Member News: September & October, 2023

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

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

Metro Bus wins award

Metro Bus Mobility & Training Center was named the first winner of the TripSpark Community Partner of the Year Award. The award recognizes a transit agency that is most proactively improving community access and implementing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging) initiatives.

Coldspring partners with SCSU

Four recent St. Cloud State University mechanical and manufacturing engineering graduates spent their senior year gaining industry experience with Coldspring. They were tasked with helping make a granite splitting line run more efficiently and safely. Coldspring also worked with a team of SCSU computer engineering students in the spring of 2023.  

SCSU library staff earn award

Staff members of the St. Cloud State University library recently received the 2023 Minnesota Academic Innovator’s Award by the Minnesota Library Association. The team of Robin Ewing, Jennifer Quinlan, Tom Steman, Melissa Prescott and Missy Northenscold were honored for making course materials and scholarships more affordable and accessible for SCSU and the Minnesota State University system.

CentraCare Foundation raises $6 million

CentraCare Foundation completed the mental health care campaign Lighting the Path, which helps to expand access to mental health support across CentraCare communities. Over the 12-month campaign, community members, businesses and CentraCare employees contributed more than $6.2 million to support mental health in the area.

CentraCare appoints two new executives

Ryan Engdahl, PhD, LP, MBA, has been promoted to vice president of ambulatory care. He was previously the Senior Director of Behavioral Health.

Rachael Lesch, RN, MBA, has been promoted to vice president of population health & performance excellence. Her previous position was executive director of population health & quality improvement.

Ecumen purchases St. Benedict’s Community

Ownership of CentraCare’s St. Benedict’s Community in St. Cloud, Monticello and Sartell will be transferred to Ecumen, following a search for an organization that could continue supporting the needs of the community, and to provide the best future care options for residents. Upon finalization of the sale, projected for late 2023, current CentraCare – St. Benedict’s positions will transition to new Ecumen ownership. 

Wayne earns designation

Laraway Financial Advisors President, CEO and Financial Advisor Christopher Wayne was awarded the Silver Beaver Award for distinguished service from the Boy Scouts of America. The honor is given to individuals who have impacted youth through community service, noteworthy self-sacrifice, exceptional strength of character, and sustaining commitment to the scouting program.

St. Cloud Area Schools awarded grant

St. Cloud Area Schools received a grant to help develop a new plan for arts education. The Perpich Center for Arts Education has named St. Cloud one of eight school districts to receive a Comprehensive Arts Planning Program, or CAPP, award.

Liberty Bank earns distinction

Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal has named Liberty Bank Minnesota one of the state’s strongest mid-sized banks. Liberty was recognized for having the highest core-capital ratio of all mid-size banks and the lowest loan-to-deposit ratio.

Stearns Electric introduces electric lawnmower

Stearns Electric Association, in partnership with its wholesale power provider Great River Energy (GRE), leased a 74” electric lawnmower from Mean Green Electric Mowers to replace a diesel-powered machine at Lynx National Golf Course in Sauk Centre. This pilot project is the first of its kind for a golf course through Mean Green Electric Mowers.

Wittnebel receives certification

Sydney Wittnebel, CPA at Schlenner Wenner & Co., received a Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) certification issued by the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA).  She will assist the tax department by providing valuation analysis and financial statements for potential sales/mergers of businesses. She will also assist with business succession planning.

St. Cloud Hospital NICU receives award

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. Cloud Hospital is Minnesota’s first and only NICU to receive a Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Acute and Critical-Care Nurses. The award recognizes excellence in evidence-based practices to improve patient outcomes, staff engagement and a healthy work environment.

Several businesses named Top 200 Workplace

19 Chamber members have been recognized by Star Tribune as Minnesota’s Top 200 Workplaces. Ranking in the top 20 include:

  • Bell Bank
  • Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union
  • Edina Realty
  • Frandsen Bank and Trust
  • Bolton & Menk, Inc.
  • Capital One
  • Compeer Financial

Seitz adds employees

Seitz Stainless welcomed three new fabricators to the team. Lucas Winskowski, Oliver Statz and Brandt Conklin signed on after Seitz sent a contingent to St. Cloud Technical & Community College to do a presentation on employment opportunities.

Vouk named Chief Operations Officer

Lisa Vouk has been promoted to Chief Operations Officer at InteleCONNECT.  She joined the company 15 years ago and has played an integral part in overseeing customer service, marketing, operations and assisting with the growth and success of the company.

Matvick wins award

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota’s Program Director Ann Matvick was selected as the winner of this year’s Brick Award for Program Staff Person of the Year. Matvick was recognized for going above and beyond in her work to provide good matches for Bigs and Littles and growing the program’s reach in the area.

Brenny Transportation recognized

Brenny Transportation has been named the 2022 Midwest Region Carrier of the Year by ABC Supply Co. They earned the distinction in a pool of over 250 suppliers.

Spire raises nearly $80,000

Members of Spire Credit Union along with listeners of the radio station KS95 raised nearly $80,000 for Secondhand Hounds through the Buck$ for Babe fundraiser. This is the second year operating the fundraiser, and Spire alone donated $25,000 to the campaign.

Visit Greater St. Cloud promotes, adds staff

Visit Greater St. Cloud, formally known as the St. Cloud Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) has made some staffing updates. Olivia Way, previously in the information specialist role, has been promoted to marketing and services coordinator and Craig Besco, formerly a sales manager, has been promoted to sports director. In addition to these promotions, the CVB welcomes Sumer Hagar as sales manager and Melissa Ludwig as administrative assistant.