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MAY/JUNE 2017

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CONTENTS GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

President’s Letter Business Calendar

10 28

Editor’s Note

Network Central

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C E L E B R AT I N G 1 7 Y E A R S I N B U S I N E S S

GROW

42 Cover Story BUSINESS BUILDER

Kevin Johnson doesn’t like to be idle. Perhaps that’s why he has four successful businesses and is contemplating another expansion. PROFIT

48 Feature

ENTERPRISING WOMEN Women-owned businesses are growing at a faster rate than the national average, both in terms of employees and revenues.

54 Special Focus HELPING GRANDMA

New products and services for seniors are coming to market every day, created by entrepreneurs motivated to help family members.

Special Sections 51 WOMEN IN BUSINESS DIRECTORY

56 SENIOR HEALTH AND LIVING

42 12 UPFRONT

Valuable information designed to guide and educate

30 BUSINESS TOOLS

Marketplace intelligence and useful tips on how to continue to grow your business

58 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Pat Virnig, Virnig Painting

Only Online // www.BusinessCentralMagazine.com

© Copyright 2017 Business Central, LLC

• Breaking bad work habits

by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce,

• Key financial ratios

1411 West St. Germain Street, Suite 101,

• LinkedIn for entrepreneurs • Crafting a tagline

Business Central is published six times a year

P.O. Box 487, St. Cloud, MN 56302-0487 Phone (320) 251-2940 • Fax (320) 251-0081 Subscription rate: $18 for 1 year.


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You don’t have to live with pain. WELCOME OUR NEW PAIN CARE SPECIALIST! Christa Marx, APRN, CNP, is a certified nurse practitioner specializing in Pain Care at CDI. She has worked in Pain Management for 13 years and joins our dedicated team of pain care specialists.

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No referral needed, call today to make your appointment 320.251.0609


Spine Center Success Story St. Cloud Orthopedics Accomplishes Area’s First Adolescent Scoliosis Surgery

Jodi Keehr, Makayla Keehr and Dr. Trevor McIver

Last year at this time, Makayla Keehr was 4’ 11”. Now she’s 1.5 inches taller, and her Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) has been corrected, thanks to care from one of the three spine surgeons at St. Cloud Orthopedics, Dr. Trevor McIver. This is the first recorded treatment of AIS ever performed in St. Cloud. Makayla’s mom, Jodi Keehr of St. Joseph, began her careful quest for treatment options in the Twin Cities. But she ultimately wasn’t happy with the level of care they were receiving in exchange for the time spent away from school and work. Fed up, Jodi decided to think locally and ask St. Cloud Orthopedics for a spine referral. “When we met Dr. McIver, I just knew we had found the right fit—he answered all of our questions and walked us through the surgical procedure that we already knew was necessary,” recalled Jodi. “We just felt more comfortable with him, compared to who we had met with in the Cities.”

they absolutely need surgery. Only then do we make that recommendation,” noted McIver. Makayla’s results took her from a 55-degree curve to an 8-degree curve. “My back doesn’t hurt anymore,” she said. “I felt so comfortable with everyone at St. Cloud Orthopedics, and my parents were thankful for the relationship Dr. McIver built with us—it was a great experience.”

“I liked that my surgery was in St. Cloud—I wouldn’t have done anything differently.” —Makayla Keehr First AIS Patient Treated in St. Cloud Patient of Dr. McIver, St. Cloud Orthopedics Spine Surgeon

In AIS, the spine presents a noticeable curve measuring above 10 degrees between the ages of 11 and 18. Since Makayla’s was quite advanced at 55 degrees, she required surgical correction. Dr. McIver successfully treated her at St. Cloud Hospital. “Just as expected, Makayla did fantastic,” reported McIver. “This is a great example of why there is no reason to leave town for advanced orthopedic care—we were willing and able to treat Makayla’s case right here in St. Cloud.” In cases of AIS measuring under 45 degrees, patients would first explore nonsurgical care. “At St. Cloud Orthopedics, we take people down the conservative road as long as possible until

Spine Center • Knee & Shoulder • Joint Replacement • Sports Medicine • Hand Center • Trauma • Foot & Ankle • Physical & Occupational Therapy

#LiveBetter The Spine Center at St. Cloud Orthopedics is staffed by three highly trained spine specialists who utilize advanced surgical techniques, as well as nonsurgical treatment Dr. Jason P. Kelly, MD, Spine Surgeon

and therapy when possible. Dr. Trevor McIver, MD, MS, Spine Surgeon

Joel Shobe, MD Spine Surgeon

StCloudOrthopedics.com 320.259.4100 1901 Connecticut Ave S, Sartell


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President’s Letter

Big Business

B

usinesses join chambers of commerce for all kinds of reasons, and staff wants to keep them happy. One sure way to have happy members is to say “Yes” to all their requests. However, that is next to impossible. So how do we decide when and how to say “No,” and still keep members happy? Here are examples of requests our Chamber regularly receives: Paid and unpaid sponsorships for every kind of activity, presentation and event you might imagine “Partnerships” that include cash and time commitments Individual assistance for our members, including governmental interests Support for organizations with special lobbying interests Philanthropic donations Audience with the Chamber’s Board of Directors and general membership Use of our logo and co-branding on websites Support in exchange for discounts for our members (often from non-members in lieu of dues) Requests to take on festivals and events Requests for in-kind trade for membership Affinity Programs – when a company sells products or services to our membership, the Chamber endorses and promotes those products and services to the members, and then the Chamber receives a cash royalty from any resulting profits.

My email includes almost daily requests from someone, somewhere who is absolutely certain he or she has the solution to all our problems, whether in membership sales, database management, website management, or just about every back-office function we have. These

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Main Phone: 320-251-2940 Automated Reservation Line: 320-656-3826

are the easy ones. I tell them we are committed to doing business with our members, unless we don’t have a member providing the service we need. Then I ask them if they would like me to sign them up before we proceed with further discussions. They usually say no. We keep a laser focus on our mission, which is how we determine when to say "No." We develop strategic and tactical plans with all our committees annually, and we stay focused on those goals. Specifically, in government affairs, loading up on everyone’s issues would dilute our priority business issues and render us ineffective. When I say “No,” I generally can give members alternatives to Chamber involvement. Our goal, after all, is to help our members. An alternative means they at least have another option to explore. Our Chamber doesn’t contribute to most philanthropic opportunities because our Board sees it as duplication of member contributions to those same opportunities. We believe investment in membership means members want us to provide unique value to make their businesses more profitable and successful. I can assure you we watch over every dollar members invest with us. When presented with an opportunity to partner, sponsor or be involved, we consider the following: “This costs $500. Is it worth one small business membership to do this on behalf of all our members?” Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Teresa Bohnen Publisher

Program Hotline: 320-656-3825 information@StCloudAreaChamber.com www.StCloudAreaChamber.com ST. CLOUD AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE STAFF President: Teresa Bohnen, ext. 104 Vice President: Gail Ivers, ext. 109 Director of Administration: Judy Zetterlund, ext. 106 Communications & Workforce Development Coordinator: Whitney Bina, ext.130 Special Events Coordinator: Sheri Wegner, ext. 131 Membership Sales Specialist: Rhonda Dahlgren, ext. 134 Administrative Assistant: Kellie Libert, ext. 124 Administrative Assistant: Vicki Lenneman, ext. 122 Administrative Assistant: Shelly Imdieke, ext. 100 CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU STAFF Main Phone: 320-251-4170 Executive Director: Julie Lunning, ext. 111 Director of Convention Sales: Lori Cates, ext. 113 Director of Sports & Special Events: Dana Randt, ext. 110 Sales Manager: Nikki Fisher, ext. 112 Social Media & Marketing Specialist: Emily Bertram, ext. 129 Sales & Marketing Coordinator: Rachel Thompson, ext. 128 2016-17 BOARD MEMBERS Jason Bernick, Bernick’s, Past Board Chair Dan Bittman, Sauk Rapids-Rice School District David Borgert, CentraCare Health Neil Franz, Franz Hultgren Evenson, Professional Association Christy Gilleland, Gilleland Chevrolet Cadillac Jim Gruenke, Traut Companies Jason Hallonquist, AIS Planning Dennis Host, Coborn’s, Inc. Willie Jett, St. Cloud School District Diane Mendel, Playhouse Child Care Bernie Omann, St. Cloud State University Mark Osendorf, Xcel Energy Roger Schleper, Premier Real Estate Services, Board Chair Melinda Vonderahe, Chamber Board Vice Chair Allison Waggoner, DCI, Inc. Chriss Wohlleber, Courtyard by Marriott-St.Cloud


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Editor’s Note

Editor Gail Ivers with Kevin Johnson. The piece of wood in the photo is actually made out of concrete. It is a fireplace mantle, one of the creative outdoor kitchen pieces designed and manufactured at Kevin’s company, Minnesota Concrete Products.

Homebody

W

hen Tom and I first bought our property in rural Cold Spring, a good portion of it was unwalkable. Too wet to cross, too dry to swim. Mud, mostly. We worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to put in three dikes that would create ponds and still allow runoff. Our number one goal was to create an environment that would attract and benefit wildlife. In the spring we watched the ponds fill in and the swampy trees slowly die off as the water level rose. That fall we heard something new… high-pitched chirps. Just a few at first, but as the evening wore on, they grew louder and louder until it was hard to hear anything else. It is with sorrow that we acknowledge the passing The next night we decided to find of Dan Coborn and share the source of this chirping, which our sympathy with his was reminiscent of spring frogs, but family and employees. was not frogs. Our walk took us to Dan was the former the largest of the new ponds. As we chairman, president and CEO of Coborn’s, Inc. stood there, a few wood ducks flew He led the company for into the pond and the protection the greater part of the of the trees and brush. Then a few 20th Century, serving as more came. Then a flock. And a its chief executive from the late 1950s until 1999. larger flock. Then a huge flock. By Dan gave us the honor sunset there were hundreds of of featuring him on the wood ducks chirping and settling in cover of Business Central for the night. in January 2008.

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We were stunned. And thrilled! It had never occurred to us that our pond project would become a wood duck haven. From then on, Tom and I would race home from work and hike out to the pond to watch the show. For several weeks each fall the ducks would slowly gather, greeting and comforting each other until their voices were all we could hear. We never tired of watching the wood ducks. Some years later we noticed that the calls weren’t quite as loud and, maybe, there weren’t quite as many ducks. The next fall only a handful visited us, and only for a few days. And then they were gone. The habitat had changed as the trees and brush decayed. The ducks moved on to a new evening roost. We were sorry to see them go, but grateful for the time that we shared their space. Walking the property is always a source of joy and wonder. I’ve watched mink catching minnows in the spillway of a pond, a fox catch a chipmunk (yea fox!) and one year I found a wild apple tree that was providing a feast for the deer, based on all the tracks. Kevin and Julie Johnson, owners of K. Johnson Construction, (see the story on page 42) live on 150 acres of land north of St. Cloud. Kevin says he likes to hike and cross country ski on his property. He calls himself a homebody. That’s something he and I have in common. My friends may not believe that. They know that there is nothing I like more than hopping on a plane to the most exotic location I can find. But when it’s time to come home, it’s time to come home. And generally the first thing I do is walk out to check the ponds. You never know when the wood ducks might return. Until next issue,


Publisher Teresa Bohnen Managing Editor Gail Ivers Associate Editor Dawn Zimmerman CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Whitney Bina, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Teresa Bohnen, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Jill Copeland, SAP SuccessFactors Dr. Fred E. Hill, St. Cloud State University Gail Ivers, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Kellie Libert, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Mary MacDonell Belisle, mary macdonell belisle – wording for you Ryan McCormick, Great River Regional Library Kelly Radi, Radi-To-Write, LLC Tom Schlough, SCORE

Greg Vandal, Vox Liberi Dawn Zimmerman, The Write Advantage ADVERTISING Associate Publisher/Sales Wendy Hendricks, Hendricks Marketing Ad Traffic & Circulation Yola Hartmann, Hazel Tree Media ART Design & Production Yola Hartmann, Hazel Tree Media Cover Photo Joel Butkowski, BDI Photography ACCOUNTING Judy Zetterlund WEBSITE Vicki Lenneman

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1411 West St. Germain Street, Suite 101, P.O. Box 487, St. Cloud, MN 56302-0487 Phone (320) 251-2940 Fax (320) 251-0081 www.BusinessCentralMagazine.com For advertising information contact Wendy Hendricks, (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.

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Your Voice in Government • People to Know • Do it Now!

UPFRONT GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

Business Calendar • Top Hat Photos • The Trouble with Business • Regional Roundup uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

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NEWS & PEOPLE THAT MAKE UP THE CHAMBER NETWORK

BOOK REVIEW

Setting Boundaries

Creating the right structures sets the stage, tone, and climate to allow people’s brains to perform at their best. Reviewed by Dr. Fred Hill

Boundaries For Leaders: Why Some People Get Results And Others Don’t by Dr. Henry Cloud, HarperCollins Books, New York, 2013, ISBN 978-006-220633-6

In Boundaries For Leaders, Dr. Henry Cloud gives leaders the tools and techniques they need to achieve the performance they desire in their organizations and in themselves. Drawing on the latest findings from neuroscience, Dr. Cloud shows why it’s critical for leaders to set the conditions that make people’s brains perform at their highest levels. How do great leaders do this? One way is through the creation of ‘boundaries’ -- structures that determine what will exist and what will not.

