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Give Your Small Business a Big Front Door

St. Cloud Business Center has everything you need to give your business a professional and affordable physical address. Whether you rent by the month or the year, find comfortable, private offices for just one person or your whole group. • Centrally located in downtown St. Cloud next to Courthouse Square • Within walking distance to restaurants, banks, and retail stores • Free high-speed Wi-Fi and affordable digital phone service with call forwarding connected to your existing number • Friendly onsite receptionist to greet your clients and answer calls with your business name • 24-hour building access with secured elevator and camera system • Two conference rooms with mounted presentation TV monitors • Affordable and flexible short-term leases

Come see us for a tour and picture your business at its new, professional home. Call 320-259-4000 today, or visit StCloudBusinessCenter.com.

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14 Seventh Avenue North | St. Cloud MN 56303 | 320-259-4000 | StCloudBusinessCenter.com


6 President’s Letter 18 Business Calendar

May/June 2015

CONTENTS GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

PROFIT

40 Cover Story

DRIVEN TO SUCCEED

8 Editor’s Note 26 Network Central

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C E L E B R AT I N G 1 5 Y E A R S I N B U S I N E S S

40

Customer-centric moves have helped Executive Express catapult from a modest St. Cloud company to a growing regional business.

46 Feature

BEST AND BRIGHTEST Certain employees deliver extraordinary value to your business. Be sure you’re meeting their needs or they’ll find another company that will.

50 Special Focus ADULT LEARNERS

Educational opportunities boost adult skills and fill company ranks.

51 Special Section EDUCATION AND TRAINING Meet the companies that offer business development services

10 UPFRONT Valuable and important information designed to guide and educate.

in Central Minnesota.

28 BUSINESS TOOLS Marketplace intelligence and useful tips on how to continue to grow your business.

54 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

Mike Nies, Nies Electric

Only Online // www.BusinessCentralMagazine.com

© Copyright 2015 Business Central, LLC

• Spotting Hidden Leaders

by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce,

• Finding the Right Tablet

1411 West St. Germain Street, Suite 101

• Generate More Leads • Social Branding

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.


Employee Health and Wellness Get your employees on the right track to meet goals and live healthy. By improving the health of your employees, you’ll increase productivity and reduce overall medical benefit costs.

Onsite Health & Wellness Coaching options: Biometric screenings Goal setting Nutrition and exercise education Employee programs Stress management And more!

For more information, contact Danielle Berg Health and Wellness Coach 320-203-2099 worksitehealth@hpcmc.com hpcmc.com/worksitehealth

This service is available to all companies. HealthPartners insurance is not needed.


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President’s Letter

Leadership at All Levels

MAIN PHONE

|

320-251-2940

AUTOMATED RESERVATION LINE 320-656-3826 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

Cindy Swarthout

N

o one likes to move. The actual moving of furniture and boxes is the easy part. Packing is a pain, but that, too, seems easy compared to putting everything in order in a new facility. We moved the Chamber offices on a Monday. We assigned rooms to specific staff members and set to putting things back together. I have never seen anyone make more decisions and move as quickly as our Special Events Coordinator Ginny Kroll. Tuesday, we were 65 percent finished. Staff members were struggling with where, exactly to put the last pieces. On Wednesday Ginny came to me frustrated. Lots of boxes and debris remained and Ginny felt that the staff was out of gas. At 2 p.m. I called all hands on deck, and put Ginny in control to prepare our new facility for a Thursday morning training. She took the reins and within an hour our facility was ready for members. Ginny is a true leader. She has taught me that when something yucky needs to happen, the easiest way to get it done is to JUST DO IT! This spring we said good-bye to Cindy Swarthout, our “Director of First Impressions” who ran our front desk for 16 years. Cindy retired at the end of March and is looking forward to a

Ginny Kroll

summer of fun with her high school sweetheart (and husband), Jeff. Our front desk was a revolving door of employees before Cindy took over. She owned the Chamber front desk. Her enthusiasm for working for our members and guests was evident every day she worked. She assisted tens of thousands of people during her employment. No matter who walked through the door (and there have been some interesting characters) Cindy treated each visitor with dignity and respect. Bruce Miles, Big River Consulting, once told me that no matter what Cindy was doing, she always recognized visitors with an immediate, warm greeting. She is definitely a FIVE STAR Chamber front desk administrator; the best I’ve ever encountered. Cindy prefers writing with stubby #2 pencils. We kept an old crank pencil sharpener screwed to the wall especially for her. When we moved, I took it down and had it engraved, “Cindy Swarthout; SCACC; 16 Years; We love you!!” We will miss you, Cindy.

SPECIAL EVENTS COORDINATOR Virginia Kroll, ext. 105 COMMUNICATIONS & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR Whitney Bina, ext.130

Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 5

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Vicki Lenneman, ext. 122 ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Shelly Imdieke, ext. 100

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Julie Lunning, ext. 111

SALES MANAGER Nikki Fisher, ext. 112

DIRECTOR OF CONVENTION SALES Lori Cates, ext. 113

SALES & MARKETING COORDINATOR Dana Randt, ext. 110

DIRECTOR OF SPORTS & SPECIAL EVENTS Kelly Sayre, ext. 128 DIRECTOR OF VISITOR SERVICES Jean Robbins, ext. 129

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Carrie Zwack, ext. 100

2014-15 BOARD MEMBERS Jason Bernick, Bernick’s, Board Vice Chair

Diane Mendel, Playhouse Child Care

Dan Bittman, Sauk Rapids-Rice School District

Dolora Musech, Batteries Plus Bulbs

Dave Borgert, CentraCare Health Neil Franz, Franz Hultgren Evenson, Professional Association Jayne Greeney Schill, St. Cloud Area School District #742 Jim Gruenke, Mark J. Traut Wells

John Herges, Falcon National Bank, Past Board Chair Dennis Host, Coborn’s Inc.

6

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Sharon Henry, ext. 124

CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU STAFF MAIN PHONE | 320-251-4170

Jason Hallonquist, AIS Planning

Teresa Bohnen Publisher

MEMBERSHIP SALES SPECIALIST Jaime Buley, ext. 134

Kris Nelson, Custom Accents, Inc., Board Chair Mark Osendorf, Xcel Energy Dr. Earl Potter, III, St. Cloud State University Roger Schleper, Premier Real Estate Services Melinda Vonderahe, Times Media Bea Winkler, Pine Cone Pet Hospital Chriss Wohlleber, Le St. Germain Suite Hotel


Terry Willis Business Development Consultant Supervisor Marco, Inc.

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marconet.com

#mpowering

taking technology further


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Editor’s Note

Outsiders

PUBLISHER Teresa Bohnen MANAGING EDITOR Gail Ivers ASSOCIATE EDITOR Dawn Zimmerman

Business Central Editor Gail Ivers living the Executive Express motto: Transportation Relaxation.

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Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 5

Teresa Bohnen, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Brian Hart, Sandler Training Sharon Henry, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Dr. Fred E. Hill, St. Cloud State University

Mary MacDonell Belisle, mary macdonell belisle wordingforyou Sharon Sorenson, Heartland Organizing Greg Vandal, Vox Liberi Dawn Zimmerman, The Write Advantage

Gail Ivers, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce

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 CORPORATE SPONSOR

Photo by Joel Butkowski, Butkowski Digital Imaging

T

here has been a lot of excitement in our office lately. Since Jan. 1, we have been in high gear preparing for our first relocation in 15 years. As of this writing, we have been in our new office building exactly three days. So many decisions to be made. Flooring. Paint colors. Door styles. Trim. Furniture. Window covering. Office assignments. So much packing to be done. Sorting. Piling. Discovering. Purging. Dumpsterdiving from over-purging. One of the reasons for our move is to reunite the Chamber staff with the Chamber’s Convention and Visitors Bureau staff. As we establish ourselves again as one organization, we are bonding over the move and the opportunity to meet and grow through the chaos. I have participated in this frenzy only from the periphery. While our office staff has shared these experiences, both good and bad, I have spent most of my time out of the office because of a serious family illness. Everyone has pitched in to make sure my portion of the work was covered. No complaints. Lots of offers to help. Part of the bonding experience for the staff has been stepping in to pack my office, cover my meetings, and move my equipment.

In this experience, I am an outsider. No level of consideration can ever provide me with the shared knowledge that comes from participation. Recently I talked to Larry Logeman, Executive Express (see the story on page 40) about the challenges of involving off-site staff in company functions. He told me about an employee he used to see weekly, sometimes more, as he provided training and guidance. As that employee proved to be a high performer, they spent less and less time together. One day there was a misunderstanding that surprised him, Larry said. He never saw it coming. Of course he didn’t. None of us wants our employees to be outsiders. If we saw the creep of isolation, we would stop it. Even the most attentive don’t always see it coming. And it takes creativity and commitment to ensure that all employees share the experiences that make a team. Larry has a challenge ahead as he continues to grow his business. It’s one thing to bring employees from two offices together so they are one company. But as he adds locations, the chance of employees becoming outsiders will grow. For Executive Express, the good news is that Larry cares about his employees and wants everyone on his team to be an insider. I’m confident he’ll figure it out. And I will, too. Until next issue,

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tracy Knofla, Bill Blazar, High Impact Minnesota Chamber Training Whitney Bina, Jacqueline M. St. Cloud Area Schuh, Engelmeier Chamber of & Umanah, P.A. Commerce

1411 West St. Germain Street, Suite 101, P.O. Box 487, St. Cloud, MN 56302-0487 Phone (320) 251-2940 Fax (320) 251-0081 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.


Trust your heart

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We take pride in helping patients live longer and healthier lives through preventive care, treatment and research. And now we’re happy to say that Truven Health Analytics has named us a Top 50 Heart Hospital. Top 50 Heart Hospitals set the national standard for higher survival rates, fewer complications and lower costs. Trust your heart to CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center. Our specialists partner with your doctor to provide advanced cardiac services.


UPFRONT GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

12 18

Voice in Government Business Calendar

14 People to Know 16 20 New at the Top 24

Getting Going Regional Roundup

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u

NEWS & PEOPLE THAT MAKE UP THE CHAMBER NETWORK

BOOK REVIEW

The Multiplier Effect

Anyone can learn to build up the people around them — it just takes a little practice. By Dr. Fred Hill There are different types of leaders. One type will drain intelligence, energy, and capability from the ones around them and always need to be the smartest ones in the room. These are the idea killers, the energy sappers, the diminishers of talent and commitment. On the other hand are leaders who use their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capabilities around them. These are the leaders who inspire employees to stretch themselves to deliver results that surpass expectations. These are the Multipliers. And the world needs more of them, especially now, when leaders are expected to do more with less. — From Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

I

n analyzing data from more than 150 leaders, authors Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown have identified fives disciplines that distinguish Multipliers from Diminishers. These five disciplines are not based on innate talent; they are skills and practices that everyone can learn to use – even lifelong Diminishers. Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

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Multipliers; How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman, with Greg McKeown HarperCollins New York 2010 ISBN 978-0-0619639-8

consists of seven chapters. Chapter 1: The Multiplier Effect. Chapter 2: The Talent Magnet. Chapter 3: The Liberator. Chapter 4: The Challenger. Chapter 5: The Debate Maker. Chapter 6: The Investor. Chapter 7: Becoming a Multiplier. The Multiplier Effect: Multipliers are genius makers. Everyone around them gets smarter and more capable. There are five disciplines of the Multiplier. They are: 1. Attract and optimize talent. 2. Create intensity that requires

Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 5

best thinking. 3. Extend challenges. 4. Debate decisions. 5. Instill ownership and accountability. The Talent Magnet: Attracts talented people and uses them at their highest point of contribution. The Liberator: Creates an intense environment that requires people’s best thinking and work. The Challenger: Defines an opportunity that causes people to stretch. The Debate Maker: Drives sound decisions through rigorous debate. The Investor: Gives other people the ownership for results and invests in their success. Years ago quality guru Peter Drucker wrote, “The most important contribution management needs to make in the 21st Century is to increase the productivity of knowledge work and the knowledge worker.” An old saw states that anything is possible if it doesn’t matter who gets the credit. This is what Multipliers do. Dr. Fred E. Hill is an emeritus professor from St. Cloud State University.

NEWS REEL INITIATIVE FOUNDATION HIRES, AWARDS GRANTS Mike Burton, planned giving officer, and Barb Downs, grants specialist, joined the Initiative Foundation staff. Burton, who brings over 20 years of experience in the foundation and development fields, will focus on legacy giving opportunities. Downs brings over 12 years of grant writing experience to the foundation. The Initiative Foundation awarded over 50 grants totaling more than $229,000 in the fourth quarter of 2014. The grants support organizations and projects in the 14-county region of Central Minnesota. Recipients included St. Cloud State University’s School of Public Affairs.

