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A Matter of Appearances-September 2011
Northern Oil & Gas fuels short sellers’ zeal; what looks bad
bad for shareholders.
corner office-Life After the Corner Office-September 2011
The job is part of the journey, not the end game.
editor's note-Enough with "Uncertainty"-September 2011
Minnesota’s strong economic undercurrent may surprise you.
money trail-When the Buyer Comes Calling-September 2011
Amcom did so well, it’s now driving growth within a publicly traded business.
How long can smokers and school kids bail out the state?
playbook-Perfect Pitch-September 2011
LarsonAllen to its merger partners: Let’s work together. Really.
Wiley Wallaby's Punch Lines
A brand of premium licorice hopes to hit it out of the park with its Minnesota Twins–based ad campaign.
Economic Uncertainty Be Damned
Minnesota’s business leaders are tackling their most pressing business challenge
Can Eric Kaler Retool the Engine?
The new U of M president faces a punishing budget, a legacy of top-down management, intense demands to grow research, and a sports and marketing machine on a Big 10 scale he’s never seen before. What makes him the right catalyst to take the university out of rough idle?
For more than 50 years, the Minnesota Inventors Congress has lured lone-wolf tinkerers and garage gadgeteers to Redwood Falls. For some, the event has provided a springboard for starting a business. But with attendance shrinking, can it reinvent itself and stay relevant?
Economic Uncertainty Be Damned
Minnesota’s business leaders are tackling their most pressing business challenge
This season, the runways were stocked with rich textures, luxe leathers, and tweeds distinguished enough for royalty. No matter what your professional arena may be, you can interpret the trend in the way that suits you.
Call Centers 2.0
The “new Avtex” is positioning itself as a provider of unified, multi-channel customer interaction technology.
A Northfield investment and management firm enters a new field: saving historic, smaller-city hotels and inns.
CyberSpace for Your Stuff: Storage Units Go Digital- September 2011
CyberSpace picks up, inventories and photographs, and makes accessible via Internet every item you choose to store in its Minneapolis warehouse.
Get Your Mojo Organized
Social enterprise is good, but how to put corporate structure to it?
Minnesota Cup Names Finalists in 2011 Competition
Finalists will compete for their respective division title-and then for a $25,000 grand prize and the Minnesota Cup.
Plugged In To Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles on the rise.
Selling It-Give a Little, Campbell Mithun Says in its United Way Campaign-September 2011
SheerWind’s New Spin on Clean Energy
SheerWind, based in Chaska, is developing the Invelox wind-energy system.
Chris Johnson brings Texas barbecue to the St. Croix.
Special Focus-Adventures in Space and Time-September 2011
Three remodeling projects celebrate the clean lines of old buildings.
Special Focus-Building a Bridge-September 2011
An Itasca Project initiative helps small, regional IT companies get large Minnesota firms as clients.
Special Focus-Communicating the Benefits-September 2011
Benefit managers talk shop—what works and what doesn’t—about delivering employee benefits information.
Special Focus-Enterprising Apps-September 2011
Measuring soil density? Checking patient records? Delivering data to the board of directors? There’s an app for that.
Spotlight-Pushing the Envelope-September 2011
iBuyOfficeSupply.com is taking the low-cost route to fast growth.
Starters-A Casting Call for DIYers-September 2011
Magnetic Productions’ search for the not-too-proud and the brave.
Starters-Keep Your Job and Your Integrity-September 2011
Nan DeMars' new book, You’ve Got to Be Kidding!: How to Keep Your Job Without Losing Your Integrity, is a new release from Wiley this summer.
The CIO View
A local CIO gives us a snapshot of his unique IT organization.
The State of Taxes
Are Minnesota's tax peculiarities driving people away?
3M to Pay $3M to Settle Age Discrimination Lawsuit
Under the terms of the settlement, which will be paid to about 290 former employees, the Maplewood-based company also will implement a review process for termination decisions and training on how to prevent age bias.
8 MN Companies Among Inc's 500 Fastest-Growing
Meanwhile, 82 private companies in Minnesota are among the nation's 5,000 fastest-growing, according to the magazine.