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his book is about how seven leadership

boundaries can make everything else work, and how they set the stage, tone, and climate for people’s brains to perform. These seven boundaries are: 1 Help people’s brains work better 2.Build the emotional climate that fuels performance 3.Facilitate connections that boost people’s functioning 4.Facilitate thinking patterns that drive results 5.Focus on what behaviors shape results 6.Build high-performance teams that achieve desired results 7.Lead yourself in a manner that drives and protects the vision There are ten chapters in Boundaries. They are: 1. The people are the plan 2. Ridiculously in charge 3. Leading so brains can work 4. The emotional climate that makes brains perform 5. Power through connection 6. The gatekeeper of thinking 7. Control and results 8. High-performance

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teams 9. Trust makes teams able to perform 10. Boundaries for yourself I especially like Chapter 6: The gatekeeper of thinking. Dr. Cloud states that “low- aptitude” positive thinkers outperform “highaptitude” negative thinkers by over 50 percent! And so, this chapter deals with placing boundaries on negative thinking. He likens thinking to a piece of software. Whatever “norms and behaviors” get “encoded and reinforced” in a team or organization determines what happens next and what is possible. The prevailing patterns of a team or an organization – its norms and belief systems – will define what it is and what it does. It’s always important to put boundaries on negative thinking and get rid of the “can’t be done” virus. You always get what you create and what you allow! Dr. Fred E. Hill is an emeritus professor from St. Cloud State University.

NEWS REEL THRIVENT FINANCIAL RECOGNIZED FOR CONTINUED SERVICE The Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity (CMHFH) inducted Thrivent Financial to its Hall of Fame at the CMHFH Dream Builders Reception in January. Over the past 10 years, Thrivent Financial has awarded over $2 million in grants to CMHFH, helping 24 families attain affordable housing. In 2017, Thrivent Financial is providing a $66,000 grant to fund half of the 25th Thrivent Builds home in St. Cloud.

GSDC ANNOUNCES NEW BOARD MEMBERS The Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation (GSDC) announced three new members to its board of directors: Mike Markman, Mid-NE Minnesota Region president, U.S. Bank; Joan Schatz, co-president, Park Industries; and Matt Varilek, president, Initiative Foundation.

JUREK NAMED DRIVER OF THE MONTH Minnesota Trucking Association (MTA) named Tim Jurek, Brenny Specialized, Inc., the March 2017 Driver of the Month. Jurek will be honored at the annual Driver of the Year Awards Banquet in January 2018 and featured in an upcoming issue of MTA’s monthly magazine Trucking Minnesota.


POINT OF VIEW

Business Central asks readers:

What is your company doing to promote workplace wellbeing?”

We have a wellness committee that is in charge of monthly activities. We also have snack stations at work that promote healthier food choices.”

Kyle Knudson • Falcon National Bank

Due to the nature of our work, all drivers must complete DOT physicals. As a company standard, we cover those physicals for our employees.”

Troy Voigt • Voigt’s Bus Service

We are dedicated to philanthropy – promoting teamwork while also helping the community.”

Sarah Condon • Summit Real Estate Team - Edina Realty

Jill Magelssen promotes healthy snacks and stand up meetings. We have many opportunities to move about the office and comfy chairs that provide an alternative work space than our traditional desks.”

Shelby Uphoff • Express Employment Professionals

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UpFront YOUR VOICE IN GOVERNMENT

NEWS REEL GASLIGHT CREATIVE EARNS 15 AMERICAN ADVERTISING AWARDS Gaslight Creative took home 15 awards at the 2017 American Advertising Awards Show in February, hosted by the American Advertising Federation (AAF) of Central Minnesota. Among the 15 awards received, Gaslight Creative earned two Judge’s Choice Awards.

BERGANKDV HIRES BerganKDV hired the following individuals: Drea Dalzell, payroll support specialist; Abby Ertl, payroll procession specialist; Jill Phillipp, HRIS specialist.

An Evening Out

St. Cloud Area Evening at the Capital gave Chamber members a chance to meet informally with members of the Minnesota House and Senate.

Amber Morrighan, Village Family Services (L); April Diederich, Proviant Group; Christine Huston and Doug Fredrickson, Blattner Energy

Sen. Jerry Relph (L) and St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis

Scott Mareck, WSB & Assoc (L) and Rep. Tim O'Driscoll

GARTLAND NAMED VICE CHAIR OF MAC The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) named Patti Gartland, Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, vice chair of the board of directors. Gartland was appointed commissioner on the MAC board in 2014 and is one of four Greater Minnesota representatives.

Forrest Cyr, Minnesota Builders Association; Rep. Tama Theis; Sandy Svihel, Alpha Salon Lux Suites

Jason Bernick, Bernick's (L); Sen. David Senjem; Ryan Daniel, Metro Bus

REJUV MEDICAL RECOGNIZED Star Tribune named Rejuv Medical a 2016 Top Workplace. Top Workplaces recognizes the most progressive companies in Minnesota based on employee opinions measuring engagement, organizational health and satisfaction. Over 73,800 employees are surveyed from the state’s public, private and nonprofit organizations every year to determine the Top Workplaces throughout the state.

Steve Laraway, Laraway Financial Services (L) and Rep. Drew Christensen

Sen. David Tomassoni (L) with Bernie Omann and King Banaian, St. Cloud State University

Brian Weappa, Northland Capital Financial Service; Rep. Dale Lueck; and Chamber President Teresa Bohnen

QUINLIVAN & HUGHES ELECTS OFFICERS St. Cloud attorney firm Quinlivan & Hughes has elected the following corporate officers for 2017: Dyan Ebert, chief executive officer; Steve Schwegman, chief financial officer; and Ron Brandenburg, secretary.

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Representatives Jim Knoblach (L), Paul Torkelson and Bob Gunther

Sen. Michelle Fischbach (L); Gloria Vande Brake, Minuteman Press; Jim Tusa, Reliable Medical Supply; Roy Dodds, Urban Lodge Brewery and Restaurant; and Sen. John Jasinski


DID YOU KNOW?

History Assistant Anderson Trucking makes history by moving it.

Photo courtesy of ATS

A

nderson Trucking Service Inc. (ATS), recently hauled a piece of history. The St. Cloud company moved the painting, known as “Battle of Atlanta,” from the Atlanta Cyclorama to the Atlanta History Center in downtown Atlanta. The painting depicts the momentous Civil War battle, which took place July 22, 1864 when Bell’s Confederate forces fell to Sherman’s Union troops. The victory increased northern morale and is credited for aiding in the re-election of Abraham

Lincoln. It was originally painted in 1886 and had been housed at the museum since 1921. It is one of only three original cyclorama paintings that still exist in North America. The painting is 42 feet tall with a circumference of 359 feet. Weighing about 12,000 pounds, the move was nothing short of an engineering feat. After cyclorama conservators separated the painting along two existing seams, the two segments were wrapped around two 45-foot-tall custom-built steel spools and placed in a waterproof barrier. The spools were then individually lifted through two seven-foot holes cut into the building’s roof, and placed on the two-axle flatbed trailer for shipment. The preparation and shipment of the painting took two days. Both sections of the painting arrived safely at the Lloyd and Mary Ann Whitaker Cyclorama Building at the Atlanta History Center where it will be housed during its 75-year license agreement with the City of Atlanta.

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UpFront PEOPLE TO KNOW

NEWS REEL THIEMAN PROMOTED Beth Thieman was promoted to director of operations at Granite Financial. Formerly client service coordinator, Thieman joined Granite Financial in 2014.

BLACK IS NEW ST. CLOUD VA DIRECTOR The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) appointed Stephen D. Black as the new director of the St. Cloud VA Health Care System. Black has over 18 years of health care experience; eight years of progressive clinical, administrative, and executive leadership in Veterans Health Administration (VHA). He has developed partnerships with health care industry leaders outside and within VHA. He has been serving as the acting director of the Hampton VA Medical Center since January 2017.

IMAGE BUILDERS RECOGNIZED Image Builders earned a 2017 Pyramid Silver Award in the goodwill category sponsored by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). Image Builders staff member Amber Cruser, trained advertising specialist, was recognized for the “Taste of Summer” themed gift package she created for a local manufacturing facility.

CENTRACARE WELCOMES RADIATION ONCOLOGISTS Christopher Miller, MD, PhD and Kadir Mullings, MBBS, joined the Coborn Cancer Center. Dr. Miller is a radiation oncologist with special interests in general radiation oncology, brachytherapy (prostate and GYN), radiosurgery and stereotactic body radiation therapy. Dr. Mullings’ clinical interests include radiation oncology, radiosurgery, brain, spine, prostate and other genitourinary tumors.

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St. Cloud Area Leadership Graduates

Congratulations to the following people who graduated from the St. Cloud Area Chamber Leadership program in May. If you are looking for volunteers to serve on boards and committees, these individuals are a good place to start. Atlas Anagnos St. Cloud VA Health Care System

Dan Kvas Falcon National Bank

Lesley Stewart Bremer

Katie Anderson Rasmussen College

Sara Lommel Marco, Inc.

Adam Vee American Heritage National Bank

Amanda Austin Advantage 1 Insurance Agency

Mike Mages Strack Companies

Lisa Vouk InteleCONNECT, Inc.

Whitney Bina St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce

Bobbie Mattison Catholic Charities

John Waletzko Winkelman Building Corp.

Matt Binsfeld Park Industries, Inc.

Eve Miller Bernick's

Brian Weappa Northland Capital Financial Services, LLC

Anita Chisholm Times Media

Amber Morrighan The Village Family Service Center

Aaron Decker Franz Hultgren Evenson, P.A.

Amanda Morrison Sysco

Jordan Garcia GNP Company

David O'Keefe Netgain

Tony Herbst Park Industries, Inc.

Anne Pressnall Ben's Structural Fabrication, Inc.

Lloyd Keli Capital One

Jason Primus BerganKDV

Matt Knutson Winkelman Building Corp.

Nicole Spier MCI Carpet One Floor & Home

Samantha Kohout Schlenner Wenner & Co.

Brad Steele St. Cloud VA Health Care System

Donella Westphal Your Creative

DID YOU KNOW? St. Cloud Area Leadership is designed to help current and emerging leaders understand the dynamics of the community and the role leadership shares in building healthy communities. This program brings together men and women of diverse backgrounds who share a common commitment to the future of the St. Cloud area.


ABOUT THE LEADERSHIP CLASS

IN THE KNOW

Grooms leaders who will contribute to your company.

Helps employees develop greater personal vision and confidence.

Provides professional networking opportunities and enhanced community connections.

Reinforces skills and imparts new knowledge to employees.

Provides greater understanding and a broader perspective of key issues in Central Minnesota.

Patrick Hollermann, Park Industries ____________ Chair, St. Cloud Area Chamber Leadership Program (320) 251-5077 phollermann@parkindustries.com

Encourages networking among emerging and established leaders.

____________

April Diederich,

How to Apply

Proviant Group ____________

Applications for the Leadership program are available online at StCloudAreaChamber.com, select “Programs” then “Leadership Development.” Applications must be submitted by May 31 to the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 487, St. Cloud, MN 56302. Individuals who represent an ethnic/minority community perspective are encouraged to apply.

Vice Chair, St. Cloud Area Chamber Leadership Program (320) 654-6715 april.m.diederich@ampf.com

____________

For more information about participating in the 2017-18 St. Cloud Area Leadership program, call Gail Ivers at 320-656-3809 or givers@StCloudAreaChamber.com.

____________

Unchanging care for life’s many changes. Change is a part of life. Sometimes it’s even the best part, like when a family tree grows a new branch with the addition of a healthy bundle of joy. Sometimes it’s more concerning, like changes in our bodies as we age or the suspicion of an urgent medical condition. No matter what change may come, the doctors and specialists of St. Cloud Medical Group are here to help you along the way. Times might change, but it’s our genuine care that stays the same.

South Campus

Northwest Campus

320-251-8181

320-202-8949

Clearwater Clinic

Cold Spring Clinic

320-558-2293

320-685-8641

Family Medicine + OB/GYN + Pediatrics + Express Care + Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation + Occupational Medicine + Surgery

StCloudMedical.com M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7 //

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UpFront GETTING GOING

NEWS REEL KRAMER RECOGNIZED James Kramer III, a financial advisor with Kramer Financial, was named a top LPL Financial advisor in 2017. He was also named to the 2017 Patriot’s Club. Less than 8 percent of LPL Financial’s 14,000 advisors nationwide are presented with this award.

The Tie that Binds

When dealing with clients – and potential clients – keep in mind that it’s their culture that matters. By Greg Vandal

MATHEW HALL HIRES, PROMOTES Mathew Hall hired the following individuals: • Kelli Bergen, manager of lighting and flooring department • Tony Santa Lucia, controller for business administration • Cecealia Schultz, designer, interiors department The company also promoted the following people: • Anna Hall Klaers, lead material estimators in contractor sales • Calvin Fischer, general manager of the components division

LOCAL COMPANIES HIGHLIGHTED IN “BEST OF” LIST Several Central Minnesota businesses made the list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For,” presented by Minnesota Business magazine. The “100 Best” were determined by the resulting scores of an anonymous online questionnaire filled out by the employees of each participating company that asked them to rate their companies in the areas of work environment, employee benefits, and overall employee happiness. This year's list includes the Central Minnesota Credit Union, Conway Deuth & Schmiesing, DAYTA Marketing, Innovative Office Solutions, Schuler Shoes, and Stearns Bank.

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Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7

M

y wife and nearly every person who knows me would confirm that I am not a fashionista. Indeed, while I wore a tie nearly every day of my 25 years as a school administrator, I must have asked Jan most of those mornings if the things I picked out actually matched. She constantly threatened to sew color-coded labels into my clothes so I could easily figure this out for myself. I’ve discovered along the way that a tie is not always required, in fact, it sometimes gets in the way. A guy (any guy) in a suit does not necessarily impress every crowd. This was brought home vividly a couple of years back in a consultation job with a

small, rural school district that engaged me to help them with a superintendent search. Picture three board members – a small business owner, a local cop, and a farmer – looking out the Board Room window into the parking lot as one candidate pulled up, got out of the car, and approached the school for his interview. The prospect arrived in a shiny Lincoln coupe and he straightened his knee length wool topcoat before he headed for the door in a stylish suit. These three – good people all – couldn’t resist making a crack about how that particular candidate certainly didn’t look like he fit the culture of their community.