COLUMBIA GEAR, SCTCC RECEIVE GRANTS Columbia Gear Corp. and St. Cloud Technical and Community College were awarded a $300,000 grant through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to train or re-train employees. The program begins in May 2015 and runs for three years.

MARCO ACQUIRES SOLBREKK, INC. Marco, Inc. purchased Solbrekk, Inc., a business IT services company in Minneapolis, Minn. Solbrekk provides clients with IT services including cloud computing, managed IT services and document management.


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UpFront YOUR VOICE IN GOVERNMENT

NEWS REEL ZASKE HONORED, GASLIGHT CREATIVE AWARDED

At the Speed of Commerce Minnesota needs a thorough – and predictable – environmental review system By Bill Blazar

Kelly Zaske, co-founder of Gaslight Creative, was awarded with the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Silver Medal Award at the 2015 American Advertising Awards Show. This honor celebrates an outstanding member of the local advertising community. Gaslight Creative, a full-service advertising agency in St. Cloud, received nine additional awards at the annual show hosted by AAF of Central Minnesota.

BERNICK FAMILY FOUNDATION AWARDS $150,000 The Bernick Family Foundation awarded $150,000 in grants focused on enriching the lives of youth and improving health through its fund at the Central Minnesota Community Foundation. Grant recipients include: Catholic Charities; The Central Minnesota Council, Boy Scouts of America; Girls Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Lakes and Pines; and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota.

JACOBS FINANCIAL REPRESENTATIVES EARN RECOGNITION James Jacobs, Andrew Jacobs, and David Jacobs of Jacobs Financial qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table, an international association that distinguishes financial professionals who have demonstrated exceptional professional knowledge, client service, and ethical conduct. James Jacobs is a qualifying lifetime member with 19 years of membership.

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Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 5

C

lean air and water contribute significantly to Minnesotans’ quality of life. That’s why Minnesota businesses place a high priority on protecting our environment. At the same time, we regularly hear concerns about the cost, time and uncertainty in the environmental review and permitting system before state agencies. Business owners and managers become frustrated when a process that takes months in other states and countries can extend for years in Minnesota. Seeking additional efficiencies and transparency in the process remains one of the Minnesota Chamber’s top legislative initiatives. We’ve made notable strides in the past four years working with

Governor Dayton and the legislature. For example: _________

directly to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. _________

We shortened the environmental permitting timetable to better reflect the actual average time of processing. Permits not requiring a public comment period now have a goal to be completed within 90 days, and those requiring a public comment period within 150 days. _________

We were instrumental in the development of Business One Stop in the Department of Employment and Economic Development to help businesses navigate the process when projects require multiple permits from multiple agencies. _________

We partnered with and assisted the regulatory agencies to make more of their permits readily available online through “e-permitting.” _________ We succeeded in shortening appeals of environmental review documents by eliminating a stop before the District Court. In other words, like permits, the appeals go

Businesses have benefited from these changes. Just as important, the local governments, especially cities, are also among the immediate beneficiaries of our efforts. The permits they need to upgrade their municipal wastewater treatment plants will now be processed with a goal of 150 days. Managing wastewater and storm water is important not


only to a community’s health, but it can be a key factor in attracting new businesses and residents. Make no mistake, Minnesota’s environmental review and permitting system should be second to none. At the same time, we seek a process that enables Minnesota to compete in the global economy. As Governor Dayton has said, our permitting needs to be completed “at the speed of commerce.” Businesses of all sizes and types and local governments need a variety of permits from state agencies if they wish to

start/locate and/or expand in Minnesota. The current process is cumbersome, costly and lacks certainty. That’s why streamlining our systems has been a priority of the Minnesota Chamber for the last decade. We have made progress, but there’s more work to do.

contributor Bill Blazar is interim president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

BY THE NUMBERS

Waite Park focuses on development — check out these stats from 2014.

139 The number of

$3 million

Total value of commercial building permits

calls to which the Waite Park fire department responded

50 The number of

4

Total number of new commercial building permits approved

8,658 The number

years Waite Park has been celebrating Family Fun Fest (aka Spass Tag)

of calls for service the Waite Park Police Department received

Read more on Waite Park in the Regional Roundup on page 24.

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UpFront PEOPLE TO KNOW

NEWS REEL CW TECHNOLOGY PROMOTES, HIRES CW Technology promoted the following individuals:

(L-R) Mitch Odell,

team lead, Paul Wichmann, field engineer, Aaron Verhel, team escalations and (left) Andy Mesich, team escalations The company also hired the following people: • Karlie Howard, service coordinator • Kelly LeDoux, administration support • Phil Gapp, field engineer • Robert Fortner, help desk team member CW Technology staff members Justin Niemann and Andy Mesich completed requirements to earn their CompTIA Network+ Certification. This certification ensures the knowledge and skills necessary to manage, install, operate and configure basic infrastructure.

CSB RECOGNIZED The College of Saint Benedict was recognized among the top bachelor’s institutions for producing the most Fulbright Students for 2014-15, according to a report by the Institute of International Education for The Chronicle of Higher Education. CSB earned the 29th spot on the list. The Fulbright Program places students as English teaching assistants in schools and universities overseas. The college was also recognized on the Peace Corps’ annual list of the top 25 volunteerproducing small colleges and universities across the country. CSB ranked 20th overall, one spot up from last year’s recognition.

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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. Lee Baldwin, St. Cloud Hospital/CentraCare Health

Beth Kinyua-Gathetu

Gary Schlickenmayer, Times Media

Todd Barnes, Marco, Inc.

Adam Klein, Freightliner of St. Cloud

Aaron Smith, Schlenner Wenner & Co.

Rachel Bogenrief, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota

Laurie Larson, Rasmussen College

Caryn Stadther, Falcon National Bank

Beth Cummings, Catholic Charities

Clint Lentner, Netgain

Kristen Vosberg, Playhouse Child Care

Mike Frey, U S Bank

Brian Mathiasen, American Heritage National Bank

Chuck Welter, Minnesota Center Chorale

Jodi Gertken, CentraCare Health Foundation-BLEND

Sonia Nordmann, El-Jay Plumbing & Heating

Kelly Werner, Mahowald Insurance Agency

Dave Green, StearnsBenton Employment & Training Council

Nick Paris, GNP Company

Will Huston, Westwood Professional Services

Mike Paulsrud, Coborn’s, Inc.

Chris Jacques, Weichert Realtors Tower Properties

Joleen Pierce, KDV, Ltd.

Tanya Johnson, ABRA Auto Body & Glass

Sue Roberts, Array Services Group

Nikki Juntunen, Reach-Up, Inc. (Head Start)

Nikki Ruehle, Netgain

Shane Keating, GNP Company

Sheila Saiko, St. Cloud Technical & Community College

IN THE KNOW

Roger Schleper Premier Real Estate Services ____________ Chair, St. Cloud Area Chamber Leadership Program (320) 259-4554 Roger@PremierHomeSearch.com

____________

Amanda Groethe Stearns Electric Association ____________ Vice Chair, St. Cloud Area Chamber Leadership Program (320) 363-4630 agroethe@stearnselectric.org

____________


DID YOU KNOW?

St.Cloud Area Leadership: Grooms leaders who will contribute to your company Provides professional networking opportunities and enhanced community connections Helps employees develop greater personal vision and confidence Reinforces skills and imparts new knowledge to employees Provides greater understanding and a broader perspective of key issues in Central Minnesota Encourages networking among emerging and established leaders

How to Apply

Applications for the Leadership program are available online at www.StCloudAreaChamber.com, select “Programs” then “Leadership.” 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. ____________

For more information about participating in the 2015-16 St.Cloud Area Leadership program, call Gail Ivers at 320-251-2940, ext.109 or givers@ StCloudAreaChamber.com.

IN THE NEWS

Dr. Hauge receives excellence award

Mark Hauge, MD, a medical oncologist at the Coborn Cancer Center, received the Physician of Excellence award from the St. Cloud Hospital. This award recognizes St. Cloud Hospital medical staff members who demonstrate exemplary work ethic and live the healing mission of the St. Cloud Hospital, providing Care Above All.

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UpFront GETTING GOING

NEWS REEL CENTRACARE HEALTH, GSDC PARTNER TO IMPROVE COMMUNITY WELLNESS

I want to be my own boss… It sounded good as a kid, and it feels good as an adult, but the realities of being your own boss are far different than childhood imaginings. By Greg Vandal

CentraCare Health and the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation (GSDC) announced a grant to fund a workplace well-being initiative for employers in Central Minnesota. The CentraCare Health Foundation Board approved a $525,000 grant over a three-year term to assist the GSDC in creating a GallupHealthways Well-Being 5 index for employers that participate in the program.

CENTRACARE WOUND CENTER RECEIVES AWARDS The CentraCare Wound Center received the Center of Distinction Award by Healogics, Inc., the nation’s largest provider of advanced wound care services. The award is earned based on outstanding clinical outcomes for 12 consecutive months. The Wound Center also received the Robert A. Warriner III, M.D., Center for Excellence Award, which is reserved for centers that achieve two or more consecutive Center of Distinction Awards.

MAHOWALD INSURANCE ANNOUNCES NEW PARTNERS (L-R) Joe Westerlind, Laura

Tomczik, and Bridget Faber joined Mahowald Insurance as partners. They bring over 40 collective years in the risk management, insurance and group benefits field.

“W

hat do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s the classic question asked of youth. Sometimes the inquiry is a challenge. Sometimes it is intended to prompt thinking when there is a sense that guidance is needed. In truth, half a century removed from when that query was first posed to me, I’m not altogether sure how best to respond. I’m probably still sorting it out… Some students, when I was the teacher asking the question, were pretty quick with an answer. “I want to run my own

business, to be my own boss!” With an innocence untarnished by real life experience, these kids would often go on to list the benefits of such a choice. “I’ll be able to set my own hours. No one will tell me what to do. I’m solely responsible for my own success.” It was hard to contain a smile. The hardest working, least truly independent folks I know are those who are the “boss.” I’ve been one, and in an organization with more than 500 employees serving nearly 4,000 students, it was really tough to set my own

hours. While only seven people – a Board of Education – had the legal authority to “tell me what to do,” most every person connected to the organization felt empowered to tell me how to do it along the way. We were, after all, the public’s school. This is not so different from the bosses in the private sector. The owner of a local store might have employees to manage the day-to-day elements of the job, but owners also respond to the late night alarm or the weekend water break because their personal interests are at stake. The CEO might have associates to attend to the routine, but the boss often has to interrupt a vacation or make hasty changes to family plans when a key client calls or a long-set strategy goes awry. The owner in the for-profit sector also knows that if someone else covers the hours that the owner might otherwise take, the cost goes directly to the bottom line. As a sole proprietor,

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.

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POINT OF VIEW

there is no one to boss but me. In theory at least, I answer to no authority in the work I do. But, when I accept a client contract, when I commit to a project often of uncertain scope, I surrender significant control over time. I agree to be told what to do. My own success is directly linked to a willingness to put away youthful notions of independence in exchange for the obligations of real and meaningful work.

Business Central asks readers:

“If you could invent one thing to make your job easier, what would it be?”

A more broad radio advertisement vehicle that is guaranteed to reach all listeners.”

A new time management system so I don’t have to scramble so much to get everything done.” Jim Gruenke • Mark J. Traut Wells

Sue Carlson • The Legends at Heritage Place

X-Ray vision or something similar to help gauge my coworkers’ moods.”

Brett Anderson • Sentry Bank

A visual mind reader to make communication between people easier.” Kalie Schuster • Leighton Enterprises

Lead generation – something more advanced that leads both sellers and buyers to the right connections on a regular basis.” Nick Novak • RE/MAX Results

Committed to Caring Looking out for more than just your health. At St. Cloud Medical Group, you’re not just a patient — you’re our neighbor. We look out for more than just your health. We are managing the cost of your care while still providing high quality care. In fact, we’ve scored first in the state for reducing the cost of care. As the longest serving independent health care provider in the area, we do more for the people we care about.

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 5 //

www.businesscentralmagazine.com

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UpFront

NEWS REEL ST. CLOUD HOSPITAL RECOGNIZED The St. Cloud Hospital was named a 100 Top Hospital by Truven Health Analytics in the “teaching hospitals” category. It is one of seven Minnesota hospitals with the top 100 distinction. Truven Health indentifies hospitals and leadership teams that provide the highest level of value to their communities based on a national scoreboard. The St. Cloud Hospital received Platinum designation by Optum, formerly United Behavioral Health, for remarkable care provided to mental health inpatients. The Platinum designation is the highest level of achievement. The St. Cloud Hospital was one of only 80 facilities nationwide and the only hospital in Minnesota to earn this designation.

S&T OFFICE PRODUCTS JOINS INNOVATIVE OFFICE SOLUTIONS St. Cloud based S&T Office Products, Inc. joined Innovative Office Solutions, making the combined organization the largest independent office product supplier in the Upper Midwest and one of the largest in the country. This collaboration brings both companies together under a single brand, Innovative Office Solutions.