Century-Old, St. Paul-Based Pearson Candy Co. Sold
The iconic candy maker was sold for an undisclosed sum, and Michael Keller, former chief marketing officer for International Dairy Queen, will take over as president and CEO.
Developer Wirth Lacks Atty., Tax Evasion Case Delayed
Jeffrey Wirth, who heads The Wirth Companies, appeared in court on Monday, but his arraignment reportedly won't happen right away because he lacks a lawyer.
Digi Int'l Teams with AT&T for Energy Solutions
AT&T will partner with Digi International to deliver the Minnesota company's smart grid technology, which allows consumers, businesses, and utilities to monitor energy usage and adjust their consumption accordingly.
Fulton Brewery Opening Pushed Back to Oct. or Nov.
The Minneapolis brewery is ready for production, but the co-owners must obtain the necessary federal, state, and local licenses before they begin operations.
RBA Consulting Buys Twin Cities Tech Firm Ratchet
Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close on September 1, were not disclosed-but RBA said that the combined company is expected to generate $35 million in revenue this year.
Report: Best Buy to Pilot Rent-to-Own Program
The Richfield-based electronics retailer is reportedly ready to test a program through which customers can enter rent-to-own agreements.
Target Unveils New Web Site; Splits with Amazon
The company, which previously outsourced its online operations to Amazon.com, will now assume full control over its Web site.
MN Biz Leaders to Help Pick New Carlson School Dean
The search committee includes several local business leaders, including Bruce Beckman, finance director of General Mills; Lynn Casey, CEO of Padilla Speer Beardsley; and Reatha Clark King, former president and executive director of the General Mills Foundation.
3 Water Solutions Vying for $15K in MN Idea Open
Voting is now open online and at the Minnesota State Fair for the Pentair-sponsored Minnesota Idea Open, which will award $15,000 to help implement an idea for addressing the state's water issues.
Ben Fowke Takes the Reins as New Xcel CEO
Ben Fowke, who most recently served as president and chief operating officer, replaces Richard Kelly as chairman and CEO.
Hiawatha Line Builders Pay $4.6M to Settle Dispute
According to the federal government, the joint venture that oversaw construction of the Hiawatha light-rail line claimed to have hired disadvantaged businesses to help with the project even though it didn't.
Looking at the State Fair Through a Business Lens
The fair's 350,000 square feet of space are reportedly valued at around $200 million, for insurance purposes. The annual budget for the fair this year is reportedly $38.5 million, and gross revenue is expected to match that amount, according to a recent report.
McGladrey & Pullen to Buy Back RSM McGladrey
H&R Block, which had acquired RSM McGladrey from McGladrey & Pullen, will sell the firm back for approximately $610 million, reuniting the two firms after a 12-year split.
Mpls. OKs Taproom License; Will Surly Build There?
A new city ordinance, which follows a recent change to state law, allows breweries to sell pints of beer on site; it has prompted some speculation that Surly Brewing Company might look to build its $20 million "destination brewery" within Minneapolis city limits.
SurModics to Cut Work Force by 9%; CFO to Go
The announcement comes after a turbulent year for the company, including a June announcement that Johnson & Johnson-which accounted for roughly 17 percent of SurModics' fiscal 2010 sales-would exit the drug-coated stent market by the end of this year.
What's New at the 2011 State Fair?
Sixteen new food items and a wide range of major musical acts will be featured at this year's State Fair-and a new smartphone app makes it easier for fairgoers to find them.
Cargill Forms Panel to Review New Safety Measures
Several weeks after an outbreak of salmonella-related illnesses, Cargill has gathered a panel of three experts to review its enhanced food safety programs.
MN Attorney Gets 2.5 Years for $2M Loan Scheme
Richard Sand, a lawyer and former White Bear Township official, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for his role in a $2 million loan fraud scheme.
Best Buy Looks to Hire 200 IT Specialists
The electronics retailer reportedly plans to hire herds of information technology specialists over the next year-continuing the company's focus on digital strategies.
