Page 1

February 2017

Community Connections “Powering up business throughout Martin County”

Top 150 Workplaces 2016

Inside This Issue Page 2 - Jobs Outpacing Workforce Page 3 - Legislative Update Page 3 - Ag Scholarships Page 4 - Business of the Year

Page 5 - Individual Chamber Membership Page 6 - Meet our Board Members Page 7 - Ambassador Visits Page 7 - Grants Available

ABOVE: The Fairmont area demonstrates a competitive business climate with five of our Chamber members receiving recognition for workplace excellence.

YOU’R E I N V ITED Social, Dinner, Annual Update, Entertainment by Deadra Stanton, Business of the Year Awards


F EBRUA RY 23, 2 017 | 5:3 0 P M


FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO REGISTER, VISIT WWW.FAIRMONTCHAMBER.ORG 323 East Blue Earth Avenue • Fairmont, MN 56031 • 507-235-5547 • •



Pages 4 & 5 - Business Briefs

Each year, the StarTribune conducts a survey of Minnesota employees and compiles a list of the Top 150 Workplaces. We are proud to report that in 2016, five members of the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce made that list. We would like to congratulate these members for demonstrating excellence in prioritizing workplace culture and building employee morale. We recognize that employees form the front line and the very bedrock of successful business, and that by nurturing a positive environment in the workplace, the ability to achieve business goals is advanced. The follow- (Continued on page 3)

Mission Statement: The Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce exists to promote a healthy business cli

Board of Directors Officers: Chair Kerry Nagel Allen MRCI-WorkSource Vice Chair Les Anderson Martin County Farm Bureau

Past Chair Ron Kopischke Profinium, Inc.

Treasurer Sara Pierce Pierce Accounting and Tax Services

Board of Directors: Deb Barnes Lakeview Methodist Health Care Center

Dave Cone Kahler Automation Corporation

Chris Carstensen Carstensen Cabinetry and Woodworking

Mandi Kosbab Edward Jones

Stephanie Busiahn Visit Fairmont

Zephanie Cole Align Chiropractic & Acupuncture, PLC

Brandon Edmundson Krahmer and Shaffer, Ltd

Ann Terfehr Dan’s Appliance


Margaret Dillard President Kandi Menne Office Manager/ Director of Communications

Curt Foster

Director of Finance and Operations

Benjamin Landsteiner

Marketing & Social Media Coordinator

Jobs outpacing workforce

By: Margaret Dillard - Chamber President Lack of workforce – It’s the number one challenge for the local business community across the spectrum of industry. It is factual that we have more opportunity than we have workers to fill the positions. Frequent conversations with local business people from restaurants, service and financial industries, manufacturing, agriculture and retail cause me to be confident about the validity of my statements. It is heartbreaking to hear that local businesses choose not to expand, siting this shortage. Don’t take my word for it. Visit , the state’s job board that always features around 250 positions within 25 miles of Fairmont. Another point I have heard defended is that there are no jobs for a person without specific skills. – it’s where you will find a snapshot of available job positions. Unfortunately, the lack of people to fill jobs is at the beginning of a rather overwhelming decadelong trend. While some will wait, baby boomers continue to retire. How do we battle a national situation like this one? It will take effort from all fronts. The City, FEDA and Fairmont Area Chamber have come together to recruit and retain talent to the region by encouraging workers to relocate to the area. Based on Research Fellow at the University of Minnesota Center for Community Vitality, Benjamin Winchester’s research over 15-plus years, the local project known as Fairmont Area Life targets those who may pursue quality of life for themselves and their families. A variety of strategies that lure webusers to sites and social media platforms that feature the best of what we enjoy about living, working and raising families in Martin County. Also, Businesses that offer amenities that appeal to their employees will fare better. Some example are flexible hours, more complete or creative benefits, educational assistance, vacation and days off options, on-site day care and company-based transportation. Some businesses look to automate. CBS Morning News recently featured a story about a barista robot!