METRO BUS ANNOUNCES STAFFING CHANGES Paula Mastey joined Metro Bus as director of finance. Tom Cruikshank was promoted to managing director of operations and planning.

BREMER PROMOTES STAFF Alex Cameron has been promoted to business banker at Bremer Bank-St. Cloud. Cameron was previously a credit analyst at Bremer Bank in Grand Forks, N.D.

BCCalendar GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

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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 events.StCloudAreaChamber.com for a detailed calendar. SPOTLIGHT

MAY 7

Business Awards Luncheon Annual luncheon honoring the St. Cloud area business awards recipients. This year we are recognizing Larry Logeman, Executive Express, the St. Cloud Area Small Business Owner of the Year; Michael Faber, Viking Coca-Cola, the Family Owned Business of the Year; and Luke Riordan, DAYTA Marketing, the Business Central Emerging Entrepreneur. Hosted by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce at the Holiday Inn & Suites, 75 37th Ave. S, St. Cloud. Registration required: $19 for Chamber members; $29 for the general public.

MAY 6 & JUNE 3

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, 1411 W St. Germain St., Suite 101, St. Cloud. Registration required: $15 for Chamber members, $22 for the general public. May 6: Sponsored by Minnwest Bank with David

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Titus, St. Cloud State University, presenting “Successful Sales Through Ethics.”

members and guests. Bring your business cards and prepare to grow your network! 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.

June 3: Sponsored by Rasmussen College with Luke Riordan, DAYTA Marketing, presenting “To Tweet or Not to Tweet… Is Twitter Right For Your Business?”

May 15: Hosted by Holiday Inn & Suites, 17 37th Ave. S, St. Cloud.

MAY 15 & JUNE 16

Business After Hours A complimentary open house for Chamber

June 16: Hosted by Travelers Country Club on the Mississippi, 11290 80th Ave. SE, Clear Lake.

MAY 8 & JUNE 12

Government Affairs A discussion of local government issues on the


second Friday of the month, 7:30 - 9 a.m.

May 8: Emerging Legislative Issues at the Chamber office, 1411 W St. Germain St., Suite 101, St. Cloud. June 12: Post-Session Legislative Wrap-up with state legislators at Resource Training and Solutions, 137 23rd St. S, #201, Sartell.

MAY 20 & JUNE 17

Waite Park Chamber For businesses interested in Waite Park issues. Lunch is provided by the host when you register at least two days in advance. 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. May 20: Business showcase featuring 12 Waite Park businesses, at the Waite Park Pavilion, 151 13th Ave. N, Waite Park.

M A N U FAC T U R E R OF P R E M I U M C ONC R E T E PAV I N G S TON E S , SL A B S & WA L L S

June 17, hosted by Minnwest Bank at the Waite Park American Legion, 17 2nd Ave. N, Waite Park, featuring a presentation on “Business Etiquette and Diversity” by Betsey Lund, Lund Sauter, P.A.

IN THE NEWS

MAY 28 & JUNE 25

Dr. Nicholas Colatrella, medical director, PineCone Vision Center, was named president of the Minnesota Optometric Association’s (MOA) Board of Trustees. Dr. Colatrella was most recently president-elect of the MOA Board of Trustees and has twice been named Young Optometrist of the Year.

Sauk Rapids Chamber For businesses interested in Sauk Rapids issues. Lunch is provided by the host when you register at least two days in advance. 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. May 28: Hosted by Ron’s Cabinets on-site at 380 Industrial Blvd. E, Sauk Rapids, with a presentation on “Community Priorities” by Steve Joul, Central Minnesota Community Foundation.

Government Center, 250 Summit Ave. N, Sauk Rapids, with a presentation on “Finding, Keeping and Training Your Workforce” by Tom Becker, C4 Welding. For information on these or other business events, call 320-251-2940.

June 25: Hosted by Falcon National Bank at the Sauk Rapids

Create your own personal touch with the wide variety of high quality Borgert pavers, slabs and walls. Your patio creates the perfect mood to relax, entertain and just enjoy life itself.

Visit our showroom at: 8646 Ridgewood Rd., St. Joseph, MN 56374 For more information or for a free catalog call 320.363.4671 W W W. B O R G E R T P R O D U C T S . C O M

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UpFront NEW AT THE TOP

NEWS REEL JOHNSON HIRED AT SMARTSEARCH

Mary Dana Hinton, Ph.D., 44 President, College of Saint Benedict

Kelsey Johnson was hired as a web design and Internet marketing specialist for SmartSearch. She recently earned her Google AdWords Certification.

prepare me for my current role and I know they would love CSB as much as I do. When did you start in your current position? June 16, 2014. I officially became the president on July 1, 2014.

KAPLAN JOINS MICROBIOLOGICS Alan Kaplan, Microbiologics, was hired as the company’s U.S. national sales manager. In his new role, Kaplan will develop and lead the company’s sales activities in the U.S. marketplace. Most recently, Kaplan was the director of North American sales at Applied Spectral Imaging.

COBORN’S, INC. ADDS TO CORPORATE TEAM Coborn’s, Inc. recently hired the following new leaders to its corporate team:

(L-R) Scott Morris, senior vice president of center store David Pack, director of IT Cheryl Graham, director of private label and Topco relations

(L-R) Denise Berg, controller

Scott Brooks, IT senior project manager Jennie Rundle, human resources business partner Joelle Peterson, human resources business partner

Previous employer: Mount Saint Mary College What will you miss most about your previous position? I miss the community of people I worked with. They helped

What are you looking forward to the most in your new position? It’s a privilege to journey with this community as we transform the lives of young women.

Our entire faculty and staff are committed to providing young women with an outstanding residential liberal arts education and I am honored to be a part of that process and to support the community. Where did you grow up? North Carolina What are your hobbies? I really enjoy research and writing in my disciplinary area which is religion.

Fun fact: I love to cook and often create recipes in the middle of the night.

TOP HATS : NEW LOCATIONS, OWNERSHIP & EXPANSIONS

Papa Murphy’s Take N Bake Pizza, 25 14th Ave. S, St. Cloud. Pictured: Luke Cesnik, Mike Pfau, Joel Meyer and Shawn Brannan.

A & N Convention Services, convention services and equipment, audio visual equipment, 1816 W St. Germain St., St. Cloud. Pictured: Inese Mehr, Steve Bernu, Neil Laitala, Cindi Kaiser, Molly Ponath, Britt Linn and Roger Schleper.

META 13 INTERACTIVE HIRES

Carlson & Stewart Refrigeration, refrigeration, heating/air conditioning, sales and service, 189 Industrial Boulevard, Sauk Rapids. Pictured: Jill Magelssen, Gary Sheppard, Cory Schreifels, Gail Lancour and Dolora Musech.

Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Minn., serving youth by creating nurturing and supportive relationships with carefully screened and trained mentors, 203 Cooper Ave. N, Suite 162, St. Cloud. Pictured: Roger Schleper, Jackie Scholl Johnson, Rachel Bogenrief, Sharon Harren, Andrew Karasch and Tauna Quimby.

Corinne Skoog joined Meta 13 Interactive as an account manager. FaceTime Business Resources, your single source for many business solutions, 32 S 32nd Ave., Suite 96, St. Cloud. Pictured: Brian Jarl, Karli Zormeier, Rachel Lolmasteymaugh, Chris Dolney, Chad Houg, Dayna Granquist and Dolora Musech.

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March of Dimes, improving the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality, 1545 Northway Dr., Suite 140, St. Cloud. Pictured: Brian Jarl, Lori Eich, Maggie Judkins and Roger Schleper.


IT HAPPENED WHEN?

May 1989 – St. Cloud Greeters

I

n May 1989, the St. Cloud Greeters were organized to help welcome guests at large conventions in the St. Cloud area. Created by the Chamber’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, the St. Cloud Greeters

St. Cloud Greeters – May 1989

helped out at trade shows and conventions that lasted at least two days and involved at least 200 participants. Greeters were designated with white blazers and a

The group developed three different bus tours ranging from one to three hours. Today there are 28 Greeters, including Lorraine Buttweiler St. Cloud Greeters - December 2014 who attended a convention in Florida where readiness to answer any she experienced ‘greeters’ questions convention guests and brought the idea back might have. In addition to to St. Cloud. While some of helping with conventions, the faces have changed, the greeters plotted out tours mission to promote St. Cloud of the St. Cloud area that remains the same. In 2014 the were available during the Greeters donated 598 hours to day for convention-attending promoting St. Cloud to visitors spouses or in the evenings for and convention goers. conventioneers and guests.

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UpFront TOP HATS : NEW MEMBERS

NEWS REEL BREMER RECOGNIZES EMPLOYEES The following eight Bremer St. Cloud employees were recently recognized as the “Best of Bremer:” Toni Abfalter, Sandra Burklund, Troy Cameron, Julie Heying, Matt Laubach, Mariann Richter, Deb Thielman, and Jackie Wessels. The “Best of Bremer” honors the top 100 employees across the organization for excellence in sales and service.

Community Lawn Care, 805 Hwy. 55 E, Buffalo. Pictured: Brian Jarl, Randy Latzig and Chris Panek.

Compiled by Whitney Bina. For consideration in News Reel send your news release to givers@

Lionheart Games, game shop, 376 3rd St. NE, Waite Park. Pictured: Brian Jarl, Justin Willard and Dave Borgert.

BusinessCentralMagazine.com

Consumer Directions, a fiscal organization specializing in personal financial planning for clients on county waivers and state grants, 111 College Ave. N., St. Joseph. Pictured: Jill Magelssen, Lisa Kampfer, Shantel Jaszcak and Dave Borgert.

Fishing Pond, an educational resource store with idea books, games, puzzles and all classroom learning essentials, 2077 Frontage Road N, Suite 14, Waite Park. Pictured: Chris Panek, Lynn Anderson, Jeff Anderson and Dave Borgert.

Resource, Inc. – St. Cloud, employment and training services that help people with personal, social and economic challenges achieve their employment potential, 3400 1st St. N., Suite 404, St. Cloud. Pictured: Dave Borgert, Jennifer JimenezWheatley, Carrie Stang and Jill Magelssen.

NEW MEMBERS - NOT PICTURED Fiedler Your Pumping Specialists, Inc., septic pumping, septic maintenance, sewer and drain, 18627 Nature Road, Royalton.

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Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 5

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TOP HATS : NEW MEMBERS

Goldeneye Framing & Gallery, framing, mats, glass, 45 3rd St. NE, Waite Park. Pictured: Brian Jarl, Mary Gordon, Greg Gordon and Chris Panek.

Great Blue Heron, restaurant, lounge, event center, and offsite catering, 305 5th Ave. S., Cold Spring. Pictured: Sheri Moran, Nic Stang, Chrissy Stang, Kathy Stang and Dave Borgert.

TOP HATS : NEW BUSINESSES

Heartland Security, installs and monitors residential and commercial alarm systems and medical alerts, 213 8th Ave., NW, Suite 2, Melrose. Pictured: Sheri Moran, Alexa Sandbakken, Guy Adams, and Diane Diego Ohmann.

Smoke-In-D’s BBQ, specializes in BBQ concession and festival and fair events; catering weddings, corporate events and fund raisers, 31 N Benton Dr., Sauk Rapids. Pictured: Greg E. Theis, Donald Jones and Roger Schleper.

KEEPRS, police uniforms, equipment, duty gear, and fire uniforms, 305 4th Ave. S., Sartell. Pictured: Roger Schleper, Jason Klinefelter, John Tragiai and Jill Magelssen.

Merry Maids, commercial and residential cleaning, 200 Osseo Ave. N., St. Cloud. Pictured: Brenda Eisenschenk, Shelly Morris, Jonathan Porwoll and Jill Magelssen.

Renaissance Executive Forums – MN, peer discussion groups focusing on business growth and efficiencies, 1289 Paris Ave. N., Stillwater. Pictured: Dave Borgert and Chuck Jones.

Toppers Pizza, 202 6th Ave. S, St. Cloud. Pictured: Diane Diego Ohmann, Kevin Allen and Rick Poganski.

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Event? Convention? Gathering? Grand Casino is sure to please your guests with cozy hotel rooms, an action-packed gaming floor, and more.

Grand Casino Mille Lacs

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877-447-2631 • Over 22,000 total sq. ft. • Seat 2,288 theater style • Seat 1,028 banquet style • On-site Grand Harmony Spa • On-site 18-hole golf course

M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 5 //

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UpFront REGIONAL ROUNDUP

State of the City

Planning, zoning and economic development are the focus of the City of Waite Park in 2015.

Ice and water rescue training

Custom Welding and Metal Fabrication

A

ttendees at the annual Waite Park State of the City address learned that voters approved the extension of the Local Option Sales Tax through 2038, that the City has implemented a five-year staffing plan including a new Planning & Community Development Director, and that development of the southern and western portions of the city are high on the priority list for 2015.

