Entrepreneurial alums tell their stories
Click here to read about our student entrepreneurial alums, and their ventures!
Note- Our invitations are completely electronic. If you are not receiving invites, and would like to, please email Kelli Gradin at email@example.com for more information.
To download to your mp3 player copy this URL to your player linked software, such as itunes. http://podcasts.csbsju.edu/mcneely/luncheonspeakers.rss
Entrepreneurial Luncheon Speakers and Date of Speech:
- Jim Wolford, March 14th 2013, Click here to download Jim's speech.
- Margaret Murphy, November 8th, 2012
- Willie Willette, July 12th 2012 Click here to watch Willies speech.
- David Turch, May 17th 2012 Click here to watch David's speech.
- Rick Bauerly, March 15th 2012 Click here to watch Rick's speech.
- Teresa Mazzitelli, November 10th 2011 Click here to watch Teresa's speech.
- Jim Diley, July 14th 2011. Click here to watch Jim's speech.
- Denise DeVaan, May 19th 2011. Click here to watch Denise's speech.
- Dan and Angie Bastian, March 10th 2011. Click here to watch Dan and Angies speech.
- Paul Schurke, November 11th, 2010.- Click here to watch Paul's speech.
- Greg Palen, September 9th, 2010 Click here to watch Greg's speech.
- Kris Lynch, July 15th, 2010
- Jeff Jirik, May 13th, 2010 Click here to watch Jeff's speech.
- Joe Cavanaugh, March 11th, 2010 Click here to watch Joe's speech.
- Bennett Morgan, November 5th, 2009
- Kristin Kopp '93, September 10, 2009
Mike McCarthy '73, July 9, 2009
- Kathy Mock, May 7th, 2009
- Bill Jeatran and Tim Fleming, March 12th, 2009
- Todd Montpetit, November 6, 2008
- Ryan Heining, September 11, 2008
- Tom Wicka, July 10, 2008
- Ed Driscoll, May 1, 2008
- David Rom, March 6, 2008
- David Hardwick November 8, 2007
- Mark Flynn September 2007
- Ron Tarro July 2007
- Stephanie Wolf May 2007
- Buzz Benson March 2007
- Fred Senn November 2006 - Download or audio of speech available.
- David Jasper September 2006 - Download or audio of speech available.
- Tom Schlough July 2006 - Download or audio of speech available.
- Dan Korman May 2006 - Download or audio of speech available.
- Kim Culp March 2006
- Dan Shimek November 2005 - Download or audio of speech available.
- Karen Oman September 2005
- Greg Lais July 2005
- Jon Fruth May 2005
- Dan Whalen March 2005
- Scott Schneider November 2004
Entrepreneurial Luncheon Speaker Series – Speakers’ Biographies
Jim Wolford is not a typical CEO. Born in Nebraska as the youngest of five siblings, Jim did not have an affluent upbringing. Jim started a lawn care company at thirteen to fund himself through private high school and university. Today Jim owns four companies, employs 95 employees (growing at 45% per year), and has brought in over $100M in revenues over the past 10 years. In 2001, Jim founded Atomic Data on his understandings of management of risk and leveraging IT to serve the needs of business. The company has grown to include 24/7 network operations and nine data centers worldwide. Jim does not serve on any boards--no board would be able to handle his blunt delivery or fast-paced decision-making. Instead, Jim assists a variety of non-profit organizations with technological consultation and strategic direction, also garnering fundraising for them in the process. Through Jim's companies, he has sponsored American Refugee Committee, Lifeworks, First Covenant Church of Minneapolis, Twin Cities Pride, Graywolf Press, Environmental Initiative, Autism Society of Minnesota, Fresh Energy, International Wolf Center and more. Jim's companies regularly support the community through organized volunteer projects, and Jim has strived to build the business culture around the foundation of giving and volunteering. Jim's employees have volunteered and supported Open Arms of Minnesota, Habitat for Humanity, have even led a full-blown campaign to raise funds and awareness for refugee camps in Uganda. Prior to his co-founding Atomic Data, Jim was the Chief Business Strategist at Visi.com where he grew the business-to-business client base to over ten thousand clients. Preceding Visi.com, Jim developed his foundation in sales and corporate risk management at Mutual of Omaha, Mass Mutual and Melnychuk Financial. When not working, Jim enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, traveling, cigar smoking, and building volunteer networks.
Margaret Murphy '90
When she was only 17, Margaret Murphy didn't try to get a summer job at a retail mall. Instead she leased her own fast-food restaurant, hiring her brothers as employees. That youthful move put her on a career track that's only gained momentum.
After getting a BA from the College of Saint Benedict and later an MBA from the University of St. Thomas, she became a top performer at Carlson Marketing for 15 years. There she gained recognition as the youngest recipient of the company's top honor for customer service. She made a move to Denali Marketing in 2007 to become the 4th employee. With her leadership the firm grew to more than $20 million in revenue. In 2010 Denali was sold to Olson, a fastest growing, award-winning ad agency. Six months later Murphy was named president and chief operating officer.
Her leadership style is collaborative and authentic, and her approach has led to consecutive years of double-digit growth and an enviably high employee retention rate.
Murphy's commitment to her community is just as robust. She served as an original founding board member for Faith's Lodge, a place designed for parents and families facing the serious illness or loss of a child. She's also worked to support St. Joseph's Home for Children, a program offering shelter and stability for families. Her volunteer commitment to CSB is many hours logged as a mentor to students and alumnae and employer of many student interns.
Willie Willette was born and raised in a large family in Olivia MN. Willie graduated from St. Johns in 1983 with a degree in English with a concentration in Philosophy, guaranteeing that he would work with his hands for the rest of his life. After years of construction, travel, and Museum work, Willie established Willie Willette Works in 1996, a design/build studio for custom, one of kind furniture. For the past 5 years, Willie has worked as an adjunct professor at Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), as well as serving on many local Arts Boards, plus the University of Minnesota student run radio station, Radio K. His best work ever continues to be his daughter Erin, CSB 2010. Check out Willie Willette Works at www.williewilletteworks.com
David Turch is a native Minnesotan born in St. Paul and raised in St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids. David graduated from Saint John's University in 1963 with majors in economics and business administration as well as concentrations earned in English and philosophy. After graduation from St. John's University, he gained his comprehensive legislative experience through 18 years of service as a staff assistant to members of both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. During this time he held sensitive positions with members of both major political parties. Following his service in both the House and Senate, he became a division director for two of the nation's largest public relations firms. In 1987, he founded David Turch and Associates which is an experienced, successful government relations firm. It provides comprehensive strategic planning, legislative goal setting, political analysis and federal level lobbying for a wide range for clients. His clients include corporations, municipal governments, joint power authorities and other public service entities across the United States. The firm is currently international in scope and the dominant public sector firm in the Los Angeles basin. Here in Minnesota, he serves communities from Marshall to Bemidji and Duluth. Locally, he serves as a federal advocate for the City of St. Cloud, the St. Cloud APO, Stearns County and Northstar.
