Biz Buzz for April 5

HIRES AND PROMOTIONS Martin J. Beskow was named chief financial officer of Blue Water Capital Advisors LLC in Duluth. Beskow also currently serves as vice president-portfolio manager for Blue Water. His career has included analyst positions at In...



  • Martin J. Beskow was named chief financial officer of Blue Water Capital Advisors LLC in Duluth. Beskow also currently serves as vice president-portfolio manager for Blue Water. His career has included analyst positions at Interlachen Capital Group, Stonehill Financial, US Bancorp/Piper Jaffray and Robert W. Baird and Co.

    He is a certified chartered financial analyst, a certified public accountant (inactive) and is accredited in business valuation.


  • For the fourth consecutive year, Always and Forever in Superior was awarded the Diamond Award from Savvi Formalwear in Minneapolis. The award is presented to Savvi dealers who demonstrate great sales achievement and outstanding service to customers. Always and Forever has a complete formalwear department, serving wedding, prom and black-tie event customers.
  • Thrivent Asset Management, an independently owned subsidiary of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, announced its Mid Cap Growth Fund received Lipper Fund Awards for best mid cap growth fund for the past three years, as well as best mid cap growth fund for the past five years for, in both cases, the top risk-adjusted performance ranking. In the three-year category, the Thrivent Mid Cap Growth Fund ranked No. 1 of 412 similar funds and in the five-year category, the fund beat out 346 other competitors.

  • Lake Superior College's director of nursing programs, Lorrie Fox, received a 2010 International Exemplary Leader Award during the 19th annual International Leadership Conference, March 15-18 in Minneapolis. Fox received the honor for her leadership in the development of a new nursing program. She led faculty efforts to write the new curriculum, taking it through approval processes at Lake Superior College, the Minnesota State Colleges and University System, and the Minnesota Board of Nursing. She also was recognized for her work on the college's Institutional Effectiveness Committee and for implementing several new campus wellness programs.

  • Erik Peterson, a Country Financial representative in Virginia, earned a position on the insurance group's distinguished All American team. He is among a group of more than 300 financial representatives and agency managers who qualified for the award and this is the 13th time he has been named an All American. All American is awarded each year by Country to financial representatives and agency managers who excel in identifying insurance products and financial solutions for their clients.

  • Jack Ryan Jr. and Christopher Bialke achieved membership in the Million Dollar Round Table -- the Premier Association of Financial Professionals for outstanding client service, ethics and professionalism. Ryan is a 32-year life and qualifying round table member and Bialke is a seven-year round table member. Both Ryan and Bialke are financial professionals at Ryan Kasner Bialke LLC of Hibbing/Virginia.

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration named Jenny Dougherty the Minnesota Financial Services Champion of the Year. The recognition is presented annually in each state to people who assist small businesses through advocacy efforts to increase the usefulness and availability of accounting or financial services. Dougherty is the Small Business Development Center's professional business consultant for Koochiching Economic Development Authority in International Falls, a position she has held since 2007. She's responsible for business planning; financial, cash flow and profitability analysis; assistance with access to capital; loan packaging and market research. She has 24 years of experience in the financial industry including work in mortgage loan origination and processing, underwriting, customer service, bookkeeping and more. She holds a bachelor's degree in finance from St. Cloud State University and a master's degree in business administration from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.

    She helped create a Women's Business network in International Falls, serves on several boards including the International Falls Visitors and Convention Board, and has been a Girl Scout leader, president of Scandia Preschool, and serves on the First Lutheran Church budget committee.

    She was nominated for the award by Elaine Hansen, director of the University of Minnesota Duluth Center for Economic Development and the Northeast Minnesota Small Business Development Center.

  • Weichert, Realtors-Twin Ports in Duluth and Superior announced the following real estate agents were recognized during the annual banquet hosted by the Weichert Minnesota-Wisconsin Broker Council. Bill Ziebarth, Brenda Eisenmann and Len Sarvela were awarded plaques for their membership in the 2009 Executive Club. Sarvela also was recognized for Top Selling GCI council-wide.

    Agents named to the Certificate Club, receiving Sales Achievement Awards, were Jill Stauber Busam and Julia Russom.


  • Northern Trends Building and Design now is certified to perform remodeling work on manufactured homes after receiving training through Neighborhood Housing Services of Duluth on March 16. Manufactured housing includes pre-fab, "Wausau Homes," modular dwellings, doublewide and mobile homes, modular, and Housing and Urban Development units. Northern Trends is a locally owned business that specializes in remodeling vintage homes and new home construction. It's owned by Dan Merritt, Dave Nelson, Jamie Panger and Loren Slette. Go to for information.

  • The SMDC Breast Program was recognized by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers for providing top quality care to its patients. SMDC is the only organization in the region to receive accreditation from the accreditation program administered by the American College of Surgeons. Accreditation goes only to centers that undergo a rigorous evaluation process, including an on-site survey. The SMDC Breast Program demonstrated that it meets or exceeds expectations in areas such as quality measures, staff education and patient resources.

    The surveyor also applauded SMDC's weekly breast cancer conference, where experts from oncology, surgery, pathology, radiology, radiation oncology, genetics and other specialties meet to discuss new patients and their treatment options.


  • Joseph V. Ferguson was elected vice chairman of the Minnesota Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board. The board oversees the discipline of lawyers in Minnesota. Members of the board are appointed by the Supreme Court and serve six-year terms. Ferguson is an attorney with Johnson, Killen and Seiler PA in Duluth. GRAND OPENING/OPEN HOUSE

  • Laughingstock Design will hold an open house to celebrate the grand opening of Happy Space from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Fitger's Brewery Complex, 600 E. Superior St. Happy Space is a Laughingstock Design creative outlet store featuring PositiveWear and Listen to Nature sustainable apparel. The Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting also will take place during the event and drawings for free T-shirts and complimentary Fitger's Brewhouse refreshments will be made.

    Duluth-based Laughingstock Design was founded by Shane Bauer

    in 2007. The company's mission is to spread joy and send positive messages while offering a quality service to help others do the same.

    Go to Laughingstock's online store at or follow Laughingstock Design on Facebook or Twitter.


  • Applied Professional Services, a fully licensed and bonded investigative, security and private detective services firm in Duluth, moved its offices to the Skywalk level of 323 W. Superior St., and added seven new employees. APS serves Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois and provides clients in a variety of industries with services including security, surveillance investigations, loss prevention and internal fraud, background and

    asset investigations, process service, asset recovery, missing persons/runaways and others.

    The telephone number is (800) 493-6974 and the Web site is .


  • Messina and Associates GMAC Real Estate in Duluth announced it is changing its name to Real Living Messina and Associates. The announcement came as a result of a Nov. 11 merger between GMAC Real Estate and Real Living. Real Living has 10,000 agents operating across the country. Frank Messina, who operates his office at 1512 E. Superior St., has been in the real estate business for 38 years. He has 30 agents serving Duluth/Superior and surrounding areas.

    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.

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