Biz Buzz for Sept. 14

HIRES AND PROMOTIONS Reed Byers joined Dwight Swanstrom Insurance Co. in Duluth. With 30 years of insurance underwriting, sales and risk management experience, Byers will focus on representing commercial customers. He also is responsible for prod...

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  • Reed Byers joined Dwight Swanstrom Insurance Co. in Duluth. With 30 years of insurance underwriting, sales and risk management experience, Byers will focus on representing commercial customers. He also is responsible for producing new personal and commercial lines accounts. Byers is a native of Duluth and recently returned after working primarily in the Twin Cities for the last 30 years.
  • Garrett Becker was promoted to credit analyst at the National Bank of Commerce office at 1127 Tower Ave. Garrett is originally from Eden Prairie, Minn., and earned a bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He joined the bank as a teller in 2007.
  • Orthopaedic Associates of Duluth announced Benjamin L. Clair, a podiatrist, joined its team of surgeons. Clair is a board-qualified foot and ankle surgeon. He earned his medical degree from the Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at the R. Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago. He completed his internship at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis and a foot and ankle surgical residency at HCMC, United Hospital and Park Nicollet Hospital, all in the Twin Cities area. He is a native of Pierre, S.D., and holds professional affiliations with the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, the American Podiatric Medical Association, the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, the Minnesota Podiatric Medical Association and the American Board of Podiatric Surgery.

  • Karen Olson was promoted to community programs supervisor for the Human Development Center's Lake County operations. Olson holds a master's degree in educational psychology and is an 11-year HDC employee. She will be responsible for overseeing HDC's community support and school-linked mental health services. She also will continue to provide outreach services to adults and children with mental health concerns in their homes, schools and community throughout Lake County.

  • Kimberly Alaspa was promoted to local sales manager for KQDS Fox 21 television. She is responsible for overseeing the sales staff and will assist the general manager. Alaspa was originally hired as an account executive in September 1999 and served as the senior account executive for the past three years. She is a graduate of the College of St. Scholastica and has several years of experience helping companies create successful advertising messages and campaigns.


  • Chester Creek's Fun Keyboard and Fun Mouse bundle was chosen as the "Teacher's Pick, Best of 2009" winner by Scholastic Instructor Magazine. Chester Creek, which is in Duluth, is a designer and marketer of innovative computer keyboards and mice for all ages and abilities. Go to for information.
  • Teresa Royer of Duluth received an Excellent Beginnings Program Achievers award from lia sophia, a jewelry-selling business. The award recognizes new employees for outstanding sales and accomplishments. Erickson has been an independent sales representative with the company for 15 weeks.
  • RE/MAX 1 in Superior announced Dana Acton was named listing and selling agent of the month for August. CERTIFICATIONS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Christie Printing Co. in Duluth was recertified for the Printing Industry of Minnesota's Great Printer Environmental Initiative, a voluntary green certification that demonstrates a commitment to minimize the company's impact on human health and the environment. This is the second year they have been certified. Among the 47 Minnesota companies that have earned the certification, Christie Printing is the only one in Northeastern Minnesota.
  • Kelly Sager, the financial/compliance officer at WesternBank, received her diploma from the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sager has worked at WesternBank for the past seven years. The Graduate School of Banking at UW-Madison is sponsored by the 18 state bankers associations comprising the Central States Conference of Bankers Associations and UW-Madison. It was established in 1945 to provide bankers with advanced study and research in banking, economics and leadership. Instruction takes place during two-week resident sessions for three consecutive summers, along with comprehensive study between summer sessions.

  • Grand Rapids State Bank announced the following employees earned professional certifications. Al Liestman, senior vice president of lending, received his diploma from the Graduate School of Banking at UW-Madison. He has worked at Grand Rapids State Bank since June 2008.

    Jeff Nylund, information technology manager, completed the Certified Community Bank Technology Officer Program on Aug. 11. The program is sponsored by the Independent Community Bankers of America. Nylund was hired in August 1998 as a network administrator.

    Jill Mattson was awarded a certificate of completion for Human Resource Management School on Aug. 14 by the Graduate School of Banking at UW-Madison. She was hired at the bank in April 1990 and has worked as a teller, teller supervisor and as a human resources administrative assistant.

    The Human Resource Management School is designed specifically for financial services HR professionals and helps to expand knowledge of the banking industry and human resource management, improve employee performance, and establish a network of colleagues with which to interact and exchange ideas.


  • Edith H. Michalski was elected to serve on the Minnesota Land Title Association's Board of Directors. The position is for a six-year term, culminating as president of the association. Michalski is president and owner of Arrowhead Abstract and Title Co., Carlton County Abstract and Title Co., and Great Lakes Abstract and Title Co.


  • Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank hosts a ribbon cutting and open house from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday at 4503 Airpark Blvd. in Duluth. The event includes refreshments and brief remarks to celebrate the grand re-opening of the expanded facility. Call (218) 727-5653 or go to for information. 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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