Business Notes

CAREER ? CTC promotes Roach and Westbrock Consolidated Telecommunications Company (CTC) recently announced the promotions of Mark Roach and Kristi Westbrock. Roach was promoted to chief financial officer (CFO). Roach is a certified public account...


■ CTC promotes Roach and Westbrock

Consolidated Telecommunications Company (CTC) recently announced the promotions of Mark Roach and Kristi Westbrock.

Roach was promoted to chief financial officer (CFO). Roach is a certified public accountant and has been with CTC since March 2005. He has 33 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. In his CFO position, he will oversee the financial operation along with serving as the organizational expert in financial management. Westbrock was promoted to chief operating officer (COO). Kristi has been with CTC since 2007 as the director of operations, sales and marketing, and human resources. She has 16 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. In the COO position, Westbrock will oversee designated operating areas while evaluating new technologies and service offerings.

Roach and Westbrock will both work under the direction of Kevin T. Larson, CEO/general manager.


■ DuBois Adamek completes CRS course

CROSSLAKE - Mary DuBois Adamek, sales agent in the Edina Realty Crosslake office recently completed a buyer sales strategy course as part of the certified residential specialist (CRS) designation awarded by the National Association of Realtors.

A small percentage of Realtors achieve the CRS designation.

DuBois Adamek completed the buyer sales strategy course that emphasized valuable information related to counseling techniques, and an increased understanding of human behavior related to the buying and selling process.

■ Fitch affirms Thrivent Financial
for Lutherans AA rating

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Thrivent Financial for Lutherans AA (very strong) rating, the third-highest of Fitch’s 19 categories, and given the organization a stable outlook.

Fitch cited Thrivent Financial’s extremely strong capitalization with no financial debt, high-quality investment portfolio, consistent profitability, and favorable market franchise within the Lutheran market as part of the basis for the affirmation.

The stable outlook was driven by Fitch’s expectations that Thrivent Financial’s operating and balance sheet fundamentals are sustainable relative to rating expectations. These ratings reflect Thrivent Financials’ overall financial strength and claims-paying ability, but do not apply to the investment performance of investment products.


“As a membership organization, our responsibility is to keep the promises we make to our members,” said Randy Boushek, senior vice president and chief financial officer for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. “Strong ratings from agencies like Fitch help provide external validation that affirms our ongoing strength and stability as well as our ability to keep those promises.”

■ Edward Jones ranks high on
best companies to work for list

Financial services firm Edward Jones ranked No. 4 on Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For 2014” list in its 15th appearance on the prestigious list, according to Brainerd/Baxter Financial Advisors.

The firm was the highest-ranking financial-services firm on the list.

Edward Jones’ 15 Fortune rankings also include top 10 finishes for 11 years, top five rankings for six years and consecutive No. 1 rankings in 2002 and 2003. Last year, the firm ranked No. 8 overall.

In the Fortune survey of associates, 96 percent of Edward Jones associates said they are proud to work at Edward Jones.

The survey also revealed that 96 percent of Edward Jones respondents say firm leadership is honest and ethical; 93 percent say they are offered the training and development they need; and 95 percent feel pride in what they accomplish.

The full list and related stories appear in the Feb. 3 issue of Fortune and now at .


To pick the 100 Best Companies to Work For, Fortune partners with the Great Place to Work Institute to conduct an extensive employee survey in corporate America. Two-thirds of a company’s score is based on the results of the institute’s Trust Index survey, which is sent to a random sample of employees from each company. The survey asks questions related to their attitudes about management’s credibility, job satisfaction, and camaraderie. The other third of the scoring is based on the company’s responses to the institute’s Culture Audit, which includes detailed questions about pay and benefit programs and a series of open-ended questions about hiring practices, internal communications, training, recognition programs and diversity efforts.

■ Meemken named LF employee of the month

LITTLE FALLS - The Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce announced Linda Meemken, Royalton Lumber & Hardware Inc., as its February Employee of the Month.

Linda has been the office manager for Royalton Lumber & Hardware for the past 13 years.