I could have argued that the automobile probably cost less than many of the pickup trucks in that same parking lot or that the wool coat could have been picked up for less than a good fleece lined parka. But it wouldn’t have mattered, for the concern wasn’t about economics; it was about image, and the one that was being projected was far different than that which was desired. For a host of reasons – the image thing being only one of them – that candidate did not prevail in that search. Client discernment is the key. The people who hire folks like me are clearly looking for a measure of competency and they want quality in the work. Many of them, though, are also looking for how a person fits with the culture of the organization in question. Of course, this can be extremely unfair and even illegal if it is based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, or disability. Those things aside, the discerning person had best take care not to appear so much the outlier that none of the other positive attributes brought in the door are given enough credit in the comparison.

contributor Greg Vandal is the sole proprietor of Vox Liberi, a consulting business that delivers planning and project management services to clients in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. He can be reached at greg.vandal@voxliberi.com.


TOP HATS: NEW BUSINESSES

Revolver Studios, LLC, an adult dance and wellness studio offering ballet, yoga, burlesque, belly dance, hula hoop and more, 628 9th Ave. S, St. Cloud. Pictured: Rory Cruser, Scarlette Revolver, Bernie Perryman.

Ron’s Help, LLC., experience in heating, air-conditioning, appliance repair, general plumbing and electrical, 2008 Shannon Dr, St. Cloud. Pictured: Chris Panek, Ron Thompson, Amanda Groethe.

Riddler’s Escape, LLC, a live-action experience. Using teamwork, groups work together to unravel the clues to solve a mystery within 60 minutes, 510 25th Ave. N, suite 8, St. Cloud. Pictured: Brian Jarl, Dan Swanson, Amie Kirby, Matt Knutson.

Kensington Bank, a bank and loan production office, 501 W St. Germain Street, St. Cloud. Pictured: Brenda Eisenschenk, Tammy Simon, Dan Robertson, Sarah Moe, Rory Cruser.

TOP HATS: NEW MEMBERS Central MN Mental Health Center, a non-profit organization providing a wide array of mental health services to meet diverse community needs. All residents of Benton, Sherburne, Stearns and Wright counties are eligible for services, 3333 W Division Street, St. Cloud. Pictured: Sheri Moran, Bree Frantesl, Dr. Rick Lee, Matt Knutson.

Voigt’s Bus Service, offering bus transportation, 24243 County Road 7, St. Augusta. Pictured: Inese Mehr, Lea McStott, Troy Voigt, Roger Schleper.

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M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7 //

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UpFront DO IT NOW!

NEWS REEL PEICHEL JOINS CREDIT UNION

Turn your thoughts around: Positive self talk leads to improved productivity

Ali Peichel joined the St. Cloud Federal Credit Union as the mortgage manager. In her position, Peichel is accountable for enhancing the member experience, as well as employee and organizational efficiencies in the mortgage channel. She will also analyze the product portfolio to identify opportunities for a more robust mortgage program.

1 Catch your negative self talk and turn it into a positive. Be aware of what you’re saying to yourself. Instead of ‘I’ll never get it done’ tell yourself ‘I’ll get done what I need to.’ 2 Take time out to re-focus and connect. Just because your day started out badly doesn’t mean it has to end badly. “Clear your mind and re-focus on what you need to get done rather than trying to do everything all at once.”

CHAMBER’S CVB WINS TOP AWARD The St. Cloud Area Chamber’s Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) won the “2016 Best Convention and Visitors Bureau” (25,000-80,000 population) from Minnesota Meetings + Events in April. The magazine polls its readers annually to find out what they consider the best places, people and things in Minnesota. The area’s central location, big-city amenities and small town feel were cited as reasons St. Cloud came out on top. The St. Cloud Area CVB took the honors over runners-up Roseville and St. Louis Park.

PROCESSPRO RECOGNIZED ProcessPro, a local midmarket ERP software solution company, was named one of the 10 Food and Beverage Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2017 by Insights Success Magazine. ProcessPro’s General Manager, Joe Blauert, was recognized for being a mission-driven successful pioneer and ‘Pursuer of Excellence’ in the food and beverage marketplace. Newsreel is compiled by Whitney Bina. For consideration in News Reel send your news release to givers@StCloudAreaChamber.com

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"I’ve got too much to do." “I’m never going to get it all done.” “There’s not enough time today.” We have all uttered these phrases as we try to juggle our time at work and at home. But although they may be true some days, this negative self talk can quickly reverse your motivation and energy and make you feel tense, worried, stressed and overwhelmed. This stress can lead to procrastination, and once you head down this slippery slope, you really don’t have enough time in

your day to accomplish all of your tasks. “The way we talk to ourselves can have a profound effect on so many things from our self esteem, our confidence, and of course how we manage our day,” Barbara Nixon, leadership coach, says. “But for so many of us, it’s just something that we do thinking we’re spurring ourselves on, rather than thinking it could be having a detrimental effect.” Nixon suggests taking the following steps to turn negative self talk around:

3 Be realistic. “You can’t squeeze a hundred marshmallows into your mouth at once, so why even try?” Likewise, you cannot accomplish everything in one day. 4 Make a list of what you’ve actually got done as well as what you’ve got to do. Celebrate your accomplishments before you move on to the next project. Source: “How your self talk is wasting your time,” Barbara Nixon, barbaranixon.co.uk

IN THE NEWS

"A" for Cancer treatment

Coborn Cancer Center received a three-year accreditation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. The Commission on Cancer also awarded Coborn Cancer Center an Outstanding Achievement Award, which recognizes cancer programs that strive for excellence in demonstrating compliance with the Commission. Coborn Cancer Center is the only cancer program in Minnesota to achieve this designation for four consecutive surveys.


TOP HATS: NEW MEMBERS

Rebecca Cooks, in-home personal cooking service, family and business events, and culinary education and custom baking, 1520 E Highway 23, St. Cloud. Pictured: Sheri Moran, Rebecca Telfair, Roger Schleper.

Network Center, Inc. specializes in specific tech solutions/services/ support, 3487 University Drive S, Fargo. Pictured: Kris Hellickson, Ashley Dyste, Jason Bernick.

Viking Electric Supply, serving the Upper Midwest electrical industry, distributing products from over 400 manufacturers, 625 1st Street S, Waite Park. Pictured: Sheri Moran, Eric Engstrom, Matt Knutson.

Time Communications, provides call center solutions 24 hours a day, seven days a week for big and small businesses, 300 33rd Ave. S, suite 101, Waite Park. Pictured: Diane Diego Ohmann, Priscilla Lessard, Anjie Scott, Crystal Scott, Brian Jarl.

Signature Training Solutions, partners with organizations to improve human performance through strategic initiatives using customized training and development strategies, 13151 Carole Court, Becker. Pictured: Matt Knutson, Donelle Hintermeister, Sheri Moran.

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, a Midwest grocery chain that specializes in fresh, natural and local items at good-for-the-soul prices, 40 2nd Street S, Waite Park. Pictured: Inese Mehr, Laurie Rejzer, Joe Henke, Jim Erickson, Tammy Buttweiler.

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UpFront

TOP HATS: MILESTONES

BCCalendar GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

u

MAY/JUNE 2017

CAN’ T M IS S O PPO RT U NIT IES TO INF LU E NC E , PRO M OT E , A ND L E AR N . Visit StCloudAreaChamber.com for the most current and detailed calendar. SPOTLIGHT Celebrating 20 years Virnig Painting Company, celebrating 20 years as a Chamber member, provides commercial/industrial painting, epoxy floors, metal roof coatings, and wall covering, 65 43rd Street NE, Sauk Rapids. Pictured: Matt Knutson, Karen Virnig, Patrick Virnig, Karen Holtaus, Diane Diego Ohmann.

TUESDAY, JUNE 6

NEW MEMBER RECEPTION For new and existing members who wish to learn more about the opportunities available to them through their membership in the Chamber of Commerce. 7:30 – 9 a.m. at the Chamber office.* Followed by a 30 minute optional briefing with tips on how to use the Chamber’s website and social media. There is no cost to attend but reservations are required by Monday, June 5.

Celebrating 20 years Country Manor Health Care Campus provides nursing home care, rehab, senior housing, assisted living, subacute care, child care, and pharmacy, is celebrating 20 years as a Chamber member, 520 1st Street NE, Sartell. Pictured: Peg Imholte, Timothy Fenstad, Becky Frericks, Brian Kelm, Kevin Harguth, Sheri Moran.

Celebrating 20 years American Legal Publications, employee benefit law publications, seminars and consulting is celebrating 20 years as a Chamber member, 606 25th Ave. S, Suite 108, St. Cloud. Pictured: Sheri Moran, Mike Paquette, Matt Knutson.

MAY 2

Business Awards Luncheon Annual luncheon honoring the business awards recipients. This year, Kevin Johnson, K. Johnson Construction is the St. Cloud Area Small Business of the Year recipient; Nick Barth and Matt Studer, co-founders of Beaver Island Brewing Co. are the Emerging Entrepreneurs of the Year; and Doug Bischoff, Design Electric, is the Business Central Mark of Excellence Entrepreneurial Success recipient. Registration required: $22 for Chamber members; $33 for the general public. May 2: Hosted by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of

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Commerce at the Holiday Inn & Suites, 75 37th Ave. S, St. Cloud.

MAY 3 & JUNE 7

Lunchtime Learning Educational networking events that give busy professionals a chance to stay on the cutting edge. Meets the first Wednesday of the month, noon-1 p.m., at the Chamber office*. Registration is required: $15 for Chamber members, $22 for the general public. May 3: Sponsored by Plaza Park Bank with James Ringwald, BerganKDV, presenting “Valuing a Business: Considerations, Expectations and Opportunities.”

June 7: “All Stressed Up with No Place to Go!” presented by Dave Faust, Stonehouse Resources, sponsored by Pro Staff.

MAY 9 & JUNE 13

NEXT – Chamber’s Emerging Leaders Offers professional development, leadership and networking opportunities for emerging leaders in Central Minnesota. Meets the second Tuesday of every month, noon1 p.m. Cost is $195 for an annual membership. Register to Whitney, wbina@ StCloudAreaChamber.com. May 9 June 13


MAY 11 & 25, JUNE 8

MAY 12 & JUNE 9

Business After Hours

Government Affairs

A complimentary open house for Chamber members and guests. Bring lots of business cards and prepare to grow your network! 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.

A discussion of local government issues on the second Friday of the month, 7:30 - 9 a.m. May 12: Chamber office*.

May 11: Hosted by The Holiday Inn, 75 37th Ave. S, St. Cloud. May 25: Sauk Rapids Chamber Business After Hours hosted by Rice Companies, 1019 Industrial Dr. S, Sauk Rapids.

June 9: Legislative Connections: SessionWrap-up with state legislators at Automotive Parts Headquarters, 2959 Clearwater Rd., St. Cloud.

MAY 17 & JUNE 21 June 8: Hosted by D. J. Bitzan Jewelers, 203 Waite Ave. N, Waite Park.

Waite Park Chamber For businesses interested in Waite Park community issues.

Lunch is provided by the host when you register at least two days in advance. 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. May 17: Business showcase featuring 12 Waite Park businesses, at Pizza Ranch, 110 2nd St. S, #119, Waite Park. June 21: Hosted by The St. Cloud Rox at Joe Faber Field, 5001 Veterans Dr., St. Cloud.

MAY 24 & JUNE 28

Sauk Rapids Chamber For businesses interested in Sauk Rapids community issues. Lunch is provided by the host when you register at least two days in advance. Meetings are held at the Sauk Rapids Government Center, 250 Summit Ave. N,

Sauk Rapids, from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. May 24: Hosted by Urban Lodge Brewery & Restaurant, on-site at 415 N Benton Dr., Sauk Rapids, with a presentation called “Finding Your Why” by Kalie Schuster, Leighton Enterprises. June 28: Hosted by St. Cloud State University on-site at 720 4th Ave. S, St. Cloud, with a “Workforce Overview” presented by Brad Durfee, DEED. *The St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce is located at 1411 W St. Germain Street, suite 101. For information on these or other business events, call 320-251-2940.

JUNE 20 – 21, 2017 | GRAND CASINO HINCKLEY | HINCKLEY, MN

M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7 //

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UpFront THE TROUBLE WITH BUSINESS

Collecting Debt

TOP HATS: MILESTONES

When all else fails, collection agencies and attorneys can help return revenue to your business. By mary macdonell belisle

Celebrating 25 years Playhouse Child Care, an educational child care center providing learning opportunities and play for children six weeks to school age, is celebrating 25 years as a Chamber member, 209 2nd Street, Sartell. Pictured: Peg Imholte, Diane Mendel, Angie Stommes, Melody Peterson, Kristen Vosberg, Erik Hanson.

S

“ Celebrating 20 years Advantage 1 Insurance Agency2nd Street, an independent insurance agency, celebrating 20 years as a Chamber member, 4191 2nd Street S, St. Cloud. Pictured: Liz Kellner, Brian Jarl, Owen Peterson, Amanda Groethe.

Celebrating 20 years Brenny Transportation, Inc., celebrating 20 years as a Chamber member, provides asset based 3 PL transportation and warehouse solutions worldwide, 8505 Ridgewood Road, St. Joseph. Pictured: Tammy Buttweiler, Bonnie Supan, Joyce Brenny, Todd Brenny, Jayne Greeney Schill.

