Biz Buzz for July 20

HIRES AND PROMOTIONS Mark Hummel was hired as deputy forest supervisor for the Superior National Forest. Hummel will assist with overall management of programs across the 3 million-acre forest. During his career, Hummel has worked on national for...



  • Mark Hummel was hired as deputy forest supervisor for the Superior National Forest. Hummel will assist with overall management of programs across the 3 million-acre forest. During his career, Hummel has worked on national forests in different parts of the country. He began on the Toiyabe National Forest in Sparks, Nev., where his duties required travel across the forest shooting video and talking with employees, ranchers and miners.

    As a planner in Petersburg, Alaska, Hummel helped create a forum in which people who fought each other in newspapers and court cases sat down at tables and talked to each other about ideas for improving the management situations they cared about.

    As district ranger in Wrangell, Alaska, he worked with staff members to arrange for a vegetation inventory with Ducks Unlimited as a partner.

    He also has worked in the Forest Service Region 8 at the Headquarters of the Ozark-St. Francis and Ouachita National Forests in Arkansas and Oklahoma and in the Region 9 Office in Milwaukee.

  • Michael Olsen was hired to create and manage the Zeitgeist Arts Cafe, slated to open in late summer in downtown Duluth. Olsen has worked in restaurants since he was 16 and has been cooking since he was 10. For the last 10 years he was employed by Fitger's Brewhouse, where he designed the popular menu and guided the restaurant through three major remodeling projects. He also assisted in the opening of Red Star Lounge.

  • AMSOIL Inc. in Superior announced the following promotions. Deena Peterson was recently promoted to controller and is responsible for all accounting and financial functions. She also helps create and implement policies and procedures to identify, resolve and document accounting issues, as well as procedures to make the close and reporting process more efficient and accurate. Peterson has been with AMSOIL for 13 years, first as an accounting intern and then, upon completion of her accounting degree from the University of Wisconsin-Superior in 1997, as a full-time accountant. She previously held the position of accounting manager.

    Matthew Dixon was promoted to finance and accounting manager in March. He is responsible for supporting the company controller in directing budget and cost controls, financial analysis and accounting procedures. He also supervises the exempt and non-exempt accounting staff, develops policy and procedure manuals for the accounting department and organizes and plans the auditing schedules. Dixon was initially hired as a financial analyst in August.

  • Barbara Johnson was named chief financial officer for SMDC Health System effective Aug. 3. Johnson spent 23 years with Marshfield Clinic System and held numerous roles, most recently as chief financial officer of Security Health Plan.?She holds a master's degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and is a certified public accountant.
  • Citon Computer Corp. hired Paul Hirsch as an enterprise network engineer and network security expert. He is responsible for implementing and maintaining servers, implementing wireless Internet solutions, and developing and implementing high-end network security and virtualization solutions. Hirsch has more than 11 years of information technology experience, eight of which he focused and crafted his knowledge of computer security and networking. His expertise lies in wide-area network security and server virtualization.

  • Thrivent Financial announced Jeffrey Hakala and Gene Pagels were named co-managers of Thrivent's new office at 629 W. Central Entrance in Duluth. The duo oversee the work of 19 Thrivent Financial representatives in Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin. They also recruit and train area financial representatives and plan to recruit up to 16 new representatives for the new office. Hakala joined Thrivent Financial in June 2004. Pagels has been with the organization since December 1990. Both served as financial representatives for Thrivent Financial before joining the organization's field management.

  • KQDS Fox 21 announced Elizabeth Wagoner was hired as an account executive. Wagoner most recently was the office manager at Vermilion Fuel Corp. in Soudan and has worked as a promotional specialist for various talent and staffing agencies nationally. She also worked as a marketing and public relations intern for Scarlet Designs in Chicago. Wagoner graduated from Ely High School in and then from Columbia College of Chicago.
  • Ron Ozan was named the corporate events director for the American Heart Association's Duluth office. He will direct fundraising efforts in the Twin Ports area, planning events such as the "Go Red For Women" luncheon and the upcoming "Start! Heart Walk." Ozan is a lifetime resident of Duluth and has served on the board of directors for the Boys & Girls Club, coached many different sports over his lifetime and is currently a Minnesota State High School football official. For the last 10 years he worked as a professional health-care representative for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Inc.


  • AmericInn, a national hotel chain, honored Jim Makowsky as the company's 2008 Innkeeper of the Year during the 15th annual AmericInn conference in May in Branson, Mo. The annual award is given to a property owner or manager who demonstrates expertise and excellence in the hospitality industry and leadership in the AmericInn lodging system. Makowsky was named general manager of the AmericInn in Virginia in September 2004 and the property in Oswego, Ill., in June 2007. He has masterfully trained employees to deliver quality customer service and products to guests and has been instrumental in developing a great team that flourishes in the hospitality industry. In the past, the Virginia AmericInn was recognized as the chain's 2005 and 2006 Property of the Year and, a tribute to Jim's training skills, employee Jackie Burke received the 2005 Housekeeper of the Year award from AmericInn. As an experienced and successful trainer, Jim has been asked to train and mentor staff members at other AmericInn properties.