Bill Gates Now Ecolab's Biggest Shareholder
The Microsoft Corporation co-founder holds 11.4 percent of Ecolab's stock.
Eric Kaler Looks to Make U More Entrepreneurial
Eric Kaler now leads a school with a $3.7 billion annual budget, 67,000 students, 4,000-plus faculty members, and 15,000 other employees-and he plans to embark on efforts to make the U of M more entrepreneurial. The September cover story in
Twin Cities Business
asks what makes him the right man for the job.
Google Assists MN Businesses With Free Web Sites
Google, a new member of the Minnesota High Tech Association, will host a two-day event in St. Paul to help Minnesota businesses set up Web sites and pick up tips about the company's various online services, including Google Places and Google AdWords.
Imation Acquires 3rd Data Storage Co. in 6 Months
The acquisition of the assets of ProStor Systems aligns with Imation's recent shift to focus on data storage technology.
Insurance Co. Owner Sentenced for $1.8M Theft
Dennis Pap, former owner of Parthenon Risk Partners, was sentenced to 41 months in prison for stealing about $1.8 million and depositing it into his own bank account for personal use.
Lunds Begins Work on Downtown Grocery, Liquor Stores
Lunds said that it expects to open its new 20,000-square-foot grocery store and adjacent liquor store in downtown Minneapolis next summer.
MTS Systems CEO Resigns Amid Federal Investigation
The company will soon begin a search for a new CEO as federal investigators probe disclosure issues related to government contract forms.
Surly Recruits Local Advisors to Select Brewery Site
Surly Brewing Company has hired Minneapolis-based real estate advisory firm Tegra Group-which was involved in several iconic local projects, including the Walker Art Center and Target Field-to help move forward with its $20 million "destination brewery."
Best Buy Opens Digital Doors to CityVille
The electronics retailer has partnered with online game CityVille's developer-Zynga-to allow players to build in-game Best Buy stores.
Former County Commissioner Gets 3.5 Yrs for Fraud
Linda Tuttle-Olson, who operated a real estate closing company, was sentenced to 42 months in prison for allegedly stealing nearly $1 million from clients' escrow accounts.
Medtronic and CA Co. Sue Each Other Over Patents
Medtronic and NuVasive are reportedly accusing each other of infringing on their respective patents related to products used in surgeries.
Minnesota Cup Names 2011 Division Winners
The six division winners will present before the grand prize review board on September 8, when the overall winner will be named and awarded an additional $25,000, along with the coveted Minnesota Cup.
MN Banks Land $12.4M for Small Biz Loans
McLeod Bancshares, Inc., of Shorewood, received $6 million, and Redwood Financial, Inc., of Redwood Falls, got $6.4 million through the Small Business Lending Fund.
Wells Fargo Hiring 90 for Local Mortgage Operations
Wells Fargo is accepting applications for a variety of mortgage-related positions at its Twin Cities offices.
Artists Behind Local Poster Show Design Trek Bikes
The folks behind the growing Artcrank poster show applied their skills to design a new limited edition line of Trek commuter bikes.
Concierge-A Sporting Tradition-September 2011
Cultivate the art of gamesmanship with a day at a hunting preserve.
MN Co. Gets Patent for "Motion Recognition Clothing"
Medibotics received a patent for its Motion Recognition Clothing technology, which could create a new type of full-body video game controller. But the product isn't ready for the market, and the company is seeking investments and partnerships with manufacturers as it enters its next stage of product development.
MN Job Vacancies Hit Highest Level Since 2007
Job vacancies are up more than 32 percent versus the same period a year ago, but the bulk of openings is for part-time or seasonal work.
Mpls. Businesses Now Required to Recycle
A new ordinance requires all Minneapolis businesses to offer recycling.
Target's Aug. Sales Up; Hiring Starts in Canada
The retailer reported a 4.1 percent increase in August sales, and plans to hire "thousands" in Canada in the years ahead.
Twin Cities Prices Rise While Incomes Don't
The Star Tribune reports that cost of living in the Twin Cities has been rising this year, while Minnesota remains about 100,000 jobs short of where it was before the recession.
