Advantage Magazine - November 2021

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ROCH ESTER A Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce Publication

November 2021





MEET THE MEMBER Ryan Windows and Siding

2022 ANNUAL CELEBRATION You’re invited to the Chamber’s 2022 Annual Celebration!

2021 ECONOMIC SUMMIT Dr. Roger Tutterow announced as the featured keynote speaker.

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What’s Inside 5

Feature PTECH & CTECH: Cutting Edge Programs Provide Essential Workplace Learning


Meet the Member


Ribbon Cuttings



Ryan Windows and Siding

Advertising Information: Brent Ackerman

Advantage Information and Questions: Katie Becker


Chamber President Ryan Parsons 507-288-1122

2021-2022 CHAMBER BOARD OFFICERS Chair of the Board Christy Blade

Post Bulletin, LLC

Membership Brent Ackerman Development Director 507-424-5666

Vice Chair John Eckerman RSP Architects

Administrative Assistant Cherie Thurlow

Treasurer James Kelly

Director of Operations Cheryl Krage

Secretary Emily Benner




Communications Director Katie Becker 507-424-5661

Member and Community Morgan Shaw Engagement Director 507-424-5665 Membership Director Tim Shea


2020-2021 CHAMBER BOARD MEMBERS Santhi Arunachalam

Lizzy Haywood

People’s Food Cooperative

Dr. Christine Beech* Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies

Doug Holtan

Mayo Clinic

Chad Behnken

Hamilton Real Estate

Marge Kelley

Express Employment Professionals

Emily Benner


Sarah Miller

White Space, LLC

Dr. Lori Carrell

University of Minnesota - Rochester

Matt Morehead

Carlson Capital Management

Teresa Czaplewski

Ranfranz & Vine Funeral Home

Dan Nistler

Merchants Bank

Steve Dunn

Taco JED

Omar Nur

Somali American Social Service Assoc.

Scott Eggert*

Broadway Plaza

Sylwia Bujak Oliver 125 Live

Jessica Eidem

IBM Corporation

David Pederson

Dunlap & Seeger, P.A.

Shawn Fagan

Fagan Studios

Jack Priggen

Cardinal of MN, LTD.

Abel Garcia

Remodeling D.L, LLC

Joselyn Raymundo Rochester Home Infusion

Karen Hanson

Home Instead Senior Care

Sharon Schneller

Olmsted Medical Center

Gwen Stevens

People’s Energy Cooperative

Xylo Technologies Inc.

*Denotes at large members of the Executive Committee


MISSION The Chamber promotes business success which supports a thriving community.

Rochester-area businesses are empowered to succeed in a diverse and collaborative climate.

VALUES As a service organization, the Chamber is committed to conducting our work in accordance with the following values:

Collaboration | Diversity |Innovation Integrity | Proactivity Chamber Advantage USPS 446-900 is published monthly by the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce at 220 S Broadway Ste 100 | Rochester, MN 55904 | Phone: 507-288-1122 Periodical Postage paid at Rochester, Minnesota | Annual Subscription: $20 (free to Chamber members) | Christy Blade, Chair of the Board | Editor: Katie Becker Postmaster: Send address changes to: Chamber Advantage, 220 S Broadway Ste 100, Rochester, MN 55904 or email:

N Note from the President

Note from the President D

ear Members,

We’re nearing the end of the year and the Chamber team will soon host the Economic Summit event on December 2nd at the Rochester International Event Center. This annual event is an excellent opportunity to share insight into the area business community and the challenges and opportunities they encountered through 2021 and for their forecast of the year ahead. Providing that perspective is made possible through our members involvement in the recent Business Outlook Survey that was distributed in early October. While the Rochester Chamber has presented surveys in the past, the Business Outlook Survey was developed with the intention of providing participants an opportunity to share insight and data from the past year and to provide their expectations for the year ahead. The goal is to be able to show historical data to provide a picture of trends and impacts to businesses in the region over time. In addition to the presentation of the survey results, the Economic Summit will also feature panel discussions highlighting industry, small business and entrepreneurship. These conversations are an excellent opportunity to showcase the challenges and opportunities impacting employers and business startups throughout the Rochester region. We look forward to providing a local perspective on the economy and will pair that with an entertaining look into the national and international economies, including how they impact the Rochester region, with our featured keynote speaker, Dr. Roger Tutterow, Professor of Economics, Director of Econometric Center, at Kennesaw University. More information is available on this year’s Economic Summit in this month’s issue of the Advantage. The Chamber team looks forward to this year’s event and encourage you to join us on December 2nd. Have a safe and fun start to the holiday season. Thank you for your support and involvement in the Rochester Chamber of Commerce.

