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Business Notes Dec. 1

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■ Pickar joins WSN

Andy Pickar recently joined Widseth Smith Nolting’s architectural team as a project manager for design and construction projects.

Pickar has more than five years of experience in project management, contract management, and contract administration, most recently with Corval Group Inc., of St. Paul. He earned a bachelor of science in construction management from the University of Minnesota-Mankato.

As a project manager, Pickar is responsible for construction management and administration, estimating, budgeting, scheduling, reviewing contracts and lien releases, and contributing to the further development of the firm’s architectural practice.

He has experience working on a variety of district energy distribution projects, industrial piping installs, and other mechanical upgrade projects including several multi-million dollar projects.

■ Riverwood welcomes new family physician

AITKIN — Riverwood Healthcare Center, Aitkin, welcomed Dr. Aaron Jordan, a family physician who will begin seeing patients the first week in December.

Dr. Mark Heggem, chief medical officer at Riverwood, said with clinical experience at the Moose Lake health system and growing up just east of McGregor, he brings both knowledge of rural health care and of the communities Riverwood serves.

Jordan’s education background includes graduating with highest honors (summa cum laude) with a bachelor’s degree at College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, and earning his medical degree at the University of Minnesota College of Medicine, Duluth. Previous work experience includes a three-year residency at Duluth Family Medicine, an internship at the Moose Lake health system, and the U.S. Air Force, Minnesota Air National Guard.

Jordan has special expertise in flight medicine, performing fit-for-duty exams for those deploying for active duty in the military, and will practice the full spectrum of family medicine, including obstetric care and delivery. He will primarily see patients at Riverwood’s McGregor clinic.

A native of Cromwell and an active outdoorsman, Jordan recently moved to the McGregor area with his family.

■ Weston gains designation

BAXTER — Janie Weston, CEO of the Greater Lakes Association of Realtors is being honored by the National Association of Realtors with the Realtors association Certified Executive (RCE) designation, which recognizes exceptional efforts made by the Realtor Association executives.

Weston is one of more than 420 real estate association executives who have achieved this honor, local and state association executives who have the REC designation represent real estate agents in 52 states/territories.

Weston said the designation is a high point in her career as an association executive.

Prior to becoming a candidate for the RCE designation, applicants must document their association management and academic experiences. Once they have completed this first step, eligible candidates must successfully complete an exam, which is based on a comprehensive understanding of association operations and management practices. Candidates must demonstrate knowledge of area critical to real estate association management, including association law, governance and issue related to member services. To retain the designation, RCEs must be recertified every four years.

Weston will receive an award plaque from representatives of the Minnesota Association of Realtors at an upcoming event. The Greater Lakes Association of Realtors has real estate professionals in Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Mille Lacs, Morrison and Todd counties.

■ Majerus named Little Falls Employee of the Month

LITTLE FALLS — Becky Majerus, Little Falls Community Schools, is the Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce December Employee of the Month.

Majerus has been the media paraprofessional at Lincoln Elementary for the past 13 years, Kids Korner paraprofessional and adult with disabilities instructor for the past 10 years.

Emily Stenberg, who supervises Majerus in the Lincoln Media Center, said Majerus is the most dedicated employee she has ever worked with.

Steve Larson described Majerus as a dedicated and responsible employee who is professional in her work and well-respected among her peers. Majerus said she was “humbled and honored to receive this and also in shock for being rewarded for doing the job I love.”

■ Duhn gains promotion

to business banker

BAXTER — Benjamin Duhn was recently promoted to the position of business banker within RiverWood Bank, Baxter, where his primary responsibilities will include consumer and commercial lending.

Bruce Kennedy, manager of RiverWood Bank, Baxter, said Duhn is considered a strong asset within the organization.

Originally from Staples, Duhn graduated from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities with a bachelor’s degree in economics, along with a minor in management from the Carlson School of Business. He joined RiverWood Bank in 2012 as a credit analyst. In addition to being active in the chamber, Duhn is currently involved in Junior Achievement, teaching “Economics for Success” to sixth graders at Forestview Middle School in Baxter.

RiverWood Bank is owned by Great River Holding Company which, along with branches in Baxter and Crosslake, has offices located through Minnesota.

■ Meester elected to

board of directors

LITTLE FALLS — Deb Meester of Atomic Learning, Inc. was recently elected to the Postsecondary Sector Board of Directors of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA).

These newly appointed executives from SIIA member companies represent a broad spectrum of postsecondary-focused technology products and services.

As director of Higher Education Sales & Service at Atomic Learning, Meester has driven sales and supported product development for Atomic Learning’s postsecondary solutions that have significatly impacted the higher education industry and garnered numerous industry awards, Atomic Learning reported.

As board members, they represent the many SIIA Education Division member firms that provide educational software applications, digital content, online learning services, and related technologies across the postsecondary sector. The new board members will help develop initiatives and determine the projects, activities, and events the Education Division will undertake in 2014 and beyond for the postsecondary market.

