Leadership Alexandria Kicks off

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					   Volume 102, Issue 9           Exciting News From Your Extraordinary Chamber of Commerce              September 2009

     Leadership Alexandria                                                           Don’t miss
                                                                                 Marcus Buckingham
     Kicks off at September                                                      “Impact Alexandria”
      Quarterly Luncheon                                                         Marcus Buckingham, best-selling author,
                                                                                 well-known speaker, and a leading ex-
Please join us in saluting the Leadership Alexandria
                                                                                 pert on employee productivity, leader-
class of 2009-2010 at the Fall Quarterly Luncheon, set
                                                                                 ship, and management, is the keynote
for Friday, September 11 from noon to 1 p.m. at the
                                                                                 speaker at this year’s Impact Alexan-
Broadway Ballroom. Leadership Alexandria is a                    dria event. He’ll speak from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday,
nine-month course designed to provide training for               October 6 at the Lake Geneva Christian Center in
business leaders who are new or experienced. The event           Alexandria. Buckingham will speak on “The Truth About
is a great opportunity for graduates of Leadership Alexan-       You.”
dria to rub elbows with new participants or catch up with
fellow program graduates. For more information, or to sign       Impact Alexandria is an annual event that Tastefully
up for the event, call the Chamber at (320) 763-3161.            Simple kicked off in 2003. Tickets for the event are now
                                                                 on sale. The cost is $65 per ticket, though there is $5
                                                                 per ticket discount for groups who buy them in blocks of
                           October 1: AAYPs                      10 or more. To buy tickets, call (888) 759-2908.
                            Plan JumpStart
                         Dr. Terry Quist, superintendent of          A Salute to The Aagard Group
                         schools for District 206, is the fea-   Join us to salute The Aagard Group as the 2009
                         tured speaker at the next               Business and Industrial Day recipient. The event will
Alexandria Area Young Professionals JumpStart                    be held Tuesday, October 27 at Arrowwood Resort &
Educational Luncheon. The event is scheduled for                 Conference Center. Tickets are on sale now. Please
Thursday, October 1 at the Broadway Ballroom in                  contact the Chamber at (320) 763-3161, or the
Alexandria. The luncheon lasts from noon to 1 p.m.; the          Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission
first 15 minutes are set aside for networking. Cost to           at (320) 763-4545 for more information.
attend is $11, which includes lunch. For more information
or to RSVP, contact the Chamber at (320) 763-3161.
                                                                                       Maximizing Your
                      Wake Up! Alexandria                                               Membership
                       Friday, October 2                              Results of the Board of Director Elections:
                     Hilltop Lumber and Rental Center,
                     1405 N. Nokomis St. NE, is the scene
                     of the next Wake Up! Alexandria
                     event, slated for Friday, October 2
from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. This Wake Up! will consist of
coffee and rolls to go along with plenty of networking
                                                                     Dave                    Amy                  Todd
opportunities. And remember that for a single dollar, you           Lambert                  Parod               Emmons
can let everyone know about your business or an event                            Gary                  Steve
you’re involved in. We’ll also draw for the “Pot of Gold,”                    Christianson             Russell
but you must be present to win!
                              HOLIDAY INN ALEXANDRIA
 change is INN!               Change is definitely in at the Holiday Inn Alexandria. Since its construction in 1969, this
          Then...             property has undergone many phases of development.

                             Madison Properties acquired the hotel in 1994, when it was a Park Inn. We became a
                             member of the Holiday Inn family in 1995 and have remained an InterContinental Hotels
                             Group (IHG) property ever since. Through continual investment, we have certainly evolved
                             over the years. In 2003 Rudy’s Redeye Grill was added, giving our travelers and the lakes
        … and Now            area residents another great restaurant to enjoy.

                             In 2008, our parent company, IHG, began the biggest re-launch in the brand’s history.
                             Being a business inspired by change and growth, we took this opportunity to give ourselves
                             a whole knew look. We purchased and removed the B & H gas station, affording us the
                             ability to not only offer our guests more parking, but to landscape and beautify our entrance
                             as well. When the new signage arrived in December, it was the icing on the cake! The bright
                             new logo brought a fresh face to the Holiday Inn brand.

We were very busy inside the hotel as well. After we updated our lobby,
each of our 149 guest rooms received a facelift of their own. Beautiful
new contemporary carpeting was installed. Thirty-two-inch flat screen
televisions were placed on every armoire. A great new bedding package
was also rolled out. Doing away with outdated bedspreads, now each
Simmons BeautyRest mattress is topped with triple sheet bedding and a
crisp, white duvet. Pillows are also labeled so our guests can choose if
they prefer firm or soft for maximum comfort.

