Member News: January & February, 2023

Members of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce have big things happening! Here are the news briefs from January & February, 2023.

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

St. Cloud State re-designated

St. Cloud State University has been re-designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) through the academic year 2027. The CAE-CD designation indicates an institution is helping to reduce threats to the U.S. infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cyber defense and by providing the nation with a pipeline of qualified cybersecurity professionals. St. Cloud State has been designated a CAE-CD since 2009. The designation has led to many grants, a new forensics lab, and dozens of student scholarships.

St. Cloud State clinic, services earn accreditation

St. Cloud State University’s Medical Clinic and Counseling and Psychological Services have been accredited by the Association for Ambulatory Health Care. This is a distinction that only 11 percent of higher education medical clinics achieve. The accreditation means that SCSU has met nationally recognized standards for providing high-quality health care set by the AAHC. 

Farah appointed by Governor

Mohamad Farah, community development coordinator at Stearns Bank N.A., was recently appointed to the MN Emerging Entrepreneur Board by the governor. The board works to reduce disparities in small business ownership by people in minority groups, diversify the Minnesota economy, and help shape the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development programming.

Xcel Energy donates $15,000

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota was awarded a $15,000 grant from Xcel Energy. The donation will go towards academic success programs and STEM programming.

Lane joins Kensington Bank

Leslie Lane has joined Kensington Bank as treasury management and business development officer. Leslie has over a decade of experience providing customer service in the financial industry and will help customers with tailor-made cash-flow management products and services.

Nahan wins award for tourism campaign

Local printer Nahan took home the Direct Printing/Direct Marketing Best in Category Award at the PRINTING United Alliance Premier PRINT Awards for the South Dakota Department of Tourism “Your Guide to Great Finds” campaign. This comes after the print company also took home 6 six awards at the Printing Industry Midwest Stars Awards in June.

City receives $1M grant

The City of St. Cloud has received a $1 million grant to fund the installation of green hydrogen and renewable natural gas demonstration projects. These technologies will reduce operating costs, keep user rates low, provide additional revenue and economic growth opportunities, reduce dependence on natural gas and high carbon fuel sources, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and increase energy resiliency.

Rinke Noonan adds staff

Rinke Noonan has hired attorney Christina Hopke. A graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College and the University of Notre Dame Law School, Hopke served as a judicial law clerk with the Supreme Court of Minnesota and was an assistant county attorney. Hopke will practice in the areas of employment and labor law, litigation, and real estate law.

Rinke Noonan also welcomed attorney Hannah Schacherl to the team. Schacherl earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and her law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School. Prior to joining Rinke Noonan, Schacherl was a legal intern with the Minn. Governor’s office and a law clerk in a county attorney’s office. She will practice agricultural law, environmental law, and government law,

Chamber hires director of downtown planning & development

Tyler Bevier has joined the team at the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce as the director of downtown planning and development. Bevier is originally from the Detroit, Michigan area. He previously worked in Traverse City, Michigan for the Downtown Development Authority, Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and Bay Area Transportation Authority. Bevier and his wife moved to St. Cloud in the summer of 2022.

JLG Architects takes home five awards, earns workplace distinction

JLG Architects won five awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Recognition at the Annual Convention of the North Dakota Chapter included an Honor Award for White Bear Lake Sports Center, a Merit Award for the Grand Forks Cities Area Transit Center, and a Merit Award for Dakota State University Cyber Lab. In 2022, JLG earned a total of five AIA awards, including an Honor Award from AIA South Dakota for Dakota State University Cyber Lab in Madison, SD, and a Merit Award from AIA Minneapolis for the renovation of the White Bear Lake Sports Center in White Bear Lake, MN.

In Star Tribune’s 2022 Top Workplaces Awards, JLG Architects was announced a Top Workplaces Gold Badge Winner in Culture Excellence in the category of Woman-Led Companies. This award recognizes workplaces with excellent organizational health, based on quantitative employee feedback, employee statements and demographic information. The firm’s CEO, Michelle Mongeon Allen, is a North Dakota State University alumna and award-winning architect who has been with the firm for nearly 23 years.

College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University adds senior diversity officer

Sandra Mitchell, who has served as the director of equity and inclusion at St. Catherine University in St. Paul since 2019, is the inaugural senior diversity officer at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University beginning January 2023. In her new role at CSB/SJU, Bruess said Mitchell will be a proactive voice for unifying stakeholders across the two campuses and beyond toward a foundational vision for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) initiatives.

PleasureLand RV wins RV Top 50 Dealer Award

PleasureLand RV received the 2022 RV Business Top 50 Award in November. Dealers across the United States and Canada are nominated to apply by RV manufacturers. Dealerships are judged in the areas of their operation, financial performance, and their charitable and community involvement.  An independent panel of twelve industry experts then reviews the applications to select the winners.

Alliance Imaging presented with House Resolution

On Tuesday, November 8th, State Representative Tim O’Driscoll presented a House Resolution to the team at Alliance Imaging, recognizing National Radiologic Technology Week. The House Resolution was signed by State Representative Tim O’Driscoll, Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman, and the Chair of Rules and Legislation Ryan Winkler.

ATS names new vice president

ATS has hired Lyle Jankee to fill the role of senior vice president and general manager of ATS Specialized. Jankee joins ATS with more than 20 years of experience in the transportation industry, beginning his career while attending college. His roles spanned the spectrum, including time in fleet operations, customer service and strategic planning, most recently serving as executive vice president of sales and marketing.

Stearns Electric gives back

Stearns Electric’s Operation Round Up® Program contributed $76,600 to 72 area organizations in October. Through Operation Round Up® (ORU), Stearns Electric Association gives its member-consumers the opportunity to give back to the community by rounding up their electric bill to the nearest dollar. Since the program’s inception in 1993, (ORU) and Stearns Electric members have awarded over $2.85 million to 5,200 local non-profit organizations and community service programs.

Stearns Electric’s 15th Annual Fall Employee Charity Event raised $5,845 for the INDY Foundation in November. Stearns Electric employees vote each year on an organization to receive the proceeds from the Employee Charity Event and this year they selected the INDY Foundation. Employees raised $4,845. Along with a $1,000 match by the Stearns Electric Board of Directors, a donation of $5,845 was made to the INDY Foundation to help people battling cancer in Central Minnesota.

Bernick’s names new CEO

Jason Hinnenkamp has taken on the role of chief executive officer at Bernick’s Hinnenkamp has worked with Bernick’s for 20 years in a variety of leadership roles. He started with Bernick’s working as a route helper and after graduating from St. Cloud State University he joined and eventually led the finance and IT teams, innovations sales, and most recently served as the vice president of operations.

InteleCONNECT, Inc. adds staff

Ben Thoele has joined InteleCONNECT Inc. in a new role as solutions engineer. Thoele brings 20 years of experience in information technology and business operations with experience working in legal, insurance, banking, manufacturing, and construction.