Business

Business
W
C
T
July 2014
W
e have many distin-
guished, longtime busi-
ness leaders here who
have helped make the
Willmar area what it is today. That’s
why, after a successful “5 Under 40”
issue, we decided to publish a “5
Over 40” issue as well.
We asked businesses and com-
munity members to nominate pro-
fessionals in the community who
deserved to be recognized in this
first-ever issue. We had a great
response. Every person nominated
would have been worthy of being
selected, but since we could only
choose five, we had a judging com-
mittee narrow it down to their top
choices.
The five featured in this issue rep-
resent a range of ages and profes-
sional fields. Some were born and
raised in the Willmar area, while
others found themselves here by
coincidence. But all of them have
one important thing in common:
They represent a generation of
leaders in the Willmar area.
We hope you enjoy reading their
stories as much as we enjoyed
working on this issue.
(Stories begin on Page 2)
5 Over 40
By Dan Burdett - dburdett@wctrib.com
Kelly Gardner, from left,
Paula Bredberg, Nathan Streed,
Ross Marcus and Jared Anez
B2B photos by Tom Cherveny
Volume 2, Number 6
Copyright © 2014 West Central Tribune
Business2Business
All rights reserved. Although some parts of this
publication may be reproduced and reprinted,
we require that prior permission be obtained.
Staff
Sharon Bomstad, B2B editor
Dan Burdett, B2B writer/social media
Tom Cherveny, photographer
Contributors
Ken Warner, Willmar Lakes Area Chamber
Jay Halliday, NeXt
Advertising
Kevin Smith, Director
To advertise,
call 320-214-4317,
fax 320-235-6769
email ksmith@wctrib.com or contact
your assigned marketing consultant.
Administration
Steven Ammermann, Publisher
Kelly Boldan, Editor
Timothy Bailey, Business Manager
MONTHLY PUBLICATION OFTHEWEST CENTRALTRIBUNE
P.O. Box 839 / 2208 W. Trott Ave.
Willmar MN 56201
wctrib.com / 320-235-1150
● ● 2 ● ●
B2B July 2014
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with ease.
J
ared Anez has an immense fondness for what he does for a
living. While the hours are long and the demands ample, he
has admittedly reaped the rewards of hard work and
watched his family prosper in the process.
And for Jared, life is all about family.
“It’s an absolute blast,” Jared says when asked about his profes-
sional career during an interview
in the conference room at
1700 Technology Drive on
the MinnWest Technology
Campus in Willmar. “This
company has helped our
family take the risks
needed to live our life in
line with our goals.”
Those goals were estab-
lished years past, when
Jared and his college
sweetheart, Kami, a phar-
macist, penned a mission
statement. Provide for
their six children;
develop and
maintain a
close relation-
ship with
God; and
nurture a
thirst for
knowledge,
they wrote.
“We
haven’t
updated
it for a
while,”
Jared
says through a grin. “But it has so far served us well.”
Jared is the president of Anez Consulting, based out of a sec-
ond-floor wing above the conference room in which we sit.
At 43, he still has the chiseled frame of a former wrestler who
spent his youth working the Little Falls crop and livestock farm he
called home, and fending off nine siblings. He started his busi-
ness in 1997, four years after graduation from North Dakota
State University, with an explicit goal.
“I want to help farmers provide a way of life for their families,” he
says. “Some of the most brilliant people I know are farmers. Many
of those farming today are doing so because they were intelligent
enough to be efficient and evolve with the times. Playing some
role in guiding these operations is a blessing.”
Anez Consulting serves clients in more than 25 counties across
Minnesota and six counties in North and South Dakota. The com-
pany, comprised of nine full-timers and two summer interns,
works with an expansive group of agricultural clients — from crop
to livestock farms — and is responsible for developing production
and conservation plans that promote environmental stewardship
and compliance with state and federal regulations.
Jared’s role in this process is sweeping — he’s a certified crop
adviser, an Environmental Quality Assurance Program techni-
cian and a technical service provider — and spends much of his
time focused on the minute details that accompany the demands
of running a successful farm operation.
His younger brother, Tom, a University of Minnesota graduate,
is part of his team. Tom uses GIS and GPS technology to develop
maps to help farmers meet conservation and production goals.
Away from the fields, Jared basks in the acreage of his hobby
farm outside Svea, where he teaches his children the lessons of
his youth. Of late, Jared has been intrigued by language, a desire
nurtured by a recent trip to Equador through the Minnesota
Agricultural Rural Leadership program and the time Samuel, his
eldest son, spent in Chile.
Samuel will leave the farm this fall to attend Iowa State
University, where he’ll study agronomy, with the goal of eventual-
ly joining the family business.
Jared Anez
wants to provide a way of life for families
Profiles by Dan Burdett
● ● 3 ● ●
B2B July 2014
P
aula Bredberg is navigating a successful career in banking, with
an equally successful husband to hold her hand along the way.
Twenty-five years ago, the grass wasn’t so green.
Girl leaves the small town of her birth. Girl graduates
college. Girl falls in love. Girl gets married. Girl gets
pregnant. Boy leaves. Girl sacrifices her youth to
raise two children.
It’s a story as familiar as the chorus of a coun-
try song. But Paula’s life isn’t an old Nashville
ditty, and beneath the surface are the scars of a
journey that may have scourged many.
“My son is developmentally challenged,” she
said recently during an interview from her office
at Bremer Bank in Willmar. “That gives you a
unique perspective. It’s hard to realize your
dreams are just that, when you hear your son
won’t have the same chance to be the doctor or
the engineer as other kids do.”
A slender blonde who looks a fraction of her 51
years, Paula spent the best part of a decade and a
half as a single mom, raising daughter, Erin, and
son, Eric, while balancing the demands of a career that
began while she was a high school student in
Redwood Falls and continued through her college
years at St. Cloud State University.
“We were the Three Musketeers,” Paula
recalls. “We did everything together. I remem-
ber teaching my kids colors while we all sort-
ed laundry.”
Reflecting back on those years, Paula
recalls a certain drive to “not be a statistic,”
but it would have been easy to cave to her
plight.
Things changed when she moved her
family to Willmar in 2001.
One day, an acquaintance at church
pulled her aside “and said it’s time for you
stop playing the victim.”
“I was irate. It floored me,” Paula recalls. But his candor also opened
her eyes.
She recognized her experiences could assist others less fortunate
or indigent.
She immersed herself in volunteering, joining a pro-
gram that provides at-risk teen and pre-teen girls with
adult mentors. She became active in ARC Kandiyohi
County, which provides support and advocacy for
people with intellectual and other developmental
disabilities, and she worked with the Special
Olympics.
“I realized quickly the impact of what I was doing,
the perspective I could offer,” Paula says through a
toothy smile. “It’s so important to be involved, to try
to make a difference. I enjoy it so much. I find I want
to be involved.”
Paula also touts the impact these causes have
had on her career.
The vice president of business banking at Bremer,
she also mentors and coaches a team of employees
tasked with sales development.
In the years since her move to Willmar,
she remarried.
Her husband, Jeff Bredberg, is the
director of the Kandiyohi County
Environmental Services
Department, and has two chil-
dren of his own.