Rick Bauerly organized and serves as the Managing Partner of Granite Equity Partners, a private investment company focused on investing in, governing, and growing established, private companies in Greater Minnesota. As Managing Partner, Rick focuses on the firm's long-term strategy and organization development efforts, and serves on portfolio company boards including Aeration Industries International, Atomic Learning, and DeZURIK. Early in his career, Rick was a Business Analyst with Deloitte & Touche. Following Deloitte & Touche, he served as a General Manager at Bauerly Companies and then co-founded Venture Allies, a small business consulting firm with his sister Shelly Bauerly Kopel. Rick was formerly the Finance Committee Chair and a Director of the Centracare Health System. He is a board member and the volunteer Executive Director for the Anderson Center, as well as the Forum Leader for its Governance Forum. Rick is a Leader in Giving for the United Way and a Past President of the Saint John's University National Alumni Association. Graduating with honors from Saint John's University with degrees in Economics and Management, Rick went on to earn a Master's in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School and a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. Raised on his family's farm in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota, Rick developed an affinity for nature and animals. An avid reader, he is a student of the practice of leadership. Rick and his wife Helga live with their two daughters in rural Sauk Rapids, Minnesota
Teresa Mazzitelli fondly recalls visiting St. Ben's her senior year of high school. The Benedicta Arts Center was four-‐years old and had a theatre department led by Sister Colman O'Connell. After four years of diligent studying, a trip or two to the La and endless treks out to the BAC for rehearsals (learning to fly under Colman's watchful eye was the highlight), she graduated in 1972 with a degree in Theatre & Communications. She attended graduate school at the University of Minnesota while acting and directing plays throughout the Twin Cities. Over the past thirty-‐six years Teresa has been in the corporate recruiting business. She is the President/CEO of The Mazzitelli Group, a retained boutique executive search firm serving nationwide companies, organizations and institutions in senior-‐level talent acquisition. She founded the company in 1988 after working as the Senior Vice President at Sathe & Associates for over a decade. Teresa is a trusted adviser to CEO's, business owners, corporate boards and search committees. And her firm ranks in the Top 25 List of executive search firms by the Mpls-‐St. Paul Business Journal. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member for the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities. The last few years have presented incredible career challenges for recent College grads as well as career veterans finding themselves in transition. Find out what hiring managers and human resource executives expect in this competitive environment. Is it time to re-invent yourself? How do companies go from good to great? Find out how to attract the best and the brightest in a tough economy.
This is a story of a very new start-up founded by 3 Johnnies and a friend. Jim Diley is one of four founders of Fulton Beer. Fulton beer is a new brewery that, less than 18 months after selling the first beer, reports the Twin Cities is now enjoying over 1200 pints of Fulton every day. Jim Diley is described as a rare combination of the big idea dreamer and the first guy to roll up his sleeves and go to work. His co-founders say that without Jim's ambition and vision, Fulton Beer would likely not exist, though they say they would certainly get more sleep. Jim is a 2005 graduate of Saint John's University and is a 2009 graduate from William Mitchell College of Law. He is currently an attorney at the law firm of Foster & Brever, PLLC.
The other founders are:
Ryan Petz, '05, - President of Fulton. Ryan graduated from Saint John's University in 2005 and is a 2009 Graduate from the Carlson School of Management. He is currently an Associate Channel Manager in the Bakeries & Foodservice division at General Mills. Brian Hoffman '05 - Brian's title is still in the works -"Procurement, Fulfillment, Events & Promotions, Facility Manager, Passionate Local Beer and Food Advocate." Brian graduated from Saint John's in 2005 and is currently a clinical research specialist at Boston Scientific. Peter Grande - Peter is Fulton's Brew Master. As a carpenter by trade, he's also the one who fixes anything that Ryan, Jim, and Brian manage to break.
The four started home brewing together in 2006 in Jim's one-car garage. In 2009 the four launched Fulton Beer in seven bars and restaurants in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. In just 18 months they have been through a move, launched three additional beers, and added over 100 new bars. In the fall 2010, they leased a building in the warehouse district of downtown Minneapolis. In May Fulton closed on the needed financing and began renovation a once worn-down warehouse into a brewery. The new brewery is slated to open in the fall of 2011, and will feature tours, samples, growler sales, a taproom and a store with all of your favorite gear. Ryan, Jim and Brian are all married to CSB alumnae (Michelle '05, Elizabeth '05, Katie '05).
Denise DeVaan is President and CEO of DeVaan & Associates, LLC, and through ICF International is currently Senior Asset Building Consultant to the Assets for Independence (AFI) Program, Federal Department of Health & Human Services, Washington, DC. In her current work she leads a team of 15 consultants working with HHS Regional staff, local grantee organizations and partners to implement the ASSET Initiative in all fifty states. This initiative is implementing widely the lessons and practices of early demonstrations in a variety of states. Denise led the demonstration in Minnesota. After leading a 1997 public policy campaign to win passage of the Family Assets for Independence in Minnesota (FAIM), Denise began her consulting business to lead the design and implementation of FAIM through multi-site network reaching nearly all 87 Minnesota counties. Working through Community Action Agencies, Women Venture, Indian Tribe and City County Federal Credit Union, this transformational pilot program of matched savings accounts and financial education demonstrated that individuals living in poverty, when given an opportunity, could build a personal asset base, gain financial literacy and move out of poverty. The model builds relationships between public, nonprofit and private organizations, especially financial institutions, at the local and state levels to combine expertise and resources to focus on ending poverty. In Minnesota $2million and nationally $66million has been deposited in matched savings accounts by low-wage workers. Thousands have completed financial education classes, gotten banked, purchased homes, pursued higher educations, and started microenterprises. Denise graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in 1975 with a major in Theology and went to obtain a Masters in Human Development from St. Mary's University. Her service learning experiences in college set her on this path of service to others. Between college and her asset building work, Denise focused on social policies and programs to reduce poverty. Mid-career she was selected to receive the prestigious National Kellogg Fellows Leadership Award that allowed her interaction with the leaders of the most dynamic social change efforts in the world. Her Kellogg leadership studies in Northern Ireland, South Africa, Cost Rica, Brazil, Mexico and the United States provided a new understanding of how to build cross-sector partnerships to change how people living in poverty are assisted and to building dynamic coalitions that get results. Denise is active in volunteer leadership roles in national organizations focused on ending poverty.
It started in 2001 as a summer sideline venture for 1990 St. John's University alum and junior high teacher Dan Bastian, his nurse practitioner wife, Angie, and their two children. Now, 10 years later, it's a full-fledged business success. "It" is Angie's Kettle Corn, one of the fastest growing snacks in its category. Made in Mankato, Minnesota, Angie's Kettle Corn is an all-natural, artisan snack distributed in 45 states, endorsed by national sports teams and enjoyed by millions. Today in their production facility, more than 150 employees help produce 30,000 bags of Angie's a day. Following his senior year at St. John's, Dan moved to Belize, Central America and helped to start a school for disadvantaged youth. This led him on a path into education. Dan believed he would spend his career in the classroom as a teacher and on the field as a coach. But then he met Angie. Angie has a Masters in Psychiatric Nursing and Gerontology from Emory University. And she still works as a part-time nurse consultant. Believing there was something they could do together as a family, they decided to find something that might help put money aside for the kids' education while also imparting a valuable lesson of working toward a dream. Today the Bastians' story is the family-centered enterprise that Angie and Dan envisioned. Angie's Kettle Corn is on the shelves of all the top local grocery retailers as well national distribution in SUPERVALU, Whole Foods, Costco and Super Target outlets. It is the official kettle corn of the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Timberwolves/ Lynx, and Minnesota Twins. And the delicious taste of Angie's has caught the attention of national media. Dan and Angie have built a successful business, but through it all have kept sight of the importance of family. Being parents is still their most important and rewarding entrepreneurial endeavor.
