Business Notes - Jan. 8

CAREER Gruber earns MBA from West Texas A&M University National Joint Powers Alliance Manager of City & County Solutions Anna Gruber earned her master of business administration from West Texas A&M University. She participated in WTAM...

Anna Gruber
Anna Gruber


Gruber earns MBA from West Texas A&M University

National Joint Powers Alliance Manager of City & County Solutions Anna Gruber earned her master of business administration from West Texas A&M University.

She participated in WTAMU's Commencement Ceremony Dec. 17, 2016, at the First United Bank Center in Canyon, Texas.

In a news release, Gruber credits NJPA's Educational Assistance program for being the key motivation in starting and finishing her degree. The program provides up to $5,000 in reimbursement per fiscal year toward self, spouse, or dependent education for eligible employees.


"I consider myself a lifelong learner and have always wanted to get my MBA, but financially couldn't decide if work experience was more valuable than education," Gruber said. "When I learned about NJPA's program, it motivated me to seek out my MBA. Walking across the stage on graduation day was an overwhelming and proud moment for me, finishing my MBA was a life goal of mine and to complete it while raising a family and working full time felt like quite the accomplishment."

Gruber completed the online program in two-and-a-half years, and says she pursued the degree because of its applicability to her career and long-term goals.

"I expected the MBA program to teach me a lot of specific business techniques and applications, but it in fact taught me a lot more about managing people, leadership, organizational behaviors, and general communication," Gruber said. "I appreciated this focus, since it allowed me to hone in on the areas where I am more passionate and also helped to improve my skillset in areas that are important to my career."

Gruber joined NJPA in March 2014. She has a bachelor of arts degree in public administration, and minors in business and community development from St. Cloud State University.

Eisler gains certification

BAXTER-Jim Eisler was recently named Certified Residential Specialist of the Year for 2016 by the Minnesota Council of Residential Specialists.

Eisler, has been a CRS since 2009 and was recognized for his outstanding achievement and service to the Brainerd lakes area. Eisler was a managing broker with the Baxter, Crosslake, and Hackensack Edina Realty offices for more than 15 years and has been in the real estate industry for nearly 40 years. Eisler has served the Greater Lakes Association of Realtors and is currently on the MLS Committee. Eisler considers his greatest accomplishments to be the mentoring and guidance that he provides to real estate agents.

Eisler also has three professional real estate industry designations. He also volunteers for several causes in his community and participates each year in the Real Estate Riders MS150.


The Council of Residential Specialists is the largest not-for-profit affiliate of the National Association of Realtors. CRS is comprised of over 32,000 Realtor members and supports them with training and education, events, mentoring and networking opportunities. It also awards the CRS Designation to experienced real estate agents who have completed advanced professional training and demonstrated outstanding professional achievement in residential real estate.

Riverwood welcomes family nurse practitioner

Riverwood Healthcare Center announced Faith Peterson, family nurse practitioner, has joined its medical staff.

Her practice will be dedicated primarily to seeing patients in the urgent care clinic in Aitkin, which is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday,

Peterson's experience includes working as a family nurse practitioner at a primary care clinic in Moose Lake for nine years. Previously, she worked as a registered nurse caring doing inpatient care for 15 years. She has special expertise in diabetes management and emergency services.

"We are excited to welcome Faith as a dedicated nurse practitioner for our urgent care clinic," said Cindi Baker, Riverwood chief operating officer in a news release. "Her 25 years of experience in the medical field and special expertise in emergency services is a great asset for this role."

Peterson completed a bachelor's degree in biology and nursing, and a master's degree in nursing, both from the College of Scholastica, Duluth. She also has training as an emergency medical technician from St. Cloud Technical College.

Horizon Health announces scholarships


PIERZ-Horizon Health Inc. a nonprofit health care provider announces the availability of seven health care scholarships for graduating seniors.

Scholarships will be awarded in the amount of $300 each to graduating seniors chosen from each of the following schools. Little Falls, Pierz, Brainerd, Royalton, Staples/Motley, Swanville and Upsala. High School seniors who plan to continue their education to pursue careers in health services, social work or long-term care are encouraged to apply.

Applicants must have maintained a high school grade point average of 3.0 or higher and plan on attending an educational program lasting nine months or more. Recipients will be chosen on the basis of scholastic and school achievement, community involvement and an essay describing their educational goals. Students may obtain scholarship application forms from their high school counselor, Horizon Health or visit the Horizon Health website at .

Headquartered in Pierz, Horizon Health's vision is to positively impact the quality of life of aging family members and neighbors or those with disabilities living within the hometown they supported. Horizon Health offers the community options of Assisted Living, Home Care, Hospice, Independent Senior Housing, Foster Care for Disabled Adults, Housing for men and veterans with psychiatric disabilities, In Home Services, Senior Advocacy, Intergenerational Child Care and many Senior Volunteer programs and opportunities. Contact Vicki Villebro at 320-468-6451/800-224-6451 or email her at for more information about the scholarship or about Horizon Health services and programs.

Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program Certifies 300th Farm

ST. PAUL-The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program has surpassed 300 certified farms, marking a year of strong growth with a milestone.

This voluntary program works with farmers and landowners to identify and mitigate risks to water quality on a field by field basis. The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program has certified 306 farms representing virtually every kind of agricultural production from all across the state.

The 300th farm certified is the Twin Eagle Dairy operated by Pat and Jody Lunemann in Todd County. The Lunemann's milk 800 cows and farm 1,500 acres of corn, alfalfa and grass to help feed their herd.


"We wanted to get certified to demonstrate that we are doing the best job we can to make sure we have clean water," said Pat Lunemann. "Initially, we didn't know what to expect with the program, but as we worked with our local certification specialists we found solutions that worked for our farm and protected the water."

The MAWQCP is delivered in partnership with the Board of Water & Soil Resources, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Department of Natural Resources, and Minnesota's 89 Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Through this collaborative effort, the state agencies and SWCDs are able to leverage their individual strengths to work together to recognize and reward farmers for their work protecting Minnesota's most iconic natural resource. This innovative model of conservation planning and delivery has created a program that has been embraced by Minnesota's farm and livestock producers. In 2016 alone, the MAWQCP certified 221 farms and 125,000 acres.

"The success of the Ag Water Certification Program reaffirms that no one cares more about water quality than Minnesota farmers," said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. "I want to thank the Ag producers who have already participated in the program, and reiterate my continued commitment to building a collaborative relationship between state government and Minnesota farmers."

The 306 farms certified by the MAWQCP represent over 175,000 acres of working lands. To date, these farms have generated 531 new best management practices that are keeping 14.7 million pounds of soil on Minnesota fields annually, and keeping 9.7 million pounds of sediment and 6,086 pounds of phosphorous from entering our lakes, rivers, and streams annually.

After being certified, each farm is deemed to be in compliance with new water quality laws and regulations for 10 years. Certification is also an approved practice farmers can use to comply with the new state buffer law. Certified farmers and landowners can use their certification status to promote their businesses as protective of water quality. Those interested in the program can contact their local SWCD office or visit


LAHRA hosts presentation

The Lakes Area Human Resources Association is hosting a presentation called Staying In Bounds-Internal Investigations with speaker Cynthia Bremer.


Bremer is the managing shareholder of the Minneapolis office. She has extensive experience in employment law and complex litigation matters. Her practice focuses on representing corporations and corporate management in all types of employment law matters. While her primary focus has been employment litigation defense in federal and state courts throughout the Midwest, including class and collective actions, Bremer also advises companies on critical employment law issues involving past and present employees. Further, Bremer has litigated numerous restrictive covenants suits, including seeking and defending preliminary injunctions and merit proceedings. In addition to extensive litigation and advising experience in employment law, Bremer's experience also includes securities arbitrations, commercial and civil litigation, and intellectual property litigation.

The presentation will focus on several aspects of the internal investigation process: Before the Investigation, Why Investigate? Laying the Foundation, Conducting Effective Investigations,

Interviewing the Parties, Considerations in the Unionized Workplace, Post-Investigation Steps.

This presentation will provide HR representatives with practical skills to conduct appropriate workplace investigations.

Key learning objectives are: Outline the legal landscape that makes good investigations a necessary tool for HR; Provide practical tools to assist HR (and others) with conducting thorough and appropriate investigations in the workplace; Describe options for investigation conclusions and follow-up.

The event is 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday, at Prairie Bay Grill and Catering, 15115 Edgewood Drive, Baxter. Go to for more information. Contact Robert Backes at for more details. The event is free to paid members and first time guests interested in LAHRA and $25 for guests.

Seminar focuses on retirement


LITTLE FALLS-Will you have enough to retire? Will your retirement income last? Are your assets protected? This free Thrivent Financial seminar is focused on getting the most out of retirement dollars. The seminar will be presented by Carlyle Olsen. It will take place at 3 p.m. Wednesdays, Jan. 11, 18, and 25 at the Little Falls Senior Center, 510 Seventh St. NE., Little Falls. For more information call Olsen at 320-632-1655.

Business After Hours set in Crosby

Join Unity Bank for Business After Hours from 5-7 p.m. Thursday at the Crosby Bar, 212 W. Main St,. in Crosby.

Business After Hours is a Cuyuna Lakes Chamber function for members of the business community and is also open to the public. Participants are invited to bring their business cards and network while enjoying hors d'oeuvres, refreshments, and raffle prizes.

As a courtesy to the host, advanced registration is recommended.

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