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Much Ado About Nothing!-October 2011
Business leaders shouldn’t give significance to insignificant, misleading, or partisan hype.
The Last of the Common-Sense Minnesotans
One of the state’s great lawyers leaves a legacy of moderation and fairness.
playbook-The Second Time’s the Charm-October 2011
Why merging with Digi International made sense for machine-to-machine tech entrepreneur Matt Jennings.
2011 Outstanding Directors
Honoring corporate board members
Writing Your Way In
Mayo Clinic's Reformer-October 2011
CAO Shirley Weis is leading a transformation: “We want to be affordable, relevant, and helpful to people not only when they’re really sick, but when they’re trying to stay healthy.”
How Do We Look?
What Oklahoma City leaders noticed the most when they visited the Twin Cities this summer.
2011 Outstanding Directors
Honoring corporate board members
The Secret Life of In Touch-October 2011
What do your employees really think? And what do they know that could improve your business? In Touch gets an earful when it sets up anonymous employee feedback systems for clients.
Writing Your Way In
Are Angels the Job Creators We Need?
The new Minnesota Angel Network says it can deliver measurable results.
Are The Taxes Always Greener?
For companies choosing locations for factories and offices, how big a role do taxes play?
Fast and Fizzy
Joia All Natural premium sodas’ rapid flow from idea to a store, restaurant, and coffeehouse near you.
FDA Seeks More Data Before Kips Bay Clinical Study
Regulators want more information from Kips Bay Medical before allowing the company to conduct a U.S. clinical trial for its medical device; the device is currently being sold in six countries and has been implanted in roughly 250 patients.
For the Birds-October 2011
All Seasons Wild Bird Store celebrates 20 years—and five locations—under its current ownership.
Selling It-Still the Cadillac of Cars?-October 2011
Fallon’s ads say yes, but go beyond the luxury metaphor.
Shock Doctor Scores Vikings' Percy Harvin-October 2011
Pro athletes wear protective equipment made by Plymouth-based Shock Doctor and advise the company’s product designers.
Special Focus-The New Medical Marvels-October 2011
Devices from Minnesota companies that save patients and hospitals money while improving outcomes and recovery times.
Spotlight-Flooring It-October 2011
Citadel Floor Finishing Systems is experiencing accelerated growth.
Starters-How Caldrea Knows the Consumer Nose-October 2011
Turning fashion and fertile soil into fragrance.
Starters-The CEO Squad on the Stadium Issue-October 2011
“We’re really about jobs and regionalism; the Vikings happen to be part of it.”
Can business leaders learn to foster organizational creativity?
The Telecommuting Advantage
A Minnesota program assists employers in clearing the hurdles to telecommuting.
Tilia’s Menu Sleepers
A humbler confit and “faux gras."
Trissential Makes Personality Essential
A Match.com approach to business consulting.
Local companies using state-of-the-art videoconferencing are saving time and money.
Belgian Medical Co. Opens Subsidiary in Rochester
Cardio3 BioSciences-which develops regenerative and protective therapies for the treatment of heart disease-hopes the new subsidiary will support its clinical and development activities in the United States and bolster existing ties with Mayo Clinic.
Bloom Health Majority Stake Sold to Insurers
WellPoint, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and Health Care Services Corporation have reportedly bought a 78 percent stake in the start-up for an undisclosed amount.
Former MN Bank Executives Face New Fraud Charges
Two former officers of failed Pinehurst Bank and a bank customer are facing new charges through a superseding indictment, which alleges that the men were involved in a $1.9 million "check-kiting" scheme that led to the bank's demise.
Medtronic Awarded $101M in Damages in Patent Suit
A federal jury also held Medtronic liable for $660,000 in damages to NuVasive for infringing on one of the company's patents.
MnSCU's New Chancellor Pledges to Keep Tuition Down
Steven Rosenstone, who took office on August 1, also told the board of trustees that he wants to ensure widespread access to educational opportunities among Minnesotans and seek new ways to partner with businesses and others in order to better meet the state's work force needs.
MTS Systems No Longer Banned From Federal Contracts
An agreement between the U.S. Air Force and MTS Systems Corporation suspends a ban that was imposed in March and that barred the company from doing business with the federal government.
New Name for Merged Lowry Hill, Wells Fargo Family Wealth
The joint firm-Abbot Downing, A Wells Fargo Business-will have a $50 million minimum family net worth for clients and manage about $30 billion in assets.
