Business Notes - July 30

CAREER Palomaki named CEO of Wewinabi Inc. ONAMIA--Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures announced Michele Palomaki was hired as CEO for Wewinabi Inc., a wholly owned corporation that includes its non-gaming businesses within the three Districts of the M...

Michele Palomaki
Michele Palomaki


Palomaki named CEO of Wewinabi Inc.

ONAMIA-Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures announced Michele Palomaki was hired as CEO for Wewinabi Inc., a wholly owned corporation that includes its non-gaming businesses within the three Districts of the Mille Lacs Band Reservation.

As CEO, Palomaki will oversee non-gaming businesses including the Grand Market, Grand Makwa Cinema, a Subway and Taco John's franchise, Eddy's Resort, Big Sandy Lodge, Grindstone Laundry, the Hinckley Medical Office Building and four convenience stores.

Prior to this position, Palomaki served the Mille Lacs Band's Executive Branch as the assistant commissioner of administration. In that role, she oversaw Human Resources, information technology, grant writing, the Department of Labor, Circle of Health, Tribal Child Support Enforcement, Mille Lacs Band of Indian Rights department and Government Affairs in addition to managing all Mille Lacs Band District Community Centers, as well as the Urban office.


"Developing an executive team with experience that spans a range of our businesses has always been an important part of managing our company for long-term successes," said Joe Nayquonabe, CEO of Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures and Commissioner of Corporate Affairs for the Mille Lacs Band, in a news release. "We recognize that her experience and education is an ideal fit to lead our non-gaming businesses well into the future, but what interested us more was her examples of empowerment, passion and perseverance, all of which are cornerstones of the culture at Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures."

Palomaki graduated from the College of St. Scholastica, where she earned a bachelor of arts in business management. She began her new role July 5.

Ruttger's hires director of food and beverage

DEERWOOD-Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge hired experienced restaurant executive Michael Murnane to be its director of food and beverage, resort officials announced.

Murnane will be responsible for the successful overall direction, administration and operation of Ruby's Dining Room, Bear Pine Bar, outdoor dining, and the resort's wedding and banquet facilities. He began July 10.

His immediate plans are to take time to learn the resort, gain an understanding of guest expectations and talk a lot to the Ruttger's culinary team led by Executive Chef Terry Dox. After that, he may implement improvements that build upon Ruttger's legacy as a restaurant leader in Minnesota's resort industry.

Murnane brings more than 22 years of restaurant management experience to the job, including the last two years as general manager/chief operating officer at Celts Craft House in Apple Valley. Before that he spent 11 years as general manager at Jensen's Supper Club in Eagan, four years as a sales representative at Grigg's Cooper and Co in St. Paul, two years as general manager at Buffalo Wild Wings in Apple Valley, and three years as general manager at Rascal's Bar and Grill in Apple Valley.

Haukos appointed CRMC revenue cycle director


Arlene Haukos of Ironton was appointed Cuyuna Regional Medical Center's Revenue Cycle Director and will managing health information management, the business office, admitting and the switchboard. She had been serving as health information management director and interim revenue cycle director.

A member of CRMC's staff since 2011, Haukos also served as revenue cycle manager at Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aitkin for three years and as HIM director at Mille Lacs Health System in Onamia for three years and Bethany Good Samaritan Village in Brainerd for six years.

Haukos earned a bachelor of arts degree in healthcare informatics & information management at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth. She is a member of the American Health Information Management Association.

RREAL gains recognition as a top US solar contractor

BACKUS-Local installer Rural Renewable Energy Alliance was named one of the top solar contractors in the United States by Solar Power World magazine.

The Top Solar Contractors list is developed by Solar Power World to recognize the work completed by solar contractors across the United States. Produced annually, the Top Solar Contractors list celebrates the achievements of U.S. solar developers, subcontractors and installers within the utility, commercial and residential markets. The list was released on July 25.

"The 2017 Top Solar Contractors list features 500 of the best solar contractors in the United States," said Kelly Pickerel, managing editor of Solar Power World.

The U.S. solar market installed more than 14,700 MW of solar in 2016, nearly doubling the capacity installed in 2015. For the first time ever, solar was ranked as the No. 1 source of new electric generating capacity additions brought online throughout the year. GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association predict the cumulative U.S. solar market to nearly triple in size over the next five years. By 2022, more than 18 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity will be installed annually, and RREAL, a nonprofit organization, reports it will continue to be a player in adding solar to the grid, especially for low-income households. RREAL's for-profit wing, Real Solar, installs market rate systems and then the proceeds go back into the nonprofit mission.


Chamtcheu named director of mission, spiritual care

Alex Chamtcheu was named director of Mission and Pastoral Care in Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd.

Chamtcheu is board certified by the National Association of Catholic Chaplains and has a bachelor's degree in philosophy and a master's in theology. He worked as a Wisconsin-based staff chaplain for Ascension, a faith-based nonprofit that is the world's largest Catholic health care organization. He also has served as a prison chaplain and a Catholic school teacher.

"Growing in Cameroon West Africa, I was used to seeing missionaries around but I never imagined that one day I would be a missionary," Chamtcheu said in a news release.

St. Joseph's Medical Center is a Benedictine sponsored hospital part of Essentia Health. Essentia's six values of Quality, Hospitality, Respect, Justice, Stewardship and Teamwork guide the care provided each day to accomplish the mission of making a healthy difference in people's lives.





Herberger's hosts Back to School Fashion show

The annual Back to School Fashion show takes place during Kids' Fest will be at all Herberger's stores on Aug. 5.

The department store is inviting families with children between the ages of 4 and 12 to participate as models in the fashion show wearing their favorite Back to School outfits from Herberger's. Kid's Fest from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. includes games and activities with a fashion show/parade at noon. Families can visit their local store now to select their outfits and register for the fashion show. Participating children will receive 30 percent savings on their back to school outfits (some exclusions apply).

Ziegler CAT announces executive changes

Ziegler CAT announced the promotions of Andreas Hoeft to president and William M. Hoeft to executive vice president.

Andreas Hoeft was previously executive vice president of sales. In his new position he will provide strategic leadership for the company and guide it toward its long-range goals.

William Hoeft was previously executive vice president of product support and mining. In addition to these areas, he will now have responsibility for all sales and customer-support operations for all Ziegler product lines.

In addition, Mark Allen, senior executive vice president, will retire Sept. 1 after 34 years of service to Ziegler. Allen started working at Ziegler in 1983 as a staff accountant and went on to serve as controller and chief financial officer. Founded in 1914, Ziegler is a family-owned company employing more than 1,800 people in 27 communities in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri.


New email for business notes submission

Submissions to business notes now may be sent to for inclusion in the business section, which prints on Sundays in the Business and Money section and may include printing in Monday's paper.

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