Ryan Parsons President

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November 2021

Feature F

An Introduction to PTECH & CTECH By Maura Keller

Both the PTECH and CTECH programs are an example of successful collaboration between education and industry to create career pathways.

Schools. Classes are available to all RPS students as well as students from Dover-Eyota, Pine Island, and Byron through inter-district agreements. Founded in the fall of 2016, C-TECH is funded by Rochester city sales tax dollars. And although C-TECH students are not enrolled as RCTC students, should they choose to enroll at the college later, some coursework can transfer as equivalent (i.e., nursing assistant) or articulated credits (i.e., automotive, veterinary technology and welding) into RCTC programs.

Communities across the country are

embracing new and innovative ways to offer credit and non-credit workplace learning opportunities for high school students seeking unique ways to obtain experience and degree credits. These programs are far more learner centered, innovative, and relevant than ever before. Rochester Public Schools and other partners have joined forces to offer two different workplace learning programs, P-TECH 535 and C-TECH, which are structured career pathway programs that provide essential workplace learning including professional mentoring, individualized academic support with secondary and postsecondary faculty, paid internships and an opportunity to earn an industry credential or Associates degree. Specifically, C-TECH (Career and Technical Education Center) is the result of a collaboration between the City of Rochester, Rochester Community & Technical College (RCTC), and Rochester Public Schools (RPS). “We provide upper level CTE courses in nine different pathways (agriculture, computer science, construction, culinary, education, engineering, health sciences, human services, and manufacturing),” says Dr. Kent Pekel, interim superintendent of Rochester Public

November 2021

Likewise, P-TECH is a public/private partnership that provides a cost-free high school and post-secondary diploma within one of two pathways: information technology and practical nursing. Students have up to six years to complete the program that includes workplace learning, mentorships, and paid internships. P-TECH 535 is the first of its kind in Minnesota. P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) opened its doors this past fall semester and is a collaboration between Rochester Public Schools, RCTC, IBM and Mayo Clinic that received funding through the Minnesota Legislature and Minnesota Department of Education to create pathways for students interested in information technology or practical nursing. “High school students enter the pathway in ninth grade and by grade 11 take courses for both high school and college credit,” says Dr. Jeffery Boyd, president of Rochester Community & Technical College. “Students enrolled in P-TECH will have unique workplace experience through job shadows, mentorships, and paid internships. P-TECH classes are offered on the RCTC Campus. Both programs provide unique opportunities for students to gain the training and skills necessary to enter the workforce sooner in high-demand fields, and it gives students

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F Feature a more streamlined pathway from high school to college to career.” Similar to RCTC advisory committees, Boyd says the P-TECH and CTECH partnerships allow for business and industry to provide critical feedback and advice directly from the “front-lines” of their sectors. “Employers know what is working – and what is not – from their perspectives, and that kind of input is invaluable in creating programs relevant for today,” Boyd says. “Students need and want to learn current skills, and employers need highly skilled and compotent employees, so it’s a win-win for everyone.” Indeed, as Pekel explains, RPS works very hard to align its career pathway programs with regional workforce needs and are increasing each year the number of programs that partner directly with Rochester area employers including Mayo Clinic, Sargent’s Nursery, New Horizon Academy, Rochester Fire Department, and Mayo Clinic Ambulance, to name a few. “These partnerships are a win-win for all parties involved. Students and families enjoy the direct connection with local employers,” Pekel says. “RPS is able to access a level of experience and knowledge otherwise unavailable, and our community partners are able to access a potential future workforce to boost their recruiting efforts.”

at graduation.“We participate in the promotion and marketing of this event while helping to answer student and parent questions about the program,” Finne says. In regards to C-TECH, the Mayo Clinic knows, based on student follow-up surveys, that they can expect two things from their graduates. “Many of our graduates use the knowledge, skills and, in some cases, industry credentials to leaver either full-time or part-time work (while in college),” Finne says. “In particular, with our certified nursing assistant students, many of these students use this education to work while in college or to start working full-time.” In regards to P-TECH, the partnership with the Mayo Clinic is more intentional. “This is truly a career pathway from high school through college to an employer for employment,” Finne says. “As this program continues to mature, Mayo Clinic desires to see 25 to 30 hires a year from this program investment.” PTECH and CTECH programs prepare high school students to fill critical workforce needs in a variety of industries.