NorthMarq, Cushman & Wakefield Merge MN Operations
The merged organization-which claims to be one of the largest of its kind in the United States-will employ more than 500 people and manage more than 55 million square feet of property.
Six Minnesotans Among 400 Richest Americans
Carlson co-owners Marilyn Carlson Nelson and Barbara Carlson Gage are the richest Minnesotans, followed by Whitney MacMillan.
Target Finalizes Canada Real Estate Deal
The Minneapolis-based company has selected a total of 189 leases it plans to buy from Canadian retailer Zellers; it intends to open between 125 and 135 Target stores in Canada and sell the remaining leases to other retailers or landlords.
Capital City Partnership Disbands; Leader Joins Greater MSP
The 15-year-old organization will cease operations at the end of this year; its executive director, Joel Akason, will become a full-time employee of recently formed regional economic development organization Greater MSP.
Mpls. Earns Gold-Level "Walk-Friendly" Designation
The city said that it was recognized for its excellent planning policies, high level of staff commitment to pedestrian safety, and pedestrian campaigns and events.
Plato Counter-Bids for Software Co., Offer Matched
Renaissance Learning's board of directors will consider Plato's $15.50-per-share buyout offer but is currently recommending that shareholders vote in favor of an offer from Permira Funds, which was recently increased to match Plato's bid.
Report: 3 State Agencies Sued for Age Discrimination
The state's departments of Commerce, Public Safety, and Natural Resources allegedly violated age discrimination laws by offering incentives such as health and dental benefits to workers who retired at 55-but not to older workers.
Stratasys Unveils 90,000-Sq.-Foot Expansion
The addition gives the 3D-printer manufacturer the potential to double its production capacity and make up to 10,000 units per year.
Sun Country Sale Features One-Way Fares From $79
The airline's "Everyone-Must-Go Sale," which goes through Tuesday, features discounted fall fares to more than a dozen locations.
Tennant Defends Cleaning Tech. After Rival Sues
Alfred KŠrcher GmbH & Company has sued Tennant Company over claims made about its ec-H2O cleaning technology, but Tennant President and CEO Chris Killingstad called the accusations "baseless" and said his company will vigorously defend itself, its technology, and its advertising.
Twin Cities' ATM, Overdraft Fees Among Lowest in U.S.
An industry survey found that the average ATM fee in the Twin Cities is the second lowest in the country and that the average overdraft fee is the fourth lowest.
Vikings Players Wait Tables at Manny's for a Cause
Manny's, one of downtown Minneapolis' hot spots for the business crowd, will host "Celebrity Waiter Night," featuring Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway and other notables.
Avtex, Local Nonprofit Create Athlete-Tracker Tech.
The new notification service can track marathoners and provide real-time progress updates to friends and family via text message.
Best Buy to Reduce Temporary Holiday Hires by Half
The company also will reportedly loosen return policies, increase advertising to smartphone users, and expand its Geek Squad technical support to nab sales from Amazon.com during the upcoming holiday season.
Best Buy to Sell New $199 Kindle Fire Tablet
Best Buy will sell Amazon's Kindle Fire, a new tablet that will cost $199 and is expected to compete with Apple's popular iPad device.
Fed. Agency Sides With American Crystal in Labor Dispute
The National Labor Relations Board dismissed all four complaints filed by the union that represents workers who were locked out last month by American Crystal Sugar Company.
Former MN Mortgage Firm Exec. Accused of $8M Fraud
Joseph Traxler of Centennial Mortgage and Funding, Inc., allegedly used funds intended for mortgage loans to cover Centennial's operating losses and to fund its payroll and other expenses.
Planned Brewpub Offers Investors Free Beer for Life
An investment of $1,000 in what is being called "the state's first community-supported brewpub" can reportedly secure a lifetime supply of free beer.
Plato Ups Bid for Software Co.; Offer is Rejected
Plato's $471 million bid for Renaissance Learning is the highest offer on the table, but Renaissance's board of directors is recommending that shareholders approve a $455 million buyout offer from global equity firm Permira Funds.
Target Alums to Lead New Cherokee Office in Mpls.
Target veterans Sally Mueller and Jamie Curtis have been hired to lead the new Minneapolis office of Cherokee-which licenses its fashion and lifestyle brand to Target, among other retailers.
Target Scoops Up More Land on Nicollet Mall
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and a Target spokeswoman told the
that there are no immediate plans for the site.