Community action should include efforts to welcome newcomers and job candidates. Remember Welcome Wagon? Sadly, Americans are no longer so comfortable with unannounced strangers at our front doors, but there are ways to invite people to attend gatherings and events and to be involved in communities. Locally, Newcomers & Neighbors meets every 5th Thursday throughout the year. The next will be Thursday evening, March 30 at Red Rock Center for the Arts. To find out more, call the Chamber at 2355547 or visit People new to the area AND those who wish to welcome them are invited. Kudos to Dave Adams, Roni at Community Education & Recreation (CER), Erin Morrill and Dr. Zephanie Cole for their work! Businesses recruiting professional can call the Chamber to ask that a Welcome Basket be waiting for job candidates at their hotel, thanks to a collaborative effort with HyVee and local lodging facilities. It is evident that the area is unique in regards to geography. What other small community features five lakes and miles of residential shore property right in the heart of town? Even more valuable is our social capital and an ability to come together to address a common goal. Evidence is reflected in the business world through monthly ribbon cutting celebrations, ground breakings and several new facilities that have popped up. Martin County Broadband Committee made up of dozens of locals resulted in a multi-million dollar roll out of internet availability to rural businesses and residents. One day in October 2015 celebrated 6 new businesses expansion and relocations in Fairmont! That city, chamber, schools, businesses and county have and continue to work together is in itself an asset that is powerful and unique. I urge you to get involved and to develop your own unique and personal “elevator pitch” about Martin County, its people and amenities that encourages people to come here and stay here. If you would like to know more about more efforts to retain and recruit residents, please call the Chamber office. I will be happy to work with anyone who looks to contribute time and talent to make our community strong and inviting.

imate through leadership, communication and education for its members in the greater Fairmont area.

Workplaces (Continued from page 1) Legislative Update

ing member businesses are being recognized as having exemplified these ideals. Profinium, Inc. made the list for the fifth year in a row coming in at number 56 in the Small Business category. AgStar Financial Services ranked 20th in Midsize Businesses, marking their sixth consecutive year of recognition. The Large Business category included three member businesses who maintain an active presence in the Fairmont area. Marco made the list for the seventh year running, coming in at number 16. Edward Jones Investments netted the number

3 spot, this being their third year as an honoree. Kwik Trip Inc. was recognized for their fourth consecutive year, coming in as the number 2 Top Workplace of 2016 in the Large Business category. We applaud the efforts of our chamber members striving toward greatness in every aspect of business practice. We would especially like to congratulate these five businesses for achieving recognition of their efforts REP. BOB GUNTHER 23A and for setting a standard to which LEGISLATIVE UPDATE all businesses can aspire. Congratulations from the staff and board of di- Hello from St. Paul, Minnesotans who have been rectors of the Fairmont Area Cham- devastated by a lack of access to ber of Commerce. health insurance or unaffordable health care premiums have received some good news. Both the Minnesota House and Senate have approved To be considered for a legislation providing some premischolarship, please visit www.agfu- um relief and health care reforms, and Governor Dayton has signed it The Martin County applica- into law. tion deadline is March 17, 2017. If This bill was designed to you have any questions about the take care of the most immediate scholarship, please contact Marga- needs and to start making improveret at margaret@fairmontchamber. ments for the future. It’s a good org or call 507-235-5547. start, but our work is far from fin Questions regarding the on- ished. line application can be directed to The legislation allocates more than $325 million to provide

Ag Scholarships In partnership with the Agriculture Future of America (AFA), the Agri-Business Committee of the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce is offering two $4,200 scholarships, which includes registration for the Fall 2017 AFA Leaders Conference. Graduating Seniors of Martin County high schools who plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree in an area of study relating to agriculture may apply.

Tri-County Implement St. James

Fisher Group JEFF GREISCHAR CCIM Sales & Leasing Agent

1961 Premier Drive Suite 404 Mankato, MN 56001 (507) 236-4980

Martin County Implement Truman

Tri-County Implement Jackson


premium relief and ensure continuity of care for people who were receiving treatment from a physician but lost that ability when they were forced to switch insurance plans. Other reforms included will allow for-profit HMO’s to operate in Minnesota, provide an audit to determine how the plan is working, and institute agricultural cooperative health plans, allowing organizations with member owners – such as farm cooperatives – to provide health insurance to their members. Moving forward there are a great number of things we can do to prevent these continued health insurance problems from reoccurring. Our goal is to make medical insurance and medical costs less expensive and more affordable for residents, and I look forward to that challenge. Have a good weekend, Bob

CONTACT INFORMATION 563 State Office Building 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155 651-296-3240 or 800-684-4598 E-mail:

Vision Statement: The Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce will b

Chamber member business briefs

Sweet Financial Services (507) 235-5587 At Sweet Financial Services, our team’s goal is to help people optimize your assets so that your retirement can become one of your most fulfilling and rewarding times of your life. We believe education is paramount to your future. The more you understand about your finances, the more confident you’ll feel in your retirement and pursuing your life long dreams! We’ve teamed up with KEYC News 12 and will be on their Midday show at 12:00pm each month! Remember an investment in your financial education is something that can benefit you the rest of your life! Follow us on Facebook to get updates on when segment air dates and learn more on how we can help you dare to dream!

