Verified: Product Recommendations from Business Leaders in 2019

Verified: Product Recommendations from Business Leaders in 2019

Busy executives share the products and services they’re loving, on and off the job.

TCB catches up with busy professionals who share the products and services they’re loving, on and off the job.
Here’s our comprehensive list, updated monthly:



“I mean, I have four kids. This is by far the most important app I have!”

——Chad Greenway, former Minnesota Vikings linebacker and founder of Gray Duck Vodka


“It helps you track the standard things—calories, steps—but it also offers tips, hints, and quizzes to test your food and activity knowledge, and it digs deep into the emotional and environmental triggers of why people overeat. As a marketing professional, I love their clever and concise messaging.”

— Bridget Norland, director of marketing and communications, Greater Mankato Growth


“I live my life making lists, so I’ve become addicted to Wunderlist as my go-to app to keep track of home, work, gift ideas, and other to-dos.”

— Craig Samitt, president and CEO, BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota

Tax Bot

“It syncs with your calendar and GPS to track and store business expenses, making tax filings easier in the end.”

— Priya Morioka, chief operating officer, Global Language & Staffing Connections, Mpls.


“I am personally and professionally interested in this app for sports and outdoor companies to connect with influencers, and for influencers to try their gear at a discount.”

— Matt Kucharski, president, Padilla, Minneapolis


“The app makes it possible for me to take a Peloton class anywhere—like in my home gym, at the club, or on the road.”

— Jacqueline Crowley, managing director, CIBC Private Wealth Management, Minneapolis



On the Plant Floor: A practical guide to daily leadership in the manufacturing industry
By Bryan D. Geary and Carlton F. Sorrell

“In today’s hyper competitive business climate, operational excellence is no longer a negotiable item for small- to medium-sized businesses. Organizations that focus on the front lines and build a culture of productivity and accountability are today’s and tomorrow’s winners.”

—Robert Warner, president, Warners’ Stellian

Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds
by David Goggins

“David Goggins is the only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force tactical air controller. He also holds a world record for pull-ups. This book drives me to get up at 4:30 every morning to get to the gym.”

— Lisa Najarian, executive director, Twin Cities Lyme Foundation

Man’s Search for Meaning
by Viktor E. Frankl

“I’m working with a career coach and he recommended this 1946 book. I found it helpful to really focus on the positive in life and work. It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos and problems we need to deal with, but if someone in a concentration camp can find purpose and meaning in their life, surely I can shift my mindset to intentionally focus on finding meaningful purpose in life.”

— Amy Roberts, partner, Grant Thornton, Minneapolis

Power Moves
by Adam Grant

“Adam Grant’s latest brainchild is about power and what it reveals in those who think they have it and in leaders who are losing their power. ‘New power’ is about building your own networks, finding new solutions, and working against the grain to create new things.”

— Aleesha Webb, president, Village Bank

by Michelle Obama

“She’s very candid, as we’ve known her to be. Any woman can benefit from reading this book because she’s so sophisticated and articulate. To remain as graceful as she did [through her experiences], that’s priceless.”

— Natalie Morrow, founder/CEO, Twin Cities Black Film Festival, The Morrow Group

Plymouth-based Studio 120 handled the replication and packaging of the “Becoming” audio CD—90,000 16-disc sets so far.

The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea,
by Bob Burg and John David Mann

“I was raised that you give onto others and it will come back to you tenfold. This book takes that to a whole new level. It is simple and has ideas that you can implement right away to help you lead a more authentic and happy life.”

— Nicole N. Middendorf, CEO, Prosperwell Financial, Plymouth


Octane Fitness Zero Runner

“I love running outside, but loathe the treadmill. Zero Runner mimics the motion of running better than any elliptical or treadmill, and even better, there is zero impact. You get the benefits of running without the pound[ing] on your body. Really fun and key to staying with running year-round.”

—Pam Kermisch, chief customer engagement and growth officer, Polaris Industries

John Deere Tractor

“I love to drive my tractor, and [I love] its diversity in applications: snow blowing, drilling holes, hauling, brush hogging the pasture.”

— Andrew LaFrence, senior vice president and chief financial officer, Biothera Pharmaceuticals

Liberty Puzzles

“Puzzling with my daughter is my favorite home activity. I love Liberty Puzzles ( because the pieces are made from wood, the designs are unique, and most of all—puzzling fosters conversation and time together without technology.”

