September & October, 2022

Members of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce have big things happening! Here are the news briefs from September & October, 2022.

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

Goelz completes CPA exam

Tony Goelz, Schlenner Wenner & Co. recently completed all parts of the CPA exam.  Goelz has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and works in Schlenner Wenner’s St. Cloud office.

Local businesses in “Top 200 Workplaces”

Blattner, Brenny Transportation, and Microbiologics were all included in the Star Tribune’s “2022 Top 200 Workplaces in Minnesota.”  Blattner was ranked in the top ten in the large company category.  The rankings are based on survey information collected by Energage, an independent company specializing in employee engagement and retention.

WACOSA names new executive director

Nancy Betts is the new executive director of WACOSA.  Betts has been vice president of WACOSA since 2018 and took over the role of executive director on July 1.  Betts has worked with people with disabilities for over 25 years at WACOSA in a variety of roles including direct support professional, client manager, and program director.  Read more about Betts on page ??.

Campion joins GSDC

Tammy Campion recently joined the Greater St. Cloud Development Corp. as communications and program specialist. Previously she worked in the planning office for the City of St. Cloud, the last 16 years as senior planner and economic development specialist.

ConnectAbility opens Duluth office

ConnectAbility of MN, a nonprofit that coordinates services and community investment programs for people with disabilities, opened an office in Duluth in July.  The organization currently partners with St. Louis County to provide services, and expects to hire two-three new people as part of the expansion.

 Preferred Credit recognized

The Better Business Bureau recently awarded Preferred Credit with a “Torch Award for Ethics.” The BBB Torch Awards for Ethics, presented through the BBB foundation, recognizes marketplace role models that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to ethics and integrity in all aspects of their operation in Minnesota and North Dakota.

Stearns Bank Holdingford acquired

Stearns Financial Services Inc. sold Stearns Bank Holdingford (SBH) to VersaHoldings US Corp. for an estimated $13.5 million.  Upon closing, SBH will be renamed VersaBank USA.  Stearns Financial Services will continue to operate Stearns Bank, NA and Stearns Bank Upsala, NA.

SCTCC, GREAT launch unique partnership

A partnership between St. Cloud Technical & Community College (SCTCC) and GREAT (Great River Educational Arts Theatre), will allow students to engage in a new pathway for a two-year AA degree in Technical Theatre starting Fall semester 2022. The program is designed to provide students a practicum-based, hands-on, real-world learning opportunity. Students will complete the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum in-classroom at SCTCC as well as build a foundation in technical theatre through practicum experiences with GREAT. This collaborative model between institutions of higher education and community theatre is the only of its kind in Minnesota and one of a handful of programs nationwide. 

Bechtold receives ATHENA award

Geri Bechtold, vice president of operations for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota, was selected as the 2022 ATHENA recipient.  Bechtold has been Boys & Girls club for over 30years and has held a variety of positions.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, she was instrumental in keeping programs safe and accessible for youth.  She helped established a childcare program for frontline workers, and launching virtual programming including video messages, weekly Zoom meetings, and creating a Virtual Club on the organization’s website.

College of Saint Benedict promotes Pieper-Olson

Heather Pieper-Olson was recently named vice president of institutional advancement at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph.  Pieper-Olson joined the Institutional Advancement team at Saint Ben’s in 2008 and has served in ever-increasing leadership roles. Since 2010, when she was named director, annual giving revenue has increased by a remarkable 43 percent.

Waite Park receives “City of Excellence” award

Waite Park earned one of four 2022 “City of Excellence Awards” at the League of Minnesota Cities annual conference earlier this summer.  The city was recognized for its innovative project to transform an abandoned quarry into a 5,000-seat open-air amphitheater now called The Ledge.  The amphitheater preserves the natural beauty of the quarry and showcases the granite in the area.  It is estimated to bring upward of $8 million to Central Minnesota each year.

Coldspring is “2021 Manufacturer of the Year”

The Central Minnesota Manufacturers Association (CMMA) selected Coldspring as the 2021 Manufacturer of the Year.  The award celebrates excellence in manufacturing in Central Minnesota and recognizes the company’s excellence and investments in services and contributions to CMMA to help advance manufacturing in the region.

Mortezaee hired as GM of Monumental Sales

Angela Mortezaee has been hired as the new general manager of Monumental Sales, a division of St. Cloud Industrial Products (SCIPI).  Mortezaee was most recently the human resources director for SCIPI, and is one of six executive committee members who oversee planning for SCIPI’s three divisions, North Centra Bus & Equipment; Parts Midwest; and Monumental Sales.  Monumental Sales is a 75-person company that designs, manufactures, and installs custom cemetery memorials, granite countertops, and limestone products through its retail subsidiaries.

Daniel receives national recognition

Ryan Daniel, CEO of Metro Bus in St. Cloud, was recently awarded the Gerald Anderson Member of the Year Award at the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO).  This award honors great service and the value of teamwork within the transportation industry nationwide. It is given to a pioneer who ensures growth and development within the transit industry, and its surrounding communities.   Daniel has been a member of COMTO’s Emerging Leaders Sub Committee, as a program manager for the last five years.

Meyer joins AIS Planning, Duke receives certification

Sydney Meyer joined AIS Planning as an associated advisor.  Prior to her role with AIS Planning, she spent seven years in client service and support roles. 

Chris Duke, associated advisor at AIS Planning, recently attained his Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. CFP professionals are required to meet the CFP Board’s high standards for education, examination, experience, and ethics. 

Brenny Specialized receives national safety award

Brenny Specialized, Inc. received a platinum award from Great West Casualty Company as part of Great West’s annual National Safety Awards program. 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. Carriers are eligible to receive a Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Participatory award. This is the third consecutive year that Brenny has won the Platinum Safety Award and fifth time overall.

Rajkowski Hansmeier attorneys recognized

Gordon H. Hansmeier, Paul A. Rajkowski, Kevin F. Gray, Troy A. Poetz, and Chad Roggeman, attorneys with Rajkowski Hansmeier Ltd. law firm in St. Cloud, were recently selected for inclusion in the 2022 Minnesota Super Lawyers.  Super Lawyers recognizes attorneys who have distinguished themselves in their legal practice.  Only the top 5 percent of lawyers in the state are named to this list.

Attorney Eric S. Oelrich was recently selected for inclusion in the 2022 Minnesota Rising Stars.  The

Minnesota Rising Stars are based upon a search for evidence of peer recognition and professional achievement. Only 2.5 percent of lawyers in the state are named to this list.