Page 1

March 2017

Community Connections “Powering up business throughout Martin County”

Annual Banquet looks to future

Inside This Issue Page 2 - Resolving Workforce Challenges Page 3 - Ag Scholarship Deadline Nears Pages 4 & 5 - Business Briefs Page 5 - Individual Chamber Membership Page 5 - MCAF Grants Available Page 6 - Meet Our Board Members Page 7 - Ambassador Visits

The Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce held the 2016 Annual Banquet on the evening of Thursday, February 23, 2017 at the Holiday Inn in Fairmont. Attendance was strong this year despite a snowy reception at the hands of old man winter. The evening opened with a social hour and an opportunity to commemorate the event with a photo shoot in true Hollywood fashion. Dinner was served after brief introductions of the Chamber board and staff. As the evening progressed, guests were given an update on the programs and events, committees, initiatives and the finances of the Fairmont Area (Continued on page 3)

ABOVE: Business and community leaders gather to recap the progress of the Fairmont Area Chamber during the year 2016 at the Annual Banquet.

Area Career Exploration (ACE) Nine years ago, a collaboration between the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce, Workforce Center, ISEEK, and other area individuals, resulted in an event that attracts more than 600 high school sophomores from 12 area schools. The mission is to raise awareness of career and job options in the area so students are knowledgeable about the opportunities awaiting them here upon graduation.

The Area Career Exploration (ACE) is scheduled for April 12th at Fairmont Jr/Sr High School Gym. Representatives from nearly 100 area businesses and colleges are invited to showcase job and career opportunities at this free event. Students have the opportunity to visit with them and participate in a live career Game show in the Performing Arts Center. A resource guide is given to each attending sophomore. Parents are encouraged to look through this guide with their

323 East Blue Earth Avenue • Fairmont, MN 56031 • 507-235-5547 • •

student and discuss available opportunities prior to ACE. Special thanks to the many volunteers and funding partners: AgStar Financial Services, Bank Midwest, Fairmont EDA, First Farmers & Merchants Bank, Fareway, Hy-Vee, Kahler Automation, Martin County IGNITE, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, SW/WC Service Cooperation (Perkins Grant). Call the Chamber office at 507-235-5547 for more information or to make a donation. FairmontChamber

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

Resolving workforce challenges

By: Margaret Dillard - Chamber President Employers are clamoring for people to work. As I visit with local business people, it is the challenge that is echoed no matter the industry. The same holds true across the nation. Reports have warned us for years that workforce is aging, baby boomers are retiring, and that as the economy gains strength, employers would find it difficult to fill job positions. I’m not sure why we’re not further down the road in responding but the situation is here and, in my opinion, it demands plentiful, ingenious action from the business community, supporting organizations and government. While supporting organizations, like Fairmont Area Chamber, schools and government can support the effort, I believe the central power will come through the businesses. Here’s a few recommendations when hiring: • Change job titles and descriptions to be realistic and attractive to skills and the ability to do the job. My personal take is that we should simplify job titles so that it describes the job and gives a good idea whether the applicant might be able to do the job. As for job descriptions, you might as well add the phrase, “able to walk on water.” Most describe an unfillable being that is able to achieve miracles. • Fit jobs to personal skills, abilities and personal situations. One local company is letting employees adjust their work hours around family needs such as spouses work schedules and children’s school and daycare. • Offer great benefits. Healthcare benefits can be challenging for smaller companies, but there are other considerations than standard benefits. Consider older workers, young workers, interns, Veterans. The face of workforce is changing and companies need to change


how we hire people to fill jobs. Older or younger workers may be looking for fewer hours than 20 per week. Local, state and federal programs aid with internships, hiring displaced workers and minorities, so connect with Workforce Development and DEED to see current offerings. Here’s a few suggestions to encourage employee retainment. • Review benefit packages. Last year, we revamped our holiday schedule. Instead of six paid holidays, staff picked up a few extra days per year to spend with their families. Consider employee bonuses for new accounts. “Reports have warned us • Provide education. Be aware for years that workforce that new skills may increase revenues, increase efficiency or preis aging, baby boomers pare an employee for advancement. are retiring, and that • Learn what makes current employees happy. Encourage as the economy gains involvement, ideas strength, employers would employee and team atmosphere. Find out find it difficult to fill job what encourages workers to feel wanted and needed as individupositions.” als. Treat employees as individuals with specific needs, talents, strengths and weaknesses. The Fairmont Area Chamber has a comprehensive menu of projects, programs and assistance for businesses. Here’s a few that deal specifically with workforce: • When you post your job opening on, let us know so that we can help you promote it through social media and online outreach. • Use the Fairmont Area Life website when recruiting to showcase community assets. • Don’t forget to contact us when you make reservations for your job candidate. We will have a welcome basket waiting at the hotel and we will be happy to meet with them and their families and arrange for community and school tours. • Share new employee contact information and make them aware of the New- (Continued on page 7)