WomenVenture Event to Feature Celeb. Journalist
The annual event that supports women's economic prosperity programs will have Connie Chung talking about successes and challenges during her four-decade career.
Go, Team! Touchdown Entertaining-October 2011
Make an impression with premium sports experiences.
2 MN Execs. Among "50 Most Powerful Women"
Fortune magazine named Gail Boudreaux of UnitedHealth Group and Shari Ballard of Best Buy to its list of America's leading businesswomen.
Ameriprise Workers Sue Over 401(k) Funds
Six current and former employees of Ameriprise Financial claim that their 401(k) investments were placed in poorly rated funds that had excessive fees, which resulted in the loss of $20 million; they seek to turn their suit into a class action representing all affected employees from 2005 to present.
Best Buy to Sell Online Music Provider Napster
According to the Star Tribune, industry observers estimate that Napster now has 400,000 subscribers-significantly fewer than the 706,000 that it had when Best Buy acquired it three years ago-and Napster hasn't been able to overtake Apple's iTunes.
Caribou Among Hundreds Facing WiFi Patent Suits
Local IP attorney Brad Pedersen indicated that the case doesn't look promising for the company filing the suits; he says that lawsuits with multiple defendants will be kicked out under a new patent reform act-and the cost of [refiling] the suits one at a time won't be worthwhile for the plaintiff.
Datalink Buys Local IT Firm Midwave in $17.6M Deal
Fast-growing Datalink bought Midwave Corporation in a deal that likely marks the ramping up of acquisitions by the company-which reportedly has plans to make one every 12 to 18 months.
Leuthold Weeden Founder to Step Down as CIO
Steve Leuthold will have a reduced role of co-portfolio manager and will advise on a few portfolios.
Local Ad Exec. Designs Time Magazine Cover
The cover of the magazine's October 10 issue was designed by Brock Davis, creative director of Minneapolis-based advertising agency Carmichael Lynch.
MN Gets $15.5M in Fed. Funds for Small-Biz Lending
Agency officials anticipate that the programs will help 1,200 Minnesota businesses and spur the creation of 3,000 new jobs.
Regis Corp. Names New CEO, Plans to Cut Costs
Regis on Monday announced that Randy L. Pearce-who is currently president-will serve as CEO starting February, and that the company plans to lower expenses by $40 million to $50 million over the next two fiscal years to improve earnings.
Target CMO Michael Francis Leaves for J.C. Penney
A Target spokeswoman said that the departure of Michael Francis, who was leading the retailer's expansion into Canada, will have no bearing on its plans to open stores north of U.S. borders; the company hasn't yet determined an approach for finding Francis' replacement.
App Lets MSP Travelers Get Food Delivered to Gate
Using a free mobile app called B4YouBoard, local travelers can use their smartphones to have food from three restaurants delivered right to their departure gate.
Carlson Marketing Changes Name to Aimia
As its parent company adopts a new name and brand identity, Carlson Marketing will operate as Aimia going forward.
Life Time Fitness Expands to Canada
The company's first club outside the United States is set to open in Ontario, Canada in March 2012.
MN Businessman Kenneth Dahlberg Dies at 94
The Deephaven resident, who founded Miracle-Ear and pumped money into several companies, was a decorated World War II fighter pilot who also played a cameo role in the Watergate scandal even though he engaged in no wrongdoing.
MN Tech. Job Losses Outpaced Nation's in 2010
A study reports that Minnesota lost 2,900 high-tech positions in 2010-a 2.3 percent drop in jobs compared to 2009 and more severe than the 2 percent drop nationwide.
Regis, Activist Investor Trade Harsh Words
Shortly after Regis announced a series of strategic changes, the company and one of its largest shareholders-which believes the changes fall short-are exchanging harsh criticisms ahead of an upcoming shareholder meeting.
Report: Huge Disparities Among Mpls.' Racial Groups
A new report from the Minneapolis Foundation shows dramatic differences between Minneapolis residents of differing races and ethnicities-disparities that begin at an early age and affect education, jobs, housing, and other aspects of life.
Take a Sneak Peek Video Tour of Fulton's New Brewery
A new video provides a look inside Fulton's downtown Minneapolis brewery, as well as some insight into the beer making process from co-founder Brian Hoffman.
Target's Sept. Sales Beat Wall Street, Boost Stock
Same-store sales rose 5.3 percent in September, more than the 3.9 percent anticipated by analysts, prompting shares of the company's stock to jump 5 percent Thursday morning.