The fitness room was the next area to get some attention. We listened
to our patrons and gave them what they requested. After an update to
our fitness center, state-of-the-art fitness equipment was delivered. We
bought a Lifestyle fitness bike, two treadmills, an elliptical cross trainer, All 149 guest rooms received a recent facelift.
a multi-functional weight machine, and free weights. All cardio equipment is mounted with its own LCD television so
our guests can enjoy individual audio-visual entertainment during their workout. The feedback has been phenomenal
and we are pleased to offer our valued travelers a place conducive to their healthy lifestyle.

The last renovation will be our banquet space. Colors have been chosen and the complete remodel is set to begin in
early 2010. The brand re-launch was more than just about changing the physical appearance. The Holiday Inn
                                            Alexandria is proud to employ 111 members of this community. Each has
                                            gone through a great customer service training program called “Stay Real”
                                            and are committed to delivering a superior guest experience when people
                                            visit our hotel.

                                                We’re a proud member of this flourishing community and will continue to
                                                grow with it. Whether a guest is visiting one of our manufacturing facilities
                                                for business purposes or coming to enjoy the leisure activities Alexandria
                                                has to offer, we are confident in our ability to deliver the best possible
                                                experience and send them home with great memories. You’re invited to
                                                come in any time for a tour. We’d love to show you what we’ve been so
                                                busy doing all year. If you have a special occasion on the horizon, please
The lobby was one of the first areas that was   contact Jenniffer Rugani or Allie Lea for personalized event planning.

                                                    Holiday Inn Alexandria
                     5637 Highway 29 S.         Alexandria    (320) 763-6577
                      “The crowd gives the leader new strength.”
                      “The undertaking of a new action brings new strength.”

                                                                       - Evenius of Greek Mythology

September brings a new perspective and new students to our Chamber, our educational facilities, and
our community. With the christening of the new Woodland Elementary School and the grand opening of
the new Alexandria Technical College Law Enforcement Center later in September, students return to
the classroom, shopping for school supplies is a top priority, and we all wonder where the summer went.

While the Chamber does not necessarily go shopping for supplies to meet our educational needs, we do
gear up after Labor Day for our Leadership Alexandria class. The Chamber has worked for more than
17 years to train and gain community leadership through Leadership Alexandria. A nine-month program,
Leadership Alexandria focuses on delivering timely and balanced training to emerging or existing
business leaders. In the past 17 years of Leadership Alexandria, more than 250 leaders have graduated
from this program. Some may have left the community, but the legacy of leadership remains. The skills
gained through a leadership program are portable! The graduates are notable in their individual merit;
many have excelled in their businesses, some have held elected public office and others have stepped
up for local charitable causes. I believe programs like Leadership Alexandria have had a part in making
this community what it is today, and I am happy our Chamber is a part of that process.

One of the current opportunities we have, as a collective business community, is to welcome and salute
the Leadership Class of 2009-10. We will provide that opportunity to you on Friday, September 11 at the
Chamber Quarterly Luncheon, hosted at the Broadway Ballroom. If you are a graduate of Leadership
Alexandria, I encourage you to contact your LA fellow classmates to attend, reconnect, and help us
celebrate the newly enrolled class. Many strong local businesses have embraced the Leadership
Alexandria program since its inception in the early 1990s. We thank them; their investment in the
Leadership Alexandria program has certainly been one important factor in helping our community thrive.

The Alexandria Chamber’s Leadership Alexandria program has recently been included in a collaborative
doctoral study via the universities of Illinois, Michigan, and Missouri. The study has been ongoing for the
past year, with graduates of Leadership Alexandria taking part in a survey to measure their leadership
experiences before and after they received the training. Recently, one of the researchers working on
this national project traveled here to host a focus group of Leadership Alexandria graduates.
The conversation and outcomes were extremely positive; at the heart of the research is evidence that
communities like Alexandria that have an outstanding leadership program, also thrive even in leaner
economic times. The researcher who visited here is no stranger to Minnesota – he previously served on
the Minnesota Design Team (formerly the Governor’s Design Team). The complete study is a
fascinating statistical analysis of leadership programs and the impact on local communities. (If you
would like to learn more about the full study and reports developed thus far, contact me for a copy or
more information.)