As for Erin and Eric, they’re
doing well.
Erin is currently preparing for
a one-year mission trip to
China. She’ll leave this sum-
mer.
Eric, “the hugger,” as mom
fondly refers to him, works at
Walt’s Soft Cloth Car Wash on
South First Street in Willmar.
Paula Bredberg
savors giving a little bit back
● ● 4 ● ●
July 2014 B2B
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K
elly Gardner was a teen when she wandered aimlessly into a
Boise, Idaho, bank, her aunt and uncle at her hip.
Soon thereafter, a man entered. He swiftly pulled a mask over his
face and proceeded to draw a pistol, pointing it at a teller. The teller, una-
mused, assumed it was a prank and fired a verbal barrage at the man.
Infuriated, the would-be robber turned his attention to the unassuming girl
in front him, jamming his gun to her temple, amid frantic pleas from her
family.
Kelly can still feel the icy metal against her skin.
Moments later, the man fled full tilt and was swiftly apprehended.
It was an uncanny introduction to a professional world that years later
would lay the seed for a long and successful career.
“For the longest time, I had an intense fear of banks,” Kelly says, as she
recalls those unyielding moments three decades past from the cozy con-
fines of her office at Heritage Bank in Willmar. “And now I work in one.”
Kelly, 47, is sunny and cheerful. She smiles emphatically and often, and
vehemently enjoys life. It wasn’t always that way. She comes from humble
beginnings, a Redwood Falls native who spent parts of her formative
years in Milaca, before moving to Willmar in 1985.
For a while, she floundered, dropping out of college and working two
jobs to raise a daughter alone. She eventually went back to school, com-
pleting her studies at Ridgewater College.
In 1996, she took a chance on Lake Region Bank, which was looking to
hire a teller.
She’s never looked back.
In the years that followed, she fostered a strong faith she admits was
nonexistent for many years. She married Steve Gardner, a former Willmar
councilman, and made a home in her adopted city. And she’s worked her
way up through the banking sector, carefully charting a career path that
has led to her current position as a personal banking officer.
But it might be her civic involvement she’s most proud of.
She spent time with Circle Sentencing, a restorative justice program for
juveniles that keeps them out of the court system by using rehabilitative
measures to help them consider the effects of their actions on their vic-
tims, family and community.
“I am so passionate about this program,” Kelly says. “It helps people
understand our youth don’t need to be alienated. You know, I’ve been
there. I’ve walked that walk. And I know if they feel the community
cares about them, they care back and want to turn things around.”
Kelly is also active in Willmar Downtown Development Inc., for-
merly the Willmar Design Center. A nonprofit, Willmar Downtown
Development Inc., focuses on revitalizing the city’s downtown district.
The organization’s most recent efforts led to the purchase of an historic
building on Fourth Street that was formerly used by The Barn Theatre.
The building, renamed Historic
313 on Fourth Street, will ulti-
mately become a brew-
house and restau-
rant.
“I’m excited
about what
we’re doing,”
Kelly says. “I
think some
great
things are
going to
happen in
this city. I
think
we’re
going to
see some
really posi-
tive
changes.
And that’s
always good.
Kelly Gardner
Embracing work and loving life
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About Kelly:
“Whether in her
work or her civic
involvement, Kelly
approaches her
duties with vigor, clar-
ity and compassion.
She has moved
through the ranks in
her career and is a
volunteer at
Evangelical Free
Church in Willmar.
She is worthy of this
recognition.”
— Robert Manning
About Paula:
“Paula has shown exemplary leadership in both her business career and in her communi-
ty involvement. She has been a community cornerstone with her dependability and leader-
ship.
Paula is a great leader and role model for all community members to be looking to. She is
a person we should all be emulating and one each young woman interested in business can
look to be empowered by.”
— Zack Liebl
About Ross:
“Ross has a genuinely optimistic and positive outlook on everything in life and is the
first to raise his hand and get dirty to help anyone. He encourages and pushes our
employees, trusts in each of us to get our jobs done, and he truly cares about and takes
the time to get to know each of us.
Ross has led our team through his example to stand behind our word to build excep-
tional facilities with a focus on safety.
Not only is Ross a well-respected boss and owner he and his family are also extremely
generous giving back significant amounts to our community through a variety of organiza-
tions – both personally and professionally.
— Sara Goebel
About Nathan:
“Nathan is a leader in his com-
pany by example and he shares
his experiences with his col-
leagues and staff.
He continues to think outside of
the box and questions the old
way of doing things. With Funeral
Service an ever-changing indus-
try, Nathan continues to press the
limits, being an advocate for
those people suffering loss and
going though one of the most dif-
ficult times in their lives.
He is always seeking out new
ideas and ways to make mean-
ingful memories for the people he
serves and community he deeply
cares about. “
— Terry Smith
About Jared:
“Jared has developed Anez Consulting into a business I am proud to work for. I look forward
to sharing years of growth with him and the team he has built.
He prides himself on community involvement. He and his wife, Kami, are extremely active in
church, as well as being 4-H leaders. He values being involved in organizations that impact his
clients, the farmers he works with daily to help in any way he can.”
— Steph Johnson
In this undated photo, Jared Anez, left, converses with Wes
Nelson of Grove City, during an open house at the MinnWest
Technology Campus in Willmar. Anez operates his compa-
ny, Anez Consulting, from the campus.
In this undated photo,
Judy Dunn, left, and
Kelly Gardner, both of
Willmar, work on a gift
basket to be auctioned
off during Hawk Creek
Animal Shelter’s annual
Save Our Tails benefit.
In this undated photo,
Willmar School Board
Chairman Nathan
Streed, left, discusses
test data with Senior
High Assistant
Principal Paul Schmitz.
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B2B July 2014
R
oss Marcus knew from a young age what he was going to
do professionally.
His father, Carl, founded Marcus Construction in Prinsburg
in 1956, and by the time Ross was in high school, he was work-
ing the building sites with his dad, laying a seed for decades to
come.
Along the way, he paid his dues, spending time as a laborer. He
worked his way up to foreman and eventually was
promoted to superintendent.
When Carl retired in the mid-1990s, his son,
who a decade prior had completed a degree
in business administration at Bethel
University in Minneapolis, took reign.
He was like a fish to water.
In the two decades he’s been at the helm of
the company, which specializes in commercial
and agricultural construction, Marcus
Construction has savored exponential growth.
In 2001, Ross oversaw construction of the
nation’s first dry fertilizer mega-plant, built in
Holloway for Western Consolidated Cooperative.
Since that time, Marcus Construction has
broadened its geographical breadth: the company
has completed the construction of ag-related bulk
storage facilities in states across the Midwest, Great
Plains and the South, as well as Canada.
“With the strong agricultural economy in this
region, I would say 70 percent of our business
is now ag-related,” says Ross, who at 52
still boasts the broad shoulders and
strong frame from the manual labor of
his youth.
