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Beyond the Skyline
27 minutes | Jun 3, 2021
Interview: Kelly Veit, CEO, Veit Cos.
Kelly Veit took a hammer to the proverbial glass ceiling last month when she became the new CEO of Veit Cos., a Rogers-based specialty contracting firm. In announcing her new role, the company noted that Kelly Veit is the first woman CEO in the 90-plus year history of the family-owned business, and one of the few women to hold that title among big companies in the U.S. construction industry. Kelly Veit fills the shoes of Vaughn Veit, the company’s CEO since 1975. Vaughn Veit’s grandfather, Frank, started the company in the late 1920s with a Chevrolet truck and a vow to “never let anybody outwork him,” the company’s website notes. For her part, Kelly Veit takes the reins of a company that now has 700 employees and offers services that include earthwork, foundations, demolition, underground utilities, hydraulic dredging, industrial cleaning and more. Kelly Veit, who started as CEO in early May, has played an active role with the company since the mid-1990s. As CEO, she says she will take on a “visionary” role in close collaboration with Veit Cos. President Tim Reimann. In the following interview, Kelly Veit talks with Reporter Brian Johnson about the company’s history, her new job duties, the big-picture outlook for construction, the role of women as industry leaders and more.
24 minutes | May 28, 2021
Interview: Julian White, partner, Nokomis Energy
Along with partners Brendan Dillon and Dan Rogers, Julian White started their company, Nokomis Energy, around four years ago when they noticed a shift in the solar energy industry — a change that came with a business opportunity. Larger solar developers were pulling out of the industry due to narrowing revenue and increasing project difficulty. White had experience doing this work on a national scale and launched his own company to bring national experience to a regional market. To date, Nokomis has created nearly 250 acres — or 50 megawatts — of solar. A majority of this is in community solar sites, or the creation of solar sites that landowners, organizations, utilities and residents can utilize. Clean Energy Economy MN reports that renewable energy sources made up nearly one-third of Minnesota’s energy sources last year. President Joe Biden has also laid out a plan to cut the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of the decade. White tells reporter Kelly Busche that he expects the solar industry to continue growing. But first, he says, the industry needs to overcome misaligned incentive structures and rethink energy distribution systems.
24 minutes | May 20, 2021
Interview: Kristin Myhre, president, Eagle Ridge Partners
As president of Eagle Ridge Partners, Kristin Myhre oversees a Minneapolis-based development, acquisition and asset management company with a portfolio of more than 3 million square feet of space in the Twin Cities. Myhre joined Eagle Ridge in 2012. During her time with the company, she has completed 2.6 million square feet of acquisitions and 1.3 million square feet of dispositions. In the following interview with reporter Brian Johnson, Myhre talks about current market trends in commercial real estate, and about some of her own projects, including a major remodel at International Market Square, where Eagle Ridge is based.
29 minutes | May 12, 2021
Interview: Ted Bickel and Jeff Budish, multifamily team, Colliers
As brokers on Colliers’ multifamily team, Ted Bickel and Jeff Budish have first-hand knowledge of who’s investing in the Twin Cities real estate market – and, most importantly, why. Investors view the Twin Cities metro region favorably compared to other metros of its size, thanks to the region’s stability, numerous transit-oriented developments, a general pro-development climate and more. However, this wasn’t enough to help office and retail real estate safely weather the pandemic’s impact, the Colliers team says. Senior Vice President of Capital Markets and Investment Services Ted Bickel and Jeff Budish, vice president at Colliers International’s Minneapolis-St. Paul office, belong to a team at Colliers focused on the multifamily market. It’s a market that hasn’t skipped a beat during the pandemic, despite struggling with high supply costs and uncertainty in the market’s future. They speak with reporter Kelly Busche.
24 minutes | May 6, 2021
Interview: Lindsey Lawrence , bridge group manager, TKDA
TKDA’s bridge group has a new manager and a heavy workload as the 2021 construction season ramps up. The St. Paul-based engineering, architectural and planning consulting firm recently promoted Lindsey Lawrence to lead the group. At present, the group includes 12 employees with another coming soon. A senior registered engineer and experienced bridge inspector, Lawrence is a member of the Minnesota Surveyors and Engineers Society. She joined TKDA in the mid-2000s after graduating from North Dakota State University. During her time with TKDA, Lawrence has helped plan and design more than 50 bridges and has inspected and rated upwards of 250 municipal and county bridges for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. TKDA Surface Transportation Division Vice President Matt Christensen describes Lawrence as an “extremely talented design engineer” who “values the high professional standards and key relationships needed to build on our success in the bridge group.” In the following interview, Lawrence speaks with Reporter Brian Johnson about her new duties at TKDA, notable projects, the bridge group’s workload, and her love of salmon fishing in Alaska, among other topics.