Partners in Progress

With C-TECH, the Mayo Clinic participates in the advisory council, which helps to guide the various career pathway offerings. Mayo Clinic has classroom presenters to help confirm the learnings within those classrooms. “We support the HOSA Chapter that is associated with this partnership,” says Guy Finne, director of workforce development at Mayo Clinic. “We also support the Nursing Skills Lab with consumable materials needed to educate students about nursing assistant.” With P-TECH, the Mayo Clinic participates in the steering committee as well as the practical nursing advisory. In this role the Mayo Clinic talks about curriculum, the student experience, work-based learning opportunities, paid internships and the eventual hiring opportunity that awaits the student

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Finne stresses that he truly values public and private partnerships. “I have been blessed to be involved in many of these efforts and I can honestly say that each one of those partnerships are better due to the varying perspectives that are brought to the table by those from the public sector, as well as those from the private sector,” Finne says. “We bring forward our strengths and our weaknesses and together we can hone in on the diverse nature of our strengths in order to have a better partnership outcome.” The P-TECH program with IBM directly addresses both education and workforce development issues. P-TECH addresses the global “skills gap” to strengthen regional economies by building a

November 2021

Feature F workforce with the technical and professional skills required for new collar jobs of the future. And it provides underserved youth with an education opportunity that enables them to earn a two-year degree, along with the workplace skills required to continue their education or garner new collar competitive careers. The IBM team says the reason P-TECH is powerful is that at its foundation, P-TECH is a partnership that combines the expertise of public and private systems and institutions – school districts, community colleges and industry – with high-level government support. “I hope it continues to provide access to education and good paying careers to students, especially those from underserved and underrepresented communities,” says Heidi Kraemer, P-TECH operations manager at IBM. “I hope it continues to fill local pipeline needs with local talent helping support and sustain healthy local economies.”

Legislative Support

As Senator Carla Nelson explains, Minnesota desperately needs a highly-trained workforce to fill jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). “The pandemic exacerbated this need,” Nelson says. “P-TECH graduates will be first in line for a job or can continue on for further education. P-TECH will produce highly educated and trained students in high-wage, in-demand jobs. P-TECH is a win-win-win for students, industry, and a thriving Minnesota economy.” The partnership, with both public and private entities, is essential to the C-TECH and P-TECH programs. “The public private partnerships are crucial right from the beginning. Industry partners directly serve public school students through innovative leadership, apprenticeship, and technical assistance,” Nelson says. “This includes workplace learning by industry professionals, mentorships, worksite visits, speakers, and paid internships. Students who complete the P-TECH program are first in line for a job with participating business partners.” As with any legislative committee, Nelson says it is important to have support from the committee chair. As former chair of the Senate E-12 Committee, Nelson was happy to have been the chief author

November 2021

and lead negotiator of the final bill.“Our senate hearing included great testimony for the highly successful P-TECH model in New York, as well as a few representatives from IBM in Rochester who testified as the lead industry partner,” Nelson says. “My goal is to have a P-TECH model in each of the economic regions of our state. This will require further legislative approval.” Business partners throughout the state, as well as public schools throughout the state, have been inquiring about how to get the P-TECH model in their area. “I look forward to supporting this effort as we move further, but I am very pleased to have been a part of the opening of the P-TECH school in Rochester this year, and I look forward to the success of each and every student who participates,” Nelson says.

Looking Ahead

According to Dr. Pekel, RPS has had several community business partners describe hiring current and former students as well as several who have hired parents of current students as a result of their partnership with RPS.“P-TECH has the ability to expand into other pathways and/or add additional cohorts of students,” Pekel says. “CTECH is always looking to add pathways that align workforce needs with student passions.” Boyd pointed out that graduates of these programs will fill the critical workforce needs for businesses and organizations. “Working collaboratively with secondary and post-secondary educators and business partners to develop curriculum and work-based learning experience, ensures that the future workforce has the skills necessary for careers in these critical fields,” Boyd says. “Preliminary discussions are already underway to explore the expansion of these types of partnerships for other high demand career pathways.” The Mayo Clinic desires to see these programs continue to grow and mature into talent pipelines for employment. “More so than ever, I believe we need to count on properly prepared and passionate talent coming out of our high schools to meet the various workforce needs in our communities,” Finne says. “Having both a strong CTECH and PTECH in our backyard will be part of our workforce talent shortage solution.”

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M Meet the Member

Meet the Member: Ryan Windows and Siding Your home is a reflection

of who you are, and is an important aspect of your daily life. After all, you leave the same home every morning and return to the same home every night. At Ryan Windows and Siding, they know how important your home is to you. Whether you are replacing windows, siding, doors, roofing, or more, Ryan Windows and Siding brings their professional expertise to help you with your unique project.

Sales and Marketing Manager, Austin Ryan, enjoys walking each customer through the entire process of their unique project.