Jetter Clean, Inc. of Fairmont (507) 238-9949 Jetter Clean also offers video inspection services. To help diagnose the source of more stubborn clogs and backups. Your Jetting Technician will send a video camera about the size of a quarter down into the pipe. If there are roots, the technician will use our specially-built Chainsaw Nozzle to spin the pipe or tile clean. Cleaner than any cable or snake machine! All of this is done with our patented Jet Van, the most advanced in the industry and the only one with one engine and a Wireless Remote Control, allowing us to easily beat our competitors cost and save you money. Jetter Clean customers tell us that their pipes, drains and tile stayed clean for years after being opened up with Jetter Clean technology.


Edward Jones Investments - Mandi Kosbab (507) 235-8524 - Member SIPC What's Smarter - Paying Off Debts or Investing? Are you just starting out in your career? If so, you will face some financial challenges, but you might also encounter some pleasant choices – such as what to do with extra disposable income. So, when you get a bonus or tax refund, should you pay off debts or invest for your future? In thinking about debts, consider whether they are “good” or “bad.” A “good” debt might be your mortgage, which provides deductible interest payments. A “bad” debt could be a nondeductible, high-rate consumer loan – and this is the type of debt you might want to pay off first. Of course, with extra money, you may be tempted to make extra mortgage payments, because it just feels like you’re doing something positive. Yet, your house is somewhat illiquid – it’s hard to get money out of it. You might want to consider putting extra money into investments such as stocks and bonds, which offer you greater liquidity, plus the potential for longterm growth and current income. Whatever you decide, use your extra money wisely – you weren’t necessarily counting on it, but you can make it count for you. Aventure Staffing (507) 399-2027 Born and raised in northwest Iowa, Keith has lived in the Spencer and Iowa Great Lakes region for the past 38 years. During that time, Keith traveled extensively doing route sales in 13 northwest Iowa and 10 southwest Minnesota counties. Keith is looking forward to utilizing his experience and knowledge of the area in his new position as a Business Development Rep.

Nominate the 2016 Business of the Year ary 23rd, 2017. As in past years, the recognition ceremony will honor past board members and 2016 committee chairs, we will also recognize chamber members in the following four categories:

• Large Business of the Year

Nominations are open for Large, Small, New Business and Non Profit of the Year The Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet will be held at Holiday Inn - Green Mill, Thursday Febru-

(over 15 employees)

• Small Business of the Year (15 employees and under)

• Rising Star

(less than 3 yrs in business) • Non Profit (new category)

To be considered for a Business of the Year award, the organization must be setting the standards for excellence and innovation with their business practices and community involvement. The business must be a member in good standing at the time of nomination through date of ceremony, may not have received a Business of the Year Award in the past two years and meet the criteria for the specific award for which the business is being nominated.

Anyone residing or doing business in Martin County is invited to nominate their favorite business in each category. Please, feel free to nominate your own business! You may submit your nomination using the nomination form, which can be found on our website at There you will also find our member directory. Nominations can be submitted by fax, email, or in person and must be received by February 6th, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.

e r e c o g n i z e d a s t h e l e a d e r i n a s s i s t i n g a r e a b u s i n e s s e s t o p r o s p e r.

Chamber member business briefs Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont (507) 238-8100 Amy Long is the new site administrator for Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont. She succeeds Bob Bartingale, who retired at the end of January. In her new role, she, along with her physician partner, Marie Morris, M.D., will provide organizational leadership and direction for the hospital and clinics in Fairmont, and clinics in Truman, Sherburn and Armstrong. Amy received a Master of Healthcare Administration from Des Moines University. Her extensive health care experience includes roles at Waverly Health Center in Waverly, Iowa and the State of Minnesota forensics facility in St. Peter, Minnesota. Most recently, she was site administrator at Mayo Clinic Health System in St. James.

Edman Law Office (507) 238-4333 Edman and Edman attorneys have launched the first website in the firm's 86 year history. "We've been emailing with clients for many years now, but we never took the next step to creating a digital presence for our firm. It is important to market yourself with a webpage. Looking at your website is one of the first things consumers do when engaging a business. We will always be found in the phone book, but now clients can also find us on their smartphone or laptop. We will eventually include some blog postings and an FAQ section to address common questions we get. We're really excited about it" said Michael Edman.

Kahler Automation (507) 235-6648 Kahler Automation wrapped up the final few months of 2016 by adding five new employees to our facility in the City of Fairmont’s Industrial Park. In September, we were joined by Field Technician Jacob Lemon and Controller Dean Droegemueller; Megan Hancock was added in October to our PLC Programmer staff; in November Project Coordinator Joseph Quam came on board; and in December Nick Arp became a part of our Technical Support Specialist crew. Discover our job opportunities in 2017 — visit and click on “Careers @ Kahler.” Green Mill Restaurant - Holiday Inn Fairmont (507) 238-4771 Our Wild West Weekend is Saturday, March 11 beginning at 5pm. Attractions will include bull riding, a chuck wagon buffet and entertainment by country music artist "Hitchville"

Yes, you can join the Chamber!