U of M Research Spawns Green Start-up
A biodegradable plastic developed by a University of Minnesota biochemist has led to an Arkansas start-up that will manufacture what it claims are environment-friendly plastic bags.
Atmosphere Recovery, Sheerwind Get Cleantech Awards
Atmosphere Recovery was named a regional winner and won a prize package worth up to $20,000-and Sheerwind won a regional sustainability award, which includes $10,000 in cash and in-kind services; both will compete at a national competition next month.
Forbes: 3 MN Cos. Among "Top Brands"
General Mills ranked second on
magazine's list of the top 100 brands in the world-ahead of Google and Apple; Target and Best Buy ranked 21st and 34th, respectively.
Plato Ups Bid for Renaissance; Rejected Again
Plato Learning's newest proposal calls for it to acquire all shares of Renaissance Learning for about $496 million-or roughly $16.90 per share-but the majority owners have pledged their shares to a $455 million buyout offer from a European private equity firm.
Recession Causes Drop in MN's Charitable Giving
Total grants made in the state decreased 9.3 percent in 2009 from 2008, compared to a 5 percent drop between 2007 and 2008.
Rimage Expands Offerings With $52M Acquisition
The Edina-based company said that its purchase of California-based Qumu will give it a strong presence in the rapidly growing video communications market.
State Tax Revenue Tops Forecast by $59M
Amid sluggish national economic growth, the State of Minnesota collected $59 million more in taxes during the first quarter than it had projected.
Sun Country Offers Second $79-Fare Sale in a Month
Sun Country Airlines' "Winter-Is-Just-Around-the-Corner" sale features one-way fares starting at $79, and comes on the heels of a similar-and successful-promotion last month.
The RiverBank Is Second MN Bank to Fail in 2011
The RiverBank, whose six branches have reopened as branches of Central Bank, is the second Minnesota bank to be shut down by state regulators this year; the first, Rosemont National Bank, was closed in April.
Two Former U of M Faculty Win Nobel Prize
Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims-both former faculty members of the University of Minnesota-jointly won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Economics.
Xcel Energy Sues EPA Over Emission Regulation
Xcel says that a new federal regulation that is supposed to reduce coal-fired power plant emissions does not give the company enough credit for emissions it has already reduced at two plants in the Twin Cities.
Best Buy Supports Legislation to Tax Online Retailers
The Richfield-based company said a proposed federal law allowing states to require online merchants to collect sales tax would create a fair marketplace for all sellers.
Cargill's NatureWorks Receives $150M Investment
Until now, the bioplastics manufacturer has been wholly owned by Cargill-but a Thai company has bought a 50 percent stake in the company.
Faegre to Merge With Indianapolis Law Firm
The merged organization will employ 770 lawyers, and its annual revenue will exceed $400 million.
Fed. Rule Could Make Wells Fargo Drop Norwest Equity
A draft rule just approved by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation prohibits U.S. banks from owning private equity funds.
Greater MSP Says It Can Help the Twin Cities "Prosper"
The new economic development organization plans to roll out a marketing campaign for the region-and it has set a goal of helping the area add 100,000 jobs in the next five years, or about 25 percent more than the number of jobs expected to come through natural growth.
Met Council Considers Legal Options Against 3M
The Metropolitan Council, which oversees wastewater plants in the metro area that send water into the Mississippi River, reportedly believes that proposed state regulations could cost it millions of dollars-and says 3M should have to pay for some or all of the costs because the company's practices led to the new rule.
Ramsey Releases Plan to Tackle Employment Disparity
A new 64-page report outlines ways to reduce racial employment disparity in the Twin Cities, which reportedly has the highest such disparity among the nation's largest metro areas.
Regis: Activist Investor's Plan Would Put Co. at Risk
In a letter to shareholders, Regis discussed its recent proxy battle with activist investor Starboard-stating that the investor is "advocating uninformed and irresponsible cost-cutting that puts the Regis franchise at risk."
Sartell Paper Mill to Lay Off 175 Workers in Dec.
Verso Paper Corporation plans to cut coated-paper capacity by 193,000 tons annually at two U.S. mills.
Viral Video Boosts Envoy Medical Sales Inquiries
A recently posted video by an Envoy Medical patient went viral-and it reportedly increased sales inquiries received by the company by 150 percent.
Local Real Estate Agent Gets 8.5 Yrs. For $43M Fraud
Troy David Chaika was sentenced to more than eight years in prison for allegedly defrauding mortgage lenders of a total of $43 million.
