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Biz Buzz for May 19, 2014


* Chelsey Stonesfier joined Pearson and von Elbe Advertising as a graphic designer and media developer. Stonesfier will provide various Web and print design services and work with clients to meet their creative needs. Previously, she was a graphic designer and production artist at Footlocker/Eastbay in Wausau, Wis. Stonesfier holds a bachelor’s degree in multimedia design from the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

* Dr. Ruth Thomson joined Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth as a stroke neurologist.

Thomson completed her medical degree at Des Moines (Iowa) University College of Osteopathic Medicine and her residency at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis. As a stroke neurologist, she completed an additional year of training beyond what a general neurologist completes. She is certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties in psychiatry and neurology.

* Maurices announced the following hires and promotion in the Duluth office:

June Beckstead joined Maurices as senior vice president of trend and design. In her new role, Beckstead will be instrumental in enabling Maurices to build its design capabilities.

Katie Fast was hired as a senior procurement specialist. Dan Hondl was hired as a Web analyst.

Natalie Kleiner was hired in a merchandising administrative support role.

Carissa Reilly joined was hired as an associate technical designer.

Sarah Sawyer was hired as a senior creative copywriter.

Kelly Thompson-Sather was hired as a computer-aided design/fixture plan technician.

Gail Bentler was hired as an accounting technician.

Michael Salk joined Ascena as an information technology project manager.

Michael Mergen was promoted to manager of information technology, financial planning and analysis for Ascena. Previously, he was an IT finance analyst.

* Saturn Systems Software Engineering in Duluth announced the following hires:

Megan McChesney joined as a programmer. McChesney is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and formerly was contracting in the Chippewa Falls area. She is performing software integration between e-commerce websites and corporate resource planning systems.

Shawn Rakowski was hired as a senior software engineer. Rakowski is a Bemidji State University graduate and previously worked for Digi-Key Corp. He is working on a team of Microsoft .NET developers creating an online solution for automating banking transfers.

Erik Wisuri joined as a programmer. Wisuri is a graduate of Northern Michigan University in Marquette and is working on a team that is using Microsoft technologies to develop an online tool used by engineering firms to track the location and usage of equipment in the field.

Aaron Hislop was hired as a lead software engineer. Hislop is a University of Minnesota Duluth graduate and previously worked for IBM in Rochester, Minn. He joins an existing team of Java developers that are developing a Web-based call center management tool.

Ryan Grewatz joined as a programmer. Grewatz is a UMD graduate and will be developing an Android-based mobile application that supports streaming video from a remote industrial inspection camera.

Charlie Forsyth, Heath Birkholm and Meghan Callahan were hired as quality assurance software testers.

Forsyth is a University of Wisconsin-Superior graduate and previously worked for United Health Group. He is assigned to a team of quality assurance engineers performing verification on a complex enterprise project portfolio management tool.

Birkholm is a graduate of Hennepin Technical College in Brooklyn Park, Minn., and previously worked for Hallmark Business Connections. He will be performing testing and feature verification on various software projects.

Callahan is a graduate of Lake Superior College in Duluth and previously worked for Essentia Health. She is an experienced quality assurance engineer and will perform testing and feature verification on various software projects.

* Page Me Publications LLC announced Claudia McBride was hired as general manager of Duluth Superior Living magazine. The new bi-monthly lifestyle magazine will launch in July and focus on the ways people live, work and play in the Twin Ports area. McBride will serve as general manager and account representative, overseeing the magazine as well as developing and maintaining relationships with advertisers.

* Ben Luoma joined Swim Creative as director of interactive media. His main tasks include Web development and graphic design as well as working with clients to solve information technology issues. Luoma holds a degree in graphic design from the University of Minnesota Duluth and has more than seven years of programming and design experience at companies such as IKONICS Corp. and Flint Interactive.

* Becky Kangas joined The Wilderness at Fortune Bay as the food and beverage manager. Previously, she was the food and beverage manager at Mesaba Country Club in Hibbing.  Kangas holds a bachelor’s degree in recreation and leisure services from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

* GPM Inc. announced the hiring of Ariel Johnson as an inside sales associate. Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of

Minnesota Duluth in organizational management and previously worked as an assistance manager for Best Buy Mobile.

* CW Technology announced Laura Griesy was hired in an administrative capacity. Griesy is a graduate of Lake Superior College in Duluth and has a background in banking and operations management.

* Goodwill announced Kent Fugere and Cinda Weiss were named retail sales managers in Duluth. The two will oversee Goodwill’s 13 area stores.

Previously, Fugere was a retail category specialist for Eby-Brown and was responsible for 80 stores from St. Cloud to International Falls and from Grand Rapids to Grand Marais.

Weiss has worked for Goodwill for four years, starting as a sales clerk in the Cloquet store before being promoted to a store supervisor in Brainerd.