Woods Farmer Seed and Nursery

New Highway 15 and 33rd Street interchange

Other highlights include: Profit!

A number of businesses are expanding and relocating to Waite Park: Woods Nursery opened in February 2015 along 28th Avenue. Great Theatre Company converted the building at 710 Sundial Drive into its offices, workshop, and rehearsal center.

Willow Park Senior Living, a 60 unit senior housing complex opened at 500 Heritage Court.

La Perla Market- Hispanic grocery, Q & S Massage, and Pizza Hut carry out opened in Sundial Village.

Custom Welding & Metal Fabrication put on a 4,600square-foot addition.

Complete Chiropractic and Nu Motion opened in the West River Business Park.

Salons by JC and St. Cloud Math & Science Academy opened in the Division Street/2nd Avenue South complex.

H & R Block and Cost Cutters opened in the 2nd Street S strip mall.

FYI // The Waite Park Fire Department is a part time/paid on-call department. To learn how you can become a firefighter, call 320-252-4712.

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Volunteers help clean up the city’s parks

Summit Fire Protection expanded into the former Health Partners space at 418 Great Oak Drive. Bounce Adventure relocated to the 3rd Street Plaza.

Source: City of Waite Park; Photos courtesy of City of Waite Park.

Training is an important focus for the Waite Park Fire Department.


Network!

Offering enrichment opportunities for its citizens is one of the responsibilities of the City of Waite Park. The Library Reading Garden received a $5,000 grant from Home Depot. The first phase included installing a fence and retaining wall and one of two arbors to serve as entry points to the reading garden.

FASTTrack FINANCING

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The city’s long range park plan calls for River’s Edge Park to receive new parking lots, two to six Pickleball courts, and a dog park. Waite Park and Stearns County received a grant from the Legacy Fund to start the design, right of way purchases, and construction of a small portion of the Wobegon Trail in River’s Edge Park.

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Frontage Road N located just north of Division Street runs from the Parkwood Theaters to Slumberland. The road was resurfaced in 2014 and realigned at the intersection in front of Slumberland. Parkway Drive and 17th Avenue S was new construction in the area located behind Menards and abutting MN Highway 23. 2nd Avenue North was reconstructed from 3rd Street N to Division Street. The main improvement was updating the railroad crossing from wood to concrete. The new Highway 15 and Granite Parkway Interchange was a collaborative effort with the City of St. Cloud and Stearns County. It was constructed with the assistance of state grant funds.

We’re proud to announce the opening of our new location in the heart of our hometown, where we look forward to serving your legal needs for the next 90 years.

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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

NETWORK

EVENING AT THE CAPITAL The Chamber’s annual St. Cloud Area Evening at the Capital helped connect almost 200 business representatives and legislators.

Bernie Perryman, Viking Coca-Cola (L); Kris Nelson, Custom Accents; Rep. Tama Theis; Greg Theis, Get Home Inspections; John Herges, Falcon National Bank; and Tony Goddard, City of St. Cloud

Dave Borgert, CentraCare Health (L); Pam Raden, The Johnson Group Marketing; Rep. Jeff Howe

Pam McIntosh, Rasmussen; Jodi Speicher and Bruce Glanzer, The Good Shepherd Community; Michael Hemmesch, College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University

Jane DeAustin, Central Minn. Builders Assoc., and chair of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee; Sen. Bruce Anderson

Jason Bernick, Bernick’s Beverages and Vending (L); Sen. Dean Urdahl; Rep. Paul Anderson; Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen

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Caryn Stadther, Falcon National Bank; Ryan Daniel, Metro Bus


Former Rep. Margaret Anderson Kelliher (L); Sen. Dave Senjem; former Sen. Tarryl Clark

Sen. Bill Weber (L); Sen. Gary Durhass; Sen. Dave Senjem

Rep. Tim O’Driscoll (L); St. Cloud City Councilman John Liebert; Angie Stenson and Jarrett Hubbard, Area Planning Organization

Tom Travaglio, Gold Cross Ambulance (L); Sen. John Pederson

Chris Klinkhammer (L) and Maureen Gaedy, Goodwill/Easter Seals MN; John Hart, St. Cloud Technical & Community College

Wendy Hendricks, Hendricks Marketing and St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis

Rep. Tama Theis (L); Anah Dahir, Somali Women Youth Support; Denise Fale, NAACP

Patti Gartland, Greater St. Cloud Development Corp. (L) and Sartell Mayor Sarah Jane Nicoll

Gloria Vande Brake, Minuteman Press; Tim McLean and Rob Ruprecht, Rasmussen

Barry Kirchoff, Minnesota Central Region Small Business Development Center (L), Steve Greenfield, Greenfield Public Relations; John Wolak, Arvig M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 5 //

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BUSINESS TOOLS GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

u

30 & 34 Management Toolkit 32 Tech Strategies 33 Tech News 36 Economy Central by Falcon Bank uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

RESOURCES THAT HELP YOUR BUSINESS GROW

ENTREPRENEURISM

Sales Limbo!

Discover your prospect’s decision-making process before your presentation or you’ll land in sales limbo. By Brian Hart

H

ave you ever had a series of good meetings with a prospect … gathered all kinds of information ... and given what you thought was a great presentation … only to receive a response like, “Let me think about it”? Or, “I have to share all of this with my boss”? Or, “We’ll get back to you”? And then you never heard another word? You landed in sales limbo — the perpetual exile prospects call “very interesting” — for one reason and one reason alone. You didn’t qualify the prospect’s decision-making process. Prospects have a process by which they make buying

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decisions. It is important that salespeople uncover this process before scheduling any presentation. Most salespeople make an effort to ensure they are talking to a decision maker, but they don’t always find out who else plays a part in the decision process, what the process is, how the decision is ultimately made, or what the time frame for making the decision is . . . until after they’ve made their presentation or submitted their proposal. Without this knowledge in advance, the salesperson risks making a presentation of the wrong information to the wrong person, at the wrong

time, and/or in a manner inconsistent with the prospect’s decision-making process! It only makes sense for you to uncover a complete description of your prospect’s decision-making process well before your presentation. After all, if you don’t know what will be expected of you during your presentation, or how or by whom your product or service will be judged, how can you plan an effective presentation? If you cannot meet the requirements of the prospect’s decision-making process, or if some aspect of that process is inconsistent with your goals, then it is not a good fit and should be disqualified. Here are the kinds of questions that will give you good information about the decision-making process: “How are you planning to make the final decision?” ––––––––– “Who else is going to be involved?” –––––––––

“By when do you need to make the decision?” ––––––––– “How would you go about making the decision to work with one company rather than another?” ––––––––– If your prospect is unwilling to share this information, it is likely that there’s something going on behind the scenes that is not necessarily in your best interest. If you can’t fill in the blanks, disqualify the prospect. In most cases, when you ask these kinds of questions respectfully, as one professional to another, one of two things will happen. You’ll either get the other person to open up, and get a much clearer sense of what the decision-making process is … or you’ll get a clear indication that this opportunity is not really worth pursuing. Either way, you’ll stay out of sales limbo, and your closing ratio will go up!

contributor Brian Hart is the owner and president of Sandler Training in St. Cloud, specializing in sales, management, and leadership training and development. He can be reached at brain.hart@sandler.com


GOING GREEN

Plant your roof— and cheer up!

THIRD STREET BREWHOUSE | COLD SPRING, MN

FOCUSED ONTHE FUTURE

Testing a new green roof at Chicago’s City Hall.

L

egend has it that the roofs, balconies, and terraces of the royal palace of ancient Babylon, known today as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, were turned into gardens by the king’s order to cheer up one of his wives. Roof gardens help absorb heat, reduce the carbon dioxide impact by taking up CO2 and giving off oxygen, absorb storm water, and reduce summer air conditioning usage. Ultimately, the technique could lessen the “heat island” effect that occurs in urban centers. Butterflies and songbirds could also start frequenting urban garden roofs, and like the king’s wife, could even cheer up the inhabitants of the building.

COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION PROJECT MANAGEMENT REAL ESTATE SERVICES 320.251.5933 | 888.678.7225 | StrackCompanies.com

Source: LiveScience.com

M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 5 //

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BusinessTools MANAGEMENT TOOL KIT

Spring Cleaning

Devoting a little time now to cleaning out your office can result in higher productivity...and less stress... later. By Sharon Sorenson

S

pring is in the air. Our clocks spring ahead and our thoughts wander to spring cleaning. But, is there a spring in your step? Could you be bogged down by the weight of what cleaning expert Don Aslett calls “office obesity?” Again and again, we are warned that our productivity is negatively affected by inattention to our office environment. Most often the statistics document loss of time and money from wasted resources and searching for misplaced items. The toll this takes in revenue is astonishing. A study

by Brother International concluded that messy desks and time spent looking for misplaced items costs corporate America $177 billion annually. The typical response to the thought “I need to get organized” is “I don’t have time.” The task seems like a dreary, boring, sweaty time away from our “real” work. I challenge you to rethink this attitude. Giving your office a spring makeover is more than just cleaning. It gives you a chance to reconnect with your office environment with a view to moving forward. Productivity guru, David

Allen, says “Sometimes the biggest gain in productive energy will come from cleaning the cobwebs, dealing with old business, and clearing the desks – cutting loose debris that’s impeding forward motion.” When was the last time you looked at your workspace? I mean, really looked. You spend a lot of time there. Give yourself the gift of renewed productive energy, the feeling of being in control, and an overall sense of well-being that is so often reported by those who make time to focus on their office environment with an eye to productivity. Rapid and unrelenting change is the name of the game in today’s business world. It is in your best interest to be proactive about clutter. Barbara Hemphill, productivity expert, says “clutter is more than an occasional temporary mess you make while finishing a project. It is a multiplicity of messes. It is chronic, cumulative, chaotic, cramping, creeping disorder.” If you don’t stop it, who will? Being productive means accomplishing your work and enjoying your life. Is there a spring in your step?

contributor Sharon Sorenson is the owner of Heartland Organizing, a consulting and training company specializing in improving productivity in the workplace. She can be reached at sharon@heartlandorganizing.com

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CLEANING 101 Here are a few suggestions to help you get started: Make Time: Instead of saying “I don’t have time” ask yourself the following questions:

1 What if I come in early to work several days in a row?

2 What if I stay late several days in a row?

3 What if I devote a Saturday to the cause?

4 What if I dedicate a specific time each day to the project?

Make a Mindset Shift: Instead of saying “I keep things” shift to “I get rid of things” and ask the following questions:

l l l l l l

Does this item require action? Can I identify a specific use for it? Is it difficult to obtain again? Is it recent enough to be useful? Are there tax or legal implications? What is the worst thing that can happen without it?

Make Progress:

1 If that will not work within your timeframe, then set up a staging area where you can stop and start the project with ease.

2

Work on one selfdefeating habit at a time – we all have them, so don’t feel alone.

3 Be realistic about what you can accomplish. Turn those areas that need further attention into documented projects with timelines and deadlines.


WORKING WELL

Do wellness programs work?

A

study in The American Journal of Health Promotion finds that company wellness programs often don’t deliver savings and may even raise costs. The problem appears to lie in programs that prod employees,

rather than helping them to be at their best. The answer, according to one business consultant, is creating workplaces that make people want to bring their best selves to work every day. This includes focusing on intrinsic motivation, engaging employees, creating a healthy workplace culture, and asking for feedback.

Idomoo photo https://idomoo.com/

BRIGHT SPOT Minnesota manufacturers are optimistic about the industry, with more than 90 percent saying they expect production and employment levels to increase or stay the same – up more than 10 percent from 2014 for both indicators. Source: Minn. DEED

TECHNOLOGY

IDOMOO No, it’s not a new beverage. It’s an advertising platform that combines video and personalization technology. Businesses create their own videos through Idomoo’s Video Engine (a cloud-based video generation machine based on Adobe After Effects). Integrating Idomoo with a business’ CRM data makes it possible to personalize those videos with customerspecific data. For example, a retailer could display different scenes to users from different locations around the country. Source: Street Fight

No Varicose Veins. No Surgery. No Down Time. Physicians with The Vein Center and Regional Diagnostic Radiology: Dr. Jody Bolton Smith Dr. Danielle Leighton Dr. Rochelle Wolfe Dr. Chadd McMahon Terri Wolfe, PA-C “I feel better and my legs look better.” JOANN

Call today for a complimentary varicose or spider vein consultation.

320-257-VEIN (8346) 1990 connecticut ave s sartell, mn 56377 for beautiful results

beautifulresults.com

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BusinessTools TECH STRATEGIES

Step In

Twitter is changing our world...and your business could benefit.

By Dawn Zimmerman

All. This easily could evolve to uses for businesses.