22 minutes | Apr 29, 2021
Interview: Alexis Kochanski, director of member engagement, Medical Alley Association
Elevating and expanding diversity, equality and inclusion (DE&I) efforts is gaining prominence for many organizations, including those in Minnesota’s Medical Alley. Medical Alley companies are not only undertaking internal DE&I reflection and initiatives, but they’re also looking externally to help their communities achieve better equities in health. To ensure this DE&I work is successful and meaningful, Alexis Kochanski, of the Medical Alley Association, says employees at all levels must buy in to the work. Kochanski is the association’s director of member engagement – working with members and learning about their DE&I efforts. The association has about 600 member organizations of all sizes, with the Medical Alley representing the highest concentration of medical technology workers in the nation. This month, the association launched a slate of DE&I resources at medicalalley.org. Here, member organizations like 3M and Ecolab detail and discuss their DE&I efforts. Prior to working with the Medical Alley Association, Kochanski worked in a legislative affairs position for the state of Minnesota and for an organization in Washington, D.C., that specialized in forestry. She holds a master’s degree in public health with an emphasis in public policy and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Minnesota. She speaks with reporter Kelly Busche.
26 minutes | Apr 22, 2021
Interview: Karla Henderson, director of community development, city of Bloomington
The past few weeks have a whirlwind for Karla Henderson, Bloomington’s new director of community development. Henderson joined the city in mid-March. Since that time, she has been getting acquainted with new colleagues in Minnesota’s fourth-largest city and finalizing her move from Michigan, where she had similar jobs in recent years. Most recently, Henderson worked as a department director for the city of Highland Park, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. She previously spent five years with the city of Ann Arbor, and oversaw planning and facilities for the city of Detroit. Henderson’s resume also includes officer-level positions for two area nonprofits, a job as director of capital development for Wayne County, Michigan, and managing director responsibilities for a consulting firm working with cities and nonprofit firms. In the following interview, Henderson speaks with reporter Brian Johnson about her new role with the city and reflects on where the city has been and where it’s going in the post-pandemic world
21 minutes | Apr 16, 2021
Interview: Deb Hilmerson, president and CEO, Hilmerson Safety
Deb Hilmerson began her 30-year career in construction by setting precast concrete on the Mall of America parking ramps. Mortenson then recruited her to join in a safety role after funding additional education certification. During her career, she worked in numerous roles at several construction companies, learning to manage finances and operations, before setting out to establish her own company. Prior Lake-based Hilmerson Safety is entering its 20th year of operations, and its work and innovation isn’t slowing down. Hilmerson initially focused on Occupational Safety and Health Administration compliance auditing, training, and inspections and acted as a safety coordinator for various companies. But about five years ago, the company pivoted away from these consultation services and focused solely on inventing products to sell to general contractors. She created one of the company’s leading products, the Hilmerson Safety Rail System, after consulting with a number of the nation’s leading general contractors — who now use the safety product on projects of all types. In this interview Deb Hilmerson speaks with reporter Kelly Busche.
27 minutes | Apr 8, 2021
Interview: David Reiling, CEO, Sunrise Banks
The CEO of Sunrise Banks, David Reiling, was recently named chair of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values — the world’s premier value-based banking organization. Reiling is succeeding Peter Blom, who founded the GABV and served as chair since its creation in 2009. It’s made up of 66 financial intuitions across Asia, Africa, Australia, Latin America, North America and Europe, the combination of which serves more than 70 million customers and holds more than $200 billion in combined assets under management. In leading the GABV, Reiling plans to continue furthering the organization’s social and environmental impact, as well as sustain and recruit new members. In this interview with reporter Kelly Busche, Reiling talks about how he sees an opportunity to grow value-based banking in the United States, especially with a new generation of bankers and non-bankers who are more socially conscious.
20 minutes | Apr 2, 2021
Interview: Jason Stock, chief financial officer, Central Roofing
Like offensive linemen on a football team, roofers tend to go unnoticed until something bad happens. “People only think about their roof if it’s leaking, right?” says Jason Stock, chief financial officer of Central Roofing, a longtime roofing contractor in Minneapolis. “Out of sight, out of mind. If water is staying out, it’s good. If it’s coming in, it’s the end of the world.” Central Roofing has done its part to keep roofs from leaking for more than 90 years. The company started out as a “one-man shop” during the Great Depression and has since grown to serve clients across the country. Local clients and projects include the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, the Hennepin County Medical Center, and the historic 1888 Masonic Temple in Minneapolis. In the following interview with reporter Brian Johnson, Stock touches on the history of Central Roofing and the impact of COVID-19 on the roofing business as a whole, among other topics.