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

Annual Banquet (Continued from page 1) Chamber for their fiscal year 2016. In lieu of the scheduled guest speaker Deadra Stanton (who was unable to appear due to the inclement weather), Chamber President Margaret Dillard gave an inspiring presentation thanking members and the community for their part in improving the prosperity of our area. She encouraged each person to display the spirit of optimism that will help to build a positive momentum for growth in our communities. In looking at our social and economic positioning from her own standpoint, Margaret was pleased to report that "our future looks bright!" Reinforcing her point, the evening finished on a high note with the 2016 Business of the Year Awards, which recognized four area businesses and organizations who have set the standard for excellence and innovation in business practice and community involvement. Award winners were named in four categories including Non-Profit of the Year, a new category for 2016. Special thanks to Center for Specialty Care, Fairmont Area Life, JL Computers and Visit Fairmont for sponsoring the 2016 Annual Banquet.





3M - Fairmont

D&S Trophies & Embroidery

Fairmont CrossFit

Red Rock Center for the Arts

$4200 Ag Scholarship deadline approaches 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. To be considered for a scholarship, please visit The Martin County application deadline is March 17, 2017.

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


If you have any questions about the scholarship, please contact Margaret at or call 507-235-5547. Questions regarding the online application can be directed to

Vision Statement: The Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce will b

Chamber member business briefs


Edward Jones Investments - Mandi Kosbab (507) 235-8524 - Member SIPC Edward Jones and I have been serving individual investors in Martin & Jackson Counties for 9 years, and we’ve grown right along with the community. In fact, we’ve grown so much that we’ve outgrown our old office. Effective March 22nd, our office is located at 116 N. State Street, Fairmont. As you know, Edward Jones specializes in meeting the needs of inMartin County Veterans Memorial Project dividual investors. Among the investments we provide are certificates of de(507) 238-3220 posit, U.S. government bonds, municipal bonds, mutual funds, college savings The Martin County Veterans Memorial Project was plans, stocks, retirement plans and fixed and variable annuities. I’d also like to created to provide a source of funding for veteran’s introduce you to a couple of people who are important to me. Our branch ofmemorials and parks; to commemorate the men and fice administrators, Cathy Thiesse & new to us, Kendra Helvig. Cathy & Kendra women of Martin County whose faithful loyalty and are ready to assist you whenever possible. We’re excited about our move. Our service in our armed forces, during times of war and office will be conveniently located and will give us a little more elbow room as peace, has helped preserve our nation’s freedom. The committee members we serve our clients and friends. are comprised of local veterans along with other interested civic groups and Martin County citizens. The MCVM Project is to specifically raise funds, design and locate veteran’s memorials in the Martin County seat and the surMarketlink, Inc. rounding Martin County communities. The committee meets at 7 pm on (507) 238-9030 the first Wednesday of each month at 95 Downtown Plaza – Fairmont, MN. We are Marketlink, an Allied Global Company. Anyone interested in participating in the project is encouraged to attend or We are a leading provider of outsourced telecontact us to make a monetary donation. You can reach us by email at mcvmservices. We deliver high-quality, telemarketing for clients who understand that the telephone is one of the most efficient, quick and cost-effective ways to reach people and businesses alike. We have call centers in Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, and Pennsylvania. We currently have some exciting opMCSAP Coalition portunities available to join our team. A typical day on the sales team in(507) 236-4118 cludes talking to our client’s customers to ensure they are getting the best Steph Johnson and Sara Edmundson from Martin value for the services they subscribe to. We specialize in selling internet, TV, County Substance Abuse Prevention (MCSAP) Coalition and home phone services. To explore our opportunities and to join our team, attended a New Grant Recipient Training in Washingplease visit us at www.joinalliedglobal/marketlink. ton DC where they learned about the prevention work other Drug Free communities (DFC) are doing that is working all over the country in the world of youth drug and alcohol abuse prevention. The theme of the conference was 'Local Problems Require Local Century 21 - Gillian Tunnell Solutions'. Many speakers were heard including coalition members sharing (507) 399-9211 their success stories from all over the county. Speaker Helen Hernandez DFC Are you thinking about moving but have been putting Program Administrator & Michael Gottlieb Director of National High Intensity it off because you want to see where mortgage loan inDrug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program Office of National Drug Control Policy terest is heading? Wondering if it’s going to be a buyers or sellers market? If (ONDCP) opened the conference speaking to us about what they are doing and you find a home that is perfect for you, don’t risk losing it by waiting! Generwhy our work is so important right now in our communities. We also heard ally, prices and interest rates change very gradually, so waiting will not make from CADCA (Community Anti-Drugs Coaltion of America) and SAMHSA (Sub- much difference. A good way to expedite your search is to obtain a pre-apstance Aubse and Mental Health Services Administration.) We are entering the proval letter from a lender showing how much of a mortgage you can afford. first year of a five year grant and will be able to apply for 5 more years as well, This will limit your search and a give you an advantage over other potential hoping to make great strides in the prevention of substance abuse among our buyers who have not done their financial homework. This reflects favorably youth in all of Martin County. For more information or to get involved with our on any offer you tender, identifying you as a smart and serious buyer. Choose local county wide substance abuse prevention coalition, please contact Steph a house you love – buying a home is a great investment but primarily should Johnson Project Coordinator at or visit our web- be a place where you will be happy! As your realtor, I would be glad to help you – give me a call! site at 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"