One of the things you may notice on the front page of this newsletter is the space called “Maximizing
Your Membership.” Once each year, we deliberately seek out leaders to fill board seats. The people
you see in those newly appointed board seats are not just volunteers – they are effective leaders. They
know the value of leadership and take that responsibility seriously. Henry David Thoreau once said,
“Things don’t change; We change.” Thank you for taking the time and energy to step up – changing
your life and our community forever!


Coni McKay
Executive Director
                                                                         Another Chamber Success Story...
                                                                                                    Dear Chamber of Commerce:
                                                                                       We would like to thank you for sponsoring
    The 206 Club is hosting the first annual “Jeans                                    the Wake Up! Alexandria and Chamber
and Jewels” event on Saturday, Oct. 3, from 7 p.m. to                                  After Hours events. These events not
11 p.m. at the Carlos Creek Winery. The event, which                                   only help promote businesses in our
is free for Club 206 members, includes hors d’oeuvres,                                 community, but allow non-profit organiza-
two drinks (cash bar thereafter), educational stations,                                tions like us to receive a donation, such
and music by Doc’s All-Stars. For more information,                                    as we did on Thursday, August 20th,
call Tom or Angie Anderson at (320) 763-7275, or Judy                   2009 at the Chamber After Hours hosted by Hawthorne
Backhaus at (320) 762-2141, ext. 4204.                                  Village - The Bedman. Every donation is a blessing. You
                                                                        can rest assured these dollars will be destined for people
                                                                        in our community who have a need in times of trouble.
                                                                        Kenneth W. Voigt
                                                                        Executive Director of West Central MN Red Cross

                                                                           Carlos Creek Winery is hosting the 9th annual Grape
                                                                        Stomp & Fall Festival from September 11-13. The week-
                                                                        end includes a full contingent of food and craft vendors,
                                                                        seven bands, bagpipes, live glass blowing, pottery wheel
                                                                        and chainsaw carving demonstrations throughout the day
                                                                        and, of course, grape stomping. New this year are bus
                                                                        shuttles from area hotels and the Viking Plaza Mall.
                                                                            Alexandria Technical College and UCAN United
                                                                        Communities Advocating Non-Violence are holding a
                                                                        training session called “Be Your Own Bodyguard –
                                                                        Techniques for the Workplace and Beyond.” Fee for this
                                                                        session, set for Thursday, September 24 from 2 p.m. to 4
Pictured from the August Wake Up! Alexandria event at Alex Brick        p.m. in Room 208 of ATC, is $25 per company or $5 per
and Stone are Pot of Gold winners from the Downtown Merchants           person. To register, contact ATC at (320) 762-4405.
Association Virgil Batesole, Jeff Meland, DiAnn Ness, Mike
Schreiner, and Deb Pederson, and Coni McKay from the Chamber
of Commerce.

     It all went down After Hours!

                                                                        Pictured from the August Wake Up! Alexandria event at Alex Brick
                                                                        and Stone are Mike Schreiner and Virgil Batesole (Door Prize Winners),
                                                                        Neil Jenzen (Owner), John Luepke and Bill Weaver (Door Prize Win-
                                                                        ners), and Mary Yaw of Titus 2 Homes (Winner of the Morning Moolah
                                                                        for a Non-Profit Organization).
Lois Sinn Lindquist was the Door Prize Winner at the August Chamber
After Hours event held at Hawthorne Village - The Bedman. Kim Barse,
of ORB Management, is pictured with the event’s host, Darcy Winter.
                                                                        Board of Directors
                                                                        President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dave Lambert (3M Abrasives Plant)
                                                                        Past President . . . . . . . . . . . . Tom Jacobson (Swenson Lervick Syverson Trosvig Jacobson PA)
                                                                        Treasurer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Marie Rutten (Bremer Bank)
                                                                        Secretary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Carl Langner (Lease Servicing Center)
                                                                        Vicki Jodsaas (The Competitive Edge)                     Tim Hunt (Alexandria Clinic)
                                                                        Steve Russell (Woodland Resort)                          Rachel Jahner (Knute Nelson)
                                                                        Shari Laven (Viking Savings)                             Reed Becker (Widseth Smith Nolting)
                                                                        Nathan Pring (Alex Recreational Vehicles)                Julie Critz (School District 206)
                                                                        Gary Christianson, (ITW Heartland)                       Ed Smith (KSAX-TV)
                                                                        Jim Hultman (Runestone Electric Assoc.)                  Amy Parod (Arrowwood)
                                                                        Bruce Wiitanen (Juettner Motors)
West Central Minnesota Red Cross, represented by Ken Voigt, was the
non-profit organization recipient of the Evening Moolah at the August   Executive Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Coni McKay
Chamber After Hours.                                                    AAEDC Liaison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jason Murray
GESS EYE CLINIC                                                 PRAIRIE LAKES DENTAL, P.A.
Pictured (l to r) are Kris Schwartz, Cherie Lien, and Joyce     Pictured (l to r) are Kristi O’Brien and Shari Laven
Corle (Employees), Kristi O’Brien (Membership Team), Dr.        (Membership Team), Dr. Kelly Bumgarner, Debbie Pilgrim,
John Gess (Owner), and Shari Laven and John Luepke              Mary Lou Olsen, and Cindy Klemenhagen (all PHD), and John
(Membership Team).                                              Luepke (Membership Team).
109 15th Avenue E.         Alexandria   (320) 762-5112          2633 Jefferson St., Suite 801        Alexandria   (320) 762-1717
(Optometrists/Ophthalmologists)                                 (Dental Care)

