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Biz Buzz for Aug. 18, 2014


* Duluth-Superior Newspaper Group announced the following hires:

Eric Erjavec was hired as the advertising consultant with the Budgeteer News in Duluth.

Erjavec attended the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth for a marketing degree and is an avid outdoorsman.

Matt Citarella was hired as a part-time custodian at the Duluth News Tribune. Citarella also is employed by the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth.

* The Center for Muscle and Joint Therapy in Superior announced the following hires and promotions:

Lindi Schlotthauer joined the physical therapy staff, specializing in manual treatment of spine/back and foot/ankle disorders. She received her physical therapy and athletic training licensure through the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and most recently worked at Bellin Health Sports Medicine in Green Bay. Schlotthauer has eight years of physical therapy experience and 10 years of athletic training experience.

Kayleen Lahoud joined as a patient advocate and receptionist. Lahoud recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Superior with a degree in exercise science.

Patty Bordes was promoted to compliance/security officer.

Bordes assumes the role of maintaining and enforcing Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act compliance policies. She continues to be responsible for patient

onboarding and clinic promotion.

Wendy Rauzi assumed the role of industrial promotion, specializing in program development for wellness and safety enhancement programs in the commercial community. She continues to be responsible for clinic administration.

* Lake Superior Zoo announced the following promotions and hires:

Samantha Avery Halligan was promoted to assistant director of guest services. She has worked at Lake Superior Zoo for six years, most recently as senior guest services representative. Before her hiring she was a junior docent and husbandry intern. Halligan also works as a veterinarian assistant, fosters animals from local shelters and volunteers at Wildwoods rehabilitation center.

Mark Estes was hired as membership and development coordinator. He previously worked as a Manpower associate and has held positions at Amsoil, Catholic Diocese of Duluth and Superior and Minnesota Power. Estes has been an active volunteer at the zoo for the past 2½ years and a  member since 2006.

Tom Glomske was hired as director of facilities and grounds. He previously worked in higher education teaching industrial mechanical maintenance and industrial technology and held positions in the manufacturing industry as a facility engineer.

Julie O’Connor was hired as director of guest services. She previously worked at Hawk Ridge as a naturalist, volunteer coordinator and director of operations, and as a manager for Black Woods restaurants in Duluth and Proctor. O’Connor has a bachelor’s degree in environmental education and outdoor recreation.

Maicie Sykes was promoted to director of animal management. She has worked at Lake Superior Zoo for more than five years and held positions as a zookeeper and lead zookeeper. Sykes holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Superior in general biology and broad field science.

Shana Vesel was hired as special events coordinator. She previously worked at Essentia Health. Vesel is active with the Duluth Curling Club, where she is a board member and a House of Hearts Curling Bonspiel committee member. She also serves as a volunteer finish line captain for Grandma’s Marathon.

* Essentia Health announced the following hires:

Dr. Dimitrios Giannakidis, a stroke neurologist, joined the Neurology Department at Essentia Health-Duluth Clinic in Duluth. Giannakidis earned a medical degree from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece). He completed a residency in adult neurology at Rutgers University in Newark, N.J., and a fellowship in vascular neurology at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. Giannakidis is certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties in neurology.

Dr. Erin Grimsby, a physiatrist, joined the physical medicine and rehabilitation department at Essentia Health-Duluth Clinic. Grimsby earned a medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis and completed a residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Physician assistantJonathan LaCore joined the Trauma Surgery Department at Essentia Health-Duluth Clinic. A Duluth native, LaCore earned a master’s degree in physician assistant studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

Psychotherapist Nicholas Navarro joined the behavioral health department at Essentia Health-Duluth Clinic. He earned a master’s degree in social work from Loyola University in Chicago and has a special interest treating adults and children with anxiety and depression by using cognitive behavioral therapy.

* Share Advantage Credit Union announced the promotion of Jennifer Stokes to assistant vice president. Stokes has been at Share Advantage Credit Union since 2003 and previously held the title of operations specialist. In addition to her current responsibilities, she also will be responsible for various accounting duties, promotional and marketing campaigns, member service staff supervision and project management. Most recently, Stokes led and completed the implementation of the credit union’s new website, online banking program and mobile deposit. She is the project manager for the mobile banking app scheduled to be released in the fall.