Paul Kapsner said Meemken is usually the first interaction customers have whether it is in the store or on the phone and there are hundreds of things she deals and does a great job with on a daily basis.

Meemken said after going off to college she had the opportunity to return to Royalton Lumber & Hardware and didn’t hesitate.

■ No adverse events reported at CRMC

No adverse events were reported for Cuyuna Regional Medical Center (CRMC) in the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) 10th annual Adverse Health Events Report released in late January.

The report showed encouraging progress in the overall number of adverse health events across Minnesota. In 2013, there were 258 adverse health events in the state’s hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers, a decline of 18 percent from the previous year.

The primary drivers of this improvement were decreases in pressure ulcers and in all invasive procedure categories (wrong body part, wrong procedure, retained objects).

The report tracks 28 types of serious events, such as wrong-site surgeries, severe pressure ulcers, falls, or serious medication errors, which should rarely or never happen. Deaths and patient harm related to adverse events in hospitals and other facilities have been trending in a downward direction during the 10 years that the MDH has required hospitals to report on preventable errors.

■ Stratman becomes CRMC
senior services administrator

Cuyuna Regional Medical Center’s new senior services administrator is Nancy Stratman.

Born and raised on a central North Dakota farm, Stratman spent her working career in long-term care. For two years she was the administrator of a rural stand-alone facility in Belview; for nine years the administrator of Rice Care Center in Willmar; and for five years as the CEO/Administrator of Cokato Charitable Trust.

Stratman, Aitkin, has a master’s degree in management and a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

■ Ficek gains recertification
in Social Security disability

Gary Ficek of Ficek Law Office, Fargo, N.D., reported he became the first recertified specialist in Social Security Disability Advocacy in North Dakota and Minnesota by the National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy, a division of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification.

To qualify an attorney must have been certified by the board for five years and must also complete an approval process, submit peer and judicial references, and show proof of continuing legal education in the field and substantial appellate work in both the administrative and judicial jurisdictions.

■ RiverWood Bank promotes
Kennedy to branch president

BAXTER - Bruce Kennedy of RiverWood Bank was recently promoted to the position of president of the Baxter branch.

Kennedy originally joined RiverWood Bank in 2007 as a business banking officer. Since joining the bank, the company reported he was instrumental in helping the company grow its customer base in the Brainerd lakes area during that time frame.

The branch offices of RiverWood Bank in Baxter and Crosslake were opened in 2004 and now exceed $90 Million in total assets. Kennedy is a 1995 graduate of Mankato State University with a degree in finance and economics.

RiverWood Bank is a $300 Million locally owned and managed community bank with branch locations in nine communities and administrative offices in Baxter.

■ Adventure Advertising and
Adventure Studios earn awards

Adventure, Brainerd, was awarded “Best of Show” honors at the Central Minnesota American Advertising Awards (formerly known as the ADDY Awards) competition on Jan. 25, at the historic Paramount Theatre in downtown St. Cloud.

Adventure received the show’s top honor for creative excellence six out of the last seven years.

The agency won a total of 18 Golds, 11 Silvers and four of the five top awards.

The American Advertising Federation Central Minnesota is one of 200 local member advertising clubs that participate in the American Advertising Awards competition. This is the first tier of the competition and winning entries will now move on to a district competition to be judged in March. Those winners will go on to the national competition held in June.

■ Minnesota Farmers Union
hosts annual convention

Three area residents attend Minnesota Farmers Union’s 72nd annual state convention.

President Doug Peterson and Vice President Gary Wertish were re-elected to another two years of office.

John Borden, Merrifield, Laureen Borden, Merrifield and Charles Schultz, Fort Ripley, attended the convention. Delegates passed special orders of business on passage of the farm bill, support for increased transportation funding and support for repealing the equipment repair sales tax law.

■ Farm Island Repair and Marine makes
Boating Industry top 100 list

AITKIN - Farm Island Repair and Marine, Aitkin, was named one of the top 100 boat dealers in North America by Boating Industry, a leading trade publication for the marine industry.

