Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce - A look back at 2022, a look ahead to 2023

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A look back at 2022 – A look ahead to 2023!


The Top 5 Under 40 Young Professionals in the Alexandria Lakes Area

Who we are:

What we do:

Our Mission:

A Publication of the Echo Press and the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce | (320) 763-3133 Diann Drew, Publisher | Lori Mork, Designer
The Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1907. For 115 years it has served as a network of business, organization and individual members working together to improve the economic wellbeing of the entire community.
Our core purpose is to lead, connect and collaborate for a thriving community. We do this by providing members with: • Opportunities to network and build relationships. • A ssistance with marketing and gaining visibility. • Educational and event opportunities. • Connections with local residents, visitors and resources.
To promote the Alexandria Lakes Area as the ultimate destination to live, work, play and prosper.|206BroadwaySt.Alex| info@ Joinournetwork! 5keybenefits of membership visibility • connections education • advocacy • credibility PromotingtheAlexandriaLakesAreaastheultimate destination to live,work, playandprosper. xandria, MN | (320) 763-3161 ork! 2 Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 INDEX MESSAGES Tyler Notch, 2023 President ................................................ 3 Tara Bitzan, Executive Director..........................................4 Matt Gilbertson, 2022 President ....................................... 6 PROGRAMS AND RECOGNITIONS Chamber Pillars of Operation ............................................. 4 2022 President’s Award recognizes passion ............ 5 This community supports local .......................................... 7 Kayla Fearing is 2022 Friend of the Chamber ............................................... 8 Leadership Alexandria & Leadership Alexandria 2.0 ............................................. 10 Duffer’s Delight raises $20,000+ ......................................11 Ollie’s Service recognized for community impact ............................................................12 Ambassador Committee ...................................................... 13 Membership Team ....................................................................14 Alexandria Area Young Professionals ......................... 16 Wake Up Alexandria, Off the Clock and Pot of Gold! ........................................ 18 The Visitor & Resource Center .........................................19 Local professionals lend their services 19 Chamber’s 2023 legislative priorities ..........................20 TOP 5 UNDER 40 Samantha Beckman.................................................................21 Laura Hagstrom .........................................................................22 Carley Noetzelman 23 Brandy Quam .............................................................................. 24 Kristi Van Ahn-Kjeseth 25 CHAMBER BOARD & STAFF 26



Let’s always strive to be ‘Better Than Yesterday’

The 2023 Chamber theme, “Better Than Yesterday,” is built on the belief that we can never stop improving. I chose this theme because it ties to a core belief system I have. When I think about this theme and how it ties to our community, it’s easy to see that our community isn’t satisfied with being just another stop for people on I-94. Rather, we truly want to be a place where you can live, work, play and prosper, both personally and professionally.

Growing up in Eagle Bend, MN, I was someone who always looked at Alexandria as the “big city”. When my wife and I decided to find a place to settle down, we wanted a home where we could truly feel part of the community. Our first option was Alexandria, and we made our decision almost immediately after spending time here. Alexandria and its residents have provided

us with a place to start our family and more importantly, grow our family.

Our community has long been growing, and that growth has started to ramp up over the course of the last year. An example of this can be seen when you take a drive down Broadway. You can look in all directions and see the growth of our community –new buildings being built, old buildings being remodeled, and new restaurants and stores opening and continuing the strong commitment to providing our community with great retail and dining options. This community continues to look at all obstacles, adversity, and challenges as an opportunity to grow. This constant strive for growth is at the core of my theme and I look forward to helping our community continue towards the future.

It is my goal to keep our community’s growth at the forefront of all our minds throughout the next year. I want to look back 10 years from now and see a community that is continuing to innovate, lead and collaborate for a better tomorrow.

Ultimately, the Chamber of Commerce wouldn’t be what it is today without your membership and commitment to our mission. It is an honor for me to serve as the Chamber president for the next year. I look forward to working closely with you to help our community continue being “the ultimate destination to live, work, play, and prosper.”

... Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 3 Cong ra tulationsSamanthaandTyl er! knutenelson.or g 2023CHAMBER BOARD PRESIDENT TYLER NOTCH Executive Director ofGrandArbor TOP5 PROFESSIONALS UNDER40 SAMANTHABECKMAN Vice PresidentofMarketing Your contributionstoKnuteNelsonandtheAlexandriaAreaareextraordinary. Thankyouforsharingyourgiftswithus!
I want to look back 10 years from now and see a community that is continuing to innovate, lead and collaborate for a better tomorrow. ...
Message from the 2023 President

Passion + drive to be better = incredible things!

2022 Chamber Board President Matt Gilbertson’s theme, Catch the Passion, showcased one of the bright spots of this community – the many passionate people who live, work, and play here. While we all know passionate people, operating under this theme all year made us pay closer attention to it, and it quickly became obvious that there is A LOT of passion in this community! That’s exciting, and it’s one of the many things that makes us stand out among other communities.

Passion is typically accompanied by a drive to do better and be better. Therefore, it’s fitting that 2023 Chamber

Board President Tyler Notch selected one of his personal mantras as this year’s theme: Better than Yesterday. You pair the passion with the drive to be better, and there’s no limit to what we can accomplish.

Chamber Pillars of Operation

The Alexandria Chamber operates under four pillars that are key in not only building and maintaining a strong Chamber, but also a strong community.

» Operational Excellence

Establish and maintain logistics to allow for operational excellence.

It’s an exciting time to be living and working in the Alexandria Lakes Area. I can’t wait to see what amazing things happen within this community in the coming year!

The Chamber Board participates in regular strategic planning sessions and creates action plans to accomplish identified tasks under the umbrella of each of these pillars.

» Effective Collaborations

Establish rapport, reduce duplication and join resources to best serve the community.

» Satisfied, Engaged Members

Members understand the value the Chamber brings to their business.

» Strategic Events and Programs

Offer quality events and programming that benefit members and strengthen the community.

Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
Message from the Executive Director ... Message from the Executive Director ... 4 Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 View inventory at: Toll Free 1.877.880.8090 | 320.834.6333 7390 County Road 82, Garfield, MN 56332 • 304 Irving Street, Alexandria, MN 56308 Steinbring Motorcoach PROUD DEALER OF & “A family invested in a lifetime of knowledge, trust and friendship!” NATIONAL AWARD-WINNING SERVICE KNOWLEDGEABLE SALES PEOPLE Great Prices! Garfield • Alexandria, MN

2022 President’s Award recognizes passion

A new recognition was shared at the Chamber’s Annual Celebration – the President’s Award. The recipient of this award is selected by the Chamber Board President and is someone who best exemplified the Chamber theme for the year.

2022 Chamber Board President Matt Gilbertson’s theme was Catch the Passion. He selected Brenda Thomson, District Executive for the Prairie Fire District of the Northern Lights Council, Boy Scouts of America, as the President’s Award honoree.

Gilbertson stated that Brenda – through her words and actions – always shows considerable passion and enthusiasm for her work with

the Boy Scouts. For a recent birthday, she requested that instead of giving her gifts, that her family and friends consider donations to the Northern Lights Council, Boy Scouts of America instead.

Gilbertson noted that Brenda’s passion isn’t confined just to the Boy Scouts, but carries into her other interests as well. As a member of Rotary and the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, she has repeatedly demonstrated passion for

AlomereHealthhasbroken groundon anew Rehabilitation Services facility to beopen to thepubliclate this year.

Thefirstfloorofthenew facilitywillmorethandouble thesizeofthecurrent rehab space. Morespacemeans betteraccessforpatients, decreasedappointment wait times,and additional rehabilitationservices to patients.

both organizations through her participation and positive referrals.

A great of example of Brenda’s spirit is displayed through a recent quote she posted on social media:

One committed person can bring about incredible results if they are willing to take the risk and step out of their comfort zone to do what needs to be done. N. Federico.

Herefor Life
Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 5
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Brenda Thomson 2022 President’s Award Recipient

Examples of passion abound in this community

As 2022 came to a close and I reflected back on the year as the Chamber of Commerce President, I made it a point to look for examples of the passion displayed in a variety of ways throughout our community. Our community took to the 2022 theme of the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce: “Catch the Passion.”

I want to thank the many businesses and organizations that continued their Chamber membership and displayed our theme in their workspace, and welcome the many new Chamber members that joined in 2022. It has been fun seeing the Chamber’s theme logo displayed throughout the community

with my family. My kids especially think it is fun when they see the logo. They shout out, “Dad, you did that!”

The passion of the people who call the Alexandria Area their home or have chosen to have their business located here is impressive. The passion that volunteers continue to bring to the non-profit sector never ceases to amaze me. We have passionate people continuing to better our community from the parks all the way to childcare. As I mentioned at the beginning of my term as president, this passion continues to shine bright lights on our community.


from the 2022 President ... Your Viking Bank family is proud of you and your commitment to the community!

with the Commit to Kindness initiative that began as a conversation in one of the board meetings during the past year. It has been great seeing the banners and other various messages of kindness displayed throughout the community.

The Chamber of Commerce, with its passionate staff and board, continues to show the value it adds to our area and the businesses we are fortunate to help promote. Our community and Chamber members have also jumped on board

I am excited to see the continued growth – we ended the year with 640 members! Way to “Catch the Passion!”

Thank youMatt, for everything you do! 6 Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023

Matt Gilbertson 2022 President
Message from the Outgoing President ...
We have passionate people continuing to better our community ... this passion continues to shine bright lights on our community. CELEBRATING OVER 40 YEARS OF INVESTING IN OUR COMMUNITY Matt Gilbertson, Viking Bank Alexandria Chamber Past President/Treasurer INVESTED IN YOUR JOURNEY

In 2022, $177,059 in Chamber Bucks were distributed locally!

The plea to “Do Business Local” was stronger than ever over the past few years, and the community has risen to the challenge.

The amount of Chamber Bucks sold rose from an impressive $96,514 in 2020 to an incredible $173,157 in 2021! It rose again this past year, with a record high $177,059 in Chamber Bucks sold in 2022.

Those are dollars that get reinvested back into this community where we live, work and play.

In 2018, the Pride of the Lakes do business local campaign was created to educate area residents about the importance of taking pride in their community and supporting it.

Knowing young people play a major role in the future success of a community, the

campaign was placed in the hands of marketing students at Alexandria Area High School.

The campaign places community pride at its foundation and builds upon that with education and awareness of the impact of keeping dollars local.

There is a place on the campaign’s website where businesses and individuals can take a pledge to do business local. Visit to learn more and to take the pledge to do business local!

supports local Grateful to be part of this Community!

The Chamber Bucks program is designed to keep dollars local. Anybody can purchase them, and they can be spent at 266 participating Chamber member businesses.

Top 2022 Chamber Buck Purchasers

This INTEGRITY Doing the right thing even when no one is watching. ALEXANDRIAECHO PRESS | ECHOPRESS .COM READERS’ CHOICE

WINNER 2022 ABSTRACTS | TITLE INSURANCE | REAL ESTATE CLOSINGS 2209 Jefferson Street, Suite 301 • Easton Place II, Alexandria, MN 56308 320.763.3311 •

Alomere Health $113,837 Diamond Buick GMC $12,000 Public Sales $8,905 Douglas Machine $8,870 Brenton $7,000
Your support matters all year long! Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 7

Kayla Fearing is 2022 Friend of the Chamber

The Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the 2022 Friend of the Chamber – Kayla Fearing, Director of Marketing for Hilltop Lumber. The Friend of the Chamber Award was established in 1990 to recognize an individual who has gone beyond expectations in giving of time, resources or influence to benefit the Chamber and its members.

In 2015, Fearing obtained an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Sales and Marketing Management from Alexandria Technical and Community College, where she was also a member of Phi Theta Kappa. One of her first jobs was with the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce as the Visitor Center Coordinator. She later moved into the role of Marketing and Communications Coordinator.

