Business Notes - April 24

CAREER Speer joins NJPA STAPLES--Sarah Speer is the new marketing and public relations manager at Staples-based National Joint Powers Alliance media planning, communication strategies, and organizational brand management are her primary areas of ...

Sarah Speer
Sarah Speer


Speer joins NJPA

STAPLES-Sarah Speer is the new marketing and public relations manager at Staples-based National Joint Powers Alliance media planning, communication strategies, and organizational brand management are her primary areas of focus.

Speer has more than a decade of marketing experience working with cooperatives and not-for-profits. Her professional career also includes television producing and anchoring, newspaper copywriting, radio news reporting, and teaching language arts.


Speer, Brainerd, has a degree in communications from Concordia College and a degree in English and secondary education from Minnesota State University-Moorhead.



Schwendeman gains honor

Schwendeman is Top Agent for EXIT Realty International for 2015.

Schwendeman, franchise owner, has risen within only a few years to becoming No. 1 agent in both categories of Gross Closed Commissions and Closed Sides in the entire franchise brand in North America.


Roberts, Steffen present at conference


A Cuyuna Regional Medical Center surgeon and its chief nursing officer will be among the presenters at the 2016 Breast Health Conference June 3 at Breezy Point Resort.

Dr. Shawn Roberts will present "Maximally Invasive Surgery." He will explain basic breast cancer surgical history, major studies that have historically driven breast cancer surgery and local and national trends in breast cancer surgery.

"Putting the Puzzle Together: Managing the Complexities of Cancer Care" will be presented by Renee Steffen, registered nurse, together with Amy Edwards of the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute's Support Services staff.

The event is being hosted by Virginia Piper affiliates Cuyuna Regional Medical Center and Riverwood Healthcare Center along with Regional Diagnostic Radiology.



Marcotte gains recognition

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees presented the Awards for Excellence, honors conferred to recognize professional achievement and excellence. The awards included the Professional Excellence Award for Administrative Service Faculty and the Awards for Excellence in Teaching. The Board of Trustees' Awards for Excellence in Teaching, which acknowledge and reward exceptional professional accomplishment in teaching.


Adam Marcotte, instructor of English at Central Lakes College, was among those honored.

Marcotte "breathes teaching," the board reported. "He is enthusiastic, passionate, creative, committed, relational, an expert in his field and, most importantly, totally dedicated to seeing that each student succeeds. He tells a story about announcing to his high school English teacher when he realized he wanted to be a teacher himself. She dramatically gestured around her desk to the stacks of papers and folders for assignments that needed to be sorted and said, 'This is what your life will look like, Adam, are you sure it's what you want?' Marcotte was sure then, and he has not wavered from that certainty. Every syllabus at Central Lakes College includes this statement: "Facilitating this class is-without exception-the best part of my day."

Evaluation criteria include teaching strategies and materials; content expertise and professional growth; assessment of student learning and performance; and service to students, the profession, the institution, and the system. This is the 10th year of the awards. The awards were presented to Dr. Justin Berry, instructor in the physical therapy assistant program at Northland Community and Technical College, William Breen, instructor of English at Anoka-Ramsey Community College; Marcotte; and Shannon Peak Fiene, instructor of mathematics at Minnesota West Community and Technical College.

"Outstanding faculty at all our colleges and universities make it possible for us to provide an extraordinary education for all Minnesotans," said Mike Vekich, chair of the Board of Trustees. "The programs our faculty deliver-academic programs, advising, financial aid, registration, residential life, and student affairs, just to name a few-are vital to our ability to serve students and communities in every corner of the state."



Hautala speaks at Oregon Bicycle Tourism Summit

PORTLAND, Ore.-Aaron Hautala, president of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew (Crew), recently spoke at the Oregon Bicycle Tourism Summit in Portland where he detailed Cuyuna's story of transformation into a world-class mountain bike destination.


"For me, Oregon was an inspiration for the vision of Cuyuna's future, so it was very cool and humbling to be asked to present there," Hautala said.

The Oregon Bicycle Tourism Summit was sponsored by Travel Oregon, the state's tourism commission, with a goal of sharing recreation and tourism development opportunities, resources and strategies.

Hautala discussed how Cuyuna's purpose-built mountain bike trails have impacted the area's tourism, creating an internationally recognized outdoor recreation destination that continues to expand. Similar to Minnesota, Oregon promotes bike-friendly cities, scenic rural routes and premier single-track mountain bike trails.

"I hope our communities can continue to inspire and push each other to not accept what is status quo," said Nastassia Pace, Travel Oregon's destination development specialist.

Hautala also spoke about Cuyuna at the National Bicycle Tourism Conference in San Diego late last year.





Tri-County Community Action to host Lunchtime on Location

LITTLE FALLS-The Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce invites all Chamber members, employees and guests to Tri-County Community Action, 501 LeMeiur St., Little Falls, on Wednesday, April 27 from noon-1 p.m. for Lunchtime on Location. There will be a $5 per person fee to help cover the cost of lunch. To make your reservation, contact the Chamber of Commerce 320-632-5155 or email ginav30 p.m. Sponsoring this month is Tri-County Community Action.




MDA grants available for ag business feasibility studies

Grant funding is available for Minnesota residents or businesses interested in studying the feasibility of a new venture to add value to an agricultural commodity or product. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture Value-Added Feasibility Study Grant will reimburse eligible farmers and farm networks, agricultural cooperatives, agricultural businesses, and others up to 50 percent of the costs for a third party consultant to conduct the feasibility study, with a maximum award of $35,000.

"Feasibility studies are important to determine if a project can work on paper before even raising the capital to move it forward," said David Weinand, Project Consultant with the MDA in a news release. Developing marketing plans and assessing risk, infrastructure needs, and financing options provided by these studies can offer valuable insights regarding new and expanding ventures.


The MDA is requesting that interested parties submit a "Letter of Interest" as the first step in this competitive grant process. Letters of Interest will be evaluated, and upon approval, applicants will be offered free consulting services from the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute..

"AURI will help to further define what the applicant wants from the feasibility study and develop the scope of work for the study," said Weinand.

Interested parties are invited to submit a Letter of Interest by visiting the Grants page on the MDA's website. Letters of Interest must be submitted at the Online Grant Application website. Applicants must be Minnesota residents and the proposed value-added business must be located in Minnesota. The submission deadline is on a first come, first served basis through June 15.


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.

More business notes may be part of the Business Extra section in Monday's edition.

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