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MAY/JUNE 2016

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CONTENTS GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

President’s Letter Business Calendar

8 22

Editor’s Note

Network Central

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C E L E B R AT I N G 1 6 Y E A R S I N B U S I N E S S

PROFIT

40 Cover Story TOP OF THE LINE For third generation Borgert Products an expansion into Colorado is paving the way for company growth.

46 Feature DATA MINING Big data is not just for big businesses. Armed with the right knowledge and a few useful tools, small businesses can turn big data into an opportunity to beat the competition.

50 Special Focus HOT CAREERS

40

Health care and manufacturing lead the list of in-demand occupations in Central Minnesota.

53 Special Section EDUCATION AND TRAINING

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

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

54 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Gary Verkinnes, Cornerstone Construction

Only Online // www.BusinessCentralMagazine.com

© Copyright 2016 Business Central, LLC

• Exceeding Expectations

by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce,

• Refund Woes

1411 West St. Germain Street, Suite 101,

• Work from Home Policies • Mapping Mars

Business Central is published six times a year

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


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President’s Letter Main Phone 320-251-2940 Automated Reservation Line 320-656-3826

Future Force

I

Program Hotline 320-656-3825

am continually confused by politicians who talk about our shrinking workforce, then follow-up with rhetoric about “growing jobs.” How, exactly, does one “grow a job.” And why should we “grow jobs” when there aren’t enough people

to work in them. I understand we want our economy to be healthy, and expanding businesses is necessary to do that. The million dollar question is: Where will we get people for future jobs, especially when we don’t have a clear idea what those jobs will be? Our Chamber addresses workforce needs through training programs and professional development seminars. Our Supervisor Development Certificate is in high demand. It teaches front line workers the fundamentals of supervising people. Our customer service training is a great introduction for new workers or as a brushup for more experienced employees. We partner with area school districts to provide internships for at-risk youth. Students receive 80 hours of training in an industry they choose and a stipend after successfully completing the internship. Many begin the program to earn the money. By the end, most realize they received much more during their experience than compensation. Our goal is to help keep these kids in school so they can graduate and become productive members of our workforce. I serve on the Stearns Benton Employment and Training Council (SBETC) Workforce Board. Do you know what goes on there? Their services include partnerships with industry, retraining for workers who have been laid off, internship programs for at-risk youth, and Workforce U, which prepares workers with soft skills that all employers require. SBETC also works with immigrants to provide them with training and development at a cultural level. Can you imagine trying to navigate our world without language skills? How would you ride a bus if you couldn’t read where it’s going? How would you interview for a job? Yet the Workforce Center does not currently have funding for a full-time staff interpreter. I recently attended the National Association of Workforce Boards Conference in Washington, D.C. This is my favorite photo from the visit on the left. In 1977 Apple introduced the Apple II series pictured here. I graduated from high school. Elvis died. As I type this on my brand new MacBook and watch my iPhone chirping beside me, I wonder if there is any way for us to adequately prepare future workers, and ourselves, for what is to come.

Teresa Bohnen Publisher

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information@StCloudAreaChamber.com www.StCloudAreaChamber.com ST. CLOUD AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE STAFF President Membership Sales Teresa Bohnen, ext. 104 Specialist Rhonda Dahlgren, Vice President ext. 134 Gail Ivers, ext. 109 Administrative Assistant Director of Kellie Libert, ext. 124 Administration Judy Zetterlund, Administrative Assistant ext. 106 Vicki Lenneman, ext. 122 Communications & Workforce Development Administrative Assistant Coordinator Shelly Imdieke, Whitney Bina, ext.130 ext. 100 Special Events Coordinator Sheri Wegner, ext. 131 CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU STAFF Main Phone 320-251-4170 Executive Director Julie Lunning, ext. 111 Director of Convention Sales Lori Cates, ext. 113 Director of Sports & Special Events Dana Randt, ext. 110

Director of Visitor Services Jean Robbins, ext. 129 Sales Manager Nikki Fisher, ext. 112 Sales & Marketing Coordinator Rachel Granzow, ext. 128 Administrative Assistant Carrie Zwack, ext. 100

2015-16 BOARD MEMBERS Jason Bernick, Bernick’s, Board Chair

Dolora Musech, Batteries Plus Bulbs

Dan Bittman, Sauk RapidsRice School District

Kris Nelson, Custom Accents, Inc., Past Board Chair

David Borgert, CentraCare Health

Bernie Omann, St. Cloud State University

Neil Franz, Franz Hultgren Evenson, Professional Association

Mark Osendorf, Xcel Energy

Jim Gruenke, Mark J. Traut Wells, Inc.

Roger Schleper, Premier Real Estate Services, Board Vice Chair

Jason Hallonquist, AIS Planning

Melinda Vonderahe, Times Media

John Herges, Falcon National Bank

Dr. Bea Winkler, retired business owner

Dennis Host, Coborn’s, Inc.

Chriss Wohlleber, Courtyard by Marriott-St.Cloud

Diane Mendel, Playhouse Child Care


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Editor’s Note A brick factory in India.

Publisher Teresa Bohnen Managing Editor Gail Ivers Associate Editor Dawn Zimmerman

(Above left) Men pushing canola chaff into holes to feed the fire of the ‘kiln’ beneath their feet. (Center) A mold used to form bricks by hand. All the bricks in the background are waiting to be fired.

Don’t call them bricks!

I

n February of this year I had the opportunity to travel to India. Part of our tour took us on an all-day bus trip through the countryside. At one point, almost everywhere we looked there were great, smoking chimneys. Many of them had small stick or mud huts nearby, but nothing else. Just vast empty space with these random, enormous chimneys. We asked our guide what these represented. “They are brick factories,” he told us. How could they be brick factories when there was no factory in sight? To answer that question, he had the bus stop on the side of the road and invited all who were interested to accompany him on a spontaneous visit. I was at the head of the line. The reason there was no factory was because the factory was essentially underground. The workers had excavated an area about the size of half of a football field. The chimney was located in the middle. One half of the space was filled in with sand and dirt, creating a large hill. The bricks themselves were buried underground, the ground became the kiln, and the chimney was the vent. As we took the short walk to the top of the hill that hosted the chimney, the ground underfoot became hotter and hotter. It was never so hot you couldn’t walk on it, but I was happy to have on shoes. On top of the hill a row of men was sweeping canola chaff down

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six-inch holes in the ground fueling the fire burning below. The other half of the football field had been excavated down about 12 feet. On this side, cured bricks were being moved in well worn wheelbarrows to stacks waiting transport to construction sites. Once all the bricks had been removed, new ‘raw’ bricks would be stacked, the space filled with sand, and that side would become the kiln. Workers would then move the nowcured bricks from the other half of the ‘kiln.’ And so the process repeated itself. A short walk away was the clay field. Here, as far as you could see, were stacks of raw brick waiting their turn in the kiln. Each and every brick in that field had been made by hand. I asked Sue Borgert, Borgert Products, (see the story on page 40) what the difference was between a paver and a brick. Bricks are made of clay and pavers are made of concrete, she said. In the case of Borgert Products, concrete and granite, making them particularly high quality. And then I remembered. I had the opportunity to interview the Borgert siblings in 2005. After repeatedly referring to their pavers as bricks, Kevin Borgert told me sternly, “Please, don’t call them bricks.” I get it now. Until next issue,

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Valerie Amberg, CDS Administrative Services, LLC. Whitney Bina, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Teresa Bohnen, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Jennifer Bohnsack, Marco Jill Copeland, SAP SuccessFactors Kellie Libert, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Dr. Fred E. Hill, St. Cloud State University Gail Ivers, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Luke Greiner, DEED John Pepper, St. Cloud communications professional Kelly Radi, Radi To Write Sharon Sorenson, Heartland Organizing Kara Tomazin, St. Cloud communications professional Greg Vandal, Vox Liberi Margaret Wethington Arnold, public relations practitioner 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

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


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UPFRONT GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

12 16

People to Know Business Calendar

14 Getting Going 15 New at the Top 18 It Happened When? 20 The Trouble with Business

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NEWS & PEOPLE THAT MAKE UP THE CHAMBER NETWORK

BOOK REVIEW

Listen Up!

Good listening increases the likelihood of making better decisions.

By Dr. Fred Hill

into three sections. The sections are: Listen Up!; Sorting the Chaos; and Reaping the Benefits. My two favorite chapters are:

N

othing causes bad decisions in organizations as often as poor listening. It often makes the difference between profit or loss; between a cohesive team or a fractured one; between a long career or a short one. Countless managers are told on their performance reviews to ‘become better listeners.’ But that’s more easily said than done. Bernard Ferrari, adviser to some of the nation’s most influential executives, has seen firsthand why listening isn’t a ‘soft’ skill – it’s the most powerful tool at any business person’s disposal. He makes a compelling case that anyone can improve from a mediocre listener to a Power Listener. It just takes a commitment to practice some new skills and habits. Here are a few samples of how some major business leaders view Ferrari’s ideas: “Bernie Ferrari’s work is not a set of theories, but rather a clear framework for how to use listening to get to better information and make better decisions.” — Dominic Barton, McKinsey & Company

10

3 Respect Your

Power Listening; Mastering the Most Critical Business Skill of All by Bernard T. Ferrari, Penguin Group, New York, 2012, ISBN 978-159184-462-4

–––––– “Bernie’s ideas and framework are based on countless conversations in which he was able to witness firsthand the remarkable power of listening in business.” — Steve Hasker, Global Media and Advertiser Solutions, Nielsen –––––– “Bernie has broken down the art and skill of listening and created a framework to improve efficacy and judgment.” — James P. Gorman, Morgan Stanley The book is organized with 13 chapters, tucked

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Conversation Partner. In respecting your conversation partner it would be wise to assume your partner has many of the necessary tools to develop a good solution when one is needed. A good listener may only be a bridge between the partner and someone else who can give better help in solution-seeking. L Connecting Better Listening to Better Judgment. There is no blueprint for improving how you think, how you make better judgments, and arrive at superior decisions. However, there are tools to do it. This book has lots of these tools. Dr. Fred E. Hill is an emeritus professor from St. Cloud State University

NEWS REEL INITIATIVE FOUNDATION HIRES Jeff Wig joined the Initiative Foundation as vice president for economic and business development. He focuses on growing and developing economic partnerships, creating business opportunities, and expanding the Foundation’s technical assistance program. Estelle Brower joined the organization as vice president for strategy and organizational development. Her primary role includes leading strategic planning and evaluation efforts, as well as guiding nonprofit programs, grantwriting and communication. Carrie Tripp joined the Initiative Foundation as vice president of external relations. She directs the Foundation’s fundraising and donor relations initiatives and links community leaders to programs and services.

PROCESSPRO RECEIVES RECOGNITION Pharma Tech Outlook named ProcessPro one of the Top 10 Enterprise Software Solution Providers for ProcessPro’s Premier ERP software. Pharma Tech Outlook recognizes providers that help clients gain total real-time visibility of a company’s information so that a company can run more efficiently and grow more profitable.


POINT OF VIEW DID YOU KNOW?

Business Central asks readers:

In your opinion, what is the best skill to have in your industry?

People skills.” Earl Pierskalla, Granite City Moving & Storage

Integrity.”

Jerry Bauer, Sentry Bank

Assertiveness.” Pegg Gustafson, St. Cloud Downtown Council

Attitude is everything – it’s important to keep a positive attitude.”

Leon Pierskalla, John Dough’s Pizza

Customer service, especially when someone goes above and beyond what is expected.”

Katie Kunkel, Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar

USE US

Gaslight Creative received national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and a WomenOwned Small Business by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). These recognitions allow Gaslight to apply as a diverse supplier to Fortune 500 companies and to the federal government.

to m a ke a s m a r t bu s ine s s m ove .