Q: Tell us about Ryan Windows and Siding. What

does your company offer to the Rochester region? A: There’s no other home in the world exactly like yours. Your home is a reflection of you – whether it’s swarming with activity, a peaceful retreat, or a hodgepodge of both. It’s your home. We know how important that is for you, and that is why we treat every home we work on like our own. That is what sets Ryan Windows & Siding apart – our experienced team and their commitment to our customers, their homes, and our craftsmanship. Whether you are replacing windows, doors, siding, roof or just adding some attic insulation, our team members take you through the entire process, from start to finish (and beyond)! We’re here to listen to you, communicate with you, do the job right—it is what we do. Whether you have 5 questions or 50, we will take the time to work with you to find the perfect solution for your home and lifestyle. We know your home is as unique as you are, so you can rely on the Ryan Windows & Siding team to listen, assess, and provide you with a custom solution for you and your home.

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“OUR TEAM MEMBERS TAKE YOU THROUGH THE ENTIRE PROCESS, FROM START TO FINISH (AND BEYOND)!” Q: How did it start for Ryan Windows and Siding? A: “I did not want to do things the cheapest and

most profitable way, I wanted to do things the best way with better products and the most skilled labor,” said Bruce Ryan, Founder and President of Ryan Windows & Siding. “In order to achieve the level of customer satisfaction and quality that I wanted, I knew I needed to go out on my own.” In a world of planned obsolescence, Bruce wanted to provide homeowners with products that they could rely on to keep them safe and comfortable for years to come. So, in 1991 Ryan Windows & Siding was formed – installing Renewal by Andersen windows. One of the most trusted and long lasting window brands available.

November 2021

Meet the Member M Q: Ryan Windows and Siding has been a member

of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce since 1992. What do you find valuable in your membership to the organization? A: The Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce is full of networking opportunities. Even though we do not primarily do business to business sales, it is a great opportunity to meet potential customers, get referrals, and build lasting community connections.


Q: What is the outlook for your business and industry?

A: More than ever before, our homes have become

our haven – it’s where we sleep, cook, gather, and now work. We need homes that make us feel safe and comfortable, but also meet the changes the pandemic has wrought on our living spaces. More and more businesses are keeping their employees at home – switching to a remote position. This workplace shift has caused a home renovation boom that will continue as homeowners acclimate to their new working environment. Visit Ryan Windows and Siding in person at 3750 85th St. NW, Oronoco, MN or online at

Ryan Windows and Siding? A: Ryan Windows & Siding sponsors about fifty youth sports teams each year – soccer, baseball, hockey, football and more. Many of the kids that played for our teams have grown up and are now customers – 15 or 20 years later!

At Ryan Windows and Siding’s showroom, located at 3750 85th St. NW in Oronoco, MN, the team is happy to work with each customer to find the perfect solution for their home.

November 2021

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C Chamber News

Dr. Roger Tutterow to Speak at 2021 Economic Summit Featured Keynote: “Where We Go From Here: Navigation in a Post-COVID World” Dr. Roger Tutterow, Professor of Economics, Director of Econometric Center, Kennesaw State University Dr. Roger Tutterow’s analysis of the economic, business and political environments have been featured in a variety of media, including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, CNN, CNBC, NBC, NPR’s “Marketplace” and “All Things Considered,” Dr. Roger Tutterow, 2021 Economic Summit feature keynote speaker.

Economic Summit provides a current snapshot and forecast of the year ahead for the local, regional, and national economy, including insight into the economic trends impacting businesses in the Rochester region. Join us for this premier event on Thursday, December 2, 2021 to learn from industry leaders and this year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Roger Tutterow.

In addition to his work in academia, Dr. Tutterow has served as a consultant on financial economics and statistical modeling for corporate clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to closely held businesses.

At TSP, we believe in that little extra something. We understand the power of details and strive for the unexpected surprise. Our team of architects, engineers, planners, and interior designers work alongside our clients to create some of the area’s most innovative solutions.

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Chamber News C

Agenda: Industry Panel Discussion • Michelle Blomberg, President/CEO, AgVantage Software • Adam Brase, Division Chair, Strategic Intelligence, Mayo Clinic • Scott Eggert, General Manager, Broadway Plaza Additional panelists to be announced Small Business and Entrepreneur Panel Discussion • William Forsman, Co-Owner/General Manager, Café Steam • Seamus Kolb, Owner, Carroll’s Corn Additional panelists to be announced Business Outlook Survey Results Presentation • Jennifer Hawkins, Extension Educator, Community Economics, University of Minnesota Extension • Brigid Tuck, Senior Economic Impact Analyst, University of Minnesota Extension Featured Keynote: Where We Go From Here: Navigation in a Post-COVID World • Dr. Roger Tutterow, Professor of Economics, Director of Econometric Center, Kennesaw State Date: Thursday, December 2, 2021 Time: 7:30am-11am Location: Rochester International Event Center, 7333 Airport View Dr. SW, Rochester, MN Admission: $45 Member, $55 General Admission, $30 Virtual Member, $40 Virtual General Admission

Presenting Sponsor:

Gold Sponsor:

Silver Sponsor:

Bronze Sponsor:

People’s Energy Cooperative Table Sponsor:

Altra Federal Credit Union Home Federal ISG RSP Architects SEH Inc.