After finishing an individualized major in journalism and natural science at St. John's University, Paul Schurke did graduate studies in environmental journalism at the University of Minnesota and worked as a science writer for many years. The year he graduated from SJU he and fellow SJU alum Greg Lais founded Wilderness Inquiry, a nonprofit adventure agency for disabled persons that has achieved international acclaim. His polar expeditions career began in 1986 when he co-led with Will Steger the historic International Polar Expedition. That resulted in a television special, a best-selling book, a cover story in the National Geographic, commendations from Pres. Ronald Reagan, and the Merit Award from the World Center for Exploration. In 1989 Paul built a Soviet-American expedition team that trekked from Siberia to Alaska in a mission of "adventure diplomacy" that led to opening of the U.S.-Soviet border in the Bering Strait. That resulted in personal commendations from Pres. George Bush and Pres. Mikhail Gorbachev, a National Geographic television special and a second award-winning book. In 1995 Paul worked with the Chinese Academy of Sciences to help China establish research programs in the Polar Regions and led the first Chinese team ever to reach the North Pole, a project hailed by Chinese leaders as a "milestone in China's efforts to become a global partner in scientific and environmental issues affecting remote parts of the world. In 1987 he co-founded with his wife Susan Hendrickson, Wintergreen Northwoods Apparel in Ely, MN, and Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge on White Iron Lake near the Boundary Waters. The business has grown to 1.5 million+ in annual revenue with 50 full time and seasonal employees. Wintergreen was selected by Outside Magazine as one of the most innovative and influential outdoor businesses of the past quarter century.
His Arctic treks have continued. In spring 2001 Paul dogsledded with Polar Eskimos through northwestern Greenland to produce a documentary film for National Geographic television. In spring 2003 NBC Dateline and the Discovery Channel premiered "The Ice Master" a docu-drama with commentary by Paul about a 1914 arctic expedition. In spring 2004, his Greenland project was featured in a cover story in Smithsonian Magazine. In 2006 and 2007 he led expeditions across the high Arctic Island of Svalbard and more recently he has led additional expeditions across northern Greenland 2008 with the Explorers' Club. His spring 2011 plans include a film project with National Geographic at "Ice Station Borneo," a floating Russian camp near the North Pole that serves as a base for climate change research.
Greg Palen has enjoyed a long and successful career as executive, entrepreneur and investor in companies spanning several industries. He has had more than 15 years' experience in leadership roles on corporate and nonprofit boards and a life time of experience volunteering.
Greg is currently active as Chairman of three diverse companies: Spectro Alloys, an aluminum manufacturing company based in Rosemont, where he has been involved since 1989, Botanic Oil Innovations based in Spooner Wisc, a pharmaceutical and food supplement company, his most recent venture that he joined in 2006, and Polaris Industries, Inc. that designs, engineers, manufactures and markets snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, Victory motorcycles and the Polaris RANGER for recreational and utility use. He is a director of Valspar Corporation, a painting and coating manufacturing company and of Fabcon, Inc, a manufacturer and installer of precast concrete wall panels for virtually every type of structure. He is also a managing partner in Palen Property Management.
He was chairman of the Board of Regents of Saint John's University, 2001-2004 and an active member of the Board of Regents before that. He has also been active in a number of other organizations moving into leadership roles in his parish, in recreational organizations, local community charities, or those in which his children were active. He holds a B.A. from St. John's University and a M.B.A. from the University of Minnesota. He lives with his wife, Peg, in North Oaks, a northern suburb of St. Paul, MN. They have three adult children.
Jeff grew up on his family's 3rd generation dairy farm near Lonsdale, MN. After earning a Bachelor's degree in Biology from St. John's University in December, 1979 Jeff went to work as a Quality Assurance Technician with Treasure Cave Cheese in Faribault. He later moved to Wausau, WI with the same company, gaining experience with American natural cheeses. In 1986 he returned to Faribault where he worked on the project team to increase blue cheese production at the plant. When Con Agra closed the Faribault plant in 1993, Jeff became the Plant Manager at IFP, Inc. an innovative dairy ingredients processor and packager. Jeff was on the leadership team that proposed designed and constructed a new state-of-the-art pharmaceutical grade manufacturing and packaging facility in Faribault's in 1994. In 1996, Jeff joined ABC Companies, Inc. as Vice President of National Operations, coordinating operations at six regional locations at this transportation specialist company. In 2001 he and his wife Brenda purchased the cheese caves where he once worked. On May 21st, 2001 Jeff incorporated Faribault Dairy Company, Inc. with a former coworker. The vision was to once again produce a "world class" blue cheese in the historic sandstone cheese caves of Faribault, MN. Today, Jeff is Chief Cheese maker and President for Faribault Dairy. Faribault Dairy employs 26 people full time and several other people part time. Their handmade artisan cheeses have won national and international awards including being named one of the "100 Great Cheeses of the World" by Wine Spectator magazine. Jeff is also a Certified Organic Farmer, producing corn, milling oats and food grade soybeans on the family farm. He is a member of the Sustainable Farming Association of MN and Slow Foods. He is active in the American Cheese Society and a Director of the North Central Cheese Industry Association. Still a licensed Wisconsin cheese maker, he also belongs to the WI Specialty Cheese makers Association and the WI Cheese makers Association.
Joe Cavanaugh '81
Joe Cavanaugh is a nationally known advocate promoting timeless values and personal character to audiences of all ages. With over 25 years of experience working with young people, he is one of the foremost communicators to youth on the topics of respect, integrity, courage and compassion. In 1987, Joe founded Youth Frontiers, Inc., a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization that partners with schools across the country to create more positive school communities. Through programs that help young people realize the importance of living a life of character, Youth Frontiers is transforming the day-to-day experience in schools across America so that our schools - and therefore our kids - can thrive. Last year Youth Frontiers delivered 664 retreats in 15 states and added school outreach workers based in Denver, Phoenix and Omaha. Youth Frontiers' work has impacted nearly one million students and educators and has received national acclaim by providing powerful retreats with the vision of changing the way young people treat each other in every hallway, lunch line, and classroom of every school in America so that today's young people can make tomorrow's world better.
Joe has been the subject of countless newspaper articles as well as radio and television interviews including "The Osgood Report" on CBS radio and a 90-minute PBS television special titled Respectfully, Joe Cavanaugh. He has been recognized by General Colin Powell of America's Promise as being a leader in our nation's effort to rescue America's young people. Prior to starting Youth Frontiers, Joe was the Youth Minister at Lady of Grace Church in Edina. He currently serves on boards and committees for St. John's University and Catholic Charities of St. Paul & Minneapolis. Joe and his wife, Jane Leyden-Cavanaugh, have a 4 year old daughter, Tess.
Bennett Morgan '85
Bennett Morgan '85 is President and COO of Polaris Industries Inc. and has been in that position since April 2005. Polaris is the manufacturer of off-road vehicles, motorcycles and snowmobiles based in Medina, Minnesota. It sells power sports products around the world. Polaris off-road vehicles, snowmobiles and motorcycles are assembled at plants in Roseau, Minn., and Spirit Lake, Iowa. The company has a third facility in Osceola, Wis., that makes component parts and supplies engines for Polaris vehicles.