She was a staff member with the Chamber for just over three years. When she accepted a marketing position with Paradis Broadcasting, she showed her loyalty to the Chamber by going

above and beyond to ensure that a quality replacement was found, offered to help with training, and assisted with some tasks even after starting her new position. In her new role, she regularly referred businesses to the Chamber for membership and was a strong advocate of the Chamber throughout the community.

She stayed engaged in the Chamber’s Alexandria Area Young Professionals (AAYP) program and has served on the Leadership Team for the past three years in the positions of Vice President, President, and Marketing Coordinator. She is a regular attendee at AAYP meetings and events and an active participant in the organization’s service projects. In 2022, she was present at every monthly luncheon as well as 11 of the 12 Leadership Team meetings.

She has been a member of the Chamber’s Membership Team since June 2022, is a member of the Duffers Delight committee, and is a member and current chair of the Pride of the Lakes Mar-

keting Committee, which promotes doing business local.

She is a regular attendee at Chamber luncheons, Wake Up Alexandria events, and others, and always serves as a welcoming ambassador to newcomers at these events.

Fearing has participated in the “Take a Stand Against

Domestic Violence” event for the past six years, is involved with Habitat for Humanity, as well as numerous other local community service efforts. She and her husband, Jeremy, have one son, Aiden.

Message from the Executive Director ...
Kayla Fearing Director of Marketing, HIlltop Lumber
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2021 Del Mari Runck (Neighborhood National Bank)

2020 Carl Vaagenes (Alomere Health)

2019 Brett Paradis (Paradis Broadcasting)

2018 Shari Lavin (Viking Bank)

2017 Carol Wenner (Local Level Marketing)

2016 Todd Emmons (Innovative Builders, Inc.)

2015 K athy Pesta and Carla Spaeth (Pro Staff)

2013 Kevin Kopischke (Alexandria Technical and Community College)

2012 Mark Proudfoot (MJ Communications)

2011 Marie Rutten (Bremer Bank)

2010 Tom Jacobson (Swenson Lervick Trosvig Jacobson PA)

2009 Tim A arsvold (Geneva Beach Resort & Viking Motel)

2008 Jill Blashack-Strahan & Joani Nielson (Tastefully Simple)

2007 Bruce Wiitanen (Juettner Motors)

2006 Lynette Kluver (Alexandria Extrusion)

2005 Susan Skoglund Boerhave (Viking Savings Bank)

2004 Carol Meyer (Garden Center)

2003 Rose Virnig Shorma (American Business Solutions)

2002 Kyle Diekman (Diekman Jewelry)

2001 Vicki Jodsaas (Alexandria Technical and Community College)

2000 Jody Hanson (Echo Press)

1999 Blake Evert (Target Alexandria)

1998 Chamber Ambassadors Group

1997 Sue Davidson

1996 Al Quam

1995 Janet Thorkelson

1994 Leroy Meyer

1993 Jim Karn, John Carlberg, Chuck Pugh & Ken Martinson

1992 Governor’s Fishing Opener Committee

1990 Jerry Jensen

CONGRATULATIONS to the top 5 under 40! tothetop 5under40! 3Q UESTIONS ToAskYourselfas aB usinessOwner Wewillshowyouhow. 1 3 2 Areyoutreatingyour businesslikeanasset? Doyouhave aT AX FRIENDLYexi ts trategy foryourbusiness? Doyouknowthevalueof yourbusinessandhow tomakeitmorevaluable withoutaddingsales? FINANCESMADESIMPLE.NET 605.380.5165 STACEYDOEGE Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 9 (320) 76 3-9663 |W WW.HILLTO PLBR.COM Hilltop Lumberisproud to have beenser ving thelakes area since 1988. Forany sizeproject,homeowners,contractors anddo-it-yourselfersknowtheycanrelyon Hilltop Lumber. Congratulations Kayla Fearing! 2022 Friend of the Chamber We are a proud supporter of the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber and want to honor Kayla Fearing for her contributions to benefit the Chamber and its members! Helping You ELECTRIFY Your Everyday 800-473-1722

Message from the Executive Director

(Alexandria Education Foundation/Cardinal Athletic Foundation), Ryan Blakesley (Viking Bank), Darcie Zirbes (Alexandria Police Department), Lukas Gotto (Alexandria Public Schools), Jay Fiskness (Glenwood State Bank). (Middle): Brandon Plotz (Edward Jones), Nolan Steidl (Hilltop Lumber), Jason Crannell (ITW Heartland), Cally Endres (Windmill Ponds), Kasey Morris (Bold North Cellars), Andrew Holte (Bell Bank), Jon Botz (Widseth), Kari Ziesemer (McCarten Design), Julie Rambow (Randy Fischer Real Estate), PJ Malin (First Lutheran Church), Tonia Kvale (Kvale Real Estate). (Front): Stanley Nelson (CONTECH Bridge Solutions), Joe Korkowski (Explore Alexandria Tourism, Cyndi Magnuson (Knute Nelson), Gabrielle Giannonatti (Geneva Capital), Sam Williams (Alexandria Covenant Church), Sophia Watt (Horizon Public Health), John Zipoy (Brenton), Jeff Walsh (3M Abrasive Systems Division Plant).

The Chamber offers two programs to build and support community leaders – Leadership Alexandria (LA) and Leadership Alexandria 2.0.

LA is currently in its 30th year of building a stronger community one leader at a time. The program is for individuals of any age serving in a leadership role or hoping to transition into a leadership role. Key takeaways of the nine-month program include insight into local history, business, education and government; personal growth and wellness; connections with other business professionals and more.

In LA 2.0, participants learn to apply leadership tools, clarify communication, overcome challenges, achieve work/ life balance and more while gaining insight into how their leadership impacts the future of the community.