    Makowsky is a board member of the Iron Range Tourism Bureau, Oswego Visitors Bureau and a member of the Arrowhead Human Resource Association and Mason Square Association of Retailers. He has created, organized and promoted annual community events including the Iron Range Housekeeping Olympics, Oswego Christmas Walk and Oswego's 175th birthday celebration.

  • For the second consecutive year, Spooner Health System was named one of the nation's most technologically advanced health-care facilities by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine. SHS ranked among the top 25 "Most Wired Small and Rural" health-care organizations, defined as a health-care facility with 100 or fewer beds. A few of the major technological initiatives that SHS has completed during the last year include: an automated system for dispensing medication in the nursing areas (Omnicell); a pilot program for Computerized Physician Order Entry; and wireless Internet access in some parts of the facility.

  • Jeff Garland, M.D., and Dawn Drotar, M.D., were recently inducted as Fellows of the Society of Hospital Medicine. The society represents hospitalists, internal medicine physicians who dedicate their practices to hospital patients. Garland and Drotar are both physicians at the Duluth Clinic.
  • LHB employees Wesley Stabs and Christopher Wingate of UrbanWorks Architecture in Minneapolis, received first place in the Natural Talent Design Competition of the U.S. Green Building Council Mississippi Headwaters Chapter for their entry titled "sustain(ABLE) 1," a Habitat for Humanity home concept that meets the council's LEED H Platinum design guidelines. The entry won for its sustainable qualities and for its ability to be easily and affordably constructed. The concept was designed for a site near a wetland in a Brooklyn Park, Minn., housing development. As regional winners, Stabs and Wingate received green building scholarships, as well as paid travel and registration to the council's Greenbuild Expo on Nov. 11-13 in Phoenix. Stabs is a designer in LHB's Duluth office and has worked at LHB since 2002. He is assisting in the design for a YMCA project in the Duluth area. He also has worked on multifamily housing and school projects throughout Minnesota.


  • RE/MAX 1 in Duluth announced Emily Kalligher, Scott Nordman <?B>and Dave Holck earned the Certified Distressed Property Expert designation after completing extensive training in foreclosure avoidance and short sales. They are the first in the Twin Ports area to earn the designation. Short sales allow cash-strapped sellers to repay their mortgage at the price that the home sells for, even though it is lower than what is owed on the property. With falling property values, this can save many people from foreclosure and even bankruptcy. More and more lenders are willing to consider short sales because they are much less costly than foreclosures.


  • Synergy Wireless, a locally owned AT&T authorized retailer, has opened in the Blaine Business Center, 823 Belknap St., Superior. Steve Wallin was named manager of the business, which offers other services and products in addition to AT&T cellular services. Synergy also has an office at 4720 Grand Ave., Duluth. Superior store hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. A grand opening celebration will be held June 30 at the Superior store.

  • Andrea Johnson and Clint Agar opened Andi's Closet in the Fitger's Brewery Complex, 600 E. Superior St. The business is on the main floor and is a premium women's boutique. Johnson and Agar are also the co-owners of Duluth Running Co. Call (218) 728-1148 for information and store hours.


  • The University of Minnesota, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences Cloquet Forestry Center celebrates 100 years of education, research and outreach today through Saturday at 175 University Road, Cloquet. The six-day open house celebration includes a community day, U of M Extension workshops, forest research tours, Alumni and Friends Day, and program activities for the entire family. Go to for a schedule of events or call (218) 726-6400 for more information. FORMER NORTHLANDERS

  • Matthew Ulhan, a certified public accountant, was promoted to audit supervisor at Hansen, Jergenson, Nergaard and Co. LLP in Minneapolis. Uhan, the son of Joe Uhan of Eveleth and Cathy Uhan of Gilbert, is a 2003 graduate of St. John's University and lives in Blaine, Minn.
  • Mitch Gage, former Duluthian and Marshall School graduate, received gold and silver awards at the Cannes (France) Lions International Advertising Festival in June. Gage is a copywriter for Saatchi and Saatchi in New York City.
  • Mary Forslund, a graduate of Superior Senior High School and registered nurse, was appointed to the Allied Health staff at Aspirus Wausau Hospital with privileges as a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Forslund will provide psychiatric assessments, mental status exams, psychiatric consultation on medical units, and diagnosis and recommendations for treatment at Aspirus Wausau Hospital and North Central Health Care. Forslund, an advanced practice nurse prescriber, is a member of the North Central Health Care and Aspirus Wausau Hospital Behavioral Health Services collaboration to provide inpatient mental health and alcohol and drug detoxification services.

    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 720-4120.

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