Biz Buzz for Sept. 10, 2012

HIRES AND PROMOTIONS Michelle Ryan was named the top sales agent for August by Century 21 Gilderman & Associates Inc. Brittany Berrens is a new copywriter at Out There Advertising Inc. She writes advertising copy, press releases, television a...



  • Michelle Ryan was named the top sales agent for August by Century 21 Gilderman & Associates Inc.
  • Brittany Berrens is a new copywriter at Out There Advertising Inc. She writes advertising copy, press releases, television and radio commercials, and other marketing materials.

    Berrens graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Superior in 2011 with a

    bachelor's degree in mass communication. She is the former editor of the Lake County News-Chronicle, where she previously served as reporter after graduating UWS. She was previously a news producer for KQDS Fox 21 in Duluth and was part of the team nominated for an Emmy for Best Weekend Newscast in 2011.

  • Kraus-Anderson Construction Co. announced Brett Comstock was hired as a project manager in the company's Duluth regional office. Comstock was previously a project manager for Greystone Construction based in Shakopee, Minn., and was vice president and director of construction for St. Paul-based OMNI Investment Properties.

    He earned a bachelor's degree in business management and administration from Metropolitan State University, with an associate degree in architectural design from Minneapolis Vocational Technical Institute. Comstock is a member of the Minnesota Construction Association, Minnesota Builders Association, Construction Management Association of America and Society for Professional Estimators.

  • Essentia Health in Duluth welcomed the following new physicians. Dr. Brian Junnila joined the Emergency Medicine Department at Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center.

    Junnila, a former emergency medical technician, also has expertise in wilderness medicine. He completed an emergency medicine residency at

    Detroit Medical Center and received his medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine in Roseau, West Indies. He holds a bachelor's degree in biology from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.

    Dr. Antonio Laudito, a cardiothoracic surgeon, joined the Essentia Health-St. Mary's Heart and Vascular Center. Laudito graduated from University of Turin Medical School in Italy and completed his general surgery residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. His cardiothoracic surgical residency took place at University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida, followed by a pediatric cardiac surgical residency at University of California San Francisco. Laudito specializes in minimally invasive heart valve repair and the latest techniques for arterial coronary bypass surgery. He also offers surgical ablation of atrial fibrillation, a treatment for abnormal heart rhythms. Laudito is board-certified in surgery and thoracic surgery.

    Ifeyinwa Igwe, MBBS, has joined the pain management team at Essentia Health-Duluth Clinic. She completed a residency at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York and a fellowship in pain and palliative care at Metropolitan Hospital in New York. She also completed an internship and residency at North General Hospital in New York. Igwe received her MBBS (bachelor of medicine, bachelor of surgery) at the University of Nigeria in Enugu.

  • Todd Fedora joined US Bank in Duluth as vice president and commercial banking team lead, responsible for managing existing relationships and building new relationships with commercial clients in the Duluth area. He will work at the office at 130 W. Superior St. Fedora has 25 years of experience in the banking industry, previously working in commercial banking with US Bank and M&I Bank. Before this position, Fedora was a vice president of commercial banking with M&I.

    He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth and has been active in the community through many nonprofit and civic organizations, including the Duluth Economic Development Authority, Duluth Airport Authority, Duluth Animal Allies, Leadership Duluth and serving on the Duluth City Council for four years.

  • Carrie Sutherland was named development director for Swenson College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

    Sutherland, a UMD alumna, returned to campus with 15 years of sales and marketing experience and joined the development team in 2007. Since then, her work has focused on development efforts, recognition events and fundraising for campuswide programs and scholarships.

  • Reliable Insurance Agency, based out of Cloquet, announced the addition of two staff members to the Hermantown office: Megan Zander and Carrie Torgeson. Zander, a North Dakota native, graduated from Bismarck High School in 1999

    and from Bismarck (N.D.) State College in 2003 with an associate degree. She obtained her Minnesota property and casualty license in 2007 and added life, accident and health in 2010. Zander has 13 years of customer service experience.

    Torgeson, a 1981 graduate of Duluth East High School, started working in the banking industry in customer service and operations. She owned and operated a day care for 17 years and in 2006 took a position as office manager of the Pike Lake Area Wastewater Collection System. After that, she moved back into the banking field at Pioneer National Bank. She joined the Reliable team in May as a receptionist.


  • Memorial Medical Center in Ashland announced Dan Hymans, president and CEO, and Les Whiteaker, vice president and chief financial officer, each plan to retire. Hymans will retire on Oct. 1, and Whiteaker will drop to part time in January and retire Sept. 1, 2013. CERTIFICATIONS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Twin Ports Insurance in Duluth announced Theresa Cain earned the insurance designation of certified insurance service representative by the National Alliance of Insurance Education and Research. To obtain certification, individuals must complete five courses covering all major areas of risk management and pass five comprehensive exams. Cain, of Duluth, is a personal lines customer service representative at Twin Ports Insurance with 11 years of experience. She graduated from Duluth Central High School and the University of Minnesota Duluth.

  • Brian Liberty, a wealth management specialist and vice president-investments in the Duluth office of Raymond James & Associates Inc., completed the Advanced Estate Planning Institute at the Raymond James Institute of Finance. The three-day course for financial advisers covers the changing federal estate tax laws, strategies for high-net-worth families, long-term care alternatives, irrevocable trusts and charitable techniques. GRAND OPENING/OPEN HOUSE

  • The Knotted Pine Inn and Tavern in Isabella will celebrate its 75th anniversary with a public event Saturday at the establishment at 9702 Highway 1. The event features Dickie Singleton barbecue, drink specials, raffles and prizes. The Knotted Pine started as a tavern and gas station in 1937. Today it

    offers lodging, fishing, outfitting and more. Call (218) 323-7681, e-mail or go to for more information.

  • The Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce at the Ashland CEP Inc. Job Center will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony from 8-9 a.m. Wednesday at the new location for the Job Center inside the Ashland Area Enterprise Center. An open house will follow from 9:30-11 a.m. Tours of the new job-seeker resource room will be given, and staff will be available. Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board and Northwest

    Wisconsin Concentrated Employment Program Inc. host a fall open house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at Hayward CEP Inc. itinerant office at the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College campus. Staff will be available to discuss job seeker and employer services. Refreshments will be provided.


  • Anya Russom, guest services assistant at the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth, was awarded a trade show travel sponsorship from Zoo & Aquarium Buyer's Group. The sponsorship includes airfare, lodging and meals throughout the duration of ZAG Week in November at the International Gift Exposition in the Smokies in Tennessee.

    Applicants for the sponsorship were required to meet the following criteria: be a current ZAG member in good standing; be unable to attend the Smokey Mountain Gift Shows for the past five years; and not be able to attend the shows this year without financial help.

    Russom will attend ZAG Week on behalf of Lake Superior Zoo's Tiger's Paw Gift Shop, where the approximate visitor count is around 100,000 annually.

    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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