But it may be Marcus Construction’s
commercial projects, dotting an
expanding swath of the Willmar land-
scape, that area residents are most
familiar with: the Jimmy John’s sand-
wich shop on First Street; the Bremer
Bank building off Willmar Avenue Southeast; the 19th Avenue
Stores — home to Qudoba Mexican Grill and Papa Murphy’s
Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza — near Wal-Mart Supercenter; and Family
Eye Center on the south side of 19th Avenue Southwest.
The company also recently completed the construction of a
multimillion-dollar extension at the Kandiyohi County Area Family
YMCA that has doubled the wellness center space, and added a
multi-purpose gym and two racquetball courts.
Fifty-five full-time employees play a role in Marcus
Construction’s day-to-day operations.
They work from a sweeping office on East Highway
12 in Willmar, a site the company moved to following
its expansion from Prinsburg in 2011.
“Prinsburg was good to us,” Ross recalls with a
sense of endearment. “But we simply needed
more space.”
As a boss, Ross is dogged about keeping the
workplace light, promoting events for staff and
their families.
“We care about each other,” he says. “We want
to promote familial relationships. I want a fair
place to work, a fun place to work.”
He also advocates company involvement
with other businesses in the commu-
nity, an integral aspect of build-
ing a brand and staying
relevant, he says.
As for the future,
“we’ll keep doing
what we need to
do,” he deadpans.
He hints his
25-year-old son
may one day
join him in
business.
Ross Marcus
grows the family business and its legacy
● ● 8 ● ●
July 2014 B2B
W
arren Zevon once quipped “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
It’s a philosophy Nathan Streed may share with the late
singer.
Career? Check.
Business owner? Check.
Family man? Check.
Church volunteer? Check.
Nathan’s days are a proverbial roller coaster. And he wouldn’t have
it any other way.
He grew up in Ortonville,
the youngest of 11 chil-
dren. His parents — mom
was a children’s librarian,
dad owned an HVAC
business — forewent
much to provide for
their children. It was a
lesson not lost on their
youngest son, and one
that nurtured his drive
from an early age.
“Being part of a large
family, you learn to
be resilient,”
says
Nathan, broad-shouldered with a shot-putter’s frame.
“With dad being self-employed, money wasn’t free-flowing. You get
used to hand-me-downs. You learn from that.”
He secured a part-time wage as a teen after wandering into a local
funeral home and asking the owner if he was looking for help. When
college called, he completed a bachelor’s in mortuary affairs from
the University of Minnesota’s School of Mortuary Science in
Minneapolis in three-plus years. Next were the state boards, a
national licensing exam and a prerequisite for a mortician. Piece of
cake.
Along the way he fell in love, marrying Wendy. They have five sons,
the eldest a Minneapolis-based accountant, the youngest a third-
grader.
In 1993, Nathan joined Harvey Anderson and Johnson Funeral
Homes, which serve families in Willmar, Belgrade, Clara City,
Kerkhoven, New London and Paynesville. The Willmar mortuary and
crematorium is located at 1000 19th Ave S.W.
By 1998, Nathan was a minority stock owner in the business; six
years later, he became a partner, joining Roger Bengtson and Steve
Maher in purchasing Harvey Anderson from Keith and Marlene
DeJongh, owners since 1976.
The hours at the funeral home are long — upward of 55 a week —
and inconsistent. The work can be tenuous.
“We have a burnout rate of more than 50 percent in this business,”
Nathan, 42, says. “It can be hard … but rewarding. And that comes
from our philosophy: We want families to leave our services with a
smile on their face and a tear on their cheek. This business, if any-
thing, reminds you just how lucky we are and how life is truly a bless-
ing.”
Away from work, Nathan’s calendar is enveloped.
He was elected in 2010 to the Willmar School Board and is com-
pleting a four-year term. He has yet to make a decision on whether
he’ll seek re-election.
He also serves on Rice Memorial Hospital’s Hospice Advisory
Board and Heritage Bank’s Advisory Board. He was previously the
chair of the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and served
on the city of Willmar’s Board of Zoning Appeals.
“I made a decision that if my boys were to move back to Willmar
one day, they would move back to a better place,” Nathan says. “I
want to be active in that process.”
Nathan is also a deeply religious man, serving as a Eucharist
minister at Church of St. Mary in Willmar, and assisting the priest
in distributing Communion at Mass. Recently he became the
church’s sexton, and is charged with the maintenance of the
church buildings and graveyard.
Nathan Streed
A sense of community keeps him going
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B2B July 2014
Tips for storm damage victims
Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North
Dakota (BBB) is offering guidance to area residents
who suffered damage to their homes or businesses
during a recent severe weather outbreak, and
reminds people to take precautions when cleaning
up and making repair decisions.
Though most contractors are reputable and have
your best interests in mind, there are those few that
are only interested in making a fast dollar.
To avoid those bad actors, BBB provides the fol-
lowing tips to homeowners who have experienced
property damage:
✔Contact your insurance company immediately
to inquire about policy coverage and specific filing
requirements. This gets the ball rolling on the claim
process.
✔Make any minor repairs to limit further damage
to the home. You may be liable for damage that
occurs after a storm has passed, so make tempo-
rary repairs, such as boarding up broken windows or
throwing a tarp over a leaky roof. If you have to make
temporary repairs to protect your home from the ele-
ments, be sure to save all of your receipts.
✔Prepare a written contract agreement with any-
one you hire. It should specify the work to be done,
the materials to be used, and the price breakdown
for both labor and materials. Be aware that anything
you sign is a contract. Read carefully and avoid sign-
ing an "estimate" or "authorization" form before you
have actually decided to hire a particular contractor.
Pay special attention to any details in bold, that are
underlined or that you need to initial.
✔Document the damage to your property (and
autos); take pictures or video if possible.
✔Do not make any permanent repairs until you
get approval from your insurance company. Your
insurer might not fully reimburse you for permanent
repairs made without their authorization.
✔Get references from friends and relatives and
contact Better Business Bureau to obtain free
Business Reviews on any company you are consid-
ering hiring by visiting bbb.org. Or call 651-699-
1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222. Shop around and
get more than one estimate.
✔Ask all companies for proof of liability and work-
ers compensation insurance as well as a license to
do work in Minnesota (doli.state.mn.us). A contrac-
tor should be responsible for obtaining all necessary
permits, not you. Local or national companies may
both do a fine job with your storm damage repair
needs, but if you choose to do business with some-
one who is not local, be sure to understand who will
be taking care of any service needs that may arise
after the completion of the project.
✔Understand the difference between warranties
and guarantees. The manufacturer warranties their
products and contractors have warranties on serv-
ice. Contractors may also offer customer service
guarantees. Get copies of any/all warranties and
guarantees.
✔Refrain from filing an insurance claim on some-
thing that you do not intend to fix. There could be
repercussions from your insurance company when
you do not make repairs you are being compensated
for. Keep in mind that if you hold a mortgage on your
home, your mortgage company may have a vested
interest in you making the repairs and most will man-
date you to make all necessary repairs. Most checks
from insurance come to the consumer with both the
consumer’s name and the mortgage company’s
name. Both need to sign off on the check.
✔Some companies list bids on their own contract
to do service work on your home/property and some
do not (basing their pricing on "insurance
allowance"). Both are acceptable methods of con-
ducting business.
