction Accounting Firms. Becca Oelrich, advisor at BerganKDV, earned the 2021 Five Star Wealth Management award. This award recognizes professionals who show a commitment to clients, demonstrate strong industry credentials, and are evaluated on the quality of their current practice.

AIS Planning earns 7th CEFEX recertification For the seventh year in a row, AIS Planning received re-certification as a CEFEX Fiduciary Advisor from the Center for Fiduciary Excellence. Cathy Juilfs, president and managing director, AIS Planning, leads their 401(k)/ Group Retirement Plan Division in addition to doing financial planning with private clients.

professor at St. Cloud State University.

Mahowald named top workplace Mahowald Insurance Agency was named one of the Top 40 Insurance Workplaces of 2020

B re a t he, Emp ow er, Achi ev e – 5- M i n u te Min dfu ln ess for Wom en Who D o It Al l , S h o n da Mo ralis , M SW, LCSW, The E xper imen t, LLC , New Yo r k, 2 01 9, ISBN 9 78 -1- 6 1519 - 58 4- 8

8

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


POINT OF VIEW

What advice would you give someone wanting to develop their career? Troy Lenarz, Regional Diagnostic Radiology (The Vein Center Laser Treatment & MedSpa)

Joyce Brenny, Brenny Transportation

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DIVERSIFY. Being one dimensional, or hyper specific limits your ability to market yourself. Never stop growing and bettering yourself. One of my favorite quotes sums this up, “History has taught us that it is not the strong, or smart, that survive, it is those that can adapt.””

Carrie Karki, WhiteBox Marketing

–––––––

Actively engage in opportunities with other leaders or individuals who support your career goals, whether by mentorship, or similar positions in your industry of focus. Give back, good leaders are involved in their community or organizations that are impactful and support your personal mission.”

2020-07_QH_Half-Page-Directory-Ad_v1.pdf

1

7/21/20

Remember that the number one trait of a leader is selfdiscipline! Work on that every chance you get! Find your spiritual balance and talk to your spiritual guide. Accept your calling, it might not be glamourous! Accept that our human purpose is to serve others. When you realize that selflessness brings life enhancement… Voila! Success!”

9:33 AM

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NETWORK

UPFRONT

NEWS REEL Stearns Bank hires; president recognized; executives graduate from academy Kelly Skalicky, CEO & president, Stearns

DIGGING HISTORY

Every Day is a Gift Rosemary Borgert’s commitment to community was reflected in her Zonta International participation. By Steve Penick

recognized as an

Rosemar y Borger t at the Zonta International Convention, Denver, Colo., 1978

industry leading executive by the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal’s Women in Business awards. The bank recently hired Jeff Hanson as its new chief credit officer. Hanson brings over 25 years of banking experience and will be responsible for overseeing the credit and underwriting teams, credit strategy, construction administration and credit risk review. Stearns Bank senior executives Heather Plumski, chief financial & strategy officer and Josh Hofer, chief risk & information security officer, graduated from the Minnesota Bankers Association Leadership Development Academy.

Better Business Bureau re-elects board chair Barry Kirchoff, director of the St. Cloud Small Business Development Center, was re-elected to another year as chair on the Foundation Board for the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota.

Hesse promoted at Metro Bus Metro Bus appointed Sunny Hesse to fill the role of chief administration officer.

10

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R

osemary Borgert defined what it meant to be an International Zonta member. “I have not met anyone who is so articulate, respectful or grateful. There was never a harsh word about anyone,” Father Steve Binsfeld told the St. Cloud Times on Borgert’s untimely death in 2001. This type of leadership, and the admiration Borgert fostered throughout the community, created an infectious desire among others to assist in whatever the cause. Zonta works to promote the social and civic status of women, not only locally, but around the world. Their members play a vital role in the process. All are professionals who dedicate time fostering initiatives with specific goals in mind. “The people are in Zonta because they believe in what Zonta stands for and they are interested in being involved,” Borgert said in a July 1980 Impressions Magazine article. At the time, Zonta had been

active in the area for 30 years. St. Cloud’s chapter formed in 1950. Projects during those years included student scholarships, assisting those with cerebral palsy, supporting women’s leadership, and promoting business careers. Membership was by invitation only for eligible women. This recruitment strategy allowed the organization to reach professions that promoted their mission. Local chapters shaped their programs accordingly, but the larger movement went much further. By the late 1970s, hundreds of Zonta chapters stretched around the globe in nearly 50 different countries. Borgert’s life philosophy mirrored the service club’s goals. She grew up in Browerville, Minn. and by 6th grade her family had moved to St. Cloud. She attended Cathedral High School, graduating in 1945. Her career path took time to form as various jobs provided

a stepping stone for the next one. She leaned toward journalism, working for the St. Cloud Visitor during the early 1960s as a secretary while attending St. Cloud State College. After graduation, she remained at the paper but started writing weekly articles. Borgert eventually became the communications director for the St. Cloud Diocese, a position she held for 36 years until her retirement in 1997. She volunteered for several organizations, many linked to her strong Catholic faith. They included: St. Anne’s Christian Women, Godchild Project in Guatemala, Global Volunteer Organization, and the Daughters of Isabella. She was also active at St. Mary’s Cathedral and various church ministries. Her role in Zonta balanced another side of her life. During the late 1970s, she worked with other members to sponsor a Laotian refugee

Zonta Club of St Cloud, ca 1980

Photos courtesy of the Stearns History Museum.

Bank N.A., was


PEOPLE TO KNOW family in Central Minnesota. Members of Zonta assisted in finding housing and clothes while providing a helping hand during the family’s transition. Other club initiatives focused on children, especially vulnerable ones. Borgert worked alongside peers in Stearns and Benton counties to educate and reduce child abuse. “Our support will continue both financially and with our physical presence,” Borgert said. Being a Zonta member offered fulfillment for Borgert. “I was very proud to become a member of Zonta, knowing what they are involved in and what they do,” she said. “I held a high regard for Zonta

and what I knew about it before I became a member. They are a mature group of women giving services to their community.” In 2001, a fluke accident while ice skating suddenly ended her life. Her Christmas letter from the previous year summed up her philosophy. “All in all, my life is wonderful,” she wrote. “I count my blessings daily and give thanks for home, family, friends, faith. Every day is a gift. My prayer for you is that you too are being gifted and blessed abundantly.”

Individuals Elected to Chamber Board Six individuals have been elected to fill three-year terms on the Board of Directors of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. Turn the page to see more.

Marilyn Birkland

Kevin Johnson

Bernie Perryman

LocaliQ (320) 255-8794

K. Johnson Construction (320) 255-9649

Batteries Plus Bulbs (320) 292-5960

––––––– Steve Penick is the head archivist at the Stearns History Museum in St. Cloud.

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#3NEISOTA N

MIN

RECOGNIZED AS A NATIONAL LEADER IN CLINICAL QUALITY We’re proud to be recognized on Newsweek’s first-ever list of Best Ambulatory Surgery Centers. Newsweek partnered with respected global research firm Statista to assess quality of care, performance data, and peer recommendations relative to in-state competition. They also took into account how well facilities were responding to the threat of COVID-19. When outpatient care is possible, patients often prefer ambulatory care centers: they allow for procedures to be done closer to home and for less out-of-pocket costs.

Thank you to our wonderful team for putting our patients first.

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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NETWORK

UPFRONT

NEWS REEL

YOUR VOICE IN GOVERNMENT

Greater St. Cloud Community Pillars transitioning title

Top Priorities Economic recovery, transportation top the list of 2021 legislative priorities for Minnesota businesses.

The former Greater St. Cloud Community Pillars Initiative is transitioning to the Central

E

Minnesota Communities of

ach year the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce works with the Federation of local Minnesota chambers to determine legislative priorities for businesses members. The culmination of information from regional meetings led to five priority concerns Minnesota businesses are most interested in addressing during the 2021 Legislative Session.

Excellence (CMCOE). The initiative will drive alignment of community organizations in the six communities of Central Minnesota: St. Cloud, Sartell, Waite Park, St. Augusta, St. Joseph and Sauk Rapids.

CentraCare promotes Gardner CentraCare recently promoted Anthony Gardner to senior vice president and chief marketing and communications officer.