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5:30 PM

Join the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce for a night under the stars on Thursday, January 13th, 2022. This gala will celebrate the success and growth of the business community in the Greater Rochester Area.

REGISTER BY VISITING Date: Thursday, January 13, 2022 Time: 5:30pm-8:30pm Location: Mayo Civic Center, 30 Civic Center Dr. SE, Rochester, MN Agenda: 5:30pm-6:00pm: Networking and Introduction 6:15pm: Program and Keynote Speaker 8:00pm: Networking Admission: Member Admission: $60 General Admission: $80

Presenting Sponsor:

Featured Keynote Speaker Elliot Kotek! Joining the Rochester Chamber as our featured keynote for the 2022 Annual Celebration is Elliot Kotek! A leader in innovation, technology and media, Elliot produced the first ever user-generated feature film, steered the storytelling about a social robot for kids with cancer, enabled a farmer with ALS to independently tell his wife he loves her, and produced the world’s first lab to produce 3D-printed prosthetic limbs.

Gold Sponsor:

Silver Sponsors:

As CEO of The Nation of Artists, Elliot has collaborated on virtual reality and documentary-style content and tech for the likes of AARP, Accenture, Aflac, Amgen, CNBC, Habitat for Humanity, Hyundai, LEGO, National Geographic, Netflix, NBC Peacock, and Whirlpool and, even during COVID, The Nation of Artists has deployed film crews to more than 30 cities in 14 countries on 5 continents. Elliot is a Kellogg School of Management Innovation Fellow who has received recognition for his work from the U.S. Congress, the House of Representatives and other legislative bodies - his projects have landed in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art and have won five Cannes Lions, four SxSW innovation awards, an Emmy, recognition from the International Trade Council, and dozens of other shiny paperweights. As businesses continue to evolve, Elliot will bring an entertaining keynote message of innovation, empathy and the impact they can have on an organization and their teams to the 2022 Annual Celebration!

Bronze Sponsors: ISG Minnesota Energy Resources Rochester International Airport RSP Architects West Bank Table Sponsors: Altra Federal Credit Union Bolton and Menk Hawkins Ash CPA’s MetroNet Think Bank Winona State University

C Chamber News

Inspire Students at STEAM Summit Platinum Sponsor:

The STEAM Summit encourages more than 1,700

middle and high school students to pursue science, technology, engineering, art, and math careers by connecting them to business and higher education institutions which offer STEAM courses in a highly interactive, hands-on format. The future success of the Southeast Minnesota economy depends on a well-prepared pipeline of students with the education and skills needed to keep the region’s business and industry competitive. This summit brings together business, higher education, local government, and our community to prepare students for an increasingly competitive global marketplace and to encourage interest in in-demand careers. “The STEAM Summit might seem like just a one-day event, but I have heard that for the students who attend, it is very often much more than that. It is an event that exposes students to new ways of being in the world and reinforces the power of paths that some students were previously hesitant to follow. The STEAM Summit matters, and I hope you will join me in opening this door to the future for the young people of our community,” Said Dr. Pekel, Interim Superintendent for Rochester Public Schools. Register at to participate as an interactive exhibitor! Date: Tuesday, November 16, 2021 Time: 9:00am-2:30pm Location: RCTC Regional Sports Center, 851 30th Ave. SE, Rochester, MN Admission: Free, registration required

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Host Sponsor:

Silver Sponsor:

Bronze Sponsors:

Altra Federal Credit Union Bolton and Menk Minnesota Energy Resources Preventice WSB & Associates

Folder Sponsors:

Rochester Community and Technical College Winona State University - Rochester

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Chamber News C

AM Espresso

AM Espresso is a monthly Networking PLUS event

brought to you by the Chamber. We believe there is value for all in building a supportive business community. As the local economy shifts towards recovery, it is more important than ever to interact with each other to share ideas and best practices. Come join fellow Chamber and community members to expand your network, promote your business, and enjoy delicious breakfast refreshments. This month, you are invited to the new TownePlace Suites by Marriott. Date: Friday, November 5 Time: 7:30am-9:00am Location: TownePlace Suites by Marriott Rochester Mayo Clinic Area, 601 2nd St. SW, Rochester, MN Admission: Free, registration required

Business After Hours

Come and connect, make new connections,

expand your network, and build community while enjoying Merchants Bank’s space. Date: Thursday, November 18 Time: 4:30pm-6:30pm Location: Merchants Bank, 3586 55th St. NW, Rochester, MN Admission: Free, registration required

We share your home dreams. Building a home that’s uniquely you - that’s important. It starts by talking about your goals so we can help you find a financing option that makes sense for you. As your financial partner, our team is committed to making your dreams a reality.