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trong arming” is not the way to collect a debt. There are legal ramifications for threatening behaviors, and public relations pitfalls to arm twisting in this age of social media. But businesses don’t have to take it on the chin when their invoices, calls, demand letters, and requests from the company’s lawyer fail to prompt payment for legitimate work or products. Companies can use a collection agency or a debt collection lawyer to deal with their debtors. Individuals don’t pay because they: 1) don’t believe they owe the debt;

2) don’t understand the nature of the debt; 3) have financial hardship; 4) won’t pay. The collection strategy for each can be as unique as the individual. According to an Ernst & Young survey in 2013, $55.2 billion in debt was returned through collection. Of this, 37.9 percent was health care, 25.2 percent student loan debt, 12.9 percent financial services, followed by 3.1 percent retail and telecom. Debt collectors and lawyers have the expertise to handle all debt types. A debt collection agency can provide results. They possess resources their

clients don’t––more access to debtor information, technologies to locate debtors, state-of-the-art telephone technology to communicate with debtors, and personnel experienced in skip tracing. They free up business owners’ time so they can take care of the day-today work. Debt collectors consistently engage in the collection effort. They can be more assertive than the business cares to be. Collection agencies know about the legalities of their activities, and therefore, are licensed and follow state and federal guidelines. Agencies provide detailed documentation records of their activities. It is often, though not always, less expensive to engage a lawyer or collection agency than using in-house personnel to dog a debt, according to St. Cloud attorney Lori Athmann, of Jovanovich, Kadlec, & Athmann. Debt collection professionals receive a percentage (contingency fee) of whatever debt they collect, ranging from 25 to 50 percent, so businesses should consider the ROI as

contributor Mary MacDonell Belisle is a copy and content writer, located in St. Cloud. Her business is called mary macdonell belisle – wording for you. She’s been in business since 2007.


We’re #1! Stearns Bank is ranked number one among the nation’s top-performing community banks by The Independent Community Bankers of America. Based on Return on Average Assets among community banks with $1 billion or more in assets. NATION’S TOP-PERFORMING COMMUNITY BANK – ICBA –

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well as the ramifications of turning over an account to collection. Suffice it to say, the customer will be lost to the business once the account goes to collection. From the get-go, it’s important for the business to be committed to going to court if it brings a debt collection lawyer into the mix. The advantage to hiring a debt collection attorney, Athmann said, is that a lawyer can “throw a wider net” and provide more remedies for the business. A lawyer can facilitate a negotiated settlement between the business and the debtor, or the business can bring a complaint (suit) against the debtor. Wage garnishment, a lien on the debtor’s bank account, or even seizure of property is possible when judicial action is taken in Small Claims Court (debt under $15,000) or District Court (debt over $15,000). A debt lawyer will craft the paperwork and appear with a representative of the business. Since this is a “one-shot-deal” for the business, it’s good to have a lawyer standing by in the courtroom. Lawyers know the law so they can respond on the spot to the debtor’s argument, Athmann said. And because a judgement against a debtor remains in effect for 10 years, there is a possibility that five years down the road there may be a remedy. A debtor in one of Athmann’s cases eventually won the Lottery and paid off the creditor! For the other 99.99 percent of creditors whose problems won’t be solved by the Lottery, there is debt collection. Collection agencies and debt collection lawyers can help return revenue to the business, thus ensuring the business will stay viable and that the debtor will be treated fairly as well.

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COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION PROJECT MANAGEMENT REAL ESTATE SERVICES St. Cloud, MN | 320.251.5933 | StrackCompanies.com

M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7 //

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UpFront REGIONAL ROUNDUP

Under Construction

Commercial development in Waite Park eclipses previous years.

2016

was a good year for commercial construction in Waite Park. With 10 new commercial buildings starting construction, the total investment exceeded $27 million. That compares to three new commercial buildings in 2015 resulting in an investment of $2.4 million. Unexpected Obstacles As cities expand, they expect to run into obstacles. Sewer and water, boundary lines, and city services are common issues. But in Waite Park an unexpected challenge has resulted from the orderly annexation of St. Joseph Township. The Post Office has authority over addressing properties. They provided updated street addresses for the new properties to align them with the street grid in the City of Waite Park, but they are not willing to change the zip code. Currently these properties have a St. Cloud zip code and a Waite Park street

address. This creates package delivery and mail problems for property owners. City officials plan to appeal this decision in 2017 in an attempt to have the entire address updated to Waite Park. Land Use Study In partnership with St. Cloud State University, the city has spent two years developing a land use study. Recommendations from the study include: W Transform Waite Park into the Minnesota community that is most welcoming to seniors. W Become a magnet for the region’s foreign born population by embracing the economic, social, and cultural potential of immigrants and the long-term potential they represent. W Use public policy to encourage home ownership, workforce development, entrepreneurship,12%and educational attainment to help 10% integrate immigrants into the 8% community.

One of the challenges raised by the land use survey is the large number of rental properties in Waite Park. W Undertake a community beautification initiative. W Acquire a reputation as a recreational destination. One of the challenges raised by the land use survey is the large number of rental properties in Waite Park. The city currently has over 200 rental properties with over 2,000 rental units. These include apartment complexes and single family homes. Rental properties tend to require more service from both the police and fire departments and generate the most property complaints. During 2017 the city administration will look at ways to proactively address demand for services and the possibility of placing a moratorium on rental properties, while encouraging more home ownership.

6%

4%

BY THE NUMBERS

2%

The face of the region is changing! 0

Waite Park

St. Cloud

Sartell

Sauk Rapids

St. Joseph

Percent of foreign-born residents by population

Percent of population aged 65 or better

12%

20%

Minnesota

11.7% 17.4%

10% 15% 8%

7.4%

6.7%

6%

4%

0

2.8%

2.6%

St. Cloud

Sartell

Sauk Rapids

20%

15%

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Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7 10%

St. Joseph

10.2%

10.8%

5%

0 Waite Park

10.3%

7.9%

4.5%

2%

12.9% 10%

Minnesota

Waite Park

St. Cloud

Sartell

Sauk Rapids

St. Joseph

Minnesota

Public Works One of the steps being taken to make Waite Park a recreation destination is planning for a 40005000 seat amphitheater at the old Transformer Quarry. Construction on this unique project is planned for 2018 with a grand opening in 2019. ONGOING

Public works projects planned for 2017 include: Finishing construction of the new public works facility and determining the best use of the old facility ––––– Completing the pickle ball courts in River’s Edge Park ––––– Connecting the Lake Wobegon Trail between St. Joseph and Waite Park ––––– Locating and drilling a new well ––––– Evaluating the current library facility based on anticipated growing demand for services ––––– Planning for repainting the existing water towers ––––– Remodeling the city council chambers for audio-visual and security improvements


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Who’s new to Waite Park? 100-unit Hilton Garden Inn ––––– 100-unit Residence Inn ––––– 25,000 square-foot Conference Center ––––– A new Waite Park Public Works building ––––– Hobby Lobby ––––– Luther Honda ––––– 5 Below ––––– Dick’s Sporting Goods ––––– Mattress Firm ––––– Fresh Thyme ––––– Kwik Trip on 10th Avenue, with a second one scheduled for Great Oak Drive ––––– Ms. Melinda’s Dance Studio ––––– Granite City Family and Cosmetic Dentistry ––––– District 742 Early Childhood building adjacent to Discovery School.

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UpFront

NetworkCentral GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

u

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

GROW

The annual Business Education & Technology Workshop and Expo provided a variety of outstanding educational workshops, a keynote speaker, and an information-filled exhibit hall.

Erin Borron, DAYTA Marketing, discusses “Organic Growth: Sustainable Website Practices”

Vendor Michael McLaughlin, Screen Time Indoor Billboards and Julia Krengel, The Perfect Fit

Mike Roth, Reventus, discusses why some people perform better than others at certain tasks.

NETWORK

Business After Hours at American Heritage Bank Christine Stuttgen, Christine's Sweet Confections, and Dan Stuttgen, Beaver Island Brewing Co.

Scott Schmitt, Coldwell Banker Commercial Orion (L), and Kevin Springer, Lamar Advertising Steve Greenfield, Greenfield Communications

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Keynote speaker Jerrid Sebesta speaks to a packed house.

Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7


NETWORK

Business After Hours at the St. Cloud Technical and Community College (SCTCC)

Arlene Williams, SCTCC (L); Jim Staska, Executive Express; and Katie Staska

Bernie Perryman, Batteries Plus Bulbs, (L) and Lisa Vouk, InteleCONNECT

Cindy Battleson, Rapids Alterations (left); Hudda Ibrahim and Sangeeta Jha, SCTCC

Patrick Hollermann, Park Industries; John Schroeder, Townsquare Media; and Deanne Hollermann, Catholic Charities

Donna and Bill Landwehr, Goodin Co.

Katie Anderson, Rasmussen, (L) and Anne Pressnall, Ben's Structural Fabrication

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M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7 //

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InSIDE THIS ISSUE: Management Toolkit Entreprenuerism • Tech Strategies

BUSINESS TOOLS GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

u

Working Well • Economy Central by Falcon Bank uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

RESOURCES THAT HELP YOUR BUSINESS GROW

MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT

Push or Pull?

Focusing on the intent behind a process and the people who will ultimately experience it, are the first steps toward good design. By Ryan McCormick

I

t surrounds us every moment of every day, but we often do not give it the consideration it deserves. We rarely notice when it is good, but we cannot miss when it is bad. It is design and, when carefully considered, it can have some very real benefits for both your home and business. There are many definitions of design but, put simply, it is the idea behind an object or process. Focusing on the intent

behind an object or process and the people who will ultimately experience it, are the first steps toward good design. When this happens, design can be so effectively applied that the user will not even consider it or notice it. This is true both virtually and physically. For example, if you visit a new website for the first time, and immediately know where to find the information you are looking

for, if you intuitively know where to click, you are experiencing good design. Conversely, if you find yourself waiting in a long, slow moving line, it is possible you are experiencing a poorly designed process. Design is for everyone and can have value anywhere. In his book, “The Design of Everyday Things,” Don Norman provides an easy to read overview of the subject with many examples of good, and bad, design. One of Norman’s favorite targets of bad design is doors. Why do we so often push when we need to pull? And why does such a problem seem so difficult to resolve? From seemingly simple issues to the more complex, Norman provides the reader a greater understanding and appreciation of the subject and how it might be applied in many environments. Design is a large subject and can involve many disciplines. There are also many associated concepts. For instance, Universal Design seeks to create objects (including buildings) and processes that are accessible to

contributor Ryan McCormick is patron services supervisor at the Great River Regional Library; griver.org

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Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7

Above all, good design has the potential to increase user efficiency and satisfaction, providing solutions to various challenges.

everyone, regardless of ability. Examples include web pages compatible with text-to-speech software for those with visual impairments and curb cuts in sidewalks for increased mobility. Universal Design often takes on added importance in areas with aging populations. Above all, good design has the potential to increase user efficiency and satisfaction, providing solutions to various challenges. As such, it has found a home in the business world with many universities offering coursework in Design Thinking. For those interested in pursuing more information on their own, Lynda.com offers a number of courses on design, design thinking, and other associated concepts. It is available through the Great River Regional Library System, as are Don Norman’s book and many professional journal articles. Learn more at griver.org


WORKING WELL

Digital Wellbeing

G

iven the high impact of stress on health care costs, individuals and corporations are aggressively seeking solutions that are affordable, scalable, and accessible — something technology does best. The rise of TransTech is the result of 1 need and desire for positive mental and emotional outcomes fueling demand for new, cheap, solutions 2 the confluence of

Transformative Technology, or TransTech, is science-based technology that has a significant impact on mental and emotional wellbeing. Source: Crunch Network

exponential technology and advances in medicine and biology driving down sensor and platform prices and raising utility 3 social trends such as U.S. millennials prioritizing well-being so much that they spend one-quarter of their disposable income on it and baby boomers who are willing to pay almost anything to maintain cognitive levels. Whether we are seeking to feel happy,

or connected, change bad habits into better ones, or have a healthy brain as we age, or if we are trying to solve problems like stress, anxiety, loneliness, sadness, or depression, we will have a technology to support us. Though you may not recognize TransTech as an industry, you will recognize some of the early pioneers including Lumosity, Fitbit, Happify, Thalmic Labs, and Headspace.

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BusinessTools MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT

Focus! Employees face unprecedented demands on their attention, but there are steps you can take to help improve productivity. By Jill Copeland Flextime ––––––––– Family leave beyond the required federal Family and Medical Leave Act ––––––––– Telecommuting on a part-time basis ––––––––– Compressed workweeks –––––––––

T

wo of a company’s most important resources are capital and workforce. One of the most important business initiatives is to maximize the two most important resources through increased productivity. Employees need to be able to laser focus on one task, and prioritize a task list each day. To open up an email inbox or queue is to open a flood of requests and automatically shift into reactive mode. If the end of the work day brings exhaustion with little progress on important initiatives, a failure to prioritize resources has taken place. Maria Lang, recruitment coordinator, onboarding and

32

Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7

orientation specialist at Marco, a local technology provider, lives and dies by her Outlook calendar schedule. For daily task lists, she prioritizes by using Post-It Notes for those critical path items that affect other work getting done. “I may walk into the office with a plan, but it is really important to be flexible if those plans go out the window,” she said. When working on a critical project, she forwards calls to voicemail and turns off email to focus on the task at hand. “That doesn’t happen very often!” she admits. Lang relegates her social media interactions to outside of work, and conscientiously

monitors how much attention it takes away from her home life. “If I find myself getting distracted, I put my phone away until my child goes to bed,” she said. Adjusting the levers on productivity The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Work/Life Balance Study by Nancy Lockwood found work-life initiatives closely align with employee productivity. Employee motivation was evaluated by following top-rated benefits: ––––––––– Dependent care flexible spending accounts

Employee bonding and relationship-building is also an important factor in worker satisfaction, according to SHRM’s Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement report. Workplace friendships and activities can result in a happier and more cooperative workplace. Lang says Marco firmly believes employees are motivated when they feel appreciated. The Marco C.A.R.E. (Customers Are Really Everything) program awards employees for exceptional performance and provides consistent and positive feedback and recognition. “It provides that extra motivation for employees to do their absolute best for each customer each day.” Tools to increase productivity While technology opens the floodgates of information, technology can also be used to monitor and track productivity. The application RescueTime tracks an individual’s overall use of tools, apps, and data leading to important insights, such as how many hours are spent checking emails, text


messaging or using social networking sites. With knowledge about their own habits and behaviors, employees can intentionally focus their time and energy. Turn off disruptive alerts temporarily when working on an important project, or completely uninstall certain apps or services that offer distracting

information on a phone’s homepage, such as Apple’s News App. These common services are highly disruptive when allowed to send real-time notifications. Set small goals, and build in simple rewards for spending a fixed amount of time on a difficult project. Apps like Punch allow you to “clock in”

when you start a project, “break” when you need to use the restroom or eat, and “clock out” when you are finished. Start small with many breaks, and work up to longer stretches. With a few small changes, both employees and employers stand to benefit from gains in productivity. The most immediate rewards for employers

are greater output and employee satisfaction. The greatest reward for employees is a tangible increase in the most precious of their resources, time. Jill Copeland is a senior media analyst with SAP SuccessFactors, global provider of cloud-based human capital management (HCM) software.

