September 2011 More Back issues

Cover Story

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.

Featured Stories

Aspiring Edisons

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,


Puffed Up

How long can smokers and school kids bail out the state?

More Stories

British Invasion

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

Call Centers 2.0

The “new Avtex” is positioning itself as a provider of unified, multi-channel customer interaction technology.

Community Investment

A Northfield investment and management firm enters a new field: saving historic, smaller-city hotels and inns.


Chris Johnson brings Texas barbecue to the St. Croix.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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,

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Missoni Orders Cancelled, Delayed

According to the Pioneer Press, some 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

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

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.