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Biz Buzz for Aug. 11


  • Erin Thielbar joined St. Luke’s Laurentian Medical Center in Mountain Iron as a certified nurse practitioner. Thielbar completed her nursing assistant certificate at Lake Superior College in Duluth, her associate degree in nursing at Hibbing Community College, her bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, N.D., and her master’s degree in family nurse practitioner studies at UND. Before joining St. Luke’s, Thielbar worked as a clinical informatics analyst and registered nurse at Essentia Health-

Virginia Clinic and as a registered nurse at Fairview University Medical Center-Mesabi in Hibbing and St. Luke’s hospital in Duluth.

  • Lake Superior Dental announced Dr. Jeff Polzin joined its staff. Polzin, a Duluth native, holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., and received his doctorate of medical dentistry from the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health in Mesa, Ariz. He also holds a certificate in public health with a dental emphasis from ASDOH. While in dental school, Polzin provided oral health care and education for underserved populations throughout the Phoenix area with organizations such as ACTS Ministry Outreach, Special Olympics and Give Kids a Smile. During his fourth year in dental school, Polzin treated patients at the Lake Superior Community Health Center in Duluth, the White Bird Clinic in Eugene, Ore., El Centro Community Health Center in Taos, N.M., the Alaska Native Medical Center and Southcentral Foundation in Anchorage, Alaska. Polzin also participated in dental service trips to the Arctic Circle and Honduras.
  • Essentia Health announced the following hires:

Physician assistant Erica Gyorfi joined the Family Medicine Department at the Essentia Health-Spooner Clinic in Spooner. Gyorfi earned a master’s degree in physician assistant studies from Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla. She is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

Dr. Nahi Kiblawi, an endocrinologist, joined the Essentia Health-Duluth Clinic in Duluth. Kiblawi earned his medical degree from the University of Toledo Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio. He completed both a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis. Kiblawi is certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties in internal medicine.

Dr. Sitasravya Devathi, a hospitalist, joined the Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth. As a hospitalist, Devathi will care for patients hospitalized for a variety of health conditions. Devathi earned a medical degree from Andhra Medical College in Visakhapatnam, India. She completed a residency in internal medicine at Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education in Scranton, Pa.

Nurse practitioner Mandy Blume joined the Family Medicine Department at the Essentia Health-Hayward Clinic in Hayward. Blume earned a master’s degree in nursing and a post-master’s certificate from the University of Minnesota School of Nursing in Minneapolis. She is certified as an adult and gerontology nurse practitioner by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Psychotherapist Laura B. Hoffarth joined the Behavioral Health Department at the Essentia Health-Duluth Clinic. She will care for children, adolescents and young adults. Hoffarth earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Dr. Jason Schultz, an interventional cardiologist, joined the Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Heart and Vascular Center in Duluth. As an interventional cardiologist, Schultz will care for patients who are experiencing heart problems by performing state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. Schultz earned his medical degree from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine in Omaha, Neb. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and a fellowship in cardiovascular disease at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He completed a fellowship in interventional cardiology and structural heart disease at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif. Schultz has a special interest in treating patients who suffer from narrowed heart valves with a new minimally invasive technology called transcatheter aortic valve replacement, which replaces heart valves without the need for surgery. Schultz is certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease and interventional cardiology.

  • Kyle K. Dickinson was promoted to investment adviser representative of Midwest Professional Planners Ltd., a Securities and Exchange Commission-

registered investment advisory firm filed in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Texas and Florida. Kyle joined the MPPL team in 2013 as an adviser assistant and recently acquired his Financial Industry Regulatory Series 65 license, making him eligible for registration with MPPL. He administers and coordinates the overall functions of the Duluth area MPPL office and works with individuals and families to help establish successful financial plans for retirement and investment programs. Dickinson’s responsibilities include data gathering, data entry, modeling, case design, scenario building, plan development and presentation development. He serves as an in-house expert on all financial planning software and Web-based processes, as well as processing client paperwork and reports. Dickinson also helps develop effective marketing plans through MPPL Financial. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth in financial markets and financial planning.

  • Max Pittman recently joined Day Tripper of Duluth as a guide. Pittman has guided trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, on Lake Superior and in the rivers and mountains of the American West. He is a certified Wilderness First Responder and is also certified in CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators.
  • United Way of Greater Duluth 2-1-1 community information and referral call center announced the addition of Patty Johnson. Johnson previously worked at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Financial Aid Office.
  • Northeastern Minnesota’s public defender’s office announced the appointment of Gerald K. Wallace and Matthey W. Benfield as assistant public defenders.