TECH NEWS

Security Threats Computer hacks are becoming so common we’re starting to expect them with every news cycle. Before you become too cynical, the folks at Wired have a few new ones to consider: Weaponized consumer drones

Clashes with law enforcement over iPhone encryption

Source: Wired

Russian hackers and data sabotage or attacks on physical infrastructure

Expanded ransomware targets, coordination, and demands

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BusinessTools TECH STRATEGIES

Staying Relevant

Social media is changing. Is your strategy changing with it?

S

ocial media has evolved from an intimate network reserved for young, tech-savvy extroverts to a communication tool integrated into the everyday life of most Americans. This year, Facebook continues to lead in its efforts to revolutionize the social experience – with the help of its social sister, Instagram. Social media has gone well beyond creating profiles and connecting with other users. Here’s a look at some key social media trends worth considering to keep your strategy relevant and meaningful: Live Video Social media was built on a desire to capture and connect

on the everyday moments – in real time. Last year, real-time became literal with the launch of Facebook Live, a new tool that allows users to stream video on their feed and elevates engagement received through likes, comments and shares. Facebook also made the technology available to some users on Instagram through the stories feature in 2016 with plans to expand in 2017. If you haven’t “gone live” on your organization’s Facebook page yet, it’s time to take action. Leverage it and you’ll see the return. Visual Storytelling Even before social media and the 24-hour news cycle bombardment of news and

By Dawn Zimmerman

information, the studies were clear: Images capture the attention. Storytelling is not limited to the written word, no matter how carefully or cleverly crafted that post is. From images to videos, posts need to visually tell the story, too. What would it look like to take your content completely visual? Imagine the possibilities and make visual storytelling a priority. Facial Filters Snapchat first introduced the world to facial filters in 2015, with the help of artificial intelligence lenses, and last year allowed users to draw their own. Facebook also has started testing the concept and acquired Masquerade, a live

contributor Dawn Zimmerman is CEO of The Write Advantage, a St. Cloud-based communications company that specializes in social media.

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Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7

filter and selfie app for live streaming video. The advent of augmented reality technology advances social media’s evolution from sharing information with a targeted group of people to sharing experiences. And it often infuses fun and humor in the process, which tend to perform well on social media. Instagram I often am asked, “What’s one social media platform to watch?” My answer this year: Instagram. Snapchat certainly is the fastest-growing among younger generations and seeing increasing adoption among older users, too. But most organizations will be able to better leverage Instagram. It has the power of Facebook behind it, which already has shown its stronghold on the market. Last July, Instagram grew to 500 million users – a 100 million jump in less than a year. It is built on visual storytelling. Last year, it launched a new feature called Instagram Stories. Pulled from Snapchat’s playbook, Instagram Stories allows users to post and share videos or photos with their followers for 24 hours before they disappear. Once recorded, users can add notes, comments, stickers or drawings. Within the first two months of launching, Instagram Stories engaged nearly 100 million daily active users. The common theme for this year: Go visual. The true value of social media comes when organizations step out of the norm from sharing information to sharing experiences with their followers.


TECH NEWS

I can hear you‌

Brain-to-brain communication is already happening in studies with rats, mice and monkeys, and in a limited way with humans as well. It may not be mind reading yet, but researchers have bridged the chasm between brains in a way that didn't seem possible until recently. The most notable non-invasive study involving humans, so far, showed that people sitting in different rooms can play a simple computer game together by using equipment that enables each person to "communicate" information via brain waves. Source: Forbes

REMEMBER THE JETSONS? From Dubai comes flying drone taxis, straight out of the 1962 cartoon. The Ehang 184 is a drone that can carry one passenger with a max weight of 220 pounds, for a distance of 31 miles on one charge and at a top speed of 100 mph. That’s plenty for short haul trips across a busy urban landscape. Dubai officials will remotely monitor the drones, and pilot them from a centralized command center. City officials say they will begin operating passenger service starting in July. Source: Techcrunch.com Watch the video at BusinessCentralMagazine.com

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BusinessTools ENTREPRENUERISM

Game Day

L

et’s pretend that one of us is the head coach of an NFL/NBA/NHL team and we are playing for the league championship two weeks from today. This is a big deal – money, prestige, bragging rights, happy owners and fans! Do we want (need) to win this game? Duh! Okay, then how do we prepare?

Creating a business plan is the first step toward creating a championship company. By Tom Schlough

By understanding the situation: • Learn all we can about our opponent: understand the team’s strategy – what they do in given situations, identify their strengths and their weaknesses. • Know ourselves: recognize our strengths and weaknesses. • Imagine game situations – on offense and on defense. Craft

UPCOMING FORUMS: 7 Habits for Managers - July 17-19 Marketing - August 28-30 Management - September 11-15 Strategy - October 23-27

strategies, develop plays to mitigate our weaknesses and capitalize on our strengths. • Identify signals that our opponent sends that can tell us what to expect. • Run game situations in practice. Coach our players to deal with them. • Keep our emotions and attitudes in the right place.

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Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7

Let’s say that we’ve done a good job preparing our team for this game. Everyone is healthy and raring to go. What else do we need? When we watch an NFL game, we often see the head coach on the sidelines with a clip board or a big sheet of paper. We see camera shots of coaches in the boxes and coaches on the sidelines talking with players. It’s important that the coaches and players are thinking alike and working together. What is it that brings them together? It’s the game plan. If you were taking your team into the championship game against the second-best team in the league, you’d have a game plan, right? Okay – enough of that. We want to think about starting a business, or operating one, or maybe buying one. Is this a big deal – more important than our favorite team winning the championship? I think so. A win with our business can provide huge rewards for

BusinessCentral Magazine.com


It’s the game plan. If you were taking your team into the championship game against the second-best team in the league you’d have a game plan, right? many people. A loss would be devastating, both emotionally and financially. It’s prudent to anticipate upsides and downsides and prepare to deal with them before we commit all we have to the enterprise. How do we do this? For a business to take root and grow it must deliver good quality products or services that customers want or need at a fair and competitive price. This means that the business

must have essential assets and skills: • Viable products and/or services to sell • The ability to acquire or produce goods and/or deliver services (personnel and equipment) • Administrative, sales, and marketing capabilities • Facilities • Financial assets – investment and working capital • Capable management and leadership

These assets are kind of like the players, coaches, facilities and equipment in our championship game example. But, these assets are not effective without a solid game plan. After all, we’ve all seen games won or lost due to the quality of the game plan. Our business is like the game. We might have good assets and a great opportunity, but we won’t get far without a plan. Developing a business plan is not complicated;

SCORE has templates that will simplify the process. But it takes time and thought. Championship players devote themselves to practicing, planning, strategizing, and performing. How much time and effort are you willing to invest in the opportunity to start and run a successful – championship – business? Tom Schlough is chairman of the board of directors for Park Industries, a volunteer with the Central Minnesota SCORE chapter, and a retired entrepreneur.

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37 4/3/17 9:02 AM


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BusinessTools

Economy Central presented by

ECONOMY CENTRAL

The annual Winter Institute Economic Outlook suggests economic stability during 2017. By Whitney Bina

Nimantha Manamperi (L) and King Banaian, St. Cloud State University and Luke Greiner, DEED

M

innesota economic leaders gathered in February to share their predictions for 2017 at the 55th Annual Winter Institute presented by St. Cloud State University. Panel members were: King Banaian, St. Cloud State University; Luke Greiner, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED); and Nimantha Manamperi, St. Cloud State University. Economists predict economic stability and minor growth over the next year.

King Banaian, St. Cloud State University Focus: Local Economy “Last year was good, not great for our economy,” King Banaian said. Although wages rose and unemployment numbers decreased, certain industries – construction, healthcare, education, and finance – continue to grow rapidly. Others – manufacturing, professional business services, trade, transportation, and utilities – face a lack of growth. 38

Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7

One area of concern, Banaian warns, is the deficit of new startup businesses in the area. Between 2011 and 2015, seven of every eight jobs created in the St. Cloud area were by an already established firm. “Creative work is in decline, mostly because creativity is interrupted by recession,” he said. “Fewer young people identify as entrepreneurs in today’s economy.” Labor markets will remain tight throughout the year, Banaian said, leading to increases in worker wages. Although positive for employees, employers continue to face the challenge of finding skilled workers. Another challenge is the uncertainty of what U.S. economic policies will be implemented by the new administration. “The one thing Washington, D.C., can do for us is to tell us what they are going to do,” he concluded. For St. Cloud there is room to grow, and Banaian is confident that a recession is not in the works.

Luke Greiner, DEED Focus: State Economy Overall, Minnesota’s economic outlook is positive. “The recovery from the Great Recession has now stretched to over seven years, the third largest growth stretch in history,” Greiner said. “For only the second time ever, Minnesota has over 3 million workers.” However, worker shortages are a real concern for Minnesota. “We hope to gain in 15 years the same number of workers that we gained one year previously,” he said. This means employers must get creative when hiring the Millennial generation and retaining the Baby Boomers. One of the biggest economic challenges Greiner foresees is education awareness. “Two thirds of jobs open in Minnesota do not require anything more than a high school diploma,” he said. “Over 5,700 bachelor’s degree graduates are working in retail and half of them are making less than $13.81 per hour three years after graduating.”

“Educating young people on the region’s opportunities is crucial as there is currently a surplus of educated workers,” he continued. “Our challenge lies in getting students who are pursuing post-secondary education on the right educational path.”

Nimantha Manamperi, St. Cloud State University Focus: National Economy “Our nation’s economy is not too cold, not too hot, but just right,” Manamperi said. “A Goldilocks’ economy.” According to nationwide experts, the economic outlook is very healthy in 2017, he continued. Unemployment rates are near their natural level and there is not too much inflation or deflation. The Congressional Budget Office predicts strong business and residential investments in 2017. Consumer spending, however, is expected to decrease as gas and commodity prices rise. Manamperi predicts a rise in interest rates by 2 percent in 2018, leading to a modest drag on housing construction throughout the nation. Overall, 2017 will see modest economic growth and favorable labor market conditions with stronger employment. However, these predictions are subject to anticipated changes in global market conditions and new policy implementations by the new administration, he concluded. Whitney Bina is the communications and workforce development coordinator at the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce.

Photo by Tammy Anhalt-Warner

A Goldilocks’ Economy


22,907*

St. Cloud

March

December

Residential

November

September BUILDING PERMITS BY COMMUNITY

Home Sales C

2016 October

September

August

$100M

July

$80M

June

$60M

October April

May

$40M

April

$20M

March

TOTAL:$2,322,907*

February

January

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

Apr

Mar

Feb

Jan

TOTAL:$64,832,866

TOTAL:$84,908,072

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. C ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSE

2015

2016

2017*

1,151

986

Not Available

2015 August #/$ #/$ #/$ February July $21,854,833 $32,774,443 Not 2017 Available January 0

500

Sauk Rapids 321 345 16 June $15,843,450 $22,647,287.40 $1,020,300

$60M

$80M

$100M

$600k

October

BUILDING PERMITS BY COMMUNITY September

TOTAL: $2,126,350*

$94,320,804 July

2017*

Not Available

2017 Not Available

Food and Bev

ST. CLOUD 106 7 $3,9550,295.02 $1,467,940

Waite Park

140 October $18,735,131 Apr

St. Augusta

5 66 September $871,000 $0 Mar

St. Joseph

0 $0

TOTAL: 157

TOTAL: 1752

$200M

St. Cloud

151 August Feb $8,057,329

2015

71 3 $32,698,175.09 $139,500

2017

July Total as of 4/9/17 Jan *St. Cloud totals are not final for 2017 at time of print June

2000

$150M

464 $138,751,046

ST. CLOUD

#/$ #/$ #/$ August

TOTAL: 1655

TOTAL: $79,916,621

TOTAL: $2,126,350*

$100M

444

Food and Be

Commercial

1500

TOTAL: $252,216

$1.5M

TOTAL: $1,333,423

TOTAL: $1,326,730

$1.2M

$50M

2016

500

Sartell 35 33 4 November $11,485,611 $13,013,812.00 $46,210.00 May 2016

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

$0M

2015

0

Sauk Rapids 567 555 5 December $16,890,519 $15,684,403.00 $472,700 June

TOTAL: $150,360,393

Commercial Building Permits

2015

November

1000

$900k 2016

2015

December Total as of 4/9/17 January *St. Cloud totals are not final for 2017 at time of print.

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

St. Cloud data unavailable at this time.

102 6 $9,180,779.85 $1,084,328

St. Joseph 142 186 3 February $2,293,565 $4,796,650.51 $50,455

Commercial Building Permits

2017

79 $4,720,246

Home Sales Closed in St.Cloud

March

78 3 $2,197,512.66 $34,000

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

$40M

St. Augusta

2016

2017

$20M

April $1,552,641

500

$300k

$0M

Waite Park

0

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

ST. CLOUD

2015

113

2016

2017

2016

2015

$0

TOTAL:$64,832,866

2015

Sartell 329 252 17 May $18,168,133 $13,311,388.85 $133,824

2016

2017

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

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

$0M

2017

July December June

November May

Residential Building Permits

St. Cloud data unavailable at this time.