Local Brothers Get 5 Years for $4M Mortgage Scheme
The Bork brothers allegedly orchestrated a $4 million mortgage fraud scheme that defrauded 24 area lenders.
Two Local Cos. Recall Products Over Safety Hazards
St. Paul-based Luminosities, Inc., which does business as Windflame, was one of nine manufacturers and distributors to recall pourable gel fuels; in an unrelated matter, Manhattan Group, LLC, a Minneapolis-based toy maker, recalled about 3,300 wooden rattles due to a choking hazard.
Vikings Land E&J Brandy Sponsorship
The Minnesota Vikings announced its first partnership in the franchise's history with a hard-liquor company.
Best Buy's Shares Slide on Piper Jaffray Downgrade
Piper Jaffray analyst Peter Keith assumed coverage of Best Buy's stock and cut his firm's rating of Best Buy to "neutral" from "overweight," according to a report by Forbes
Developer Wirth Pleads Not Guilty to Tax Evasion
Wirth, his ex-wife, and their tax preparer are reportedly accused of funneling money out of The Wirth Companies and using it for personal expenses, including the building of an 18,000-square-foot mansion on Lake Minnetonka.
Irwin Jacobs Sells Remarketing Biz for $140M
Irwin Jacobs has sold the consumer goods remarketing portion of his business in a $140 million deal that is expected to close on October 1.
Local PR Exec.'s Bollywood Film Makes Mpls. Debut
Stacy Bee, owner of a local public relations firm, was cast for a Bollywood film-and the movie is set to make its Minneapolis debut later this month.
New York Wealth Management Firm Opens Mpls. Office
The firm also named six new partners-all local wealth managers who came from Lowry Hill and will work out of the new office.
SW Corridor, Northern Lights Transit Projects Progress
Federal authorities have given permission for engineering work to begin on the downtown Minneapolis-to-Eden Prairie light-rail line and approved a route for the proposed Twin Cities-to-Duluth passenger train.
Urologix Inks Licensing Deal for Medtronic Device
Urologix said that the deal is expected to bring total revenue up to between $18 million and $20 million for the fiscal year that ends next June; it reported sales of $12.6 million in its most recently completed fiscal year.
Court Reinstates Lawsuit Against Former Petters Execs
A Tuesday decision by a federal appeals court reportedly reinstated Ritchie Capital Management's previously dismissed lawsuit against two former Petters executives.
DEED Grants $500,000 to Emerson for 100 MN Jobs
The funding will help Emerson Process Management expand its Rosemount division in Minnesota, resulting in the addition of 100 jobs in Eden Prairie.
3M Bolsters Security Business in Post-9/11 World
The Maplewood-based company spun off its security operations into a separate division shortly after the 2001 attacks-and it has since increased its focus on developing comprehensive security systems for the United States and other governments.
3rd-Party Items Expand Best Buy Online Selection
By allowing vetted third parties to sell items on its Web site, Best Buy has broadened its online offerings by about a third.
ATK Moves HQ to VA; Most MN Jobs Untouched
Many of the company's aerospace and defense peers and customers are already located in the Washington, D.C., area-and having more of a presence there will help facilitate international and commercial diversification, according to a spokesman.
Former MN Tax Auditor Sentenced for $1.9M Scheme
Pamela Marie Dellis allegedly defrauded the state of $1.9 million through the creation of more than 200 false tax refunds.
More Lowry Hill Wealth Mgrs. Leave for Another Firm
Four former wealth managers at Minneapolis-based asset management firm Lowry Hill have joined Indianapolis-based Oxford Financial Group at its new Minneapolis office.
Supervalu Sells Gas Stations; Holiday Buys Some
Eden Prairie-based Supervalu said that it has reached agreements to sell 107 of its 134 fuel centers, and it will continue to look for additional buyers.
Target Apologizes for Glitch in Online Gift Registries
A transition to the company's new Web site resulted in some technical difficulties regarding the management of bridal and baby gift registries-and the company is apologizing to affected users and offering a discount on their next online purchase.