T

witter, whether you use it or not, is already changing our world. While the people who use Twitter get it, there’s a good portion of professionals who are still wondering what it’s all about. These folks have yet to get a Twitter handle, to say nothing of becoming actively engaged. If you step in, you’ll be a part of history. Twitter is changing the way we communicate, network, engage others, and yes, drive business. Here’s a look at just a few of the ways it’s leading today’s culture:

Becoming our news source. Thanks to Twitter, we can get the news right from the source and often in real-time. From celebrities to small businesses, we can find out what’s happening, and learn their take

on an issue by following them, or just viewing their feeds on Twitter. Media outlets certainly have seen the connection and are leveraging the platform to share news highlights, drive traffic to their websites, and get leads on stories. This provides businesses with the opportunity to push out their news and no longer simply hope the media picks it up.

recent study by Nielsen found that at least 15 percent of TV viewers enjoy TV more “when social media is involved.” It’s called the second screen and is becoming a part of business. Shows are using Twitter to increase engagement of their fans, build loyalty, and leverage those fans to take their brand to a whole new level. You can do the same with your business.

Changing how we watch TV. We used to have conversations about our favorite TV shows or news headlines in the living room or at the kitchen table. Today, we can hardly watch anything live on TV without hearing about a hashtag or seeing the conversation on Twitter. (Yes, it happens on Facebook, too. But Twitter is much more pervasive). A

Taking the conversation farther. Twitter just started experimenting with “TV timelines,” with a limited release in March. Designed to allow users to dig farther into the conversation on Twitter, related to their favorite show, the timelines are divided into three columns: Highlights, Media (i.e.: photos, video) and

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

32

Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 5

Driving the use of real-time video. Twitter has been among the social leaders driving the development and use of videos. We have seen the video become very short, only 10-20 seconds, and replace the traditional picture. Now with Twitter’s recent purchase of Periscope, a startup live-streaming video app, real-time takes on a whole new meaning. It may signal Twitter’s entrance into the live video business. What would you live stream as a business? Adding to our language. Hashtag is a real word outside of social media. The hashtag itself is proof that Twitter has the power to turn a trend into a constant. Not everyone understands the power of the hashtag on Twitter (the ability to search for conversations on an event, your product or your brand). Now, even when we call into a service and would have normally been prompted to push the “pound sign,” it’s also called the hashtag. That # holds the key for your organization to identify your content curators on your brand, leverage them to share your story, and build a community. It’s time to get off the sidelines. Twitter is not a fleeting trend or just a place for the newer generations. It’s changing our world and has the power to take your professional presence and business to a much higher level.


TECH NEWS

The Not-So-Ho-Hum World of E-mail Marketing A plethora of email marketing solutions now offer advanced systems that let you send automated, beautifully designed rich-media messages that convert and deliver a decent return on investment. Campaigner, Campaign Monitor, and BlueHornet are just three examples. Source: Business News Daily Learn more at BusinessCentralMagazine.com DON’T MISS

Lunchtime Learning

“To Tweet or Not to Tweet… Is Twitter Right For Your Business?” June 3: sponsored by Rasmussen College with Luke Riordan, DAYTA Marketing 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 at 1411 West St. Germain St.

DOING GOOD

CMCF Raises Record Donations

The Central Minnesota Community Foundation and

The Norman C. Skalicky Foundation raised a record $418,000 through the Charity Challenge to provide food for area residents. This is more than double the amount donated two years ago. Dollars benefit the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities and St. Joseph food shelves.

Improve productivity, efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Today’s businesses need a reliable, affordable, flexible and expandable business phone system that is designed to serve the unique needs of their business. We can help you use technology to simplify your life. Contact us today. 888.99.ARVIG | arvig.com/business

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33


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BusinessTools MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT

Think Ahead If you don’t make a plan to pass on your business, circumstances will do it for you. By Jacqueline M. Schuh

A potential successor needs to understand the big picture, while paying attention to the details.

Plan for death? No, not yet. Plan for passing the family business to the next generation? Well, yes or… er… no…um, well maybe. We all dream of retirement or rather, the transition from work to total control of our schedules. But few of us favor the idea of giving up authority, especially of a business we created or built. If you own part or all of a business, you are well aware of the long hours and endless worries that were required to nurture it to success. To entrust it to anyone else is just plain risky. But, inevitably, preferably by choice, but possibly by disability or illness, you must accept forfeiting leadership and ownership. You can let

34

Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 5

circumstances dictate what happens, or you can take control through a series of steps referred to as business succession planning. The first step is to start with a good team: a business and estate planning attorney and an accountant. You and your team must candidly discuss your future lifestyle preferences, your hopes for your business, and whether you have successor candidates within your family. You must also provide your team with your financial information and approval to speak freely with each other and with your financial advisor. Schedule a meeting with your team, together, in one room, to discuss options and create a plan you can follow and, if needed, tweak.

As a primer, you can use the following guidelines with your team to begin getting you to your end- game plan. Have your accountant, or a trained business evaluator, complete a business valuation so you have an idea of the total value of the business for purposes of transition or sale. Review this every few years as the value will almost certainly change. As early as possible identify all potential family candidates. Ideally, identification of these individuals should take place at least eight to ten years prior to your intended transition. Practically, most business owners don’t do so until three to five years prior to retirement. Speak with each potential successor candidate to assess levels of interest.

If you receive a favorable response, mentor each candidate, assessing each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. Remember, there is no perfect candidate. A potential successor needs to understand the big picture, while paying attention to the details. You will need to coach, by word and example, all areas of the business: • decision-making • communication • financial management • payroll and benefits • employment laws • motivating others • the wise use of your team of professionals

In this process you will rule in and out potential candidates. You will identify financing options and tax implications. You will develop the information necessary to make sound decisions and move ahead as your successor candidates are ready and you, in turn, are ready to relinquish control and ownership. Jacqueline M. Schuh is an attorney with Engelmeier & Umanah, P.A.


When I Work app: http://wheniwork.com/

TECH NEWS

Can we meet?

O

nline tools, like When I Work and GenBook, can help you schedule staff hours or customer appointments. When I Work, a web-based scheduling interface, requires minimal data entry and allows staff to stay connected to their schedules, whether they’re in the office or at a remote location. In addition to scheduling, GenBook allows your company to offer special promotions, connect these advertisements to your company’s social profiles, and even track customer analytics. Source: Entrepreneur.com

IN THE NEWS

Awarding Growth Midsota Manufacturing of Avon received the 2015 Initiative Foundation Outstanding Enterprise award. Sponsored by Schlenner Wenner & Co., the Outstanding Enterprise award recognizes growth and expansion of area companies. Midsota Manufacturing will receive $1,000 for the charity of its choice.

TECHNOLOGY

Hello Lamp Post

Almost 50 years after Simon and Garfunkel sang “Hello lamp post, whatcha knowin,” the streetlights of Chicago will answer them. The city started collecting data through Web-connected sensors installed on lamp poles last summer. In addition to foot traffic, the project measures air quality, sound volume, heat, light intensity, and precipitation as a means to better understand the urban environment and ultimately make Chicago a safer, more pleasant place to live. Source: Bloomberg Business

Classic hospitality

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Whether enjoying a signature dish like Spicy Chicken Penne or one of our monthly features, we invite you to experience our special brand of hospitality. Accredited by Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc.

RISTORANTE

2635 West Division Street • Saint Cloud 320-257-7900 • CiattisRistorante.com

St. Cloud Surgical Center 1526 Northway Drive • St. Cloud • 251-8385 • 800-349-7272 www.stcsurgicalcenter.com

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BusinessTools Economy Central presented by

ECONOMY CENTRAL

Recovery Achieved – Hesitation Remains Regional economists agree: It’s time to get back to normal. By Whitney Bina needs to retain older workers through flexible work arrangements, promote youth involvement, confront racial barriers, and allow more flexible working arrangements,” he said.

E

conomic leaders from around the state gathered to share their predictions for 2015 at the Economic Outlook, part of the 53rd Annual St. Cloud State University Winter Economic Institute. Panel members were (l-r) King Banaian, St. Cloud State

University; Laura Kalambokidis, Minnesota Management & Budget; James Palmer, U.S. Bank; and Steve Hine, Department of Employment and Economic Development; All four economists agreed the economy has officially recovered, but concerns linger.

James Palmer, U.S. Bank Focus: National economy “Now that the economy has recovered it’s time to get back to normal,” Palmer said. Achieving economic stability is the goal for 2015. The past year brought significantly improved economic and employment conditions around the nation and equity prices increased to all time highs. The zero percent interest rates that became commonplace over the past few years will rise in 2015, indicative of a recovered economy. However, U.S. economic growth remains unsatisfactory, he said. Risks to consider in 2015 include: Cross currents of declining oil and gas prices - positive for U.S. consumers, but negative for oil company workers who will face layoffs Currency de-valuation as nations race to the bottom

36

Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 5

Deflation concern in Europe – international markets may trade negatively

Laura Kalambokidis, Minnesota Management & Budget Focus: Minnesota economy Since this time last year, employment outlook and consumer confidence greatly increased. “At the start of 2015, both decreasing gas prices and the increasing value of the dollar were unexpected positives for consumers,” Kalambokidis said. Now with the unemployment rate below the lowest point of pre-recession levels, Minnesota needs to focus on growing and maintaining its workforce. The slowing labor force growth affects the state’s economic future, she said. “Productivity matters. We need to consider worker health, education, innovation and

building infrastructure. It’s important to leave no worker or entrepreneur behind in the next year.” Steve Hine, DEED Focus: State economy “The economy has fully recovered,” Hine said. “Minnesota regained all of the jobs lost in the recession and is in the midst of a 65 month job growth period.” Although the Minnesota economy appears strong, underlying problems are cause for concern: Long-term unemployment rates persist Demographic disparities continue Wages have stagnated Underemployment persists

King Banaian, St. Cloud State University Focus: Local economy The next year will be “sluggish,” but St. Cloud remains safe from another recession, Banaian said. He anticipates flat growth over the next year, with potential economic deceleration occurring in parts of Central Minnesota. Decreasing corn and oil prices will continue. St. Cloud residents should not to be too concerned with the large retail stores closing in the area, he said, stating that “turnover is natural.” One cause for concern echoes through to Central Minnesota: long-term workforce replacement poses a challenge in 2015. Nationwide economic concerns remain, but expect continued positivity into 2015. The recovered economy and pre-recession unemployment rates make it necessary to focus on workforce engagement and development. Consumers should expect lower oil prices and increasing dollar values throughout much of the year. All in all, 2015 looks to shape up into a positive, stable year. Whitney Bina is the communications

Labor force growth has slowed

and workforce development

“In order to counteract these concerns, Minnesota

coordinator at the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce.


$50M

$60M

$70M

$80M

December

$40M

November

September BUILDING PERMITS BY COMMUNITY

Home Sales C

2014

October

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

$30M

February

$20M

October April March

TOTAL: $62,358,547

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

Residential 2013 2014 2015 2013 August #/$ #/$ #/$ February

St. Cloud 1227 1209 66 July $18,425,316 $26,145,498 $2,078,416 2015 January

0

300

Sauk Rapids 382 447 17 June $18,539,531 $19,206,069 $848,500

St. Augusta

March

$50M

$60M

$70M

$80M

January December 0 Total as of 4/9/15. *2015 totals are not cumulative, they represent up-to-month data. November October

600

$600k

BUILDING PERMITS BY COMMUNITY

TOTAL: $7,330,285.00*

Sauk Rapids

TOTAL: $79,916,621.69

1200

Food and Bev

11 7 0 September $6,945,494 $202,027 $0 Mar

TOTAL: 102*

TOTAL: 1429

St. Augusta

2013

St. Joseph 78 82 8 August Feb $3,102,294 $3,783,078 $17,255

2015

July $0 $300k Total as of 4/9/15. *2015 Jan totals are not cumulative, they represent up-to-month data.