Wallace, a Duluth native, handles misdemeanor and juvenile cases in southern St. Louis County and all criminal cases arising in Cook County for the 6th District office. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Hamline University in St. Paul and received his law degree from the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. Wallace is a graduate of the Ohio Public Defender Trial School and was admitted to the Minnesota Bar in May 2014. His private practice is limited to business, criminal, elder and family law.

Benfield was the sole practitioner at the Benfield Law Office in Cloquet. While there, he focused primarily on family law and criminal defense. Before starting his own practice, Benfield was an associate with Newby and Lingren Ltd. in Cloquet. He is a graduate of Hamline University School of Law and is admitted to practice law in Minnesota.

  • Nicole Widdes joined Divine Destinations in Cloquet as a travel agent. She has successfully completed various trainings with a special emphasis on Mexico.


  • The Watson District Office of Northwestern Mutual in Duluth announced it received two awards for its internship program at the company’s annual meeting in Milwaukee. The Duluth office, under the leadership of managing director Bill Watson, was recognized as a Top Five District Office and Daniel Moseley, college unit director, was recognized as a Top Five College Unit Director.

As a college unit director, Moseley is a member of the office’s leadership team and responsible for recruiting, training and leadership development of interns from area campuses, all while maintaining a high-level financial planning practice. The Top College Unit Director award is based on this criteria: number of interns, intern production and the college unit director’s personal production.

  • These attorneys were selected for inclusion in the 2014 Minnesota Super Lawyers list: Nicholas Ostapenko, John Nys, Joseph Roby Jr. and Robert Zallar, all of the law firm Johnson, Killen and Seiler in Duluth; and Stephanie A. Ball, Shawn M. Dunlevy, Robert R. Kanuit, Paul B. Kilgore, Paul A. Loras, Daniel D. Maddy and James H. Stewart, all of the law firm Fryberger, Buchanan, Smith and Frederick in Duluth. Only 5 percent of Minnesota lawyers are awarded this honor each year. In addition, these attorneys were named 2014 Rising Stars by Minnesota Super Lawyers Magazine: Roy Christensen, Jessica Durbin and Michele Miller, all of Johnson, Killen and Seiler; and Eric S. Johnson, Dehlia Seim and Mia E. Thibodeau, of Fryberger, Buchanan, Smith and Frederick.
  • Century 21 Gilderman and Associates announced Jodi Olson was recognized as Top Sales Agent for July.


  • The Minnesota State Bar Association announced the recertification of Steven C. Overom of Maki and Overom in Duluth as an MSBA Board Certified Real Property Law Specialist. The certification program is administered by the MSBA and approved by the State Board of Legal Certification.

The certified specialist designation is earned by leading attorneys who have completed a rigorous approval process, including examination in the specialty area, peer review and documented experience. Certified attorneys demonstrate superior knowledge, skill and integrity in their specific field and can use the designation of specialist to advertise their credentials.


  • The Northeastern District Dental Society announced its 2014-15 elected officers are: Dr. Gary Hedin, president; Dr. Gary Madison, first vice president; Dr. Brian McDonald, second vice president; and Dr. Peter Mayer, secretary-treasurer. The Northeastern District Dental Society is the regional component of the Minnesota Dental Association and the American Dental Association. Dedicated to preventive and cost-effective dentistry, the Minnesota Dental Association is a voluntary membership organization for Minnesota dentists. The MDA provides continuing education for dentists and public education information to promote good oral health and positive dental decision making.


  • Chef Andrew Greaves recently opened The Food Service, a gourmet food delivery service, in Duluth. The business operates out of a commercial kitchen in downtown Duluth and offers delivery service up to 30 miles from Duluth’s city center with a five-meal minimum. Lunch delivery hours are 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday and orders can be placed at (218) 213-2820. It is preferred that orders be placed at least four hours in advance. The Food Service can be found online at

Biz Buzz is a collection of business news tidbits from around the region. Send your business openings or closings, personnel changes or other news of interest in the business community to Biz Buzz, Duluth News Tribune, 424 W. First St., Duluth, MN 55802, e-mail, or fax (218) 720-4120. The deadline for submissions is noon Friday.