Business Notes - Dec. 14

CAREER Leary joins EFS Advisors as financial adviser Kathi Nagorski Leary recently joined EFS Advisors as a financial adviser, serving in its north-central Minnesota territory. A graduate of St. Cloud State University, Leary has the Series 6, 63,...

Kathryn Leary
Kathryn Leary


Leary joins EFS Advisors as financial adviser

Kathi Nagorski Leary recently joined EFS Advisors as a financial adviser, serving in its north-central Minnesota territory.

A graduate of St. Cloud State University, Leary has the Series 6, 63, and 65 securities licenses as well as her life and health insurance licenses. She has the opportunity to work with her mentor, her father, Stan Nagorski, a retired teacher and current EFS Advisors financial adviser.

Before becoming a financial adviser, Leary enjoyed a communications and marketing career first with the Brainerd Dispatch and later with the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce, where she served as communications director. She is a graduate of the Blandin Community Leadership Program, which is designed to develop and sustain a healthy community by building on community strengths.


EFS Advisors, based in Cambridge, is a registered investment advisory company, serving more than 25,000 Minnesota clients representing more than $1 billion in assets under management. An area of focus for EFS Advisors is its work with educational professionals in Minnesota, especially in the management of client 403(b) retirement plans, a plan offered to nonprofit organizations, such as public schools, and similar to the corporate 401(k) retirement plan.

The team of Leary and Nagorski serve a territory that includes the school districts of Aitkin, Bertha-Hewitt, Brainerd, Browerville, Crosby-Ironton, Eagle Valley, Little Falls, New York Mills, Pequot Lakes, Pierz, Pillager, Pine River-Backus, Staples-Motley, Verndale and Wadena-Deer Creek.

In addition to its individualized investment planning services, EFS Advisors also provides workshops and seminars, often in partnership with Education Minnesota's ESI Member Benefits professionals, about retirement planning, accumulating and managing assets, and long-term care insurance.



Bovee Joins Edina Realty Hackensack Sales Office

HACKENSACK - Edina Realty, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, recently announced Mark Bovee joined its Hackensack sales office.

Bovee had previously worked out of the Edina Realty sales office in Duluth for 18 years before moving to Walker.


Licensed in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Bovee has a Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI) designation and is a short sale and foreclosure specialist.

Bovee has been a part of numerous professional organizations, including a position on the Duluth Area Association of Realtors (DAAR) Board of Directors and a chair position on the MLS Committee for DAAR.

Bovee is an active member of the National Ski Patrol, past committee chairperson of Duluth Ducks Unlimited. Edina Realty is a wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc.

Grow joins The Fine Line Salon and Spa in Brainerd

Andrea Grow joined The Fine Line Salon and Spa as a stylist.

Grow has nine years of experience in the hair industry. She specializes in design color and precision hair cutting.




Little Falls chamber names Lorenz employee of the month

LITTLE FALLS - Sandie Lorenz, Subway at Lora B Plaza, is the Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce December Employee of the Month.

Lorenz has been a sandwich artist for nine years at Subway at Lora B Plaza.

"Sandie is a great employee and very deserving of this honor. We are excited to have her as part of our Subway team," said Jack Faufau, her employer, in a news release.

Lorenz expressed thanks to the person who nominated her and Faufau for helping her on the job.

"My co-workers at Subway are great and without them I could not be recognized for this honor," Lorenz said. "They have helped me a lot and have shown me there are many good people around us every day. I enjoy working at Subway and have been employed there since January 4, 2005. My customers are great and waiting on them gives me much satisfaction."

Holmes Radiator Shop moves

Holmes Radiator Shop moved from west Brainerd to 512 Norwood Street across from the Holiday gas station.

Tanner adds two sales reps

Two recently join the sales team at Tanner Motors/Tanner Nissan.

Stacy Swenson-Powers is originally from Brainerd and has lived in this area all of her life. Nicole Roncalli has lived in the Brainerd area for 12 years. She has six years of sales experience, including working in the auto industry in the past.

Tanner Companies has served the area for more than 60 years.





ATEK Access Technologies Awarded ISO 9001 Certificate

ATEK's Brainerd and Eden Prairie locations passed with zero non-conformances

ATEK Access Technologies today announced the successful completion of its International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2008 audit for its corporate offices in Brainerd and Eden Prairie. The audit's objective is to set international requirements for quality management systems.

The audit was performed by Det Norske Veritas (DNV), and ATEK passed with zero non-conformances, the best result possible. The internationally recognized ISO 9001 standard is applicable to any manufacturing or service industry.

"This certification is a testament to our outstanding quality management system that consistently provides quality products that meet our customers' needs," said Sherri McDaniel, president of ATEK Access Technologies, in a news release. "Our team continuously looks for opportunities to improve the quality of our solutions and services to enhance customer satisfaction, and this certification demonstrates our ability to do just that."

According to ISO, for a company to become ISO 9001:2008 certified, it must meet the following eight principles to get certified:

• Customer focus.

• Leadership.

• Innovation of people.

• Systematic approach to management.

• Continual improvement.

• Factual approach to decision-making.

• Mutually beneficial supplier relations.

