November & December, 2021

Members of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce have big things happening! Here are the news briefs from November & December, 2021.

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

New executive director named to Chamber’s CVB

Rachel Thompson has been selected as the new executive director of the Chamber’s Convention & Visitors Bureau. Thompson was hired in 2015 as sales and services coordinator, later promoted to sales manager for the CVB. She began her role as executive director on September 1, succeeding Julie Lunning who was promoted to Chamber president.

Local drivers win at state Roadeo

Two Metro Bus Dial-a-Ride operators took away high honors at the 33rd annual Minnesota Public Transportation Association (MPTA) Minnesota State Bus Roadeo.  The competition was at St. Cloud State University and featured top bus operators from around Minnesota. 

David Peacock, who has been with Metro Bus for 20 years, won the Small Bus Division. Larry Dolan won the prestigious Drivers Choice-Duane Dufner Memorial Award which is voted on by Roadeo participants and recognizes the bus operator who is the most helpful to colleagues at the event.

AWG partners with Coborn’s to expand distribution footprint

Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. (AWG) and Coborn’s, Inc. have reached an agreement for AWG to serve as the primary wholesale supplier to all Coborn’s grocery stores. AWG will begin supplying grocery products to the Coborn’s stores in January 2022 from AWG’s new Upper Midwest Division in St. Cloud, which is located in the former Creative Memories warehouse facility in St. Cloud’s I-94 Business Park.

Traut breaks ground for new building

Traut Companies started construction for their new building at 32640 County Road 133 in St. Joseph with a groundbreaking ceremony in July.  They hope to relocate in February 2022.

Pictured from left:  Chad Stewart, president, Structural Buildings; Dave Traut, vice president, Traut Companies/master ground water contractor; Mark Traut, president, Traut Companies; Al Stewart, CEO,  Structural Buildings; and Ralph Brown, project manager, Structural Buildings.

Voerding joins Initiative Foundation

Brian Voerding has joined the Initiative Foundation as vice president for inclusive entrepreneurship. Voerding’s primary role is to lead the Foundation’s business finance, Initiators Fellowship and Enterprise Academy programs. He succeeds Jeff Wig, who retired in July. 

Dale Gruber Construction relocates, names new vice president

Dale Gruber Construction has moved its headquarters to an expanded location off County Road 74 in St. Cloud. Rachel Gruber, daughter of Dale Gruber, has been appointed vice president after having worked 13 years in various departments within the company.

Biery elected chair of workforce association

Career Solutions Executive Director, Tammy Biery, was elected chair of the Minnesota Association of Workforce Boards (MAWB).  MAWB also presented Career Solutions with its Promising Practices award for its Discovery Days program.

Mahowald named Top Insurance Employer

Insurance Business America (IBA) named Mahowald Insurance Agency as a Top Insurance Employer of 2021. This is the second consecutive year the agency has been recognized as a top employer.

New attorney joins Rinke Noonan

Real Estate and Litigation Attorney Isak Hawkinson recently joined Rinke Noonan. Hawkinson has worked as a land surveyor involved in residential development, and in pipeline construction.  

Two join AIS Planning

Rose Larson has joined AIS Planning as a client service associate. Teresa Bawden is the new client service associate of the retirement plan services department.

Stearns Electric donates to local causes

Stearns Electric’s Operation Round Up® Program contributed $29,900 to 48 area organizations in July.  The program asked members to donate by rounding up their electric bill to the nearest dollar. Stearns Electric has raised and donated over $2.6 million since Operation Round Up began in 1993.

Stearns Electric and its wholesale power provider were able to use a portion of their annual funding from the Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) to help fund a new, all-electric tram at Hemker Park & Zoo. The tram can transport up to 15 guests at a time and is handicap accessible.

Brenny Transportation wins awards

Brenny Transportation was among the recipients of the 2021 “Top Woman-Owned Businesses in Transportation.”  The award is presented by Redefining the Road magazine, and is intended to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry.

The Transportation Center of Excellence (TCOE) named Brenny Transportation as the 2021 “Minnesota Transportation Program Supporter of the Year.” TCOE recognized Brenny for their contributions to transportation-related education.

PleasureLand raises money for foundation

PleasureLand RV’s summer charity golf tournament raised over $25,000 for the Patrick R. McMullen “Smile in My Heart” Foundation. The “Smile in My Heart” Foundation provides financial support to families of children with cancer in honor of Patrick McMullen, who passed away from brain cancer at age 14.

BerganKDV promotes employees, hits asset milestone

Dave Hinnenkamp will remain the CEO of BerganKDV for another three-year term. Hinnenkamp has been CEO of BerganKDV since July 2018.  The company promoted 45 employees across the Des Moines, ICR, Kansas City, Twin Cities, and Waterloo branches, including 13 at their St. Cloud location.

BerganKDV Wealth Management, has surpassed over two billion dollars in assets under management.

Stearns Bank expands

Stearns Bank has added a specialized banking team based in Denver, Colorado. Michael O’Neill, who has experience as a banker, regulator, and strategic risk manager, will lead the Denver team.

Freightliner dealership rebrands

Freightliner of St. Cloud and its associated brands have come together under Momentum Truck Group.  Momentum Truck Group encompasses the family-owned companies formerly known as Freightliner of St. Cloud, Northland Freightliner, and Northland Heavy Duty Collision Center. There is no change in ownership affiliated with the name change.

Falcon Bank hires new vice president

Neil Anderson is the new senior vice president of business banking at Falcon National Bank.  Falcon’s team of business bankers serve six Central Minnesota communities.

Nebosis inducted into Hall of Fame

Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota’s Vice President Deb Nebosis was among five new members enshrined into the Greater Midwest Area Council Hall of Fame for their achievements.

Magelssen joins state board

Jill Magelssen, owner of Express Employment Professionals in St. Cloud, has been appointed to the Minnesota Recruiting & Staffing Association (MNRSA) Board of Directors. 

Lakmann promoted to COO

Anderson Trucking Service (ATS) has promoted Mike Lakmann to chief operating officer.  As a 25-year veteran employee with ATS, Lakmann has held many positions, most recently as vice president of operations for the ATS Specialized team.

Abfalter is new director of donor relations

The Central Minnesota Community Foundation (CMCF) has hired Carrie Abfalter as their  director of donor relations. Abfalter will assist donors with their philanthropic goals, provide communication and special event support to the Women’s Fund and to the associate foundations that operate underneath CMCF.

Local lenders recognized

The U.S. Small Business Administration has recognized the following vendors for their support of small businesses: Central Minnesota Credit Union; BankVista; U.S. Bank; Minnwest Bank; and Minnesota Business Finance Corp.

BerganKDV merges

BerganKDV and Miller Haviland Ketter (MHK), located in Kansas City, MO, have merged. The MHK team consists of 13 individuals, including six shareholders, which brings the current Kansas City location headcount to around 40 employees. Firm-wide, BerganKDV employs 467 team members. Following the merger, MHK adopted the BerganKDV name and brand.