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UpFront PEOPLE TO KNOW

NEWS REEL MEYER NAMED TRAILBLAZER Credit Union Times recognized Jed A. Meyer, president and CEO, St. Cloud Federal Credit Union, as a National Trailblazer 40 Below. This recognition is based on key leadership criteria: results, growth, community involvement, career path, community volunteerism, and leadership. Meyer joined St. Cloud Federal Credit Union nearly two years ago. Since then, organizational loans have grown by over 40 percent and assets by over 30 percent.

GUSTAFSON SELECTED AS IDA FELLOW Pegg A.K. Gustafson, president & CEO of the St. Cloud Downtown Council, has been selected as a 2016 International Downtown Association (IDA) Fellow. She will be one of 26 urban management professionals to participate in this new program designed to broaden understanding of urban place management. Gustafson will attend a weeklong program in New York City in June.

KRAMER RECOGNIZED James Kramer III, independent financial advisor, Kramer Financial, an LPL Financial company, was named to the LPL Chairman’s Club. This award is reserved for less than six percent of LPL Financial’s 14,000 advisors nationwide. Kramer specializes in independent financial planning, investment advice and asset management services.

ROGGEMAN JOINS RAJKOWSKI HANSMEIER Chad M. Roggeman joined Rajkowski Hansmeier law firm as Of Counsel. He specializes in estate planning and practices business law, probate, wills, trusts, guardianships and conservatorships.

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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. Brett Anderson, Sentry Bank

Amal Hassan

Paul Ravenberg, Central Minn. CouncilBoy Scouts of America

Paula Capes, Falcon National Bank

Ryan Holter, CDS Administrative Services, LLC

Lisa Schwarz, Times Media

Njeri “Jeri” Clement, Tri-CAP

Dan Hornseth, St. Cloud Technical & Community College

Amy Sip, Express Employment Professionals

Pete Cluever, Xcel Energy

Chris Jensen, Franz Hultgren Evenson, P.A.

Jeremey Stockinger, St. Cloud Hospital/ CentraCare Health

Allison Driggins, Mahowald Insurance Agency

Tony Kapinos, Netgain

Josh Theis, Polished Concrete Plus

Brenda Eisenschenk, InteleCONNECT, Inc.

Ann Kennedy, WACOSA

Doug Virnig, GNP Company

Tim Engle, St. Cloud VA Heath System

Aaron Meester, Bremer

Jeff Walerius, Park Industries

Kim Frieler, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities

James Morrighan, Hughes Mathews Greer, P.A.

Julie Fandel, Bernick’s

Jason Neuerburg, Central Minnesota Housing Partnership

Patty Funk, Marco, Inc.

Collin Orth, ABRA Auto Body & Glass

Tanja Goering, Pro Staff

Katie Petersen, Falcon National Bank

Kristin Hannon, Minnwest Bank M.V.

Rose Pogatshnik, Rasmussen College

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


ABOUT THE LEADERSHIP CLASS

Grooms leaders who will contribute to your company

Helps employees develop greater personal vision and confidence

Provides professional networking opportunities and enhanced community connections

Reinforces skills and imparts new knowledge to employees

IN THE KNOW

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

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

Encourages networking among emerging and established leaders

____________

Patrick Hollermann

How to Apply

Park Industries ____________

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

Vice Chair, St. Cloud Area Chamber Leadership Program (320) 251-5077 phollermann@ parkindustries.com

____________

For more information about participating in the 2016-17 St. Cloud Area Leadership program, call Gail Ivers at 320-251-2940, ext. 109 or givers@StCloudAreaChamber.com.

____________

What a coincidence. We’re in the growth business, too. You’ve worked hard to build a rewarding legacy. And our experienced bankers can help cultivate it, leaving you better prepared for what’s ahead.

Bremer.com 800-908-BANK (2265) Member FDIC. ©2016 Bremer Financial Corporation. All rights reserved.

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UpFront GETTING GOING

NEWS REEL

It takes discipline

BREMER BANK HIRES EMPLOYEES; WINS AWARD

Without discipline, little is accomplished…or enjoyed.

Brad Burklund joined Bremer Bank as ag banking vice president. He brings several years of experience of the agriculture industry to Bremer through his years as a farm consultant and agriculture educator. Most recently he operated his own farm management consulting business and taught farm business management classes at St. Cloud Technical and Community College. Lesley Stewart joined Bremer as business banking vice president. She has over 20 years of financial services experience and was most recently a business relationship manager at Wells Fargo Bank. Bremer Bank also added two credit analysts: Nate Simmonds and Reed Voit. Simmonds, previously a business banker with Bremer, has nearly eight years of financial services experience. Voit, new to Bremer, has previous experience as a credit analyst for another organization. Nate Bosek, a Bremer Investment Services/Raymond James financial advisor in St. Cloud, is one of eight individuals named to the Bank Investment Consultant nationwide list of “Rising Stars of the Bank Channel.”

STRIDE ACADEMY EARNS RECOGNITION The Minnesota Department of Education recognized STRIDE Academy as a High-Quality Charter School, one of 35 of Minnesota’s 166 charter schools to receive the recognition. Schools recognized show a positive record of increasing student achievement and are eligible to apply for a significant expansion/replication grant from Minnesota’s federal Charter Schools Program grant project.

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By Greg Vandal

A

s a one-time high school principal, I know the word discipline has different meanings to different people. Within the context of a school, students often ended up in my office to be “disciplined” for some infraction or another. Outside the world of behavior and consequences, discipline is something to be sought rather than avoided. Absent that essential element, very little can get done. For sole proprietors like me, who are accountable largely only to self, discipline may be the most important factor in success. I’m writing this piece on a nice early spring day, and my window on the world shows that I could be puttering around outside, riding my bicycle on the nearby trail system, or taking my hobby car out for a cruise. Instead, I’m sitting at the computer typing away.

It is surely not heroic duty, but it is necessary to the completion of this particular task, just as my attention to the next thing on my list will further test my work resolve. Frankly, the discipline to get work done is not, in my own experience, the real problem. Most of the people I know put in long hours, take projects home, check text messages in the middle of the night, attend to conference calls while on vacation, and are otherwise obsessively attached to their work. To all of this, I must also plead guilty. But this single-minded approach to work may display a lack of discipline of a different sort. It may reveal that there is missing from that person the resolve to focus on important things beyond work: personal health, family well being, positive

relationships with friends, faith connections… My home office has tested my own discipline more than any other work environment I’ve served. I often worked late in my school office, but I inevitably was able to drive away at the end of every day. And, unless I had a specific project or purpose in mind, I did not simply wander by my school desk on weekends or holidays. Especially in my early years as an entrepreneur, I found it nearly impossible to walk by my home office without stopping “momentarily” by my desk. A couple of hours later, I’d look up and realize I’d been at work again and a weekend would be lost or a family function disrupted. Admittedly, it is far easier to type these words than to live them, but I’m coming to realize that true and effective discipline might not best be represented by how much time is spent on the job. The best-disciplined people may be those who recognize the importance of a true and healthy work-life balance – and then commit themselves to that resolve.

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


NEW AT THE TOP

Jessica Bitz Market President, Falcon National Bank; age 40. Previous position: Senior Lender Vice President When did you start at the bank? February 2, 2004 When did you start in your current position? January 1, 2016 What did you do in your previous position and what will you miss most? I managed the lending department and focused on commercial lending in our market area. I will still be

involved in the lending area so at this time I am not certain that there will be much to miss. What are you looking forward to the most in your new position? I look forward to getting more involved in community organizations in the St. Cloud and Foley areas and focusing on other areas within the bank. Where did you grow up? Gackle, North Dakota

a family we spend time in the summer golfing, hiking, biking, running, and going to the lake. In the winter we enjoy cross country skiing, skating, and the boys like to fish.

Fun fact: My husband and I have four kids and love to spend time as a family.

What are your hobbies? We love the outdoors so as

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UpFront

NEWS REEL BREMER BANK AWARDS EMPLOYEES The following St. Cloud area Bremer Bank employees received the 2015 Best of Bremer awards, which recognize 100 employees across the organization for excellence in sales and service: Jean Chase, credit analyst; Ann Childs, ATM/ self service specialist; Mindy Clafton, insurance producer; Curt Gainsforth, business banker; Nancy Mellesmoen, personal banker; Jim Peterson, financial advisor; Sharon Salzl, private banker

PINECONE VISION CENTER HIRES, DONATES DeAnn Burns joined PineCone Vision Center as patient experience manager. She provides leadership for the development and implementation of patient experience projects and facilitates customer service training for the organization. Previously she served as health unit coordinator and patient access liaison for CentraCare Health. PineCone Vision Center recently presented a donation to Sartell-St. Stephen School District Early Childhood Center. Monies were raised at the Back to School 5K and Kids 1K Obstacle Course sponsored by PineCone Vision Center and Dentistry for Children. Funds will be used to purchase items needed for the Early Childhood Center.

LEE JOINS LARAWAY FINANCIAL Steve Lee joined Laraway Financial Advisors, Inc. as a financial advisor. He has over 15 years of financial service experience. Steve Laraway, an independent financial advisor with Laraway Financial Advisors, was named to Cambridge Premier Club 2016 by independent brokerdealer, Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. Compiled by Whitney Bina. For consideration in News Reel send your news release to givers@ BusinessCentralMagazine.com

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BCCalendar GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

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M AY/J U N E 2 0 16

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 3

Business Awards Luncheon Annual luncheon honoring the business awards recipients. This year, Sue Borgert, Borgert Products, Inc., is the St. Cloud Area Small Business of the Year recipient; CWMF Corp., is the Business Central Mark of Excellence Family Owned Business of the Year; and Blattner Energy, is the Entrepreneurial Success recipient. Registration required: $19 for Chamber members; $29 for the general public. May 3: Hosted by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce at the Holiday Inn & Suites, 75 37th Ave. S, St. Cloud.

MAY 24

Customer Service Training “Creating a Customer Service Culture in Your Organization” presented by Donelle Hintermeister. 8-10:30 a.m. at the Chamber office. Registration required: $50 for Chamber members, $75 for the general public. May 24

MAY 4 & JUNE 1

Lunchtime Learning Educational networking events that give busy professionals a chance to stay on the cutting edge. Meets the first Wednesday of the month, noon-1 p.m. at the Chamber office.

Registration required: $15 for Chamber members, $22 for the general public. May 4: Sponsored by Pro Staff with Jeff Gau, Marco, presenting “Attracting and Keeping Good People.”

Cost is $195 for an annual membership. Register with Whitney, wbina@ StCloudAreaChamber.com. May 10: Presentation and tour of Bernick’s, 801 Sundial Dr., Waite Park.

June 1: Sponsored by Mahowald Insurance Agency with Larry Logeman, Executive Express, presenting “Maximizing Your Work-Life Balance.”

June 14: Professional development, networking and review of May meeting at the Chamber office.

MAY 10 & JUNE 14

Business After Hours

NEXT – Chamber’s Emerging Leaders Offers professional development, leadership and networking opportunities for emerging leaders in Central Minnesota. Meets the second Tuesday of every month, noon-1 p.m.

MAY 12 & JUNE 7

A complimentary open house for Chamber members and guests. Bring your business cards and prepare to grow your network! 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. May 12: hosted by Holiday Inn & Suites, 17 37th Ave. S, St. Cloud.


June 7: hosted by Bernick’s, 801 Sundial Dr., Waite Park.

May 18: Hosted by Bernick’s on-site at 801 Sundial Dr., Waite Park, featuring a presentation on “Medical Marijuana in the Business Setting” by Dr. Philip Bachman, Workmed Midwest.

MAY 13 & JUNE 9

Government Affairs A discussion of local government issues, 7:30 - 9 a.m. May 13: Chamber office. June 9: Legislative Connections: Session Wrap-up with state legislators at Café Renaissance, 2140 Frontage Rd., Waite Park.

MAY 18 & JUNE 15

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.

