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Local business experts discuss managing growth during BLAEDC-sponsored panel discussion Nov. 27

Local business experts discuss managing growth during BLAEDC-sponsored panel discussion Nov. 27

Running a business is always full of challenges but managing one that’s experiencing significant growth presents a different set of issues that can be overwhelming and, worse yet, detrimental to the business.

That’s the topic for a panel discussion titled “Growing, Growing, Gone! Managing growth without losing your mind…and your business,” which is scheduled for 5-7 p.m., Nov. 27, at Ascensus in the East Brainerd Mall (the old J.C. Penney store). The event will include presentations from each panelist, a 30-minute question-answer session and then networking and light refreshments at 6:30 p.m.

Sponsored by the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation (BLAEDC), the free event is open to all business people but is targeted at those who are facing, or expecting to face, growth. The panel is a group of local business experts who will share their perspectives and offer invaluable advice during the discussion, which promises to be lively and informative. The panel has countless stories and insights about what it takes to successfully manage growth without running yourself and your business into the ground.

Dave Johnson, retired president of Anderson Brothers Construction Company in Brainerd, will moderate the discussion. Panelists are:

Ed Egan — retired vice president of business operations for QualComm. He successfully coordinated a number of acquisitions worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Bud Pierce — retired president of McLaughlin Body company. The company is a leading independent cab producer with 400 employees. The company primarily designs and manufactures cabs for highway and off road equipment including combines, tractors and military trucks.

Howard Miller — retired vice president of marketing, sales and facilities for Schwan Food Company, one of the world’s largest branded frozen food companies with 22,000 employees and more than $4 billion in revenue.

Karen Kirt — owner of Suite Spaces, a local office design company, who works with small to large executive, educational, healthcare, financial and personal spaces.

Steve Christenson — executive vice president of Ascensus, a leading provider of retirement services, including recordkeeping and administrative services to more than 27,000 defined contribution plans and 1.5 million IRAs.

“We’re really excited to give small business owners and entrepreneurs a chance to hear from our panel of experts who have a wealth of business experience and will be sharing some excellent information with the audience,” said BLAEDC Executive Director Sheila Haverkamp. “Entrepreneurial businesses are a major key to the growth of our local economy and creating jobs. Of the 27 million U.S. business, all but 17,000 are small businesses with less than 500 employees, so it’s critical to our economic future to promote and assist the entrepreneurial spirit locally.”

The event is the second in a series of panel discussions, meetings and group discussions that BLAEDC is promoting through its new Executive Initiative, which features more than 30 retired or relocated business executives who are volunteering their time to help BLAEDC grow business and create jobs.

Please RSVP to Erika at

Established in 1985, BLAEDC is a community-driven, non-profit organization created to preserve and enhance the area’s economic base by expanding business, building community and growing jobs in Crow Wing County.

For more information, contact BLAEDC at 828-0096.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889