Target's Online President Exits After Web Site Crash
Steve Eastman is the second Target executive to leave the company this month. His exit was announced the same day that the retailer's new e-commerce site crashed-although the company has said that the departure wasn't related to performance.
Vikings, Wild Players Practice Philanthropy
Several Vikings players-including Adrian Peterson, Jim Kleinsasser, and Chad Greenway-are set to take part in "Celebrity Waiter Night" at Manny's. In a separate instance of Minnesota's sports professionals giving back to the community, Wild captain Mikko Koivu has sponsored two private patient rooms at Children's Hospital.
4 of Nation's 10 Largest Co-ops Are in MN
Among the United States' 10 largest cooperative businesses based on 2010 revenue, four are headquartered in Minnesota.
Basilica Wins Popular Vote, $110K in Grant Contest
Through the national Partners in Preservation program, which grants money to historic sites, the cathedral will receive $110,000 to make interior repairs; another $890,000 will be given out next month to some of 24 other historic sites that competed alongside the basilica in an online contest.
Granite City Hopes Restaurant Upgrades Will Boost Sales
In an attempt to boost revenues, the St. Louis Park-based restaurant operator will add seating to four of its locations-including two in the Twin Cities.
Hedge Fund Offers $25K Prize in Research Contest
Whitebox Advisors is soliciting research papers that could benefit the investment community-and the winning submission will net a $25,000 prize.
MN Foundations, Charities United Under New Name
Minnesota Philanthropy Partners is anchored by four major foundations but supports more than 1,600 charitable foundations, funds, and organizations across the state.
Mpls. Convention Center Cuts Staff
The Minneapolis Convention Center is reportedly cutting about half of its supervisors and transitioning about two dozen other workers from full-time status to having no guaranteed minimum of hours.
St. Paul Ford Plant to Close in Dec.; 880 Workers Affected
The automaker has been planning to shutter its St. Paul plant since 2006 and just announced a closure date-December 19.
Two St. Paul-Area Construction Cos. Merge
Black and Dew is expected to bring in $40 million of revenue in its first year of operations, and its president said the company wants to grow by expanding its footprint geographically.
Advisory Firm Sides with Activist Investor; Regis Protests
Institutional Shareholder Services has recommended that Regis shareholders vote in favor of Starboard Value's board nominees-but Regis says "the firm reached the wrong conclusion," and "this is not the time to disrupt the execution of the changes that are under way at Regis."
Ex-Cargill Scientist Admits to Being a Chinese Spy
A former Cargill biotechnologist reportedly pleaded guilty to stealing proprietary information from the company and passing it back to competitors in China.
FL-Based Wing Chain to Open 17 Locations in MN
Hurricane Grill & Wings decided to expand into Minnesota and build new locations in three other states "after seeing unprecedented growth throughout the year."
Fmr. ConServe Exec. Gets Two Years for $8M Fraud
Kenneth Hasse admitted to defrauding investors out of $8 million to finance his company, ConServe Corporation.
HealthEast Care System Selects Next CEO
Kathryn Correia will succeed longtime HealthEast leader Tim Hanson, who will retire in January.
MN Jobless Rate Drops to 6.9% Despite 7,400 Jobs Cut
The state shed about 7,400 jobs in September, but Minnesota employers have added 27,700 jobs in the past year, and the unemployment rate dropped 0.3 percent.
Mpls. Gets Low Marks on Small-Biz. Vitality List
Minneapolis ranked 13th out of 15 major U.S. cities in a new "small business vitality" list due to a sharp decline in market share among the city's independent retail shops and dining establishments.
New Speaker Series Joins Local Execs. and Academics
At a free speaker series at the University of St. Thomas, executives from General Mills, Target, Best Buy, and 3M will discuss where real-world practices and academic theories meet.
Organic Eggs Sold Locally Tied to Salmonella; 6 Sick
Salmonella from organic eggs that came from an Owatonna farm were sold at grocery stores and co-ops throughout the Twin Cities; the eggs have sickened at least six people.
Plato Loses in Bid for Renaissance; Lower Offer OK'd
Shareholders of Renaissance Learning, Inc., accepted a $455 million offer from a company formed by a European private equity firm rather than Plato's latest $496 million bid-but the decision has prompted some lawsuits.
TCF Shuffles Upper Management, Names New CFO
The company says that repositioning some of its top executives will allow it to better manage four key areas-corporate development, enterprise risk management, lending, and funding.
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