For more information about the SIIA Education Division’s initiatives visit or email

■ Lakewood welcomes Rural Physician Associate Program students

STAPLS — Lakewood Health System welcomes Jason Brill and Laura Hoganson as Rural Physician Associate Program (RPAP) Students.

Brill earned his undergraduate degree at Concordia College and completed his first two years of medical school at the University of Minnesota – Duluth. He is currently in his third year of medical school.

Brill is interested in all areas of medicine, and is hoping to encompass it all in the field of family medicine.

Originally from Fort Ripley, Brill’s family raises hunting labs. He hopes to assist with the high school wrestling program this winter.

Hoganson earned her undergraduate degree, and completed her first two years of medical school at the University of Minnesota – Duluth. She is currently in her third year of medical school.

Hoganson, originally from Grand Rapids, is interested in the family medicine areas of obstetrics, pediatrics, teen health and emergency medicine.


■ ChamberNet meets

Dec. 12 at Mills Ford

ChamberNet, a business-lead group, meets 7-8:30 a.m. Dec. 12 at Mills Ford, 14858 Dellwood Dr. in Baxter.

Connie Meyers of Connie’s Studio of Photography will be the featured presenter.

ChamberNet is a lead-sharing group that meets the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. The objective is to build strong partnerships with participating member businesses and provide consumer referrals.

Cost is $75 annually, but Brainerd Lakes Chamber members are invited to attend up to two meetings free to see what ChamberNet can do. For more information, email Matt Perrine at or call him at 822-7107.

■ Crosslake-area business leaders invited to Explore Crosslake meeting

CROSSLAKE — 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. Tuesday 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 businesses; increase regular attendance at monthly meetings; and continue to grow successful Chamber-organized Crosslake events, such as WinterFest, St. Patrick’s Parade & Celebration, Crosslake in Bloom and Crosslake Days.

For more information, contact Cindy Myogeto with the Brainerd Lakes Chamber’s Crosslake office at 218-692-4027 or

■ Deadline for Leadership, the Lakes Area application is Dec. 2

Now in its 12th session, with more than 277 graduates, Leadership, the Lakes Area immerses a diverse group of people for five days during four months to enhance individual leadership skills and gain a deeper understanding of the Brainerd lakes area. In this Brainerd Lakes Chamber leadership program, learn how to position yourself and your business or organization for today’s marketplace.

The program benefits those currently in leadership positions, emerging leaders and those new to the community. All classes are taught by professionals, and the application deadline is Saturday, Dec. 2.

The opening retreat is Jan. 7-8 (overnight at Cragun’s on Jan. 7) and attendance is mandatory. The remaining sessions are Feb. 19, March 19 and April 23. It is important to attend all sessions; only one absence is allowed.

Tuition for Brainerd Lakes Chamber members, employees of nonprofits and government officials is $695. Cost is $995 for non-chamber members. Tuition includes overnight accommodations, meals, program costs and all materials. A $50 commitment fee is required with each application. The fee will be applied to tuition or refunded if applicant is not accepted. The fee is non-refundable if applicant chooses not to enroll. Remaining balance is due Jan. 1.

To apply, visit or contact Aeli Wiebolt at or 822-7119.

■ Little Falls Chamber to sponsor Business After Hours

LITTLE FALLS — The Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce will conduct its next Business After Hours networking event from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Dec. 5 at Brandl Motors, 14873 113 St., Little Falls. Hosting the event is Brandl Motors, Comfort Keepers, Fyten Marketing & Promotion and SweetWater Resort.

This event is free and open to all chamber members and their employees. Announcements will take place at 5:15 p.m. For more information, call the chamber at 320-632-5155.

■ Free Social Security workshop offered at Little Falls Senior Center

Thrivent Financial will be presenting a workshop for everyone that is considering, or concerned about, signing up Social Security.

Go to one of six free workshops and explore how to sort through the choices. The event is 8:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Dec. 5 and Dec. 12 at the Little Falls Senior Center, 510 Seventh St. NE. No products will be sold at this event. For questions, contact Carlyle Olsen at 632-1655.


■ Bon-Ton stores event raises about $5.8 million for nonprofits

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., which operates Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers stores, announced its Community Days fundraising effort raised about $5.8 million.

The semi-annual Community Days events, which took place on Nov. 15 and Nov. 16, raised money for important projects and causes in the stores’ local communities.

Thousands of 501(c)-3 nonprofit organizations and schools signed up to sell $5 savings booklets, which contained more than $500 in savings both in-store and online. In return for their donation to the organization, customers received a $10 coupon and multiple discounts to be used on Community Day. One hundred percent of the $5 booklet donation is retained by the participating organizations. The Bon-Ton Stores have raised $112 million for local nonprofit groups since Community Days began in 1999.

■ Menards serves

a toy drive drop site

Menards home improvement stores are serving as a toy drive drop site.

The store will have a drop box near the exit door to collect new and unwrapped presents from now through mid-December.

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.
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