June 15: Business showcase featuring 11 Waite Park businesses, at the Waite Park Pavilion, 151 13th Ave. N, Waite Park.

are held at the Sauk Rapids Government Center, 250 Summit Ave. N, Sauk Rapids. May 26: Hosted by TXT4Life with a presentation on “Communication Challenges in Today’s Culturally Diverse Workforce” by The BridgeWorld Language Center. June 23: Hosted by Falcon National Bank with a presentation on “Nutrition” by Donna Roerick, Advantage Chiropractic.

MAY 26 & JUNE 23

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. Meetings

Doug Danielson

For information on these or other business events, call 320-251-2940. The Chamber office is located at 1411 W St. Germain Street, Ste 101, St Cloud.

Mike Grogan

IN THE NEWS

CentraCare receives recognition Project H.E.A.L. (Health, Education, Access, Link), a CentraCare Family Health Center project, received the 2015 Sister Mary Heinen award from the Catholic Health Association of Minnesota. This award recognizes member organizations that exemplify the healing ministry of Jesus and the values of Catholic social teaching by providing necessary and accessible health services to the medically underserved. Project H.E.A.L. offers free health screenings to the uninsured and underinsured.

Ryan Holthaus

at your SBA Preferred Lender bank. 320-363-7721 www.mysentrybank.com M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 6 //

www.businesscentralmagazine.com

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UpFront IT HAPPENED WHEN?

MAY 1992 | The Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame arrives in St. Cloud Uniforms, caps, photos, bats, balls and programs are all on display at the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Cloud.

I

n 1992, St. Cloud became the permanent site for the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame, established in 1963, honors individuals who have dedicated their lives to amateur baseball progress. Players, coaches and community members are recognized in several categories: player statistics, volunteerism,

fund raising, promotion, community involvement, and love for the game. In 1992, the City of St. Cloud dedicated space on the second floor of the St. Cloud Civic Center. St. Cloud Mayor Chuck Winkelman spearheaded the fundraising process. Initially, Winkelman outlined a goal to raise $200,000 locally

to complete the museum at the St. Cloud Civic Center. Step two involved a statewide campaign to raise $4 million for the permanent site. In 1992, the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame was expected to attract 100,000 visitors annually. The museum remains on the second floor of the recently updated St. Cloud River’s Edge

Convention Center. It houses many artifacts from Minnesota’s baseball history. Thousands of items have been donated to the museum from minor leagues, college and high school teams, American Legion and VFW programs and Minnesota-born players who play in the Major Leagues.

COMING IN MAY 2016

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

P

ASSION

is what drives us to bring you premium pavers, slabs and walls. Borgert Products was the first to produce concrete pavers in the Midwest and today is the only one to use local granite aggregate to create higher quality products.

Enjoy Life Outdoors Visit our showroom at: 8646 Ridgewood Rd., St. Joseph, MN 56374

For more information or for a free Borgert catalog call 320.363.4671 W W W. B O R G E R T P R O D U C T S . CO M

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TOP HATS: NEW MEMBERS

Edward Jones InvestmentsJamie Christiansen, financial investment brokerage firm, 123 Waite Ave., Waite Park. Pictured: Dolora Musech, Ashley Dooner, Jamie Christensen, Rachael Bonn.

TOP HATS : MILESTONES

Everyday People Studios, self-service photography studio providing studio space for hourly rental with full access to props, backgrounds and floor drops, 439 33rd Ave. N, St. Cloud. Pictured: Jayne Greeney-Schill, Krisie Barron, Danna Mokamba and Erik Hanson,

Chamber member for 25 years Coborn’s Inc., grocery, liquor, convenience stores, catering, 1921 Coborn Blvd, St. Cloud. Pictured: Diane Diego Ohmann, Lisa Ellis, Dave Meyer, Rebecca Kurowski, Becky Estby, Scott Morris, Greg Sandeno, Dennis Host, Rachael Bonn.

John Dough’s Pizza, full-service restaurant specializing in pizza, dine-in, pick up, delivery, full liquor license, 319 N Benton Drive, Sauk Rapids. Pictured: Jill Magelssen, Leon Pierskalla, Caryn Stadther.

Madden’s on Gull Lake, family-friendly resort on Gull Lake, 11266 Pine Beach Peninsula Road, Brainerd. Pictured: Sheri Moran, Tracy Gallati, Jill Magelssen.

TOP HATS : NEW LOCATIONS, OWNERSHIP & EXPANSIONS Stems & Vines, traditional to high-style floral arrangements for all occasions, fresh flowers, tropical and blooming plants, giftware, and home decorations, 308 4th Ave. NE, Waite Park. Pictured: Sheri Moran, Donna Wright, John Wright, Melanie Schneidermann, Brian Jarl.

Direct Access WITHIN ARM’S REACH For 60 years, St. Cloud Orthopedics has not only provided the very best specialty care for every orthopedic condition, we’ve also kept it close to home. So when you come to our clinic —whether for an urgent orthopedic injury or for a chronic musculoskeletal condition – you can take confidence in knowing that the most advanced orthopedic care is within arm’s reach. And direct access to us means better outcomes for you.

StCloudOrthopedics.com 320.259.4100 1901 Connecticut Ave S, Sartell

Knee & Shoulder • Joint Replacement • Sports Medicine • Hand Center • Trauma • Spine Center • Foot & Ankle • Physical & Occupational Therapy M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 6 //

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UpFront THE TROUBLE WITH BUSINESS

Project Management

Your next project will run more smoothly if you start with these five questions. By Margaret Wethington Arnold 4. Would a project

P

roject management can help leaders and clients meet a strategic goal, solve a problem, or develop added capacity and expertise. Whether you are being tasked with a project, assigning one to a team member, or hiring a consultant, here are five important questions to consider before launching your next project. 1. What is the project? Spending 30-60 minutes upfront defining the parameters of the project is time well spent. Write down how this project builds on or meets an organizational goal or an operational, administrative or marketing communications objective. Identify what this project will require from the team. Determine if you or your team have the capacity to take on the project, whether other

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responsibilities will need to be put on hold or if an outside resource is needed. Investing a small amount of time upfront capturing the project background, ideas and thoughts will guide its next steps. 2. Who is our project team? Now that the project has been identified, determine and enlist the team, most importantly the project manager. Avoid assigning the project to a colleague just because he or she fills a certain chair. Make sure the project manager has the skills to perform the work. If not, consider retraining or recruiting from the outside. A quick online search results in thousands of articles on skills of highly successful project managers, but the best managers stand out because they focus on solutions, have

excellent communication skills, are adaptable, and bring the best out of everyone on the team. Looking for some guidance? A good place to start is with Harvard Business Review (HBR). HBR’s online library has many easy-to-follow “how-to” articles and case studies. 3. What is our project timeline? Remember that projects are baby decisions that are anchored by the project start and end dates. Be sure to establish and communicate agreed-upon deadlines with leaders and your project team and let the project team fill in other important milestones to accomplish the project. If projects are longer than six months, it helps to break them into two or three phases. Each phase should include its own steps and milestones.

management tool help us? Communications during the duration of a project can be made easier using a project management tool. These tools can be as simple as regular email communication and a project update spreadsheet or it can include software or a web-based project management product. There are a number of popular options available, many designed for small businesses with a free trial or at a minimal cost (see sidebar). An example is Smartsheet, an easy and flexible online project management tool. Because of it’s similarity to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (think Excel on steroids), it is especially easy to learn and use for team collaboration. However, a tool is only as good as the team committing to use one for the length of the project. Use it to keep the team apprised, accountable and to note adjustments. 5. How will we know when a project is wrapped up? Often a project concludes when the work is completed, i.e., a website is launched, an event is held, an inventory is completed, an office has moved, or a new accounting system is in place. However, excellent project management includes a time to celebrate, recognize, archive, and reflect on lessons learned. Be sure to plan upfront how the conclusion of a project will


CHECKLIST

look with a special wrap-up meeting, a written summary or a recognition moment for the whole project team. Rather than overwhelming and insurmountable, project management can be an exciting new beginning and growth opportunity for any organization. By considering a few questions upfront, you will be able to get your arms around your next project in a way that benefits you, your team and your organization. Margaret Wethington Arnold is a solo public relations practitioner with 31 years of public relations and

Researching a Project Management Product Interested in researching the best project management tool for your organization? Here are a few tips to get you started: 1. Determine what you want in a project management tool. 2. Ask industry or

professional peers what products they are using. Go deeper. Read online reviews and printed articles on those products. Pay attention to the

products that continue to announce updates or new versions. They will be around longer. 3.Learn about the products features. Most online products include a dashboard or briefing page, a calendar. Read the product webpages

and watch product demonstrations. Based on the requirements, prepare a spreadsheet of different products, their features and benefits, and review with others. 4.Examine the cost structure and customer service plan.

project management experience.

A defense team you can trust. You and your business deserve efficient, responsive, and effective legal representation. At Quinlivan & Hughes, we are skilled trial attorneys with practical experience defending a wide variety of legal matters. We understand our clients’ needs and work hard to get positive results. Let us put our extensive knowledge and experience to work for you.

QUINLIVAN.COM

| 320-251-1414 1740 West St. Germain Street St. Cloud, MN 56301

Our Defense Team: Steve Schwegman, Mike LaFountaine, Dyan Ebert, Ken Bayliss, Rachael Presler, Jim McApline, Cally Kjellberg-Nelson, Mike Feichtinger, John Sullivan, Laura Moehrle.

M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 6 //

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UpFront

NetworkCentral GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

u

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

GROW

Area mayors and managers share their insights with the Chamber’s leadership class.

St. Cloud Area Chamber Leadership Program

Jason Hallonquist, AIS Planning, offers tips on effective networking.

Kick-off speaker, Jeff Gau, Marco.

Dr. Claire Haeg, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University, discusses government structure.

GROW

Lunchtime Learning GROW

Supervisor Development

John Hannon, Great River Regional Library, and Sami Laughton, JM Companies, confer on the role of lemons in interpersonal communications.

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Brad Goskowicz, Microbiologics, offers suggestions for developing a culture of innovation and employee engagement.

Joan Schatz, Park Industries, recalls some rough years for the manufacturing industry in “Don’t Fight the Whitewater: Leadership lessons from Turbulent Times.”


NETWORK

Business After Hours at Sentry Bank

Leon Pierskalla (L), John Dough’s Pizza; Earl Pierskalla, Granite City Moving & Storage; Jerry Bauerly, Sentry Bank.

Chamber Top Hatters Jill Magelssen, Express Employment Professionals, and Luke Cesnik, Dijital Majik Computer Clinic.

Jenifer Odette, (L) Brandl Motors; Korleen Edmond, ABRA Auto Body & Glass; Amanda LaFrance, Remedy Beauty + Body; Heather Robbins, Cohlab Digital Marketing.

Tyler Walz, (L) Principal Financial Group; Brian Schellinger and Jon Latcham, Schlenner Wenner; Paul Ravenberg, Central Minnesota Council-Boy Scouts.

Joe Erickson (L), St. Cloud Rox Baseball; Jane Vogel; Katie Kunkel, Applebee’s; Kerry Peterson, Premier Real Estate.

John Albrecht (L), AllBrite Blinds; Andy Jacobs, Jacobs Financial; Darren Heying, Sentry Bank.

Pete Cluever (L), Xcel Energy; Doug Virnig, GNP Company; Collin Orth, ABRA Auto Body & Glass.

M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 6 //

www.businesscentralmagazine.com

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BUSINESS TOOLS GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

u

26 Entreprenuerism 27 Going Green 28, 30 & 34 Management Toolkit 32 Working Well 36 Economy Central by Falcon Bank uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

RESOURCES THAT HELP YOUR BUSINESS GROW

TECH STRATEGIES

Protecting Data

Information technology audits are becoming more common in business as the value of data continues to grow. By Jennifer Bohnsack

O

rganizations may participate in an information technology audit as a requirement of a regulatory agency or at the request of a client. Or, they may self-audit to test their systems in the event of an unexpected data loss or interruption. These types of incidents are no longer limited to hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters. Today, the most pressing threat is a data breach or outright malware (malicious software) attack.