Prior to his appointment as President he was Vice President and General Manager of the All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Division and has 22 total years with the company. Prior to that, Bennett was General Manager of the Parts, Garments and Accessories Division for Polaris from 1997-2001. He joined Polaris in 1987 and spent his early career in various product development, marketing and operations management positions of increasing responsibility.
Bennett earned a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the Carlson School of Management - University of Minnesota in 1987 with an emphasis in Marketing. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota in 1985 where he also played hockey.
Bennett was named the 2009 Executive of the Year and one of the 2005 and 2006 Industry Leaders by Powersports Business magazine.
Ms. Kristin Kopp CSA has been an advocate for many Twin Cities social service agencies for over 20 years. She founded At Home Solutions, LLC in April, 2006 to provide seniors, people with disabilities and families in crisis a local, professional and trustworthy Home Care company delivering exceptional Caregiver and Home Management services.
While having lived in the Twin Cities most of her life, Ms. Kopp has had the opportunity to volunteer in Kentucky, Oregon, Utah, Washington D.C. and Guatemala. Her parents have always been strong advocates for giving back to others and have personally demonstrated how fulfilling "service to others" can be. Her passion for volunteering and being involved in non-profit organizations began when she was in grade school when she volunteered for her church's nursery and local animal humane society.
She began her work with seniors when she was in Junior High and volunteered at Heritage of Edina Senior Living for a service project. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in December 1992 with a degree in elementary education.
Ms. Kopp is an active member of several cutting edge organizations including the Society of Certified Senior Advisors, Memory Care Professions, Care Options Network and Minnesota Association of Guardianship and Conservatorship. She currently serves as Nominating Chairperson of the Minneapolis Area Senior Workers Association, Vice President of Business Network International Fireside Chapter and is an active member of the Southdale YMCA Community Board and Edina Meals on Wheels.
Mike McCarthy '73 July 9, 2009
Mike attended St. John's University earning a degree in medieval English in 1973. After graduation Mike returned to his Iowa hometown and started a general contracting company, initially involved in repairing homes and farm buildings. The company grew, building new homes, confinement livestock systems, and small commercial projects. Mike began to invest in real estate, developing properties and acquiring mostly bankrupt development projects in Omaha. He and his brothers built, owned and operated other local businesses as well.
After turning over the construction company to his brothers in 1984, Mike helped farmers and small business people deal with the 1980's farm crisis. He was also actively involved in the management and sale of real estate, including commercial and agricultural properties in Iowa and Nebraska.
In 1986, Mike and his family moved to Omaha. Mike and his longtime CPA, Rich Jarvis, together formed a new company, McCarthy Group, Inc. They intended to broker businesses, manage money and make investments for themselves and others. That idea, begun with less than $1 million in capital, has become McCarthy Group, LLC.
In 1987, McCarthy & Co. formed an investment bank, and in 1989, McCarthy Group Asset Management, an asset management business, was formed. HMG Realty Advisors and Fulcrum Growth Partners were formed in 1999, and AmeriSphere Multi-Family Finance in 2000. In 2001, the company started a publicly traded mutual fund, the McCarthy Fund (MGAMX), and in 2002, McCarthy Capital Corporation was formed to discover, make and manage investments in private and small public companies.
Mike is Chairman of McCarthy Group, LLC. He also serves on many corporate boards, including Cabela's, Election Systems & Software, Peter Kiewit Sons', Union Pacific Corporation and World's Foremost Bank, He has served as a director on many community boards, including Alegent Health System and Creighton Preparatory High School and currently the Omaha Community Foundation and Heritage Services. In 2006, Mike was elected to the Omaha Business Hall of Fame.
Mike currently lives in the Omaha with his wife Nancy. He has four adult children: Tom, Beth, Dan and Kevin.
As senior vice president of public and health affairs, Kathy Mock is responsible for public relations, internal communications, policy and legislative affairs, the Center for Prevention, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, the Minnesota Institute for Public Health (MIPH) and community affairs. In her role as CEO of Blue Plus, she provides strategy and operational oversight for the health plan, which has approximately 180,000 members and more than 7,500 in-network physicians. Mock also serves on the Blue Plus board of trustees. As a Blue Cross executive leader, Mock is a frequent presenter on a wide range of health care topics at civic and industry meetings.
A licensed attorney, Kathy Mock has more than two decades of experience in law and public policy. Before joining Blue Cross in 1992, she served as government affairs counsel and director of administration and research for the Insurance Federation of Minnesota. Kathy Mock is chair of the board for the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association and serves on the board for the Citizens League. She also serves on the boards of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, and the Alliance for Advancing Nonprofit Health Care. She also served as a 2004-2005 policy fellow with the Humphrey Institute Policy Forum. In 2008, Mock was selected as one of 25 Industry Leaders by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Kathy is a graduate of the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul and the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota.
Bill launched RJF in 1986 with the goal to create a new kind of insurance agency with a strong value proposition based on integrity and respect. He wanted to create a firm that would leave a positive impact on both its customers and employees, and drive innovation into the industry. By elevating the company from an insurance commodity seller to a business advisor with expertise in organizational risk management, RJF has grown to represent more than 5,000 corporate clients. It now employs over 150 professionals in five offices. Under his leadership, RJF revenues have grown from under $100,000 to $25 million. Agencies and brokers world-wide now look to RJF as a model firm.
Bill devotes much of his time to coaching the leadership within RJF and promoting the RJF culture of values in all levels of the company. RJF has been named the best medium-sized employer in Minnesota, has been one of the fastest growing private companies in Minnesota six times, is one of the "100 largest brokers of U.S. business" out of 35,000, and was nominated for the 2008 Minnesota Business Ethics Award. In 2006, Bill was named Entrepreneur of the Year by TwinWest Chamber of Commerce. Ernst & Young selected him as a finalist for Entrepreneur Of The Year in 2007 and 2008.
In 1988 Tim joined his former St John's University roommate, Bill Jeatran, at RJF Agencies. His vision aligned well with Bill's to drive innovation into the professional business insurance industry. Tim began his career with AEtna, servicing large commercial clients throughout North and South Carolina. He earned his CPCU in 1987, and his CIC designation in 1995. He continues to service several corporate clients, including nearly 40 middle-market companies that have been with him for more than 15 years. Tim's current activities also include corporate strategy and execution, recruiting top sales talent, and leading the client retention committee. Additionally, his passion for insurance carrier relationships is evident in his recent nomination to a three-year term board of directors of the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers (CIAB) in Washington D.C. , the premier trade association representing leading domestic and international commercial insurance agents and brokers. Tim is active in his community, serving on the advisory board for St. John's Vianney and coaching for Orono football, baseball and hockey for numerous years.
As founder and President of Minneapolis-based consulting firm ITR Group, Inc., Todd Montpetit oversees and leads all aspects of his growing company. Since 1997, ITR Group has grown from a small start-up company to one of the largest and most successful consulting firms in Minnesota. With a client list that includes multiple Fortune 500 companies, Todd's company offers solutions in various areas of project management, design and analysis, architecture, and development and integration. Prior to the start of ITR Group, Todd worked for a national auto auction chain that generated annual gross revenues in excess of 2 billion dollars. Serving as the Western Regional Operations Manager, Todd oversaw the day to day operations of multiple facilities.