1500

$100M

69

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. Waite Park 90 84 15 October $4,377,148 $7,151,019 $614,309 Apr ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOS

TOTAL: $7,330,285.00* $80M

409

Sartell 174 30 3 November $3,531,780 $3,600,047 $255,000 May 2014

TOTAL: $117,060,554.11

$60M

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOS

December $12,027,944 $7,465,381 $72,730 June

TOTAL: 1411

TOTAL: $123,586.43*

$1.5M

TOTAL: $1,333,423.25

TOTAL: $1,326,730.36

$1.2M

$40M

48

900

$900k $20M

Food and Be

St. Cloud 425 397 46 2015 $87,075,891 $57,715,070 $6,370,991 July

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

$0M

September

300

Commercial 2013 2014 2015* August #/$ #/$ #/$

Commercial Building Permits

2013

Home Sales Closed in St.Cloud

2013

St. Joseph 128 176 25 February $1,702,322 $1,353,832 $501,101

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

2014

2

99 100 13 $3,327,830 $4,437,367 $1,225,576

Commercial Building Permits

2015

116

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

$40M

2015

$30M

April $879,943 $1,803,560 $6,150

300

$20M

2014

Waite Park

0

$10M

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

$300k

$0M

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

2013

80

2014

2015

2014

2013

$0

TOTAL: $54,435,063

2013

Sartell 438 291 33 May $11,560,121 $8,129,708 $5,129,884

2014

2015

January

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

Apr

Mar

Feb

Jan

TOTAL: $54,435,063 TOTAL:$9,789,627*

$10M

2015

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

July December June

November May

2013 2015

89,627*

$80M

$120M

COLOR KEY:

TOTAL: $62,358,547 2014

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

Economy Central presented by August

Compiled by Sharon Henry, data current as of 4/9/15

Residential Building Permits

Home Sales C

September

TOTAL:$9,789,627*

ECONOMIC INDICATORS & TRENDS

358,547

October

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

2015

435,063

285.00*

,621.69

,554.11

0M

Residential Building Permits

$120M

June $79,916,621.69 Sources: Building departments for the following cities:TOTAL: St. Cloud, Sauk Rapids, Sartell, Waite Park, St. Augusta, and St. Joseph.

2014

May

2014

Non FarmMarJobs

Source: www.positivelyminnesota.com

2014-2015

2013

Apr

TOTAL: $117,060,554.11

Unemployment Rates

August

September

October

M

J

J

A

S

December

July

A

Jan

November

June

1.5%

May

$120M

Feb

April

$100M

March

$80M

December

November

$60M

October

$40M

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

January

$20M

2.0%

February

2.5%

January

8%

$0M 7%

Source: www.positivelyminnesota.com 2013

2013-2014 % CHANGE

O

N

$0

$300k

1.0% 0.5%

6%

0.0% -0.5%

5%

-1.0% -1.5%

4%

-2.0% -2.5% -3.0%

3% J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

J

D

J

F

M

D

Benton & Stearns Counties Minnesota United States

St. Cloud Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota United States

M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 5 //

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37


9,627*

58,547

35,063

$80M

BusinessTools

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

September

August

July

June

May

April

September

March

February

January

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

December

November

October

September

OUD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK, H

August

July

June

Apr

Mar

Feb

Jan

May

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

uilding Permits

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

October

TOTAL: 102*

August

September

2015

TOTAL: $123,586.43*

July

TOTAL: $7,330,285.00*

August

TOTAL: 1429

July

June

2015

May

2014

MayTOTAL: 1411

July

TOTAL: $1,333,423.25

$600k

$900k

$1.2M

57% $1.5M

Lodging Tax Dollars

May April

1500

$1.5M

Total as of 4/9/15. *2015 totals are not cumulative, they represent up-to-month data.

June

March

TOTAL: 102*

350

TOTAL: 1429

300

Stearns Co. 246 168 21 2013 Benton Co. 70 53 3

$300k

September August

TOTAL: 316

Residential 2013 2014 2015* TOTAL: $1,326,730.36

$0

Home Sales Closed in St.Cloud

TOTAL: $123,586.43*

Small business owners’ optimism on business prospects and the economy continue to rise, according to American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor. The semi-annual survey captures a snapshot of small business owner sentiment and plans for the future.

TOTAL: 1411

2014 SHERIFF’S FORECLOSURE AUCTIONS

250

$1.5M

Optimism Returns

October

1200

TOTAL: $123,586.43*

TOTAL: $1,333,423.25

TOTAL: $1,326,730.36

$1.2M

200

December

November

900

$900k

150

$1.2M

BY THE NUMBERS

TOTAL: 24*

600

$600k

100

$900k

300

$300k

50

$600k

Total as of 4/9/15. *2015 totals are not cumulative, they represent up-to-month data.

TOTAL: 221PARK, 6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH

0

$300k

Sources: Tax Collections – City of St. Cloud Incorporations - MN Secretary of State, Graph courtesy of SCSU

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

2015 2013

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

January

$0

Sheriff’s Foreclosure Auctions STEARNS AND BENTON COUNTIES

2013

2015

1500

Feb

Total as of 4/9/15. *2015 totals are not cumulative, they represent up-to-month data.

2014

2014

1200

TOTAL: $1,326,730.36

0

900

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

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

600

Building departments for the following cities: St. Cloud, Jan $60MSources: $80M $100M $120M Sauk Rapids, Sartell, Waite Park, St. Augusta, and St. Joseph.

2015

2013

February Mar

300

2014

Apr

TOTAL: $117,060,554.11

0

April March

2015

2014

2013

2013

TOTAL: $1,333,423.25

June

TOTAL: $79,916,621.69

$0

0M

M

5.00*

21.69

54.11

$120M

uuuuuuu uuuuuuu uuuuuuu uuuuuuu uuuuuuu

42%

February

Small business owners January who plan to make capital investments over the next six months

Entrepreneurs who say their revenues are higher when compared to a year ago

STEARNS AND BENTON COUNTIES TOTAL: $97,710*

December

72%

Business owners who had access to capital in spring 2014

Total as of 4/9/15. *2015 totals are not cumulative, they represent up-to-month data.

Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 5

November

Business owners who say they are increasingly confident they can access the capital they need to grow their businesses

Housing/Real Estate sources: St. Cloud Area Association of Realtors, http:// stcloudrealtors.com/pages/statistics; Benton County Sheriff’s Civil Process; Stearn’s County Sheriff’s Office; http://thething.mplsrealtor.com/

38

October

September

August

$1.5M

79% July

$1.2M

Business owners with cash flow concerns in spring 2014

June

49%

May

$900k

April

$600k

March

TOTAL: $1,336,559 2013

$300k

February

TOTAL: $1,356,663

Business owners with current cash flow concerns

2014

$0

January

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

January

2015

43%

Economy Central presented by


x

Kendra Berger

Vice President and Manager of Retail Lending

PROVIDING MORTGAGE LOANS THAT ARE RIGHT FOR YOU That’s me. Whether you’re interested in purchasing your first home or refinancing your current mortgage, we’ll guide you step-by-step through a mortgage that is right for you. When you choose Falcon National Bank, you can be confident that you’ve chosen the best home mortgage option.

www.FalconNational.com


DRIVEN TO

SUCCEED CUSTOMER-CENTRIC MOVES HAVE HELPED EXECUTIVE EXPRESS catapult from a modest St. Cloud company to a growing regional business. BY DAWN ZIMMERMAN / PHOTOS BY JOEL BUTKOWSKI

Y

ou could say Executive Express owner Larry Logeman woke up one day wanting to own a business. It never crossed his mind in college. “If it had, I would have taken at least one business course or an accounting class,” the Luther College graduate joked recently. Instead, he earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and public communications and pursued a career in hospitality. It was while working alongside Jim Graves, owner of the Radisson Hotel in St. Cloud, and serving as general manager that he first thought about the possibility. In 1998, Logeman wrote his plan to become a business owner and set a deadline of 5-7 years. The challenge was he didn’t want to start a business and he didn’t have much money to buy one. That didn’t deter him, though. He clung to his plan and began networking with accountants, attorneys and other professional advisors for leads on potential business sales.

40

Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 5

A DRIVE TO DREAM Logeman thought he had found his business when he joined ServiceMaster. He became president with the intention of taking over ownership of the family-owned business with the next generation. Three weeks prior to closing the sale, it fell through. “I went home and told my wife that I was not worried,” he said, because he had his business plan and just needed to reignite it. The news came as Logeman and his wife, Connie, had five children, including a new baby at home. With no income coming in, his timeline to become a business owner shrank and he called on a broker to expedite the process. “I told him I wanted to buy a business within three months,” Logeman remembers. “He said, ‘No one buys a business that fast.’”  They committed to trying and evaluated 13 companies. “I could only buy a business that was small,” Logeman said. He had minimal savings and would need to take out a second mortgage on his family’s home to make it happen.


BUSINESS PROFILE

EXECUTIVE EXPRESS

3358 Southway Drive St Cloud, MN 56301 320-253-2226 www.executiveexpress.biz OWNERSHIP:

Larry Logeman LEADERSHIP TEAM:

Larry Logeman, owner and president

Josie Luebesmier, office administrator and human resources coordinator Jim Staska, director of sales and marketing Traci Mueller, Minnesota branch manager Jamie Forcum, Minnesota assistant branch manager Tracy Patchen, bookkeeper Bonnie Brown, Iowa branch manager Mario McPherson, Iowa assistant branch manager BUSINESS DESCRIPTION:

Professional passenger transportation with airport shuttle, private charters and delivery services. FLEET:

31 vehicles EMPLOYEES:

85 (53 in St. Cloud) DRIVERS: 63 PASSENGERS SERVED:

65,968 (2014) PREVIOUS YEAR SALES: $2.7 million CURRENT YEAR PROJECTED SALES:

$2.9 million

M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 5 //

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41


2015 MINNESOTA SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR

MAKING MEMORIES

J

J. F. Kruse Jewelers is 2015 Minnesota Small Business of the Year.

im Kruse and Melissa Kelley, J. F. Kruse Jewelers, have been named the 2015 Minnesota Small Business Persons of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Kruse and Kelly were nominated for the award by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota Central Region Small Business Development Center. Jim Kruse never intended to own a jewelry store. “I never made a business plan. I’ve never taken any business classes in my life,” Kruse said. But he discovered a talent for sales at an early age, while potting plants at a greenhouse in St. Paul as a teenager. In 1979, he was hired at D.J. Bitzan Jewelers as a bench jeweler and trained as a diamond setter, but soon found himself in sales there, too. While his knowledge of the jewelry industry grew, his home life disintegrated, Kruse said. Family troubles at home made it “WE hard to focus at work, and Kruse decided to change careers. He found the construction WERE job he took “healing” during tumultuous GOING times for his family, until a workplace injury TO resulted in cracked ribs and the need to find another way to make a living. GROW At about the same time, his marriage THIS ended and he received custody of his daughters. Kruse came back to jewelry COMPANY as a diamond setter, but began making THROUGH his own creations and selling them on the side. In 2000 he opened J. F. Kruse SERVING Jewelers. The store did $200,000 in sales THE in its first quarter, and grew from two fulltime employees (Kruse and his sister) and CUSTOMER.” two part-time staff to more than a dozen —LARRY LOGEMAN employees over 12 years. “We’re the only custom jewelry store that can create a piece in-house from start to finish and sell it retail in Central Minnesota,” Kruse said. “People can come in and talk to us about what they like, and we can create the design, create a wax carving of it, make the piece and adjust it until they love it.” In 2013, J. F. Kruse doubled its size with a new store on Waite Avenue next to ShopKo. Kruse has been joined in the business by his daughter, Melissa Kelley, 28, who started cleaning the toilets at the store while she was still in junior high school. Today she has a degree in business, is a graduate gemologist, and day-to-day manager. In 2015 Kelly purchased the store from Kruse, completing their business success plan. Kruse and Kelly were recognized at the St. Cloud Area Chamber’s Business Awards Luncheon in May 2014 and at the state awards ceremony in May 2015

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In January 2005 – just shy of his seven-year deadline – he learned about Paul and Jill Rooney’s desire to sell Executive Express. A day later, he met with the couple at the St. Cloud Public Library. “The business was small enough for me to buy it, but not big enough for me to get all my kids to college some day,” Logeman said.  It would need to grow – and again, the timeline would need to be short.   INITIATING GROWTH Logeman desired to turn what had been an inwardly focused company into the leading airport shuttle service in Central Minnesota. The key, he determined, would be making decisions from the customer’s perspective. “We were going to grow this company through serving the customer,” he said. While those decisions are not always easy and often require significant upfront investments, they’re usually the right ones to make and worth it in the end, he said. He started by increasing the frequency of the shuttle service to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. “There were three-to four-hour gaps between runs,” he said. “We had to make it more convenient.” He added one additional trip a day to signal to Executive Express customers that there were plans to change. He knew it was not enough and it would be the first of many schedule expansions.  Logeman also began transforming Executive Express into a 24-hour based company with an online reservation system, computers, and voicemail. It marked a significant shift in the business that once only took reservations by phone and used no technology. “The only piece of technology the business had was this

COMPANY TIMELINE 1979 Executive Express starts in St. Cloud, Minn. by Tom Schlough

1984 Paul and Jill Rooney purchase the company

2005 Larry Logeman buys Executive Express with 12 employees and 8 vehicles; he creates a 24-hour based company with online reservations, computers, voicemail, etc.


BUSINESS PROFILE

purchasing Twin City Passenger Service in Alexandria, Minnesota. WEATHERING AIRLINE WOES

Executive Express doubled its space in 2012, adding office space and a guest waiting area.

