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Biz Buzz for July 28


* Duluth-Superior Newspaper group announced the following.

Brent Theisen recently joined the Duluth Forum Communications teams as the new FCC sales analyst. He will handle national and major accounts and be a key player in company negotiations. Theisen previously was a financial analyst with IBM in Rochester, Minn., as well as a sale/specialty shop manager with Scheels All Sports in St. Cloud.

LaReesa Sandretsky was named editor of the Lake County News Chronicle in Two Harbors. Sandretsky, a native of Duluth and Two Harbors High School graduate, joined LCNC in June 2012 as a reporter, covering education, sports, county government and business, among other assignments. Sandretsky graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in English.

* St. Luke’s announced Brent Williams was named pharmacy manager and will assist the director of pharmacy in the leadership and management of the retail and hospital pharmacy locations.

Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy studies from North Dakota State University in Fargo. He is an alumnus of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Pharmacy Leadership Academy and holds credentials as a certified professional in patient safety.

* Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity will welcome Dave Nonnemacher as executive director, replacing Daryl Yankee who is leaving after five years with the


Nonnemacher, of Two Harbors, has 25 years of experience working in higher education and community development. For the past four years, he served as the United States-based director for New Horizons Foundation of Lupeni, Romania, a Romanian nongovernmental organization that works to empower young people.

* TKDA announced the addition of architect Ben Olson to its Duluth staff. A native of Hoyt Lakes, Olson is a member of the American Institute of Architects and holds a degree in architecture from North Dakota State University in Fargo. He has extensive experience in private and public markets, with a focus on municipal projects with environmentally sustainable design.

* Essentia Health in Duluth announced the following staff additions.

Arrin Moran, a nurse practitioner, joined the Trauma Surgery Department at Essentia Health-Duluth Clinic in Duluth. She earned a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and is certified as an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Dr. Brianne Brandt-Griffith joined the obstetrics and gynecology department at Essentia Health-Duluth Clinic.

Brandt-Griffith earned her medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis and completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Rochester Medical Center-Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. She is certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties in obstetrics and gynecology.

Brandt-Griffith grew up in Cotton and attended Hermantown High School.

* Maurices in Duluth announced the following hires and promotions during July.

Michael Latsch was hired as a customer insights analyst (one).

Allie Sall was hired as a style coordinator.

Jenifer Fitcher was promoted to distribution analyst from distributor.

Tim Friendshuh was hired as director of information technology solutions for Ascena Retail Group Inc.

* Deborah DeLuca will join the Duluth Seaway Port Authority as government and environmental affairs director effective Tuesday.

DeLuca is an  expert on redevelopment projects and environmental policy, as well as a founding board member of Minnesota Brownfields, a nonprofit established to ensure the effective reuse of brownfield sites across the state.

For 14 years she served as principal of DeLuca Strategies and provided advice to public, private and nonprofit sector clients. She has

experience in grant-writing, development/implementation of funding strategies, project management, government relations and outreach education, and has secured more than $25 million in state, local and federal money for clients during her career.

She has more than 25 years of public and private sector experience in the U.S. and abroad. She’s held positions such as hydrogeologist with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, supervisor of the Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup Program for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and site redevelopment supervisor for Braun Intertec Corp. in Minneapolis. She also served as chairwoman of the Minnesota Brownfields Board from 2011-13.

DeLuca graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and a master’s degree in land resources, with a focus on environmental chemistry and environmental policy.


* Peter Kowitz was named pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran church and Immanuel Lutheran Church in Proctor. He will begin serving both congregations on Aug. 1.

Kowitz is a native of White Bear Lake, Minn., and graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, with a double major in religion and music education. He has taught middle school choir, theater production and served as a youth director, and also ministered at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C.


* Kenneth D. Butler of the law firm of Kenneth D. Butler Ltd. was named a 2014 Minnesota Super Lawyer.


* Formerly of Hackensack, Minn., Beaver Air Tours by Lake Country Air Service and pilot John Justad recently relocated to Duluth and operate out of Duluth’s Sky Harbor Airport. Beaver Air Tours offers aerial sightseeing tours in the Duluth/

Superior area in a de Havilland Beaver seaplane from summer until mid-October. Each tour can accommodate up to seven people and range from

10 minutes to an hour. The telephone number is (612) 812-1223 and the website is


* TKDA announced Rich Baxter was hired as an intern. Baxter is a Two Harbors native and has a degree in architecture from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. He is pursuing a degree in civil engineering at the University of Minnesota 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.