Leadership Alexandria & Leadership Alexandria 2.0
leaders have graduated from Leadership Alexandria 10 Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 CubFoods Alexandria 26 12 SB roadwaySt experience! Perksonevery online purchase fuel rewards, digital coupons &deals 320-762-1158
Pictured is the 2022-23 Leadership Alexandria class during the September retreat. (Back): Rebecca Brinkman (Alomere Health), Kelli Minnerath
than 700

Duffers Delight raises $20,000+

The Duffers Delight, held the first Monday each June, is the Chamber’s largest fundraiser. The 2022 event was a perfect summer day for golfing and being outdoors.

The sold-out tournament featured 36 teams/144 golfers and 44 sponsoring businesses and generated more than $20,000 for Chamber operating expenses. On it’s 30th anniversary the tournament was able to celebrate a Hole-in-One winner!

2022 winners included:

• Champion: Soderholm Insurance Services

• Hole-In-One Winner: Chris Noll of Quick Attach golfing with Team Tri County Foam Insulation

• Skins Winners: Team Bell Bank, Team Tri County Foam Insulation, Team Soderholm Insurance Services

• 2nd Place: Alex Rubbish & Recycling

• 3rd Place: Widseth

• Putting Contest Winners: Jared Wagner, Integrity Title; Greg Johnson, Miltona Meats; Rick Johnson, Brophy Bay Mart

• Red Ball Game Winner: Finances Made Simple/Lind Funeral Home

The 2022 event committee included Brad Anderson (ITW Heartland), Craig Buysee (Anderson Funeral Home), Todd Emmons (Innovative Builders),

Kayla Fearing (Hilltop Lumber), Matt Hagstrom (Hagstrom Engineering), Carla Spaeth and Janelle Petermeier (Pro Staff), Donna Ryan (Bell Bank), John Tate (Innovative Office Solutions), and Jeremy Holmstrom and Kyle and Ashley Lee (Alexandria Golf Club).

The 2023 event is Monday, June 5. For information, visit www.alexandriamn. org/duffersdelightgolftournament or call (320) 763-3161.

Title sponsor: Innovative Builders, Inc.

Associate sponsors: C&L Distributing, Massman, Inc., Juettner Motors, Diamond Buick GMC, Alexandria Motors, Glenwood State Bank, Alomere Health, Winning Edge.


We are very proudof you and honored to haveyouas partofourteam.

The 2022 Duffers Delight Golf Tournament Champion team was Soderholm Insurance Services. Team members include Erin Berns, NorthRock Partners; Brandon Bistodeau, Elden’s Fresh Foods & Downtown Floral; and Parker Bowden and Robert Lauzon of Soderholm Insurance Services. Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 11 320-219-6505 |24/7EmergencyRestoration

Message from the Executive Director ...

Ollie’s Service recognized for community impact

More than 375 people attended the annual Business and Industrial Appreciation Day (BIAD) luncheon in October to honor the 2022 honoree – Ollie’s Service.

The BIAD award, which originated in 1984, is co-sponsored by the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission and Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce with the purpose of saying “thank you for being a vital part of our community.”

Recipients are selected based on the following factors:

• Growth in number of employees and impact of the business on the job market.

• Increase in sales and/or unit volume –an indication of continued growth.

• Capital investment – an indication of commitment by the business to increase community capacity.

• Community contributions – evidence of the investment of time, skills and resources to assist in community-oriented projects.

Ollie’s Service first opened in 1955 and has been operated by three generations of the Anderson family – Ollie, Earl, and Jayme. It started as a car repair shop and has grown and changed many times through the years adding in sales and service for lawnmowers, snowblowers, snowmobiles, ATVs, personal watercraft, sport boats, pontoons, and motors, as well as numerous clothing and accessory items.

The business has received various honors through the years, including being

named Bombardier’s ATV dealer of the nation in 2000.

In 2019, the company moved from its Broadway location to 111 Donna Avenue, which allowed more space for expansion. The company currently employs nearly 20 full and part-time people, who pride themselves on excellent customer service. Their business motto is “Where customers send their friends.”

The business and its employees support numerous community initiatives and nonprofits, including the Runestone Off-Road ATV Riders (ROAR), ROARed (the educational division of ROAR that provides ATV safety training), First Ever Spectacular Ride for Charity, Low Plans Drifters, Douglas County Fair Board, Douglas Area Trails Association (DATA), to name just a few.

Members of the Ollie’s Service team accepted the 2022 Business & Industrial Appreciation Day award during a celebration on October 25 at Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center.
12 Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023

Ambassador Committee

The Ambassadors serve as an active communication link to cultivate and promote positive relationships between the Chamber and the business community.

The Ambassadors welcome new businesses to the community; recognize new owners, locations, and remodels for existing businesses; and attend ribbon cuttings and groundbreakings.

The group includes 20 community leaders from a variety of business sectors who have

visits in 2022!

demonstrated outstanding interest and ability in promoting the business interests of the Alexandria Lakes Area.

Each year, a member of the team is recognized for their dedication to this role. This year’s Ambassador of the Year is Tim Urness of Thrivent Financial. While Tim has only served as an Ambassador for 2 years, his knowledge of the community and his genuine interest in learning more about local businesses has made him an asset to the team. Tim is a vocal advocate of Chamber membership and is quick to invite someone new to attend an event. Tim regularly volunteers to serve as the Ambassador of the Day and attended an impressive 43 of the team’s 44 visits this year.

Ambassador of the Year:

The Chamber Ambassadors visited Church for the Harvest in December of 2022 at its new building at 1425 41st Ave. W in Alexandria. Back: Bob Wolfe (Indigo Signs), Mike Doyle (Heartland Orthopedic Specialists), Todd Emmons (Innovative Builders), Charley Good (Pemberton Law Firm), Greg Bowen (Bowen Contracting), Ryan Rooney (Runestone Electric Association), Mark Grandgenett (Viking Bank), Tim Urness (Thrivent Financial).