Casio answering machine,” Logeman said as he pulled it out of the lower shelf of a cabinet in his office. But it didn’t even communicate the company’s shuttle schedule or how to make a reservation. He still remembers the message on that answering machine, “Hello. You’ve reached Executive Express. We are currently closed. Please call back during regular business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Goodbye.” That would need to change and so would the company’s culture. He set an expectation for change from day one. “When I bought the business, the first thing I did was open the door (for drivers),” Logeman said. He wanted to develop relationships with the drivers who connected with customers every day. He knew they played a vital role in the success of the business and he wanted them to know that, too. He did not need drivers. He needed people who wanted to serve customers. Of the company’s 85 employees today, 63 are drivers. “Drivers are our bread and butter,” said Traci Mueller, Minnesota branch manager who joined the company as a part-time

2006 Logeman acquires Twin City Passenger Service, an Alexandria, Minn. shuttle company owned by Fred Bursch of Bursch Travel.

2009 Logeman opens a branch in Ames, Iowa in August; he partners with The Hudson Group to launch a reliable online reservation system.

bookkeeper eight years ago. “We would not be where we are without them.” Crossing the physical threshold didn’t initially come easily for many of the long-time drivers. They were accustomed to getting their driving schedules through a small window between the reservation office and garage. “They would stand at the door and I’d have to call out their name and say, ‘Come on in,’” Logeman said. He had coffee ready and was eager to strike up a conversation. “That change set the tone and the foundation for the basic principle on which Larry operates the company,” said Ron Brandenburg, attorney at Quinlivan & Hughes and on the awards committee for the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce that selected Executive Express as the 2015 Small Business of the Year. Even from the outside, it was clear by 2006 that Executive Express was on a growth track. A year after buying the business, Logeman completed the company’s first acquisition,

2011 Logeman opens a Brainerd Lakes Area office.

The most significant change in the number of airport runs for Executive Express came in 2009 when Delta Air Lines terminated its service at St. Cloud Regional Airport. “I was in Willmar at a Caribou Coffee when I received the call from the St. Cloud Times telling me the news and asking me what our plans were. I told them we were ready to kick it into high gear,” Logeman said. Executive Express immediately increased its daily airport runs to 10, expanded service to 40 communities and quickly became the go-to airport shuttle service between the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Central Minnesota. Logeman also invested heavily in vehicles, technology and staffing to further establish Executive Express as a leading provider of convenient and reliable airport shuttle transportation services.

A BOLD MOVE The recession proved challenging for Executive Express. It marks the only time the company did not follow its annual doubledigit growth pattern. Logeman refused to cut staff or the schedule. “Cash flow was tight, very tight,” he said. He pulled from his personal finances to carry the business through the year.

2012 2013 Logeman Logeman opens establishes the Sauk Centre a new corporation, office. GoMyRide, LLC, for larger vehicles; he hires a full-time mechanic in St. Cloud and completes a building expansion in St. Cloud that doubles the building footprint with additional office space and new maintenance bay.

2015 Logeman receives the Small Business of the Year Award from the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. The business expands to provide 24-hour airport shuttle service with 16 runs per day to and from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

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PERSONAL PROFILE

Even so, his boldest move came in 2009. Looking to diversify, he sought to open a second branch in Ames, Iowa. It was during a trip two years earlier to attend a funeral in the city that he first discovered the opportunity. He believed he could make it work with a $30,000 line of credit. “Every bank in town was telling me no,” he remembers. Again, his determination did not waiver. “I knew it was going to work,” Logeman said. But the Ames branch needed to open by Aug. 1 to serve the college town. He borrowed against his family’s house and executed the plan. “I know there were people thinking, ‘Is he crazy?’”  He had no drivers and hired the branch manager three days before opening the office. He opened the office at nine daily runs, an unheard of frequency at the time. “We were the only two driving that first week,” Logeman said.   NO RESTING

LARRY LOGEMAN AGE: 52 HOMETOWN: For 26 years Palatine

Illinois, a northwest suburb of Chicago; now St. Cloud EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degrees

in Communications and Sociology, Luther College in Decorah, Iowa WORK HISTORY: General manager of Radisson Suite Hotel; director of sales and marketing for Central Minnesota Group Health Plan (now HealthPartners); executive director of the St. Cloud Area Family YMCA; president of ServiceMaster; owner of Executive Express. FAMILY: Wife, Connie (25 years), and

5 children, Adam (22), Alec (19), Isaac (16), Emilee (14), and Ethan (12) HOBBIES: Family camping, biking,

watching family activities like soccer, music and theater events, leading kids and other youth on trips to Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA), singing in gospel quartet “Mentobe” and golf. FAVORITE CAUSES: Helping youth

gain confidence through activities and mentoring CURRENT COMMUNITY SERVICE:

St. Cloud Area Sertoma Club Board, capital campaign of GREAT Theater, St. Cloud Technical and Community College Business/ Management Advisory Board Chair, Salem Lutheran Church, Junior Achievement volunteer, guest speaker for college classes on business and networking. ADVICE TO A WOULD-BE ENTREPRENEUR: Don’t wait for

perfection; just get started. BEST ADVICE RECEIVED:

Run the numbers.

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“THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT WE CAN GET IS WHEN CUSTOMERS FALL ASLEEP ON THE WAY TO THEIR DESTINATION.” —LARRY LOGEMAN

The risk yielded significant rewards. Today, the Ames, Iowa operation serves about 20,000 passengers a year, largely through its partnership with Iowa State University. On the heels of significant growth in both 2010 and 2011, Executive Express added an office in the Brainerd Lakes Area. “Larry does not stand still,” Brandenburg said. “He is constantly evaluating what his company is doing as well as what it can and should be doing to grow.” Logeman knew making the airport shuttle service more accessible and available to customers meant more than increasing the number of runs. He needed to infuse technology into the business and put the reservation process in the hands of his customers. After failing at building the software himself with the help of a developer, in 2009 he enlisted The Hudson Group, a Boston-based software engineering company that specialized in transportation reservation technology. Within four months, the group built a system with the features, functionality and reliability Executive Express needed and has proven to have the ability to grow with the company.

A CHALLENGE OR AN OPPORTUNITY? Then another air service announcement came in 2012. This time it could shrink passenger volumes and possibly constrict the convenient daily schedule customers desired. The City of St. Cloud and St. Cloud area leaders announced plans to recruit an airline to provide twice daily service from the St. Cloud Regional Airport to Chicago or Denver. Logeman looked for the opportunity and began initiating plans to expand and develop routes to the St. Cloud Airport from outlying communities for travelers looking to take advantage of new air service from St. Cloud to Chicago.


Dave Hennen, building and maintenance manager, oversees the company’s fleet of vehicles.

At the same time, he initiated plans to double the company’s building footprint in St. Cloud. “We have grown so much,” Mueller said, reflecting on her first office space. “My office was the break room. It was small and we had four people sitting in the corner.” The expansion included creating a place just for drivers where they could have a cup of coffee and prepare for their routes. It also included a 2,500-squarefoot maintenance bay where a newly hired full-time mechanic would oversee maintenance of the company’s fleet. “We were spending $100,000 a year on maintenance and that was with a lot fewer vehicles than we have now,” Logeman said. Hiring a mechanic was less about the money and more about the need for a professional who could care for the vehicles. “A driver used to leave a note on my desk that said window doesn’t open in vehicle #7,” Logeman said, “And I’d be the one out there trying to figure it out.”

BIGGER IS BETTER Those unexpected moves are what have defined Executive Express’ success. Building a business around the customer experience has meant not only expanded schedules and ongoing investment in technology, but also vehicles that go beyond the industry standard.

Bigger is better. Customers desire room when they travel and it is part of Executive Express’ business plan to deliver it. Logeman has invested in larger vehicles and it’s not the company’s plan to fill each seat in any of its vehicles. When dispatchers assign vehicles, they consider the loads and aim to give passengers more room, whenever possible. “I’ve always felt very strongly that if we do what’s best for the customer, we’ll be successful,” Logeman said. At Executive Express, “Transportation Relaxation” is more than a marketing catchphrase. It’s a motto by which the company operates. “The greatest compliment we can get is when customers fall asleep on the way to their destination,” Logeman jokes.

TRULY 24-HOUR Customer-centric moves have helped Executive Express catapult from a modest St. Cloud operation with 12 employees and eight vehicles to a growing regional business with multiple offices, 85 employees and a fleet of 31 vehicles – in less than 10 years. The company is on pace to reach nearly $3 million in revenue in 2015. But it’s not the dollar figure that signals success. Logeman’s vision of becoming a 24-hour operation has become reality. It started with a 24-hour manager on duty

and this spring Executive Express will expand its schedule to provide 24-hour airport shuttle service. “Economic considerations are an important part of that evaluation and response, but Larry never allows economic considerations to lessen the customer experience,” Brandenburg said. “If he does something new, he is committed to doing it well for the sake of the customer and not solely because it enhances the bottom line.” The company that operated solely on phone calls and paper 10 years ago now receives nearly half of its reservations online. Logeman is taking the technology further, too, by equipping each driver with a tablet that provides instant updates on reservations made even minutes before they arrive at a regular pick-up location. But that doesn’t mean your call won’t get answered. Executive Express continues to hire and train a team of reservationists to process phone requests. While Executive Express has made a series of technology investments to streamline the reservation process and enhance communication, the company is committed to serving customers however they wish. “We still have customers who walk through the door to make a reservation,” Logeman said. “That’s why we added this lobby space during our expansion.” Within a few short years of that expansion, Logeman is already considering plans for another building expansion. The company has outgrown its space and is landlocked. This time, it likely will require a move – probably by 2016.  That’s not the only growth plan. Logeman is evaluating a series of markets to establish another branch like he did in Ames, Iowa. Two expansions are likely on the horizon for Executive Express. “There are a lot of pockets across the United States that need Executive Express,” Logeman said. Dawn Zimmerman is CEO of The Write Advantage, a St. Cloud-based communications company that specializes in helping organizations shape and share their story.

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Feature

Best and Brightest

Certain employees deliver extraordinary value to your business. Be sure you’re meeting their needs or they’ll find another company that will.

By Tracy Knofla

BOTTOM LINE IMPACT Business consultant, William G. Bliss developed a comprehensive tool to calculate the real costs associated with employee turnover. These include: •• Lost productivity from the moment of notice

•• Other workers’ time to

assume additional tasks

•• Decline in departmental productivity/morale

•• Decline in customer service

•• Severance benefits

paid out

•• Potential loss of

customers leaving with the employee

•• Cost of placing

advertisements in publications

•• Recruitment/

Search firm fees

•• Staff time to review

A

quick look to the evening sky can render you speechless with the beauty of its stars. Only visible on a clear night, this spectacle appears most vividly to us when there is no other ambient light. Professional star gazers, as well as amateur enthusiasts, will tell you that the use of a telescope is essential for a greater appreciation of this display. A telescope is a tool that helps users both intensify

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resumes and interview candidates

their focus and extend their reach into space. A quick look at your organizational chart might not render you speechless, but will afford you a glimpse at some stars of your own. The employees who inhabit your universe are an integral factor in the success of your business. Like stars, some employees shine more brightly than others. So, what’s the secret to keeping your high performers

(and your other employees) employed and engaged? Create an environment that supports their work. Sounds easy right? Well, it is, and it isn’t. Here are nine specific ideas to get you started. Create Stronger Managers High performing employees are unique individuals who don’t need a lot of overt supervision. They do, however, need someone who knows their strengths and

•• Costs associated

with background checks, drug screening, and assessments

•• Staff time for

orientation and training of new employees

•• Low productivity during learning curve of new employees

•• Mistakes from new employees

•• Manager’s time while assessing/supporting new employees

Source: Cost of Employee Turnover, William G. Bliss, President of Bliss and Associates Inc. (wbliss@blissassociates.com)


weaknesses and can make the most of their skill sets. They want to be recognized as producers for the company and respected for their individual contributions. They need supervisors who are not intimidated by their success and who can teach and challenge them. Provide Ongoing Feedback An annual review is not going to satisfy the needs of an uber-motivated employee. Setting aggressive quarterly or

monthly goals, and tracking their progress provides high performers with a combination of gratification+adrenaline, which fuels their ambitions. These employees will appreciate an honest assessment of their work. Be sure to provide concrete examples and suggested corrections when giving critical feedback. Connect Their Work to the Mission of the Organization Revisit the employment

conversation that you had with this employee about the mission of the organization and how each position supports the mission. Having an “honorable” and “well defined” purpose is important to the motivation of this employee. Offer Increased Responsibilities and Interesting Work Challenges “The reward for great work is more work!” This may be the mantra of your high performing employees. Allow them to work on projects that challenge their

brains, develop new skills, and tap into issues they are passionate about. Be clear about their future career path within the organization. Provide Executive Mentoring/ Coaching Opportunities Many companies offer mentoring or coaching programs for employees. However, great care should be taken when selecting a mentor for a high performing employee. Generally, it is

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Feature DID YOU KNOW?

