Biz Buzz for July 5

HIRES AND PROMOTIONS MSA Professional Services in Duluth hired Eric Christensen as a municipal engineer. His specialties include storm water, water, sanitary sewer and transportation. He previously worked as a summer intern with a Milwaukee engin...


  • MSA Professional Services in Duluth hired Eric Christensen as a municipal engineer. His specialties include storm water, water, sanitary sewer and transportation. He previously worked as a summer intern with a Milwaukee engineering firm. Christensen earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
  • Edgewood Management Group LLC named Ross Huttunen vice president of operations/ chief operations officer for Region II. In his new role, Huttunen will oversee Edgewood's five senior living communities in Minnesota, which includes Edgewood Vista of Brainerd, East Grand Forks, Hermantown, Virginia and Clearwater Suites of Alexandria. Before this, Huttunen served as operations executive for HealthEast Care System in St. Paul, a position he held since 2000. Huttunen, a Makinen native, has more than 20 years of operations, strategic planning and leadership experience in acute-care hospitals, memory care and long-term care. He earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Moorhead (Minn.) State University, a master's degree in health-care administration from Kennedy-Western University and a master's degree in business administration from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.

  • Adolphson Real Estate Inc. announced Lisa Westendorf and Valeri Berg were hired as real estate agents. Westendorf has six years of experience. Berg has 11 years of experience.
  • William Miller Jr. was promoted to residential program supervisor at Range Center's Sequoia home in Hibbing. Miller has worked at the Range Center's Mapleview home since November 2008 as a residential program instructor. His educational background is in education with a continuing focus in the psychology field.
  • National Bank of Commerce announces Mark C. Peterson and Steve A. Koval were hired as commercial banking managers. Peterson was named senior vice president/ commercial banking manager for Wisconsin and works out of the 1127 Tower Ave. location in Superior. He has more than 30 years of commercial banking experience with US Bank, including roles as vice president/relationship manager in Duluth and market president/commercial district manager in the Iron Range area. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration/finance from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

    Kovala was named senior vice president/commercial banking manager for Duluth and works out of the 1314 E. Superior St. location. His previous banking experience includes business banking manager and community bank president with Wells Fargo and president of US Bank in Grand Rapids. He earned a master's degree in business administration from the University of Minnesota Duluth and a bachelor's degree in forest products marketing from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.


  • Simeona Nygren was awarded the Minnesota Association for Persons in Supported Employment Lifetime Achievement Award during the annual state conference in May at the Earle Brown Cultural Center in Minneapolis. The award is given to a person who, over the course of their career, has made a significant impact in employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities in Minnesota. Nygren was recognized for her dedication and passion in the field of supported employment. Nygren is the founder and the executive director of Choice, Unlimited in Duluth. She is the second person to receive this distinguished award in the history of Minnesota APSE.

  • Barb Oswell, director of group sales for Odyssey Development and Resorts, was awarded an Excellence in Meeting Professionals International award as the Outstanding Chapter Member of the Year 2009-10 from the Minnesota Chapter of MPI. The award is given to a MPI Minnesota member who inspires others, stimulates volunteer efforts and contributes to the continued enhancement of the chapter. Oswell has been a member of MPI Minnesota and served on the board of directors, the executive committee and was vice president of membership, leading a volunteer committee through six membership initiatives. As a Greater Minnesota representative in this statewide chapter, Oswell will continue efforts to increase and enhance membership throughout the state.

  • Paul F. Schweiger, a personal injury attorney at Sieben, Grose, Von Holtum and Carey, was selected by his peers for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America 2010. Schweiger, of Duluth, has more than 32 years of experience in personal injury and wrongful death litigation. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. He also has achieved status as a certified civil trial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and by the Minnesota State Bar Association, a distinction awarded to fewer than 2 percent of all Minnesota's personal injury attorneys. BOARD ELECTIONS/APPOINTMENTS

  • The Minnesota Broadcasters Association elected Shawn Skramstad to its board of directors. Skramstad, vice president/ general manager of Red Rock Radio Corp. in Duluth, will serve a two-year term. Skramstad is a 35-year veteran of the broadcasting industry. He launched his career at KDIX-AM in Dickinson, N.D., and spent 10 years on-air and in programming at KQWB-FM in Fargo and later at WEZX-FM in Scranton, Pa. He returned to his hometown of Minneapolis in 1985 and began a career in sales at KQRS-FM before moving to WCCO-AM and K102/KFAN. He was named to his current position at Red Rock in 1999.

  • Marie Zhuikov, a Duluth-based communications consultant and science writer, was appointed communications adviser to the Environmental Protection Agency's national Board of Scientific Counselors. Zhuikov joins this 15-member executive committee of scientists and engineers who are experts in their fields. Her three-year term begins in July. NEW BUSINESS

  • Reuben Johnson & Son Inc. announced the creation of Building Logic, a service that provides complete management and maintenance programs for commercial and residential property 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Services offered by Building Logic include emergency response and repairs; general care and repair; heating, ventilation, air conditioning and plumbing consultation; and electrical consultation. Chris Becker was named coordinator of Building Logic and has worked as a project coordinator for RJS for three years. John Overfors, who has been in the building trades industry for 18 years in commercial and residential areas, was named the maintenance technician.

    Building Logic's phone number is (218) 279-5300 and the website is


  • CF Design, a residential architectural design firm based in Duluth, opened a new branch office at 39 S. Broad St. in Bayfield. The business is owned by Cheryl Fosdick and works with projects of all scales in custom design of residences, spaces, cabinetry and furniture. For more information about CF Design, go to ETC.

  • Zach Raskovich of Hibbing was one of 75 cable industry professionals from the U.S., Canada and Europe to complete an Executive Management Education Program at the Harvard Business School in June. Raskovich, area operations manager for Mediacom, was selected for program participation three months ago and had to commit to advance preparation, including analysis of 16 business cases before on-campus course work. Course modules included a study of emerging technologies such as Hulu and Facebook, and the impact of digital media on business competition and strategy. Participants studied with top Harvard Business School professors and selected industry leaders during an intense, weeklong course designed specifically for experienced cable and telecommunications professionals. Raskovich is responsible for all Mediacom cable and telecommunication properties in northern Minnesota, which includes 26 systems and offices in Hibbing, Cloquet, Grand Rapids and Virginia. He is a native of Chisholm and currently lives in Hibbing. With eight years of cable industry experience, he previously worked for Range TV Cable and became a Mediacom employee in 2007.

    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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