Front: Joe Korkowski (Explore Alexandria Tourism), Lynelle Lanoue (Past & Present Home Gallery), Mickey Larson (Larson Insurance), Lynn Jenc (Alexandria Public Schools), Pastor Mike Bartolomeo (Church for the Harvest), Crystal Christianson (Studio C Salon), Lynn Arnquist (Alexandria Technical & Community College), Jon Steinbring (Steinbring Motorcoach). Ambassadors not pictured: Diann Drew (Echo Press Newspaper), Nicole Fernholz (Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission), Andy Mellgren (Downtown & Plaza Liquor), Tasha West (RE/MAX Results), Janelle Wunderlich (Alexandria Industries).

Tim Urness Thrivent Financial
Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 13

Membership Team

In September 2022, the Chamber Membership Team visited with new member Philip Kraft of Cardboard Cares (center). Team members include (back): Kreg Anderson (Alexandria Aviation), Sara Stadtherr (Bee Authentic Marketing), Sue Hawkinson (Corral Saloon & Eatery), Donna Ryan (Glenwood State Bank), Dave Kent (3M Abrasive Systems Division Plant), Todd Emmons (Innovative Builders), Greg Steele (Viking Bank), Heidi Bruns (First Western Bank & Trust), Bruce Strandskov (Rose City Sign); (front): Kayla Fearing (Hilltop Lumber), Amy Christopherson (Amy Christopherson – State Farm Insurance), Ashley Rambow (Coldwell Banker Crown Realtors), Chris Harris (Alexandria Technical & Community College Foundation) Not Pictured: Jeff Meland (Databae Systems) and Bonnie Bina (Profile Health & Wellness). • Experience • Results Todd Whiting 320-766-2200 Realtor - Auctioneer Message from the Executive Director ... visits in 2022! 44
2705 S. Broadway • Alexandria, MN 56308 320-763-3360 • 1-800-HAMPTON In-Room Wired & Wireless Internet In-Room Refrigerator & Microwave Within walking distance of restaurants Meeting Room for up to 40 People Pool, Whirlpool & Fitness Center Hot Breakfast / Business Center / Suite Shop 14 Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 715 Victor St, Alexandria 320-759-2132 •

Membership Team

The Membership Team provides a solid foundation for the growth of the Chamber by recruiting, welcoming, and supporting new members and supporting the local business community by attending ribbon cutting and groundbreaking ceremonies.

The team serves as a resource to new members by providing support through conversations and introductions that will cultivate and promote positive ongoing relationships between Chamber members.

The team is made up of community leaders from a variety of sectors of Chambermember businesses, as well as all Chamber staff members.

Each year, a member of the team is recognized for their dedication to their role. This year’s Membership Team Member of the Year is Chris

Harris of the Alexandria Technical & Community College (ATCC) Foundation.

Team Member of the Year:

Chris has served on this team for three years and was present at 37 of the 44 visits in 2022. She is a strong advocate for Chamber membership and is always engaged in member visits asking questions, connecting new members to resources and more. Chris is also the person behind the team’s new blue jackets! She volunteered to research and organize the project to support Chamber staff.

Chris Harris ATCC Foundation
Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 15

Message from the Executive Director ...

Alexandria Area Young Professionals

The Alexandria Area Young Professionals (AAYP) was established to “enrich the lives of area young professionals in their 20s and 30s through networking, education and community involvement.”

The group hosts luncheons the first Thursday of every month as well as “Connect Group” gatherings the third Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m. and the fourth Thursday from 7 to 8 a.m. at local businesses.

The Connect Groups offer more opportunities for members to connect with other young professionals in a social atmosphere and offer an alternative for those whose schedule doesn’t allow for attendance at noon luncheons.

Other social, networking, and community service opportunities are also held throughout the year.

While AAYP falls under the umbrella of the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, a person does not have to be an employee of a Chamber member business to join this organization.

The 2022 AAYP Leadership Team included: Lauren Johnson, President/ Chamber Liaison (Alexandria Chamber of Commerce); Kayla Fearing, Past President (Hilltop Lumber); Breanna Goracke, Vice President (Douglas County); Philip Zimpel, Treasurer (Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union); Rebecca Lillemon, Marketing Coordinator (Alomere Health); Taylor Conn, Events Coordinator (eXp Realty); Kreg Anderson, Secretary (Alexandria Aviation); Courtney Childers, Member at Large (McCarten Design).

At the December luncheon, members of the Alexandria Area Young Professionals brought in toy donations for Toys for Kids – MCL Runestone Detachment 1409. Members in attendance include (back): Robert Pachan (Primerica), Bennett Schuneman (Glenwood State Bank), Logan Long (Individual Member), Kristi Anderson (Love In the Name of Christ), Ryan Twedt (GCI), Robin Hoeper (Bell Bank), Kari Ziesemer (McCarten Design), Kali Johnson (Viking Bank), Katie DeGier (Alexandria Chamber), Jason Crannell (ITW Heartland), John Reitter (Gardonville), Lindsey Newtal (Gardonville). Middle: Brandon Plotz (Edward Jones), Kreg Anderson (Alexandria Aviation), Taylor Conn (eXp Realty), Renae Matthies (Douglas Machine), Breanna Goracke (Douglas County), Bobbi Prouty (Viking Bank), Kendra Bauck (VFW 936 Alexandria), John Zipoy (Brenton), Eliza Gould (Wells Fargo). Front: Matt Jossart (Bell Bank), Jess Ptacek (Alexandria Chamber), Kelsi Leeseberg (Safe Families for Children), Courtney Childers (McCarten Design), Lauren Johnson (Alexandria Chamber), Kayla Fearing (Hilltop Lumber).

AAYP currently has 93 members!
16 Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 Individual Therapy in the Lakes Area Community Brooke Halliday, MA LPCC 320-335-9781 Instagram redbirdcounselingmn Facebook redbirdcounselingmn21
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Message from the Executive Director ...

Wake Up Alexandria, Off the Clock and Pot of Gold!

Wake Up Alexandria is a popular Chamber event held the first and third Friday of each month that offers networking and business promotion opportunities.

The event is hosted at different member locations, allowing the hosts to showcase their facility, products, services, and staff.

Wake Up Alexandria is open to everyone in the community. A dollar gets you in the door; all dollars raised go to the Nonprofit of the Day selected by the event host. Chamber members can give 45-second announcements at the event to share promotions or information.