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 Aventure Staffing (507) 399-2027 Aventure Staffing & Professional Services, a leading staffing agency Healthcare, Office/Clerical, Light Industrial and Professional industries announced they have won Inavero’s Best of Staffing® Client Award. Aventure Staffing received satisfaction scores of 9 or 10 out of 10 from 75.9% of their clients, significantly higher than the industry’s average of 29%. Best of Staffing Award winners make up less than 2% of all staffing agencies in the U.S. and Canada. Clients of winning agencies are 2.5 times more likely to be completely satisfied.

Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont (507) 238-8100 Julie Rolstad, nurse practitioner, Internal Medicine, joined the team of providers at Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont Jan. 10. She started seeing patients full-time Feb. 6. As an internal medicine provider, Rolstad’s professional focus is the primary medical care of patients, especially those with multiple illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic kidney disease and diabetes. “I often see patients with chronic disease,” says Rolstad. “It’s my job to partner with them to stay ahead of their conditions, keep them healthy and prevent hospital stays as much as possible.” Call 507-238-8500 to schedule an appointment.

“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.

MCAF Grants Available The Martin County Area Foundation is accepting grant applications. Non-profits interested in starting a project to enhance the quality of life in Martin County are encouraged to apply for a grant. Application forms are available at the Chamber of Commerce and online at www.MCAreaFoun- Eligibility and other grant information can be found by contacting a board member, or by visiting the website. Please return completed applications by May 31st to MCAF, P.O. Box 704, Fairmont, MN 56031, or drop off at the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce, 323 East Blue Earth Avenue.

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.


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, March 1st - 7:30 a.m. Leadership Martin County

Wednesday, March 8th - 6:00 p.m. Bureau 14 Meeting

Wednesday, March 15th - 3:00 p.m. Ambassadors Meeting / Ribbon Cuttings Thursday, March 16th - 5:00 p.m. PM Exchange Tuesday, March 21st - 6:00 p.m. Agri-Business Meeting

Wednesday, March 22nd - 7:30 a.m. Chamber Board Meeting Tuesday, March 28th - 9:00 a.m. Social Media Breakfast


Visit and check out our Facebook page @porkmasters

LEARN MORE ABOUT MEMBER BENEFITS! Call the Chamber office at


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



Meet our Board Members

Fairmont Area Chamber Board Member Stephanie Busiahn works as the Executive Director of Visit Fairmont (Fairmont Convention & Visitors Bureau). Stephanie serves as a permanent member of our board and has Stephanie Busiahn been involved with the Fairmont Area Chamber for many years. She cites a desire to continue engagement and communication between the Chamber and the CVB as a strong motivation behind her continued service on the Chamber's Board of Directors. Stephanie received her Bachelor of Science degree from Minnesota State University of Mankato and is a Certified Festival and Event Manager through the Institute of Organizational Management via the University of Minnesota. Stephanie is involved in numerous professional and civic organizations, serving as a board member for Fairmont Rotary and the Minnesota Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus. She currently serves as President of both the Southern Minnesota Tourism Association and the Martin County Youth Foundation.

