Business Notes - April 23

CAREER Avantech hires CNC business manager BAXTER--Avantech, manufacturer of tooling solutions to the global plastics industry in Baxter, recently hired Kevin Cook as its computer numerical control business manager. Cook will lead efforts to stre...

Kevin Cook
Kevin Cook


Avantech hires CNC business manager

BAXTER-Avantech, manufacturer of tooling solutions to the global plastics industry in Baxter, recently hired Kevin Cook as its computer numerical control business manager.

Cook will lead efforts to streamline, accelerate, and continuously improve the throughput and performance of Avantech's rapidly expanding CNC machining capabilities. In addition to Avantech's cast aluminum tool-building, CNC-machined tools represent a significant percentage of the company's overall manufacturing output.

Cook's machining career spans 30 years, spending the last decade in a variety of leadership roles where he oversaw a multi-location machining operation of more than 50 CNC machining centers.


Cook has proven capabilities in driving diversification and business growth in Avantech's CNC machining area, Tom Innis, Avantech's president said in a news release the company.

Avantech reported it has invested substantially in its CNC machining operation, in both equipment and technology. Cook stated he looked forward to building upon the company's capabilities, driving growth and more expansion.

Harguth joins Edina Realty Baxter sales office

BAXTER-Edina Realty, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, recently announced Amy Harguth has joined its Baxter sales office.

Harguth, Nisswa, is a 21-year resident of the area. She plans to specialize in the areas from Gull Lake and Nisswa to Crosslake. Harguth has a business management degree from St. Scholastica and has spent the last seven years as an office manager for Bauhaus Construction, experience that is expected to help her.

Schmitz named clinic manager

Cindy Schmitz of Ironton is the new manager of Cuyuna Regional Medical Center's Longville Clinic.

A member of CRMC's staff since 1994, she also manages the Baxter Clinic.


Schmitz manages all activities that contribute to the operational, clinical and business functions of the clinics. She monitors daily operations, assisting in developmental activities, assisting in financial planning, budgeting and monitoring, and employee relations. Schmitz also serves as a liaison to the physicians practicing at the clinics.

A graduate of St. Joseph's College of Maine, she has a degree in health care administration.

Neistadt joins Brainerd chamber

The Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce announced Seth Neistadt joined its leadership team as vice president.

Neistadt has over 20 years' experience in executive leadership working with large corporations, such as Hilton and MGM Resorts International, as well as having owned several companies. He was recognized as the Business of the Year for the 59th Assembly District of California specifically for his work with chambers of commerce and community building initiatives.

In his role, Seth will oversee the Blue Ox Business Academy, which delivers business leadership and management training. He will also lead the chamber's marketing and digital strategies, with a special focus on promoting tourism to attract more out-of-state visitors and grow the regional economy.


Blue Ox Academy hosts speaker


The Brainerd Lakes Chamber is hosting a morning and afternoon session with Ted Schick; Schick Corporate Learning at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. May 9 as a wrap up of the 2017 Blue Ox

Business Academy's Success Series program.

The Success Series consists of topic specific speakers for 90 minute sessions once a month and is open to all businesses in the Brainerd lakes area.

In this session participants, will gain knowledge and tools to gain a practical look at customer service filled with stories and examples as we examine the four pillars of exceptional customer service-the experience, relationships, reputation, and problem solving/solutions. In addition,

we will outline and discuss the 10 basic customer service behaviors-from our attitude to how

we are with each other (the internet customer) as well as the occasional "difficult customer."

The Blue Ox Business Academy is a partnership between the Brainerd Lakes Chambers of

Commerce and Anderson Brother Construction.

The Success Series workshop is limited to 45 participants with a cost of $45 Chamber members/ $55 non-member; attendees can register at or emailing .

Electronics recycling drive to benefit area youth

DEERWOOD-An electronics recycling drive is planned from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 13 at Deerwood Technologies, 21301 Archibald Road in Deerwood.

For a fee of $.55 per pound, local businesses and individuals may bring in electronic items such as computer towers, monitors, laptops, speakers, keyboards, mice, routers, network hubs, cable boxes, batteries, printers, copiers, fax machines, VCRs, DVD and CD players, radios, personal digital assistants and MP3 players, cell phones, telephones, extra cables, digital cameras, camcorders, power supplies and transformers, microwaves, electric brooms/sweepers, and small electronics such as razors, toothbrushes, hair dryers, and curling irons.

Televisions will be accepted for a donation of $15 each. No major appliances will be accepted. Old holiday lights can also be dropped off, free of charge. Proceeds from the recycling drive will benefit continuing education for area youth through the Deerwood Technologies Scholarship Fund. All items will be collected, organized, and sent to an end-of-life environmentally-safe facility in the United States. For more information: visit or email . Deerwood Technologies provides infrastructure and support services to businesses and government agencies.

Business After Hours set May 9

Party Time Rental and Northern Cowboy Flame N' Brew are co-hosting Business After Hours from 4:30-6 p.m. May 9 at their location north of Brainerd on Highway 371.

Chamber members and non-members are invited to register and attend this free Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce networking event. Participants are invited to bring business cards and network with other business representatives in the area. Attendees are also encouraged to bring door prizes.

As a courtesy to the host, advanced registration is recommended. For more information, register online at or call 218-829-2838.

Sip and Savor event set May 23

Crosby's second annual Sip and Savor event, a fundraiser for the Cuyuna Lakes Chamber featuring craft beer and wine tastings, appetizers and other specialties from area restaurants and caterers, will be 5-7 p.m. May 23 on the shore of Serpent Lake at Crosby Memorial Park.

The event includes appetizers with an assortment of chicken wings, Reuben sandwiches, cheddar cheese soup, caprese stuffed garlic butter portobello mushrooms, wild rice hot dish, lettuce wraps, decadent desserts and coffee. Participating members include Coach's Bar & Grill, Cornerstone, Croft Pub & Grub, Crosby Bar & Grill, Deerstand, Heartwood Senior Living Community, Maucieri's Italian Bistro, Mixed Company-A Kava House, North Country Café, Prairie Bay and Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge.

Throughout the evening, a solo cello performance is planned by Scott Lykins of Lakes Area Music Festival. There will also be a raffle of a summer entertaining package to benefit the chamber. At the end of the evening, each attendee will be asked to vote by ballot for their favorite appetizer. The winner will receive recognition by the chamber and the media.

Reservations are required by May 15. The cost is $20 for chamber members and $30 for non-members. Complimentary Sip and Savor collectable wine and beer glasses will be available to the first 96 people who register. Proceeds will be used by the chamber to attract additional visitors to the area. Call the chamber office at 218-546-8131 to purchase tickets in advance.


Edina Realty Foundation gives grants to local charities

The Edina Realty Foundation announced the Brainerd office recently awarded grants to the Salvation Army, Staples Food Shelf, Onamia Food Shelf New Pathways, Garrison Food Shelf Dorothy's Rainbow, Lakes Area Food Shelf, Crosby Food Shelf, Motley Food Shelf, Pine River Area Food Shelf and Project Share of Wadena.

Created in 1996, the Edina Realty Foundation supports organizations that help homeless children, families and individuals in the communities where Edina Realty does business. Much of the grant money comes directly from real estate agents and employees, as well as from Edina Realty Home Services real estate, title and mortgage companies. Edina Realty agents and employees host events throughout the year to help raise additional contributions. To date, the foundation has donated $9 million. More than 97 percent of funds raised go directly to organizations that provide housing and other services to the homeless.

On any given night, over 9,000 Minnesotans are homeless, according to Wilder Center research. Nearly half of homeless persons are under age 21, and one-third are children with their families.

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