A highlight of the event is the Pot of Gold drawing. This is sponsored by Chamber members who donate items, coupons, discounted services, and gift certificates to add to its value. Every Chamber member is included in the drawing. If the member drawn is present, that


was given to nonprofit members through these events in 2022!

organization wins the Pot. Those employees utilize the prizes, with the hope that a business connection is made and a new customer/client is “won.” If a representative is not present, the Pot continues to grow until the next event.

Off the Clock is an event that follows the same format but is held from 4 to 5 pm. It is not a regularly scheduled event but is instead offered upon request on a date chosen by the member.

In 2022, the Pot of Gold was won 5 times. Winners included Heartland Orthopedic Specialists, Alexandria Rotary Club, Safe Families for Children, Lakewood Terrace, and Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota. The total value of prizes given out was

Visit eventsandprograms for a schedule of 2023 events, or call (320) 763-3161 for more information.


620 Oak Street • Alexandria, MN 56308 Office: 320.763.5222 • Fax: 320.763.3519 • 1121 Broadway Street, Alexandria • 320-762-1050 Together
we can do great things
Amy Christopherson – State Farm Insurance hosted Wake Up Alexandria on Friday, September 16, 2022. Pictured: (back) Kayla Heffron, Senior Sales Representative; Hannah Lieser, Customer Care; Shannon Mogenson, Customer Care; Brianna Blevins, Customer Care; (front) Rylie Lubenow, Sales Representative; Amy Christopherson, Agent; Trina Wilke, Agency Director.
Companies and Job Seekers 320.763-9899
Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023

The Visitor

& Resource Center

The Alexandria Visitor & Resource Center is located at 206 Broadway in the Chamber of Commerce/Runestone Museum building.

The center offers an abundance of information for people visiting the area as well as for area residents, including local, regional and state maps; trail maps, lodging and dining information, arts and entertainment activities, business and personal services, housing and real estate information, medical and senior services, education services, economic development information and more.

The Visitor & Resource Center handles thousands of calls, emails and walk-in inquiries each year.

The Visitor & Resource Center is located in the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Runestone Museum building at 206 Broadway St. All Chamber member businesses may distribute marketing materials through the Visitor & Resource Center.

Local professionals lend their services

Local professionals volunteer to assist Chamber operations by serving on the Personnel and Finance committees.

The Personnel Committee provides guidance and support to the Executive Director and Chamber Board by serving as a resource and providing parameters/guidelines in the areas of human resources, benefits and compensation, policies, and procedures. The committee assists with and/or offers guidance in the areas of hiring/terminating, employee handbook, human resource forms, evaluations, benefits and serves as a liaison to Chamber staff.

2022 Personnel Committee members: Deb Moorman, chair (Alexandria Industries), Wendy Steidl (Tastefully Simple),

Rachel Jahner (Glenwood State Bank), Craig Buysse (Anderson Funeral Home).

The Chamber’s Finance Committee establishes financial parameters and guidelines for the Chamber to ensure its financial sustainability. The committee reviews financial statements, develops and evaluates the annual budget, develops new financial policies as needed, and reviews existing financial and internal controls, policies and procedures.

2022 Finance Committee members: Nicole Klimek, chair (Hilltop Lumber), Del Mari Runck (retired/Neighborhood National Bank); Matt Gilbertson (Viking Bank), Tyler Notch (Grand Arbor).

Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 19

Message from the Executive Director ...

Chamber’s 2023 legislative priorities

Chambers represent economic vitality in their communities. The MN Chamber Federation unites and amplifies the voice of local chambers by advocating for policies to advance business across the state.

The Federation promotes pro-growth policies to the Legislature, helping ensure lawmakers understand the needs and interests of MN’s diverse business community.

Here are the current legislative priorities supported by the Chamber:

Advance tax reform: MN’s high tax burdens continue to rank as one of the top barriers to economic growth. MN business taxes are among the highest in the nation. In 2021 and 2022, 27 other states enacted significant tax reductions to make their states more attractive for investment and talent. Our priorities include reducing MN’s individual and corporate income tax rate. We support business property tax relief, enhancements to the research and development tax credit, angel investment tax credit and conforming to the federal estate tax threshold.

Create a 21st century workforce: Workforce availability is driven by barriers that encompass demographics, education and training preparedness and misalignment, child care availability, high tax burdens, and other affordability challenges. The system must track and adapt to changes in the labor market and workforce needs. We recommend an

audit of workforce spending, programs, councils and boards to assess performance and return on investment. The state should accelerate certification and training in high demand industries and streamline licensing and certification to reduce barriers and speed entry to jobs in short supply. And we must turn the tide on declining student proficiency rates and ensure students achieve key academic milestones.

Advance a permitting system that welcomes investment while safeguarding the environment: We support sensible environmental regulations that allow MN to maintain a clean environment and healthy business climate, while fostering statewide economic benefit and job growth. Regulatory systems should be structured so there is a defined process and timeline for completion of environmental review and permits. Abiding by federal statutes and rules would avoid state by state patchwork of requirements.

Advance affordability: Housing costs are more affordable than coastal markets – a competitive position we need to strengthen. Child care is nearly impossible to find in greater MN, and rising costs paired with a market that cannot function without subsidies is a significant workforce barrier. An unprecedented amount of revenue has been invested in border to border connectivity. We must ensure the investment is cost effective and achieves the goal of access

to all. Energy costs and rates are no longer as competitive as they were, particularly impacting manufacturing. As we transition to cleaner energy sources, we must balance affordability and reliability.

The Chamber offers Relocation Packets to anyone moving or considering a move to the area. The packets include information about local education, health care, law enforcement, transportation, dining, shopping, entertainment, activities, services and a variety of other opportunities in the area. The packet also includes the community economic development profile and a copy of the Alexandria Visitor Guide. These packets are sent out upon request and made available free of charge for all Chamber members to use when recruiting or hiring people from outside of the area.

To obtain copies of this packet, call the Chamber at 320-763-3161.