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Stephanie is a tireless advocate for the Fairmont Area Chamber and for all of the things that make the Fairmont area an amazing place to live, to work, to play and to visit. Her work experience provides her a unique insight into area tourism and establishes her as invaluable resource on what makes the Fairmont area attractive not only to our visitors, but to current and potential residents as well as to our future workforce. Stephanie resides in Fairmont with her husband Trent and three young children. Her son Lucas is 5 years of age, and her twin sons Jack and Jace recently turned two. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys a variety of leisure activities. Among these are reading, shopping, and spending time with her family and friends.

DID YOU KNOW? Studies show that locally owned businesses are linked to higher income growth and lower levels of poverty.

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

Chamber Ambassadors recognize expansion


Chamber Ambassadors celebrate the grand opening of new local business, "Fairmont Butcher Block."


Lakeview Methodist Health Care Center cuts a ribbon to commemorate the opening of their new gift shop.


Ambassadors greet new administrator Amy Long, tour renovated Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation space.

Workforce challenges (Continued from page 2)

comers & Neighbors social media page and events. • Share the Fairmont Area Community Calendar ( that features happenings in Martin County with all employees. Finally, I encourage readers to join your local chamber of commerce. When anyone asks me who they should join, I tell them it is because we strengthen the fabric of our community. Did you know that we facilitate educational programs for K-6th, 8th and 10th graders, act as community transportation coordinators, distribute more than


10,000 relocation and visitors guides, serve on city commissions, are a Google sanctioned verifier to help local businesses with their online search listings? That’s only a smattering of the services we offer. You will notice that some services pertain to businesses and some are general community services. We opt to serve the community as a whole and leave some valuable services specifically for chamber members. Please consider joining the Fairmont Area Chamber as a business, organization or individual! We have volunteer opportunities, too!

Specializing in searching for the vehicle you want.

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

Mark Hawkins 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

March programs at CER The 32nd Annual Family Fun Fair happens on Friday, March 31, 4:30-8:00 pm, at the Fairmont Elementary School. Enjoy this special event designed to delight families with young children featuring Remarkable Reptiles, Brian Richards ACME Magic Factory, and over 30 exhibitors filling two gyms with hands-on activities for young children as well as opportunities to learn more about our community’s support of youth and families. Admission is $8 per family. Watch for your new CER Spring/Summer Catalog of learning opportunities and youth activities in your mail around March 24. Information on Adult Co-ed Softball and Volleyball leagues, youth sports and camps, summer playground and park programs, Aquatic Park and much more will be included. The catalog, covering April through September, will be published and mailed out to all postal addresses in Fairmont, Northrop, Ceylon and Armstrong. Please contact CER if you do not receive your copy by March 29. The February Family Snowshoe at Cedar Park and Strong Fathers, Strong Families Science Night were wonderful opportunities for families to spend time together. Special thanks to the Martin County Youth Foundation for funding the events and the Volunteers who assisted at both. Thanks for caring about families in our area and promoting events like these. You are each making a positive difference in the life of a child and helping to grow our future! Take time to read for enjoyment as a family and for lifelong learning. In March watch for special events to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday at the schools and the Martin County Library.



Parents Forever Microsoft Excel Archery I & II Digital Photography for Beginners Microsoft Publisher Square Foot Gardening with PEBC Naturalist Over 55 Defensive Driving Refresher Microsoft Power Point Fabulous Fun Friday (Grades 3-6) Newcomers & Neighbors Fairmont Family Fun Fair Red Rock – TP Roll Wall Art Zumba Flair Dog Obedience Youth Activities Expo …and much more!

March 2 March 4,9 March 6 March 7 March 11,16 March 13 March 15 March 18,20 March 14 March 30 March 31 April 1 April 3,5 April 4 April 20

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

During this month's free seminar, a presentation will be given by instructor Liz Wheeler featuring a Case Study on the social media efforts of Fairmont's own Bowlmor Lanes & Lounge. 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 MRCI Worksource for sponsoring our February session with instructor Cody Jacobsen! 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

March 2017 - Fairmont Area Chamber Newsletter  
March 2017 - Fairmont Area Chamber Newsletter