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Bemidji Pioneer Business Briefs for May 20

Eaton to leave MnDOT Tuesday

BEMIDJI - Lynn Eaton, engineer in the Minnesota Department of Transportation's District 2, accepted a new assignment and will be leaving his current position Tuesday.

Eaton has served as district engineer for the northwestern portion of the state since August 2004.

In his new role as shared services manager, Eaton will work across divisions to plan and implement MnDOT's shared services on a statewide basis.

Eaton has been with MnDOT for more than 28 years serving as a preliminary design engineer, soils engineer, project engineer, resident engineer, state project management engineer, road research manager, and assistant district engineer for operations and program delivery.

Eaton holds a civil engineering degree from the University of North Dakota and a master of technology degree in management from the University of Minnesota.


First National Bank hires Ryan Welle

BEMIDJI - First National Bank Bemidji hired Ryan Welle as an investment and commercial loan officer.

After graduating from Bemidji State University in December 2004, Welle accepted a position with US Bank as a credit analyst in the commercial lending department in St Paul. In March 2006, he joined Bremer Bank in St. Paul as a commercial loan officer. He was promoted to vice president of commercial lending, a position he continued until joining First National Bank Bemidji.

Welle completed his master's degree in business administration at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. He was among a select group of MBA students who were responsible for the day-to-day management and asset allocation of $3.5 million of the St. Thomas endowment fund, titled the Aristotle Fund.

Welle will work as a registered financial representative of First National Bemidji Investments and as a deposit services and investment officer. As a commercial loan officer, he will work to qualify loan applicants and seek approval for qualified commercial loan applicants. Welle will also work to enhance customer partnerships in his dual role of investments and commercial lending.

He and his wife, Bryn, and daughter, Fiona, live in Bemidji.


Fitzgerald joins Security Bank board

BEMIDJI - Bob Fitzgerald has been elected to the board of directors of Security BankUSA, according to bank president John Baer.

Fitzgerald, director of operations for Kraus-Anderson Construction Company's Bemidji office, is an active member of the community, serving guiding roles on a number of economic development, higher education, civic and youth organizations. He is chairman of the Sanford Health Foundation of Northern Minnesota and president of Greater Bemidji, as well as a member of the Bemidji Rotary Club, Bemidji Youth Hockey Association, Bemidji Town and Country Club and Bemidji State University Alumni Association.

Fitzgerald received his Bachelor of Science in business administration from Bemidji State University. He and his wife, Diane, have two sons, Erik and Matt.

Ramerth joins Widseth Smith Nolting

Tim Ramerth recently joined Widseth Smith Nolting. Ramerth is a professional engineer in Minnesota and North Dakota with 18 years of civil engineering experience in the public and private sectors.

His expertise includes design of municipal infrastructure and stormwater management plans and reports as well as providing guidance on wetland delineations, mitigation plans and banking. He also has experience on environmental-related issues including Environmental Assessment Worksheets and Alternative Urban Areawide Reviews.

As a civil engineer at Widseth Smith Nolting, Ramerth is responsible for project management and design in several areas including municipal engineering, water resources, transportation, and private development.

WSN has offices in Bemidji, Crookston, Brainerd/Baxter, Alexandria, Red Wing and Rochester, Minn., and Grand Forks, N.D.


Business center plans open house

BEMIDJI - The Northwest Minnesota Small Business Development Center will hold an open house May 24 to celebrate small business week, May 20-26.

Since 1963, the National Small Business Week has recognized the impact made by entrepreneurs and small business owners. Representatives from the NW MN SBDC will host the open house for introductions, sharing information and celebrating the success of small businesses from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Center, 1103 Roosevelt Road SE, Bemidji.

The goal of the NW MN SBDC is to stimulate the economy and promote new job opportunities through small business. SBDC consultants provide free information and no cost, confidential consulting to small businesses owners or individuals for those just developing their business plans to those who have been in business for many years. In the past five years, the NW MN SBDC has provided consulting services to more than 900 clients and assisted in securing in excess of $45 million in capital to start and grow local businesses.

For details, call 218-299-3037 or email


Heartland PCA hours to change Monday

Effective Monday, hours for all Heartland PCA offices will be 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The change will put staff operations more in line with Department of Human services and county government hours.