20 Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 50BestPlacesto Work Thankyou,Widsethteam,foragainmakingusoneofthe
Did you know?

The Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and the Echo Press are pleased to bring you the Top 5 Under 40, recognizing five outstanding professionals younger than age 40 in the Alexandria Lakes Area. Nominees were judged on their professional achievements, community involvement and overall depth of qualities. They were honored at the Chamber’s Annual Celebration on January 30.

Summarize your career path.

As a senior at University of Jamestown in 2010, I obtained a marketing internship at Jamestown Regional Medical Center. Following graduation, I was hired fulltime and was promoted to Marketing Manager in 2012. In 2016, my husband Rory and I explored opportunities to move closer to our parents in Minnesota. Soon after, I began my journey at Knute Nelson as Director of Marketing and later was promoted to Vice President of Marketing. I lead the marketing team and support customer experience strategies, digital solutions and process-improvement.

Age: 33

Community and volunteer efforts. In Jamestown, I was a volleyball coach, served on the University of Jamestown Booster Board of Directors, led a public relations taskforce for Two Rivers Activity Center, volunteered at University of Jamestown and Jamestown Regional Medical Center events, and was active in the Young Professionals. I received the Young Professional of the Year award in 2015. Community Engagement is one of Knute Nelson’s values. They are supportive in volunteerism that aligns with my personal values. I continue to be active in the University of Jamestown Booster Board, coach volleyball, participate in Habitat Builds and support Senior Fishing Day. I served on the YMCA Board of Directors from 2018-2022 and prioritize being present at my children’s school, church and community activities.

Leadership philosophy. My philosophy is to be a servant leader and coach. I was a natural leader in high school and collegiate athletics, finding passion by leading by example and helping others recognize their potential. A favorite book is The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership by James C. Hunter. My personal mission is to be a positive influence and mentor to myself and those I surround myself with.

Family and interests.

My values are Family, Faith, Love, Integrity and Well-Being. Rory and I have three children - Payton 7, Kenley 5 and Braxton 2. My goals are to be present in the moment, enjoy and be thankful for the little things and model the example of who I want my children to be.

Samantha Beckman Vice President of Marketing Knute Nelson
Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 21 We’llBe Your GeekyBestBuddy. Fiber-OpticInternet |VoiceServices |Hosted& Premise-BasedPhone Systems|Co-LocationDataServices Fiber Optic Internet | Voice Services | Hosted & Prem “Controlling the Elements” in the Alexandria Area For Over 35 Years 320-763-3954 ALEXANDRIA

Laura Hagstrom

Summarize your career path.

I am originally from Alexandria and graduated from Jefferson High School. I attended the University of North Dakota where I received a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. Upon graduating, I moved to Lakewood, Colorado where I worked as a civil engineer for seven years. In 2013, I moved back to Alexandria and worked as a water resources engineer for Widseth for nine years before starting at Hagstrom Engineering in the spring of 2022. I am a licensed professional engineer in multiple states, a member of Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers as well as American Society of Civil Engineers, and was named one

Age: 39

of the Prairie Business Top 25 Women in Business in 2018.

Community and volunteer efforts.

I am a graduate of the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Alexandria program. I currently serve as president of Alexandria Kiwanis where I lead weekly meetings, monthly board meetings, and monthly service projects. Through Kiwanis, I participate in ditch cleanups, read with first graders, and am on the planning committee for the Awake the Grapes race. I am a former technical advisor to the City of Alexandria Stormwater Management Committee and am currently a committee member. As a technical advisor, one of my roles was to teach The Watershed Game to students at Discovery Middle School. I have volunteered as a Lunch Buddy at Lincoln Elementary for multiple years and as a softball coach in the summer.

Leadership philosophy.

My leadership philosophy includes leading by example by making morally and ethically sound decisions. I also value organization, team collaboration, and delegation. Leading a group through the collaborative process at the beginning of a project can utilize the strengths of peers by delegating tasks appropriately.

Family and interests.

I have been married to Matt Hagstrom for 14 years and have three childrenBodee (12), June (10), and Edie (7). My hobbies include chasing my children from activity to activity, spending time on the lake (in the summer!), hiking, playing piano, nature, and spending time with my family.


OUR JOURNALISM. We produce original stories that make a difference and impact lives. OUR COMPANY. We support local nonprofit and volunteer organizations. We are committed to our community. OUR EMPLOYEES. We are part of the community and we support local organizations, businesses and causes. 22 Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023

Carley Noetzelman

Summarize your career path. I graduated from Jefferson High School, attended NDSU for two years, and finished my education at Alexandria Technical College (ATC) with a degree in accounting. During my time at ATC and upon graduation, I provided administrative support at Pfeffer Chiropractic, gained experience at BlackRidge Bank as a teller, customer service representative and loan assistant, and accepted an accounting position at Knute Nelson. In May 2015 I began my role at the YMCA as Finance and Human Resources Director. I manage all finance and accounting functions and provide leadership in human resources.

Age: 33

Our work at the YMCA gives me the opportunity to thrive professionally and build relationships in our community. I am passionate about the YMCA’s mission, serving members, children, families, and staff, and am committed to living YMCA’s core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.

Community and volunteer efforts. I volunteer for the Moses-Aaron 4-H Club and at my church. I serve on Alexandria Public School’s Budget and Finance Advisory Committee, and regularly volunteer for Red Cross Blood Drives and other community events at the YMCA. I am actively involved with my children’s sports and activities.

Leadership philosophy. To me, leadership means dependability, responsibility, kindness, respect, and integrity. Growing up on a dairy farm instills the kind of work ethic and values

one can only learn on a family farm. Strong work ethic, good communication and leading by example are how I bring leadership to life. My goal is to inspire and encourage those around me to reach their goals, and along the way, lead in ways that positively impact those we serve.

Family and interests.