The loss of an employee at any level of the organization carries a substantial cost. According to Erik Charles at getCAKE.com, a survey from the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) found that the average cost to replace an employee is about 50-60 percent of the individual’s salary. This number jumps to as high as 250 percent for management, high performers, and company executives. Source: Beware the Revolving Door: Know the Signs of Employee Turnover, Erik Charles, Senior Director of Product Marketing at CAKE. (getCAKE.com)

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Still and moving images for business communication.

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beneficial for the mentor to be a high-ranking executive. Developing an educational relationship with a company “mover and shaker” will provide the employee with insight into the company’s decision-making and direction. Solicit Input, Use Ideas High performing employees often have a unique perspective on the organization. They pay a different level of attention to the connectivity throughout the company and have suggestions to make processes and practices more effective or efficient. Their input should be solicited, given serious consideration, and implemented as feasible. They

should not be seen as “meddling where they were not invited.” Pay Them What They Are Worth The 80-20 rule applies here: 80 percent of your revenue is most likely generated by 20 percent of your employees. This 20 percent is making an outstanding contribution to the company. Every effort should be made to compensate them at a rate that is commensurate with the contributions they make. Be aware of regional and national salary trends in your industry. Give Bonuses or Other Pay-For-Results Incentives Bonuses and incentives are a great way to thank your best


Learning new skills and honing existing ones is a strong motivator for high achieving employees. Offer high quality learning opportunities or tuition assistance for advanced classes that will add to their knowledge base.

employees for their efforts when it is impossible to change base pay or salary ranges. While money is not always the driving force for your high performance folks, these incentives prove to them that you are paying attention to their efforts and appreciate their service. Provide Ongoing Learning Opportunities Learning new skills and honing existing ones are strong

motivators for high achieving employees. Offer high quality learning opportunities or tuition assistance for advanced classes that will add to their knowledge base. Provide a forum for them to teach others as well. Your top performers are essential to the success of your company. Use your organizational “telescope” to focus on programs and initiatives that will keep them

challenged, demonstrate your appreciation of their work, and illuminate their paths within your business. When you do, these organizational stars will continue to shine brightly.

contributor Tracy Knofla is the co-owner and featured consultant of High Impact Training. She has been presenting to audiences across the country for more than 25 years.

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Special Focus

ADULT LEARNERS

Educational opportunities boost adult skills and fill company ranks.

V

arious educational institutions serve the Greater St. Cloud metro area through partnerships that provide adult learning. These opportunities improve and increase individuals’ skills, and fill the ranks of local businesses. The Central Minnesota Adult Basic Education Consortium (ABE) includes St. Cloud, Sartell-St. Stephen, Sauk Rapids-Rice, and 13 other area school districts. “Our mission is to work with adults and help them help themselves into the next step in their lives, meeting them where they’re at,” said Scott Wallner, Interim director of

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community education for the St. Cloud School District. Sauk Rapids’ Hillside School focuses on upper-level learner needs for General Equivalency Diploma (GED), credentialed courses, and courses needed to complete high school. “We see more local folks coming to us because of credit completion,” said Mag Patridge, coordinator. “Life just got in the way . . . illness, pregnancy, asthma, multiple household moves, etc.” Central Minnesota ABE also helps students write resumes, complete online job applications, and complete training for job-related skills. Currently, Central Minnesota ABE is providing on-site

By mary macdonell belisle

training at GNP in Cold Spring to employees who need upperlevel English reading and writing skills. “We have a good relationship with ABE,” said Patrick Dunham, ELL Coordinator at St. Cloud Technical and Community College (SCTCC). “We send students back and forth between our programs on a consistent basis.” Often, SCTCC can structure course offerings to meet a particular situation, as it did when Geringhoff, a German harvesting equipment manufacturer, opened its St. Cloud plant. SCTCC added courses in mechanical design,


Special Section:

Education & Training Continue reading to learn more about the variety of Education & Training Services available in Central Minnesota. machine tool, and electronics. When the Versa Paper Mill closed, SCTCC doubled its welding program. Working with area businesses, SCSU’s Corporate Education and Outreach (CEO) offers professional development training to upgrade employee soft skills, technical skills, or skills unique to a particular business via seminars, workshops,

and specialized trainings. Currently, 20 health care, financial, manufacturing, and IT businesses are interested in working with CEO to create apprenticeships, said Assistant Director of Training Tammy Anhalt-Warner. mary macdonell belisle is a freelance copy and content writer with WordingForYou.com. She specializes

Inspired Learning around the world

CSB/SJU graduates can be found in businesses throughout our area, our state and around the world, at such Fortune 500 companies as Target, Best Buy, General Mills and United Health.

in business articles and profiles, web content, and book editing.

OUTSIDE THE BOX

Arts Camp instructs teachers in “Art of the Written Word” “We’re trying to increase the size of teachers’ tool boxes, and give them confidence to use those tools,” said Jane Oxton, education and outreach director, Paramount Theatre and Visual Arts Center. To that end, the Center’s staff and professionals from the St. Cloud community will host “Art of the Written Word: Telling Your Story with Images, Theatre, Movement and Writing.” This 2015 Arts Camp for Educators and TeachingArtists provides a “howto” for integrating the arts with the academic curriculum. It’s a way to help teachers reach students who might otherwise not connect with traditional education methods. “Teaching Street Art in the Classroom to Encourage Social Responsibility” and

“Telling Our Stories Through Movement” are two titles from among 17 learning opportunities offered at the 2015 camp. The arts enhance learning, said Oxton. Often, school subjects are taught in silos, “but we rarely operate that way.” The arts can uncover unique talents and diverse ideas, helping students understand that the world doesn’t operate in silos. Experiencing through the use of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (tactile) tools has an impact on the way we learn. “We’d like every child to find his or her gifts and talent,” said Oxton. Integrating the arts throughout the education experience is one way to accomplish that. “We want every child to contribute to society by paying taxes, being employed, and by giving back in some way.” — mmb

ONLY MINNESOTA COLLEGE TO BE A FISKE “BEST BUY”

Inspired Learning. Inspiring Lives.

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Special Section: Education & Training

Inspired Learning. Inspiring Lives.

Phone: (320) 255-3236 Email: info@resourcetraining.com Website: www.resourcetraining.com

Global Business Leadership The global business environment requires a different type of leader. The CSB/SJU major in Global Business Leadership is focused on ensuring that students expand their global business mindset, business knowledge, professional skills and ethical framework. Students have opportunities to develop this mindset through in-depth coursework, study abroad experiences and international internships.

www.csbsju.edu/global Email: smoskowitz@csbsju.edu

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Resource Training & Solutions has a new training facility in Sartell that you can use for meetings, conferences, retreats, training or other gatherings. Room features include: • 90-inch high-definition displays • Built-in multimedia capabilities • FREE high-speed wi-fi • Apple TV • SMART Board • Flip Chart • Microphones • DVD player • Registration Desk • Laptop Labs are available for $50/day Open 8-5 M-F and online 24/7/365!

We’re in the neighborhood. Be a Saint. Here. Now.

You don’t have to go far to continue your education. With locations across Minnesota and a worldwide presence online, we’re closer than you think. Come and visit our new campus off of Hwy. 15, in Sartell. Contact us at (866) 211-2337 or accelerated@css.edu to learn more about bachelor and graduate degree programs in St. Cloud, online or through transfer to our main campus in Duluth.

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ST. CLOUD • DULUTH • ONLINE


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Special Section: Education & Training

Brian F. Hart President Phone: (320) 224-2121 Email: brian.hart@ sandler.com Website: www.brianhart. sandler.com

Sandler Training’s Brian Hart helps successful companies improve the performance of their sales, sales management, and customer care teams. He combines 30 years of sales, marketing, and business development experience with proven Sandler processes to deliver practical – and effective – training solutions for your business. “We help business owners and their sales and customer care teams achieve new levels of professional and personal success through ongoing reinforcement training and coaching,” promises Hart.

26 8th Avenue South

EDUCATION, TRAINING & CONSULTAN 2015

Customized Training Affordable. Professional. Personalized. Gail Ruhland Jennifer Janasie Director Training of & Training Development Phone: (320)308-3759 Specialist Email: gail@ Phone: (320)308-3050 scsutraining.com

Let us help build your business stronger with new skills for your employees.

Email: Jennifer@ Website: scsutraining.com www.scsutraining.com Website: www.scsutraining.com

St. Cloud State University’s CEO program offers custom fit, high quality training

CORPORATE CORPORATEEDUCATION EDUCATION& &OUTREACH OUTREACH… offers customyou fit, need high quality and the training for the training job you do! event Let us of help build your Wecoordination. offer a wide variety affordable business stronger with new skills for your training & education options to business, employees. industry, non-profit organizations and individuals. Gail is a seasoned professional with Jennifer is a seasoned professional extensive experience in professional with extensivetraining experience in professional development and program development specifically training andinprogram coordination, the creation coordination, specifically in the creation and execution of: and execution of: · Conference planning for the individual, • Conference planning employer and association. • Communication trainings · Professional Development workshops • Team-building workshops · Specialized training /consultation

scsutraining.com M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 5 //

www.businesscentralmagazine.com

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Business Spotlight MIKE NIES, NIES ELECTRIC

NO JOB TOO SMALL

After traveling around the world, Mike Nies calls St. Cloud home because of the people. By Gail Ivers AT A GLANCE Nies Electric PO Box 6211, St. Cloud, MN 56302-6211 (320) 253-6837 Fax: (320) 253-6837 nieselectric@gmail.com

TIMELINE 1974 Mike Nies graduates from the University of Minnesota with a degree in electrical engineering. Unable to find work, he returns to school to become an electrician. 1976 Nies goes to work for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). He works for a number of companies, but most often with Bechtold’s Electrical Division.

www.nieselectric.com

1976-1980 As an IBEW electrician, Nies travels the world, including Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Mexico, and the North Slope of Alaska.

Owner: Mike Nies Established: 1984 Number of Employees: 6 Service Area: South to the Twin Cities, sometimes further; north to Bemidji (further north than south because Neis uses his resort for staging jobs); east and west to the Minnesota border

1981 Nies is assigned to a job at the St. Regis Paper Mill in St. Cloud. 1982 Nies purchases a bar; eight months later and $50,000 poorer, he returns to being an electrician.

Business Description: Electrical contractor specializing in commercial, retail, church, and industrial control and maintenance; residential remodeling; fire alarms, audio, and low voltage electrical work

1982-83 Nies places an ad: Any and all electrical work — no job too small. He makes $25,000 the first year. 1984 Nies incorporates as Nies Electric.

Fun Fact: It’s been 18 years since Nies Electric had a time-loss accident.

______________

Chamber Member Since 2009

PERSONAL PROFILE Mike Nies, 60

Business Central: After all that travel, how did you decide to settle down in St. Cloud? ______________ Nies: Of all the places I’ve been, St. Cloud people treated me best. For a guy who’s on the road all the time, that’s something you notice. And it’s been that way ever since. BC: What do you like best about being a business owner? ______________ Nies: I have 2 million bosses... or whatever the number. I mean every customer is like a boss. And I like people -- so the more

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Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 5

the better. You get to meet all sorts of people -- from business owners to housewives and they all need what you have to offer. BC: What’s your biggest challenge? ______________ Nies: Finding kids who are interested in the trades. During the recession, Minnesota lost one-third of all its electricians. We’re starting to pick up, but there just are not enough qualified electricians around. We find people who have an aptitude and then train them ourselves and keep them.

I’ve always been lucky -I’ve always had really good employees. I’m not sure where they come from, though I had to grow a few. Both my boys are electricians. Seven or eight of my employees left to become competitors. They had the training and the skill -- you can’t fault them for it. And we still get along. I plan to have 10-12 employees this summer -- we’re hiring all the time. I have plenty of work to keep people busy, I just need to find the right people.

Education: Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota; Electrician training, Metropolitan Community & Technical College Hometown: Brainerd, Minn. Family: Wife, Cheryl; four children Hobbies: Flying, skiing, camping — winter and summer; owns a resort in northern Minnesota “which is sort of a hobby. It’s been in the family for four generations.” Fun Fact: Mike collects old Aladdin lamps. Fun Fact #2: Mike and Cheryl met at a bar.


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Growing your business is easier when you have dedicated financial support

At Wells Fargo, we take time to get to know Central Minnesota businesses By getting to know you and your business, our experienced business bankers can create customized financing options that can help meet your financial needs. Our lending options include: • Commercial real estate loans • Construction loans • Equipment financing

• Vehicle financing • Lines of credit • And more

No matter what stage your business is in, come see a Wells Fargo business banker today about financing your business. wellsfargo.com

All credit decisions subject to credit approval. © 2015 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. (1246131_14612) 1246131_14612 7.5x10 4C.indd 1

4/2/15 9:20 AM

May/June 2015  

St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Business Magazine

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