Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 01.30.2014

January 29, 2014

Today: Beth Kallestad, Classification

Birthdays: Rotarians Across the Globe

Next Week: Ben Van Gundy, River Bend Nature Center (Kallestad)

Last Week:

The Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce is going through a transition, and one of our own has been drafted to provide executive leadership for the next few months.

“No one is more surprised than I am that I have this job,” said John Stull.

John thought he was retired, but a persuasive Rick Estenson, a chamber board member, coaxed him off of his bike and back into the wonderful world of work.

John is fully-equipped for this undertaking.  He is a former CEO of Malt-O-Meal, a former Northfield Mayor and a longtime Rotary member. He will keep the chamber work plan moving while the board sorts out its future direction.

John said he is honored to be in this role. He referenced some of the business luminaries who have served as president of the organization over time, people such as Orv Perman, Ralph Jacobsen, Bob Shumway Robert Bierman and Rick Estenson. Rotary member Keith Covey once served as executive director. John praised Beth Ayotte Naumann of Service Master by Ayotte, the current chamber president, for her energy and leadership at the board level.

Rick Estenson said the chamber is in the process of having a community dialogue to decide what structure will best serve the chamber on into the future. The Convention and Visitors Bureau is already closely tied to the chamber, but is governed by a separate board of directors. The chamber is cultivating partnerships with the city’s Economic Development Authority and the Northfield Enterprise Center. John pointed out that the Northfield chamber is not affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and is only loosely connected to the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

“My hope is that our local chamber will reflect the city of Northfield,” he said, referring to the politics of the state and national business association.

The Winter Walk was a big success this year, John said, and local retailers reported the best Black Friday ever. The next big things for the chamber include the workforce development workshop (earlier this week) and the chamber’s Home and Garden Show Saturday, April 5.

The chamber is a private organization that is supported by member dues. He reminded us that for $100 retired folks can be members and receive all of the benefits afforded chamber members, such as networking and social time.

Guests: Beth Ayotte Naumann and Julie Pritchard (Estenson)

Scholarship Enhancement: Dave Halsor


Alan Anderson reported that the Northfield Climate Summit was a big success. Despite cold temperatures (how fitting for a conversation about global warming), 650 people found their way to the workshop at St. Olaf College. Northfield Rotary was one of the sponsors of the event.

Richard Maus said we are track to eradicate polio by the end of the year. There are only a few hot spots left. There is a three-year monitoring process before a disease is declared eradicated. But Richard believes that could happen in 2018.

Rotary’s Fast for Hope group will be traveling to Nicaragua March 7-16. If you are interested in applying for this experience, contact President Prichard.

Coming Up:

February 13 — Yoshino, Exchange Student (B. Abdella)
February 20 — TBA
February 27 — Craig Hall, Classification (V. Dilley)