Here’s a look at how information technology audits work and tips to help you through the process. Engage your IT vendor or network specialist. The auditor will conduct a review of technology policies and procedures and also may log into your systems to run vulnerability scans. Include your IT vendor or trusted engineer during the question and answer portion of the audit. This individual should have technical

expertise and be familiar with your network and business. Listen closely to the preliminary findings. At the conclusion of the assessment, the auditor shares preliminary findings. These are the items of highest importance and will likely have the most impact on the business. Walk through the report with a technology advisor. The outcome of an information technology audit can be an

overwhelming list of technical details. Reviewing it with a technology advisor can help you better understand not only what it says, but also what it really means to your organization. Weigh the risks. Amidst the technical jargon, there may be alarming words like “critical” or “high risk” – terms that provoke concern. These labels are somewhat generic and may not take into consideration the particulars of your business. Consider the recommendations as suggested best practices and not necessarily requirements. A report, for example, may suggest that USB ports on individual workstations be disabled to prevent employees from copying data onto USB drives that could lead to the unapproved distribution of data. When evaluating this type of risk, consider these questions as they relate to your business operations: What is the likelihood that an employee would copy data onto a USB drive? ––––– Are there other means available to achieve the same goal (copier, email)?

contributor Jennifer Bohnsack is a managed services account manager at Marco, who specializes in helping organizations navigate their technologies and understand the business impact to help them make better decisions.

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It is important to remember the security controls that are already in place. In many cases, businesses are doing more right than wrong. ––––– Do employees need this functionality to effectively do their jobs? ––––– What is the cost to disable all ports on workstations and does it justify the outcome? ––––– In this scenario, the business may simply decide to accept the risk because it is unlikely to occur, expensive, and disruptive to the business operations. In practice, disabling USB drives may not achieve the

ultimate goal of stopping unapproved distribution of data. Alternatives include managing this risk through employment policies, requiring employee background checks, signing non-disclosure agreements, and limiting employee access to sensitive data. Making informed decisions. Although the thought of receiving a lengthy list of suggested technology best practices may be

ECONOMICS

Hobby Income

discouraging, it is important to remember the security controls that are already in place. In many cases, businesses are doing more right than wrong. The most powerful takeaway from an information technology audit is the heightened awareness of the security risks. Then, as the business owner or leader, you have a choice to accept or address the audit results based on your risk tolerance, the financial impact and your business goals.

If you make income off a hobby, you’d better report it. There are special rules and limits for deductions you can claim for a hobby, according to the IRS. These include determining whether or not your hobby is actually a business, which hobby deductions are allowable, and how you go about deducting those expenses. BOTTOM LINE: Hobby rules can be complex. You can learn more at BusinessCentralMagazine.com Source: IRS

Profile: Express Care

TECH NEWS

There’s nothing worse than feeling your throat getting sorer and sorer on a Friday afternoon. Do you go to the doctor right away or do you tough it out until Monday? The last thing you need when you’re sick is the stress of making that kind of decision. That’s why we offer Express Care— after-hours weekday care and clinic hours on the weekend at our South and Northwest campuses. So don’t worry, just feel better. It’s the genuine care and respect we have for our patients that makes all the difference.

South Campus Express Care

Northwest Campus Express Care

320-240-2170

320-529-4741

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

StCloudMedical.com SCMG7.5x4.875Express.indd 1

M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 6 //

www.businesscentralmagazine.com

5/28/15 11:20 AM

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BusinessTools ENTREPRENEURISM

Friend or Foe?

If you have a love-hate relationship with email, take control by becoming your own email change-agent. By Sharon Sorenson

reduce email inefficiency without turning to high-tech solutions. Check this list of frequently cited tips to see if there is a solution to help you take control of, and rethink how you process your email. n Know the built-in tools of your email provider and use them if they help you control email volume or interruptions.

n Delete ruthlessly. n Unsubscribe routinely. n Create an organized folder and file system to store email out of the inbox.

S

omeone several years ago predicted that email was going to be dead in the not so distant future. Not yet, as it turns out. There is evidence that, not only is it not dead, but it has increased in volume and stress production for many in the business world. As our inboxes become fuller, the impact on our productivity is profound. Precious time is lost reading, delegating, deleting, and searching for lost email. That time, of course, translates to lost profits and high frustration levels. Sometimes frustration can blind us to our need to step back and examine our email

practices with a critical eye. If you feel the need to readdress your relationship with email, here are some thoughts and tips to help you get started. Take Control Do not let email control you. Remind yourself that email is meant to be a fast, efficient and brief communication tool for accomplishing your work. Marsha Egan, author of Inbox Detox and the Habit of Email Excellence, says “…we don’t need to pay for fancy plugins or shiny apps. The key is to manage yourself and your email habits rather than hoping technology will do it for you.”

Take Inventory Conduct a fearless and searching inventory of your email habits. Everyday behavior soon becomes habit and until you examine what you are doing now, it is difficult to know what needs changing. Inventory involves asking pointed questions such as: 1 How many emails do I receive daily?

2 How many times do I check my email daily?

3 Do I have an effective system for managing my email?

4 Do I need training on email management?

Take Action There are countless ways to

contributor Sharon Sorenson is the owner of Heartland Organizing, LLC. She can be reached at Sharon@HeartlandOrganizing.com

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n Send fewer messages – the fewer we send, the fewer we receive.

n Turn off all notifications. In fact, turn off your computer screen when you want to focus on high priority tasks.

n Set the Auto Send/Receive time limit to an hour or more to prevent frequent email delivery.

n Schedule specific times, if possible, to process email – less than five per day.

n Know when to stop the reply cycle – some matters are more efficiently resolved by direct communication.

n Limit each email to one topic only and keep it short.

n Delete prior messages in a thread, keeping only the most recent.

n Change the subject line to reflect the next action needed.


GOING GREEN

Moss, Not Mirrors

For most architects, moss and lichen growing up the side of a structure is a bad sign.

B

uilding materials are designed specifically to resist the growth of microorganisms that can lead to rot. But at BiotA Lab, based in University College London’s Bartlett School of Architecture, they’re taking a new approach to building

green. Instead of developing surfaces resistant to moss and lichen, the BiotA Lab wants to build facades that are “bioreceptive.” The lab’s architects and engineers are working on making materials that can foster the growth of cryptogams, organisms like lichens and mosses. Right now, the BiotA Lab staff are focused on designing a type of bioreceptive concrete. The idea is that ultimately they’ll be able to build buildings onto which a variety of these plants can grow. The concept is similar to living walls full of plants, or green roofs, except those living systems can be expensive and hard to maintain. Sometimes all the plants die, and have

to be replaced. BiotA Lab has something in mind that is far lower maintenance. Lichens and mosses want to grow on things anyway, and require very little upkeep. Making a structure bioreceptive doesn’t mean moss would suddenly grow whichever way it wants to on the building. Instead, the team is designing surfaces with geometric patterns, channels in which the moss can grow, so it looks intentional and people think it’s attractive. Source: The Atlantic

Read more about this new approach to architecture at BusinessCentralMagazine.com.

Single source construction services at its best.

Architecture and DESIGN

Development

and BUILT-TO-SUIT

Construction 320.252.0404

|

Field Service

www.RICECOMPANIES.com

STEEL ERECTION

Maintenance |

SAUK RAPIDS • GLENCOE

M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 6 //

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BusinessTools MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT

Content is King

Websites are an important business tool. Make sure you’re getting the most out of yours.

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our website is one of your most important business tools. It’s where you have a one-on-one engagement opportunity with your customers. You can tell your story, promote your brand, sell your services, feature your products, and hopefully meet a need for your site visitors. All of these are important, so be sure your site is up to the task and ready to work for you. Content It has long been a web manager’s mantra: Content is king. It still is. People often want to think of the visual aspect and design elements for their site first, but content is really where you should start. Begin by focusing on benefits your users receive from your services or products. For example, do you have a new tool or piece of equipment? If so, don’t just talk about the new “thing.” Talk instead about what that new equipment means to

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your customer. An auto body repair shop may approach it like this: “Our new XYZ paint applicator provides better coverage in a shorter timeframe, meaning you and your car are back on the road faster.” In addition to focusing on user benefits, be sure to organize your information into chunks of digestible content. Avoid lengthy paragraphs. Instead break your content into smaller segments that visitors can easily scan and scroll through. Offering lots of content isn’t always the answer. Instead, think of offering better content. Design Design is important because it’s the public stage on which you present your business. Your site design needs to be a strong and positive reflection on your company and your brand. Your customers expect good design. You wouldn’t want potential clients coming to a cluttered

or messy office. So, don’t send them to a poorly designed or outdated website. When thinking about the look of your site, focus on a clean, easy-to-use design with intuitive navigation. Create logical paths through your site to the key information your customers want. It’s the norm rather than the exception now, so be sure your site is designed responsively. This means your site will be fully functional no matter what type of device someone uses to get to it. With the majority of Internet searches taking place on mobile devices, responsive design is essential. Call to Action You have potential customers right where you want them: on your website. To help convert a “browser” into a “buyer,” get them to do something. Incorporate good calls to action. They may be online forms requesting additional information, subscribing to an e-newsletter, or enrolling in a customer loyalty program. Whatever works for you, be sure you act on the call and respond quickly. Once you have this valuable customer-supplied data, use it in your other marketing efforts. Search Next on your to-do list is to manage the content about your business that’s found on search engines. Most important among these is Google. Start by doing a Google search of your business.

By Kara Tomazin

If you see a result (shown on the right side of the screen on a desktop view) that includes the line “Claim this business,” click and begin staking your claim. Doing so will create a Google+ page for your business. In your Google+ profile, you can add your hours, website, photos and other content. It’s important to maximize your profile on Google+ because this is often the content people searching for you will look at first – even before they look for you in the organic search results (shown on the left side of the page on desktop view). Analytics Once your site is out there for the world to see and use, monitor how it’s performing. A common tool used to analyze web activity is Google Analytics. This platform has lots to offer, but it can be used effectively on a lesser scale too. In addition to tracking how many visits and user sessions you have, you can look at demographic data, time spent on your site, where people are coming from, what terms searchers are using, and how they’re navigating through your site. Pay attention to this information and continue making improvements. Keep in mind, your website is never “done.” To make sure it’s working for you, review and update it regularly. If you take good care of your website, it will take good care of you. Kara Tomazin is a St. Cloud communications professional.


www.scr-mn.com

TECH NEWS

Formerly St. Cloud Refrigeration

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune

Construction is Cool EarthCam, a New Jerseybased company, is making construction cool. The company installs cameras at major construction sites and popular tourist spots around the world and shares the video online. It turns out that among all EarthCam sites, the Minnesota Vikings stadium is consistently in the top 25 viewed. Among the construction cameras, the stadium is in the top five. You can see the Vikings stadium and a whole lot more, at BusinessCentral Magazine.com

Jobs Return Minnesota construction companies added 1,900 jobs in January — enough to finally recoup thousands of positions shed during the thick of the recession. An early spring may further boost the industry. Source: DEED

Central | Metro

St. Cloud • Twin Cities Wilmar • Alexandria 1-800-827-1642

REFRIGERATION

Nothern

Brainerd • Baxter 1-800-273-9071

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SERVICE

1-800-827-1642

BUILDING AUTOMATION FOOD SERVICE

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Rochester 1-877-399-4546 Mankato 1-800-447-3259

Your EQUIPMENT FINANCE AND LEASING EXPERTS!

Agriculture Specialty Vehicles Healthcare Construction u

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Call 1.800.247.1922

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BusinessTools MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT

Don’t Let it Sit!

Most businesses generate some type of hazardous waste. Disposing of it properly is not just responsible, it’s the law. By Whitney Bina manufacturer, or a product’s safety data sheet.” In order to accurately identify unknown hazardous waste, Freihammer suggests businesses hire an environmental consulting firm to take samples of the potential waste. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency offers limited assistance in identifying hazardous waste, while some counties also have a Very Small Quantity Generators waste program, he said.