Economic Recovery • Support tax reforms that will help the hardest hit industries with cash flow (hospitality; gyms; event/entertainment facilities) • Reorient workforce development programs based on immediate needs in a post-COVID economy • Maintain and enhance connectivity, i.e. broadband • Enact COVID-19 lawsuit protections for businesses

• Focus on maximizing the ability of schools to bring students safely back to campus for in-person, full-time instruction. Current K-12 virtual and/ or hybrid instruction models are having a significant negative impact on local businesses’ employee productivity. • Provide one-time targeted childcare funding to meet the needs of low income and essential workers and providers

strategic. creative. effective.

Together we are…

Optimistic.

From the seed of challenge grows opportunity.

Let’s get together. StearnsBank.com Follow us

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| (800) 320-7262 | Member FDIC

To help you and your business goals finally see eye to eye, let WhiteBox Marketing put our expertise to work just for you. Welcome to today’s modern marketing firm.

WhiteBox Marketing

info@whitebox.marketing 320-270-0722

www.WhiteBox.Marketing

Strategic Marketing • Branding Creative Campaigns • Web Digital Media • Social Media • PR Consulting Services


PEOPLE TO KNOW

Transportation

Health Care

• Increase investment to address near term revenue reductions • Increased general fund revenues dedicated to transportation • Increased fees for electric vehicles • Increased tab fees (through depreciation schedule adjustment) • Achieve more investment through greater efficiencies

• Oppose a government sponsored public option • Oppose cost increasing mandates and taxes • Improve coverage options, including continued stability in the individual market

Workplace Management • Support employer flexibility in determining workplace wage, benefit, scheduling and staffing decisions • Promote employer protections concerning potential legalization of recreational marijuana

Individuals Elected to Chamber Board These individuals have been elected to fill three-year terms on the Board of Directors of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce.

Energy • Support Minnesota businesses’ sustainability goals while keeping Minnesota energy rates competitive Colleen Zoffka

Ray Herrington

Brenda Sickler

GB & Co. Hair-Skin-Spa (320) 253-4832

Pioneer Place on Fifth (320) 203-0331

Sauk Rapids Chamber representative Theisen Dental (320) 252-7806

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REPAIR. MAINTAIN. REMODEL. As your full-service construction partner, Rice Companies can also help you maintain, repair and remodel your facility through our Rice Service Group. Whether you need a new roof, a small addition, or something as simple as a door replaced, we can help.

ricecompanies.com

320.252.0404

RICE COMPANIES LOCATIONS SAUK RAPIDS

MANKATO

GLENCOE

FARGO

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NETWORK

UPFRONT

THE TROUBLE WITH BUSINESS

Sued! If you receive a Summons and Complaint there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your business. First step? Don’t panic. By Roger Justin

circumstances it may be shorter or longer. In any event, getting it to your attorney immediately will give them the most time to respond in an appropriate fashion. Many, but not all claims against your business, may be covered by insurance you have purchased. If there is even a possibility that your claim might be covered, you should give that

information currently involved in business litigation. A party must implement methods to ensure that all relevant documents and records are retained and not deleted. Do not delete documents manually, through automatic application of system tools, through updates to software programs, or internal recycling of computer equipment.

A party must implement methods to ensure that all relevant documents and records are retained and not deleted.

I

t happens to most businesses at some time, through the course of its lifetime. The Sheriff’s Deputy or process server arrives at the front door and serves the business with a Summons and Complaint. What do you do now? First, don’t panic. A civil lawsuit will not result with you sitting in jail. Civil lawsuits are our society’s way of formally resolving disputes. That dispute resolution will follow specific rules and you will be provided every opportunity

to present your side of the story. Nonetheless, they are serious and deserve your serious attention. The first thing you should do is to contact your attorney, or find an attorney if you do not have one, and get him or her a copy of the complaint as soon as possible. Most lawsuits have a specific time to respond to a complaint and failure to do so may result in you losing the case before it ever really starts. Typically, the period to respond is 21 days, but in certain

Contributor ________ Roger Justin is the president of Rinke Noonan Attorneys at Law and focuses his practice in business and commercial litigation.

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to your agent or the appropriate insurance contact as soon as possible. Even if there is only a slight chance that you would be covered by your policies, the worst that can happen is that they will tell you that there is no coverage. The next step in your preparation must be to preserve all evidence you have that may be relevant to the issues in the pending litigation. Back in the old days, this was easy. People had paper files or bankers’ boxes of information stored in paper format that they merely had to set aside and retain. Not anymore! A party to litigation has a responsibility to preserve all documents and records that relate to any possible claims. This includes not only written documents, but all electronically stored information, which is the majority of the type of

Any automatic deletion and overriding functions must be suspended as they relate to all relevant information, whether it be documents, records or electronic data. Similarly, if you have automatic document retention or destruction policies, those policies must be suspended relating to any documents that may be relevant to the litigation. The real difficulty with this document retention is that the documents and corresponding data can be stored on any number of devices. This data is not only stored on the business workstations and network server but it might also be found on laptops and on employees’ home PC hard drives. It may include digital camera memory cards, backup tapes, flash and thumb drives, stored in the cloud, and more and more often, on employee cell phones. Because


A New Horizon BUILDING TODAY TO POWER TOMORROW these phones have relevant evidence, the obligation to retain data should be communicated to all people in your organization who may possess this type of data, whether on your system or not. All this data must be saved in its native format. Why is this immediate action to preserve evidence important? Serious sanctions can be imposed by a court for even the inadvertent destruction of relevant documents and records. These can include monetary fines, a ruling in favor of the opposing party, or an inference to the judge or jury that the data would have been unfavorable to your position, regardless of whether it would have been or not. Also of critical importance is to trust and be totally honest with your attorney. Do not assemble documents and statements and present your attorney with your “winning case.” Provide your attorney all information asked for, good and bad. Difficult evidence and facts can be managed, but not if your attorney is surprised by it. Try not to bristle or become defensive to some of your attorney’s questions. You’re on the same side. You will likely be asked these same hard questions by the other side at some point, so be totally cooperative to help your attorney eliminate as many “unknowns” as possible. No business wants to be involved in a lawsuit. It not only takes money to pay your attorney, but results in time and emotional drain on the employees whose principle function is certainly not defending lawsuits. Remember, if this situation occurs, you do not want to take any actions which jeopardize your chances to win or favorably settle any suit. In almost all instances, prompt notification to your attorney, insurer, and an effort to retain all evidence will be your best first steps toward a positive outcome.

W. Gohman Construction builds environments that work for your employees and your budget. We give you the freedom to work so you can get back to doing what you do best. Why make do with the space you have when W. Gohman Construction can help you do more? Recently W. Gohman assisted in expanding Blattner Energy’s headquarters building in Avon, Minn. The addition was safely tied into an existing, fully occupied building with the least amount of disruption to daily operations. In addition, W. Gohman was able to maintain Blattner’s current sustainable energy efforts and fortify their existing and new facilities for future growth.

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NETWORKCENTRAL GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

NETWORK!

Kayla Ward, Doctors Park Mental Health Center, took a break from her clinic to show off her alpaca farm to neighbors and Curiosity, Cocktails and Conversation guests.

E V E N T S A R O U N D T H E ST. C LO 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.”

Chamber Special Events Coordinator Laura Wagner (L) and President Teresa Bohnen jive with the music during a post-conference dance party hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives.

Halloween was the theme for October’s Curiosity, Cocktails and Conversation, featuring Wicked Witch Bohnen.

GROW!

St. Cloud Area Leadership was able to hold their annual retreat at Camp Lebanon thanks to strict camp safety protocols and enthusiastic speakers and class members.

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A little exercise and bonding over paint ball was just the thing during the Leadership Retreat.

The Major Employers Forum discussed the impact of COVID-19 on business and the workforce.


FARMING TODAY!

Central Minnesota’s Agricultural Conference The science behind agriculture and the education that supports it. Join us for the inaugural “Farming Today” Conference.

Presented by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce

2021


2021

FARMING TODAY!