27 minutes | Mar 25, 2021
Interview: Linda McCracken-Hunt, architect
After a 42-year career — during which she founded one of the state’s first women-owned architecture firms and impacted some of the Twin Cities’ most notable buildings — Linda McCracken-Hunt has retired from her architecture career. She started her career after graduating from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Architecture in 1978. She spent time at Cuningham Architects; Architectural Alliance, now Alliiance; and Ankeny Kell Architects, and then returned to the university where she was eventually appointed university architect. McCracken-Hunt left the university to join Studio Five Architects, a firm that she co-owned with her husband, Tom Hunt. Her most recent employer, JLG Architects, called her a “pioneer” of women-owned architect firms. With Studio Five, she led teams that worked on the university’s Recreation and Wellness Center expansion, Phillips Community Center and Aquatics Center project, and U.S. Bank Stadium construction. She also provided owner representation services to the Regions Hospital expansion, Elmer L. Andersen Human Services Building and Penfield Apartment projects. JLG Architects acquired Studio Five in 2016, and McCracken-Hunt joined as a principal architect. Here, her projects included Frogtown Community Center and the Eau Claire City Hall. Throughout her career, she also served in several positions with the American Institute of Architects and received membership to its College of Fellows in 2009. The award is considered one of the highest honors in the profession. Out of all the projects that McCracken-Hunt has impacted, community centers are her favorite, as she told reporter Kelly Busche in this episode of Beyond the Skyline.
83 minutes | Mar 18, 2021
Experts Forum: Buying and Selling a Business
It may come as a surprise to some that the market for buying and selling businesses has remained strong. Are you thinking about making a change in 2021? In this special episode of Beyond the Skyline, our experts will discuss considerations for selling or buying in the current economic climate. You'll learn what to look for and what to expect in the process, including legal considerations, valuation, financing options, how to handle the proceeds from a sale and much more. More information about the panelists featured in this podcast can be found below: • Lisa Holter Ankel, Avisen Legal • John Thwing, The SBA Guy, 21st Century Bank • R. Don Keysser, managing principal, Hannover Ltd. • Young Bebus, president, VR Business Brokers • Brian Larson, Morgan Stanley Our wide-ranging conversation took place, via Zoom, on February 25.
14 minutes | Mar 11, 2021
Interview: Tim Maag, vice president and general manager, Mortensons Wind Energy Group
Golden Valley-based Mortenson has long played an active role in a renewable energy sector that’s been around — as the company points out — a lot longer than some people might think. For proof, look no further than Mortenson’s own experience. Just last fall, Mortenson celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Wind Energy Group, which was launched in the mid-1990s with a “single wind turbine project in Iowa,” as the company has noted. Mortenson’s wind portfolio has since grown to encompass 200 projects with 30,000 megawatts of energy. This year, Mortenson expects to work on projects in Minnesota and more than a dozen other states. Tim Maag, a 40-year Mortenson veteran, is the vice president and general manager of the company’s Wind Energy Group. Maag leads strategies around business growth and oversees preconstruction and construction of wind power facilities, according to his bio. Maag is an active board member of the American Wind Energy Association and a past member of the Society of American Military Engineers. He previously managed the company’s Federal Contracting Group. In the following interview with reporter Brian Johnson, Maag talks about the past, present and future of Mortenson’s Wind Energy Group, the outlook for the wind sector writ large, and the PR hit that wind took following the deadly severe weather crisis in Texas, which left millions without power.
25 minutes | Mar 5, 2021
Interview: Amy Fredregill, senior director of sustainability, WSB
Amy Fredregill brings ample experience to her new role as senior director of sustainability at WSB, a Twin Cities-based provider of engineering, planning, environmental and construction services. Most recently, she was managing director of the Sustainable Growth Coalition, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that works with public, private and nonprofit clients on everything from clean air and water initiatives to sustainable landscaping. As a go-to expert on sustainability and resiliency, Fredregill has supported the Minnesota Association of Cooperatives, Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System Inc., and Xcel Energy initiatives, and has testified before the Legislature on clean energy and climate issues. In the following interview, Fredregill talks with reporter Brian Johnson about her duties with WSB, her previous work with public and private sector clients, and what communities are looking for on the sustainability front.
19 minutes | Feb 26, 2021
Interview: Josh Budish, founder, Endeavor Development
After spending nearly two decades working in Twin Cities real estate, Josh Budish has launched his own industrial real estate company. Budish founded Endeavor Development at the start of this year, and he serves as principal. Endeavor is solely focused on industrial properties in the Twin Cities market — a market that’s healthy and ripe for growth, thanks to limited supply and pent-up demand for this type of property, says Budish. Endeavor’s narrow focus on this market will be an asset to the new company, which has a team of three and several projects already lined up. Throughout his career, Budish has managed the development of more than $300 million in real estate, as well as the management of more than $500 million, the investment of more than $500 million and the leasing of more than $1 billion in real estate on behalf of institutional investors. Budish was previously vice president of leasing and development for Duke Realty and was responsible for the leasing, development and performance of Duke’s 5.1 million-square foot industrial portfolio. Budish speaks with reporter Kelly Busche about his career and his latest endeavor.
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