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Business Notes Sept. 1

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■ Cuyuna Regional Medical Center welcomes Hart and Steffen

Cuyuna Regional Medical Center has recently welcomed two new staff to its administrative leadership.

Amy Hart has joined as chief operations officer of clinic services and Renee Steffen is chief nursing officer.

Hart has extensive experience aligning hospital and physician administration with a passion for quality customer service and operational efficiency. Hart has a master’s degree in health care administration from the Des Moines University in Iowa and is a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. She has strong skills in hospital operations, physician recruitment and management, and project development. Prior to relocating to CRMC, Hart was most recently at HealthEast in St. Paul and Truman Medical Centers in Missouri.

Steffen has more than 30 years of experience in healthcare in areas from home care to behavioral health and disease prevention. She received her bachelor of science in nursing and master’s degree from the College of St. Scholastica. In 2009, she obtained a doctorate of nursing practice from the University of Minnesota. Steffen was most recently the director of nursing at Essentia Health in Brainerd. In addition to her current role as chief nursing officer at CRMC, Steffen is also an adjunct faculty member at Minnesota State University, Mankato and previously taught at St. Scholastica.

■ Kapus is the Little Falls Area Chamber Employee of the Month

LITTLE FALLS — The Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce announced its September Employee of the Month, Donna Kapus, Rice Creek Hunting & Recreation.

Kapus is the head cook and clubhouse supervisor. She has been employed at LeBlanc’s Rice Creek Hunting & Recreation for the past 30-plus years. Joe and Gregg LeBlanc stated Kapus has been with them from the start of Rice Creek and was essential in its growth and prosperity. She is a great chef but even more a much greater person, they said.

Kapus followed in her mother’s footsteps by working at the game farm and began by helping to clean the clubhouse. Then, she said, she cleaned and dressed birds and eventually become the head cook and clubhouse supervisor. Kapus praised her staff, saying she couldn’t do the work without them.

■ Russell Herder

adds two to its team

Minneapolis marketing firm Russell Herder, with offices in Brainerd, announced the addition of two new professionals to its leadership team: Paul Saarinen as the company’s digital strategist and Lisa Pauly as chief financial officer.

Pauly will oversee Russell Herder’s finance and accounting departments. Saarinen will be responsible for all aspects of digital communications, including email marketing, social media management and pay-per-click.

Saarinen comes to Russell Herder with more than 15 years of experience in digital strategy. Saarinen most recently served as co-founder/CEO of Miinome, Inc., a Twin Cities-based digital start-up. Previously, he was director of digital strategy at Minneapolis ad agency, Yamamoto, leading practices such as digital data aggregation, analytics, visualization, social marketing, and interactive planning. Furthermore, he has been a principal in two technology startups in social media automation and online engagement. Saarinen has worked with a variety of reputable healthcare systems and consumer brands, including St. Jude Medical, Medtronic, American Medical System, Carmex Lip Balm and Rubbermaid.

With more than 24 years of experience, Pauly joins Russell Herder from Atomic Playpen, a former Twin Cities web development firm, where she served as controller. There she oversaw the company’s financial and human resource department while managing client budgets and payroll processes. Prior to this role, Pauly was the director of finance at Kruskopf Coontz Advertising and Controller at Group One Communications.

■ SEH announces Goraczkowski

as president

Short Elliott Hendrickson announced the company’s wholly owned subsidiary SEH Design|Build, Inc., has selected Steve Goraczkowski, a design and construction industry professional with more than 25 years of industry experience, to serve as the firm’s President.

In his new role, Goraczkowski will lead the growth and development of SEH Design|Build in Minnesota, Wisconsin and other Upper Midwest states.

Prior to joining SEH D|B, Goraczkowski was CEO of Sikon Construction Company. In that role he helped grow the general contractor’s sales by more than 130 percent in six years, and expanded the geographic footprint of its projects to include 24 states. Goraczkowski also was Operations Manager at ACTUS Lend Lease. There, he oversaw planning, design, engineering and construction of 44 separate military housing communities and commercial facilities on eight Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard installations in Hawaii. During his tenure, the organization grew to become the second largest general contracting firm in Hawaii, and employed a staff of over 150.

■ Hemsing receives

long-term care designation

BAXTER — Tara Hemsing, financial associate with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in Baxter, was awarded a professional designation in the field of long-term care, Certified in Long-Term Care (CLTC).

The program is independent of the insurance industry and focuses on providing financial service professionals the tools needed to meet their client’s long-term care needs.

