Biz buzz for May 7, 2012

HIRES AND PROMOTIONS Northstar Hearing Center in Duluth hired Dr. Amy Packer, an audiologist, to practice at the Maple Grove location. Packer has 22 years of experience and is board certified by the American Board of Audiology. She is a Fellow of...



  • Northstar Hearing Center in Duluth hired Dr. Amy Packer, an audiologist, to practice at the Maple Grove location. Packer has 22 years of experience and is board certified by the American Board of Audiology. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Audiology and holds the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association Clinical Certificate of Competence in Audiology.

  • LHB Inc. announced the following new employees joined the Duluth office: Ana Aviles joined the Industrial Group as a structural designer; Michael Bilben was hired as an electrical designer; Autumn Gibeau joined as an administrative assistant; Robert Rollin was hired as pipeline designer; Jonathan Rose was hired as a designer; Patricia Rutka joined the office as a finance coordinator; and Raymond Somrock was hired as an electrical designer.
  • WesternBank announced three employees were promoted to officer in April. Leonard Fox of Duluth was promoted to business banking

    officer, responsible for developing new business, underwriting, structuring and closing business loans and servicing an existing portfolio of individual customer relationships. He joined the bank in 2011 and previously was a credit analyst and commercial lender.

    Fox has 25 years of banking experience and has spent the past 14 years as a commercial credit analyst in other local area banks. He recently completed the Omega Credit Training program, along with graduating from the Norwest College of Commercial Credit and college at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

    John Bradshaw, a Duluth native, was promoted to business banking

    officer and security officer, responsible for directing internal and external security and loss prevention resources to minimize and eliminate risks to the organization. He received his bachelor's degree in accounting and finance from the College of St. Scholastica and is attending the Graduate School of Banking through the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was previously a credit analyst and small business lender.

    John Lewis was promoted to mortgage loan officer, responsible for the acquisition and origination of mortgage loans.

    Before working as a mortgage banker, Lewis was involved in retail banking and consumer loans. He is a native Duluthian and graduated from the College of St. Scholastica.

  • Frandsen Bank & Trust in Cloquet announced Ross Peterson was named vice president and commercial lender. He will focus on continued development and expansion of the small business commercial lending areas in the Northland region including Carlton and St. Louis counties.

    Peterson previously held senior lending positions with Woodlands National Bank and Members Cooperative Credit Union in Cloquet. He is a graduate of Lake Superior College in Duluth and has maintained an extensive ongoing education through the Small Business Administration, Farm Services Agency Guaranteed Lending Program and the American Institute of Banking.

    Peterson is active in the Cloquet Economic Development Authority, Duluth

    Skyline Rotary Club and Scholarship Committee, United Way and

    St. Mathew's Lutheran Church of Esko.

  • The Duluth Playhouse announced Annastacia Opasinski was hired as the Play Ground manager. Opasinski is a professional stage manager and trained at the Florida School of the Arts. She worked for several professional theater companies in Florida, including Limelight Theater in St. Augustine as production stage manager; the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre in Partnership with UCF in Orlando as an assistant stage manager and assistant scenic artist; the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival in Orlando as a venue technician; and at Universal Studios Orlando as a stage manager in the entertainment department.

  • Shear Katz Salon and Day Spa announced Samantha Mullen recently was promoted. The salon also welcomed Susan White to its team. White has 13 years of experience as an Aveda stylist and specializes in body waxing and eyelash extensions, and is also a body waxing educator. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

  • Essentia Health welcomed the following physicians. Dr. Othmane Alami, a geriatric psychiatrist, joined Essentia Health-

    Duluth Clinic. Alami is board certified in psychiatry and neurology by the American Board of Medical Specialties. In addition to geriatric psychiatry, he also specializes in psychosomatic medicine, which looks at the link between body and mind. Alami completed his residency at the State University of New York in Brooklyn and his fellowship was at Columbia University in New York. He attended medical school in Casablanca, Morocco.

    Dr. Laurie Jepson joined the Internal Medicine Department at Essentia Health-Duluth Clinic. Jepson is board certified in internal medicine. She received her medical degree from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and completed a fellowship at University of California-Los Angeles Medical Center's Harbor General Hospital in Torrance, Calif. She also completed an internal medicine internship and residency at Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix.

    Dr. Jay Huber joined Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center as a hospitalist. Hospitalists are internal medicine specialists who treat patients only in the hospital setting. Huber, who is board certified in internal medicine, received his doctorate in osteopathy at the University of North Texas and Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth. He completed an internal medicine internship and a residency at Fitzsimons Army Medical Hospital in Aurora, Colo.

    Dr. Cory Ecklund, a family medicine physician, joined Essentia Health. He will travel to several of Essentia's regional clinics to see patients.