In addition, the company must aim to enhance customer satisfaction through the effective application of its systems, including the dedication to continuous improvement of their organization and its processes.

ATEK Access Technologies, LLC is part of the ATEK Companies group of technology and manufacturing businesses. Its industry-leading brands use the power of advanced machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies to provide customers access to superior efficiencies and savings, essential data and systems, improved safety and control, and expert solutions and support. Its brands include Datakey, Larco and TankScan.

CRMC gains recognition

CROSBY - Cuyuna Regional Medical Center (CRMC) in Crosby was recently recognized by the Minnesota Hospital Association for participating in its Partnership for Patients Hospital Engagement Network.

The CRMC is one of numerous Minnesota hospitals recognized for preventing patient harm and saving resources as a result of a reduction in hospital-acquired conditions from 2010-12.

In total, Minnesota hospitals and health systems have prevented more than 12,000 patients from being harmed and saved more than $93 million. Nationwide, hospitals prevented 1.3 million patient harms and saved more than $12 billion in health spending, according to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In Minnesota, the largest improvements were in the number of hospital readmissions prevented; reduction in elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks gestation; fewer patient falls; fewer adverse drug events; fewer infections; and fewer patients experiencing a pressure ulcer.

The efforts were part of the federal Partnership for Patients initiative in which 115 Minnesota hospitals participated. Partnership for Patients is a public-private partnership designed to help improve the quality, safety and affordability of health care for all Americans.

From hospital leaders and members of the care team to patients and families, hospitals achieved these improvements by developing an infrastructure that provides evidence-based best practices, tools and resources to prevent adverse events from happening. Another key area of focus is hospital caregivers engaging patients and families as important partners in their care.

For more information, go to .

Northwestern Mutual to pay nearly $5.5 billion in dividends

Northwestern Mutual will pay nearly $5.5 billion in dividends to policyowners in 2015.

It will be a record payout for the financial security leader and is expected to exceed its estimated 2014 payout by $300 million.

While about 90 percent of the $5.5 billion payout will be paid on whole life insurance, Northwestern Mutual also expects to pay record dividends on several other product lines. This includes $320 million on disability insurance, $150 million on term life insurance and $105 million on variable life insurance.

In addition, Northwestern Mutual will pay $45 million on its annuity product line, including its new suite of Portfolio Income Annuities.

In 2015, the company's dividend scale interest rate on unborrowed funds for most traditional permanent life insurance will be 5.60 percent.

CenterPoint Energy named to Utility Customer Champions list

CenterPoint Energy was recently named one of the Cogent Reports 2014 Utility Customer Champions.

Designees are determined based on in-depth responses from 40,000 residential customers of the 127 leading U.S. electric and natural gas utility companies. In achieving their status as Utility Customer Champions, utilities had to be among the industry leaders in building customer trust, achieving operational excellence and offering value-added products and services.

Gregg Knight, senior vice president and chief customer officer for CenterPoint Energy, thanked employees for their hard work and dedication to providing quality customer service.

"I am pleased we are being recognized for our commitment to delivering value and great service to our customers," Knight said in a news release.

To be named to Customer Champions list, a utility must have received an index score of at least 710 (out of a possible 1,000 points). The score takes into account separate measures for operational satisfaction, product experience, and brand trust. The findings also demonstrated that customers who trust their utility tend to engage with them more proactively and provide higher ratings in all other areas including when commenting on social media.


St. Otto's Care Center to host Friday Morning Coffee

LITTLE FALLS - The Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce invites all chamber members, employees and guests to St. Otto's Care Center, from 7:30-9 a.m. Dec. 19 at 920 Fourth St. SE in Little Falls for Friday Morning Coffee.

Announcements and introductions will be at 8 a.m. Sponsoring this month is St. Otto's Care Center.


Mid-Minnesota raised more than $7,000 through Miracle Mondays

More than $7,000 was raised and collected during the month of November for Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare on behalf of Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union (MMFCU) members and staff.

The Miracle Mondays campaign kicked off in early September and allowed MMFCU staff to wear jeans to work on Mondays for a suggested $2 contribution toward the fund. Members of the Credit Union were also encouraged to donate at any MMFCU branch through November 24th. All money raised was matched by MMFCU, then matched again by the CO-OPs Miracle Match program. What's more, every 'like' on MMFCU's Facebook page regarding the Miracle Mondays campaign also earned a dollar.

In the end, the total contribution to Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare equaled $7,303.48.

"We live in an incredibly generous community," commented MMFCU President Chuck Albrecht. "But this particular campaign seemed to bring out the best in people and helped us to raise significant dollars for a very worthy and important cause. We are so grateful to all who helped make this contribution possible."

In 1897, Gillette became the nation's first hospital for children who have disabilities. Since then, they have remained committed to changing the world through expert medical care, advocacy efforts and research. Today, Gillette is known worldwide for expertise in treating children, teens and adults who have disabilities and complex medical conditions. Based in St. Paul, Gillette has an outreach clinic in Baxter.

Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union is a member-owned financial cooperative with offices in Alexandria, Baxter, Brainerd, Crosby, Little Falls, Pequot Lakes, and Staples.

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.

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