* Joe Schulte joined Entrepreneur Fund as the senior business developer, responsible for developing and strengthening the loan referral network, determining borrower needs, analyzing loan requests, preparing and verifying loan packages with borrowers and preparing written evaluations on recommendations for approval.

Previously, Schulte was the business and loan developer for Region Five Development Commission, where he was responsible for all aspects of business and loan development.

From 1999 through 2011, Schulte was a district manager for Kelly Services, where he successfully developed and implemented strategic sales plans to grow and service businesses in northern Minnesota. Before his work for Kelly Services, Schulte was a corporate administrator for Sears Roebuck and Co. in Chicago for 14 years.

* St. Luke’s hospital in Duluth announced the following hires:

Dr. Shawn Brown joined as an emergency physician. Brown received her medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor and completed her emergency medicine residency at Grand Rapids (Mich.) Medical Education Partners. She is a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Dr. Homam Alkaied joined the Regional Cancer Center as an oncologist and hematologist. Alkaied received his medical degree from Damascus University Medical School in Syria and completed his internal medicine residency, geriatric medicine fellowship and hematology and oncology fellowship at North Shore-LIJ Health Care System-Staten Island University Hospital. Before joining St. Luke’s, Alkaied practiced at Prairie Lakes Healthcare System in Watertown, S.D.

* Stephanie Miller joined Swim Creative as account director. She has more than 15 years of experience working with national brands such as Target, Best Buy, Microsoft and Sony, and will become the account lead for Swim’s growing roster of local, regional and national clients. Miller studied film at the University of Minnesota and worked as a producer in the Twin Cities. She also worked with Target to launch Target Ticket, the brand’s online streaming platform.

* Natalie Froistad will be joining the KQDS FOX 21 morning newscast, FOX Sunrise. Froistad joined the station’s reporting team in October. She will anchor the news portion of the program as well as participate in special segments each day.

* United Way of Greater Duluth announced the hiring of Matthew Hunter as the organization’s president. Hunter, a graduate of Duke University in Durham, N.C., with experience living and working internationally, brings more than 16 years of leadership experience in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. He served as executive director at conflict resolution organization Friends for a Non-Violent World and The Shepherd’s Way, a Florida-based organization providing shelter to homeless families. For the past five years in St. Paul, he served as executive director of Community Shares of Minnesota, a workplace giving federation of 50 member nonprofit organizations.


* Joe Leoni of the Trenti Law Firm in Virginia was selected for inclusion in the 2014 Minnesota Super Lawyers list. Only 5 percent of Minnesota lawyers are awarded this honor each year.


* Andrew Wheeler of Wheeler Associates in Duluth received the Professional Plan Consultant designation from Financial Service Standards Inc. The designation was developed by FSS to help professionals who work with employer-sponsored retirement plans to specialize in this niche of the financial industry.

* Scott M. Wallschlaeger received two professional designations relative to his practice with Midwest Professional Planners Ltd. He received Certified Financial Planner certification and Chartered Retirement Planning Specialist designation. Wallschlaeger is president, a shareholder and director of MPPL, and serves on its investment committee. He is a partner of MPPL Financial and also a member of the Financial Planners Association, Arrowhead Estate Planners and past president of the Lake Superior chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.

* The Minnesota State Bar Association announced Melissa B. Maloney of Fryberger, Buchanan, Smith and Frederick in Duluth was certified as a 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.


* Building Blocks Learning Center, a child care center geared toward kindergarten readiness, will open Sept. 2 at 4402 Haines Road, Duluth. The center’s mission is to provide children with a safe, nurturing and educational environment, where creativity, exploration and questioning are at the forefront of learning.

Tours of the facility are continuing every day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. through the end of August. The phone number is (218) 340-0848 and the website is

* Recovery Church recently opened at 317 W. Superior St., Duluth. The church looks to provide a midweek church experience and is open from

5-9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, with a prayer time from 7:30-8:45 a.m. Thursday. Church pastors are Dwight and Rachel Wickstrom. The phone number is (218) 722-4033 and the website is


* Junior League of Duluth announced it relocated its office headquarters and meeting space to 4031 Grand Ave., Duluth.

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, email, or fax (218) 720-4120. The deadline for submissions is noon Friday.