U of M's Kaler Outlines Plans for $50M Budget Bonus
Among the appropriation recommendations that President Eric Kaler will make to the Board of Regents are reducing a planned tuition hike and distributing a one-time scholarship for low- and middle-income undergrads.
Dunn Brothers Coffee Pilots New Food Offerings
The first Provisions Bakery Cafe food items are available at a Minneapolis Dunn Brothers coffee shop-and four more locations are set to test the model and offer fresh foods later this fall.
Pentair-Sponsored MN Idea Open Names $15K Winner
The Minnesota Idea Open selected a concept called "Minnesota FarmWise" as the winner of its recent competition, which asked Minnesotans how they would use $15,000 to help their community become aware of and address water issues.
12 MN Hospitals Win Patient Safety Awards
A dozen of the state's hospitals have won the Minnesota Hospital Association's patient safety awards for implementing measures meant to prevent accidents during surgical procedures and hospital stays.
3 MN Cos. Recognized by SBA for Job Creation
Great Clips, Tastefully Simple, and Shield Services were included on the SBA 100 list, which features businesses from across the country that created at least 100 jobs after receiving support from the Small Business Administration.
6 MN Firms on Nat'l "Best Law Firms for Women" List
Dorsey & Whitney, Faegre & Benson, Fredrikson & Byron, Gray Plant Mooty, Lindquist & Vennum, and Nilan Johnson Lewis made this year's list based on their work force profile, family-friendly benefits and policies, flexibility, leadership, compensation, and advancement and retention of women.
AUM Cardiovascular Wins MN Cup Competition
The company-whose noninvasive device can identify lethal coronary blockages in less than 20 seconds-beat out more than 1,000 participants before being named this year's grand-prize winner.
Cargill Recalls More Turkey; Gov't Finds Salmonella
The company voluntarily recalled 185,000 pounds of fresh ground turkey that it said could be contaminated with the same dangerous salmonella strain that prompted a ground turkey recall last month.
Event to Highlight Robotics Tech. Potential in MN
The event, Robotics Alley, is designed to raise the profile of the Midwest in the global robotics industry.
Mono Selects Recipients of "Free Media Dollars"
The advertising agency reversed the traditional request for proposals model by accepting pitches from potential clients-and it has now selected two winners who will together receive roughly $175,000 in free media.
Target Stores Sell Out of Missoni; Web Site Goes Down
The retailer reportedly sold out of the limited edition Missoni fashion line in local stores shortly after they hit shelves, and the company's Web site was down for at least a portion of Tuesday morning.
U.S. Bank Offers Cos. Cash-Mgmt. on Mobile Devices
A new offering enables business customers on the go to view account balances, transfer funds, approve time-sensitive payments, reset their password, and view check images on their mobile devices.
U's Job Fair a Bright Spot Amid Dim Hiring Outlook?
A recently released report indicates that the hiring outlook for Twin Cities employers may be dimming; meanwhile, the University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering is reportedly hosting the largest career fair in its history on Tuesday.
Twin Cities Rise! Wins $50K Innovation Award
The local nonprofit, which trains under-employed and unemployed people for placement in long-term jobs, was chosen from a pool of about 900 entries as one of five winners in the "Powering Economic Opportunity: Create a World that Works" competition.
25th MN Venture, Finance Conference to Attract 350+
Seventeen companies have been selected to give seven-minute presentations to attendees of the annual Minnesota Venture & Finance Conference.
Amid Backlash, Lessons From Target's "Missoni Mayhem"
Marketing experts told USA Today that that the shopping frenzy taught Target and its competitors a valuable lesson: Even though the economy is still in rough shape, shoppers are in the market for reasonably priced luxury goods.
Bixby Associate's Guilty Plea Implicates Co. Officer
Dennis DeSender admitted to fraudulently soliciting investors to fund a venture to sell coal-gasification technology to China-and he reportedly implicated a former officer of Bixby Energy Systems in the alleged $60 million scheme.