Let’s build together. Katie Lund

(507) 535-1543

Nicole Williamson (507) 536-3901

Subject to approval. Member FDIC

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C Chamber News

Eggs & Issues: Career Pathways with PTECH and CTECH Recap

Two students on the Eggs & Issues Panel share insight into their PTECH and CTECH experience.

Rochester Community and Technical College

(RCTC) hosted Eggs and Issues: Career Pathways with PTECH and CTECH, on September 30, 2021. This session introduced the new Pathways in Technology Early College High School (PTECH) program that has recently been added to RCTC through a partnership with Rochester Public Schools, Mayo Clinic, and IBM.

Series Sponsors:

PTECH joins the Career Technical Education at Heintz (CTECH) to promote career readiness for in-demand fields and offer access to new job opportunities. These two cutting-edge programs provide high school students with a direct pathway into their chosen career field and fill critical workforce needs. The session included guest speakers Dr. Jeffery Boyd, President of RCTC, Senator Carla Nelson, and Darren Saner, Career Pathways Counselor with Rochester Public Schools. There was also a panel featuring Kari Kolling Anderson, Assistant Principal with Rochester Public Schools, Zoey Chen, current CTECH student, Guy Finne, Workforce Development Director for Mayo Clinic, Heidi Kramer, PTECH Operations Manager, IBM, and Rachel Kuol, a current PTECH student. All the guest speakers had great insight on both of these programs.

Session Sponsor:

The session concluded with tours of the PTECH facility and a ribbon cutting ceremony.

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Community News C

Marketing Your Niche Product By Dean Swanson, volunteer Certified SCORE Mentor and former SCORE Chapter Chair, District Director, and Regional Vice President for the Northwest Region

Several requests for mentoring have come from

small business CEOs that want help in bringing to market the unique product that they have developed, or they have a service that they want to bring to a limited target market. In this column, I will provide several suggestions that I have discussed with this type of CEO request. Successfully marketing a niche product or service requires a different set of strategies and tactics than a mass consumer product. The basic considerations are to carefully consider the needs of the customer, the current market, and how you’ll engage a small pool of potential buyers as you develop a marketing plan. Marketing a niche product means that you are not selling to everyone. Having a narrow pool of potential customers comes with challenges and ultimately means more work on your part to find those people who fall within your niche. However, marketing a niche product also has advantages, once you identify your customers. Successfully marketing a niche product starts with an in-depth understanding of your potential customer. The strategies and tactics put in place to market a mass consumer product – something almost anyone can use - are going to be much different than the ones you’d use to market your niche product. When you are targeting a small pool of buyers, you need to understand who is most likely to buy your product and how your product can tap directly into their needs.

Rochester Makes Livability List Rochester has been named one of the 2021 Top

100 Best Places to Live by, outpacing more than 1,000 cities with populations between 20,000 and 1 million in this data-driven ranking. “This year’s list is a testament to loving where you live, in a time where more of us than ever can live anywhere we want,” says Cara Sanders, Livability. com managing editor. “These past two years have shown us how important it is that the places we live meet our needs and offer up affordability, opportunity and plenty of amenities. If we can work from anywhere, then these 100 cities are places you would want to live and make remote workers’ needs a top priority.” The 2021 rankings were guided by an exclusive remote working study conducted by in partnership with Ipsos. More than 1,000 adults aged 18 and up from across the country were surveyed to determine which livability characteristics they value in their future communities. Respondents were asked if they could work from anywhere, which factors would be most heavily considered when choosing to relocate and how housing needs and priorities have changed since the beginning of the pandemic. Since March 2020, more than 42% of the U.S. population has either moved or considered moving. Home to the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN is a small but mighty city with a thriving downtown scene, tons of professional networking opportunities, and lots of family-friendly activities to keep little ones busy.

For more entrepreneurial articles, visit SCORE’s website:

November 2021

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C Community News

Mayo Clinic Announces New Chief Administrative Officer currently leads Mayo Clinic in Florida. Zorn is a member of the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees and Mayo Clinic Board of Governors, and she serves on many other institutional committees and leadership groups.

Mayo Clinic’s new Chief Administrative Officer, Christina Zorn, J.D.

The Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees has named

Christina Zorn, J.D., Chief Administrative Officer of Mayo Clinic. She will succeed Jeff Bolton, who announced in August that he will retire from Mayo Clinic on Nov. 30. “I extend my sincere congratulations to Christina in her new role as Mayo Clinic’s Chief Administrative Officer,” says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., Mayo Clinic’s President and CEO. “She is a values-driven servant leader with a strong track record of contributions to our organization. She brings unique qualifications and leadership qualities to this position, and I look forward to partnering with her to advance health care transformation at Mayo Clinic and beyond.” Mayo Clinic has a long-established commitment to leadership development and succession planning, which underpins the organization’s history of smooth and coordinated leadership transitions from the time of the Mayo brothers through today. In her new role, Zorn will be Dr. Farrugia’s administrative partner, advancing Mayo Clinic’s 2030 strategic plan, overseeing the organization’s administrative functions and providing financial stewardship of Mayo Clinic’s resources.

She began her career at Mayo in 2002 as a legal counsel. She was named chair of the Florida division of Mayo Clinic’s Legal Department in 2009. Previously, she oversaw Information Technology, Information Security, Human Resources, Planning Services and Enterprise Analytics across Mayo Clinic. Before joining Mayo Clinic, Zorn practiced with the law firm Foley & Lardner LLP, focusing on health care and transactional law. She has a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and she earned her law degree from Creighton University School of Law. “I join Gianrico in congratulating Christina on being named Mayo Clinic’s new Chief Administrative Officer,” says Jeff Bolton. “Her commitment to our patients and staff, and her demonstrated success empowering innovation, problem-solving and operational excellence make her the right person to partner with Gianrico to lead Mayo Clinic to Cure, Connect and Transform health care.” “When you speak to our patients, staff members, benefactors, and business and community partners, there is an appreciation for how extraordinary and unique Mayo Clinic truly is,” says Zorn. “I am honored and humbled to serve Mayo Clinic in this role and advance the transformation of health care. It is a privilege to work for an organization that puts the needs of our patients first and to support our staff in this shared mission.” Zorn will work with Bolton over the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition. She will formally assume her new role on Dec. 1.

Since 2015, Zorn has been Chief Administrative Officer of Mayo Clinic in Florida. In partnership with Kent Thielen, M.D., CEO, Mayo Clinic in Florida, she

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Ribbon Cuttings R

Ribbon Cuttings

Congratulations to the following members on their successful Ribbon Cuttings!


Janky Gear

851 30th Ave. SE, Rochester, MN 55904

204 N Broadway Ave., Rochester, MN 55906

EA Pediatrics

Rochester Community Warming Center

2539 Broadway Ave. N, Rochester, MN 55906

200 4th St. SE, Rochester, MN 55904

The Fit Loon

Avis Budget of Rochester

P-TECH at RCTC celebrated the launch of this new program with a ribbon cutting on September 30. P-TECH Students cut the ribbon.

ExerciseAbilities celebrated their 10th Anniversary and expansion of EA Pediatrics with a ribbon cutting on October 14. CEO, Executive Director and Founder, Melanie Brennan, cut the ribbon.

The Fit Loon celebrated their Grand Opening and new Chamber membership with a ribbon cutting on October 19. Co-Owner, Alli Sella, cut the ribbon. 210 N Broadway Ave., Rochester, MN 55906

November 2021

Janky Gear celebrated their Grand Opening and new Chamber membership with a ribbon cutting on October 8. Owner, Paige Jahnke, cut the ribbon.

Rochester Community Warming Center celebrated their Grand Re-opening and Renovation Expansion with a ribbon cutting on October 15. Center Coordinator, Rudy Naul, cut the ribbon.

Avis Budget of Rochester celebrated the Grand Opening of their new location with a ribbon cutting on October 29. Owner/Operator Kristen Jones cut the ribbon. 5335 E Frontage Rd., Suite E, Rochester, MN 55901

Advantage Magazine | 19

N Newsreel

Newsreel Updates from the Chamber member community. Epp Appointed New VP of Insurance

New Hire at RSP Architects Rochester

Trust Department Receives Recognition

New Sales Manager Announced

Think Bank is pleased to announce that Steve Epp has accepted the position of Vice President of Insurance. Steve is an experienced leader with strong insurance and financial industry knowledge, a passion for providing exceptional customer care, and a proven ability to inspire others.

We are pleased to announce that Amber Frandrup has joined RSP Architects’ Rochester office. An interior designer with eight years of broad experience, Amber will focus on advancing RSP’s work in the healthcare, corporate and dental sectors.

The Merchants Bank Trust Department has been recognized as a Premier Partner by investment management partner BTC Capital Management for the department’s growth, according to Masood Dehnavifar, Trust Department Manager (pictured).

