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Biz Buzz for June 23, 2014


* WDIO/WIRT-TV announced the following hires:

Julie Kruse joined as a member of the reporter/producer staff. Kruse holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of

Minnesota Duluth. Previously, she completed a news internship at KARE-11 in the Twin Cities and has experience writing, shooting and editing stories.

Briggs LeSavage was added to the reporting staff. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication and journalism from the University of St. Thomas.  Briggs was

the news director of, the St. Thomas’ student media website. She and her staff won an Eric Sevareid First Place Award and Society of Professional Journalism Mark of Excellence Award in the student website categories.

* Dr. Gregory Snyder, a vascular and interventional radiologist, joined Essentia Health-Duluth Clinic. Snyder earned his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, where he also completed a residency in diagnostic radiology and a fellowship in vascular and interventional radiology at the University of Minnesota.

He is certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties in diagnostic radiology and vascular and interventional radiology. Snyder is a past president of the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice and also serves on the board of directors for the Federation of State Medical Boards.

* Saturn Systems Software Engineering announced the following hires:

Jason Aakhus joined as a senior software engineer. Aakhus is a graduate of the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks and previously worked for Digi-Key Corp. He is developing a cloud-based repository and reporting tool for scientific data received from distributed laboratory test chambers.

Brian LaPine was hired as a programmer. LaPine is a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and is supporting multiple Microsoft.NET-based desktop applications that communicate and integrate with industrial devices.

Mike LaValley joined as a programmer. LaValley is set to graduate in the fall from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He joined a team of developers providing support and enhancements for a suite of applications used to collect and manage foreclosure case and counseling session data.

Bergur Gudbergsson joined as a programmer. Berg graduated from UMD and is enhancing an industrial software application that is used to test and log tolerances on manufactured products.

Aaron Anders was hired as a programmer. Aaron is a graduate of UWS and is working with a San Francisco-based client, developing software that helps law firms

manage large amounts of documentation associated with their case loads.


* Re/Max 1 announcedJonathan Thornton was named sales leader and the Freeman Team was listing leader for May.

* Mercury Investment, a national real estate investment firm with headquarters in Duluth, received the Renovation of the Year award from Marriott International for the renovation and ownership transition of the Courtyard by Marriott in Missoula, Mont. Mercury purchased the property in December 2012 and invested more than $1.3 million in property enhancements.


* Joanne M. Sher, a professional genealogist in Duluth, received a certificate of completion for more than 40 hours of foundation and advanced instruction at the Forensic Genealogy Institute in Dallas. Forensic genealogy encompasses genealogical research, analysis and reporting in cases with legal implications.

* Swim Creative, a Duluth-based advertising firm, successfully gained its Google Partner certification as experts in Google AdWords, a form of online advertising that appears when people search on Google and its partner websites.

* St. Luke’s earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for accreditation by demonstrating compliance with national standards for health care quality and safety in hospitals. The accreditation award recognizes St. Luke’s dedication to continuous compliance with the Joint Commission’s state-of-the-art standards.

*James Schultz from LHB Inc.’s Duluth office, earned his professional engineer-electrical licensure from the state of Minnesota. Schultz provides electrical design services for the Industrial group and holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He specializes in design, analysis, project management and construction management of electrical distribution and equipment. Schultz’s designs focus on energy efficiency, code compliance, ease of construction, cost-effectiveness, reliability and effective maintenance.


* Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota announced Susan Aulie and Susan Lyons of its Financial Counseling office in Duluth will retire Friday.

Aulie has worked for LSS since 1988 and started as a program coordinator, then served as a manager and senior director of the service.

Lyons joined LSS in 1990 to manage the LSS Loan Fund and then joined Financial Counseling as its first debt management specialist. For the past 12 years she has served as the customer service manager.


* Entrepreneur Fund announced it will move its Iron Range office to 551 Hat Trick Ave., Eveleth, on Wednesday. The website is and the phone number is (218) 749-4191.


* June McLachlan of Hermantown was appointed to the Minnesota Board of Nursing by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton. Her term expires on Jan. 1, 2018.


* Saturn Systems Software Engineering announced the following interns:

Robert Carter will intern in the Grand Rapids office for the summer and will be enhancing and refactoring an existing Android mobile application used by civil engineers in the field.  

David Anderson is returning as an intern to the Duluth office and will work on a variety of .NET Web-based solutions.

* LHB Inc. announced the following summer interns to its Duluth office:

Katie Ozan will work as a financial college intern.

Isaac Serre, Zachary Thompson and Darren Preiner will work as civil college interns.

Austen Bryan and Reilly Kedrowski will work as electrical college interns.

Tom Bodeker will work as an administrative college intern.

Samuel Torvinen will work as a mechanical college intern.

John Tuffield will work as a technical college intern.

Ian Mattila will work as a document scanning technician intern.

Brook MacInnes will work as a marketing college intern.

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.