Securing financing, hiring staff, and policy development are just a few of the functions Todd performs in his management of ITR Group. Since day one, Todd has taken a hands-on approach to running his business, instilling a culture of pride and performance in each of his offices. Today, ITR boasts over $20 million in annual revenue with a staff of over 170 employees and consultants. Armed with an entrepreneurial spirit and a wealth of knowledge, Todd has developed a knack for success at managing and leading new companies while surrounding himself with industry leaders. Todd is also a shareholder and partner in over 10 other companies. Todd continues to lead ITR Group and his additional ventures into the future with superior leadership and a pioneering spirit.
An active advocate of his community, Todd supports a number of local causes including Ronald McDonald House, Kaposia, Inc., St. Jude's Medical Center, LifeTrack Resources, and a host of others. He believes that giving back to the local community is a serious responsibility to be realized each and every day.
Todd earned a BA in Communications from Saint John's University in 1992. He resides in Woodbury with his wife, Susan, and his two daughters, Isabelle (2) and Anna (1).
Ryan Co-Founded MSpace Inc, an audiovisual integration company, with business partner Joel Peterson in April of 2002. The goal was to bridge the gap between furniture and technology in the conference room environment. ." In 2004 Ryan lead MSpace to its first acquisition of a former employer, Acoustic Communication Systems, from an AV industry leader in audio technology. Since that time Ryan, as President of MSpace, has successfully grown the business to include offices in Minnetonka, MN, Chicago Il and San Francisco, CA and employee 30 "MSpacers. The company has sustained double digital growth year over year, servicing clients throughout the U.S. As the leader of a highly technical audiovisual team at MSpace, it is Ryan's responsibility to insure that customers receive quality service at a fair price. He pursues vendors that know and understand our values as a business, and that with our employees we form a partnership that is focused on the common success of customers as well as ourselves. MSpace also is a profit sharing company which shares an equal percentage of the bottom line to each employee, no matter the pay grade or position of that person.
Ryan was born and raised in Atwater, MN located in the west central part of the state. Father was an independent insurance agent, mother remains working in the incentive travel business for Carlson Marketing Group. Two brothers, Joel 37 married with three children, and Eric 42. Both live in Chaska MN. Ryan resides in Hutchinson with his wife Michelle CSB '92, Kjirstin , Nickolas, and Isabelle Marie.
Tom Wicka '90 - July 10, 2008
Tom Wicka is the Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer and co-owner of IWCO Direct. He has an exceptional track record in successful sales strategies, sales close ratio, defining unarticulated customer needs, and customer collaboration. At IWCO Direct Tom continues to seek innovative solutions for customers and prospects, and articulates IWCO Direct's vertical solution value proposition to the marketplace.
Tom joined IWCO Direct in January 2001 as an equity partner with Jim Anderson, IWCO Direct CEO. Together they grew the direct mail manufacturer form $84mm in 2001 to an estimated $302mm in 2008. IWCO Director provides direct marketing services to the nation's Top 200 companies. IWCO is focused on providing ease of doing business, postage optimization and enhancing response rates for the customer in direct mail campaigns. The business has been sold twice in the past four years to private equity companies in a limited auction process.
Prior to joining IWCA Direct Tom was employed by Banta Direct Marketing for 11 years serving in several capacities including sales and sales management in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Minnesota.
Tom is a Cretin High School alumnus, and he graduated from St. John's in 1990 with a degree in management. He is married to Angela. They have two children, Nash (9) and Coco (5) and they live in Minneapolis. Tom oversees a private foundation called The Nash Avery Foundation, which he and Angela founded after Nash was diagnosed with Duchene Muscular Dystrophy, a progressive muscle wasting disease. The Foundation is focused on funding developing service that creates treatment or cures for this killer of a disease.
Ed Driscoll is an experienced entrepreneur who has founded a variety of high growth service and infrastructure companies. As co-founder, chairman and CEO of WAM!NET Inc., Driscoll led the company from a two person start-up to a publicly reporting global IT service provider with over $1.5 Billion in contracted revenue. In the process he raised over $1 billion in capital through a range of financial facilities. Today, the company manages the entire network infrastructure for the US Navy and Marine Corps handling all classified and unclassified voice, video and data. In 2007 the company was acquired by Harris Corporation.
Driscoll is currently CEO of Rational BioEnergy, LLC, a management and engineering company focused on developing technology and managing facilities that convert biomass into renewable fuels and chemicals. He is also a principle in Watershed Entertainment, LLC., a financier and producer of entertainment properties.
Prior to WAM!NET, Driscoll founded and served as president of Cybernet Systems, a systems integration company for the film and graphics media industries. Before Cybernet, he was general manager of Roland Marketing, Inc., a produce marketing, packaging and growers agent company. In 1984 Driscoll co-founded Eagle Mountain Films, a producer of entertainment media. He has since acted as Executive Producer for several film projects including A Sense Of Tradition For The Second Century, Yonnondio and Sweet Land.
He serves on the boards of AVC, a network of medical clinics, the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship at St. John's University. Previously Driscoll served on the board of the Center for Graphic Communications Management and Technology at New York University. He was selected as Ernst and Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year in 2000.
Driscoll holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from St. John's University. A native Minnesotan, he and his wife Michele live in Chaska Minnesota with their two small boys.
David Rom '91 - March 6, 2008
David Rom is the CEO, Director and Founder of Platinum Bank. David is responsible for organizing Platinum Bank and gaining regulatory approval as the only new bank approved in Minnesota in 2006. The Bank counts 14 of the 100 investors as SJU alum. Platinum Bank is a community business bank located in Oakdale, MN which has embraced and supported the implementation of many 'green' technologies inside its building design and business practices. The green building opened in the fall of 2007 with much media coverage.
Mr. Rom has a diverse background in the banking industry spending the first four years in both Denver and Kansas City. David spent five years with Deloitte & Touche leading a bank consulting team and five years as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer with a twin cities based bank. Mr. Rom has significant experience in bank finance, loan portfolio management, operations, mergers and acquisitions, and regulatory affairs.
Mr. Rom spends considerable time volunteering with local community groups, including the Oakdale Business and Professional Association and Co-Action educational scholarship fund in school district 622. Mr. Rom is a third degree member of the Knights of Columbus and volunteers for numerous community events.
Mr. Rom has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. David married Lori Linn (CSB '93) and relocated to the twin cities in 1995. David and his wife, Lori, have four young children ranging in ages from 2 to 9 years. David enjoys spending his free time with his family and coaching his children's various sports teams.
David Hardwick '60 - November 8, 2007
David Hardwick has participated in the laser and fiber optics business since 1960 when he graduated from St. John 's University with a degree in physics. Right after college, he went to work for a research team at Honeywell. Since then he has been a Development Engineer, Manufacturing Manager, Marketing Product Manager and leader/CEO of several start-up laser and fiber optics companies. He is currently semi-retired and living in New England.
Dave has held a variety of positions in the laser field. He has co-founded several companies including Auxora Photonics, Confluent Photonics and IPG Photonics. IPG recently had a successful stock offering (IPO) and is now a public company with a market capitalization approaching one billion dollars.
David has been active in the Optical Society of America (OSA) for many years, has served on their Board and is currently on the board of the OSA Foundation. He is a consultant to IMRA America and advises several venture capital groups on the photonics industry.