908,072

COLOR KEY:

Compiled by Kellie Libert, data current as of 4/9/17

2015 2017

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. C ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSE

Economy Central presented by August

TOTAL:$84,908,072 2016

Home Sales C

September

TOTAL:$2,322,907*

ECONOMIC INDICATORS & TRENDS 2017

October

$100M

$250M

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

832,866

26,350*

360,393

916,621

Residential Building Permits

$250M

$0

$300k

TOTAL: $150,360,393 Sources: Building departments for the following cities: St. Cloud, Sauk Rapids, Sartell, Waite Park, St. Augusta, and St. Joseph.

2016

May

2016

Unemployment Rates 2016-2017

2015

Apr

TOTAL: $79,916,621

Non FarmMarJobs

Source: www.positivelyminnesota.com

$0

December

November

1.0%

5%

October

Jan

September

August

July

June

May

$250M

Feb

April

$200M

March

December

$150M

November

October

$100M

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

January

$50M

1.5%

February

2.0%

January

6%

$0M

Source: www.positivelyminnesota.com 2015

2016 - 2017 % CHANGE

$300k

J

F

0.5% 0.0% -0.5%

4%

-1.0% -1.5% -2.0%

3% M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

J

F

-2.5% M

A

M

J

J

A

S

St. Cloud Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota United States

O

N

D

St. Cloud, MN MetroSA Minnesota United States

M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7 //

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39


2,907*

BusinessTools

08,072

32,866

$100M

6,350*

0,393

6,621

$250M

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COLOR KEY: December

ECONOMIC INDICATORS & TRENDS

November

Home Sales Closed in St.Cloud

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

December

October

December

November

October

August

September

August

July

June

May

TOTAL: 157

April

September

ST. CLOUD

October

March

February

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

January

December

November

October

D, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK,

September

August

July

June

Apr

Mar

Feb

Jan

lding Permits

May

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

September

2017

TOTAL: $252,216

July

TOTAL: $2,126,350*

August July

TOTAL: 1752

June

2017

May

2016

TOTAL: $1,333,423

June

TOTAL: $150,360,393

April May

IDEA BANK

TOTAL: 20

1000

$900k

2017 TOTAL: $1,326,730

Benton County Sheriff’s Civil Process; Stearn’s County Sheriff’s Office $0 $300k $600k $900k $1.2M Total as of 4/9/17.

2000

$1.5M

Stearns Co. 181 158 15 2015 Benton Co. 54 39 5

$1.5M

Although money is important, flexibility is crucial for Millennials. A few easy, innovative ideas owners can implement to attract Millennials include allowing workers to work from home on certain days, letting individuals set their own work hours every week, or allowing on-peak/off-peak work schedules. — Luke Greiner, DEED TOTAL: 157

2016

250

TOTAL: 1752

2015

200

TOTAL: 1655

2016 SHERIFF’S FORECLOSURE AUCTIONS Residential

TOTAL: $1,333,423

150

In order to retain the older September generation’s skilled workers, some of Minnesota’s August manufacturing companies July are implementing job sharing. TwoJune semi-retired workers eachMaywork part-time to split theApril workload and time commitments of one job. March The company benefits as it doesn’t February have a vacant job openingJanuary and older workers can work fewer hours and still get paid. 1500

100

TOTAL: $252,216

50

TOTAL: $1,333,423

TOTAL: $1,326,730

$1.2M

0

$1.5M

MILLENNIAL FLEXIBILITY

COMPANY WORKER November EXCHANGE October

TOTAL: $252,216

$1.2M

IDEA BANK

December

TOTAL: 221

2017 2014

$900k

500

$600k

2015

$600k

Total as of 4/9/17.

Food and Beverage Tax Collection TOTAL: 235 ST. CLOUD

$300k

Sources: Tax Collections – City of St. Cloud

Sheriff’s Foreclosure Auctions

2016

January

$0

Housing/Real Estate St. Cloud Area AssociationJan of Realtors, $150M $200Msources:$250M http://stcloudrealtors.com/pages/statistics. Total as of 4/9/17.

STEARNS AND BENTON COUNTIES

2015

Home Sales Closed in St.Cloud

2000

Feb

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

1500

TOTAL: $1,326,730

0

$300k

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

1000

2017

February

ST. CLOUD

500

2016

2015

2017

March

TOTAL: $79,916,621

0

2016

Apr Mar

$0

$100M

2016

2015

2015

TOTAL: 1655

Lodging Tax Dollars

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) awarded a grant for $204,492 to Waite Park for public infrastructure costs. The former 8.08-acre site of a mobile home park is being redeveloped into two hotels and a 30,000-square-foot event center. The project is expected to create 72 jobs and increase the tax base by $299,539.

Sources: Tax Collections – City of St. Cloud Total as of 4/9/17.

40

Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7

December

Waite Park receives grant

November

$2M

October

$1.5M

September

$1M

August

$500k

July

$0

June

2015

May

TOTAL: $1,454,374

April

2016

March

TOTAL: $1,508,301

February

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

January

2017

TOTAL: $227,164

January

ST. CLOUD

Economy Central presented by


Paula Capes

Debra Grant

Jessica Bitz

Kendra Berger

Caryn Stadther

FALCON NATIONAL BANK WOMEN MAKING A REAL DIFFERENCE That’s Us. Truly making a difference inside our organization and out in our communities, the women of Falcon National Bank lead with strength and trust. Bringing dedicated leadership, our team of women is here for the bank – and here for you.

Member FDIC

www.FalconNational.com


BUSINESS PERSONAL PROFILE

Kevin Johnson, 55 Owner, K. Johnson Construction; Polished Concrete Plus; Minnesota Concrete Products; Tri-County Organics Hometown: Mankato

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Family: Wife Julie; three children: Kyle, recently graduated from St. Cloud State University; Erik, graduating from Gustavus Adolphus College in spring 2017; and Sara, a sophomore at Concordia College in Moorhead

Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7

Education: Graduated, Mankato West High School Work History: Worked in his father’s concrete and masonry business through high school; started managing a

construction crew at age 17; miscellaneous farming and construction work; formally started K. Johnson Construction in 1987 Hobbies: Hunting, fishing, “Farming was my

hobby. Then it was a job. Now it’s back more to a hobby.” Enjoying the family’s 150 acres north of St. Cloud: walking, cross country skiing, collecting and making maple syrup.


O

n Christmas Eve 2014, Kevin Johnson faced a hard truth. He had been sending work crews from his company, K. Johnson Construction, to the oil fields for a year-and-a-half in order to keep business coming in during the recession. Most of them were younger guys who were not used to travel. He had heard rumors that some of them were thinking about looking for other jobs. Then, on Christmas Eve, the guys were on their way home when the truck broke down. They would not be spending Christmas with their families. This story has a happy ending. The crew was able to repair the truck and everyone made it home for Christmas. But Johnson wasn’t going to take that chance again. Recession or no recession, his guys would no longer travel. He subbed out the remaining work to a company in North Dakota and didn’t look back. “That was fine for us,” he said. “And by then things were starting to pick up a little bit in St. Cloud.”

By Gail Ivers Photos Joel Butkowski, Butkowski Digital Imaging

RECESSION The recession, which hit K. Johnson Construction in 2009, still stands out to Johnson as the biggest challenge he has faced in 30 years in business. “We were doing $4 million in revenue and it dropped like a rock,” he said. Johnson had started a company in 2004 that sold and installed insulated concrete forms. They were selling about $1 million a year of the forms in 2008. The next year sales were zero. “We closed the business,” Johnson said. “There was no work.” He called an employee meeting and told everyone that there had to be changes if the company was to survive. Everyone took a 10 percent pay cut except Johnson. He took a 30 percent cut. They eliminated all benefits except health care. Employees no longer received a travel per diem. “I don’t think we lost a single employee,” Johnson said. “I really appreciated the guys sticking with me through that.”

RECOVERY Two things happened, Johnson said, that made all the difference. First, they won a big contract for St. Cloud Hospital’s 10-story addition. “It was our biggest contract ever,” Johnson said. “Before that our biggest job was $1 million. The hospital was $3 million. It was our first time over four stories. It was our first time working with a tower crane. We laid over 493,000 bricks.” Johnson was able to add 10 employees. “That was quite a learning curve for us. But it was a great experience.” The second thing that happened was that Johnson expanded outside the company’s concrete and masonry expertise into general contracting. He started bidding on government contracts. “We bid on work everywhere,” Johnson said. “Montana, Illinois, North Dakota, Texas....” As a result they put up park

KEVIN JOHNSON DOESN’T LIKE TO BE IDLE. PERHAPS THAT’S WHY HE HAS FOUR SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES AND IS CONTEMPLATING ANOTHER EXPANSION.

BUSINESS PROFILE K. Johnson Construction 6870 Hwy 10 NW Sauk Rapids, MN 56379-9332 (320) 255-9649 Fax: (320) 255-0281 Email: kevin@kjohnsonconst.com www.kjohnsonconst.com Total number of employees: 32

President and CEO: Kevin Johnson Ownership: Kevin and Julie Johnson

FUN FACT:

Business Description: A concrete and masonry company specializing in commercial, municipal, and industrial building projects.

PROJECT TO DATE WAS THE

THEIR LARGEST MASONRY ST. CLOUD HOSPITAL PROJECT WITH OVER 493,000 BRICK. M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7 //

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TIMELINE 1979 Kevin Johnson graduates from high school and takes over running a construction crew for his father’s masonry business. 1982 Johnson moves to the St. Cloud area.

1985-86 Johnson, along with his brother, Keith, start doing residential masonry.

ADVICE TO A WOULD-BE ENTREPRENEUR Stay humble, work hard, be nice, and appreciate your employees.

1987 Kevin Johnson establishes K. Johnson Construction.

1993 K. Johnson Construction hires a full time estimator and builds an office for the company at their current location in Sauk Rapids. Until this time, Johnson and his brother have been working out of their homes.

1998-99 K. Johnson Construction secures the bid for the Sartell grade school. This solidifies the move away from residential construction and into larger and larger commercial projects.

2001 After working for his brother for 14 years, Keith Johnson moves to northern Minnesota to start his own concrete and masonry business. // Kevin Johnson and a partner purchase the Del-Win Ballroom in St. Joseph two weeks before 9/11. Johnson eventually buys out the partner and takes down the building. 2004 Johnson opens a business that sells and installs insulated concrete forms.

BUSINESS PROFILE Minnesota Concrete Products 905 35th Ave NE Sauk Rapids, MN 56379-6955 (320) 443-6030 Email: josh@mnconcrete products.com www.mnconcreteproducts.com

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shelters, installed a fire sprinkler system in a DNR building in North Dakota, and a field tank in South Dakota. “They weren’t really big jobs,” Johnson said. “Pedestrian bridges in southern Minnesota, solar wind turbines, geothermal. We got way out of our comfort zone to make it work and we got through it. We didn’t go broke. And I think the guys kind of liked it. “We were kind of winging it,” he said, then added with a little smile, “It was kind of scary and kind of exciting at the same time.” GETTING STARTED It also brought back visions of Johnson’s youth. He grew up in Mankato on the family farm. When he was very young, his family moved to Los Angeles where Johnson’s uncle had a concrete and masonry business. “My dad learned the business from him,” Johnson said. But LA was no place for a Minnesota farm boy, so the family returned to Minnesota and the family farm and Johnson's father started his own concrete and masonry business. From that point on, Johnson and his older brother, Keith, were involved in the

General Manager: Josh Theis Business Description: Manufacturer of decorative precast concrete products including fire pit tops, outdoor kitchen and bar tops, mantels Total number of employees: 12

family business. “We worked with Dad in the summers. In the winter he’d take us out of school if he needed help on a job… which I don’t think our mother liked very much.” The business flourished and the Johnson’s built a new house on the farm. “This was the mid-70s,” Johnson said. “Interest rates were 20-21 percent. By 1978-79 construction absolutely shut off.” The talk around the dinner table was about finding ways to keep the house. “My parents talked about how the banker had been out and talked to them, that we could lose the house and farm.” So when the recession hit K. Johnson Construction in 2009, Johnson couldn’t help but think back to those conversations. “I had visions of the banker knocking on my door ‘We’re taking your house!’ We were never at – or even near – that point,” Johnson said. “But still, there was a sense of ‘It’s the 1970s all over again.’” Back in the late 1970s, Keith Johnson was in trade school. Kevin Johnson, graduated from high school at age 17, had plans to attend vocational school and study farm mechanics. “Dad came to me and essentially said that he had to get a job in town if we were going to keep the house, but he wanted to keep the construction business going. He asked me if I would run the crew. That’s pretty hard to say no to.” That was a big eye-opener, Johnson said. “Going from a worker to managing a crew of three guys. I didn’t get any salary. I’d get $20 if I needed to go out on a weekend. And then, when my younger brother graduated from high school, they sold the farm anyway and moved up north.”

FUN FACT: WHEN MINNESOTA CONCRETE PRODUCTS FIRST STARTED THEY PRODUCED ONE ITEM PER MONTH. TODAY THEY ARE PRODUCING 100 PIECES PER WEEK AND EXPECT TO SEE THIS GROW IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS TO 150 PIECES PER WEEK, WITH POTENTIAL FOR A SECOND SHIFT.


Kevin Johnson, 1991

OUTLIER

TRI-COUNTY ORGANICS

If you need organic soil amendments, why not start a compost company?

N

ot every business decision makes sense at first glance.

For example, why would Kevin Johnson, a masonry contractor,

Becker High School, 1994 Beaver Island Tr ail

develop a compost site? “We have a small hobby farm,” said Kevin Johnson, owner of K. Johnson Construction. “It’s all sand out here, which is great for growing potatoes, but not for growing anything else.” The best way to amend the soil and make it more water retentive is to add compost. “A friend encouraged me to start a compost business. In 2012 I did.”

