Biz Buzz for May 13, 2013

HIRES AND PROMOTIONS Ellie Fournier was hired as a personal lines customer service representative and account executive at Otis-Magie Insurance Agency Inc. in Duluth. She is licensed in property and casualty and is pursuing her life and health li...

Ellie Fournier


  • Ellie Fournier was hired as a personal lines customer service representative and account executive at Otis-Magie Insurance Agency Inc. in Duluth. She is licensed in property and casualty and is pursuing her life and health license. Fournier previously was employed as a producer at an insurance agency in Grand Rapids. She has more than five years of experience providing quality service to customers in her role as supervisor and department manager at a local major department store.

  • Pediatric hospitalist Dr. Sheri Howze joined Essentia Health-St. Mary's Children's Hospital in Duluth. Howze most recently served in the U.S. Army at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, and in Afghanistan. She earned her medical degree from the Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., and served a residency in pediatrics at Tripler Army Medical Base in Honolulu.
  • Debbie Desjarlais Stockholm was hired as business developer at DSGW Architects in Duluth and Lake Elmo, Minn. She will lead business development efforts for the firm's First American Design Studio. Debbie is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, located in North Dakota, and is also Assiniboine from Montana. She was educated at Montana State University and South Dakota State University and holds degrees in business finance and graphic design. She has strong experience in sales and marketing, and joins DSGW from operating her own business and working with clients at 3M, Estee Lauder and Best Buy.

  • Duluth Pack announced the following new hires. Ryan L. Hanson was hired as a sales representative. He holds a degree in communications from the University of Minnesota Duluth and worked for the UMD Statesman as the outdoors editor and reporter. He previously worked at WDIO for four years as a photojournalist/producer, and more recently worked as a dedicated digital seller at Townsquare Media.

    Abby Mlinar was hired as a marketing specialist. She earned a degree in marketing from UMD and has worked as an event coordinator for Draw Events, where she assisted with the Tall Ships Festival, Bayfront Bridge Festival and the Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial. Mlinar also was the campaign event coordinator for Sen. Roger Reinert's last campaign.

  • Nanette J. Corbett, a registered diplomate reporter and formerly of Corbett Court Reporting, has joined Watczak Reporting Inc. in Duluth as of today. She has more than 30 years of experience in the profession along with comprehensive expertise in diverse court reporting needs. Watczak Reporting provides services anywhere in the country for depositions, conventions, public hearings, arbitrations, board meetings, courtroom proceedings and statements under oath.

  • National Bank of Commerce announced the following promotions. Brad Roden was promoted from vice president commercial banker to senior vice president commercial banker. He works out of the bank's 1127 Tower Ave. location in Superior.

    Joye Bedard was promoted from vice president commercial banker to senior vice president commercial banker. She also works at the bank's 1127 Tower location.

    Jeremy Egnash was promoted from vice president controller to senior vice president finance director. He also is based in the bank's 1127 Tower location.

    Cammy Hansen was promoted from assistant vice president-retail loan operations department manager to vice president private banker. She works in the bank's Duluth office.

    Diane Foss-Engstrom was promoted from assistant vice president-internal auditor to vice president audit director. She also works in the bank's Duluth office.

  • ZMC Hotels Inc. announced Jon Driscoll was named chief operating officer. He began working for ZMC Hotels as a front desk clerk at the Edgewater Resort & Waterpark in 1980 while attending college. Driscoll has managed hotels in Manhattan and Lawrence, Kan.; and Bozeman, Mont., before returning to the Edgewater as its general manager. He was promoted to regional supervisor in 2000 and since 2004 served as ZMC's vice president of operations. During 2002-03 ZMC Hotels donated Driscoll's services to the Great Lakes Aquarium, where he served as interim president. Driscoll is a certified hotel administrator and past president of the Duluth Superior Hotel Motel Association and the Minnesota Arrowhead Association. He is a 1983 graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth.

  • Giant Voices hired Jena Mertz as a client manager. She previously was a sales and marketing operations specialist for Global Device Management in Duluth. She was there for more than six years until the company was sold in December. Mertz is a native of the Brainerd lakes area of Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth. AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS

  • Chris Mattila was named the top sales agent during April at Century 21 Gilderman and Associates Inc. CERTIFICATIONS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Duluth agencies Trillium Services Inc. and Trillium Works Inc. were awarded a three-year Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities accreditation for their work supporting people with disabilities in the following areas: community employment services, employment supports and employment services, job development, employee development services, employment planning services, community housing, community integration, family services and supported living. The accreditation represents the highest level of CARF accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and shows its substantial conformance to the CARF standards.

  • Brenda Spurlock of Bayfield County and Jeff Borling of Duluth Seaway Port Authority graduated on Thursday from the Nonprofit Administration Certificate Program offered through the Center for Continuing Education/Extension at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. The program provides training specific to managing a not-for-profit organization or government agency. Participants complete 14 to 17 full-day workshops (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.


  • National Bank of Commerce added three new members to its board of directors: Abbot Apter, Stephen Bick and Cheryl Meese. Apter is CEO and president of Mercury Investment in Duluth. He serves as a board trustee for the College of St. Scholastica and is a former board chairman of the Duluth Greater Downtown Council and the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.

    Bick has practiced law in Superior and Duluth for 36 years and is a shareholder/partner with Maki, Ledin, Bick & Olson S.C. He serves as vice president of the Superior Vocations Center and as a committee chairman for Boy Scout Troop 213 at Concordia Lutheran in Superior.

    Meese has 35 years of experience in the investment industry and is senior vice president-financial adviser with RBC Wealth Management. She serves on the board of the Kitchi Gammi Club Foundation and Animal Allies of Duluth and Superior.

    Area business leader Terry Lundberg completed his 14 years of service on the National Bank of Commerce board on April 25.


  • Bent Paddle Brewing Co. will open for business beginning at 3 p.m. Thursday at 1912 W. Michigan St., Duluth. The company is co-owned by Byron and Karen Tonnis and Colin Mullen and Laura Salyards-Fryberger Mullen. Byron Tonnis is director of brewery operations and holds a brewing degree from the Siebel Institute of Technology and World Brewing Academy. He has 12 years of professional brewing experience, most recently as head brewer at Rock Bottom Brewery in Minneapolis.

    Colin Mullen is director of brewery communications and has eight years of professional brewing experience, most recently as head of brewing operations at Barley John's Brewpub near Minneapolis.

    Karen Tonnis serves as vice president of brewery operations and has 12 years of distribution and operations management experience.

    Laura Salyards-Fryberger Mullen is vice president of outreach and events. She has run an accomplished event design company since 2004 that produced craft beer festivals for her largest client, the Minnesota Craft Brewer's Guild.

    Opening events for the brewery's taproom, Bent Tap, include beer specials and door prizes and sneak-peek brewery tours. The Bent Tap taproom will be open from 3-10 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 3-11 p.m. Fridays and 1-11 p.m. Saturdays.


  • Life House Youth Center will host a Celebration of Success open house from 3-6 p.m. Wednesday at 102 W. First St. Duluth. The event includes food, fun and a performance by Solomon Witherspoon. Call (218) 722-7431 or go to for information.
  • The Lighthouse Center for Vision Loss offers an open house from 2-5 p.m. Thursday at 4505 W. Superior St., Duluth. The event includes refreshments and hands-on technology demonstrations, including CCTV systems and voice enabled systems. 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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