The North Rock Hospitality Group has appointed Matthew Schimek as Sales Manager for their hotel portfolio, including the Home2 Suites by Hilton and TownePlace Suites by Marriott both in Rochester, Minnesota. He will report to Area Director of Sales, Andy Thilges.

New Director of Economic Development Pederson Promoted

New Senior Director of Olmsted County Economic Development Receives Aaa Rating

Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) announced the hiring of Kirk Bustrom to the position of Director of Economic Development. He most recently worked for Northwest Bank & Trust Company as Assistant Vice President for their Economic Development Division.

Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA) today announced the appointment of Michael Flynn to the position of Senior Director of Economic Development. He previously held the position of Chief Operating Officer at the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah).

Nick Pederson was promoted to Vice President/Commercial Banker at Merchants Bank, where he has been since 2016. His supervisor, Dan Nistler shares, ”[u]nderstanding his client’s businesses is important to Nick, and he believes in being a true partner for their growth and success.” Learn more at merchantsbank. com/rochester.

Despite economic uncertainties and other challenges due to the pandemic, in 2021, Olmsted County once again received an Aaa credit rating (with a stable outlook) – the highest possible rating – from Moody’s Investors Service. The rating designation equates to significant taxpayer savings.

Does your company have a new hire, recent promotion, or recognition to announce? Submit your Newsreel to Katie Becker at

20 | Advantage Magazine

November 2021

Event Lineup E

Event Lineup NOVEMBER 5


AM Espresso - TownePlace Suites by Marriott

STEAM Summit 2021

Date: Friday, November 5, 2021

Time: 9:00am-2:30pm

Time: 7:30am-9:00am

Location: RCTC Regional Sports

Location: TownePlace Suites by Marriott Rochester

Center, 851 30th Ave. SE, Rochester, MN

Mayo Clinic Area, 601 2nd St. SW Rochester, MN

Free and open to all schools grades 7-11 residing in

FREE - Registration required

Southeast Minnesota


Date: Tuesday, November 16, 2021


Business After Hours - Merchants Bank

Hybrid Women’s Roundtable

Date: Thursday, November 18, 2021

Date: Friday, November 19, 2021

Time: 4:30pm-6:30pm

Time: 7:30am-9:00am

Location: Merchants Bank, 3586 55th St. NW,

Location: Rochester Area Chamber

Rochester, MN

of Commerce and Virtual Zoom Meeting

FREE - Registration required

FREE - Registration required Sponsored by: Mayo Clinic, Think Bank, and Wells Fargo



Date: Thursday, December 2, 2021

AM Espresso - Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Rochester Campus

Time: 7:30am-11:00am

Date: Friday, December 3, 2021

Location: Rochester International

Time: 7:30am-9:00am

Event Center, 7333 Airport View Dr. SW, Rochester,

Location: Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota


Rochester Campus, Cascade Meadow, 2900 19th

Member Admission: $45

St. NW, Rochester, MN

Virtual Member Admission: $30

FREE - Registration required

Economic Summit 2021

November 2021

Advantage Magazine | 21

W Welcome New Members

Welcome to The Chamber! Introducing our newest members. Janky Gear

GFL Enviromental

The Home Collective

Titan 360 Commercial Real Estate

160 Driving Academy


Best Western

Cafe Relish


The Fit Loon

Paige Jehnke (507) 202-1545 204 N Broadway Ave., Rochester, MN 55906

Todd Wickre (507) 216-8787 1219 7th St. NW, Rochester, MN 55901

Alex Hammond (608) 242-8160 2450 Marion Rd. SE, Rochester, MN 55904

Danielle Robards (507) 289-8866 1517 16th St. SW, Rochester, MN 55902

Jeremiah Drobney (952) 960-5323 8500 Normandale Lake Blvd., Suite 300, Bloomington, MN 55437

David Meyer (507) 281-5850 4245 Hwy 14 E, Rochester, MN 55904

Mark Steege (507) 361-3770 2746 Superior Dr. NW, Suite 300, Rochester, MN 55901

Katie Erickson (507) 358-4727 4400 W Frontage Rd. NW, Rochester, MN 55901

Jason Groen (507) 287-9333 3100 19th St. NW, Rochester, MN 55901

Sam Robinson and Allie Sella (507) 206-9047 210 N Broadway Ave. Rochester, MN 55906

Do you know of a business that has recently opened in Rochester? Are you connected to a business-owner looking to expand their network? Then a Chamber membership is right for them! Please contact with any referrals.

22 | Advantage Magazine

November 2021

Periodical Postage

220 South Broadway, Suite 100 Rochester, MN 55904 507-288-1122



Rochester, MN

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