The Business of Farming

New science lab helps food manufacturers make better business decisions. By Ari Kaufman

T

he COVID-19 pandemic impacted nearly every aspect of American life and business. Minnesota’s food and agricultural supply chain also has been affected, with businesses facing unprecedented challenges while continuing to make difficult decisions to ensure long-term viability. Given the essential nature of food and agriculture, a coalition of Minnesota groups recently partnered to survey more than 100 processors and manufacturers to better understand the supply chain effects of COVID-19 and identify what new services, resources, and collective solutions may help overcome them. In December, the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) hosted a webinar

featuring a panel discussion about potential actions, followed by an audience questionand-answer session. Respondents provided insight into supply chain disruptions, market and sales losses, labor shortages, bottlenecks, and more. A study conducted by AURI; AgriGrowth; the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences; and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) also examined the challenges facing agri-business. The study showed that “…while the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted Minnesota food and agriculture manufacturers’ and processors’ businesses, the disruptions did not break them. Rather, the pandemic exposed gaps that need to be addressed to make

Farming Today!

supply chains more agile and resilient in navigating future disruptions.” To add to their strength, AURI, MDA and Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) came together to construct and open a new Food Product Evaluation and Sensory Laboratory (FPESL) about a year ago. Located on the SMSU campus in Marshall, the custom-built facility is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and infrastructure to help AURI’s clients better assess the sensory characteristics of food products while serving as an educational tool for students. The lab is intended to support AURI clients in assessing their readiness for the marketplace, explained Jason Robinson, AURI’s business development directorfood. The lab allows for test respondents to evaluate the taste, texture, aroma, and overall experience of food products in a professional and “sensorially-isolated” setting. A food business can seek feedback on questions, such as “is my product too sweet,” “how well do you like it relative to competition in the marketplace,” or “does this product meet your expectations as set up by the package,” and many more. Shortly after the FPESL opened, AURI began working with a Twin Cities client to provide market readiness feedback while formally operationalizing the lab. “Unfortunately, those efforts came to a screeching halt once the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all access to the physical space, and we only recently held our first test in the lab before the space was again shut down,” Robinson said.

Due to state restrictions related to COVID-19, the 2021 Central Minn. Farm Show has been cancelled. In it’s place is an inaugural “Farming Today” Conference in March. Watch your mail for details! Part of Farm Show’s mission is to support agriculture through education. Over the years, proceeds from the Chamber’s Farm Show have been used to provided thousands of dollars in high school and college scholarships. If you would like to help the chamber provide ag-related scholarships this year, please contact Laura for more information. lwagner@StCloudAreaChamber.com or 320-656-3831.

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2021

FARMING TODAY!

“The client was excited to receive consumer feedback to inform his business decisions, and appreciative of the cost effectiveness of a service that is not typically available to small and local food businesses.” Despite the shutdown of the physical lab space, AURI continues to flesh out opportunities to use their capabilities. “Currently, we are exploring virtual deployment of product testing, using the professional survey and results evaluation software purchased specifically for the FPESL,” Robinson said. “This, of course, is in response to the COVID-19 response protocols, as the physical space remains closed — but despite the hiccup in AURI’s plan to service our mission through this new capability, we continue to identify new ways to deploy our capabilities to the businesses we serve.”

AURI’s mission during the past three decades is to foster long-term economic benefit through value-added agricultural products. It uses science and technology to help develop new uses for agricultural products. The company also partners with businesses and entrepreneurs to generate economic impact in Minnesota communities. They do this by enabling companies to take advantage of innovative opportunities in bio-based products, renewable energy, co-products, and food. AURI helps generate nearly $150 million in economic activity for Minnesota.

Feeding the World

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) says the United States is losing 10 billion tons of fertile soil every year, which is “particularly alarming when you consider the role U.S. farms play in feeding the world’s growing population.” Since Americans grow 95 percent of our food in this soil, TNC leadership believes agricultural production must increase in the next 30 years to feed a world population that may approach 10 billion.

A former school teacher and historian, Ari Kaufman has worked as a journalist in various roles since 2006. He has published articles in a dozen newspapers, written three books and currently resides with his wife in St. Cloud.

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2021

FARMING TODAY!

Test Site

A pilot program using environmental credits for farmland launches in Central Minnesota.

A

new project designed to encourage farmers to implement practices that help improve soil health, store carbon in soils, and reduce nutrient run-off from farm fields recently launched in Minnesota. The program is spearheaded by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a 70-year-old charitable environmental organization, headquartered near Washington, D.C. The farmer-centric program — focused on Central Minnesota and the first of its kind anywhere in the state — will test and streamline the creation and sale of environmental credits from farmland. The hope is to increase farmer participation by offering financial incentives. At no cost to themselves, farmers are assisted by agricultural businesses and stakeholders to test Ecosystem Services Market Consortium’s (ESMC) market

protocols on 50,000 acres that have corn and soybean cropping systems, along with a heavy dairy or livestock component. ESMC’s program quantifies, verifies, and certifies the ecosystem service benefits of improved nutrient management, soil health, and edgeof-field best management practices. Several pilots across the U.S. launched this summer and fall, with several more launching in the spring. A plan to begin their national ecosystem services market in 2022 is in the works. Working with ESMC, a non-profit dedicated to scaling sustainable ecosystem services from agriculture, TNC has the support of an array of companies, including Land O’ Lakes, Inc., Centra Sota Cooperative, Field to Market, Headwaters Agriculture Sustainability Partnership, Midwest Dairy, Minnesota Milk Producers Association, North Dakota-based Houston Engineering, and several more local and regional organizations. The Minnesota-centered project is made possible through funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program and TNC. The idea originated from local agricultural community and agribusiness interest in developing longterm financial incentives for sustainablymanaged farmland. The overall collaboration hopes to show that farming costs can be lowered with more food produced, while conserving land and water for the future. This is undertaken

Ag in Minnesota

using best-management practices and targeted conservation projects. “The goal is to get pilots in different growing regions/climates, and different cropping systems. Then in 2022, the marketplace will be launched and open for trading,” TNC’s Agriculture Strategy Manager Leif Fixen said. The biggest success so far, according to Fixen, is getting the first five farms in Minnesota signed up and on the platform,

The farmer-centric program — focused on Central Minnesota and the first of its kind anywhere in the state — will test and streamline the creation and sale of environmental credits from farmland. which included collection of baseline soil samples. “I’m encouraged by the positive interest level here in Minnesota from the farmers, the ag retailers, agribusinesses, and our partners,” Fixen said. “Everyone is excited to ‘dig in’ and figure out how we can make environmental markets work, which tells me that they, too, are seeing the potential of ESMC.“ TNC is “only able to make this pilot happen because of our partners,” Fixen added. The Natural Resources Conservation Service provided funding to cover the cost of enrolling farmers in the program; and Stearns County Soil & Water Conservation District, and local ag retailers helped get farmers interested in enrolling. - AK

Minnesota ranked first in the United States for sales of corn, soybeans, oilseeds and dry peas; second in hog sales; and fourth in dairy sales. When all agricultural products are totaled, we run close to $20 billion in sales, as of 2018, according to the USDA. There are about 70,000 farms in the Gopher State, varying in size, with the average sitting on 370 acres. Source: US Department of Agriculture

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Bank Borrow Save When you need a financial partner to lean When When you you need need a financial a financial partner partner toto lean lean on, Farmers & Merchants State Bank is here on, on, Farmers Farmers && Merchants Merchants State State Bank Bank is is here here to keep you balanced. We'll help you grow toto keep keep you you balanced. balanced. We'll We'll help help you you grow grow with all the options of a big-city bank and with with allall the the options options ofof a big-city a big-city bank bank and and the service you'd expect of your hometown the the service service you'd you'd expect expect ofof your your hometown hometown neighbors. Bank, borrow, and save with us. neighbors. neighbors. Bank, Bank, borrow, borrow, and and save save with with us.us.


BUSINESSTOOLS GROW

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PROFIT

R ES O U RC ES T H AT H E L P YO U R B US I N ESS G RO W

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

ENTREPRENEURISM

Marketing in Times of Change The beauty of a well-planned marketing strategy is that it’s flexible enough to accommodate unforeseen challenges. By Carrie Karki

T

hough times of change are inevitable, they have obviously been especially challenging throughout 2020. As a small business owner, a parent of school-aged kids, and an active member of our community, I empathize with that fully. While not easy, it’s important to take change in stride and adapt as much as possible. When it comes to an organization’s marketing strategy, that same philosophy applies.

marketing partner who will take the time to get to know you well enough to be able to offer customized recommendations and solutions. Building a marketing strategy during times of change may seem daunting, but if you do nothing, you can’t expect anything in return. It’s best to jump right in and tailor it to where you are now, while noting

The beauty of a well-planned marketing strategy is that it’s flexible enough to accommodate unforeseen challenges, and solid enough to help your business weather the storm and still succeed. In reality, this is a crucial time to make a concerted effort to connect with your market, keeping your business front and center. If you don’t have an official marketing strategy, now is an essential time to create one, preferably with the help of a

Contributor ________ Carrie Karki is the president and founder of WhiteBox Marketing, a full-service marketing agency located in downtown St. Cloud.