✔Be sure the name, address, license number and
phone number of the contractor appear on all invoic-
es and contracts!
✔Any promises made orally should be written into
the contract, including warranties on materials or
labor.
✔Never pay in full for all repairs in advance, and
do not pay cash.
✔Review all documentation before signing on the
dotted line and before making any payment. Be sure
it specifies the schedule for releasing payments to
the contractor. Ask for a start and end date for the
work to be done.
✔Although you may be anxious to get things back
to normal, avoid letting your emotions get the better
of you. Don't be pressured into making an immediate
decision with a long-term impact. Make temporary
repairs if necessary. Storm victims should never feel
pressured to make a hasty decision or choose an
unknown contractor.
001038225r1
“To a
area-w
We proudly serve
businesses throughout
the communities
of Kandiyohi County
Public Policy Community Promotion
001025000r1
First Dollars
5th Grade Ag Tours
Students and teachers from Willmar Public Schools, Community Ch
New London-Spicer School, recently went on tours sponsored by th
Business CommiƩee. A big “Thank You” to this year’s hosts, CoJo D
and the Roger and Mary Swart Dairy. We would also like to thank We
for sponsoring the trans-
portaƟon and our commit-
tee members for helping
out, especially Jim Strouth
(Harvest Bank – Kandi-
yohi Offi ce), Greg Swenson
(Nova-Tech Engineering)
and Jim Molenaar (Heritage
Bank) for helping organize
the tours!
Ground Breaking Elmquist Jewelry
Elmquist Jewelry staff seen here with the
Chamber Ambassadors at their ground
breaking ceremony on May 14th.
The last day to register to spons
Spalon Mac LLC - 320-409-1200
L to R - Jim Rudnick, Lynn Gauer, Blake William-
son, Eric Spencer, Amy Post (Stylist/ Massage
Terapist), Mandi McGillivray (Owner/Stylist),
Emily Wachtler (Stylist), Melissa Radel and Ryan
DeGree.
Bello Cucina - 320-796-0203
L to R - Jim Rudnick, Blake Williamson, Michael
Killeen (Chef), Ryan Degree, Jason Mueller
(Owner/Chef), Eric Spencer, Melissa Radel and
Lynn Gauer.
Central Tire - 320-235-7030
L to R: Leo Martinez, Kristi DeGree, Mike Ne-
gen, Andrew Trongaard (of ce manager), Jason
Hamstad (Owner), Ken Quist, Jim Rudnick,
Brad Hanson and Eric Spencer.
MO Welding & Fabrication - 320-441-220
L to R: Kristi DeGree, Jason Dickerson (Weld-
er), Leo Martinez, Maggie Olson (Of ce Mana
er Owner), Mike Negen, Matt Olson (Owner)
Wayde Olson (General Manager), Brad Hanso
Joe Fischer (Welder), Eric Spencer, Jim Rudnic
and Ken Quist.
dvocate and promote the
wide business community”
Economic Development Networking
Membership Information Center
To find out more on how you can get a
return on your investment by selecƟng the
membership bundle that works best for your
business, contact the Chamber at 235-0300
or join online at www.willmarareachamber.
com and click on Bundle-Up plan.
Bundle Up
David Olson’s Column can
be found on the Chamber
website: www.willmara-
reachamber.com. Click on
Minnesota Chamber in
the NewsleƩer secƟon.
June 2014
27
th
: St. Andrew Village –
19080 16th St. NE, New London
July 2014 • No ConnecƟons
A full schedule of all Chamber
ConnecƟons, complete with
addresses can be found at
www.willmareareachamber.com
• Agricultural Waste Management - Brandon Robbin
29401 44th Street NE, Belgrade
(320) 295-3332 Email: brandonnibbor26@gmail.com
• Of ce Max - Jason Drager
1901 1st Street, Willmar
(320) 235-4704 Website: www.of cemax.com
• Casey’s General Store #2 - Fran Woodcock
2300 Highway 12 East, Willmar
(320) 214-7140 Website: www.caseys.com
New
Members
Motor Sports of Willmar - 20 years
L to R - Clark Vollan, Doug Studanski (Owner),
Trina Reuss (Business Manager) and Margaret
Sheldon
risƟan School and
e Chamber’s Agri-
airy, Carlson Dairy
est Central Ag Sales
The Willmar Lakes Area Chamber is happy to announce that the
Leadership PerspecƟves class for 2014-2015 has only five spots avail-
able. If you would like to have your name added to the list, please
contact Diane at 320.235.0300 or email doleary@willmarareacham-
ber.com. Above is a photo of the 2013-2014 graduates.
sor for this event is June 27th.
YMCA
On June 4th the YMCA held an Open House
and of cially opened their new expansion to the
public. You can see Campaign Chair Jim Rieth
here with ambassadors and Executive Director
Teresa Wittenberg (far right), cutting the ribbon
for the expansion.
Ribbon Cuttings
Hardee’s
L to R: Eric Spencer, Sara Goebel, Lynn Gauer,
Lionel Boulden (Owner), John Figlewicz
(Owner), Tammy Mcintyre (Regional Marketing
Manager – Hardee’s Corporate), Kris Gulbrand-
sen, Ryan DeGree and Kristi DeGree.
00
-
ag-
),
on,
ck
Vision
2040
For more information visit
http://willmarlakesarea2040.com/
● ● 12 ● ●
July 2014 B2B
New London, Spicer EDAs launch
business retention effort
NEW LONDON — Over the next several weeks,
businesses in the New London and Spicer area will
have an opportunity to help the New London and
Spicer Economic Development Authorities better
understand the issues facing area businesses.
The two EDAs, assisted by the University of
Minnesota Extension, are launching a business reten-
tion and expansion program to evaluate the local busi-
ness climate and to assist businesses with expansion.
Community leaders are developing a survey. The
group is focused on developing and understanding the
local economy. After survey data have been tabulated,
the task force will examine the results and look for
ways to assist businesses with operations and poten-
tial expansion plans.
“In the short term, we’ll be identifying immediate con-
cerns and looking at community services that need
improvement,” Denny Baker, mayor of Spicer, said.
“Ultimately, we want to be sure we are doing every-
thing we can to help our businesses to prosper.”
Members of the team are Baker, Ron Fake, Leslie
Valiant, Paul Carlson, Helena Lungstrom, Dave Henle,
Julie Redpenning, Beth Anderson, Todd Erickson, Jeff
Vetsch and Connie Schmoll.
The first phase of the project will involve surveying
businesses in New London, Spicer, New London
Township and Green Lake Township.
“Local businesses create as many as 80 percent of
all new jobs in the area, so it’s important to examine
the needs of those companies already committed to
our area,” said Ron Fake, Spice EDA director.
The team has set a goal of surveying 100 business-
es. Participation is encouraged by all businesses that
are targeted in the visitation survey, as more informa-
tion received will help to develop a better assessment
of the business needs in the region.
The businesses to be surveyed are targeted to com-
pile a diverse, thorough and cumulative survey. Within
the next few weeks, businesses that are not notified
and want to participate may request a visit.