GATE CITY BANK                                                  COWDRY CREEK INN
Pictured (l to r) are Dave Lambert (Chamber Board President),   Pictured (l to r) are Lee Helgenset and Kristi O’Brien
Loren Liesemeyer (Membership Team), Stephanie Anton             (Membership Team), Karen Diedrich (Owner), and Nate
(Customer Service and Sales Supervisor), Jenniffer Rugani       Larson (Membership Team).
(Membership Team), Scott Duberowski (Office Manager),           2809 County Road 82 NW          Alexandria     (320) 223-5385
Diane Strelow (Customer Service Representative), John           (Hotel/Motel/Resorts)
Luepke (Membership Team), Steve Swiontek (Chairman,
President, and CEO), Kristofor Chisholm (Customer Service
Representative), Courtney Gould (Teller), Dexter Hormann
(Customer Service Representative), and Nate Larson
(Membership Team).
                                                                      Don’t shortchange your business!
1630 Broadway Street        Alexandria  (320) 762-3100             Make reservations now to have your business
                                                                   featured in the Member Spotlight (Page 2) of the
                                                                   Chamber Horizons Newsletter. There is no charge, and
                                                                   a full-page feature on your business can be a great help
                                                                   in terms of getting your name and capabilities in front of
                                                                   other Chamber members. If you want to learn more, or
                                                                   already have determined that it’s a space you want your
                                                                   business to occupy for a month, call us at (320)
                                                                   763-3161, or email us at
                                                                   We can help you determine if it’s the right fit for your
                                                                   business and go over the steps with you that are
                         Enjoy what’s left of Summer, and          necessary for inclusion.
                                have a great Fall!
Pictured (l to r) are Jon Steinbring (Ambassador), Tracey
Schmitz (Assistant Manager), Jon Halvorson
(Ambassador), Tara Muellner (Deli Manager), Kathy Pesta
(Ambassador), Pete Watt (Manager), and Del Mari Runck
610 McKay Avenue S.         Alexandria    (320) 762-8121            The Chamber of Commerce circa 1960’s
(Convenience Store)

                                                                           What’s your plan?
                                                            Here’s a schedule of selected Chamber events through
                                                            the remainder of the year. Read future editions of the
                                                            newsletters to stay on top of any changes or additions.

                                                              Oct. 1: AAYP Jump Start @ Broadway Ballroom
                                                              Oct. 2: Wake Up! Alexandria @ Hilltop Lumber &
                                                              Rental Center
                                                              Oct. 21: Chamber 101 @ Holiday Inn, Alexandria
                                                              Oct. 27: Business & Industrial Appreciation Day @
Pictured (l to r) Jon Halvorson and Kathy Pesta
                                                              Nov. 6: Wake Up! Alexandria @ The UPS Store
(Ambassadors), Deb Paulzine (Owner), and Del Mari             Nov. 19: Chamber After Hours @ location to be
Runck (Ambassador).
1008 Broadway Street        Alexandria   (320) 762-8327       determined
(Beauty Salon)
                                                              Dec. 4: Wake Up! Alexandria @ Studio 78 Platinum
                                                              Dec. 11: Quarterly Luncheon @ location to be

Pictured (l to r) Jon Steinbring and Kathy Pesta
(Ambassadors), Mark Jahner (Owner), and Jon Halvorson
and Del Mari Runck (Ambassadors).
1206 E. 3rd Avenue        Alexandria    (320) 763-6855