* St. Louis County Historical Society announced the hiring of Harry Cottrell as the Veterans’ Memorial Hall program manager. Cottrell is an Air Force veteran and attended college on the G.I. bill. He has experience in management and administration of public, private and nonprofit organizations and more than 20 years of experience with community and technical college.

* Dana Bourdage joined Arrowhead Abstract and Title Co. and the Carlton County Abstract and Title Co. as a closing agent. She has nine years of experience in the title industry.


* Duluth-based LHB Inc. was named as one of the top engineering and architectural firms in the nation by Engineering News-Record. LHB moved up to No. 323 this year from No. 381. This is the third year LHB was listed on the ENR Top 500 Design Firms List.

LHB also received two Merit Awards in the general design category from the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape architects for its work on the Hazelden Ignatia Courtyard in Center City, Minn., and the Minneapolis Community Technical College Fine Arts Plaza.

* Katrina M. Viegas of the law firm of Gerlach, Beaumier and Trogdon was recognized as a North Star Lawyer by the Minnesota State Bar Association for providing at least 50 hours of pro bono legal services in 2013 to low-income people at no fee and without expectation of a fee. Viegas concentrates her practice in bankruptcy, debtor-creditor law, family law and estate planning.

* HTK Marketing Communications received several awards — including one gold, three silver and three merit awards — for its marketing and advertising work from the Healthcare Advertising Awards. Two of the agency’s Duluth clients stood out in the esteemed competition, with top awards going to Essentia Health for its 2012 annual report titled “From One to Another” and to Miller-Dwan Foundation for its 2012 annual report titled “Believe.”

A national panel of judges evaluated entries based on creativity, quality, message effectiveness, consumer appeal, graphic design and overall impact.

* TKDA, with offices in Duluth and St. Paul, was ranked as the No. 302 design firm in the nation by ENR as part of its annual Top 500 Design Firms List.

TKDA also received the Finance and Commerce Top Project Award for the University of Minnesota’s 17th Avenue Residence and Dining Hall in Minneapolis. The work on this $62.5 million facility was done in collaboration with Mackey Mitchell Architects and was completed by the firm’s Duluth staff. The Duluth International Airport also was named a top project. TKDA’s Duluth staff provided interior design and construction administration services on the airport.

Top projects were judged for their degree of difficulty, creativity in design, innovative construction techniques, cooperation among contractors and management, and sustainability efforts.

* CW Technology was recognized by ShoreTel for achieving above World Class Customer Satisfaction, ranking in the top

10 percent of the more than 1,000 ShoreTel partners. ShoreTel measures the customer experience using the globally recognized Net Promoter Score. CW Technology’s score consistently surpasses what is considered world-class level of customer care in the industry.  ShoreTel is an all-in-one IP phone system with unified communications and contact center capabilities, offering secure cloud and internet-based voice communications.  CW Technology has offices in Duluth, St. Cloud and the Twin Cities.

* Lindquist and Co. in Duluth was awarded Best of Remodeling 2014 by Houzz, a leading online platform for residential

remodeling and design. Lindquist and Co. was selected in the customer satisfaction category chosen by the more than 11 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community.

* Big Water Coffee Roasters in Bayfield was presented the Rising Star Award by the Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board for its excellence in the industry and its outstanding accomplishments in growing its business. The company opened its cafe in 2007 and began roasting its own coffee a year later.


* The University of Wisconsin-Superior announced Jill Hinners of the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse and Katelyn Baumann of UWS graduated from the nonprofit administration and fund development certificate program offered through the Center for Continuing Education.

The combination certificate program provides training specific to managing a not-for-profit organization or government agency, including a specific area of focus. Participants complete a minimum of 100 hours of training aimed at strengthening their skills in a variety of areas including: strategic planning, financial management, fundraising, human resources and program evaluation.

UWS also announced Jennifer Jubenville of Catholic Charities graduated from the fund development certificate program.

The program provides training specific to individuals who are new to fund development. Participants complete 48 hours of training that provide a solid base of knowledge about fundraising, including: how to get grants and gifts, special event fundraising, social media planning and strategic marketing.


* Kat’s Eyes Optical is now open in the new Blue Stone Commons complex. Owner Kat Leek is a 35-year licensed optician in Arizona, is American Board of Opticianry Certified and is a certified continuing education speaker, as well as being published regularly in an international trade magazine. The address is 1016 Woodland Ave., Duluth, the phone number is (218) 724-3444 and the website is


* Mortgage Lending Services LLC announced Thomas Jussila was named a Scotsman Guide 2013 Top Orginator for the second consecutive year. Jussila, a Duluth native, was the only loan originator from Minnesota to make the top 150 list. He ranked first in Minnesota for closing 308 loans in 2013. To be eligible for the Scotsman Guide Top Originators recognition, originators must have had at least $30 million in loan volume or 100 closed home loans for the 2013 calendar year.

Biz Buzz is a collection of business news tidbits from around the region. Send your  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.