Those interested in volunteering their time to help
survey businesses or participate in other ways may
contact Ron Fake, Spicer EDA at 320-796-5562 or
rfake@cityofspicer.org.
For more information, notify Jeff Vetsch, New London
EDA, at 320-212-4405 or jeff.vetsch@gmail.com.
For more information on University of Minnesota
Extension’s BR&E programs check the website at
http://www.extension.umn.edu/
BusinessRetention/.
Strehlow opens branch office in Cosmos
COSMOS — Insurance By Strehlow agency in Willmar
has opened its branch office located within the Home
State Bank building in Cosmos.
The office will be primarily staffed by Kelly Kurth, a certi-
fied insurance service representative, who has been
employed with Strehlow for more than 10 years and who
lives just outside of Cosmos.
Jennie-O names new plant manager,
promotes others
WILLMAR — Jennie-O Turkey Store announces that Ed
Simes is being promoted to replace Jim Freeland as the
plant manager at the Benson Avenue
Plant. Simes has been with Hormel for 19
years and has been director of further pro-
cessing-raw at Jennie-O Turkey Store
since November 2012. He has held
numerous positions in his career and has
a wealth of knowledge which will serve
him well in his new position.
Dwight Hoover is being promoted to
replace Simes as the director, further pro-
cessing-raw. Hoover has been with
Jennie-O Turkey Store 26 years and has
been the production manager at the
Willmar Avenue Plant since February
2010. Hoover has a strong background in
operations management (as a supervisor
and a superintendent) as well as an in-
depth knowledge of food safety and ani-
mal care practices.
Freeland has announced his intention to
retire June 30 after a 35-year career with
Hormel Foods and Jennie-O Turkey
Store.
The company has also announced that
Dionne Meehan has been promoted to
the position of product manager for the
retail business team at Jennie-O Turkey
Store at the Willmar corporate office loca-
tion.
Meehan has been with Jennie-O Turkey
Store/Hormel for almost six years, with
experience in both the operations and
quality assurance areas. She graduated
from Upper Iowa University with a bache-
lor’s degree in human resource manage-
ment and is retired from the U.S. Army.
Kendra Bengtson has also been pro-
moted to the position of senior financial
analyst for the financial accounting group.
Bengtson interned at Jennie-O in the summer of 2008
and was hired full-time after graduation as a staff account-
ant in the live production feed mill and delivery area.
Bengtson then worked as a supervisor for the accounts
payable/shared services group before transitioning back to
the production accounting group as a general accountant,
cost accountant/grow out, and most recently as the cost
accountant/breeder/hatchery.
Appraiser joins United FCS
WILLMAR — Donovan Solbreken recently joined United
FCS as a chattel evaluator. He will complete chattel
appraisals primarily in the 10-county area served by the
Minnesota retail marketplace of United FCS.
Solbreken graduated from St. Cloud Technical College
with a degree in machine tool technology.
His work experiences include farming and time as a
machinist.
TerWisscha Construction celebrates 50 years
WILLMAR — John TerWisscha began his construc-
tion career in the summer of 1954 digging footings with
a shovel for Mel Werder. Werder was building a hog
barn 4 miles south of Willmar.
TerWisscha worked for Werder for six years. In 1961,
TerWisscha built a home for his family during his off
time and he thought that he could have his own con-
struction business, so that’s what he did. His first job
was a remodeling project for a couple on Seventh
Street West.
TerWisscha was remembering his early days as the
company he created in 1964 celebrated 50 years of
business last week. Originally founded as a residential
construction firm, TWC expanded into and found suc-
cess in the commercial market.
Today, TWC is known as an industry leader in the
funeral home, dental and veterinary markets.
In 1977, TerWisscha hired Keith Nelson, who learned
about construction from his father. In high school,
Nelson worked for a residential contractor and started
at TWC shortly after graduation. He is TerWisscha’s
son-in-law and is company president.
In 1985, TerWisscha was joined by his son, Kelly,
who studied construction management at Moorhead
State College and serves as chief executive officer.
In the late 1970s, TerWisscha decided he needed to
expand into the commercial market, and built his last
house in 1978.
“I had a lot of good clients and I had good men work-
ing for me. I just felt I had to expand,’’ he said.
The company built half a dozen churches around the
area, and then started constructing funeral homes.
TerWisscha said the funeral home industry was going
through a process of complying with building codes in
their body preparation rooms and there weren’t many
funeral homes that met the code.
In 1992, TerWisscha decided he wanted to do less
company management. He became a project manager
and went on the road, managing funeral home projects
in four states.
About four years later, TerWisscha decided to retire
and he sold the business to Keith and Kelly in 1996.
TerWisscha jokes that “the boys’’ are smarter than he is.
Kelly TerWisscha attributes the company’s success to
specialization.
Besides funeral homes, TWC branched into the vet-
erinary market.
TerWisscha says the market has really taken off for
TWC in the U.S. and Canada. TWC is now the No. 1
designbuild firm in the nation for animal hospitals.
TWC is also targeting the dental industry as another
specialty market. Specialization requires keeping up
with trends and dealing with different codes and regula-
tions in other states.
TerWisscha says there are not very many companies
that even make it to a second generation or make it
very far into a second generation., but that’s something
in which he finds a great deal of satisfaction.
B2B publishes news about businesses in the region
and their employees monthly.
BUSINESS BUZZ
B2B photo by Dan Burdett
The expansion project at the Kandiyohi County Area Family
YMCA in Willmar is now complete. The project adds 13,993
square feet of space to the facility at 1000 Lakeland Dr. S.E. and
features a larger wellness center, two racquetball courts, an exer-
cise studio and a multipurpose gymnasium. Marcus Construction
of Willmar was the primary contractor for the $3 million project.
Simes
Hoover
Freeland
Meehan
● ● 13 ● ●
B2B July 2014
BUSINESS CALENDAR
Business events
Blandin Community Leadership Program
Informational Session
Wednesday, June 25: Learn more about how
BCLP helps develop your knowledge and skills to
address your community’s challenges and
opportunities, and work together to create posi-
tive force for change; 5 p.m., Kandiyohi County
Health and Human Services Building, 2200 23rd
St. N.E., Willmar; RSVP by Monday, June 23, to
skmorque@blandinfoundation.org, 218-327-8732
or 877-882-2257 toll-free.
Hwy. 12 Reconstruction Project Update
Thursday, June 26: MnDOT representatives
will be providing information to local business
representatives on the Highway 12 reconstruction
on June 26th at 7:30 a.m. at the Willmar
Conference Center, 240 23rd St. S.E., Willmar.
21st Annual Aggie Open
Monday, June 30: This year's tournament will be
held at Little Crow Country Club and will begin
promptly at 11 a.m. with a shotgun start. Cost is
$85/person which includes 18 holes of golf, golf cart,
sleeve of golf balls and dinner.Y our payment to the
Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce will con-
firm your reservation. If you are interested in partici-
pating contact Jesse at 320-235-0300 or jhulsch-
er@willmarareachamber.com.
Leadership Perspectives
Begins Thursday, Sept. 4: Limited number of
spots open for the 23rd annual Leadership
Perspectives class that begins in September. Class
registration is limited to the first 40 participants.