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target audience. This is who you need to be talking to. d Define a budget. The sky’s the limit when it comes to ideas, but knowing how much money you have to work with will make the dollars you have, work as hard as possible. e Outline your plan of action. Decide what you’re promoting,

The beauty of a well-planned marketing strategy is that it’s flexible enough to accommodate unforeseen challenges, and solid enough to help your business weather the storm and still succeed. the long-term direction you want your business to grow in. The initial outline doesn’t have to be elaborate, and can even be as simple as exploring these few key questions.

how you’ll do it, and who you need to help you get your message out there. Now is the time to enlist the talents of your marketing partner, if you haven’t already.

a Consider your niche or specialty. What is it that you want people to know you for, and what do you do best?

f Monitor and reflect. Layers of marketing are the best course of action so you are in front of the right people repeatedly. If you can measure your return on investment (ROI), you should. If concrete numbers aren’t feasible, as is often the case in advertising, reflect on how close you’re getting to those goals mentioned earlier.

b Identify your competition. Who near you provides a similar service? c Name your ideal client or customer, also known as your


DOING GOOD

g Adjust as needed along the way. Consider who you’re talking to, what platforms you’re most active on, where your audience is now, the frequency of your marketing action, and ways to give back when you can. One thing we always keep in mind at our agency is the bigger picture—your business plan of action, your main objective of where you want to be, and your vision of how to get there. No matter how the world changes around us, it’s vital to stay focused on making your marketing goals happen. Ultimately, they may unfold a little differently than originally planned, but as long as you keep moving forward, that’s okay.

Charitable Deductions Deductions for charitable donations returned with the passage of the CARES Act.

P

reviously, charitable contributions could only be deducted if taxpayers itemized their deductions. However, with passage of the CARES Act, taxpayers who don’t itemize deductions may take a charitable deduction of up to $300 for cash contributions made in 2020 to qualifying organizations. Tax Exempt Organization Search on IRS.gov allows users to search for tax-exempt charities. Taxpayers can use this tool to determine if donations they make to an organization are tax-deductible charitable contributions. Here are some key features and functions of the TEOS tool: • It provides information about an organization’s federal tax status and filings. • Users can find out if an organization had its tax-exempt status revoked.

• Organizations are searchable by legal name or a doing business as name on file with the IRS. The search results are sortable by name, EIN, state and country.

• Donors can use it to confirm that an organization is tax-exempt and eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. Source: IRS.gov

// It’s time to prioritize cybersecurity. Staying ahead of the everchanging threat landscape is harder than ever. Find out what your risk is and how to remediate it by: Assessing your current security posture

Educating your team on phishing attacks

Identifying holes in your policy and procedure

Protecting your end users

Start by reaching out to a cybersecurity expert at Network Center, Inc. 800.723.5353

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netcenter.net

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T EC H ST R AT EG I ES

Connect and Collaborate Learning to communicate in a virtual business world takes effort and intention. By Dawn Zimmerman

W

e have had to learn how to communicate, connect and collaborate in a new way in the past several months. The natural conversations or connections that happen between meetings or while walking by a person’s desk have been limited – to say the least. The virtual business world calls us all to communicate differently. While the same principles related to methods, tone, personalization and frequency apply, how we implement them has to adapt for us to be effective. Research consistently shows that words only make up a small percentage of our communication. Over half of

our communication is in body language, followed closely by tone. When collaborating virtually, we need to be far more intentional to not lose the emotional connection. Start with the basics. • Be mindful of time zone changes. • Build time in between meetings (for yourself and others). • Carve out time for informal connections with individuals, outside of a set meeting. Choose your method wisely. Don’t default to email. It may

Set the right tone. Tone is an important component of communication. It’s why an email is harder to decipher than a phone call or an in-person meeting. We can usually hear it in someone’s voice. It’s the emotion behind the message and it adjusts to reflect different situations. How are you making people feel when you communicate in a virtual meeting? It can be harder to get a feel for people, especially those you are meeting for the first time. Be more mindful about the facial expressions you use, the questions you ask, and how you show people you are listening and hearing what they say.

Contributor ________ Dawn Zimmerman is CEO of The Write Advantage, a St. Cloud-based strategic communications company. She can be reached at dawn@writeadv.com

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Increase frequency. In a virtual environment, it is important to set up more frequent meetings. Often, they can be shorter in length with a focus on catching up and capturing the talk that would typically happen in physical hallways, at desks or in the lunch room. Quick questions no longer can be answered over a cubicle wall. It requires a call, email or instant message – or scheduling a meeting. Plan ahead and build in time to make these connections. Communication has long been an essential skill in the workplace. Now, it’s increasingly important that all professionals hone their execution of the key principles. TECH NEWS

Stay-At-Home Technology COVID-19 has taught us all to wear face-coverings, stay six feet apart, and think twice before eating at a buffet. But it’s also moved many businesses forward by years in their use and understanding of technology. If you’re trying to decide what collaboration and communication technologies to invest in, start by determining the benefits and risks of different applications, understanding freeware, and the different capabilities of capturing and storing communications.

Source: SmartBrief

feel easier in a virtual world, but you can lose more than you gain. An over reliance on email can hurt interpersonal connections. Seek opportunities to do video calls. Although it does not replace face-to-face, it comes close. When a video call is not needed, consider picking up the phone or using instant messaging tools to connect. Don’t limit yourself to one tool. Leveraging a variety of collaboration tools effectively is a key skill professionals need to have – and continue to hone as the tools evolve.


Ask for TECH NEWS

Sensing the Food Chain ThinkIQ, an Aliso Viejo, California-based company uses sensors to trace the food manufacturing process in real time from raw materials to a finished product. The data collected provides farmers with information to make smarter decisions about how crops are grown, transported and purchased. In some cases, ThinkIQ was able to boost yield from 50 percent to more than 90 percent without physically changing the growing process. Source: Crunchbase

Choose

EXPERIENCED To our fellow go-getters, we hear you—it’s time to get back to it. For personalized joint, muscle, and bone care that gets you back on your feet quickly and safely, ask for St. Cloud Orthopedics.

320-259-4100 StCloudOrthopedics.com Sartell & South St. Cloud

Remember the flip phone? It’s baaaaack!

#LiveBetter

Folding smartphones will return in 2021, only these will be able to provide the same high quality and connectivity as non-folding phones. Aside from fitting more snugly in a pocket, the idea is also to allow phones to unfold into small tablets when a user needs a bigger screen, then fold back into a smaller form for storage or basic phone use. Source: Forbes

NEW CAR TECH

Fender-Bender Defender All it will take is one low-speed parking lot crash for you to embrace rear-cross traffic alert. Thanks to sensors built into the rear of the car, the system can alert you to approaching vehicles, shopping carts, or pedestrians who might wander behind your car without you noticing. Loud beeps are standard with these systems, but some cars can even automatically brake before a collision occurs. Source: Kelly Blue Book

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ECONOMY CENTRAL

The Innovation Economy Are we leaving money on the table? By Allison Bily and Lynn MacDonald

I

nnovation is a key driver of economic growth and recent research suggests we have been leaving money on the table. With the current challenges businesses face related to COVID-19 and the transition to more virtual operations, exploring every avenue for potential growth is essential. African Americans and women have been largely excluded from the innovation process, which is a missed opportunity not only in terms of idea generation but also in terms of dollars and cents. In science and engineering fields, which are strongly tied to innovation, women made up 29 percent of the workforce in 2017 and underrepresented minorities accounted for 13 percent of the workforce. Given these numbers, it is not surprising that research and patent teams often lack both gender and racial diversity.