S

olvents, ink cartridges, electronics – nearly every business houses some form of hazardous waste. Hazardous waste poses threats to employees, businesses and the environment. Managing the waste to ensure a safe working environment may take some forethought and a little help from county and state agencies. Identification “The most common hazardous waste items found in businesses are fluorescent light bulbs, oil-based paints, and aerosols,” according to Troy

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Freihammer. Freihammer is the environmental specialist at Stearns County Environmental Services/Stearns County Household Hazardous Waste Facility. “After those items, the kind of hazardous waste depends more on the type of business.” For instance, businesses specializing in painting, cleaning services, or laboratory experiments naturally have more waste. “The first place someone should look when identifying hazardous waste is the supplier of your products,” he said. “Product questions can also be answered directly through a salesperson, the product

Disposal Businesses that generate any amount of hazardous waste in Minnesota must have a Hazardous Waste Identification number, Freihammer said. To obtain this identification number, visit the Minnesota Pollution Control website: pca.state. mn.us. Proper disposal depends on how much hazardous waste a company generates. “If a business generates 220 pounds or less of hazardous waste per month, that business may use the Stearns County Household Hazardous Waste Facility,” Freihammer said. Appointments are required and disposal and supply fees apply. “If you collect waste in your office, bring it in for disposal quickly, even if it’s a small amount,” he said. “Don’t let it sit! Unfortunate accidents can happen even if you’re doing the right thing.”

Businesses that generate over 220 pounds of hazardous waste per month must make disposal arrangements with another waste services provider. Reduce It Up Front Properly ordering and maintaining your products is the easiest way to control hazardous waste in your business. “Beware of product sales up front and order only the quantity of product you need at that time,” Freihammer said.

Customized Solutions The University of Minnesota’s Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) offers a different approach to hazardous waste control and maintenance. MnTAP helps businesses find ways to prevent pollution, lower energy use, and reduce hazardous waste up front. Services include site visits, telephone assistance, customized research, and a materials exchange program. Learn more about MnTAP at Business CentralMagazine.com


Businesses should keep an accurate product inventory and manage that inventory regularly. “Maintain proper storage of your hazardous products and be mindful of expiration dates,” Freihammer said. “We see many unopened hazardous waste products at our facility that have either frozen due to improper storage or have expired.” Wasting these products can be avoided up front. “We are not looking for zero waste, but we know it can be reduced,” Freihammer said. Whitney Bina is the communications and workforce development coordinator at the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce.

TECH NEWS

Photo Mastercard News

Selfie-Security Selfies will soon be more than vanity shots, according to MasterCard. The company has introduced technology the uses facial recognition to authenticate a user’s identity. It requires the MasterCard app, a quick photo, and a blink – to ensure you’re not taking a picture of a picture. Source: The Verge

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BusinessTools WORKING WELL

Stressed Out Not all stress is created equal. Unmanaged stress can shorten your lifespan, much like smoking and poor diet. By Kelly Radi

S

tress is a fact of life. Sometimes a little stress is good. It can be the push you need to get a project turned around for a tight deadline. Or it’s the fight-or-flight sensation you’ll get if you’re ever being chased by a leopard. But not all stress is equal. Ever-present, everyday pressure will eventually take its toll, hurting productivity, relationships, and overall health. Stress, like diabetes or high blood pressure, contributes to heart disease. Constant tension creates high levels of stress hormones, increasing inflammation within blood vessels which can contribute to artery damage and ultimately lead to

32

Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 6


a heart attack or stroke. While you can’t always control what life throws at you, you can choose strategies to manage your stressors and safeguard your overall health. Listen to Your Body Do you realize your headaches and tight shoulders are likely warning signs of stress? “Prevention is key,” explains Dr. Mark Roerick of Advantage Chiropractic, “and proper posture along with workplace ergonomics will help reduce the tension associated with stress.” Roerick recommends sitting up tall at your desk and scheduling time throughout the workday to get up and practice simple upper body stretches. Eat Well Can the foods we eat play a role in our stress levels? “Absolutely,” says

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Ashley Kibutha, registered dietitian at Coborn’s. “Well-balanced diets containing all food groups, especially fruits and vegetables, work to reduce and even reverse cell damage that can be caused by stress.” Eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains throughout the day keeps your body fueled and your blood sugar level on an even keel. Ask for Support Workplace stress costs American companies an estimated $300 billion annually, according to the American Psychological Association. The good news is that many employers offer programs to help employees reduce and manage stress. The APA suggests finding support at work by connecting with colleagues and communicating with

employers. If you’re struggling, ask if your employer has stress management resources available through an employee assistance or worksite wellness program. Move Your Body HealthPartners Wellness Coach Dani Berg says there’s good news when it comes to exercise and stress. “Exercise provides both physical and psychological benefits,” she said. “And anything that keeps you moving is a form of exercise, so choose something you enjoy.” That means don’t just scroll Facebook during your lunch break. Get away from your desk and head outside with a coworker to walk, stretch, or do some stress-busting lunges. Kelly Radi is a freelance writer, public speaker and owner of Radi To Write LLC, a public relations writing firm. radi.to.write@gmail.com.

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BusinessTools MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT

myRA

Workers without an employer sponsored 401(k) Plan have a new retirement savings option.

M

any middle- and low-income U.S. workers do not have access to a pension or 401(k) Plan through their employer. A new retirement savings option called the “myRA Account” gives these workers an automated way to start saving for their own retirement. The myRA Account also allows “1099 workers” and self-employed business owners who do not get a regular paycheck, to participate in the program. The myRA is a simple, safe, affordable way to start saving for retirement. And, if you change jobs, the account remains with you, the participant. The maximum contribution limit for 2016 is $5,500 annually, with another $1,000 available for those age 50 or older. There is

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no minimum contribution requirement, so you can contribute the amount that best fits your budget. The final deadline for making contributions to your myRA Account is April 15th following the tax year for which the contribution is attributable. myRA Accounts have a maximum balance of $15,000. Once the cap is met, the balance is required to be rolled over to a Roth IRA account. Workers are allowed to have a portion of their pay deducted and directly deposited in the myRA Account by their employer, or have contributions drawn directly from their own checking or savings accounts. The funds are invested in U.S. Government Bonds. The myRA Account safely earns interest

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By Valerie Amberg

Working with people, not just numb3rs.

Albany 320.845.2940

Little Falls 320.632.6311

Monticello 763.295.5070

St. Cloud 320.251.0286

An Independently Owned Member, McGladrey Alliance

Maple Lake 320.963.5414

www.swcocpas.com


HOW TO DO IT

Getting Started To open a myRA Account, go to https://myra.gov and select the “Sign Up” option to get started. You can also open an account by calling 1-855-406-6972. Once you complete the sign up process, you will receive the account number for your myRA. The next step is to set up your online account access and start funding your account. There are direct deposit forms available online if you would like the funds drawn directly from your checking or savings account or you can print and provide a letter to your employer asking for payroll deductions to be sent directly to your new myRA Account.

at the same rate as investments in the Government Securities Fund, which earned an average annual rate of return of 2.94% over the ten year period ending December 31, 2015. Contributions are treated like a Roth IRA Account for tax purposes. There are no set-up costs or ongoing fees for employers or individuals with a

myRA Account, and participation in the program is voluntary. Contributions to your myRA Account can be withdrawn tax free and without penalty, however, interest earned on the account can only be withdrawn without tax or penalty five years following January 1 of the year the first contribution was made,

and you are required to be age 59 ½ or older.

contributor Valerie Amberg is the managing partner with CDS Administrative Services, LLC.

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BusinessTools

Economy Central presented by

ECONOMY CENTRAL

A Little Queasy The economic outlook for the U.S., including Minnesota, doesn’t call for a recession, but no one would call it robust. By Whitney Bina

T

he 2016 Economic Outlook, part of the 54th Annual St. Cloud State University Winter Institute, gave participants some insight into what state and local economists expect to see happen over the next several months. Following is a summary of what the speakers had to say.

LAURA KALAMBOKIDIS Minnesota Management and Budget

Focus: National and Minnesota Economy

_______________________ “The United States economy is weaker since November 2015,” Kalambokidis said. “Generally, the U.S. economy is expected to grow more slowly than what we originally thought last November.” Even with slow growth, disparity remains evident among the United States and other countries. The strong U.S. dollar shows that the United States economy continues to grow faster than our trading partners. “Low gas prices allow consumers to be champions of the economy,” she said. “Unfortunately, low oil prices lead to economic setbacks in certain industries that work with oil.” Other national strengths include solid labor conditions, high consumer spending, and increased job growth, according to Kalambokidis.

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Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 6

In Minnesota, economic growth also remains slow and steady. State unemployment numbers face pre-recession lows. “The U.S. unemployment rate is five percent. In Minnesota, it’s only three and a half percent,” she said. Unfortunately, unemployment rates are not consistent across races. In Minnesota, unemployment rates are 14.1 percent among black populations – nearly five times that of white populations. Overall, the state is in a period of very low labor force growth. As baby boomers retire, a 1:1 ratio of supply and demand exists for labor across the state, she said. Because of this, average wages and salaries are predicted to modestly grow over the next few years in Minnesota. “Employers who will thrive in the current workforce environment are the ones who can find, train and retain the current workforce,” she said.

KING BANAIAN Economics Department, St. Cloud State University

Focus: Local Economy

________________________ Although the economy showed stability in 2015, the St. Cloud area saw a slight economic decline over the last year. “We saw 2.1 percent growth in 2014. In 2015, that was down by 0.4 percent,” Banaian said. “We are not calling for a recession in

the first half of 2016, but I have a little bit of queasiness going into the year.” Low unemployment rates make it difficult for local companies to find the workers they need. “There are pockets of employees we haven’t taken advantage of in our area,” he said. Finding and training new employees is crucial to filling open jobs in the current economy. Locally, the manufacturing industry faces slowdowns. This is due to a loss of skilled workers, lack of investment in equipment, and overall lower productivity, he said. Higher education levels show growth across Central Minnesota.

In 2010, 35 percent of people living in St. Cloud had one to three years of college education. Historically, this population filled middle-skill level jobs in the manufacturing, clerical and construction industries. Today, those mid-level jobs have transitioned to healthcare and mechanical manufacturing industries, Banaian said. “Slower growth is here to stay,” Banaian said. “We can expect slight economic growth, but it’s up to us to decide what’s normal.” Whitney Bina is the communications and workforce development coordinator at the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce.


172.84*

$60M

$70M

$80M

December

$50M

November

September BUILDING PERMITS BY COMMUNITY

Home Sales C

2015 October

September

August

July

June

May

April

$40M

March

$30M

October April March

TOTAL:$5,451,172.84* $20M

February

January

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

Apr

Mar

Feb

Jan

TOTAL: $62,358,547

TOTAL:$64,832,866

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

Residential 2014 2015 2016* 2014 August #/$ #/$ #/$ February

St. Cloud

1209

1,151

72

July $26,145,498 $21,854,833 $1,509,947 2016 January 0

500

Sauk Rapids 447 321 34 June $19,206,069 $15,843,450 $1,226,200

$50M

$60M

$70M

$80M

January December Total as of 4/12/16. *2016 total is cumulative up-to-date.

500

$600K

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

BUILDING PERMITS BY COMMUNITY September

ST. CLOUD

1000

$900K

1500

St. Augusta 7 5 0 September $202,027 $871,000 $0 Mar

TOTAL: 187*

St. Joseph

TOTAL: 1655

TOTAL: $20,186,060.12*

TOTAL: 1429

TOTAL: $254,085.01*

2014

82 151 12 August Feb $3,783,078 $8,057,329 $499,968

July Total as of 4/12/16. *2016 Jan total is cumulative up-to-date.