Mark Flynn '78 Speaker September 2007
Mark Flynn formed Trilogy Capital Partners, a Menlo Park California-based private investment and advisory firm, in 1997 following 13 years of investment banking experience with emerging growth companies. Prior to that, Mark headed Salomon Brothers Global Software and Internet investment banking practices. Trilology's website states: "Trilogy is committed to finding the next Cisco, Amgen or Nike - companies that revolutionize their fields, create great products and deliver exceptional performance for their investors. We highlight companies with strong management and a compelling business model."
Mark received his BA from Saint John's University in 1978 and his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1984. Mark is also a CPA. In his early career years he served as Principal at Arthur Young & Company from 1978-82 and again in 1985 after earning his MBA. He served in their National High Technology Practice as well as the accounting and consulting practice groups. From 1985-1987 he served as Vice President of LF Rothschild and Company. He was General Partner at Volpe, Welty & Company form 1987-1993 and Director of Technology Banking at Salomon Brothers, Inc. from 1993-1997, before founding Trilogy Capital.
Mark Flynn currently serves on the Board of several privately-held emerging growth companies. He is also a member of the Saint John's Board of Regents, is Chairman of its Investment Committee and is a founding member of its Private Investment Fund. Mark and his wife, Diane, live in Menlo Park, California. They have three children: Lisa, Christine and Matthew.
Ron Tarro -81 Speaker July 2007
Ron Tarro is the President and CEO of SD, Inc, a Delray Beach, Florida based telecommunications software and services firm. He graduated from St. John's University in 1981 with a degree in Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science. He later earned a Master's of Science from the University of Minnesota in Management of Technology.
Ron began his career as a software developer and project manager at IBM in Rochester, MN. He held management positions in IBM's sales and marketing division before joining the management consulting group within Ernst & Young. There he managed projects involving product strategy and strategic market analysis for global information technology and telecommunications clients including Motorola, ITT Aerospace and Defense, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard and others. Locally he managed information systems strategy projects at Dayton Hudson, Carlson Companies, St. Paul Companies and others. Along the way, Ron managed the consulting firm's collaborations with MIT, Boston University and others.
Ron joined SDD in 2000 as its President and CEO. SDD develops software tools and management services which help owners of private voice and data networks provide excellent services to visitors, guests and tenants of their properties. SDD's communications management products manage the telephone and internet revenues for hundreds of the largest and most prestigious commercial properties across North America, Europe and the Caribbean. Customers include Walt Disney World, Ritz Carlton Hotels, Four Seasons Hotels and virtually every casino in Las Vegas.
Ron is married to Dina Tarro, a Florida native and general legal counsel for SDD. They have two children, Dominic age 9 and Lucia age 7. Ron plays clarinet, saxophone, and the flute and is a member of the 70 musician Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches where he is the organization's President.
Stephanie Wolf - 73 Speaker May 2007
Stephanie Wolf is the CEO of SportsMind, one of the nation's largest organizational change management consulting practices. A multi-talented business leader and consultant with a broad range of professional and personal interests, Stephanie upholds the high standards of performance that SportsMind clients like Capital One, Frontier Communications, and Microsoft have come to expect. Stephanie sharpened her bottom line business skills in executive positions with companies including Montgomery Wards, Neiman-Marcus, Nutri/System and Jenny Craig. Committee to nurturing talent, she recently helped a new group of clothing designers launch the ProportionofBlu, an innovative fashion company that uses the Golden Ratio in all of its designs. The designers and their men's and women's jeans and sweaters have been featured in Vogue, WWD and numerous high-end fashion magazines and are currently hold in boutiques in the US, Japan, Europe, and the Middle East.
She melds her professional and personal pursuits through long-term commitments to the Design Institute, the Transformational Leadership Council, as well as the Tripura Foundation in India, which seeks to improve the quality of life around the world. Stephanie is also the co-author of "40 Days to Prosperity", a well-received guidebook to spiritual well-being. An avid world adventurer who strives to expand her experiences and capabilities and apply them to her professional and personal life, Stephanie has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and undertaken expeditions with friends in Italy, Chile, Argentina and India. A resident of Sausalito, California, she has a B.A. degree from the College of St. Benedict and has done graduate work at the University of Texas.
Buzz Benson -76 Speaker March 2007
Buzz Benson is Managing Director and a founding member of SightLine Partners, a venture capital firm that invests in emerging growth medical technology companies. SightLine Partners was formed in 2004 to acquire and manage the healthcare venture capital funds of Piper Jaffray Ventures. Prior to SightLine, Buzz founded Piper Jaffray's dedicated venture activities in 1992. Prior to this position, he co-headed Piper Jaffray's Investment Banking activities focused on the healthcare industry for six years.
In addition to his over 17 years of venture capital experience, Buzz has been actively involved in a broad range of transactions for healthcare companies including mergers and acquisitions, corporate partner agreements, public offerings and private placements of equity and debt. Buzz is currently an active Board member on seven private medical device companies and the Private Equity Partners subsidiary of Piper Jaffray. He is also on the Board of Advisors for the Private Investment Fund of St. John's University and the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.
Prior to joining Piper Jaffray in 1986, Buzz was a partner at Stonebridge Capital, a partnership investing in emerging publicly traded companies. Previously, he was an investment officer with Cherry Tree Ventures and a manager in the public accounting firm of Arthur Andersen & Co.
He graduated from St. John's University in 1976 with a degree in Accounting. Buzz lives in Eden Prairie Minnesota with his wife Vicki. They have three children, Drew (SJU '06), Katlyn (Carlson School '08) and Kelly (EPHS '08).
Audio of Speech
Fred Senn graduated from SJU in 1964 with a major in Art and a minor in English. Fred has been in the advertising world his whole career. He is a founding partner of Fallon Worldwide and has beeen an account executive and partner there for 25 years. Today, Senn's role at the agency is less involved with account management and more involved with talent development as Fallon expands both its scope of services and its geographic reach. In this capacity, he is the "Chief Learning Officer," runs Fallon University, and guest lectures at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management.
Senn earned his stripes in the automotive advertising category, first with five years developing campaigns for Porsche, then a full decade working for BMW. In addition to his advertising career, Senn is also an experienced driving instructor for Porsche, Audi and BMW clubs in Minnesota. He has raced in 911 Porsche club competitions throughout the last 10 years.
Senn recently teamed with his partner, Pat Fallon, to co-write Juicing the Orange: How to Turn Creativity into a Power Business Advantage. The book, published by Harvard Business School Press in July, 2006, was written in commemoration of Fallon World wide's 25th anniversary. The book outlines a compelling approach to actively building creativity into the organizational culture and leveraging that creativity into campaigns that deliver measurable results.
He has had a wide array of volunteer experiences as well. He joined St. John's Board of Regents in 2005. He has voluntarily helped a number of nonprofits create successful advertising campaigns including Minnesota Business Partnership and the MN. Dept. of Tourism. Fred lives in Edina with his wife Heidi. He has two children and one grandchild. When he is not at Fallon or racing cars he is taking classes at the Edina Art Center.
Audio of Speech
Mr. Jasper is CEO and co-founder of several incubators for small business including the University Technology Center, an 180,000 square-foot former high school. Over 90% of small businesses entering the centers are successful. Mr. Jasper is also CEO of Ross Hime Designs a robotics research company with over 15 Patents and several licenses active. It is seeking licenses in the medical, aeronautical, military, and entertainment industries.
