Member News: March & April, 2023

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

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

Markman joins Deerwood Bank

Mike Markman is the new chief revenue officer for all twelve of Deerwood Bank’s locations. Markman’s banking experience ranges from teller to community regional president. He holds a B.S. in Finance from St. Cloud State University–Herberger Business School and is a graduate of both the American Bankers Association National Commercial Lending Graduate School and the Minnesota Bankers Association Commercial Lending School.

St. Cloud State University a top online college

St. Cloud State University has been ranked as one of the top online colleges in Minnesota for 2023 by Intelligent, a trusted resource for online and on-campus program rankings and higher education planning. SCSU ranked 16th out of 26 Minnesota colleges based on an evaluation of program strength, graduation rate, cost, return on investment, and student resources.

Metro Bus staff part of award-winning group

The Metro Bus Training & Safety Department was part of the Minnesota Rural Transit Assistance Program Entry Level Driver Training Working Group that was recently awarded the Management Innovation Award by the Minnesota Public Transit Association at its yearly conference in St. Cloud. This award is presented to individuals or organizations that have implemented a project that is innovative to the field of transit or have established a creative new partnership or method of addressing concerns of transit users.

New hires at Apex Engineering

Apex Engineering has added three new members to its staff. Ryan Kotta, senior environmental engineer with 15 years of experience, will focus on planning, design, bidding, and project management of water and wastewater projects. Kent Exner is a senior transportation engineer with 24 years of experience in the public and private sectors. Through his career he has served on a number of local and state boards. Tej Bala brings 16 years of wastewater engineering experience to his new role as senior environmental engineer, where he will be involved with planning, design, construction, and commissioning of water and wastewater treatment facilities.

Brenny Specialized driver receives recognition

The Minnesota Trucking Association recently named Gerald “Red” Popp, professional truck driver for Brenny Specialized, as the 2022 Driver of the Month for August. Popp has been in the trucking industry for 43 years and has driven more than 4.7 million miles accident free.

O’Shea is new CEO of Stearns Electric

Matt O’Shea has been selected as the new CEO at Stearns Electric. O’Shea has worked in the utility industry for over 18 years and was an officer in the Minnesota Army National Guard, successfully leading soldiers through two deployments. O’Shea has been with Stearns Electric since 2015, with the last three years serving as the vice president of engineering and operations for the cooperative.

District 742 adds Somali immersion program

St. Cloud School District 742 will now offer a Somali Dual Language Immersion program, the first of its kind in the state of Minnesota. The program is a 50/50 delivery model where half the day is taught in Somali and half the day is taught in English. It is available at Discovery and Talahi Community Schools only and limited to kindergarten students from the Discovery, Talahi, Lincoln and Oak Hill attendance areas.

New board members elected to GSDC

Clare Richards, Ayan Omar, and Reade Sievert have joined the Greater St. Cloud Development Corp.  board of directors.  They will each serve a two-year term ending in December 2025.

Jett is new Commissioner of Education

Former St. Cloud District 742 Superintendent Willie Jett has been appointed to Governor Tim Walz’s cabinet as commissioner of education. In announcing the appointment Walz cited Jett’s decades of experience in greater Minnesota, suburban and urban districts during his career.

Goebel promoted at AIS Planning

Nathan Goebel, CFP® has been promoted to advisor at AIS Planning. Nathan has been with the firm since December 2019.

Crew Carwash named one of the best places to work

Crew Carwash has been honored with a Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award, recognizing the Best Places to Work in 2023. The Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award is based on the input of employees who voluntarily provide anonymous feedback by completing a company review about their jobs, work environment and employer on Glassdoor, the worldwide leader on insights about jobs and companies.

Rodness joins Chamber of Commerce

Bonnie Rodness has joined the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce as the director of finance and operations. She previously held the roles of director of outsourced services at Schlenner Wenner & Co., vice president of finance and operations at the United Way of Central Minnesota, and general manager at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites in St. Cloud.

Muleya named EPIC Coordinator

Michelo Muleya has been hired as the EPIC coordinator at Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation in partnership with the EPIC Board of Directors. EPIC (Exploring Potential Interests and Careers) is a community collaborative composed of events, resources and programs that bridge education and industry for Central Minnesota learners and employers. Muleya previously worked as an economic development specialist at the Benton Economic Partnership.

Kramer “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 LPL Financial’s more than 21,000 independent financial advisors nationwide.

Schlenner Wenner adds partner, staff earns master’s degree

Dan Wainright, CPA, is now a partner at Schlenner Wenner & Co. He has worked in public accounting since 2013 and works out of their Monticello office.  Jacilyn Nemec, CPA, MBT, has recently completed her Master’s of Business Taxation.  She specializes in business taxation for the real estate, construction and rental properties industries and works out of their St. Cloud office.

College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University names new COO

Dr. Kara Kolomitz is the inaugural joint chief operating officer for the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. Dr. Kolomitz has worked in Catholic higher education for more than 25 years, including COO from 2016-22 at Regis College, a liberal arts institution in suburban Boston.

Catholic Charities announces new board member

Rhonda Siltman, Sauk Rapids, has joined the board of Catholic Charities. She is category growth manager – private brands at Coborn’s, Inc.

Way joins Visit Greater St. Cloud

Olivia Way has joined Visit Greater St. Cloud in the role of Information Specialist. She handles content asset management, visitor guide distribution, visitor inquiries, website listings and is the new friendly face you see as you enter the office. Previously, Olivia worked in social media and at the St. Cloud Public Library. She is originally from Wisconsin, and a graduate of St. Cloud State University.

In Sympathy

We extend our sympathy to the family and friends of Ron Schmitz, founder of Ron’s Cabinets. Ron, the founder of Sauk Rapids based Ron’s Cabinets and Wilkie Sanderson, received the 1990 St. Cloud Area and Minnesota Small Business Person of the Year award. He was active in the Chamber, serving on several committees and as a Board member, as well as a dedicated businessman in the St. Cloud area. Ron passed away in September 2022 from injuries sustained while working in the woods. His son Randy Schmitz owns Rolling Ridge Wedding & Event Center in St. Joseph.