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Business Notes May 25

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■ Lenz receives ‘Top Doctors’ recognition

STAPLES — Dr. Jay Lenz, general surgeon for Lakewood Health System, was named one of the top doctors in the Duluth-Superior, Wisconsin, area by Duluth-Superior Magazine.

For the sixth year in a row, the magazine asked Duluth-Superior doctors which of their peers they would call if in need of medical advice/help. Lenz was one of 60 medical providers to be honored with this recognition, and it is his fourth year being recognized.

“I think the best part about receiving this award is that we’re chosen by our peers,” said Lenz, general surgeon. “You pick those colleagues you would want for your own care, as well as those to whom you would send your patients. It’s an honor to have been honored with this recognition for four consecutive years.”

Lenz’s main practice is based at St. Luke’s Pavilion Surgical Associates in Duluth. He performs general surgery monthly at Lakewood.

■ Goedker joins Weichert

Realtors - Tower Properties

Weichert Realtors - Tower Properties announced that real estate agent Colleen Goedker joined the Brainerd office of the agency.

A lifelong resident of Brainerd with 10 years of experience in the real estate industry, she will assist property buyers and sellers in the Brainerd lakes area. She is a member of the Greater Lakes Association of Realtors. With a master’s degree in elementary education, Goedker has a background in property management, teaching, and sales.

■ BlackRidge promotes Benzer

BAXTER — BlackRidgeBANK, Baxter, announced the promotion of Doug Benzer to the position of information technology (IT) manager.

Benzer has worked in the IT industry for more than nine years, the past four years with BlackRidgeBANK. He is a graduate of Central Lakes College and specializes in information security systems administration. Benzer recently completed the IT Management Program at the Graduate School of Banking in Madison, Wisconsin. Doug and his family reside in the Brainerd lakes area.

■ Kruchten named one

of the nation’s best managers

Stephen Kruchten, the investment program manager at Bremer Investment Services in St. Paul affiliated with the Financial Institutions Division of Raymond James Financial Services Inc., was named one of Bank Investment Consultant magazine’s Top 20 Program Managers of 2014.

Kruchten is one of four investment program managers affiliated with Raymond James that made the prestigious list of 20, compiled annually by Bank Investment Consultant. (Two other investment program managers received honorable mentions.) Factors considered in this year’s ranking were growth in team annual production, growth in team assets, average production per advisor, number of advisers under the managers’ direct supervision and number of licensed branch employees under supervision.

John Houston, managing director of the Financial Institutions Division, said: “Kruchten’s inclusion on this list is an impressive achievement, and a testament to his dedication and success. I’m pleased to congratulate him on behalf of everyone at Raymond James.”

■ Lemieux qualifies for ‘Court of the Table’

BAXTER — Outstanding client service, ethics and professionalism elevated Brian Lemieux of Baxter to qualify for the exclusive “Court of the Table” of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), The Premier Association of Financial Professionals.

Lemieux is a 15-year MDRT member and a three-time Court of the Table qualifier. Achieving Court of the Table status places Lemieux among the top professionals in the global life insurance and financial services industry. It recognizes Lemieux for demonstrating exceptional professional knowledge, client service and ethical conduct.

“Attaining Court of the Table membership in MDRT is a distinguishing career milestone reserved for a select few like Brian who have proven that they are among the best of the best,” says MDRT President, Michelle L. Hoesly.

In addition to recognizing career accomplishments, Court of the Table membership offers Lemieux the opportunity to further improve professional skills by sharing ideas and best practices with other leading professionals.

■ RedHouseMedia and CTC

present at telecom convention

Aaron Hautala, owner of RedHouseMedia, and Andy Isackson, marketing manager at Consolidated Telecommunications Company, recently spoke at the 2014 Minnesota Telecom Alliance’s annual convention in Minneapolis.

Hautala and Isackson led a session called “Positioning Your Company Identity for 21st Century Success,” where they discussed best practices in creating identities for telecommunications cooperatives of all sizes, rural and urban, throughout Minnesota.

“Creating a 21st Century identity means positioning your company in a relevant, authentic and attractive way to the next generation of consumers,” said Hautala. “It’s an important concept as we think about future growth.”

The Minnesota Telecom Alliance advocates for more than 70 small, medium and large telecommunications companies in the state, serving as the members’ voice on regulatory and legislative issues. More than 500 people from telecoms around Minnesota attended the annual convention and tradeshow held at the Hyatt Regency and Millennium Hotel in Minneapolis.

Hautala and Isackson were selected to speak at the event because of their combined 23 years of experience in building telecom identities.

“We’re always in search of new, innovative ways to build awareness for our technology cooperative,” said Isackson. “Communicating with our current and potential customers is what ensures our return on investment.”

RedHouseMedia works with CTC and several other telecommunications companies in both Minnesota and South Dakota. Hautala, creative director and owner, frequently speaks on the topics of communication, identity and creative strategy at conferences for varying industries throughout the upper Midwest.


■ CTC Membership Meeting is June 4

Consolidated Telecommunications Company (CTC) will host its annual membership meeting 11 a.m. June 4 at the Crow Wing County Fairgrounds.

Ballots for the election of directors have been mailed and should be returned by May 29.

Candidates for directors include:

• District 4, Leader, Motley, Pillager, Staples – Chad Converse (Incumbent), Ken LaPorte.

• District 5, Brainerd, Baxter, Nisswa – John Luce (Incumbent).

Following the annual membership meeting, CTC will be host its community picnic starting at noon. Families are welcome.

Consolidated Telecommunications Company, formed in 1952, is a full-service telecommunications company based in Brainerd.

■ 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. June 3 at Golden Horizons, 13631 E. Shore Road in Crosslake.

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

■ Learn how to lead in a sea of change on June 5

BAXTER —The Agile Leader, a workshop presented by the Brainerd Lakes Chamber, Lakes Area Human Resource Association, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and Central Lakes College’s Business & Industry Center, will be June 5 at Arrowwood Lodge at Brainerd Lakes.

The speakers are Ted Schick, who will present the keynote address on leadership; Wendy Neu, who will lead a breakout session called “Stand in Your Strengths”; and Thomas Revnew, whose breakout session focuses on employment law. The event starts at 11:30 a.m. and ends with social networking from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Cost is $50, which includes lunch. For more information,

■ Cuyuna Lakes Chamber

Business after Hours set June 5

The Cuyuna Lakes Chamber’s Business after Hours is planned 5-7 p.m. June 5 at the newly remodeled Cuyuna Rolling Hills co-sponsored by the Deerwood Bank.

Business after Hours is a chamber function for area members of the business community and the public to network and build relationships. The event includes hors d’oeuvres and raffle prizes. For further information, contact the chamber at 218-546-8131 or


■ Fruit winemaker workshop offered June 7

STAPLES — Fruit winemaking is complex and the results are often very sweet, or have stability and flavor issues, which have made general consumer acceptance a problem.

Enologist (wine chemist) Dennis Emslie Drummond has more than 33 years’ experience in the wine business and teaches the online Fruit Wine production class for VESTA at Central Lakes College. The workshop will be at the Ag Center at Central Lakes College in Staples and is designed to teach you how to be a commercial fruit winemaker.

A wine tasting and luncheon is included.

Must be 21 at the time of the workshop to attend, bring photo identification. Cost is $99.

The event is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 7. Advanced registration is required. Registration deadline is May 31.

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.

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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