Please return this form to the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce: 323 E. Blue Earth Ave | PO Box 826 | Fairmont, MN 56031 Call 507-235-5547 or email with any questions regarding this form or individual chamber membership.

“Business Briefs” is a complimentary service provided by the Chamber for chamber members. Please limit your information to one paragraph of about 100 words. Example: expansion, new employees, awards, monumental anniversary, etc… A photo or logo can be included. NO Direct Advertising.


The Fairmont Area Community Events Calendar has a Mobile App! AS Mobile Apple/Android


You can access information for all the great events going on in Martin County directly from your iOS or Android-based mobile device using the free mobile app "AS Mobile" published by rSchoolToday! Of course, you can still view upcoming community events on your desktop or laptop computer by visiting the community calendar website at If you have any questions or concerns about updating your events to the Fairmont Area Community Calendar, please email the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce at

Calendar Funding Partners: Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce, Fairmont Convention and Visitors Bureau, City of Fairmont, Fairmont Area Schools, and Blandin Community Broadband Grant. Other Partners: Fairmont Community Education and Recreation.

Core Values: We value for our members, employees and community: integrity in all we do, collaboration with all our stakeholders, growth and develop

Chamber Events

Wednesday, February 1st - 7:30 a.m. Leadership Martin County Wednesday, February 8th - 6:00 p.m. Bureau 14 Meeting Tuesday, February 21st - 6:00 p.m. Agri-Business Meeting Wednesday, February 15th - 3:00 p.m. Ambassadors Meeting / Ribbon Cuttings Wednesday, February 15th - 5:00 p.m. PM Exchange Tuesday, February 28th - 9:00 a.m. Social Media Breakfast Wednesday, February 22nd - 7:30 a.m. Chamber Board Meeting Thursday, February 23rd - 5:30 p.m. Chamber Annual Meeting/Banquet


Visit and check out our Facebook page @porkmasters

WELCOME NEW MEMBER! Martin County Veterans Memorial (MCVM) Project

Energy rebates for your business. The smart move for your bottom line.



Meet our Board Members

Fairmont Area Chamber Board Member Deb Barnes joined our Board of Directors at the beginning of 2017. She cites a desire to help address crucial workforce concerns with insights gained through her past experience and broad base of professional Deb Barnes connections as a strong motivation behind her decision to accept a position on our board. She feels that Fairmont is working from an overall position of strength and is impressed by the endeavors put forward by our community. Deb grew up on a farm in Wisconsin dairy country before attending college in Mankato. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Minnesota State University, and received her Long Term Health Care Administration Licensure from the University of Minnesota. Deb found her husband and her first job in Blue Earth, MN, where the couple raised two children. After garnering a wide range of experiences through various positions held at a number of health care facilities in other communities, Deb accepted her current

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position as Executive Director at Lakeview Methodist Health Care Center in Fairmont. She is involved with numerous professional organizations including the Leading Age Workforce Committee, Faribault County Development Corporation, Leading Age Care Providers and National Association of Workforce Boards. She also serves as the chair of the South Central Workforce Council. She and her husband Terry have attended church in the Fairmont area for over 30 years. Their two children, daughter Casey and son Brian, are both married and living in the St. Paul area. Deb became a grandmother in 2016 with the birth of her grandson Malcolm. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, shopping and entertaining.

DID YOU KNOW? Studies find that the increasing size of corporations is driving inequality, while local and dispersed business ownership strengthens the middle class.

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Jessica & Steve Sovell Gemologist • Goldsmith

Please allow us to give you a free estimate. You will be pleasantly surprised!

Call Now! Matt Petrowiak at (507) 236-5207

pment for our members, recognition of accomplishments, effective communication, and doing all things efficiently and in a fiscally responsible manner.

Chamber Ambassadors greet new faces


Chamber Ambassadors join Blake Pothoff as he cuts a ribbon in commemoration of his new position as Executive Director of the Fairmont Opera House, Inc.


Sears Hometown Store, located in Fairmont's Five Lakes Centre, recently changed hands with Jimmy Jr. and Jennifer Bolden taking ownership in November of 2016.