The Certified in Long-Term Care program is the long-term care insurance industry’s only independent professional designation. Created in 1999, the course is focused on the field of long-term care planning and provides legal, accounting, insurance and financial service professionals the critical tools necessary to address the subject matter with their middle-age clients.

The goal of the designation is to teach financial professionals how to create a plan that preserves the emotional, physical, and financial well-being of a client’s family should care be necessary. Once established, options to fund that plan, including, Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration, self-funding and long-term care insurance, are reviewed and recommended where appropriate.

Participants are provided the information and training needed to offer guidance to families on a range of issues including home care, assisted living, nursing homes, social services, and most importantly, establishing a plan for what will pay for these resources.

■ Trutwin joins

Brainerd Dental Care

Brainerd Dental Care welcomes Steph Trutwin, a new graduate from the Dental Hygiene Program at the Minnesota State University, Mankato. Trutwin joined Brainerd Dental Care in June and is looking forward to meeting her new patients. Trutwin strongly believes in educating her patients to help them improve their oral health as well as their overall health.

■ Riverwood welcomes

new board member

Riverwood Healthcare Center announced the appointment of Dr. Timothy Dirks to Riverwood’s Governing Board of Directors.

He fills the position vacated by Dr. Mark Heggem, Riverwood’s chief medical officer, who served on the board for the past 21 years.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Dirks join our governing board, offering another valued physician perspective to our governance decisions and processes,” says Riverwood CEO Chad Cooper. “We look forward to his contributions while also thanking Dr. Heggem for his long tenure in this important leadership role and continuing outstanding representation of our medical staff.”

Dirks, a board-certified cardiovascular specialist with Minneapolis Heart Institute-Brainerd Lakes since 2005, sees patients in Aitkin, Baxter and Crosby. His leadership roles have included serving as director of cardiovascular diagnostic services at Brainerd Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital from 2007 to 2009, and since 2010 he has served as director of Minneapolis Heart Institute’s northern hub.

Dirks graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He went on to earn his medical degree at the University of Minnesota and achieved honors distinction in the top 20 percent of his class. He completed his residency in internal medicine and served as Chief Medical Resident at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis. He then went on to complete a cardiovascular fellowship at the University of Minnesota before starting his medical career with Minneapolis Heart Institute.

“It is an honor to become a board member for Riverwood Healthcare Center,” says Dr. Tim Dirks. “In the eight years that I have been providing cardiology outreach services at Riverwood, I have watched as the hospital, clinics and medical staff have grown.”

A native of St. Cloud, Dirks lives with his wife, Teresa, and their four children in the Brainerd area.

■ Essentia Health welcomes Brazier, anesthesiologist

Dr. Stacy Brazier, an anesthesiologist, has joined Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd.

Brazier is a native of northern Minnesota and earned her medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis. She served her residency in anesthesiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Neb., and at the University of Minnesota Medical Center Fairview in Minneapolis.

■ Brainerd Lakes Chamber announces incoming board

The Brainerd Lakes Chamber announced its incoming Board of Directors leadership team, effective Sept. 1.

Leading the Chamber’s Board on behalf of the more than 900 members will be Mike Dillon, Lexington Manufacturing Inc., chair; Jim Haakonson, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, vice chair; Deb Mitzel, Dondelinger Chevrolet-Cadillac-Hyundai, treasurer; and Kim Ellingson, Bremer Bank, past chair.

Board members joining this leadership team and beginning a four-year term on Sept. 1 are: Terry McFarlin, Anderson Brothers Construction Co.; Chris Quisberg, Cub Foods; Cynthia Roggenkamp, Ameriprise Financial-Pequot Lakes; and Bart Taylor, RiverWood Bank.

Retiring from the Board of Directors as of Aug. 31 are: Mark Jurchen, Lakeland Agency; Steve Mau, Brainerd General Rental; Jeremy Pollock, Anytime Fitness; and Tim Ramerth, Widseth Smith Nolting.

The continuing directors are: Adam Rees, Essentia Health; Thomas Vasecka, Holiday Inn Express; and Scott Kuehl, Nor-Son Inc.

The chamber, as a regional organization representing the voice of business, is led by a volunteer Board of Directors, representing various types of businesses and communities in the Brainerd lakes area, denoting the diversity of chamber membership. Monthly meetings are conducted to establish the policies and direction for the chamber organization.