Those on the top 100 list were chosen based on financial success, business acumen, customer service, marketing tactics and more. Farm Island Repair and Marine started in March of 2003, carrying pontoons, boats, docks and lifts and the business manufactures its own roll-in dock line, Classic Docks. In 2013, a sister company called Classic Canvas, was started to manufacture canvas needs. This is the fourth consecutive year the company has been in the top 100 dealers.


■ Free Rural Development home
loan seminar offered

Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union is offering a free, no-obligation workshop entitled “Is a Rural Development Home Loan Right for You?”

The Rural Development loan program provides home ownership opportunities to low- and moderate-income individuals and families living in rural areas. The workshop will discuss the advantages the loan program offers and eligibility requirements.

The session is 5:30-6:30 p.m. Feb. 13 at Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union, 200 S. Sixth St. Brainerd.

Space is limited. For more information, call 829-0371 or your local MMFCU branch. Refreshments will be served.

■ CRMC-Baxter and Minneapolis Heart
Institute host Business After Hours

The employees of Cuyuna Regional Medical Center-Baxter and Minneapolis Heart Institute-Baxter are hosting the Brainerd Lakes Chamber Business After Hours event from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

During Business After Hours, the two businesses will provide chamber members with hors d’oeuvres and beverages, information about their new clinics and door prizes.

There will be a ribbon-cutting photo opportunity for the new clinics at 4:30 p.m. All Business After Hours participants will receive a first aid kit. Advance registration is recommended for this free event. For more information, contact Holly Holm at 822-7112 or .


■ Impact grant offered by Operation Round-Up

Crow Wing Power Community Trust (Operation Round-Up) is offering an Impact Grant of up to $12,000.

The purpose of the impact grant will be to give a boost to a unique project/program, organization or community and ensure its success.

Applicants must show that this one time grant would have a major impact for their project, organization or community. The organization needs to show that it has a history of success, or if a start-up project, the business plan must be strong and show large community support. Projects that focus on human health and well-being will be given additional consideration.

Operation Round-Up is funded by participating members of Crow Wing Power who allow the cooperative to round up their electric bills to the nearest whole dollar. The additional change is pooled and distributed quarterly to local community programs. To qualify for an application, contact Char or Jolene at Crow Wing Power, 829-2827 or 800-648-9401. Applications must be submitted by March 28.

■ HealthSource to exchange health screenings
for cardiovascular research donations

BAXTER - HealthSource Chiropractic and Progressive Wellness will provide complimentary community health screenings in exchange for a $10 donation to the American Heart Association.

Donations will be accepted at the office located at 7656 Design Road suite 100 up until Feb. 28, but contributors are encouraged to call and set up an appointment.

Heart disease, stroke and other forms of cardiovascular disease remain the No. 1 and most costly killer in the United States, taking the lives of far too many loved ones and friends each year. Donations will help offset the costs of medical research, which is leading to new ways to prevent, treat and even cure heart disease and stroke.


■ DOT vehicle inspection
recertification class offered

A Department of Transportation (DOT) class will be offered at Central Lakes College.

The DOT class is 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 21 at Central Lakes College Business & Industry Center. Instructor is Eric Sundby and cost is $90.

Participants will learn the different classifications of inspectors, who’s vehicle they can inspect, the length of certification, re-certification, suspension and revocation. They will learn which vehicles must be inspected, which vehicles are exempt, know the different levels of inspections, which decal do they qualify for. They will learn the minimum inspection criteria as listed in 393 and the OOS criteria for two decals, how to properly fill out the Minnesota inspection form, proper application of the decals, and required record keeping, inspector & owner.

Advanced registration is required by Feb. 14.

For additional information contact: Central Lakes College, Brainerd Campus, 855-8118 or 800-933-0346, Ext. 8118.

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.

I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with numerous job titles since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently as Digital Editor. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work these 30+ years. I was present and worked on the our web page when our original website first went live on April 26, 1994.
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