Contact Diane at the Chamber, 320-235-0300. for
more questions or to reserve a spot in the class.
Chamber Connections
7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
June
20: MinnWest/Data Success, 1700 Technology
Drive, Willmar
27: St. Andrew Village, 19080 16th St. N.E.,
New London
July
No connections in July.
Government meetings
Kandiyohi County Board
of Commissioners
July 1: 10 a.m., Health and Human Services
Building, 2200 23rd St. N.W., Willmar
July 15: 10 a.m., Health and Human Services
Building, 2200 23rd St. N.W., Willmar
Aug. 5: 10 a.m., Health and Human Services
Building, 2200 23rd St. N.W., Willmar
Aug. 19: 10 a.m., Health and Human Services
Building, 2200 23rd St. N.W., Willmar
Rice Memorial Hospital
Board of Directors
June 18: 5:30 p.m., hospital board room, 301
Becker Ave. S.W., Willmar
July 16: 5:30 p.m., hospital board room, 301
Becker Ave. S.W., Willmar
Aug. 20: 5:30 p.m., hospital board room, 301
Becker Ave. S.W., Willmar
Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar
Economic Development Commission
Joint Operating Board
July 10: 11 a.m., EDC board room, 333
Litchfield Ave. S.W., Suite 100, Willmar
Aug. 14: 11 a.m., EDC board room, 333
Litchfield Ave. S.W., Suite 100, Willmar
Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar
Economic Development Commission
Joint Powers Board
July 24: 11:30 a.m., EDC board room, 333
Litchfield Ave. S.W., Suite 100, Willmar
Willmar City Council
July 2: 7 p.m., Council Chambers, MUC, 700
Litchfield Ave S.W., Willmar
July 21: 7 p.m., Council Chambers, MUC, 700
Litchfield Ave S.W., Willmar
Aug. 4: 7 p.m., Council Chambers, MUC, 700
Litchfield Ave S.W., Willmar
Aug. 18: 7 p.m., Council Chambers, MUC, 700
Litchfield Ave S.W., Willmar
Willmar School Board
July 14: 4:30 p.m., WEAC Board Room, 611
Fifth St. S.W., Willmar
Aug. 11: 4:30 p.m., WEAC Board Room, 611
Fifth St. S.W., Willmar
Atwater City Council
July 2: 7 p.m., City Hall, 322 Atlantic Ave.,
Atwater
Aug. 6: 7 p.m., City Hall, 322 Atlantic Ave.,
Atwater
New London City Council
June 18: 5:30 p.m., City Hall, 20 First Ave. S.W.,
New London
July 2: 5:30 p.m., City Hall, 20 First Ave. S.W.,
New London
July 16: 5:30 p.m., City Hall, 20 First Ave. S.W.,
New London
Aug. 6: 5:30 p.m., City Hall, 20 First Ave. S.W.,
New London
Aug. 20: 5:30 p.m., City Hall, 20 First Ave. S.W.,
New London
New London
Economic Development Authority
July 9: 4:30 p.m., City Hall, 20 First Ave. S.W.,
New London
Aug. 13: 4:30 p.m., City Hall, 20 First Ave. S.W.,
New London
Spicer City Council
July 1: 7 a.m., City Council meeting room, 217
Hillcrest Ave., Spicer
July 15: 5:30 p.m., City Council meeting room,
217 Hillcrest Ave., Spicer
Aug. 5: 5:30 p.m., City Council meeting room,
217 Hillcrest Ave., Spicer
Aug. 19: 5:30 p.m., City Council meeting room,
217 Hillcrest Ave., Spicer
Spicer Economic Development Authority
July 15: 7 a.m., City Council meeting room, 217
Hillcrest Ave., Spicer
Aug. 19: 7 a.m., City Council meeting room,
217 Hillcrest Ave., Spicer
———
B2B will publish upcoming business-
related meetings, classes or seminars
monthly. Calendar information will be
listed two months out; email informa-
tion to business@wctrib.com; dates and
locations subject to change.
● ● 14 ● ●
July 2014 B2B
001058122r1
Authorized independent agent/agency for Blue Cross
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and Blue Shield
®
of
Minnesota and Blue Plus
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, nonprofit independent licensees of the Blue Cross and
Blue Shield Association.
If you’re looking for a health plan to fit your changing life, or you just
want to know your options, give me a call. We’ll review your needs
and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota plans available to
you.
Ron Pool, Agent, CC
Phone: 320-995-6111
Email: ron@matsonins.com
Colleen A. Thorpe, Agent
Phone: 320-222-6111
Email: colleen@matsonins.com
Linda Ryks, Agent
Phone: 320-995-6111
Email: linda@matsonins.com
Matson Insurance Agency, INC.
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T
he Chamber of Commerce is one of those organizations
that is always there to help give birth to several entities,
initiatives and causes in the community. We are not a
government agency or a service club, but a business mem-
bership organization that represents its membership as the
“Voice of Business.” Affiliated Partnerships are important to
the Chamber and our mission to promote
and advocate for the area-wide business
community. The following are affiliations
that the Chamber helped start and/or plays
a big part in:
■Vision 2040 Steering Committee
■ neXt
■ Highway 23 and 12 Task Forces
■ Community Marketing Coalition
■ Grow MN!
■ Main Street Willmar
■Willmar Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
■Willmar Area Development Corporation
■Willmar Area Community Foundation
■ Kandiyohi County & City of Willmar Economic
Development Corporation
■Willmar Downtown Development Inc. (Formerly Willmar
Design Center)
■ Mid-MN Builders Exchange
■ Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and MCCE
■ United States Chamber of Commerce
■Willmar.com
■ Leadership Perspectives
We pride ourselves on giving birth to many community initiatives and once
they are strong enough to crawl, walk and survive on their own, we “kick” them
out the door and move on to the next community need, initiative or project. We
know we are much stronger if we cooperate
and collaborate in order to accomplish
things, and most of the time the exposure is
greater and the investment can be less.
We also think it’s our role to advocate
and promote partnerships by bringing
the business, community and political
interests together with projects like
Vision 2040, EDC, Chamber, CVB, CMC,
etc. We are jointly marketing our community as a good
place to live, work, play, learn and do business. The
Chamber sees itself as a vital partner in the community
and our role is to take leadership where needed on some issues, advocacy, pro-
motion and education of others, and to work as a community partner to assist
the community in the growth we are experiencing as a true regional center.
Just like all the communities we serve in Kandiyohi County, Willmar can’t pro-
mote itself without the assets of Kandiyohi County and Kandiyohi County can’t
market itself without Willmar as the identifier and the regional center. We are
more prudent, efficient and effective with our time, money and volunteers while
being successful as a community by working together as one doing the things
that none of us can do by ourselves.
I heard a quote a while back that has stuck with me and I think it’s one that fits
the Chamber. It goes like this: “A good organization is the one that plants trees
and never expects to sit under them.”