This comes at a substantial cost. A 2016 study found that more diverse teams that include women and minorities have higher innovative capacity meaning they are more productive inventors and innovators. Patent teams that include both men and women are more productive than single-gender teams. Economists Lisa Cook and Yanyan Yang estimate that if women and minorities were better represented in the innovation process, GDP per capita would rise between 0.6 to 4.4 percent. Before we can address this problem, we must look at why women and minorities are missing from innovative fields. A team of economists led by Alex Bell, set out to explore the factors that influence who becomes an inventor, and whether invention is a by-product of nature (innate ability) or nurture (the environ-

Economy Central presented by

ment). They found that nurture matters. A major predictor of whether children grow up to be inventors is if children were exposed to innovation during childhood. Children whose parents or neighbors are inventors are more likely to become inventors than children whose parents do not invent. According to Bell and his colleagues, “children from low-income families, minorities, and women are less likely to have such exposure through their families and neighborhoods, which helps explain why they have significantly lower rates of innovation overall.” So, what can we do? Exposing kids to innovation is certainly important in its own right, but it is also a long-term strategy for both business and society at large. In the short-term, mentoring and inclusion are vital. Local internship programs and mentoring programs are a good step to help expose more young people to innovation and opportunities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers. In addition, Cook highlights the importance of virtual mentoring programs that connect potential innovators with research and development partners. These virtual programs can be a cost-effective way to increase opportunity in underrepresented areas of the country. When designing these mentoring programs, it’s important to keep in mind the needs of participants. Research suggests that finding a mentor who shares a similar background to the participant may contribute to

Contributors ________ Allison Bily is a graduate student at the University of Illinois and a 2019 St. Cloud State University (SCSU) Economics graduate. Lynn MacDonald, Ph.D., is an associate professor of economics at SCSU.

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BY THE NUMBERS

The State’s Largest Industry With more than 500,000 jobs in the first quarter of 2020, health care and social assistance is easily the largest employing industry in Minnesota, accounting for more than one in every six jobs in the state. It also provides the largest industry payroll, topping more than $27.1 billion in wages for workers in 2019. How have things changed in the last 20 years?

313,000 Number of jobs in health care and social assistance in 2000 ________

2003 The year health care and social assistance became the state’s largest employer ________

200,000 The number of jobs added in health care and social assistance since 2000, that’s a 64 percent increase

a program’s success. It’s crucial we find ways to encourage women and minorities to enter the STEM fields given the advantages increased participation has for individuals and for businesses. As economists Lisa Cook and Chaleampong Kongcharoen state: “Patent teams, firms, and the economy will continue to perform at suboptimal levels without diverse teams and inclusion.” s For the references used in this story, visit BusinessCentral Magazine.com


Economy September

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD

Central presented by ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH

COLOR KEY:August

TOTAL: $68,772,597* Compiled by Shelly Imdieke, data current as of 12/15/20

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

2020

December

November

TOTAL: $91,599,528*

St. Cloud Sartell

TOTAL: $178,724,272

2020

383 338 213 $231,596,447 $116,566,743 $57,162,844

July December

50

36

301

June $13,856,200 $12,784,000 $7,832,081 November

Food and Beverage 25

2019

Sauk Rapids 34 May $16,509,793 October

55 $24,841,483

$7,439,808 ST. CLOUD

TOTAL: 1562*

2018

TOTAL: 1823

1500

Waite Park 83 136 124 Apr September $7,260,629 $15,234,330 $5,376,487 St. Augusta 7 7 8 Mar August $1,587,313 $271,600 2020 $6,230,700 St. Joseph Feb July Jan

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

June *Total as of 12/15/2020

2000

$2M

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

47 $0

$500k

$7,557,608

2019

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

2019-2020

2019-20 % CHANGE

Source: positivelyminnesota.com

December

November

3%

October

September

August

July

June

Jan

May

April

6%

March

$300M

February

January

$250M

December

November

October

$200M

September

August

$150M

July

$100M June

May

April

March

February

January

$50M

Source: positivelyminnesota.com $0 $500k

Feb

9%

$0M

2018

Non FarmMarJobs

Unemployment Rates

15%

Home Sales Closed in St. Cloud Area

September

TOTAL: $288,822,542 2018

ST. CLOUD

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

TOTAL: $91,599,528*

$150M

Food and Beverage

TOTAL:1815

TOTAL: $1,085,595*

TOTAL: $1,604,677

TOTAL: $1,566,952

$1.5M

$100M

500

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

$50M

October

500

$500k

November October

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

$0M

119 $3,661,577

0

December

Commercial Building Permits

2020

81 $8,445,826

2018

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

February

January *Total as of 12/15/2020

$80M

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

2018

73 $5,979,717

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

St. Augusta 72 March $6,469,120

Commercial Building Permits

2020

2019

Waite Park 46 39 31 April $1,509,887 $1,084,477 $1,600,617

St. Joseph

$70M

500

Sauk Rapids 174 165 218 May $8,409,293 $8,585,270 $6,847,011

TOTAL: $66,467,193

$60M

September

$50M

687

Sartell 380 309 432 January$20,426,812 $18,954,216 0$14,021,555 June

2020

$40M

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

2018

607

2019

$30M

597

2018

$20M

Home Sales Closed

$25,555,950 $25,977,770 $34,196,011 February July 2020

0

$10M

August

St. Cloud

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

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

ST. CLOUD

$0M

August

September

2020

$0 2018

July

$50M

June

$40M

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: $68,772,597*

2018

June November

March

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

February

January

December

TOTAL: $63,885,721

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

Apr

Mar

Feb

Jan

Residential Building Permits

12%

Home Sales Closed

October

ECO N O M I C I N D I C ATO R S & T R E N D S

2019

E PARK,

November

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

2019

72,597*

$300M

Residential Building Permits

885,721

467,193

$80M

E PARK,

9,528*

24,272

22,542

0M

December

0%

9%

-3% 6%

-6% -9%

3%

-12% 0%

O

N

D

J

*Total as of 12/15/2020

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

St. Cloud Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota United States

-15%

O

N

D

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

St. Cloud, MN MetroSA Minnesota United States

J A N U A R Y/ F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 1 // BusinessCentralMagazine.com

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$300M

GROW

1000

E PARK,

500

72,597*

0

885,721

January

1500

COLOR KEY:

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

ECO N O M I C I N D I C ATO R S & T R E N D S

December

TOTAL: 1562*

TOTAL: $1,085,595*

August

August

2020

2000

Cost of Living December

TOTAL: $1,566,952

$2M

101.1

109.9

81.8

100.6

95.6

120.4

111.8

Minneapolis, MN 104.9

101.6

102.8

97.9

102.7

102.7

110.5

105.4

101.4

103.3

96.5

103.6

102.7

111.7

March

BusinessCentral Magazine.com // J A N U A R Y/ F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 1

78.2

106.3

105.1

111.8

101.1 December

Benton County Sheriff’s Civil Process; Stearn’s County Sheriff’s Office *Total as of 12/15/2020;There were no reported auctions in April & May 2020.

96.2

95.4

November

8

Eau Claire, WI

October

29

21

101.2

September

102

31

94.5

109.6

August

84

Benton Co.

119.8

104.5

July

Stearns Co.

96.4

106.2

June

2020

96.9

86.8

May

2019

70.5

97.5

April

Residential 2018

96.7

March

SHERIFF’S FORECLOSURE AUCTIONS

89.7

Cedar Rapids, IA 97.9

February

120

Mankato, MN

Least Expensive Urban Communities

Most Expensive Urban Communities

TOTAL: 115

90

January

January

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

January

60

Grocery Housing Utilities Transpor- Health Misc. Goods Items tation Care & Services

Pierre, SD 103.4 100.5 126.8 89.7 92.4 96.7 93.8

2018

30

St. Cloud MN

St. Paul, MN TOTAL: 37* $1.5M

$1M

TOTAL: 123

0

All Items

February

2020

2019

April

2000

$2M

$500k

TOTAL: 1562*

May

CITY

STEARNS AND BENTON COUNTIES

$0

TOTAL: 1823

$2M

Sheriff’s Foreclosure Auctions

2018

TOTAL:1815

COST OF LIVING INDEX COMPILATION FOR THIRD QUARTER DATA June FOR 2020 FOR MINNESOTA AND OTHER UPPER MIDWEST CITIES

TOTAL: $1,604,677

2019 Source: Tax Collections – City of St. Cloud *Total as of 12/15/2020

July

$2M

The growth across the total of all industries in Minnesota was October 12.4 percent since 2000. Health care and social assistance was September responsible for nearly two-thirds of the net new jobs adde d in Minnesota over the past 20 years, dwarfing all other August industries in the process.