2000

$1.5M

TOTAL: $1,333,423.25

TOTAL: $1,326,730.36

$1.2M

ST. CLOUD 84 140 17 October $7,151,019 $18,735,131 $3,814,534 Apr

Waite Park

$150M

Food and Bev

Sartell 30 35 2 November $3,600,047 $11,485,611 $525,000 May 2015

TOTAL: $79,916,621.69

$100M

Food and Be

Sauk Rapids 409 567 92 December $7,465,381 $16,890,519 $374,100 June

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

$500M

500

St. Cloud 397 444 56 2016 $57,715,070 $94,320,804 $14,972,458 July

Commercial Building Permits

$0M

0

Commercial 2014 2015 2016* August #/$ #/$ #/$

TOTAL: $150,360,393.19

2014

November October

TOTAL: $20,186,060.12*

2015

2014

St. Joseph 176 142 23 February $1,353,832 $2,293,565 $735,524

Commercial Building Permits

2016

100 79 6 $4,437,367 $4,720,246 $992,265

March

Home Sales Closed in St.Cloud

$40M

St. Augusta

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

$30M

2016

$20M

2015

Waite Park 116 113 5 April $1,803,560 $1,552,641 $260,928

0

$10M

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

$300K

$0M

ST. CLOUD

2014

2015

2016

2015

2014

$0

TOTAL: $62,358,547

2014

Sartell 291 329 17 May $8,129,708 $18,168,133 $726,309

2015

2016

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

$10M

2016

July December June

November May

Residential Building Permits

$0M

832,866

COLOR KEY:

Compiled by Kellie Libert, data current as of 4/12/16.

2014 2016

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

Economy Central presented by August

TOTAL:$64,832,866 2015

Home Sales C

September

TOTAL:$5,451,172.84*

ECONOMIC INDICATORS & TRENDS 2016

October

$80M

$200M

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

358,547

0M

060.12*

,393.19

,621.69

Residential Building Permits

$200M

2016

$0

$300K

June

TOTAL: $150,360,393.19 Sources: Building departments for the following cities: St. Cloud, Sauk Rapids, Sartell, Waite Park, St. Augusta, and St. Joseph. 2015

May

2015

Non FarmMarJobs

Source: www.positivelyminnesota.com

2015-2016

2014

Apr

TOTAL: $79,916,621.69

Unemployment Rates

August

September

October

J

A

S

O

0.5%

December

July

J

Jan

November

June

1.0%

May

$200M

Feb

April

$150M

March

December

5%

November

$100M

October

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

January

$500M

February

1.5%

January

6%

$0M

Source: www.positivelyminnesota.com 2014

2015-2016 % CHANGE

$300K

N

D

J

$0

0.0%

4%

-0.5% -1.0%

3%

-1.5% -2.0%

2% J

F

M

A

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

J

-2.5% J

F

M

A

M

St. Cloud Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota United States

St. Cloud, MN MetroSA Minnesota United States

M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 6 //

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37


72.84*

BusinessTools

32,866

$80M

58,547

M

60.12*

93.19

21.69

$200M

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COLOR KEY: December

ECONOMIC INDICATORS & TRENDS

November

Home Sales Closed in St.Cloud

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

December

October

December

November

October

August

September

August

July

June

May

TOTAL: 187*

April

September

ST. CLOUD

October

March

February

January

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

December

November

October

D, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK,

September

August

July

June

Apr

Mar

Feb

Jan

lding Permits

May

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

September

2016

TOTAL: $254,085.01*

July

TOTAL: $20,186,060.12*

August July

TOTAL: 1655

June

2016

May

2015

TOTAL: $1,333,423.25

June

TOTAL: $150,360,393.19

April May

500

$300K $600K

Shaping the Economy November

$900K

TOTAL: $254,085.01* TOTAL: 221

250

May 3.1 percent in 2015, the slowest rate of global growth

Residential 2014 2015 2016* TOTAL: $1,326,730.36

2000

$1.5M

Total as of 4/12/16. *2016 total is cumulative up-to-date.

sinceApril 2009.

March governments may have recovered from 2 State

Stearns Co. 168 181 27 2014 Benton Co. 53 54 8

Benton County Sheriff’s Civil Process; Stearn’s County Sheriff’s Office $0 $300K $600K $900K $1.2M

FundJune estimates that world year-over-year growth was TOTAL: 187*

200

TOTAL: 1655

2015 SHERIFF’S FORECLOSURE AUCTIONS

July

then don’t look abroad. The International Monetary

TOTAL: $1,333,423.25

150

August

TOTAL: 1429

100

$1.5M

1 If you thought U.S. growth was disappointing, 1500

50

TOTAL: $254,085.01*

$1.2M

0

TOTAL: $1,333,423.25

TOTAL: $1,326,730.36

2016 2014

$1.2M

The October annual Economic Report of the President provides insight into the administration’s September economic policies. Here are a few highlights: 1000

ST. CLOUD

$900K

INSIGHTS December

Food and Beverage Tax Collection TOTAL: 235

2015

$600K

Total as of 4/12/16. *2016 total is cumulative up-to-date.

TOTAL: 235

2016

$300K

Sources: Tax Collections – City of St. Cloud

Sheriff’s Foreclosure Auctions STEARNS AND BENTON COUNTIES

January

$0

Estate sources:$200M St. Cloud Area AssociationJan of Realtors, $100M Housing/Real $150M http://stcloudrealtors.com/pages/statistics. Total as of 4/12/16. *2016 total is cumulative up-to-date.

2014

Home Sales Closed in St.Cloud

2000

Feb

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

1500

TOTAL: $1,326,730.36

0

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

ST. CLOUD

$0

1000

2016

February Mar

500

2015

2014

Apr

TOTAL: $79,916,621.69

0

2015 March

2016

2015

2014

2014

TOTAL: 1429

the recession, but all is not rosy. A decline in February $1.5M

education January employment exceeds the drop in schoolage population, implying a rising student-to-teacher ratio. State and local governments face unfunded pension liabilities that remain high relative to state

Lodging Tax Dollars

and local revenues. December

3 Affordable housing concerns aren’t limited to

the cost of construction. Land use regulations, such

TOTAL: $1,508,301.02

as zoning, may prevent house supply from growing in high-productivity areas, restricting worker mobility.

2015

Source: Whitehouse.gov TOTAL: $1,454,373.86 2014

$0

$500K

$1M

$1.5M

$2M

For a link to the complete report visit BusinessCentralMagazine.com

Sources: Tax Collections – City of St. Cloud Total as of 4/12/16. *2016 total is cumulative up-to-date.

38

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

January

2016

TOTAL: $229,765.42*

January

ST. CLOUD

Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 6

Economy Central presented by


Paula Capes

Debra Grant

Jessica Bitz

Kendra Berger

Caryn Stadther

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Top Line of

the

For third generation Borgert Products an expansion into Colorado is paving the way for company growth. By John Pepper / Photos by Butkowski Digital Imaging

F

rom truffles to couture, from Hermes to RollsRoyce, there’s always room at the top for the best. It’s as true of high quality paving as it is of anything else. That’s been good for Borgert Products, recognized as the 2016 Small Business of the Year by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, because paving is their business and they do it exceptionally well. As a third generation business established in 1923, Borgert Products has more than 90 years of experience and deep local connections. They have a top flight management team. And the ace in their hand is access to abundant granite, the best quality material available for manufactured paving. “That’s the best, highest quality stone you can use,” says company President George Strzala. “The only thing that would be better is diamonds.”

40

Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 6

A Culture of Innovation Borgert hasn’t always made pavers. For many years they made concrete blocks and other concrete products. But they were always looking for ways to be innovative. They developed new agricultural flooring products and decorative patio furniture, as well as the blocks which were the foundation of their business. However, it wasn’t until 1979 that they began making the product that would transform the company. “We were manufacturing blocks and were members of the National Concrete Masonry Association,” company owner Susan Borgert explained. “A Canadian group decided to approach American family-owned concrete manufacturers and promote use of pavers in the U.S. They were in Canada 10 years before they were in the U.S. My brother Kevin was excited about this. He flew to Canada to look at a machine with [Falcon National Bank President] John Herges. They were high school


PERSONAL PROFILE Susan Borgert CEO and majority owner, Borgert Products Age: 57 Hometown: St. Cloud Education: High school and some college Work History: Self-employed painter, some part time jobs, full time Borgert Products in 1982 Family: Spouse, one brother, four sisters, four nieces Hobbies: horse riding, cooking, gardening Advice to a would-be entrepreneur: Hiring the right people is key to succeeding.

BUSINESS PROFILE

Borgert Products PO Box 39 8646 Ridgewood Road St. Joseph, MN 56374 320-363-467 Fax: 320-363-8516 info@borgertproducts.com Borgertproducts.com CEO: Susan Borgert President: George Strzala Other Officers: Mark Petroske, CFO Ownership: Susan Borgert owns 80 percent of the business; George Strzala owns the remaining 20 percent Business Description: Manufacturer of premium concrete paving stones and retaining walls St. Cloud based employees: 60 Total number of employees: 70 with the Colorado expansion

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41


classmates, and John was with First American National Bank at the time. First American was the lender that made it possible for us to buy the machine and begin making paving stones.” Paving was a European concept that had not taken hold in the United States. It was a bad time to introduce a whole new line because interest rates were high. America entered a recession at the beginning of 1980 from which it didn’t really recover until 1983. However, in 1982 when Susan’s father hired her to sell the pavers, she immediately jumped at the opportunity. Susan wasn’t exactly hitting the floor cold. She knew the business. She had attended St. Cloud State University for a while, and went to the National Outdoor Leadership School in Wyoming to learn mountaineering and survival skills, but she always wanted to work in the family business. She’d grown up with it. Before she had the opportunity to sell pavers, she bought herself a pair of steel-toed boots and went into the plant, learning the operation bit by bit, spending time in all of the business areas. For Susan, helping steer the company into pavers made sense. If you’ve seen pavers in a residential situation, you almost certainly noticed them. It’s what real estate agents call tremendous curb appeal. When you install pavers, you make an investment upfront that is offset first by increased property value (because of that curb appeal) and also by long-term flexibility and economy. They can be rearranged to accommodate new features and re-used. If you want to run a water line under a paved driveway, you just lift the pavers, do what you need to do and replace the same pavers. They are durable and the Borgert product exceeds national industry standards. They are able to handle heavy loads, they are designed to withstand seasonal freeze and thaw cycles, and they have a life expectancy of 30 years. The product line today includes retaining walls and slabs, in colors and shapes of enough variety to create an almost unlimited number of settings, including driveways, patios, steps, walls, ovens and fireplaces. The diverse selection of earth-tone colors has names like Mesa, Iron Range, North Shore, and Minnesota River.

Positioned for Growth As the only manufacturer of paving stones west of the Mississippi River, Borgert was able to

42

Business Central Magazine // M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 6

Borgert Products then and now.


A Solid Foundation BORGERT PRODUCTS CAN TRACE ITS CONSTRUCTION ORIGINS BACK OVER 100 YEARS.