My husband, Aaron, and I have been married 12 years and have four boys. We raise cattle and farm 2,800 acres, and at the same time maintain full-time professional roles. Dedicating time to our farm, to raising our family, and to my profession brings a tremendous sense of purpose. Our family enjoys spending time together farming, skiing, snowmobiling, fishing and at our cabin in the summer.

al ex te ch .e du go@a lext ech.ed u 320-76 2- 0221 LEGENDARY MAKE YOUR FUTURE CONGRATS Top5Under 40 CA RLE Y NOE TZ ELMAN CO NGR AT ULATIONS Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 23

Brandy Quam Age:

Summarize your career path. I loved math and business throughout school and as I looked at career paths, I decided Accounting would be a good fit. After getting my bachelor’s degree in Accounting at MNSU, I started my career in public accounting at Baker Tilly Virchow Krause in Minneapolis and then continued in public accounting at CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA) in Alexandria. During this time, I obtained my CPA license. I became a senior accountant at CLA and later joined Douglas Machine as a financial analyst. This led into the accounting supervisor role and then into my current role of controller.


Community and volunteer efforts. I currently serve on the board of directors and finance committee for the United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties. I’m also active on the Douglas Machine Foundation board and am a member of the call committee and learning board at First Lutheran Church. I enjoy volunteering with different programs through the United Way like Backpack Attack, the holiday gift program and food drop. I’ve been involved in several different builds for Habitat for Humanity, with the silent auction team for the MN Adult and Teen Challenge Gala and with different groups at First Lutheran Church.

Leadership philosophy.

One of my main leadership beliefs centers around striving for your personal best. Along with putting forth your

best effort, having mutual respect for others and remaining humble are very important to me. I believe together we are much smarter than apart and to get the results we want we need to work well together and encourage one another. I’m also a firm believer in pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. This looks different for everyone, but I think we are all capable of much more than we think we are. My goal is to encourage others to chase their dreams and hold them accountable along the way.

Family and interests.

My family consists of my husband Joel, son Carter (6) and daughter Marlie (3). We love spending time together hiking, being on the lake, golfing, watching movies and traveling.

Caring for you

in Alexandria and Parkers Prairie

No matter your health needs, at Sanford Health we’re committed to providing you with the care you deserve. We offer a full range of services right here.

SANFORD HEALTH BROADWAY CLINIC 1527 Broadway Street Alexandria, MN 56308 320-762-0399

SANFORD HEALTH PARKERS PRAIRIE CLINIC 115 E. Soo Street Parkers Prairie, MN 56361 218-338-4371

Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023

Kristi Van Ahn-Kjeseth

Summarize your career path. I always knew I wanted to go into the financial side of the career world. I started my college years at Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota for Finance. After two years, I realized the big industry business wasn’t for me. I realized I wanted to make more of an individualized impact, not a corporate job. I switched to North Dakota State University to get my degree in Finance with a minor in Ag Business. My senior year of college I started working at Van Ahn and Company, Inc. It has been great to be able to utilize my strengths including public speaking while still building important individual relationships.

Community and volunteer efforts. I am forever thankful for my upbringing being strong in faith and education and that is where my passions are today. I am part of the Calvary Lutheran Preschool Advisory Board and help with Calvary’s youth programing for church. Our family’s goal is to give where it can help youth find their best opportunities and impact them for life. I was recently treasurer of the Miltona Girl Scouts as well.

Leadership philosophy. At Van Ahn and Company, we believe in a non-hierarchical leadership style. Every individual’s opinion matters. When we lift up everyone, I feel it makes the strongest team.

Family and interests.

My husband and I have been married for 11 years and are blessed with three girls ages 4, 7, and 10. When I’m not chasing kids around, I enjoy golfing, being on the lake, and reading. I read 39 books in 2022 and my goal is to read more non-fiction in 2023. I’m slowly learning to love winter more, but summer and fall will forever be my favorite seasons to enjoy.

create and
marketing plans to manage risk or expanding investment opportunities
put the pro’s at Van Ahn and Company, Inc. to work for you! Commodity Marketing & Investing Since 1987! 800-648-5494 Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 25 Downtown Alexandria 406 Broadway • 763-5200
livestock producers
through commodities,

Board of Chamber


Introducing the 2023 Chamber Board of Directors! The board is comprised of business owners and employees representing all major business sectors in the community. They are elected to three-year terms and may serve two consecutive terms. The Board meets the third Thursday of every month from 7:30 to 9 am.


We are here to serve you! 320-763-3161
Tyler Notch President Grand Arbor by Knute Nelson Craig Buysse Anderson Funeral Home Tara Bitzan Executive Director tbitzan@ Matt Gilbertson Past President/ Treasurer Viking Bank Matt Hagstrom Hagstrom Engineering Jess Ptacek Program and Events Coordinator jess@ Brad Lenertz President Elect Alexandria Clinic, A Service of Alomere Health Lynn Jenc Alexandria Public Schools Lauren Johnson Marketing Coordinator marketing@ Molly Comer Secretary First Lutheran Church Kelly Jenzen Johnston Law Office, PA Lynn Arnquist Executive Board Alexandria Technical & Community College Patrick Kalina LGC, Biosearch Technologies Kreg Anderson Alexandria Aviation Jeff Meland Databae Systems Greg Bowen Bowen Contracting Shari Prause Arrowood Resort & Conference Center
26 Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 2023
Michelle Wencl Karrow Jewelers







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Because We Care…

As an independent supermarket we are proud to have a personal stake in the community we serve. We are very aware of our responsibilities to our community, our customers and our associates and pledge to be good stewards of your trust.

Because We Care...

We are committed to offering our customers the best value for their food dollar.

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We are dedicated to offering our customers friendly, hometown service.

Because We Care...

We will offer only the highest quality product at the best possible price.

Because We Care...

We stand behind our fresh food with a “Double Your Money Back” guarantee.

Because We Care...

We promise to be good neighbors and actively support our community’s growth and strengthen our community’s values.

OPEN 6 AM - 10 PM, 7 DAYS A WEEK! 320-763-3446 • Corner of 3rd & Nokomis, Alexandria Only store in town that is LOCALLY OWNED & OPERATED.

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