Member News: January & February, 2024

Members of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce have big things happening! Here are the news briefs from January & February, 2024.

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

Initiative Foundation names new president

Brian Voerding is the new president of the Initiative Foundation. Voerding was vice president for inclusive entrepreneurship at the foundation since June 2021. Before that, he founded and served as the executive director of Engage Winona, a social-change nonprofit serving the greater Winona area.

SCSU professor receives honor

St. Cloud State University professor Dr. Christopher Lehman received the inaugural Ruth Riester Award for Historical Contributions to the Humanities by the Minnesota Humanities Center (MHC). The award honors Lehman’s contributions to the field of Minnesota history through research, publications, teaching and public engagement. Lehmen serves as chair and professor of Ethnic Studies at SCSU.

Preferred Credit earns award

Preferred Credit Inc. (PCI) was honored with the 2023 Trusted Leader Award. Established by David Horsager, author of the Trust Edge and Trusted Leader, this award recognizes and celebrates organizations that actively continue to build trust.

Ortega to lead Tri County Humane Society

Marit Ortega has been named executive director of the Tri-County Humane Society. She will succeed Vicki Davis, who retires in February 2024. Ortega has served in a variety of roles at the shelter from 2002 to 2018. She recently served as director of development and director of “The Campaign for Cathedral” through the Catholic school system.

 SCTCC program earns designation

St. Cloud Technical & Community College (SCTCC) was recognized with the designation as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) at the 2023 National Cyber Education Colloquium. To receive a CAE-CD designation, SCTCC met the rigorous requirements set by the National Security Agency (NSA). The NSA awards CAE-CD designations to institutions that commit to producing cybersecurity professionals who will reduce vulnerabilities in our national infrastructure.

CLA announces career advancements

CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP) announced career advancements for professionals across the country, including three in St. Cloud. Chloe Nimens was named principal in employee benefit plans, Kirstin Doughan was named signing director in employee benefits plans, and Andrew Ostlund was named principal in wealth advisory. The advancements were effective November 1.

Metro Bus CEO wins safety award

Metro Bus CEO Ryan I. Daniel is the World Safety Organization’s (WSO) 2023 J. Peter Cunliffe Transportation Award winner. The award recognizes an “active member of the WSO, who has shown above average skills in leadership, and supervision of transportation programs, etc.” and “who exhibits total dedication and commitment to the protection of people, property, resources, and the environment through participation and personal involvement in professional safety activities.”

Local company, driver receive national recognition

Brenny Specialized Inc. received a Platinum award by Great West Casualty. The National Safety Awards program recognizes motor carriers in similar operations (truckload and less than truckload), with awards based on their year-end preventable crash results.

Local non-profit renovates building

Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota (GESMN) completed renovations on their building at 50 2nd Ave. S, Waite Park. Renovations include an expanded conference room to better serve its career services program and updated lighting, paint, signage and bathrooms to improve the shopping experience.

Degerstrom to lead Stearns History Museum

Amy Degerstrom began her role as executive director of Stearns History Museum in November. Degerstrom received her MA in Art History and Museum Studies from Ohio State University. She has worked in the non-profit sector for more than 20 years, including the last five at the Stearns History Museum where she served previously as development director and most recently interim executive director.

St. Cloud Rox give back to the community

The St. Cloud Rox Project S.A.V.E. Foundation has been recognized as the Northwoods League Community Program of the Year for the second season in a row. The foundation benefits youth-related activities involving sports, arts, volunteerism, and education initiatives. The Rox raised more than $156,000 in 2023.

ATS welcomes new leadership

Troy Dessert joined Anderson Trucking Service as the vice president and general manager of ATS Inc., the dry van division of Anderson Trucking Service Inc. With more than 30 years experience in the transportation industry, Dessert previously worked at  C.R. England and Swift Transportation. Dessert assumed his new role in October.

St. Cloud Hospital celebrates 5th Magnet redesignation

St. Cloud Hospital achieved a fifth Magnet redesignation, an honor from the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program. The designation distinguishes health care organizations that meet rigorous standards for nursing excellence. St. Cloud Hospital is now one of only 43 organizations in the world that has achieved a fifth redesignation.

Starin honored for Baby’s on Broadway success

Adelle Starin, owner of Baby’s on Broadway, was a 2023 honoree at the Entrepreneur Fund’s inaugural Distinction Awards, celebrating the small businesses that are the driving force behind regional economic growth. Starin was recognized for her expansion into a national market as a retailer for durable medical equipment, successful store expansions and establishing a national network for mothers.

Hokanson completes CPA exam

Schlenner Wenner & Co.’s Alex Hokanson has completed all parts of the CPA exam. Hokanson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from St Cloud State University.  He joined the firm in January 2021 at the St Cloud office and assists with audits and reviews with the non-profit audit team.

SCSU reports enrollment increase

Enrollment numbers are up at St. Cloud State University for the first time since 2015. The university reported that its fall enrollment for the 2023-2024 academic year is staying strong at more than 10,000 students and that the university has seen an increase of 7.7 percent in full-time enrollment of both undergraduate and graduate students.

CentraCare physician receives honors

Larry Hook, MD, physician specialty director and medical director of EmPATH, was honored by the Minnesota Medical Association (MMA) with the President’s Award, recognizing those who have given much of their free time to help improve the association. Dr. Hook was nominated for his role as a leader who conducts himself with the utmost integrity, citizenship and dogged dedication to the wellbeing of others.