TOTAL: $1,085,595*

$1.5M

November

1500

$1M

$1.5M

GROWTH

TOTAL: $1,748,626

TOTAL: $1,085,595*

$500k

TOTAL: $1,604,677

TOTAL: $1,566,952

$1.5M

$0

$1M

Source: Tax Collections – City of St. Cloud *Total as of 12/15/2020

1000

$1M

2020

2018

$500k

January

Home Sales Closed in St. Cloud Area

1500

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

Jan

$0

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

ST. CLOUD

March February

Feb

TOTAL: $678,050*

2020

2020

ST. CLOUD

TOTAL: $1,566,952

500

$500k

Lodging Tax Dollars

0

$300M

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

1000

2018

Mar

Housing/Real Estate sources: St. Cloud Area Association of Realtors, http://stcloudrealtors.com/pages/statistics. *Total as of 12/15/2020

2019

2019

April

TOTAL:1815

Apr

ST. CLOUD

$200M

May

2018

2020

2019

2018

$0

$150M

500 $250M

2019

May

TOTAL: $288,822,542

0

TOTAL: $1,604,677

June

TOTAL: 1823

June

2018

28

July

July

TOTAL: $178,724,272

December

ST. CLOUD

September

TOTAL: $91,599,528*

November

Food and Beverage Tax Collection October

September

2020

October

September

August

July

June

November

May

April

March

February

January

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

Apr

Mar

Feb

Jan

November

ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH UD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK,

2019

2000

BUSINESSTOOLS

Home Sales Closed in St. Cloud Area ing Permits 6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, October WAITE PARK,

M

467,193

$80M

$80M

$70M

E PARK,

$60M

9,528*

$50M

24,272

22,542

0M

$40M

150

New York (Manhattan), NY

248.6

Harlingen, TX

75.6

Honolulu, HI

199.3

McAllen, TX

77.6

San Francisco, CA

194.5

Kalamazoo, MI

77.9

New York (Brooklyn), NY

180.2

Amarillo, TX

80.4

Washington, D.C.

159.5

Pittsburg, KS

80.6

The Cost of Living Index, which is compiled and published quarterly by C2ER - The Council for Community and Economic Research, measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile. It is based on more than 90,000 prices covering almost 60 different items for which prices are collected three times a year by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. Small differences should not be interpreted as showing any measurable difference, according to C2ER.


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COVER STORY

Brad Goskowicz, CEO of Microbiologics

30

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TRUSTED PARTNER M

Story by Jeanine Nistler __________ Photos by Joel Butkowski, BDI Photo

Brad Goskowicz has helped move Microbiologics from a small water-testing lab into a global leader for quality controls used in industries ranging from pharmaceuticals to health care.

icroorganisms are big business at Microbiologics. “Bacteria, yeast, viruses, tiny particles – a lot of these little critters are what we work with,” Brad Goskowicz, CEO of Microbiologics, said. The company provides microorganisms for quality control testing and research in a range of industries, including food, water, health care, and pharmaceuticals. A trusted partner of well-known companies such as Abbott Laboratories, Microbiologics is playing a role in the fight against COVID-19. You read that correctly. Right here in the Granite City, Microbiologics’ scientists have developed controls for COVID-19 testing. Microbiologics started 50 years ago in a nondescript building on Osseo Avenue North. It has since grown into an international powerhouse. Its distribution network spans more than 150 countries. Half of the company’s 2020 revenue of $50 million came from outside the

United States. It also does business locally. “We’ve worked with Microbiologics on several projects and have been very impressed with the team,” Cindy Johnson said. Johnson is the senior director for CentraCare’s Laboratory Services. “Brad is so down to earth and easy to relate to. He understands the needs of laboratories. Central Minnesota is fortunate to have this gem of a company located in our back yard.” Laboratories use Microbiologics products to ensure test accuracy. “There’s a lot that can go wrong in testing — bad test kits, operator error, equipment problems…” Goskowicz said. A company might, for example, purchase pure salmonella from Microbiologics to ensure that it can accurately detect salmonella in food, water, or feces. Much of Microbiologics’ phenomenal growth has occurred since 2009 when Goskowicz came on as part of a planned transition. That was a year after Granite Equity

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31


COVER STORY

Goskowicz’s Acheivements

FUN FACT –––––––– Goskowicz is a former elite speedskater

32

BusinessCentral Magazine.com // J A N U A R Y/ F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 1

2017 Twin Cities Business list of the top 100 people you should know in Minnesota 2016 Finalist for Entrepreneur of the year 2011 Cornerstone Executive of the year Olympic Speedskating Team – Staff/President 2010 Winter Olympic Team, Vancouver Inducted into the Speedskating Hall of Fame in 2009 as “Contributor to the sport”; President 2006-11, Past President, American Organization of Analytical Chemists 2018-19 Board Chair, American Association of Laboratory Accreditation 2017-current Board of Directors, Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation 2013-current Board of Directors, St. Cloud Downtown Council 2012-current Trustee, St. Cloud State University Foundation 2016-current Advisory Board, Big Brothers, Big Sisters


PERSONAL PROFILE

Brad Goskowicz, 64, CEO Microbiologics, Inc. Hometown Milwaukee, Wisconsin Education Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology, Marquette University 2013 Alumnus of the Year, College of Health Sciences Family Married 36 years to wife, Peggy. Children: Tony, Julie, and Caitlin. Grandchildren: Sofia, Madeline, Jack, Teddy, and Ethan. Hobbies Family activities, outdoor activities, fishing Work history Entire career in the medical device industry, primarily in sales and marketing with a focus on cardiac surgery, cardiology, and diagnostics. ––––––––––––– Joined Microbiologics in February 2009 as Chief Marketing Officer, transitioning into the CEO role the following year.

Partners, a private equity his character and impact in BEST ADVICE investment firm based helping to make the world a –––––––– in St. Cloud, bought safer and healthier place “Every year, you need the company. through the mission of Granite Equity Microbiologics.” to find and hire an buys companies “I like to use a A+ player, a gamechanger, with the goal of lot of the Covey to achieve the growth keeping them principles,” that will support strong and Goskowicz said. your vision.” local. “The idea,” “Leaders have to Goskowicz said, “is extend trust and they – Bob White, Microbiologics not to sell them but have to inspire trust.” board chair and to grow them. It has Leaders must be as Goskowicz mentor been a very successful transparent as possible with model.” employees – and they must be Successful, indeed. competent. Goskowicz turned to a Microbiologics acquired Kentuckymilitary analogy. “If you are leading people up based Gibson Bioscience in 2008, California-based a hill and are open with them but not competent, you Virapur in 2017, and Michigan-based Micromyx in might get them killed.” 2019. Revenue has doubled twice since Goskowicz When he started at Microbiologics, Goskowicz joined the company. He expects it to double said, the company was a diamond in the rough. He again within the next six years. Earlier this year, recalled talking with his team about the potential Microbiologics introduced new branding and a new he saw for growth – and he wasn’t at all sure they logo to represent “the work we do, the way we do it, believed him. As the company grew, however, and what makes us the best at it,” Goskowicz said. Goskowicz gained credibility. “It’s not only saying What does it take to achieve so much? what you mean, but actually getting it done that leads “You can give me some of the credit,” he said, but employees to trust and follow a leader,” he said. he points to the employees and Granite Equity as the Goskowicz both inspires and extends trust by real heroes. Granite Equity provides access to capital letting people do what they do best, he said. “Push and assistance with management, just as it does for decision-making down into the organization. They the other companies it owns. know their jobs much better than I do.” He believes Rick Bauerly, Granite Equity founder and the team will make the right decision 95 percent of CEO, appreciates what Goskowicz has brought the time, “a better percentage than I could achieve.” to Microbiologics. “Brad is a model of servant Businesses that grow, according to Goskowicz, leadership, working intensely every day across are the businesses that innovate. He believes that many years to lead Microbiologics for the benefit innovation needs to come from the team. “If they of all stakeholders,” Bauerly said. “I’m grateful for wait for me to come up with all the cool, innovative

TIMELINE 1971

Microbiologics (then named Environmental Protection Laboratories) is founded as a laboratory testing facility specializing in water testing; later it expands into food testing

1976

Microbiologics begins sales and manufacturing of prepared culture media

1983

Microbiologics begins sales and manufacturing of lyophilized (freeze-dried) microorganisms

1988

Microbiologics expands distribution to international markets

1995

Microbiologics introduces ready-to-use enumerated products

1998

Microbiologics begins focusing solely on manufacturing lyophilized microorganism preparations and exits prepared culture media products

2008

Granite Equity Partners acquires Microbiologics Timeline continued on next page >>>

J A N U A R Y/ F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 1 // BusinessCentralMagazine.com