Because Mr. Jasper enjoys creating new smaller businesses, he left Control Data in 1979 to form his own business, Quest Management Associates, a corporate umbrella for several unrelated ventures. In addition to the above listed projects, Mr. Jasper acquired the first privately owned OMINMAX Theater in Seattle in 1981, which was suffering heavy losses. He successfully turned around the OMNIDOME and then merged it into an IMAX theater chain in joint venture with National Geographic Society. The theaters are located at National Parks and places of historic interest. Mr. Jasper learned how to form businesses while employed at Control Data Corporation. He was hired as a computer programmer, and worked his way up to corporate executive, by demonstrating his talent for creating and improving the company's various businesses including its multi-million dollar thrust into the national timesharing market and the CYBERNET computer network system.
Mr. Jasper has also co-founded a non-profit organization Urban Ventures Leadership Foundation, which has an annual budget over $2 million aimed at improving living and working conditions in the Central neighborhood of Minneapolis.
Mr. Jasper has a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and highly values the time he spent at Saint John's. He lives on Grey Cloud Island, Minnesota with his wife Sharon and is the father of six children with twelve grandchildren. He is active in his church and tutors in low income schools among other things. He also is co-author of the book: The New Entrepreneur: Business Visionaries of the 21st Century. Semi-retired now Mr. Jasper enjoys creating art through oil paintings.
Audio of Speech
Tom Schlough graduated from Cathedral High School in St. Cloud in 1960, attended SJU from 1960 to 1962 and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1965 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. He spent two years in the U.S. Army, serving one year in Viet Nam as an Ordnance officer.
Tom joined Park Tool Company in St. Cloud following his military service in 1969. Tom and his wife, Joyce, purchased the company from his parents in 1976. The company, now known as Park Industries, manufactures and markets stone fabricating equipment for customers throughout North America. Park customers manufacture architectural stone products such as granite countertops, stone veneer for residences and business buildings and stone landscape products.
Park Industries expands its product lines and services nearly continuously in response to the ever-changing needs of the globally competitive stone industry. Today it is the largest manufacturer of stone working equipment in North America. Currently, Park customers have over 5,350 machines in operation in over 20 countries. Park revenues have grown from under $1 million in 1976 to $75 million in 2006. Parks website says: The company's Vision is to be a "Benchmark Company in customer and associate satisfaction". What does that mean? Put simply, Park Industries strives to be an example of what a great company should be in the eyes of its customers and associates (employees).
Tom is planning to retire from his current position as President in January 2007 to concentrate on chairman of the board responsibilities and keeping the business in the family. Tom and Joyce have three children ages 31 to 38 who are all involved in the business and three grand children. Their daughter, Chris is a graduate of the CSB, their elder son Mark is a graduate of SJU and son Mike attended St. John's and graduated from the University of Minnesota.
Audio of Speech
Dan Korman is the founder and Partner in Korman Marketing Group (KMG) based in Dallas, Texas. KMG provides Experiential Marketing solutions that build and enhance consumer loyalty, channel performance and employee productivity. "We create environments that inspire customers, sales people and employees to purchase, sell or deliver our clients' brands and their associated promises." With more than 100 employees, KMG and its Senior Management Team possess a wealth of combined experience in designing and building successful Experiential Marketing programs for Fortune 500 companies.
Dan Korman has more than 30 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods and technology industries, with particular expertise in trade and channel marketing and sales management, both in the U.S. and internationally. In addition to his experience with Scott Paper Company and Texas Instruments, Dan, in the mid 1980's, co-founded and later sold a marketing and sales support company. In 1998, with a mission to address clients' marketing communications needs through the emerging medium of Experiential Marketing, he formed Korman Marketing Group.
Dan believes that every project KMG undertakes must be grounded in the client's business goals and marketing and sales objectives. To supplement and support this vision, KMG adheres to a structured approach for program design and execution, as well as to a code of conduct that ensures the integrity of its client relationships.
Dan lives in Dallas with his wife Elaine Kauffman. He has lived in Dallas for over 18 years, he says primarily because of his aversion to cold and snow.
Kim Culp - speaker March 8, 2006
People are confused about who Kim Culp is. Is he a salesman, a property manager, a developer, contractor, banker, property owner, syndicator, or a fundraiser? It depends on who you talk to and on what day. He is sure his wife believes he plays golf for a living.
Officially, Kim is the Chairman of the Minnesota Region of M&I Bank. He assumed this position with the sale of Century Bank to Marshal & Ilsley Corporation, the parent of M & I Bank, in 2002 for a reported $66 million in cash and stock. He founded the Eden Prairie based Century Bank with Sheldon Wert in 1991. That bank had 20% annual growth in deposits throughout the 1990's under his leadership. He is also currently the CEO and President of The Excelsior Group, Inc, a Real Estate services company based in Eden Prairie.
Kim came to banking from a long career in various aspects of real estate. He was founder and owner of The Shelard Group and is currently its CEO. He was founder and owner of a number of businesses including a construction company, a building maintenance company and a multi-family housing property management company. He is also currently a member of the Board of Directors of Ryan Construction and of the Marshall BankFirst Corp.
Kim is an "iron range Catholic" who graduated from St. Johns with a BS in government. Kim and his wife Carol (CSB '74) have five children aged 13 to 28. Currently he is an active community volunteer including membership on the Boards of Catholic Charities, Common Bond Communities, Common Hope, Minneapolis Community College and was recently the chair of a major capital campaign for Benilde-St. Margaret's High School.
Audio of Speech
Dan graduated Little Falls High School in 1965 and from St. John's University in 1969 with a B.S. degree in Chemistry. He spent two years in the army including a tour of duty in the President's Honor Guard at Fort Meyer, Virginia. He began work for 3M in 1971 as a research chemist. He left 3M in 1986 after holding a variety of business management positions to join Heat-N-Glo on a full time basis.
The fireplace business, which he and his brother Ron started in 1975, grew from a $3 million dollar company in 1986 to a $100 million dollar company in 10 years. In 1996 Heat-N-Glo merged with Heatilator forming the largest hearth products manufacturer in North America-Hearth & Home Technologies. In 2003, Dan "retired" from his position as President with the company annual sales being in excess of $500 million. Since his "retirement" he has actively helped start 5 businesses and is currently president of Fire Stone Home Products-a company focused on outdoor products.
He is a sports, outdoor and golf enthusiast who lives in Apple Valley, Minnesota with his wife Kay. They have four children ages 17-24. His oldest daughter Jessica is a St. Thomas graduate and he has two children attending Colorado University at Boulder. Their youngest daughter is a junior at Holy Angels Academy.
Karen Oman '75 - speaker, September 13, 2005
Karen Oman was the founder and President of Certes Financial Pros, an organization specializing in the placement of high level financial professionals in industry-leading companies on a project and permanent basis. Certes Financial Pros has 170 employees and 2005 revenues near $20 million.
Karen graduated from the College of St. Benedict in 1975 with a BS in Accounting and gained her CPA status in 1977. After working as an accountant for many years of escalating responsibility (this means very long hours in finance speak), Karen realized that she needed to find a balance, and this could no longer be compromised. She began to consult for the same Fortune 500 companies she once worked for and immediately saw a need for high level financial executives who could join a company for a brief time, emerge themselves seamlessly into the culture, and hit the ground running. Her work load grew, and with that, her staff. In 1994, she created Certes.
