March & April, 2022

Members of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce have big things happening! Here are the news briefs from March & April, 2022.

Have some news to submit? Send press releases, staff additions, awards and more to Emily Bertram.

PleasureLand wins Top 50 Award

PleasureLand RV was recently honored with the 2021 RV Business Top 50 Award, one of only three dealers in North America to receive this award each year since its inception.  Dealerships are judged on their operation and financial performance, along with their charitable and community involvement.

SCSU Receives Job Training Grants

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) awarded 13 workforce development grants totaling nearly $2.2 million under the Minnesota Jobs Skills Partnership (MJSP) to assist businesses and educational institutions in training workers to keep high-quality jobs in the state. St. Cloud State received two awards totaling over $500,000 to assist Eye-Kraft and Sand Companies.

Robinson joins Initiative Foundation

Donniel Robinson has been hired as entrepreneurship programs officer for the Initiative Foundation. Robinson will work across the Initiative Foundation’s entrepreneurship programs and support the growth of Enterprise Academy. 

Lesmeister earns industry recognition

Jennifer Lesmeister, AIF®, financial advisor with Laraway Financial Advisors, Inc. (LFA), was awarded the Accredited Investment Fiduciary designation from the Center for Fiduciary Studies®.

Quiet Oaks hires director of nursing

Heather Olson joins Quiet Oaks Hospice House as the new director of nursing. Olson received her BA in Nursing from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1997, and comes to Quiet Oaks with 25 years of nursing experience in both urban and rural settings.

Marco promotes Akervik, supports Salvation Army

Trevor Akervik has been promoted to chief operating officer at Marco. He has worked at Marco for 20 years and most recently served as the company’s chief strategy officer. He replaces longtime Marco leader Jonathan Warrey, who will continue in the company through a newly created position leading organization-wide sales development.

Marco’s annual support of The Salvation Army initiative in December included a $10,000 corporate donation, as well as employee support through donations of monetary gifts and volunteered time.

Lutgen joins CRS

Jesse J. Lutgen is a new commercial agent with Commercial Realty Solutions (CRS). He will be based in the company’s St. Cloud office.

Granite Electronics is acquired

Granite Electronics Inc., a St. Cloud-based provider of communications systems and devices for public safety, industrial, and commercial clients, has been acquired by Superior, Wisconsin-based DSC Communications.  DSC Communications provides sales and service for Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Martone joins Rinke Noonan

Attorney Gabrielle Martone has joined the law firm of Rinke Noonan. She practices in the areas of banking and lending; business law; and real estate law.

Jolly Trolley sets donation record

The Jolly Trolley delivered 7,400 pounds of food and $1,700 in December to Catholic Charities Emergency Services, the Promise Neighborhood of Central MN, and the St. Cloud Area Salvation Army. To date, the Jolly Trolley Food Drive has collected and donated $25,000 and 45,000 pounds of food.  Each December Metro Bus partners with businesses and organizations to collect donations for area food shelves.

Decker honored by museum

John Decker, longtime employee of the Stearns History Museum, received the 2021 Zapp Historian Award. The honor recognizes Decker’s longtime service to the community and his commitment to promoting the rich history of Stearns County and Central Minnesota.

ATS announces staff changes

Anderson Trucking Service (ATS) hired Lars Offerdahl as the new VP of driver recruiting.  Offerdahl brings nearly 15 years of experience in the transportation industry to ATS, including several years in operations and a decade in leadership roles in both operations and driver recruiting. He replaces Joe Goering who is entering a phased retirement after more than 31 years at ATS, including nearly a decade as the vice president of driver recruiting.

Rachel Thompson appointed to MACVB board

The Minnesota Association of CVBs (MACVB) appointed Rachel Thompson, Visit Greater St. Cloud, to the board of directors to serve a two-year term from January 2022-December 2023.  Thompson is a seven-year employee of Visit Greater St. Cloud, a division of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. She was promoted from sales manager to executive director in September of 2021.

BerganKDV announces merger

BerganKDV recently merged with two human capital management service providers: Paystubz based out of Rapid City, South Dakota, and People Etc., based out of Kankakee, Illinois. This partnership adds 21 new team members to BerganKDV and expands the company’s reach into the South Dakota and Illinois markets.  The newly added companies will use the BerganKDV name and branding.

Women’s Fund grants $84K

The Women’s Fund of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation has awarded more than $84,000 during its most recent grant rounds.  Some of the organizations that received grants are:

  • Anna Marie’s Alliance – $8,000 to support continued mental health programs
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota – $4,500 for their Dr. Potter, Bigs on Campus Mentoring program
  • Terebinth Refuge – $5,000 for their Aftercare Program
  • Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity – $8,000 for their Women’s Build-Genesis Home
  • Paramount Center for the Arts – $2,000 for their Gift of Stories: Memoirs program

Additionally, the Julianne Williams Fund awarded $14,400 in grants to three organizations, including:

  • Terebinth Refuge – $4,000 for their Health and Wellness-Kayaking program
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota – $5,200 for their DateSMART program

Schlenner Wenner appoints managing partner; promotes staff

Pat Plamann, CPA, MBT has been appointed managing partner at Schlenner Wenner. He takes over for Steve Schueller who has led the firm since 2013. Schueller remains active in the firm as a tax partner in the St Cloud and Little Falls offices.

The following individuals have been promoted to partner at Schlenner Wenner.  All three graduated from St. Cloud State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.

Brian Schellinger, CPA, CVA, has worked in public accounting since 2009.  Samantha Kohout, CPA, CSEP, has worked in public accounting since 2005 and is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning. Ryan Schmidt, CPA, has worked in public accounting since 2010 and holds an Advanced Single Audit Certification.

Bob Hengel, CPA, is retiring from Schlenner Wenner.  He joined the firm in 1987, became partner in 1990 and has spent the last 30+ years serving the firm’s clients at the St. Cloud and Albany offices.

Stanton named General Counsel

Cheryl A. Stanton joined the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University as its first General Counsel and Corporate Secretary to the Boards of Trustees. Stanton oversees the provision of legal services to CSB and SJU, providing executive and confidential assistance, and legal and strategic guidance. She will also serve as the Title IX Coordinator for CSB and SJU.

Gartland reappointed to MAC

Gov. Tim Walz reappointed Patti Gartland, president of the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, to the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC).  Her term ends in January 2026. Gartland was originally appointed to the MAC by Gov. Mark Dayton in March 2014. In 2017, she was elected vice chair of the MAC, a position she still holds.

Kramer Recognized as a Top Financial Advisor

James Kramer III, an independent LPL financial advisor at Kramer Financial in St. Cloud, was recently recognized for his inclusion in the LPL Patriot’s Club. This elite award is presented to less than 7% of the firm’s more than 19,000 financial advisors nationwide.