33


COVER STORY

ideas, we’re in trouble,” he said. And the only way to get management skills,” Goskowicz said. “If you want to innovation “is with engaged employees.” Goskowicz learn how to lead people, you do it where you can’t fire said he can’t step out of his office and yell, “Everybody them. You set goals, inspire and empower them.” innovate today!” But if people understand their roles in What’s ahead for Goskowicz and Microbiologics? the company and enjoy the people they work with, they Well, there’s that doubling of revenue in the next will innovate. half-dozen years, which Goskowicz said will You may find it hard be realized “just on organic growth, to believe that this is without any acquisitions.” And the Goskowicz’s first CEO company is just getting started gig. He held executive in a new arena: precision – or DID YOU KNOW? positions before, but personalized – medicine, –––––––– never the top spot. which the U.S. Food and Microbiologics celebrates The Marquette Drug Administration its 50-year anniversary in University defines as “an innovative 2021. The company graduate put approach to tailoring his medical disease prevention plans to expand the technology and and treatment that St. Cloud campus and chemistry education takes into account enter the precision to work as a sales and differences in people’s medicine marketplace marketing executive genes, environments, and at companies, including lifestyles.” Medtronic and Johnson & Goskowicz said Microbiologics Johnson. will make the controls for instruments Besides drawing from the used in testing DNA to determine the exact principles of leadership guru Stephen R. Covey nature of an individual’s illness or condition. Precision (author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” medicine will strive to target the right treatments to and other titles), Goskowicz learned a great deal about the right patients at the right time rather than treating management through U.S. speedskating. by what Goskowicz referred to as “recipe.” A former elite speedskater himself, Goskowicz held Also ahead for Goskowicz: Continuing to build leadership positions in Wisconsin and national skating company culture brick by brick. “You’re never done associations and led the U.S. team to the Olympics in building your culture,” he said. When new employees Vancouver in 2010. He joined the U.S. Speedskating join Microbiologics, they meet one-on-one with Board of Directors in 1991, then served as president Goskowicz “so they’re comfortable and not scared from 2006 to 2011. “That’s where I learned my of the guy in the corner office. I ask them to give

COMPANY PROFILE

Microbiologics, Inc. 200 Cooper Ave. N St. Cloud, MN 56303-4440 (320) 253-1640 info@microbiologics.com microbiologics.com Ownership: Granite Equity Partners (majority) Board Chair: Bob White CEO: Brad Goskowicz Global headquarters and distribution: St. Cloud, Minnesota; (320) 253-7400 Global virology center: San Diego, California Custom manufacturing center: Lexington, Kentucky Antibiotic and microbiome testing center: Kalamazoo, Michigan Number of employees: St. Cloud: Nearly 150 Kalamazoo: 11 Lexington: 30 San Diego: 11 and growing

TIMELINE 2009

Brad Goskowicz joins Microbiologics as part of a planned transition to become CEO

––––

Microbiologics acquires Gibson Laboratories in Lexington, Kentucky

2012

The company opens a new facility in St. Cloud in September

2013

Microbiologics acquires Phthisis Diagnostics, a molecular diagnostics company that develops

34

products for various infectious diseases, launching the Rapid Diagnostics Division

2017

2019

––––

2020

2014

Microbiologics acquires Virapur in San Diego, establishing the Virology Division

2015

Microbiologics completes a 31,000-square-foot addition in St. Cloud, doubling capacity

Microbiologics opens the molecular lab in St. Cloud; launches Helix EliteTM brand Microbiologics creates its Custom Solutions Service Program

2016

The company doubles the capacity of the Kentucky facility to support custom manufacturing

BusinessCentral Magazine.com // J A N U A R Y/ F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 1

2018

The company opens a second virology lab in St. Cloud to support the molecular product line

Microbiologics acquires Micromyx in Kalamazoo, Mich., establishing an Antibiotic Service Center Microbiologics expands again, completing their research and development facility in St. Cloud, tripling their capacity

––––

The company completes an expansion in San Diego, doubling capacity, opening a Level 3 biosafety lab and achieving market leadership in COVID-19 Biomaterials


Microbiologics all their passion, knowledge and energy to help achieve company goals.” In exchange, Goskowicz said, they deserve more than a paycheck. The company offers a well-being program that includes the usual weight management, fitness, and smoking cessation classes common in workplaces. But, Goskowicz said, most people aren’t taught in school about household budgets, banking, and mortgages. Microbiologics hires a company to provide that training for employees. The well-being program also includes an emphasis on community involvement. Employees

get one paid day off to do volunteer work and many of them participate on company teams for United Way fundraising, Earth Day activities and Habitat for Humanity building projects. In this way, Goskowicz said, Microbiologics contributes more than charitable dollars to organizations that are vital to the community. “You can’t have strong businesses without a strong community,” he said. The company’s expansion along Cooper Avenue and Third Street South won’t be the last, he said, noting that although the next physical expansion is several years in the future, Microbiologics is buying houses in the area in preparation. “We are building the neighborhood and creating jobs,” he said, adding that the Microbiologics headquarters will always be in St. Cloud. “We and Granite Equity are committed to St. Cloud.” Jeanine Nistler is a former St. Cloud communications professional who now lives and works in the Twin Cities.

COMPANY PROFILE

Business description: Microbiologics specializes in providing global customers the highest quality biomaterial products and services. Typical types of biomaterials are bacteria, yeast, fungus, parasites, viruses, and mycoplasma. These can be natural or synthetic, viable or non-viable, and are primarily used in research and development or as quality controls in the pharmaceutical and clinical industries.

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35


GET HEALTHY!

Keep it Simple Whether it’s starting a savings plan or learning to de-stress, making gradual changes improve your odds for success.

L

ose weight annually tops the list of New Year’s Resolutions. Other recurring themes include a more active approach to health and fitness, improved finances, and learning new things for personal and professional development. Resolutions are great, as long as you make them attainable. From the Harvard Medical School newsletter Healthbeat come some suggestions for making this the year you reach your goals and Get Healthy. 1 Select a goal. Choose one that makes sense for you and that’s attainable.

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2 Pick your choice for change… increase savings, get more sleep, start meditating. But be reasonable…you probably aren’t

going to stick with a savings plan that doesn’t allow for fun money. 3 Commit yourself. Write it down. Share it with someone you trust. Be specific. 4 Scout out easy obstacles. If you know you have to reshingle your roof, fit that into your savings plan. Then… 5 Brainstorm ways to leap over obstacles. 6 Plan a simple reward. When you reach a goal, a small celebration can give you the motivation to stick with your plan. Source: Harvard Medical School

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37


F E AT U R E

Disaster! The best time to prepare for the unexpected is well before it happens. By Mary MacDonell Belisle

“I

t is the emptiest feeling I personally have ever felt. You get choked up when you talk about it, and you compare it, unfortunately, to death because it is an equation of that nature.” Ultimate Sports Bar & Grill owner Tom Frericks shared this raw emotion with WJON Radio reporter Lee Voss within days of a devastating fire that totally destroyed the long-time area landmark. Frericks’ words and experience, no doubt, reflect the response of any owner whose small business has been hit by a disaster, be it fire, flood, tornado or other storms. Here are 10 pre-emptive measures business owners can take to avoid a disaster or mitigate the effects of one.

38

A Assess your risk. The Small Business Administration (SBA) suggests businesses look first to their own uniqueness and vulnerabilities when discussing disaster preparedness. What type of disaster would they be most apt to experience, and which would result in the most damage? Determine what it would take to return to business. The conversation will help to broach the topic and align priorities among the staff. B Develop a plan. Emergency response plans should be developed and circulated to staff well in advance of a disaster, according to Kelly Chance, manager of HR for Insperity, a provider

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of human resources and business solutions to improve business performance. “This plan should include a clear chain of command, necessary emergency functions and responsibilities, specific evacuation procedures, and processes for checking in with employees during an emergency,” Chance said. Erik Soule, owner and manager of Princeton Insurance Agency, highlights the need to update and distribute a written disaster plan annually to staff. A plan should include “temporary” business sites, as needed, employee contact list, procedures for forwarding phone calls, handling mail, etc. He also suggests generator backups so offices can be

online within hours during power outages, should the infrastructure be intact. 3.Purchase adequate insurance. “Insure properly. Let your insurance agent give you suggestions based on your business needs and then budget accordingly, not the other way around,” said Princeton Insurance agent David Haugen. “No one ever wishes they had LESS insurance after an incident.” Crafts Direct in Waite Park sustained a memorable, $1.5 million fire years ago, one that folks still remember. “I could probably be a poster child for insurance,” owner John Schlecht told Gail Ivers for an


article entitled “Merchant Man,” which appeared in the September/October 2001 issue of Business Central Magazine. “If you have good insurance, you can make it through. In the end, we came out of the fire ok.” General liability insurance is the foundation of any business insurance solution, covering property damage and/or bodily injury suffered by other parties, Haugen said. Business owners may buy additional insurance at three levels of causes, called “perils,” beginning with the Basic––fire, lightening, smoke, windstorm, hail––and moving up to Broad and Special Perils, the greatest level of coverage.

