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Biz Buzz for June 30, 2014


* Grandma’s Restaurant Co. announced the following hires and promotions:

Sean Lewis was hired as sous chef of Grandma’s Saloon and Grill in Canal Park, Duluth. Lewis is the previous chef and owner of Nokomis Restaurant, where he developed and oversaw the daily operation of a 175-seat restaurant and bar for eight years. He is a certified chef de cuisine from the Opryland Culinary Institute in Tennessee, holds an associate degree in hospitality management and is a certified hospitality supervisor and food and beverage executive.

Kirk Kjenaas was promoted to sous chef of Grandma’s Saloon and Grill in Virginia. Kjenaas joined Grandma’s in 2004 as line cook at the Canal Park location and worked kitchen positions at both Duluth restaurants as well as sous chef at Little Angie’s Cantina in Duluth.  He earned an associate degree from Mesabi Range Community College in political science and social studies and is a Minnesota certified food manager.

Katie Collard was promoted to service and beverage manager of Grandma’s Sports Garden Event Center in Duluth. Collard joined Grandma’s in 2010 as host at The Great American Bar and Grill in Duluth. Collard also worked as a server and front of house supervisor at Grandma’s Sports Garden. Collard earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth in organizational management.

Nikki Anderson was transferred to Bellisio’s Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar as service and beverage manager. She joined Grandma’s in 2007 at Little Angie’s Cantina as a server and then worked as bartender and supervisor. She was promoted and transferred in 2012 to service and beverage manager at Grandma’s Sports Garden. Anderson earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UMD and she is a Minnesota certified food manager.

Jessica Robinson was promoted to assistant general manager of Grandma’s Saloon and Grill in Canal Park. Robinson  joined Grandma’s in 2002 as a server. She was promoted to front of the house supervisor in May 2004; and to service and beverage manager in 2007. Robinson earned a bachelor’s degree in art education from UMD and is a Minnesota certified food manager.

* Bob Sherman was named capital campaign director in the Duluth offices of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. He will lead efforts to raise $10.5 million for the new Center for Changing Lives. The center, to be located on Superior Street between 14th and 15th avenues east in Duluth, will serve as a hub for all of LSS services for homeless and at-risk youth that will include transitional housing, permanent supportive housing and a walk-in teen clinic. Previously, Sherman was director of development for the College of Education and Human Service Professions at UMD, was the first dean of the School of Business and Technology at the College of St. Scholastica and was CEO of Character Education Partnership in Washington. He is graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas and holds a law degree from the

University of Texas School of Law in Austin.

* Dr. Krista Warren, a pathologist, joined Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth. Warren earned her medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis and  completed a residency in anatomic and clinical pathology and a fellowship in surgical pathology at the University of Minnesota Medical Center-Fairview in Minneapolis. She is certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties in anatomic and clinical pathology.

* Northland Foundation announced Christine Bussey was hired as the registered nurse and manager of the Northland Village-Hoyt Lakes Assisted Living Community, where she will supervise the care of residents at the 20-suite facility. Bussey holds a nursing degree from Hibbing Community College and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the College of St. Scholastica. She also holds an accounting degree from Mesabi Range Community and Technical College. Previously, Bussey was a nurse at Fairview Range in Hibbing.

* TKDA announced the following hires in its Duluth office:

Nicholas Maki joined as a graduate engineer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Shawn Meyer was hired as a land surveyor-in-training. He holds a bachelor’s degree in land surveying and mapping from St. Cloud State University.

* Mike Reagan joined Otis-Magie Insurance Agency Inc. Reagan has more than 10 years of sales experience, most recently working in niche market commercial property and casualty insurance. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing from the University of Minnesota Duluth and is a licensed agent in Minnesota for property/casualty insurance and life/health insurance. Reagan’s focus at Otis-Magie will be in commercial property and casualty insurance and in group and individual health insurance.

* Maurices announced the following hires and promotions in its Duluth office:

Amy Brouillette was hired in the planner II role.

Krista Suchy Lohse joined in a merchandising administrative support role.

Shari Marshik was promoted to senior manager, content marketing. Previously, Marshik was the field style manager for Maurices.

Denise Regstad was promoted to merchandise promotion and testing analyst. Previously, she was a distribution analyst.

Abby Stock was transferred to the Duluth office as an assistant buyer for dresses. Previously, Stock was an assistant manager in a Maurices store.


*, based in Grand Rapids, and Lindner Media, based in Baxter, Minn., were named a Bronze Winner in the 2014 Telly Awards for their piece titled “The Effectiveness of Spybaiting.” Spybaiting is a new technique that surfaced from Japan in the last year for catching freshwater bass in clear, pressured fisheries. This  one-minute commercial tip highlights the effectiveness and fundamentals of the technique and gives anglers an underwater view of the presentation from a fish’s vantage point.

* Benna Ford was named the winner of the 2014 Customer Satisfaction Cup for May. Its service satisfaction score of 90.5 was the top in Benna Ford’s zone in the Twin Cities region.

In addition, John Toman, a sales and leasing consultant at Benna Ford in Superior, was named a Level Four achiever in the Ford Employee Excellence program. The Level Four designation places Toman in the top 3 percent of all sales consultants based off sales targets and customer satisfaction scores from 2013.

Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota was recognized as a 2014 Outstanding Financial Advocate by Lutheran Social Service Financial Counseling. The award honors people and organizations that serve to improve economic justice and advocate for people and families in vulnerable financial situations.

* Northeast Minnesota Office of Job Training announced Kari Paulsen won the Minnesota Family Investment Program Counselor of the Year award, and Carol Stegmeir won a lifetime achievement award for her work with the Trade Adjustment Act program at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Joint Counselors Conference in Rochester on June 12.

* Miners National Bank of Eveleth announced it received a five-star rating from Bauer Financial Inc. based on March 31 financial data. MNBE has maintained the rating for 31 consecutive months.


* The University of Wisconsin-Superior Center for Continuing Education announced Laura Gregory of Duluth graduated from the Transportation and Logistics Online Program. This program provides training specific to transportation, logistics, supply chain and management. Upon successful completion of the program, the American Society of Transportation and Logistics grants the internationally recognized CTL credential.

* Yoga North International SomaYoga Institute announced it achieved international accreditation for its training of yoga teachers and yoga therapists by the International Association of Yoga Therapists. IAYT supports research and education in yoga and serves as a professional organization for yoga teachers and yoga therapists worldwide.


* Karl Szyszkoski  joined TKDA as a summer intern. Szyszkoski is pursuing a degree in surveying engineering at Michigan Technological University.

* The following people joined Maurices as interns:

Elizabeth Baumgart joined as a technical design intern.

Molly Bechtolt joined as a buying intern.

Paige Duerksen joined as a planning intern.

Jade Golen joined as an apparel CAD design intern.

Kaitlin Nicko joined as digital marketing 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, e-mail, or fax (218) 720-4120. The deadline for submissions is noon Friday.