That was Johnson’s cue to make a change. He moved with a friend to the St. Cloud area to work on a farm and continued doing construction. In 1987, with no formal education or training, but lots of on-the-job experience, Johnson established K. Johnson Construction, providing residential concrete and masonry services. From residential, he moved into apartment work. “All an apartment building is, really, is a great big house,” Johnson said. Slowly he started dabbling in small commercial projects, but continued doing residential work for a long time. “As you get more into the commercial work,” Johnson said, “you start to accumulate

BUSINESS PROFILE Tri-County Organics 40 35th Ave NE Saint Cloud, MN 56304-9404 (320) 493-3270 Email: sales@tri-county organics.com www.tri-countyorganics.com

equipment – big scaffolding, forklifts, trucks – things that either don’t belong on a residential site, or the site isn’t big enough to handle them. We just kept moving out of residential until now we don’t do any at all. We wouldn’t be competitive now against residential contractors.” EXPANSION In 1993 Johnson was on a job site. An acquaintance, Lynn Christiansen, stopped by to talk. He asked if Johnson might be in need of an estimator, as Christiansen was looking for a position. Johnson decided to bring him on. “It was a big step for me at the time,” Johnson said. “It was a big

Johnson started by collecting only yard waste. In 2013 they received a permit to collect food waste. “We collect food waste from seven or eight schools in St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids, a few grocery stores, and on April 1 we started collecting from the V.A.” Johnson now has 1.5 employees who run Tri-County Organics on 17 acres between Rollie’s and the airport. Currently, over 40 percent of the materials in landfills are organic waste that can be recycled. “It’s going to rot anyway,” Johnson said. “Why add it to a landfill?”

Manager: Jamie Phenow

FUN FACT

Business Description: A compost site specializing in yard waste, leaves, brush and grass clippings. Also recycling food waste; sale of colored mulch and wood chips.

DURING THE COMPOSTING PROCESS, TEMPERATURES CAN REACH IN EXCESS OF 160° F.

Total number of employees: One full-time, one part-time

M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7 //

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TIMELINE, CONT. 2005 K. Johnson Construction puts an addition on the office, builds an additional building, and buys the equipment to polish concrete. The polishing demand starts out small, with one employee dedicated to the work. 2007-08 Johnson incorporates Polished Concrete Inc. (PCI).

2009 Johnson closes the insulated concrete form company because of lack of business due to the recession. 2011 Johnson opens Tri-County Organics, an organic composting site for yard and food waste.

2012 K. Johnson Construction builds a 40’ x 80’ addition to the shop; Johnson starts Precast Concrete Products, now Minnesota Concrete Products. Johnson hires a president for PCI. The new addition on the shop, intended to house construction equipment, is taken over by PCI to accommodate the company’s growth. 2014 Johnson purchases the former Granite City Ironworks building on Highway 23 east for PCI.

NOV 2016 The polishing arm of PCI moves back to the K. Johnson Construction site, opening up the new location to be used strictly for manufacturing for Minnesota Concrete Products, a division of PCI.

2017 Kevin Johnson is selected as the 2017 St. Cloud Area Small Business Person of the Year.

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change in the business and a lot of money, but it paid off in the end. Lynn had the skill-set we needed to take us to the next level, and he did.” Shortly after he arrived, Christiansen helped secure the Becker High School expansion project. “That was really the beginning of our growth,” Johnson said. “After that we started pushing for more and more commercial work.” When Christensen left in 1998, Johnson moved into the office and started estimating. He also brought on a second estimator. With two people securing work, the company was able to add employees and take on bigger and bigger projects. “It’s kind of funny,” he said. “I’m not a big numbers guy. In high school I always thought ‘Why do I have to study this? I’m never going to use it.’ And now that’s all I do – look at numbers and put together bids.” BIG IDEAS Johnson has a reputation around the office for being an out-of-the box thinker. “I say ‘Hey, I’ve got an idea,’” Johnson said, “and the guys think ‘What are we going to do now?’ We’re always trying the new stuff.” In 2005 it was just that sort of conversation that led to what is now Polished Concrete Inc. (PCI). One of Johnson’s friends mentioned an industry trend to keep the concrete exposed and make it decorative, rather than covering it with tile or carpet. Johnson bit. “We bought the equipment and hired one person to focus on the polished concrete,” Johnson said. “We used our own crew to do the rest of the work. When we didn’t have floors, that crew would go in the field and work on a construction job. I like doing it that way because you have flexibility and can keep everyone busy.” Building the polished concrete business was a slow process. Johnson met with architects and held ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions so general contractors could familiarize themselves with the product. “It was a really new concept. We were one of three companies in Minnesota who were doing this, so it took lots of selling.” His perseverance paid off because

by 2009 there was enough work to set PCI up as its own corporation. In 2012 Johnson hired a president for PCI who had a background in the precast concrete business. “He had friends who were looking for someone to make precast concrete products for them,” Johnson said. “The president came to me and said,

St. Cloud Hospital expansion

TALKING POINTS

AROUND TOWN

T

hough you may not realize it, many of the buildings in the

St. Cloud area sport brick, masonry and foundations laid by K. Johnson Construction. “There’s nothing like going around town and knowing you’ve had a part in creating these buildings,” Johnson said. Some Examples: • St. Cloud YMCA and Aquatics Center • Byerly’s/Office Depot mall remodel • Sauk Rapids Rice High School • St. Cloud Hospital expansion • Sartell Community Center • Waite Park Public Works Building • Chick Fil–A • Applebee’s • Olive Garden • Luther Honda • Dick’s Sporting Goods and Fresh Thyme Market • Grede Foundry Expansion • Quinlivan and Hughes office building • Country Manor expansion


Kyle Putnam details a fireplace top before sealing it in preparation for shipping.

‘Kevin are you sure you want to go down this road? This is manufacturing, not construction. It’s a whole different animal.’ He was right, it is.” During the day when the trucks were on the job sites, employees would move the precast equipment into the truck bays. In the evening they would move the equipment out and park the trucks. Soon, Johnson turned his recent shop addition into their manufacturing site. “But we still ended up moving people and equipment around all the time.” GROWTH The precast business grew. “We could see the growth potential and we were really handcuffed with what we were doing,” Johnson said. In 2014 he found a building on Highway 23 that they could move into

BUSINESS PROFILE Polished Concrete Plus 6870 Hwy 10 NW Sauk Rapids, MN 56379-9332 (320) 257-9650 Email: jeff@polished concreteplus.com www.polishedconcreteplus.com Total number of employees: 10

with limited renovation. He bought the building and moved both polished and precast to the new site. They built racks for polished concrete and stored the trucks in the building. Precast continued to grow…at a rate of 40 percent per year. “And guess what?” Johnson said. “Suddenly we’re moving trucks and equipment again. Polishing went from 3,000 square feet to 500 square feet. And we were still out of space for precast.” In November 2016, to accommodate the growth in precast, Johnson moved the polished concrete staff and equipment back to the K. Johnson Construction location. “Now the manufacturing has taken over the whole building,” Johnson said, “and they’re already bursting at the seams.” When it first started, Minnesota Concrete Products produced about one product per day. Today the company ships 100 pieces per week and is looking at doubling it. Johnson is enjoying his new business venture. “For me it’s a whole new experience,” he said. “But we have people who came from precast and understand manufacturing. We do lots of research and development. We’ve sent some of our staff for R&D training. A lot of it is trial and error. We have one customer at this point. They come to us and say ‘This is what we want, can you do it?’ We say yes, then we figure it out.” The company has moved from non-existent in 2012 to 12 employees and anticipated revenue of over $1 million in 2017. Johnson admits that having a single customer is somewhat unnerving. “They’re

Manager: Jeff Kasella Business Description: Colorful and durable interior flooring finishes; decorative concrete exterior hardscapes for residential and commercial projects, including polished concrete, unique graphics and logos, resurfacing with floor coatings, terrazzo and concrete restoration.

BEST ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED AND WHO GAVE IT TO YOU: Get the right people on the bus. — Rolf Turner, friend.

based in Minnesota. They can buy some of this stuff from China, but they like using a Minnesota company,” Johnson said. “They like our quality. If they need to do a road trip, it’s a 90 minute drive, not a 22-hour flight. If they need product, they call us and we make it and ship it, no eight week wait. They tell us every year they are still on a growth climb and they expect us to grow with them.” Besides, Johnson added, “we’re working as fast as we can. At this point, I don’t know how we could take on another customer and get all the work done. But I do think about it.” When pressed for his next step outside the box, Johnson smiles. “My wife Julie says enough is enough, but I keep threatening. I guess I just like to keep busy. And I’m still having fun, so who knows. What it comes down to is you have to have really good employees. I can come up with plenty of ideas, but if you’re really going to grow and succeed, you have to have good people who make it happen.” Gail Ivers is vice president of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce and managing editor of Business Central Magazine.

FUN FACT: THEY HAVE DONE TWO POLISHED CONCRETE PROJECTS AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY.

M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7 //

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47


Feature

ENTERPRISING

WOMEN

Women-owned businesses are growing at a faster rate than the national average, both in terms of employees and revenues. By Kelly Radi

Y

ou probably know a woman starting or running her own business. She may be a hard-working, forty-something achiever who saw her mother push against glass ceilings. She may be a millennial with talent in technology, or a natural-born entrepreneur searching for the right niche. She may be a visionary who identified a product or service need and filled it. In any case, she’s not alone. The past decade has seen a flood of women starting businesses. In fact, women are starting businesses faster than any other group. Between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms increased by 45 percent, compared to a 9 percent increase among all businesses. Women-owned businesses are growing, both in terms of employees and revenues. And numbers continue to rise at a rate higher than the national average, according to a 2016 American Express Open report. If you’ve been thinking about dipping your toes into entrepreneurial

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waters, now might be the time to take the plunge. Women entrepreneurship is not new. From Katherine Goddard, owner of the print shop that published the first signed copy of the Declaration of Independence, to Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay cosmetics, enterprising women have been—and continue to be—a vital part of our nation’s economic story. Enterprising women are willing to take risks and invest in businesses they believe in. They work hard and overcome obstacles. They support and inspire other women. They invest in our communities. A LEAP OF FAITH When Kris Nelson was looking to start a business back in 2003, she was both excited and terrified. And seven months pregnant. She had a successful track record in sales and knew she wanted to enter the fast-paced, always-evolving business of selling promotional projects. She had a business plan and a name, Custom Accents. She just had to come

up with the start-up money to launch her dreams. “I looked around and knew what I had to do,” said Nelson. “I sold my brand new Ford Explorer and used that money to start my business.” Today, Custom Accents employs five people—all women—in their office space in Waite Park. But unlike Nelson, not every female entrepreneur has a brand new vehicle to sell for start-up capital. FEMALES AND FINANCING Economists agree one of the biggest challenges women face when starting and growing their businesses is access to adequate funding. Female entrepreneurs start companies with 50 percent less capital than their male counterparts, according to research commissioned by the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC). But financing options are available for entrepreneurs who do their homework explained Barry Kirchoff, St. Cloud State University adjunct faculty member and director of the Central Minnesota Small


“Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.” —Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, youngest self-made female billionaire

Business Development Center. “To secure the best financing options, entrepreneurs need to write a comprehensive and realistic business plan. It must include extensive market research and financial projections, as well as activities, actions and strategies that support the financial projections.” Kirchoff’s advice rings true whether seeking a loan through a traditional bank, micro-lender, or other non-traditional lending source. There’s no such thing as scratching out a business plan on a napkin these days. The small Business Administration (SBA), known for assisting entrepreneurs through its loan guarantee program, encourages anyone planning to approach a bank or other financing entity to draft a business plan that demonstrates both credibility and intent. [See the related story Game Day: Creating a business plan is the first step toward creating a championship company on page 36] Once a realistic business plan is drafted, area bankers are eager to help today’s female entrepreneurs find appropriate financing. “Interest rates are low and alternative financing options are available, making the current environment robust for commercial borrowing,” said Paula Capes, business development manager at Falcon National Bank in

St. Cloud. “Locally-owned banks are often able to make in-house lending decisions quickly and efficiently, getting clients the money they need to start, purchase, or expand a business.” MEDIA’S ROLE Women entrepreneurs are not just making headlines, they’re making it big! One look at the 2016 Forbes World's 100 Most Powerful Women list reveals many entrepreneurial women who built empires. Tory Burch, Oprah Winfrey, Arianna Huffington, to name a few. Yet, they aren’t the only women in the headlines. In addition to the empire builders, media outlets also expose the unique challenges women face in the business world. The depth of the problem—and the power of media—was brought to light in late 2015, when Michael Moritz, chairman of Sequoia Capital, a toptier venture capital firm with no female partners, made condescending and controversial comments on Bloomberg TV about his firm's inability to find qualified women to hire. Social media erupted and offered a front row view of the challenges female executives and entrepreneurs can face, ultimately pushing the industry to change.

WOMEN EMPLOYING WOMEN One of the most important and often overlooked economic trends of the last 30 years is the surge of women into the full-time workforce. Since 1979, the proportion of workingage women with full-time jobs has surged to 41 percent from 29 percent. Along with this trend comes a level of professional satisfaction. Female entrepreneurs who have employees, ranked their wellbeing higher than other U.S. women and men, according to the 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor U.S Report. “It’s no surprise to me that women entrepreneurs are more satisfied,” said Nelson. “While it certainly has its own set of challenges, entrepreneurship can be a great equalizer for women. It’s wonderful to live in an era where women have influence and flexibility. And that we can share it with other women. It’s a privilege to offer women the opportunity to grow professionally, while maintaining a family-friendly work environment.” IT TAKES A VILLAGE… OF WOMEN In 2012, Cindy Battleson was an enterprising woman in search of a local business to purchase. She’d been working at bridal shops, and sewing since she

was 13. “I was looking to buy a bridal shop when I learned Rapids Alterations was for sale,” she explained. “Basically it just fell in my lap and I’ve never looked back.” Battleson is particularly proud of the fact that her business now employs ten people, nine of them women. “Our staff is like family,” she said. “It’s important to me to support them both professionally and personally.” One perk, dubbed “the best employee benefit ever,” is the option Battleson gave an employee after the birth of her first child. She allowed that employee to bring her then four-week-old baby girl to work. Little Charlie is now three-anda-half years old and a customer favorite at the alterations shop. Both Nelson and Battleson believe employing women is a blessing and a responsibility. “I get to work toward my dream, while helping other women achieve theirs,” said Nelson. “We work together and support each other in all aspects of our lives. We help one another with work-family balance, providing the opportunity to be available for our kids. That’s not only good for business. That’s good for community.” Kelly Radi is a freelance writer, public speaker, and owner of Radi To Write LLC, a public relations writing firm. Radi.to.write@gmail.com.