“Small businesses can often qualify for a BOP (Business Owners Policy), which includes many coverages in small limits that may be helpful to protect a small business,” Haugen said. And stay up-to-date through an annual review with an insurance agent. 4 Document buildings, equipment, inventory, and valuables. The IRS explains it will be easier to claim insurance and tax benefits after a disaster if businesses have prepared a record of property and documented it through digitized paperwork, photos and video. The IRS

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Publication 584-B, “Business Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Loss Workbook,” can assist owners with documentation.

with monthly bookkeeping and accounting service to give them the assurance that their data is secure.”

5.Protect digital copies of important documents. “To prepare for the worst, leaders and managers should work with teams to ensure all important documents are stored securely and digitally to ensure safety,” said Insperity’s Chance. “This strategy also allows staff members to access documents remotely, enabling them to stay connected from safe locations in the event of a disaster.” The IRS encourages businesses to keep duplicate sets of key documents—tax returns, insurance policies, bank statements, etc. If financial or legal documents are only available on paper, scan them into an electronic format, and save them to a DVD, CD, zip drive, or cloud storage. “It is critical that small business owners have secure backups of their accounting and tax information,” said Arnold Kahara, CPA, St. Cloud. “Having an offsite backup of information in the cloud secures small business owners’ data. Many of our clients use QuickBooks Online, or they engage us to provide them

6.Back up your data. While a hard drive failure without a backup can be a disaster all on its own, it is virtually assured that there is risk to digital data in a fire, flood, lightening, tornado, and other storms. Katie Hultquist, co-owner of Computer Dynamics, St. Cloud, recommends two types of backups: a physical external hard drive and backup in the cloud. “There are backup programs in place in the computer, server, or network hard drive that can be set up to create a full backup of company files. Setting this up with multiple hard drives, with one complete backup off site or in a fireproof safe, is an excellent way to ensure data is safe,” Hultquist said. Small businesses may want to store their data off-site, on servers provided by various internet-based cloud data backup companies. Hultquist recommends Carbonite, CrashPlan, and Microsoft One Drive as excellent ways to ensure data safety, and in the event of a disaster, files are restored easily, simply by logging into your account.


KEY ADVICE

“It is critical that small business owners have secure backups of their accounting and tax information, Having an offsite backup of information in the cloud secures small business owners’ data.” — Arnold Kahara, CPA, St. Cloud.

7.Take advantage of cloud-based technologies. “In the past, cloud-based tools were only for multinational corporations and large enterprise businesses,” according to Joe Unger, vice president of business development for Vaultas, located in St. Cloud, Alexandria, and Minneapolis. “But the forces of nature play no favorites. Setting up in-house computer, data backup, and disaster recovery systems can require a lot of time and money, plus in-house disasters and outages are the most common. The answer is getting access to the technology ecosystem where you can connect to private, public, or hybrid clouds, multiple carriers for redundant internet disaster recovery solutions, all while maximizing your IT spend.” According to Unger, cloudbased solutions––SaaS, IooS, PaaS, DRaas—are much less expensive than buying and building a small business’s own systems and solutions.

bank safety deposit box, and off-site storage unit can hold irreplaceable items, important contact information, keys, and cash for immediate emergency use or for the recovery process. 9.Keep customers informed. “Just as it is important to communicate with internal teams, companies should also have a strategy in place to share updates with clients and customers in the event of an emergency,” Kelly Chance said. “This system may use direct email outreach, social media, or phone calls, where needed.” J Research additional resources. • The IRS offers small business owners other tips online. Search: “IRS, Preparing for a Disaster.” • FEMA offers checklists and toolkits addressing inland flooding, power outage, and strong wind/tornado. • The SBA provides a downloadable booklet called “Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Plan.” • The SBA also provides downloadable PDF checklists, under the heading “Preparing for Emergencies,” covering winter weather, tornados, floods, and wildfires. Every small business has the potential to become a news headline due to a disaster. Take steps to avoid the loss, heartache, and possible shuttering of your establishment by focusing on preparedness every day.

Design

ARCHITECTURAL

SINCE 1874

AND CONSTRUCTION SERVICES

SINGLE SOURCE. SUPERIOR SERVICE. REMARKABLE RESULTS. 800.772.1758 | www.millerab.com

The Crossings II - Big Lake, MN

Mary MacDonell Belisle is a

8.Invest in physical storage solutions. An on-site fireproof safe,

freelance writer-for-hire. Contact her at marymbelisle@gmail.com or 320.224.2706.

J A N U A R Y/ F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 1 // BusinessCentralMagazine.com

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PROFIT

BUSINESSSPOTLIGHT

NOW IT CONNECTS

AT A G L A N C E

Network Guy

Now IT Connects

John Koshiol used his interest in electronics and an innate business sense to create Now IT Connects. By Gail Ivers

BC: Then why did you decide to go off on your own? Koshiol: Ward (the owner of EMR) wanted to concentrate on software. I’m a network guy. I had a good understanding of the products and what companies needed, so as EMR focused more and more on software, I decided it was time to try it on my own.

Business Central: What does someone do with a degree in electronics technology? John Koshiol: Either drafting or electronics. Electronics seemed like the future to me — and I wasn’t even thinking about computers at the time. I liked the design aspect of working with circuitry. BC: You worked for Control Data for 10 years. Why come back to St. Cloud? Koshiol: The last four years with Control Data were actually with a company they had spun off called Seagate. There was a lot of travel involved and the industry was changing a lot and I thought it was probably time for a change. EMR reached out to me. They worked with Novell networks. I was familiar with those so it made sense.

BC: Has COVID-19 had much impact on you? Koshiol: The first month all of our clients were grabbing their computers and going home. Our phones rang off the hook because they needed help getting set up. Aside from that, we do so much remote work for our clients that we haven’t really seen any slowdown. BC: What do you like best about being a business owner? Koshiol: I really enjoy mentoring the guys who work here. I know a lot about networking. I can suggest looking at something differently and you can see it when the light bulb goes on. I like that.

The first personal computer becomes generally available

1983

42

Business Description: Technology value-added reseller specializing in PC and networking technologies and sales, including managed and cloud services, network security, hardware sales, and ongoing IT support. Owner: John Koshiol Opened: 2004 Number of employees: 7 Joined the Chamber: 2004

F U N FA C TS Koshiol missed his freshman year of high school because he was in a motorcycle accident the day Elvis died. He broke his ankle and shoulder in 3-4 places. He was hospitalized then home-schooled for the rest of the year as he recovered. ––––––– The first DSL network Koshiol ever installed was for the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. ––––––– Koshiol has never taken out a bank loan for his business.

PERSONAL PROFILE

TIMELINE

1981

340 S Walnut Street Clearwater, MN 55320 320-558-6300 nowitconnects.com

2004 Koshiol starts his own business, Now IT Connects. Within six months he hires his first employee.

John Koshiol begins work at Control Data in Bloomington in pre-production engineering

2009-2010

1994

2012

Koshiol begins work for EMR in St. Cloud as a network manager

Now IT Connects begins offering managed services to clients

Koshiol moves from his first small office, to his current location

BusinessCentral Magazine.com // J A N U A R Y/ F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 1

2016 Now IT Connects begins offering health care to employees; the company adds cloud computing with Microsoft products, later adding Apple products

2020 Now IT Connects establishes a 401(k) program with a company match for employees

John Koshiol, 57 Hometown: St. Augusta, Minn. Education: Graduated from Tech High School; 1983 graduate in Electronics Technology (circuitry) from the St. Cloud Technical and Community College Family: Married to his wife Sheila for 31 years; two sons: Trevor and Tim; one granddaughter Hobbies: Anything outdoors: golf, hunting, fishing, baseball, attending rodeos


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Profile for St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce

January/February 2021  

St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Business Central Magazine

January/February 2021  

St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Business Central Magazine