I hope we continue to plant groves of trees all over Kandiyohi County by work-
ing together with all of the businesses, government agencies, service clubs,
non-profits and others to understand that we are all in this together and should-
n’t look at any of this as competition, Rather, it is understanding where we’ve
been, where we’re at and where we want to go. Understanding who, what,
when, where and why will help us know where we’ve been, where we are at and
where we’re headed through the spirit of cooperation, collaboration and coali-
tion building.
Ken
WARNER
Willmar Lakes
Area Chamber
of Commerce
President
‘Cooppetition’…
Cooperating with the competition
Summer is a great time to take that long-overdue
vacation or make much-needed home repairs, but
as the weather heats up, so do scams. Better
Business Bureau is warning consumers about these
popular summer scams.
Don’t let a scam ruin your vacation. Fake
travel agents and websites are known for
touting too-good-to-be-true deals in the
hopes of getting your money in return.
Whether it’s a fake timeshare rental or a
falsely promised Disney vacation, don’t let a
vacation scam take you for a ride. Make sure the
offer is legitimate by checking bbb.org/scam first. If
there is no BBB Business Review on the company,
dig deeper. Google the phone number or website to
see if others report problems.
Keep your belongings safe during your
move. Summer is the peak time of year for
changing residencies, and unlicensed
movers and dishonest scammers are wait-
ing to take advantage of the busy season.
Always research the company and check out the
mover’s BBB Business Review at bbb.org. Not all
price quotes online or over the phone are legitimate
(or binding), and crooks are not likely to send an
estimator to your home in advance. Also remember
that the lowest estimate can sometimes be an unre-
alistic, low-ball offer, which may cost you more in the
end.
Beware of summer concert ticket scams.
Before paying for concert tickets online,
make sure the seller is reputable.
Oftentimes, phony sellers will trick con-
sumers into wiring money with no intention of send-
ing real tickets. Most concert venues now allow tick-
et holders to print tickets from personal computers,
which also gives scammers the opportunity to sell
the same ticket over and over to unsuspecting con-
sumers. Be wary of sellers who: offer a sad tale as
to why they cannot use the tickets; only accept cash;
want the money wired or transferred through a pre-
paid account; and/or pressure you to act quickly.
Be wary of high pressure door-to-door
sales tactics. Many legitimate companies
use door-to-door sales, and various city
ordinances regulate solicitors to protect
residents from unscrupulous individuals.
However, consumers need to watch for
individuals who try to work their way around the sys-
tem to line their pockets. Many door-to-door sales-
men offer deals for everything from driveway paving
to air conditioning repair to security systems. Before
saying yes, get all promises in writing, including
start and finish dates. Never sign a contract that has
an open-ended completion date or blank spaces
Beware of job scams that can turn a hot
summer cold. Finding summer employ-
ment is a top priority for most college and
high school students. Don’t let the season-
al job hunt turn into a huge waste of time
and money. Always be wary of employers
who require fees for training and background
checks, or who tout “no experience needed.” BBB
considers these red flags for employment scams.
Find out more about scams and sign up for scam
alerts at BBB Scam Stopper (bbb.org/scam). For
tips you can trust, visit bbb.org and for the latest,
check out our blog, like us on Facebook or follow us
on Twitter.
● ● 15 ● ●
B2B July 2014
Townhomes
P
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T
A
R
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IN
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A
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$
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9
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Lots also
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NERGY
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ONCEPTS
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● ● 16 ● ●
July 2014 B2B
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How to recognize danger in the workplace
Shocking acts of public violence con-
tinue to dominate the news, rencently it
was the shootings at Fort Hood and the
Washington Navy Yard – considered
workplace incidents, a stabbing at a
Pennsylvania high school.
About 2 million employees are affect-
ed by workplace violence every year,
according to the Occupational Safety
and Health Administration.
“This is not simply a case of the 24-
hour news cycle maintaining a captive
audience with fear mongering,” says
retired physician Mohinder Goomar.
“In addition to the reported cases of
workplace violence, who knows how
many go unreported? A prevalent com-
mon denominator is untreated mental
illness,” says Goomar, author of “It’s Just
My Opinion,” which discusses his expe-
rience with dissociative identity disorder
(DID), formerly known as multiple per-
sonality disorder.
“Because diagnosis and treatment of
mental illness hasn’t progressed much
in recent decades, we need to encour-
age lay people to be vigilant toward
those expressing tendencies that indi-
cate the potential for violence due to
mental illness.”
Goomar, who has personally suffered
the destabilizing affects of dissociative
identity disorder (DID), reviews indica-
tors of mental illness, which may lead to
violence.
■ Marginalized or bullied
students/coworkers. Students inter-
viewed at the Murrysville, Pa., high
school, where 16-year-old Alex Hribal is
accused of stabbing
21 people, have
said Hribal is a
shy person
without vio-
lent ten-
dencies.
The FBI,
however,
has found
evidence
that he
was bul-
lied
online.
Human
beings
are social
creatures
which
almost
always require
companionship for
mental well-being,
especially for the devel-
opment of a juvenile. Be sensitive to
those who are socially challenged; pres-
sure from bullying can have catastroph-
ic consequences.
■ A consistent and emphatic victim-
ization position. After pulling out a pistol
and yelling what can be translated in
English as “God is great!” Army Maj.
Nidal Malik Hasan pulled out a pistol
and killed 13 unarmed people in Fort
Hood. Later in court, when
Hasan was represent-
ing himself, he justi-
fied his actions by
saying he was
defending a
group of
Taliban lead-
ers in
Afghanistan,
including a
man named
Mullah Omar.
Those who
perpetrate
terrible vio-
lence often
do so citing
justice from a
victimized posi-
tion.
■ Readily appar-
ent indicators of para-
noia and a history of vio-
lent reactions. Aaron
Alexis, the former Navy man who was
discharged from the service for a violent
altercation, was nonetheless allowed to
work in the Washington Navy Yard as a
contractor. He eventually shot and killed
12 people, and critically injured three.
The FBI later said that he was under
“the delusional belief that he was being
controlled or influenced by extremely
low frequency electromagnetic waves,”
or ELF. These are clear red flags of
mental illness that were ignored.
■ An aggressively litigious nature.
The Guinness Book of World Records
named Jonathan Lee Richards the most
litigious man, having had court filings
against Martha Stewart and New
England Patriots football coach Bill
Belichick, among many others. Having
heard of his new title, he filed a suit
against the record-holding institution.
Richards also is a former federal prison-
er. Outrageous legal action is another
form of confrontation from those who
constantly perceive grievances.
Mohinder Goomar is a former medical
doctor who, after emigrating from India,
became board certified by the American
Academy of Ophthalmology and
Otolaryngology and became an American
citizen. He was chairman of the surgery
department at Saratoga Hospital, in New
York, had a private practice for head and
neck surgery. He was rehabilitated at a
facility and lost his medical license for two
years – to be followed by reinstatement of
the license. Due to his DID experience, he
did not have his license reinstated. His
book, “It’s Just My Opinion,” details his
experience.
Improved prevention is a group effort, says former doc & personality disorder sufferer
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M
entorship is vital to personal and professional
development as it augments the quantitative
fundamentals of formal training. Although
observation and training are surely important, only
mentorship advances the qualitative skills needed for
a comprehensive understanding about self and oth-
ers, not to mention career advice and life enrich-
ment.