Grant money available for youth projects

The Martin County Youth Foundation grant applications are now available. Grants will be awarded twice during the year, in the spring and fall. The mission of the Martin County Youth Foundation is to acquire, manage and distribute funds to enhance the lives of youth in Martin County. Grants will be made to qualified non-profit organizations including those with 501(c)3 status, public agencies, units of government, and churches that will address important community youth needs.



Funds received can be used for youth program costs and support materials. Interested groups may pick up grant applications and guidelines at the Fairmont Chamber of Commerce, 323 East Blue Earth Ave., or download them online at The deadline for submitting the grant applications is March 15th. Return completed grants to Martin County Youth Foundation, P.O. Box 826, Fairmont, MN 56031 or drop off at the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce office.

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What we offer your business.

We know injuries sometimes happen at the workplace. Our philosophy at The Center For Specialty Care is to get the injured worker feeling better fast. We call it Fast Trac. We will work with employers to develop a partial return to work program while we get the worker to their maximum function in the work place. The Center For Specialty Care offers pre-employment services including: • Medical Physical • Drug Testing • Spirometry (Functional Lung Capacity) • Pure Tone Hearing • Pre-Employment Physical Therapy Evaluation • Functional Capacity Evaluations

Dale Splinter 1304 Blue Earth Ave., Fairmont, MN


717 S. State St. • Fairmont, MN • (507) 238-4949 435 S. Grove St., Suite 3 • Blue Earth, MN • (507) 526-5191

February programs at CER Looking for some wonderful family quality time? There are several opportunities in February made possible through special grants as well as other lifelong learning opportunities for all ages! The Martin County Youth Foundation grants are funding the Family Snowshoe Adventure at Cedar Park on Saturday, February 4, 1-3 pm, and the February 9 Dads and Kids (ages 3-6) Strong Fathers Science Nite, 5:307:30 pm. These are free events with refreshments but pre-registration at CER (235-3141) is needed due to limited equipment and space. Please call for more information. Learn Sign Language! Instructor Daisy Johnson was raised in a deaf household and has been an interpreter for her parents since she was a young person. Classes for youth and adults are available beginning February 7 or 9. Youth can take an afterschool class on Tuesday or Thursdays, Feb 7 – March 9, 4-5 pm. Beginning American Sign Language for Grade 7 – adult is also available either night 7-9 pm. Pre-registration is required at 235-3141. Parenting Matters is a free parent education opportunity offered in Fairmont with childcare if needed beginning February 27. This class is made possible by a grant from Profinium Financial through the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. Please contact CER for more information by February 21. Watch for more on the 1st “Putting STEAM into STEM Expo” in February - another free event for families to raise awareness of the varied and exciting options in the real world available to children and young adults.



Family Snowshoe Adventure at Cedar Park Intro to Sign Language (Youth, Adults) Dads & Kids Science Night Microsoft Word Basic Garden Barn Quilt Signs (register by Feb 3) Microsoft Excel Basic Wine & Watercolors Zumba Flair (Mondays and/or Wednesdays) Microsoft Publisher Microsoft Powerpoint Put STEAM into STEM Expo (family event) Parenting Matters Dollars for Scholars Parents Forever Newcomers & Neighbors Fairmont Family Fun Fair …and much more!

February 4 February 7, 9 February 9 February 11 February 13 February 13 February 16 February 20,22 February 20 February 23 February 24 February 27 February 28 March 2 March 30 March 31

For an up-to date list of activities, see the CER Web Store at

Register online with MC/Visa. For more information, contact CER in the Fairmont Elementary School Door 15A, 714 Victoria Street, Fairmont; call 507-235-3141; or Email

Social Media Breakfast - February 28th The next Social Media Breakfast will be held on February 28 from 9 to 10 am at Southern Minnesota Educational Campus, 115 S. Park St., in Fairmont.

During this free seminar sponsored by MRCI WorkSource, instructor Cody Jacobson will give a presentation titled "Connecting to customers through Social Media." Visit our website at www.fairmontchamber. org to register for this event or to find out how you can sponsor a future Social Media Breakfast event.

Thank you to Fairmont Area Schools, ISD 2752 for sponsoring our January Q&A session with a panel of local business people using social media! Fairmont Area Social Media Breakfast is made possible in part by a technology grant from the Blandin Foundation. VISION CARE CONTACT LENS


410 Downtown Plaza | Fairmont, MN 56031 800.795.1215 |

1307 ALBION AVE., SUITE 102 FAIRMONT, MN PH: (507) 238-4228

James Busche, O.D. 111 E. 6TH ST. BLUE EARTH, MN PH: (507) 526-2020

Profile for Fairmont Chamber

February 2017 - Fairmont Area Chamber Newsletter  

February 2017 - Fairmont Area Chamber Newsletter