Dorsey & Whitney Dropped as MN Chief Bond Counsel
The state's Attorney General's office has terminated Dorsey & Whitney as Minnesota's chief bond counsel, citing ethical conflicts during the state government shutdown in July, and replaced it with an Omaha law firm.
MN Cos. Export Record $5.3B in Goods During Q2
Later this month, Governor Mark Dayton and representatives from several Minnesota companies and colleges will set out on a trade mission to Minnesota's sixth-largest export market-South Korea.
OK'd Pension Fund Merger Supports Rybak's Budget
The Minneapolis mayor's proposed budget includes no property tax hike, but it depends on savings from a pension fund merger-which has now been approved by members of the city's police and fire pension funds.
Proto Labs Helps Two Inventors Launch New Products
Proto Labs is offering discounted prototyping and short-run production services to two companies through its "Cool Idea!" program-one product comes from a local company that hopes to change how the life sciences industry stores tissue samples, the other from a Pennsylvania inventor who designed a sander that vacuums drywall dust.
Twin Cities' 2010 GDP Ranks 13th Nationwide
The metro area's gross domestic product is the 13th highest in the nation and grew 4.4 percent between 2009 and 2010; that's compared to 2.5 percent average growth for all U.S. metro areas during the period.
Twin Cities Has Highest Racial Gap Among Unemployed
The jobless rate for African Americans in the Twin Cities is reportedly 24 percent compared to just 6 percent for Caucasians, giving the region the widest racial disparity among the unemployed in urban areas throughout the country.
Unemployment Steady; MN Adds 5.8K Private-Sector Jobs
Minnesota's official unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.2 percent in August-in part because a "smoothing out" of data understated the effect of 22,000 laid-off state workers who returned to the job following the state government shutdown. A state official told Twin Cities Business that the "unsmoothed" rate is 7 percent.
Cirrus Names Cofounder Dale Klapmeier CEO
Klapmeier, who founded the Duluth-based company in a Wisconsin dairy barn with his brother 25 years ago, replaces Brent Wouters, who is no longer with Cirrus.
Hedge Fund Whitebox Advisors Launches Research Portal
The firm's new research Web site is scheduled to launch on September 28 and will allow academics and investment professionals to share their white papers and other research on the hedge fund industry.
Non-Compete Puts Damper on Boston Sci's Hiring
Michael Mahoney will assume the role of Boston Scientific president next month, but he can't supervise competing businesses or become CEO until November 2012 because of a non-compete agreement with Johnson & Johnson.
Some Target.com Missoni Orders Cancelled, Delayed
According to the Pioneer Press, some Target.com shoppers got notices indicating that their Missoni orders have been cancelled or their shipments have been delayed and need further approval-despite the fact that they received confirmation of their online orders.
25 Local Historic Sites Compete for $1M in Grants
The Partners in Preservation program has chosen 25 historic sites in the Twin Cities that will compete for a total of $1 million in preservation grants; residents can now vote on which sites will receive the grants.
Datalink Sees Strong Sales Growth, Plans to Move HQ
The Pioneer Press reported that the company is enjoying a huge growth spurt this year and that it plans to move its headquarters to Eden Prairie in April to accommodate the growth.
Navarre Chooses New CEO to Grow Its Top Line
Richard S. Willis replaces former CEO Cary Deacon, who left in April when the board made several bold moves and determined that the company needed a new leader to help grow its revenue.
Real Estate Pros Accused of Running Fraud Scheme
The Minnesota Department of Commerce said the alleged scheme involved real estate companies, real estate closers, appraisers, mortgage brokers, and numerous buyers and defrauded lenders in the sale of at least 45 properties.
Target, Wolves Renew Target Center Naming Deal
The two organizations said the new contract extends the Target Center naming rights partnership through 2014 and will allow them to gain a better understanding of the potential for future renovations to the arena.
UnitedHealth to Provide Claims Data to Researchers
The Minnetonka-based insurer and three other U.S. insurers will reportedly supply data to a newly created nonprofit group that will distribute it to researchers for analysis.
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