The chamber’s annual dinner and awards program will be Oct. 7 at Breezy Point Resort, where retiring board and committee chairs and members will be recognized.

■ Essentia Health welcomes Nelsen, psychiatrist

Dr. Andrea Nelsen, a psychiatrist, has joined Essentia Health-Lakeland Psychiatric Clinic located at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd.

Nelsen earned her medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. She completed a psychiatry residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Nelsen works with adults and children, but has a special interest in helping adolescents. She encourages anyone with concerns about mental health to explore the resources available in the Brainerd community.

■ Sundberg gains recognition

American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company (American Equity), a leading provider of annuity and life insurance products, is proud to announce Glen Sundberg as a member of the prestigious Gold Eagle Program.

The Gold Eagle Program began in 2007 and membership is awarded to agents based on their outstanding production and good standing with American Equity. This recognition marks the first year in which Glen Sundberg has achieved Gold Eagle status.

American Equity was founded on the following principles of excellence: sleep insurance, superior level of service, long term value to our contract wwners, American owned and American operated.

■ Ferguson promoted at Baratto Brothers Construction

Joel Ferguson was recently promoted to project manager at Baratto Brothers Construction, Inc. Ferguson is a native of Heron Lake and a graduate of Pequot Lakes High School and Alexandria Technical College. He has more than 10 years experience within the construction industry. Ferguson will be managing residential jobs while assisting with estimating and crew supervision.


■ Businesses to celebrate accomplishments at chamber annual dinner

The Brainerd Lakes Chamber, together with major sponsor Grand View Lodge, will celebrate its member accomplishments, and recognize the second annual Business Excellence Award recipient, at its annual dinner on Oct. 7 at Breezy Point Resort.

The Business Excellence Award, sponsored by the Chamber and presented by DE Media, will again recognize an area business for its entrepreneurial spirit and business achievements.

Also as part of the annual dinner program, Kim Ellingson, Bremer Bank, the outgoing Chamber Board of Directors chair, will share reflections on the past year and welcome incoming chair, Mike Dillon, Lexington Manufacturing, who will share his goals for the year ahead.

Businesses have an opportunity to highlight their business as a Showcase Table sponsor. Benefits include the ability to set and decorate a table for 10 and provide the dinner guests with gifts, especially those promoting or branding your business. Cost is $110, which includes two complimentary dinner tickets – a $70 value. Additional Showcase Table sponsorships are available at $20 each and do not include the dinner tickets.

The annual dinner social begins at 5 p.m., buffet dinner at 6:30 p.m., and recognition program at 7:30 p.m. This year’s buffet dinner menu includes chicken breast with Mornay sauce, herb-crusted walleye, Yankee pot roast, garlic mashed potatoes, vegetable du jour, spinach salad, mozzarella and grape tomato salad, DG rotini salad, fresh fruit and assorted desserts.

Individual dinner tickets are $35 each for chamber members.

For more information, go online to or contact Matt Perrine at 218- 822-7107 or

■ Crosslake business leaders invited to chamber meeting

The Brainerd Lakes Chamber invites all members of the Crosslake business community to its Explore Crosslake meetings.

The next meeting will be 8 a.m. Sept. 3, at Golden Horizons Assisted Living Center, 13631 E. Shore Road in Crosslake.

The purpose of the Explore Crosslake committee is to: create programs that ultimately promote or provide exposure for Crosslake businesses; encourage volunteerism within the business community to have a more active role in promoting Crosslake; encourage educational components to bring a greater benefit to our businesses; increase regular attendance at monthly meetings; and continue to grow our successful Chamber-organized Crosslake events, such as WinterFest, St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Celebration, Crosslake in Bloom and Crosslake Days.

If you have any questions, contact Cindy Myogeto with the Brainerd Lakes Chamber’s Crosslake office at 218-692-4027 or


In last week’s Business Notes, an entry about Holmes Radiator Shop incorrectly listed the address and the last name of the owner.

Holmes Radiator Shop moved to 709 Charles St. in west Brainerd, just west of Carquest Auto Parts, but not as far as the Baxter city limits as originally listed. The shop is owned by Larry Schwendeman, not Larry Holmes.

The Dispatch regrets the errors.

The Dispatch welcomes business notes submissions via email to, or fax to 218-829-0211, mail to Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 974, Brainerd, MN 56401 or use the drop-off box in the alley next to the Dispatch building on James Street. Questions are welcome to Renee Richardson at 855-5852. Follow on Twitter @Dispatchbizbuzz.

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