Biz Buzz for June 28

HIRES AND PROMOTIONS FirstSolutions in Duluth hired Iraida Miller as a care navigator for the Health management division. Mill, a registered nurse, has expertise in creating care plans and coaching patients to achieve health goals, thereby reduci...



  • FirstSolutions in Duluth hired Iraida Miller as a care navigator for the Health management division. Mill, a registered nurse, has expertise in creating care plans and coaching patients to achieve health goals, thereby reducing health-care costs. She is also fluent in English and Spanish and will assist with communication efforts for Spanish-speaking members. She holds a bachelor's degree in nursing from the College of St. Scholastica and is certified in several areas of medicine including chemotherapy and psychiatry. She previously worked at St. Luke's hospital as a chemotherapy nurse.

  • Shear Katz Salon and Day Spa announced the following stylists and massage therapists have joined the business: Kelly Lord graduated from the Aveda Institute specializing in hair color and has 15 years of experience.

    Shannon Bergeron is originally from Connecticut, has been a stylist for 15 years and is a certified colorist.

    Stephanie Gregorich is a massage therapist who specializes in relaxation and pregnancy massage. She graduated from Lake Superior College's massage therapy program in May 2009.

    Juliana Bertelsen is a certified massage therapist and specializes in hot stone therapy and deep tissue massages. She earned her certification in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 2002.

  • The Meyer Group PC hired Sarah Markwardt as an administrative assistant, responsible for providing administrative and office support. Markwardt is an Ely native and recently graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a bachelor's degree in English.
  • Compudyne announced the following new hires: Damian Sabetti of Eveleth was hired as technical project manager, responsible for project management and implementation of information technology solutions for clients. He has more than 10 years of experience in delivering and managing IT consultation services and solutions. He previously worked for United Health Group in Plymouth, Minn., where he held the position of technical program manager. Damian graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a bachelor's degree in history and has certifications in Cisco CCNA and as a project management professional.

    Jason Benson, a Hoyt Lakes native, was hired as a senior service technician, responsible for supporting and implementing IT solutions for clients. Benson has 11 years of experience in the IT department with Fortune Bay Resort Casino, where he most recently held the position of IT manager/systems administrator. He is CompTIA A+ certified, earned an associate degree from Hibbing Community College and holds diplomas of occupational proficiency in accounting and administrative support from Range Technical College.

  • Jennifer Dagenais-Brunder was promoted to design associate and senior computer-assisted design specialist at Lindquist and Co., Kitchens and Baths in Duluth. Jennifer worked in the design and furniture industry before joining Lindquist and Co. in 2005 and has since completed course study in architectural drawing at Lake Superior College, and has achieved her Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer certification through the National Kitchen and Bath Association. She earned a bachelor's degree in design technology from Bemidji (Minn.) State University.
  • National Bank of Commerce hired two to its commercial lending team at the 1127 Tower Ave. location in Superior: David Strum was hired as a commercial banker. His prior experience includes working as a personal banker for Wells Fargo in Duluth, as well as more than 12 years in sales for the pharmaceutical industry. Strum holds a bachelor's degree in broad-field science from the University of Wisconsin-Superior and a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

    Angela Mack was hired as a commercial loan officer. She started her banking career with Community Bank in 1998 and joined National Bank of Commerce in November 2008 as credit analyst. Mack earned an associate degree in finance from Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College and graduated from the Wisconsin Bankers Association's Introduction to Commercial Lending School at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis.


  • A.W. Kuettel & Sons Inc. in Duluth was named a 2010 Firestone Partner in Quality by Firestone Building Products Co. The business was among 159 companies throughout North America to receive the award, which is presented to firms demonstrating excellence in commercial roofing installations over the past year. The award is given only to contractors who installed a minimum of four warranted Firestone roofs in each of the past five years, maintained at least 1 million square feet of Firestone roofs under warranty, and achieved an annual Quality Incidence Rating of 2.0 or less. The rating measures each contractor's quality performance based on warranty repair incidences per million square feet under warranty.
  • Tim Meininger, president of Beacon Bank in Duluth, received the Minnesota Bankers Association Bank Champion Award. The award recognizes a banker who has been an outstanding champion of banking by demonstrating proactive leadership that supports the best interests of Minnesota's banking community through lobbying, education and community service. Meininger has served on the boards of directors for the Greater Downtown Council, Chamber of Commerce, Lake Superior Zoological Gardens, Marshall School Boy Scouts of America, and as a church deacon. He is a member of the Minnesota Bankers Association and served as chairman in 2000-01. He has been involved in MBA's government relations efforts as a member of the GRC, MinnBankPac Board and Credit Union Task Force and has been a regular attendee of MBA's annual Bank Day at the Capitol and for its Washington, D.C., trip.

  • Bonnie J. Perkins of Duluth was honored by Farmers Insurance Group for outstanding sales achievements during 2009 and attended the 2010 annual meeting of Farmers' top sales producers in July. Perkins has been licensed in Minnesota and Wisconsin since 1995 and her agency provides insurance solutions and financial products through Farmers Insurance Group for a wide variety of needs, including homeowners, renters, auto, commercial and recreational policies.


  • Bruce Brown, a registered nurse and care navigator for FirstSolutions, has achieved full certification in the Intrinsic Coaching model as part of the Health Management program. Intrinsic Coaching is a research-based approach used to assist members in making positive changes in their lives by helping them connect their unique, personal set of values to specific, goal-oriented actions. It is First Solutions' plan that all care navigators be certified to practice Intrinsic Coaching by the end of 2010. BOARD APPOINTMENTS

  • Tim Meyer of Meyer Group Architects in Duluth was appointed to the North Dakota State University Architecture and Landscape Architecture advisory board. Meyer, a 1987 graduate of North Dakota State University's architecture program, is a current board member of American Institute of Architects Minnesota. NEW BUSINESS

  • Cary Thompson, the Shoe Doctor, has a professional shoe-shine business in front of Shear Katz Salon and Day Spa in the Fitger's building, 600 E. Superior St. Thompson is originally from East St. Louis, Ill., and recently moved to Duluth. He has more than 12 years of experience detailing shoes. He also details leather bags.
  • Zen House Japanese Restaurant expanded to a third location named "Zen and Go," which opened June 14 at 307 Canal Park Drive in Canal Park. Zen and Go sells pre-packaged sushi, edamame, seaweed salad and other seasonal Japanese foods to grab and go. Customer requests are accepted by calling the Holiday Center location at (218) 722-9368, as that location brings sushi and other items to the Canal Park location twice a day. Zen and Go hours are noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. The business will close early if all items are sold out. GRAND OPENING/OPEN HOUSE

  • A grand opening celebration for the Timber Twister begins at 9:45 a.m. Thursday at Spirit Mountain, 9500 Spirit Mountain Place. The celebration includes a brief presentation, a ribbon-cutting and the unveiling of the "Design-A-Coaster-Car Contest" cart designed by Ali Kruger, a Duluth fourth-grade student. Hours for Timber Twister, a year-round alpine coaster, will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through Labor Day, with reduced hours after that. Call (218) 628-2891 for more information.


  • Help U Sell Woodridge Realty changed its name to Options Realty. The main office is in Suite D of the Piedmont Plaza at 2818 Piedmont Ave. EXPANSION

  • Greg Kamp and Richard Wenaas, owners of Coldwell Banker East West Realty, announced they have expanded through merger and acquisition with GMAC My Favorite Realty of Spooner and Van Hollen Realty of Iron River and Ashland. Coldwell Banker East West Realty now has offices in Duluth, Cloquet, Superior, Ashland, Washburn, Iron River and Spooner. 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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