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Business Briefs for Dec. 18

Southern Minnesota Sugar reorganizes co-op board

RENVILLE — The Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative in Renville on Friday elected officers and reorganized its board of directors at its annual meeting.

The members elected: Mark Arnold, of Holloway, chairman of the board of directors; Kyle Petersen, of Murdock, vice chairman; Keith McNamara, of Bird Island, secretary-treasurer.

Members at large include Dave Schwerin, of Wood Lake; Jeff Stamer, of Hector; and Marc Stevens, of Montevideo.

The board of directors elected Kelvin Thompsen, of Willmar, as president and chief executive officer.

Others elected include Todd Geselius, of Willmar, vice president of agriculture; Jerry Bahma, of Spicer, vice president of finance and chief financial officer; and John Dean, of Willmar, vice president of operations.

Gulden is ACMC hand therapist

WILLMAR — An occupational therapist who specializes in hand therapy, Brennen Gulden, OTR/L, has joined Affiliated Community Medical Centers in Willmar.

Gulden received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from St. Cloud State University. He earned his master’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of Minnesota. He comes to ACMC from his most recent position as an occupational therapist in Eden Prairie.

Referrals are required for patients seeking treatment for hand injuries including sprains, carpal tunnel, fractures, arthritis, nerve compression and tendonitis.

Groothuis joins Westberg Eischens

MONTEVIDEO — Westberg Eischens PLLP announces the addition of Kirsten Groothuis as administrative assistant and receptionist at the Montevideo office.

Groothuis graduated from Alexandria Technical and Community College with an administrative office management degree and is a certified Microsoft Office specialist. Groothuis provides customer service to the clients of the Montevideo office and assistance to the accounting staff.

Groothuis lives in Maynard. She and her fiancé, Joe, plan to make their home in Boyd

Westberg Eischens offers personal and business assurance and accounting, business development and consulting, tax accounting and audits, certified financial planning and legal consulting.

Schwantes joins U of M Extension

WILLMAR — Kathy Schwantes has been named regional director – southwest for the University of Minnesota Extension. In this position, Schwantes will provide operation support and direction to Extension regional offices located in Willmar, Morris, Marshall and Worthington, and Extension offices in 20 southwest Minnesota counties.

Before joining the University of Minnesota, Schwantes served as dean of customized training and continuing education for Ridgewater College in Willmar and Hutchinson.

Schwantes’ primary office is located at the Extension Regional Office in the University’s Mid-Central Research and Outreach Center on the MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar. She began her position with the university Nov. 19.

Akerson joins FCS as senior accountant

WILLMAR — Kyle Akerson recently joined United FCS as senior accountant in the Willmar corporate office.

Akerson will provide technical expertise in accounting, corporate support systems and operational functions to branches, and association management to the ag lender.

Akerson graduated from St. Cloud State University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and is currently testing for his certified public accountant designation. He has six years of experience in the public accounting field, working with a variety of clients.

Akerson grew up in Willmar where he and his wife live.

Cub Foods promotes Johnson

WILLMAR — Debbie Johnson was recently promoted to floral manager at Cub Foods, 2201 First St. S., Willmar. She worked 35 years with Crown Floral.

Johnson is originally from Hancock. She lives in Willmar with her husband, Steve, and they have two grown children.

EDC recognizes volunteer of year

WILLMAR — The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission has named Bob Meyerson its Volunteer of the Year for 2012.

The annual award singles out volunteers who have made significant contributions to economic development in Kandiyohi County.

Meyerson, the president of Atwater State Bank, has long been active in economic development, both for the city of Atwater and the countywide Economic Development Commission.

He has served on the business recruitment, retention and expansion committee and the agriculture and renewable energy committee of the Economic Development Commission.

A champion of renewable energy, he founded Diamond Wind LLC and built a small wind turbine near Diamond Lake to test the economics and feasibility of “small” wind. That led to the development of a publication on small wind that is in its second printing and continues to be used as a resource by the Economic Development Commission.

Meyerson also has volunteered hundreds of hours on the development of Whirlwind Energy LLC, which plans to build a wind farm to generate “large” wind energy.

He and his wife, Suzanne, were involved in securing the site near Atwater for the Bushmills ethanol plant. They also were instrumental in renovating the historic Atwater Hotel, which now houses the city offices and library.

Firkins Smith receives award

WILLMAR —Dr. Cindy Firkins Smith has received the 2012 Physician Patient Safety Hero Award from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association.

This national award is presented annually to recognize one physician for consistent leadership and dedication to protecting patients undergoing cosmetic medical procedures.

Dr. Firkins Smith, a dermatologist with Affiliated Community Medical Centers in Willmar, was recognized for her work at the Minnesota Legislature pursuing initiatives in laser education and safety, and for her diligent work to try and restrict minors’ access to tanning beds.

The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery is the largest specialty organization in the United States exclusively representing dermatologic surgeons who have unique training and experience to treat the health, function and beauty of skin throughout every stage of life. Members are recognized as leaders in the field of cosmetic and medically necessary skin surgery.

Older worker program taking applications

ALEXANDRIA — The Experience Works Senior Community Service Employment Program is accepting applications. Applicants must be age 55 or older, unemployed, live in Kandiyohi County and have incomes of $13,964 per year or less for a family of one ($18,913 for family of two).

“In this difficult economy, many older Minnesotans are finding it necessary to find work,” says Michael Pattee, regional employment and training coordinator for Experience Works. “Unfortunately, finding a job can be especially difficult for older workers who have not looked for employment for some time or for those who have been unsuccessful in their job hunt. Our program is a stepping stone for people desperate for work. We can provide immediate assistance and wages for those who qualify.’’

The program is available at no cost to people who meet eligibility criteria. The program provides paid community service assignments at local public and nonprofit organizations, training, referral to needed services, and job search assistance.

For more information, call 320-763-6883 or go to

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