Taking over the family business and then handing it down to a third generation isn’t easy. Although about 40 percent of U.S. family-owned businesses turn into second-generation businesses, only about 13 percent are passed down successfully to a third generation, according to Businessweek.com. Despite those odds, numerous St. Cloud area family businesses have been able to take advantage of the area’s steady growth, community values, and economic diversity to prosper and sustain through multiple generations, including familiar names such as Coborn’s, Mathew Hall Lumber, and Tenvoorde Ford. Borgert Products, another multi-generation business, can trace its origins back to 1923, and even beyond that to a fourth generation builder. The Borgert family’s involvement in the construction industry pre-dates World War I, when Joseph Borgert and his sons operated a small construction business in the Browerville area in the 1870s. Joseph Borgert began manufacturing his own concrete construction materials in order to reduce overhead and ensure quality control in this outpost close to the northern wilderness. Joseph’s son, Lawrence, was the first family member to focus exclusively on building concrete products. He moved to the St. Cloud area where he built a concrete manufacturing plant close to the St. Cloud Reformatory south of town. Susan Borgert, Lawrence’s granddaughter, describes that business as just a shack where they made blocks by hand. A year later, he moved to present-day Northway Drive, which then was on the outskirts of town and surrounded by farm fields. A story in a 1984 copy of Escape magazine shows a 1934 photograph of the business with five employees and two delivery trucks. That same story describes a time when the business employed 22 employees who worked 11-hour shifts to make 4,000 concrete blocks a day. After Lawrence Borgert was elected mayor of St. Cloud in 1952, he passed the operation of the family business to his four sons, making Kenneth Borgert the company president. Kenneth bought out his brothers, and in 1969 relocated Borgert Concrete to a modern plant on a 65-acre property near St. Joseph. In time, the business’s product line expanded to include concrete patio furniture and planters, as well as a diverse range of concrete building products. In 1979 Kenneth purchased a German-made paving block machine, which was the beginning of today’s Borgert Products. Three of Kenneth Borgert’s seven Lawrence Borgert children were actively involved in the business. Kevin worked in production, Susan in sales, and Nadine was the treasurer. On his retirement, Kenneth made Kevin the president in charge of production. When Kevin and Nadine retired, Susan bought them out and today shares ownership with business partner George Strzala. – JP

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TIMELINE 1870s – Joseph Borgert arrives in Browerville and begins manufacturing concrete materials to support his construction business. 1923 – Lawrence Borgert,

Joseph’s son, moves to St. Cloud and builds a concrete block manufacturing plant, establishing Borgert’s Concrete.

1934 – The company employs

five people; the business grows and at one point employs 22 people and makes 4,000 concrete blocks per day.

1952 – Lawrence is elected mayor of St. Cloud and passes operation of the family business to his four sons. Company president, Kenneth Borgert, buys out his brothers. 1969 – Kenneth relocates

Borgert Concrete from Northway Drive in St. Cloud to its current 65-acre site near St. Joseph.

1979 – Kenneth purchases the company’s first paving block machine. 1982 – Susan Borgert joins the company to sell paving stones. 1989 – Kenneth Borgert retires, turning over ownership of the company to three of his children, Kevin, Nadine and Susan. The new owners divest themselves of the concrete block business in order to focus on paving stones. 2003 – Borgert Products hires mechanical engineer George Strzala to help them grow the company. 2006 – Susan Borgert buys out her siblings and becomes the sole owner of Borgert Products. Strzala is named company president. 2009 – Strzala becomes a shareholder in the company. 2016 – Borgert Products

opens a second manufacturing plant, this one located in Denver, CO. Susan Borgert is selected as the 2016 St. Cloud Area Small Business Owner of the Year.

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capitalize on their leadership position. By 1989, when owner Kenneth Borgert was ready to retire and pass the business to his children, paving was a big part of what they did. The new generation, siblings Kevin, Nadine and Susan Borgert, decided to divest themselves of the cement block and products side, and go all in -- building a stateof-the-art paving stone plant. By 2003 they were ready to hire somebody who could help them take the business to another level. Through a paving equipment manufacturer, they found Strzala, who would later become company president. Strzala has a mechanical engineering degree and originally is from Poland, where he designed machinery for that country’s large coal mining industry. He turned down

“Interlocking concrete paving stones is still considered a new product in the U.S. market. Definitely going to grow like crazy,” Strzala said. “It’s beautiful. A wonderful system. It’s flexible. We say in my country, ‘We are just licking the surface.’” “Scratching,” Susan said. “We’re scratching the surface.”

The Colorado Connection

In any case, they agree that theirs is a strong, healthy company in an industry with plenty of room for growth. Commercial sales, handled through the St. Joseph office, are a small part of their business. They sell about 90 percent of their product through a large network of residential “hardscape” dealers. They choose to work with familyowned companies and not through the big box The diverse selection of earth-tone stores. The dealer network colors has names like Mesa, extends across 14 states and into Canada. There’s a Iron Range, North Shore, and particularly dense dealership Minnesota River. network in Colorado, which traces back to Susan’s early days in sales. “My dad would take us out to Colorado a better offer from a national retailer to on ski trips and I began making sales take the job at Borgert because he saw an calls. I must have impressed somebody opportunity to help grow the business. back then,” she said, “because a couple It was a key hire, Susan said, coming at of the architects kept calling us and kept a time when her siblings were getting ready specifying our product. Some of the to retire. Strzala’s first focus was health and contractors wouldn’t use anybody else, and safety. He instituted drug and alcohol testing they still don’t.” and insisted on implementing strict safety In fact, Colorado is the next step for regulations. Borgert Products. They are expanding the “My brother Kevin always liked things company to Denver. “We already have the clean,” Susan said, “but George kicked it up machinery on the ground from Germany. a notch. Kevin worked with him for a little We’re waiting for the city to give us their while, then felt he was comfortable enough blessing,” Strzala said. Their original with George to retire. George had the same banker, John Herges, now president and ethics, treated people with respect, worked CEO of Falcon National Bank, is again hard, and wanted to make a quality product. financing the project. He was a good fit for us.” The suggestion to actually manufacture Susan bought out her siblings in 2006. in Colorado came from contractors who Shortly after, she asked George to be the were in St. Cloud for product training, first non-family president of the company. Strzala explained. “A contractor said, ‘Why He became a shareholder in 2009. Since don’t you come to Denver, because so many then, the business has more than doubled. people love your product.’ So, we decided to It did about $12 million in sales in 2015, and look at it.” continues on an upward trajectory.


A Team Effort As the two owners of Borgert Products, Susan Borgert and George Strzala share a vision to move their business onto a larger stage. Their personal histories, however, are very different. Susan Borgert, majority owner of Borgert Products in St. Joseph, is a product of the family business, steeped in Central Minnesota. Her personal style is relaxed and casual, and she’s prone to laughter. She and her husband live in the country with a cat, three dogs, and three horses. She enjoys horseback riding,

swimming, cooking, and gardening. She goes on turkey hunts with her husband, and enjoys cooking the wild game he brings home. Susan is close to her four nieces. They have taken trips to Europe and get together several times a year for ‘Niece and Aunt Time’. “So far they have blessed my life with two great-nephews and one great-niece,” she said. Company President George Strzala describes himself as a third generation rebel. His grandfather and father before him resisted Poland’s communist regime.

The expansion has been in the works for a long time. One of the critical factors in the success of marketing their product in the west has been their ability to ship using the rail line that runs next to the Borgert property. Strzala negotiated an agreement with BNSF rail for access to the line, then worked with shipping specialists to develop a method (including air bags) to band and protect the paving stones so they don’t shift when transported. The cost of shipping by rail is about one quarter of the cost of shipping by truck. In 2015 they shipped more than 300 rail cars and more than 1 million square feet of paving to Denver. At this time, 85 to 90 percent of Borgert’s sales are in Minnesota. They expect to grow the business in Colorado to be at least as big as Minnesota. There’s huge potential, Strzala emphasized. By manufacturing in Denver, they’ll be able to eliminate some of the uncertainties that currently are a disincentive for larger customers. For example, they’ll never have to worry about whether a trainload of materials will reach their destination on time. The Denver property has a rail spur, something they already know how to use to their advantage. From Denver, they plan to build a dealer network into adjacent states such as Arizona and New Mexico. California is an obvious destination where

George was imprisoned for a year because of his activities with Solidarity, Poland’s anti-communist union that delivered the crucial first blows to the Soviet iron

high quality architecture and landscaping would showcase their product beautifully. It’s a product made for outdoor living spaces. Although Minnesota’s climate has not stifled their growth, there’s a sense that something very exciting is about to happen.

Looking Ahead Currently the company is working to capacity. They employ 56 people and can’t efficiently do any more than they are doing. By the end of the year, with Colorado online, they expect to begin expanding their staff. On average their employees have 10 years of service with the company, Susan said, and some employees have been with them more than 20 years. It’s a business that recognizes the value of its employees, and that knows the high quality targets they set themselves can only be accomplished with a team effort. Company benefits include free family health care for all employees and numerous recognition activities. Around Memorial Day, Labor Day, and July 4 the company shuts down production and provides company lunch. In the summer the company rents a park and has a summer picnic featuring family entertainment such as clowns and face painting, as well as gifts for the children. Each year the company hosts a Christmas party for adults.

curtain. He left Poland as a political refugee after being subjected to a campaign of threats and intimidation from Poland’s secret police in the early 1980s. Today, he says, Poland is “a beautiful country. Like the U.S.” George has a sense of humor, but he’s not a man for casual conversation about politics. In a way that very few native born Americans do, George understands that politics can mean a knock on the door in the darkest of hours.

George Strzala

“My choice to join the family business has been very rewarding,” Susan said. “As in any business there are the not so good times and also the very good times, but the majority has all been good. I have enjoyed the challenge and am grateful for the advisors who have helped along the way. I know that my grandfather and father would be proud of what Borgert Products is today. I’m so grateful and appreciative of the employees -- my work family -- for their hard work and dedication to the company. I’m especially grateful to my brother, Kevin, who is the one that suggested to my father to hire me 30 plus years ago. I’m also thankful to my current business partner, George Strzala, for sharing the vision to grow the company into what it is today. “I want the young people working at Borgert Products to feel like they can work here until they retire. We care about our people. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are. It’s not about me, or about George. It’s about us as a whole, and what each person brings to the company. Achieving the Small Business of the Year Award is an accomplishment I am so honored to receive, but I accept it on behalf of everyone at Borgert Products, past and present.” John Pepper is a freelance writer in St. Cloud.

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Feature

Data Mining Big data is not just for big businesses. Armed with the right knowledge and a few useful tools, small businesses can turn big data into an opportunity to beat the competition. By Jill Copeland

T

here is a new term being thrown around in reference to the growing impact of cloud technology on businesses large and small. The phrase big data is popping up everywhere. In simple terms, big data refers to the growing presence and availability of data in every business of every size and in every department. It is everywhere – it is big. It Starts in the Cloud Cloud technology is any technology that is not on-

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premise, requiring only a username and password entered into a website for users to access its services. Cloud technology is, in fact, the new standard due to its: Low upfront costs. Cloud technology platforms are typically offered with subscriptions instead of a large upfront purchase and installation. This “pay as you go” approach is popular for businesses that run tight budgets and offer a way to

hedge an investment in a new technology. –––––– Near-immediate business impact. Instead of lengthy implementations requiring onsite consultants and extended trainings for users, cloud products feature streamlined “out of the box” packaged implementations and ondemand training for users. This approach is meant to shorten uptime and provide immediate return on investment. ––––––

Broader usage within organizations due to ease of access. Sales teams can log in while they are enroute to a presentation and virtual teams can collaborate with real-time access to the same information. Non-tech savvy users can access dashboards that overview data in a simplified and easily-digested way. Cloud technology allows even nontechnical teams to perform some level of data science. The variety of cloud technology today allows vast amounts of data to be gathered and used from all areas of a business: procurement, payroll, production, sales, human resources and more. Although small businesses are, well, smaller, their databases and systems allow for the same discovery of, and benefits from, data insights that used to be reserved to large businesses. With the existence of the Internet of Things or IoT (physical objects enmeshed with computers and the Internet), almost every function of a business touches a computer database or website, resulting in a data point that can be exported, merged, or combined with other data, for analysis. While large organizations may have greater budgets to invest in technology, small businesses are potentially in the greatest position to benefit from big data. Small upfront costs, and the ability to use as much or as little intelligence consulting services as needed, means many businesses can do some of the work – the consulting and analysis – themselves. It Requires Buy-in One downfall of comparatively


inexpensive cloud software is that companies directly correlate cost with value and use. A low cost can cause a lack of use, which correlates to a lack of value, and unfortunately a lack of use is the biggest barrier to successful software packages because buyin is by far the most difficult part of implementing a new technology. Employees can view the products as a “nice to have� instead of a critical part of everyday business. If buoyed with buy-in and use, cloud software can pay for itself if organizations make changes to operations that impact revenue. But putting

ideas into action is the real challenge. Changing the status quo, even with good reason, is difficult. It requires process changes internally and thorough communication with teams and follow up, including additional data review, to ensure changes have been made and are working as expected. To help organizations collect more and better data, roles such as consultant and analyst exist to ensure information is transferred through systems effectively and to facilitate the making of sound judgments. Without a liaison involved, the impetus is on the business to translate