Karen lead her company through tremendous growth while sharing her views on building company culture and creating award winning employee-oriented communities to companies, universities, and organizations around the country. The philosophy which separates her company from others is, "Treat others as you would like to be treated...It works in business too!"
Since her company's inception in 1994, she has been recognized for her leadership and creativity including "National Best Employer," from Working Woman Magazine, one of the ten best bosses in America, from Fortune Small Business Magazine, "Ernst Young Entrepreneur of the Year," and "Woman Business Owner of the Year".
On February 25th, 2011, Karen passed away. Her obituary is below. She will be missed by many.
Oman, Karen Louise (Boes) Age 57, passed away at home surrounded by family on Feb. 25, 2011. Preceded in death by brother Ronald Boes (died in infancy). Survived by parents, Vern and Lois Boes; sisters, Cynthia Boes and Sandra O'Brien (Kevin); husband, Jim; and daughters, Jennifer Oman, Lindsay Ring (Declan), and Annie Isler. She is best known in the Twin Cities as founder of Certes Financial Pros and FEWNET. She won many awards for company culture and treatment of employees including Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and One of Ten Best Bosses, Fortune Small Business. Certes' ethical business practices has created a wave of work-life balance for financial professionals since 1992. As a mother, she was an avid supporter of her daughters' activities in New York and Los Angeles. As a writer, she inspired thousands through her website www.timetobreathe.com and her children's book "Gifts of the Heart." She loved musicals, caramel, singing, shopping, drawing, cold milk, laughing, helping others accomplish their dreams, and enjoying the simplicities of life. Her lifetime's generosity will be felt for generations to come. Wake and Reception: Mar. 20, 2-5 PM, Thomson- Dougherty Mansion, 2535 Park Ave, Mpls. Mass of Christian Burial Mar. 21, 10:30 AM, St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 1310 Main St., Hopkins. Lunch and Burial to follow. Memorials to ProLife Across America, P.O. Box 18669, Mpls, MN 55418. Historic Thomson-Dougherty 612-871-4407
Greg Lais '78-speaker, July 12, 2005
While a senior at St. John's, Greg Lais founded Wilderness Inquiry, the oldest and most extensive outdoor education and travel program in the world for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. Since 1978, Wilderness Inquiry has served more than 175,000 people on wilderness trips throughout the world, including thousands of people with disabilities such as quadriplegia, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis or traumatic brain injury.www.wildernessinquiry.org
Greg and fellow SJU Alum Paul Schurke pioneered outdoor education programs and training curriculum that use the wilderness to facilitate greater acceptance of human diversity. Greg Lais has also created adaptive outdoor recreation equipment, such as one-armed paddles, significantly increasing mobility for persons with disabilities. He has personally guided hundreds of Wilderness Inquiry trips integrating people of all abilities, including those with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities. Trips have included kayaking in Costa Rica, British Columbia and Lake Superior, horse pack trips in the Colorado Rockies, and canoeing in the Boundary Waters, the Everglades, Australia, Russia, Alaska and throughout Canada.
Author of numerous articles, books and reports, Mr. Lais is the primary author of two Congressional studies regarding access to Wilderness and Federal recreational lands. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the National Therapeutic Recreation Society Organization of the Year, SJU Alumni Achievement Award, the Minnesota State Council on Disability Distinguished Service Award, and the Jim Renne Leadership Award from the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.
Born in St. Paul, Greg Lais received his BA in Psychology from St. John's and his MBA from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School. He and his wife Patti live in Minneapolis and are the parents of Roseanne and Martin Lais. In addition to Wilderness Inquiry, Mr. Lais currently serves on the boards of Risen Christ School and the Ann Bancroft Foundation.
John Fruth - speaker, May 11, 2005
John Fruth grew up in Brainerd, Minnesota and attended Saint John's Prep, where he wrestled on the SJU wrestling team as a high school student. While attending St. John's University he began working in the contact lens business and left college before graduation to work full time.
Mr. Fruth's entire career has followed the ever-changing contact lens industry. He worked at both Bausch & Lomb and CooperVision with ever-increasing levels of responsibility, including running Canadian operations and becoming a member of the senior team at CooperVision. Mr. Fruth left CooperVision in 1983 to start his own business manufacturing and marketing private-label of contact lenses. He founded Ocular Sciences, Inc. in 1985 and has been Chairman of the Board and Director since the company's inception. He was the Chief Executive Officer from 1985 until May 1999 and President from 1985 to October 1997. In April 2000, Mr. Fruth resumed the position of Chief Executive Officer and President until a successor was named.
Ocular Sciences, Inc. manufactures a broad line of high quality, competitively priced soft contact lenses marketed directly to eye-care practitioners. The company's lenses are brand and product differentiated by distribution channel. Ocular's unique lens technology makes thinner lenses that are easier to handle and more comfortable to wear than those of leading competitors. In 2004, Ocular Sciences expected revenues of $345 million, making it the fifth largest contact lens company in the world. In November 2004, CooperVision bought Ocular Sciences, Inc. for a reported $1.2 billion in a combination of cash and common stock. The road from start-up to sale was full of challenges, including customers grouping together and demanding to buy the company, a partner "running off with the store" to England, partnering with a Japanese-based firm, and going public in 1997. The merger of Ocular Sciences with Cooper Companies' CooperVision unit brings together the world's fourth and fifth largest manufacturers to become the world's third largest contact lens company.
Dan Whalen - speaker March, 2005
Dan Whalen is a private investor and an active community volunteer in Oakland, California (where he lives), Minnesota (where he once lived), and Bosnia Herzegovina. He is currently President of the Whalen Family Foundation.
In 1987, Dan founded Whalen & Company, Inc., a firm specializing in providing project management services to cellular telephone companies. In 1997, he sold the firm to Tetra Tech, Inc. on whose Board he currently serves. Prior to founding Whalen & Company, Inc., Dan founded or co-founded the Cellular Development Company, First Cellular Group, The Microwave Group, and Network Building and Consulting.
Mr. Whalen's other work experience includes stints as Vice-President of Operations for American Tele-Services, District Manager for Business Marketing for AT&T, Director of Operations for NYNEX Mobile, Director of Health Planning for the state of New York, Health Policy Advisor to Governor John D. Rockefeller, IV of West Virginia, management consultant with Lewin and Associates, Program Analyst with The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and Campaign Director for McGovern for President for Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District. Dan Whalen was born in North Dakota and received his elementary, secondary and college education in Minnesota. He received a B.S. degree in Government from St. John's University, a MBA from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and a M.A. from Stanford University's Food Research Institute.
Scott Schneider - speaker, November 10, 2004
Scott Schneider started his first company in 1987 while a student at Saint John's University. In 1989, he started TEC Interface Systems. In 2002, the company was named one of the Fast 50 of Fast Company magazine, and Scott was named an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Scott was named the Small Business Person of the Year in 1995 by the Small Business Administration Office of the State of Minnesota and Second Runner-up in the United States.
TEC Interface Systems was a prosthetics device business and the dream-on-the-shelf of Scott's father-in-law. (The dream was put on the shelf when 3-M said "no" to the project.) Scott and his father-in-law took the dream and made the business a success. From its St. Cloud, MN headquarters, they did business in 39 countries. In 2003, Scott sold the company to Otto Bock Health Care, where he now is on the Senior Management team for Otto Bock Health Care International based in Germany.