M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7 //

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49


SMART BUSINESS: QUINLIVAN & HUGHES, P.A.

I FEEL FORTUNATE TO

LEAD SUCH A DIVERSE TEAM OF ATTORNEYS WHO ARE NOT ONLY RECOGNIZED AS LEADERS IN THEIR RESPECTIVE PRACTICES, BUT ALSO IN THEIR COMMUNITIES BECAUSE OF HOW THEY GIVE BACK.” – DYAN EBERT, CEO

LEADING FEMALE ATTORNEYS

Quinlivan & Hughes Empowers Women T

he number of women entering the legal profession, and becoming law firm partners and judges, continues to lag behind men. But not at Quinlivan & Hughes in St. Cloud. The full-service law firm sets a new standard in the industry with its growing group of leading ladies. Quinlivan & Hughes is led by a female CEO – for the second time – and female attorneys represent 45 percent of all of the firm’s attorneys. The law firm defies the glassceiling statistics where women represent about 36 percent of attorneys nationally, only 22

Two names,

percent of law firm partners and rarely hold the top spot as CEO, according to a 2016 report by the American Bar Association. “I am fortunate to have the opportunity to interact with such smart, dedicated, and compassionate people every day,” said Melinda Sanders, who first joined the firm in 1994. Also a shareholder, Sanders focuses on employment and estate planning. “Quinlivan & Hughes has helped me reach professional goals, while at the same time allowing me the space to raise a family and support my community.“

one law firm you can trust

Dyan Ebert currently serves as the firm’s CEO. Ebert joined Quinlivan & Hughes in 1994 and became a partner in the firm in 1998. Quinlivan & Hughes welcomed her into the board room in 2003 when she was elected to the Board of Directors. “I have always felt like my voice was heard and appreciated at Quinlivan & Hughes,” Ebert said, “and I know that’s not true in all places. I feel fortunate to lead such a diverse team of attorneys who are not only recognized as leaders in their respective practices, but also in their communities because of how they give back.”

Dyan Ebert Employment Law, Insurance Defense Julie Fisk Employment Law Ceena Idicula Johnson Insurance Defense Cally Kjellberg-Nelson Employment Law, Insurance Defense Jolene Klocker Schley Estate Planning Laura Moehrle Insurance Defense Rachael Presler Business & Employment Law Melinda Sanders Employment & Estate Planning Jessie Sogge Premises Liability, Personal Injury

For over 90 years, two names have been synonymous with quality legal representation in central Minnesota. Quinlivan and Hughes. TodayEstablished our more than 90 years ago, Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A., ranks among the oldest and largest firm has grown to 20 attorneys practicing with proven success in nearly practices in Central Minnesota. The firm’s legal teams are known as leaders in both their industries every aspect of law. From business and employment, to trust and estate planning, to representing clients in personal injury and business related the community. Key ways Quinlivan & Hughes serves organizations and individuals: lawsuits, there are two names you can trust for all of your legal needs. Quinlivan and Hughes. • Employment Law • Business Law • Premises Liability & • Estate Planning

Now located in a new location in the heart of St. Cloud. • Government Liability 320-251-1414 quinlivan.com 1740 West St. Germain Street, St Cloud, MN 56301

Names1/3 page Ada.indd 1

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Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7

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GB & Co. Hair-Skin-Spa is the most respected salon/spa in this area. The women at GB & Co. are a team striving together to be the best. They work in a business that respects their skills and are treated as professionals. ________________

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M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7 //

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2017 WOMEN IN BUSINESS DIRECTORY INTRODUCES YOU TO SOME OF THE WOMEN WHO ARE REDEFINING BUSINESS

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622 ROOSEVELT ROAD, SUITE 280 # ST. CLOUD, MINNESOTA attorneys@hughesmathews.com # 320.251.4399 www.hughesmathewsgreer.com

M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7 //

www.businesscentralmagazine.com

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Special Focus

Helping Grandma

New products and services for seniors are coming to market every day, created by entrepreneurs motivated to help family members.

SERVING SENIORS Technology is helping create entrepreneurial opportunities in the senior market for those savvy enough to see it. LIFTWARE STEADY is an electronic stabilizing handle with a selection of attachments such as a soup spoon, everyday spoon, and fork. It’s designed to help people with Parkinson’s-type hand tremors eat more easily. The stabilizing handle contains sensors that detect hand motion and a small onboard computer that distinguishes unwanted tremor from the intended movement of the hand. To stabilize the utensil, the computer directs two motors in the handle to move the utensil attachment in the opposite direction of any detected tremor. __________ LIFTWARE LEVEL uses electronic motion-stabilizing technology to keep a utensil

A

ging is still treated like a disease and most Baby Boomers will spend just about anything to find the Fountain of Youth. But time wins this battle and now entrepreneurs, many of them driven by watching their own elderly family members struggle, are finding ways to help seniors age safely at home. Asif Khan, founder and CEO of Caremerge, says he got the idea for his company’s software while visiting his parents in rural

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Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7

Pakistan during a health crisis involving his mother. Kai Stinchcombe’s grandmother was swindled out of $40,000 of her savings through credit card scams. Stinchcombe created a credit card company of his own, True Link Financial, geared toward senior citizens’ needs. Kyle Hill started HomeHero to help families find high-quality caregivers online after his own family struggled for years looking for caregivers for his grandmother who had Alzheimer’s disease.

While these entrepreneurs may be driven by compassion, they are also jumping into a growing market where people are underserved and not afraid to spend money. Seniors are living longer and healthier into retirement, and choosing to age in place. As a result, they are generating opportunities to provide products and services that support their lifestyles. Seniors are spending more on hobbies and non-essentials than they

level, regardless of how a hand or arm twists, bends, or moves. It’s designed to help people with limited hand and arm mobility, which may be related to cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, Huntington's disease, or poststroke deficits. The leveling handle contains sensors that detect changes from the intended movement of the hand in 3 dimensions. To level the utensil, the computer directs two motors in the handle to bend a flexible joint, keeping the attachment at the right angle for eating. Source: Liftware.com


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Special Focus SERVING SENIORS, CONT.

__________

did in 1990, according to the National Center for Policy Analysis. For 65 to 74 year olds, for instance, the fastest-growing expenditure categories are education, entertainment, vehicles, and hobbies.

At the same time, a global online survey by Nielsen, the consumer-research company, found strong dissatisfaction among the elderly when it came to how many businesses targeted them with ads, labels, packages and the

delivery of a host of services. This makes the field wide open for entrepreneurs who are looking for ways to serve a senior population that wants to age gracefully at home and has the money to invest in it. —GMI

GERIJOY employs a global team of remote caregivers who provide round-the-clock personalized emotional support, cognitive stimulation, and timely reporting through a care avatar. The GeriJoy Companion is displayed as an on-screen avatar which has real personality, and which is able to provide intelligent,

Dreams and Reality

It’s common knowledge that not every start-up has a happy ending. Lift Labs, the ingenuity behind the Liftware utensils, was purchased by Google X, the arm of the search engine giant that focuses on long-shot technologies like the driverless car. HomeHero, an online service designed to help families find high-quality caregivers for their loved-ones with dementia, ceased business in 2017. These two stories are proof that the senior market is full of opportunities. As in any venture, not everyone will be successful, but those who are will reap the rewards found in reaching out to a growing and underserved audience.

engaging conversations — because human caregivers are controlling it from afar. Users talk with the GeriJoy

LOCAL RESOURCES: SENIOR HEALTH AND LIVING

Companion the same way they would talk to another person in the room. The sound and video is streamed over the Internet to a live GeriJoy Caregiver, who can reply instantly using specially-built technology . Source: gerijoy.com

__________ (l-r): Dr. Bennett W. Nelson, Dr. Anna C. Malikowski, Dr. Greg J. Friederichs and Dr. Burt W. Dubowa

CAREMERGE helps senior living communities by providing teams with easy-touse technology that connects

ABOUT US:

ABOUT US: Rapid Recovery & Aquatic

Our experienced eye doctors offer comprehensive vision examinations and specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide array of eye diseases, conditions, and problems. We use advanced diagnostic technology and vision correction products to care for our patients in the St. Cloud, Paynesville, and Becker communities.

Center hosts 60 private patient suites, designed for short-term stay rehabilitation. Rapid Recovery & Aquatic Center offers physical, occupational, speech, aquatic and massage therapies 7 days a week. Guests also enjoy indoor access to shopping, restaurants, salon & spa, clinic, pharmacy, bank, Chapel and more.

and engages residents and AT A GLANCE:

also allows secure sharing

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of information with all care

St. Cloud (Waite Park) 206 W Division Street 320-253-0365

providers both inside the facility and across a resident's care network. Source: caremerge.com

56

SERVICES: Individualized programs

their families. The technology

Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 7

Becker 12390 Sherburne Ave 763-261-5444

Paynesville 204 Washburne Ave 320-243-3566

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AT A GLANCE:

Rapid Recovery & Aquatic Center Center Phone: 320-253-1920 Website: www.rapidrecovery.me


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Rapid Recovery & Aquatic Center offers inpatient, outpatient, sub-acute and in-home rehabilitation in a variety of specialty areas, including: occupational, physical, aquatic, speech and massage therapies. Our private entrance, short-term rehabilitation facility features patient suites, competent and compassionate staff, and access to 25 acres of amenities. Whether you’ve experienced a recent injury, have undergone surgery, or are recovering from an illness, your recuperation and recovery are our focus. • 60 patient suites with private baths, flatscreen TV’s, personal refrigerators, and WIFI • HydroWorx® warm water therapy pool with underwater treadmill • Inpatient and outpatient rehab offered seven days a week • Featuring occupational, physical, aquatic, speech, and massage therapies • 24 hour a day complex, nursing care

• Freestyle dining options include: four internationally themed cuisines, continental breakfast, hospitality cart, and room service • Full service salon and spa • Guests enjoy access to shopping, banking, pharmacy, clinic, bakery outlet, Subway restaurant, Drakes Fine Food & Spirits, Chapel, specialized transportation, errand service, routine housekeeping and laundry, salon and spa and so much more!

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Business Spotlight

Staying Local

Pat Virnig’s varied career path led him to St. Cloud and an appreciation for community. By Gail Ivers

At A Glance Virnig Painting Company 65 43rd St. NE Sauk Rapids, MN 56379 (320) 259-5411 Business Description: Commercial/industrial painting, wall covering, epoxy flooring, metal roof coatings Owner: Patrick J. Virnig Opened: 1991 Number of employees: 9 Chamber member since 1997

Timeline 1974 Virnig attends St. Cloud State University. 1976 After guiding in the Boundary Waters during the summer, Virnig takes a 180 day position working for the U.S. Forest Service.

PERSONAL PROFILE Patrick Virnig, 60 Hometown: Blue Earth, Minn. Family: Wife Karen; two sons ages 32 and 25; three brothers and three sisters; 89-year-old mother

Business Central: What did you do for work when you moved to the Twin Cities? Pat Virnig: I worked at a machine shop. I didn’t know anything about machining. So I read up on the machines that the company used, then I read about a business that was a competitor and had gone out of business. In the interview I told them I was from that company and they hired me.

BC: How did you get started in painting? Virnig: I saw an ad and went in and applied. Back then, when 58

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Hobbies: Fishing. Travel: “It’s impossible to take a two week vacation, so we do long weekends and look for little hotels or B&Bs.” Eating out: “We like to watch Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives then go to the restaurants that are featured and check them out.”

newspapers were printed the ink would turn into a mist and float everywhere and created a fire hazard. Newspapers were required to clean and paint their pressrooms regularly. My first day I was cleaning the walls and was covered in ink. I thought, if I had a dollar in my pocket I would quit, but I didn’t so I stuck it out. At the end of the job he handed me $7,000, keys to a van, and said go to Boston, hire local people, and do it again. That was pretty much how it worked from then on. He always said “Don’t tell me why this job can’t be done,

tell me how you’re going to do it.” He was a good boss. That was a good lesson. BC: What has been your biggest business challenge? Virnig: It was hard getting started. I was new to the area. I could stay busy in the summer, but winter was slow. Bills came, but the phone didn’t ring. I joined the Builders Exchange and the Chamber of Commerce and I was able to get business that way. Now my biggest challenge is getting quality employees. Once I get them, I hang on to them. BC: What do you like best about business ownership? Virnig: Meeting people in the community. Developing business relationships. I buy local, hire local, and support local charities. I believe very much in strong communities.

1976 Virnig takes a position in the engineering department of U.S. Steel in Mountain Iron, MN, near Virginia. October 1981 U.S. Steel does a massive layoff, going from 5,000 employees to less than 2,000 employees. Virnig is among those laid off. 1982 Virnig moves to the Twin Cities. “If you want to be successful, you hang around successful people. If there are no jobs, you go to where the jobs are.” He takes a job as a machinist. 1984 Virnig begins working for Mark’s Pressroom Coatings. His work takes him to every state except Vermont and Alaska. 1990 The level of travel interferes with Virnig’s family life. He quits, and moves to St. Cloud. 1991 Virnig incorporates Virnig’s Painting Company.


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May/June 2017 Issue  

St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Business Central Magazine

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