The variety of cloud technology today allows vast amounts of data to be gathered and used from all areas of a business. data into prescriptive insights, which can sometimes result in missed opportunities. It can Make a Difference One company providing both data solutions and consulting is Atomic Learning. A provider of cloud-based educational instruction tools based in Little Falls, Atomic Learning was on

the front end of the big data movement when it acquired VersiFit Technologies in June 2015. Atomic Learning provides resources to teachers to help them navigate using technology. With online resources, teachers can increase curriculum rigor, make a bigger impact in the classroom, expand teaching

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Feature The organizations that will come out ahead are those that are paying close attention to the websites and systems they have in place and optimizing the collective data to make improvements. methods, increase student engagement, meet teacher training demands under time pressure, and help prepare students with the critical skills they need to be successful. Growth and innovation led the business to acquire the Appleton, Wisc.-based VersiFit, a data warehousing and configuration provider. Jenny Castle, director of human resources at Atomic Learning, says while VersiFit is a standalone

behavior, you can track that, of data to make difficult company with 35 employees, and intervene to make changes decisions. together they are providing early on.” “We’re seeing in education organizations with meaningful, While the capture of data that there are a lot of different actionable data tools for analysis is nothing new, combining systems, for student indicators and improvement. data into a consumable and testing, for example, VersiFit’s technology allows dashboard, so leaders can access and when we integrate those districts to combine disparate and share it, is the future of technologies we are able to systems, commonplace today, education administration and pull together a bigger picture,” into one central repository decision-making. Organized says Kathy Sell, director of for ease of access, better and accessible data is critical marketing for VersiFit. “If organization and more to ensuring impactful you can see which kids are thorough data analysis. School decisions are made based on at risk, by gathering metrics administrators can then access accurate, holistic, and up-tofrom attendance, grades, and review different parameters BE RECOGNIZED IN THIS INSIDER’S CIRCLE PUBLICATION. DID YOU KNOW? Women represent more than 1/3 of all people involved in entrepreneurial activity.1

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date, complete information. “Connecting all of the data and presenting it in a way that you can make changes is the real benefit,” Sell said. Properly used, platforms like VersiFit can uncover well-hidden barriers to success. Sell pointed out that in schools, technology is viewed as an enablement tool with administration driving the operational decisions regarding how the technology will be used to meet district goals. “Often visioning plans are posted online and planning committees make decisions about what the technology infrastructure will look like,” she said. Meeting goals is at the heart of all technology investments.

Atomic Learning and VersiFit are uncovering benchmarks for schools to assess performance for different demographics. “The system is so robust that you can get into tabulations such as female versus male reading performance in fifth grade, and what you discover can change what you do in the classroom,” according to Sell. It Helps to Start Small While businesses have used databases since the 1960s and 70s to store, organize and access data, in the last ten years there has been a frenzy of requests to use data in every department. Using new data tools and reports have proven successful in increasing sales

and marketing results, and now businesses want to reap the benefits elsewhere. The business possibilities of big data are endless and, therefore, can be overwhelming, so start small. The best place to start is the first place where a business’ data can be collected. This may be a website, a database or a customer relationship management system. The key is to start somewhere and keep digging into what data is, or may be collected. The big data movement compels business leaders to re-evaluate the vast amounts of information they already collect. The organizations that will come out ahead are those

that are paying close attention to the websites and systems they have in place and optimizing the collective data to make improvements. “Schools today are not the same schools that you and I once knew,” Atomic Learning’s Castle said. “Districts are being really strategic in working through tons of data to make smart improvements.” In today’s information age, businesses and organizations are moving closer to reaching their goals, with data to prove it. Jill Copeland is a senior media analyst with SAP SuccessFactors, global provider of cloud-based human capital management (HCM) software.

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Special Focus EDUCATION & TRAINING

Hot Careers Health care and manufacturing lead the list of in-demand occupations in Central Minnesota. By Luke Greiner

H

igher education not only opens the door to a larger variety of occupations, but also allows access to some of the highest paying jobs in the region. Forty-six percent of the most in-demand occupations in Central Minnesota require education beyond high school. As a certain skill set becomes scarce, it’s likely that REGION 7E: Nursing Assistants, Registered Nurses, Secondary and Elementary School Teachers, Medical Assistants, Vocational Nurses, Physicians and Surgeons. REGION 7W: Registered Nurses, Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers, Nursing Assistants, Vocational Nurses, Training and Development Specialists, Medical Assistants, Computer User Support Specialist, Family and General Practioners.

This table is just a small sample of a much larger list of Occupations In Demand in the region.

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REGION 6E: Nursing Assistants, Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers, Registered Nurses, Vocational Nurses, Hairdressers and Cosmetologists, Radiologic Technologists, First-Line Supervisors or Production and Operating, Industrial Engineers, Family and General Practioners.


job openings requiring the demanded skill become more difficult to fill and entry-level wages increase. Central Minnesota’s (Regions 7E, 7W, and 6E combined) economy shapes what occupations are in demand. So it should be no surprise that the health care and social assistance industry is the largest with 18.2 percent of all jobs. Following closely behind health care and social assistance is manufacturing with about 15.4 percent of all jobs. This industrial mix is clearly evident when looking at the top ten occupations in demand that require education beyond a high school diploma. While higher education can increase the earning potential for workers, the maximum return on investment occurs when the newly minted skills are aligned with the job market. When the perfect combination of a highly skilled worker entering a high demand occupation occurs, a mutual benefit

ensues between the employee and employer. The employer gets to staff a difficult to fill position, while the employee likely benefits from a wage advantage for being aligned with economic demands of the region. Not to be forgotten are the educational institutions that train the labor supply. Aligning local education programs with the needs of regional employers provides students with the tools to succeed in their local economy. DEED’s Occupations In Demand tool can give insight to the most demanded skills in the region, beyond the scope of advisory committees, and help schools keep the regional economy in mind while developing coursework. Even secondary schools can benefit from establishing coursework that complements local higher education programs that are aligned with the regional economy.

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.

ONLY MINNESOTA COLLEGE TO BE A FISKE “BEST BUY”

Luke Greiner is DEED’s regional analyst for Central and Southwestern Minnesota.

Source: Minnesota Office of Higher Education, 2014 report

BY THE NUMBERS

Post Secondary Education

72%

2%

13%

#2

of Minnesota adults have at least some college or higher education.

of Minnesotans age 25 to 64 have an associate degree. About the same percent have completed an occupationally specific certification.

of Minnesota adults have less than a 9th grade education.

Minnesota’s national rank for the percentage of the population with an associate degree or higher. Massachusetts is No. 1.

Inspired Learning. Inspiring Lives.

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Special Focus

STATISTICS

In Demand There are plenty of jobs available that don’t involve time in a cubicle. Job growth projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that between 2014-2024 the following non-office jobs should experience significant growth: Wind Turbine Service Technicians Job growth: 108% Average salary: $51,790 Education required: Some college, no degree Commercial Divers Job growth: 36.9% Average salary: $51,070 Education required: Postsecondary non-degree award

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Ambulance drivers and attendants Job growth: 33% Average salary: $25,490 Education required: High school diploma or equivalent Personal Financial Advisors Job growth: 29.6% Average salary: $108,090 Education required: Bachelor’s degree Cartographers and Photogrammetrists Job growth: 29.3% Average salary: $64,570 Education required: Bachelor’s degree Hearing Aid Specialists Job growth: 27.2% Average salary: $47,820 Education required: High school diploma or equivalent

Tammy@SCSUTraining.com 320-308-4252 St. Cloud State University is committed to legal affirmative action, equal opportunity, access and diversity of its campus community. (http://scsu.mn/scsuoea)

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Forensic Science Technicians Job growth: 26.6% Average salary: $58,610 Education required: Bachelor’s degree


EDUCATION & TRAINING

Brian F. Hart President

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Phone: 320-281-3056 Email: brian.hart@ sandler.com

Phone: (320) 255-3236

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Education & Training Continue reading to learn more about the variety of Education and Training services available in Central Minnesota.

hen it comes to training, one size doesn’t fit all. At Resource Training & Solutions, we offer training designed to focus on your needs. Experience guaranteed results using your examples and covering only the topics your staff needs to know. The trainings can be held on-site or in one of our spacious training rooms. Customize any topic to fit your training needs: • Customer Service • Excel software • Parenting • Stress Management • Effective Communication

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.

Inspired Learning. Inspiring Lives.

Tammy Anhalt-Warner Assistant Director Phone: (320)308-4252

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.

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CORPORATE EDUCATION & OUTREACH Offers affordable, custom fit, high quality training. Let us help build your business stronger with new skills for your employees. Tammy is a seasoned professional with extensive experience in developing specialized training programs: • Certificates for many occupations • Professional development workshops • Specialized training /consultation

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

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Business Spotlight

Work Hard

Cornerstone Construction owner Gary Verkinnes has found success through building relationships and hard work. When Jim asked me what I wanted to do in the future, I always said I want to own my own business. Jim was a great mentor. He gave me direction. BC: What do you like best about business ownership? ______________ Verkinnes: Mentoring the staff and giving them the freedom to excel, to make mistakes and to grow. BC: What has been the biggest challenge? ______________ Verkinnes: Finding good people. Especially more recently. I need to do some hiring. I don’t have enough people for the jobs that we have coming in.

At A Glance Cornerstone Construction, Inc. 6975 Saukview Drive, Suite 100 St. Cloud, MN 56303 320-251-9221 fax: 320-251-9388 Cornerstonestcloud.com Business Description: Commercial construction and business development Owner: Gary Verkinnes Opened: 1996 Joined the Chamber in 1996

Fun Fact:

Verkinnes is a huge fan of the Eagles. He has guitars signed by all of the musicians.

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BC: What are you going to do? ______________ By Gail Ivers

Business Central: From what you’ve said you had no direction when you graduated from high school. How did you get into this business? ______________ Verkinnes: I was bartending at the 400 Club and Jim Miller, who owned Miller Construction, was a customer. He offered me a job and I said no. I guess I had a bad night and Jim called and the next thing I knew I had an interview. I worked for his property development company for two years, then did sales for Miller Construction for eight years.

Verkinnes: We’ll have to turn some of them down. I learned that the hard way. These customers become your friends. Anybody can build a building. We build friendships – long lasting friendships. We go to their kids’ birthday parties. We go out to dinner. If you take a job and then can’t do it because you don’t have enough people, now your friends are mad at you. Better to not take the job in the first place. BC: What’s the future for Cornerstone Construction? ______________ Verkinnes: I’ll sell it to my employees. I’ll stay on and do

Personal Profile Gary Verkinnes, 55 Hometown: Waite Park Education: Graduated from Apollo High School; took classes at the St. Cloud Technical and Community College; attended the Minnesota School of Real Estate Work History: Lots of different, short-term jobs out of high school, including bartending at the 400 Club where he met local property development and construction company owner Jim Miller. Family: Wife Wendy and son Kalen Hobbies: Boating on the Mississippi River, snowmobiling, traveling – “I’m checking things off my bucket list.” Best advice you’ve received: Family is the most important thing you have. Everything else is secondary. Advice to a new entrepreneur: You have to make decisions, you have to take risks. Don’t second guess yourself. You won’t always make the right decision, just move on.

business development – buying land, building facilities, finding tenants. I won’t miss the responsibilities of business ownership, but I’ll still work. Work hard. That’s what Jim Miller taught me.


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