    Ecklund is board certified in family medicine. He received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and completed his residency at the Alaska Family Medicine Residency program in


    Dr. Kristian Narveson joined the emergency department at Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center. Narveson completed an internship and an emergency medicine residency at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport. He received his medical degree from the University of Sint Eustatius School of Medicine in the Netherlands.


  • Century 21 Gilderman and Associates Inc. announced Michele Vesel was recognized as top sales agent for April.
  • Cartier Agency in Duluth was honored by West Bend (Wis.) Mutual Insurance Co. for outstanding performance in the company's agency incentive program, Partners in Excellence. Partners in Excellence measures agency performance in the areas of profitability, agency growth, and agency objectives and sales strategy. While more than 1,000 independent agencies participated in the program, only 146 qualified for Partners in Excellence Status.

  • US Bank announced the following employees received the bank's annual Pinnacle Award, the company's highest employee achievement honor: Greg Lee, Shelby Vittorio and Tony Vittorio, branch managers in Hibbing, Duluth and Cloquet. The three were among the top 10 percent of top-performing employees nationwide to win US Bank's award for outstanding achievement and superior performance and were recognized at a company dinner. US Bank also recognized the following employees with Star of Excellence Awards: Tricia Andrews, Celia Cameron, Valerie Crowser, Joey

    Grzybowski, Jennifer Kotnik-Hopper and Amanda Lumaye, personal bankers in Cloquet, Duluth, Grand Rapids, Hibbing and Virginia. The Star of Excellence Award recognizes the top personal bankers throughout the company.

  • The Iron Range Rehabilitation Center recently honored employees with service awards during an appreciation dinner. The following employees received service awards: Forty years: Pat Tamminen;

    Fifteen years: Sue Doran, physical therapist; Colleen Drow, occupational therapist; Theresa Babiracki, certified occupational therapist assistant; Sandy Dahl, receptionist;

    Ten years: Jake Rikkola, physical therapist; and Kelly Dahl, occupational therapist.

    Five years: Jim Johnson, administrative assistant; Shelley Aho, occupational therapist; and Sarah Berry, physical therapy assistant.

  • Superior Meats, 6301 Tower Ave. in South Superior, was recognized during the 73rd annual convention of the Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors held April 13-15 in Madison. The business received the following awards: Reserve Grand Champion for Greek Sausage; Champion for Teriyaki Snack Sticks, Buffalo Bleu Chicken Snack Sticks, Ring Bologna and Liver Sausage; and Reserve Champion for Mediterranean Salami and Colorado Jerky.


  • Five area residents graduated from the Human Resource Certificate Program offered through the Center for Continuing Education/Extension at the University of Wisconsin-Superior on May 4. They were: Kevin LaJoie of Superior; Penny Larson of Superior; Amanda Neumann, a UWS student, of Superior; Nancy Odden of Duluth; and Melissa Pratt of Ashland.

    The program provides training specific to Human Resource Management

    including current law, policies and practices, personnel issues, human resource management and labor-management relations. Participants attend full-day seminars over a one- to two-year period at UWS with instruction provided by noted experts in the field.


  • Miller Hill Mall announced the latest retailer to join the mall is Teavana, which will occupy 500 square feet by Center Court. Teavana provides fresh, high-quality teas and the products that serve them. The company also donates 1 percent of its annual profits to CARE, a humanitarian organization fighting poverty.


  • Duluth-based Laughingstock Design announced the new location of its Happy Space retail store. It now is in the Medical Arts Building at 324 W. Superior St. A ribbon-cutting and re-opening celebration will be held at noon Thursday. The Happy Space store features two original lines of casual apparel, Happy Space PositiveWear and Listen To Nature Sustainable Apparel with designs printed on bamboo, hemp, organic cotton and recycled textiles. With the expanded space, the company will add another line of local and regional designs as well as other locally produced gift items including soy candles, jewelry, photography, Frost River packs and other soft goods.


  • Paul Johnson, formerly of Duluth, has joined Old Dominion Electric Cooperative in Glen Allen, Va., as director of power supply. He will direct economic analysis to support the company's strategic planning decisions in evaluating current resources and selecting future power alternatives.

    Johnson previously served as senior development manager at Renewable Energy Systems of America managing wind project development in the Midwest. He also had an extensive career with Minnesota Power, which included managing the development of company-wide integrated

    resource plans for nearly 17 years.


  • Angela Stocke, owner of Angela's Bella Flora Inc. in Duluth, recently completed a floral design workshop taught by world- famous Dutch floral

    designer, René van Rems. The seminar focused on cascading floral bouquets, a returning wedding trend.

    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 biz@duluth, or fax (218) 720-4120.

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