— Mary Welsh, vice president, chief security officer, UnitedHealth Group

Franklin Planner

“I love it as a complement to my electronic calendaring. I am a visual person, so being able to see a month at a glance is a habit I cannot break. It doubles as my briefcase, as I never run out of business cards or paper. I guess it’s my ‘business blankie’ for keeping my life in order, and it’s often a conversation starter too.”

— J. Marie Fieger, CEO, Nemer Fieger, Minneapolis

Tech Tools

Data USA  |  Website

“It puts public government data in our hands. It is a must for university recruiting, occupational data, and hiring. Like Spotify music for data and mapping, without the monthly charge.”

—J.D. Keller, regional senior vice president, Comcast Twin Cities

The Local  |  Website

“Sweden’s news in English helps me navigate and bridge the two countries that activate my professional life and inform my personal interests. From breaking news and cultural tips to Swedish words of the day and history highlights, they are invaluable resources for me and many others.”

— Bruce Karstadt, president and CEO, American Swedish Institute, Honorary Consul General of Sweden, Minneapolis

Eater  |  Website

“It does a great job of highlighting the best restaurants each city has to offer in a concise way so that I can quickly figure out which places I want to eat at wherever I travel. I love that it is frequently updated to include new restaurants, and I also love their map function.”

— Josh Resnik, CEO, Twin Cities Co-op Partners

Tasks in a Box  |  Application Add-on

“I found this Microsoft Office add-on by accident. It’s an awesome tool to help clear out my inbox and schedule emails to come back into my inbox when they are relevant. Helps me manage my day, week, and month.”

— Ashok Dhariwal, owner, Yoga Fit Studios, Twin Cities

Apple Pencil  |  Wireless Stylus

“It automatically pairs and charges when magnetically attached to the new 11-inch iPad. It’s a wonderful blend of function and fun!”

— David Kristal, CEO and co-chairman, Augeo Affinity Marketing, St. Paul


Origin Meals  |  Meal Delivery

“Living on a Whole 30 diet, I was looking for a solution that would make meals on-the-go more convenient. With Origins, I can run home for a quick, healthy meal, and it tastes great.”

—Tom Hoffman, senior vice president, Colliers International Minneapolis–St. Paul

Esker bikes  |  Fitness equipment

“This new mountain bike company is soon moving its warehouse to Duluth. With the Duluth Traverse bike trail system, the longest urban dirt single-track trail in the U.S. literally right in my backyard, a bike this well-built and amazing to ride can’t arrive soon enough.”

— Greg Benson, CEO, Loll Designs Inc., Duluth

BRICK x MORTAR  |  Meeting Spot

“I use it as a work space with a social flair. You cannot beat the funky rooftop for entertaining my favorite friends and colleagues downtown.”

— Amy Langer, co-founder, SALO

Hello Fresh  |  Meal Delivery

“As a busy executive with a toddler, anything I can outsource, I do. Hello Fresh took away meal planning and builds in accountability that our family will prepare at least two home-cooked meals a week. The meals are good (some are better than others) and for around $70 weekly, there are weeks where we save money because we’re eating out less. It doesn’t hurt that the meals are fairly healthy, too.”

— Dara Beevas, chief strategic officer, Wise Ink Creative Publishing, Minneapolis



“My true joy is coaching trap shooting for Totino Grace High School—working with all sorts of high school students on safe gun handling, proper form, and enjoyment of the fastest-growing high school sport.”

— Jim Collins, Minnesota region CEO, Old National Bank


“It’s a full-body release to every kind of stress.”

— Scott Michaelis, vice president/general manager, Rosedale Center, Roseville

Photo By: Staff Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook


“I play on a co-ed team through Minneapolis parks [department] and a women’s team at Augsburg College. It’s a crazy good workout and a total blast.”

— Jennifer Lammers, attorney, Briggs and Morgan, Minneapolis

Food & Beverage

The Debris sandwich

“It’s a mess (roast beef with gravy on a crispy French loaf) but well worth it. A great addition to the neighborhood.” 2422 Central Ave. NE, Mpls.,

— Jon Kreidler, chief officer, Tattersall Distilling

Italian Eatery

“A neighborhood gem near Lake Nokomis with amazing service and even better Italian eats. My go-to order is a dirty martini, the Calabrian cauliflower, chop salad, and the spaghetti pomodoro [seasonal]. The baked garganelli is also out of this world.” 4724 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls.,

— Laura Roos, founder, Minny & Paul