Last year, the Willmar Lakes Area
contacted a consulting firm to aid in
understanding the local area and to
compare itself with other cities of its
size and population on varying cri-
teria. The committee, aptly named
Vision 2040, used the data trends
from Next Generation Consulting to
better embrace and prepare the
WLA for the future.
One of the “big ideas” following
the completion of the project was to
develop our Next-Gen leaders
(goal #4 of Vision 2040. For more
info, see www.willmarlakes-
area2040.com). In unpacking this
multifaceted objective, the Vision
2040 steering committee, along with goal leaders
Melissa Sorenson and Steve Gardner, decided men-
torship would be vital in the success of this goal.
The initial phase was to poll the community in an
effort to understand which opportunities are currently
available and identify any existing gaps. It turns out
the community has a handful of available opportuni-
ties for our youth, with but a few for adults.
The YCMA-run Lend a Hand program targets kids
and teens ages 6 to 15, pairing each with a suitable
mentor through an application process. Together the
two spend an hour once a week in any playful envi-
ronment, engaging in dialogue and playing games;
the idea is to support the mentee and encourage a
bright and positive future.
The Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO)
program, recently launched in Willmar, focuses on
business mentorship. Selected high school appli-
cants will spend 90 minutes prior to each school day
in mentorship from local Willmar Area businesses.
Upon completion, each pupil will emerge with his/her
own business — not to mention confidence — an
entrepreneurial mindset, and a strong business acu-
men. Other youth mentorship programs available are
Strive (Rotary, high school graduating class), Lunch
Buddy Program (Ridgewater College, elementary
students), Boy/Girl Scouts of America, Chick Chat
(Youth for Christ, middle school girls) and the MBW
Mentoring Program (Minnesota Business Woman,
fifth-grade girls).
But what about adults in the up-and-coming gener-
ation(s)?
The only established program the research for this
paper discovered is a pilot program launched by
neXt, the area’s young professional organization. In
2013 it held its first formal mentorship activities, invit-
ing four business leaders from the community and 20
individuals from neXt to join the program. Each men-
tor met with five neXt mentees for 90 minutes, once a
month, and each month rotated as to spend time
with each group of five mentees.
With each month the program improved.
Participants from both sides reported an excellent,
open environment to ask questions and dialogue
with the more experienced, creative and intellectual
mentors.
“It was a unique opportunity to be a part of,” com-
mented Cliff Nystrom from Heritage Bank. “And I
even made four new connections with neXt mem-
bers!”
Another participant, Jeron Smith of Willmar
Municipal Utilities, mentioned, “I’m an introvert and
would generally not seek out these opportunities.
Yet, I felt comfortable exploring new ideas with my
group, and, as such, had an enriching experience
which I highly recommend.”
The program will kick off again this fall, open to all
neXt members (the mentees) and Chamber mem-
bers (the mentors).
In addition to this program for our local adults,
Vision 2040 is looking to create a community wide
program, and there are even hints of the MinnWest
Technology Campus launching its own program as
well.
In Next Generation Consulting’s opening kickoff,
they shared a photo of the 2008 U.S. Olympic 4x100
men’s relay team. On both sides of the baton are
intensely focused individuals desiring to propel
themselves into the future — into success. Yet, lack
of touch on a single handoff caused a dropped
baton, a disappointing loss and a devastated team.
Willmar Lakes Area, let’s not drop our community
baton. Help bridge the gap by supporting and con-
tributing to our mentorship programs. Our future
depends on it.
Jay
HALLIDAY
NeXt
Chair
Elect
NeXt: Mentorship is key
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TTEEAACCHHIINNGG GGIIRRLLSS TTOO
‘‘ LLOOVVEE TTHHEE SSPPOORRRT RTT’ T’
SS SMM MAA A LL L
AA A DD DEE ENN N NN NGG G
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G GA AR RD DE EN NI I N NG G
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OOFF SSOOFFTTBBAALLLL
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Throughout the years at the Advisory
Board meetings I facilitate, I’ve heard a fair
amount of laughter and grumbling
from the business people who
participate.
Often, those who attend
come to learn new things, to
become better leaders and
some attend to get valida-
tion for what they are
already doing.
In every session, all kinds
of topics are on the table to be discussed.
Sales, marketing, human resources, benefits, taxes,
partnerships, vendor relationships, social media,
growth strategies, recruiting, compensation, expan-
sion, facilities, regulatory affairs, import and export
opportunities and so on.
But one thing stands out clearly. After investing con-
siderable time speaking about and framing what is
perceived to be a critical issue for their company,
most owners fail to have the difficult follow up conver-
sation they need to have to resolve people issues.
Advisory Board members are not ordinary people.
These are successful business people of every age
and stage who have founded, bought or inherited and
now lead profitable companies. In many cases, these
are individuals who have leveraged all that they own
or could borrow to launch and grow their business,
paying employees and suppliers before they even
think about cashing their own paycheck.
They don’t invest in being part of an Advisory Board
because they want to be in a lonely hearts organiza-
tion. They spend precious time and money because
being in a group like this makes them better owners,
more educated, more focused and prepared for what-
ever the future holds.
Yet if they have an Achilles’ heel, it is their failure to
address the lingering problems in their businesses
related to non-performing and under-performing
employees.
All owners want to be perceived as nice people.
Nice people often struggle with having to conduct
challenging conversations related to people. So,
instead of talking action and having the conversation
they dread, they ignore employee behavior hoping it
will go away. It rarely does.
These are people who have surrounded themselves
with many fine loyal and dedicated employees who
have been on the payroll for years. In some cases
employees are treated like family and sometimes they
are family.
Every time an employee is seen not doing what they
are supposed to be doing, or doing the right thing the
wrong way, it drives the owner crazy. The owner bites
their tongue and allows their blood pressure to rise
rather than deal with the issue.
What makes it most difficult to have a candid dis-
cussion with someone who is not performing is that
the top executive has ignored the situation for years,
in some cases, decades.
When I remind my clients about this, they cringe.
They are embarrassed that they have let this situation
continue for so long without being addressed.
It’s almost impossible to hold these conversations in
smaller businesses where one minute the owner is
telling someone they aren’t meeting expectations and
the next minute the employee is being asked for help
to get something faxed.
Most owners have not made it clear what they
expect from people that are on the payroll of the com-
pany they own.
Receptionists get hired and are simply told “answer
the phone.” Drivers are hired and told “take this stuff
to the clients.” Those in sales are told “Go sell some-
thing.”
Do you have people that are not performing? Sit
down and have the long overdue, difficult conversa-
tion. Don’t delay another day.
The employee might not take everything you have
to say well, but given enough time to consider what
you have said, they will appreciate knowing how you
feel especially if you make it clear what you expect of
them.
You will feel better for having had the courage to
have the meeting and this will make future sessions
easier and even more productive.
Ken Keller facilitates The Wise Owners Advisory Boards, bringing
business owners together for education, sharing and on-going suc-
cess. Contact him at KenKeller@SBCglobal.net. Keller’s column
reflects his own views and not necessarily those of this publication.
By Ken Keller
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