November 2004

Cover Story

On the verge

As a Douglas County sheriff's deputy, Ron Boyden spends his days and nights patrolling the cities of one of west-central Minnesota's busiest tourist regions.

While on duty, he often drives past deserted farm sites. But at one such site there's more going on than meets the eye. In the heart of the county, near where highways 14 and 29 meet and about 12 miles from Alexandria, sit two buildings on what appears to be an abandoned 160-acre farm site.

But look closer. There are cars, there are people, and signs that this farm site is not typical of the others no longer occupied. Step inside and it's almost like there's a secret government operation going on. People are wearing lab coats, research is being conducted, and signs of a modern-day medical device company are everywhere. Continue reading →

Letter From the Editor


Picture Mark McGowan, owner of McGowan Development, alone in his SUV in the Lake Harriet Bandshell parking lot on a cold December day last year. Between appointments, and staring at the Minneapolis landmark, he realized it needed a paint job to forestall much more expensive repairs. Continue reading →

Back Page

Back Page

One day last December Mark McGowan, who owns McGowan Development in Minneapolis, sat in his car between appointments and decided the Lake Harriet Bandshell needed a paint job. On September 19, he threw a huge free party with concerts to celebrate a complete restoration of the Minneapolis landmark, all with corporate donations and volunteer labor.
He reflects on the beauty of community spirit, and tells how this success provides a stark contrast to what until now was his biggest claim to local fame: the failed attempt to build a controversial outdoor amphitheater in Burnsville, which ended last August and caused a bitter family feud. Continue reading →


Get out

Enough with the raging debate about whether outsourcing jobs, especially in the technology field, is good or bad. Rajiv Tandon says giving work to outsiders rather than hiring employees is reality, both because the world is getting smaller and because small companies need to get bigger with the least amount of capital possible.
Tandon is president and CEO of Adayana in Edina, which develops training materials for automotive, food, the military and other industries. He urges business owners to get out and experience the globe. Continue reading →

Facing the music

Though people may not recognize the names Darren Drew and Brian Reidinger, if they watch TV, listen to the radio or go to the movies, they've heard their music.
Drew and Reidinger co-own Minneapolis-based In the Groove Music, an audio production company that writes and produces music for television, radio and special events. Their client list includes Michelob Lite, Toyota, Fox NFL, Busch Gardens, Bacardi Silver, TNT's Listen Up! sports show with Charles Barkley and Ernie Johnson - and The Outdoor Life Network, for which they wrote the theme music for its coverage of this summer's Tour de France. Continue reading →

Wish list

Joseph Duffy simply wants what every small-business owner wants.
?We want access to the new technology,? says the designer for the newly formed Minneapolis-based Duffy & Partners, a graphic design shop spun off from marketing giant Fallon Worldwide. ?We want what the bigger companies have and I think every small-business owner looks for ways to get it. And that goes for all kinds of technology.? Continue reading →

Business Builders


Family-owned businesses are the backbone of America. Yet most do not make it past the second generation.
The statistics are startling: Ninety percent of U.S. businesses are family-owned, and one-third of the Fortune 500 companies are either family-owned or family-controlled. Yet only 30 percent of family-run companies succeed into the second generation. An even smaller 15 percent survive into the third. Continue reading →


With the importance and value of intellectual property (IP) increasing at an incredible pace in our knowledge-based economy, it is more important than ever for business owners to understand the tax environment surrounding IP.
Here are some of the key tax matters for business owners to consider and the potential implications for their companies. Continue reading →


Fall brings football, but entrepreneurs shouldn't leave all the game plans to the coaches. The final quarter of the year is a key planning season for business owners, and this year there are many topics to consider. Continue reading →



A new private equity firm, Brass Ring Capital, is looking to purchase small companies, perhaps from owners who wish to retire. Continue reading →


?Opportunity comes knocking, and you open it sometimes,? says Janis Hall, long-time co-owner of the Southwest Journal newspaper in Minneapolis. She bought Minnesota Parent this spring, after its Texas-based publisher announced its closure.
Continue reading →


WomenVenture had already spent about six months and thousands of dollars promoting its keynote speaker for its annual gala November 5: the actress Marlo Thomas, who signed a contract to speak at the fundraising juggernaut that drew more than 1,800 people last year. At the end of July, Thomas canceled. Continue reading →


Phyllis Stenerson has long been active in Democratic politics in Minnesota. This year she emerged from the March caucuses inspired to write a book about patriotism. Continue reading →


Just about every week this year, Bill Jerue has gotten a call from a client looking to buy long-term care insurance, a marked uptick from years earlier, he says. Often, clients are inquiring about buying insurance for their parents. Continue reading →


While J?rg Pierach worked for giant public relations firm Weber Shandwick for about 12 years, he learned about the industry standard in billing: clients were charged by the hour for projects, at different rates based on an elaborate hierarchy of staff. Continue reading →

Dear Informer

If you skipped accounting, here’s info to accrue DEAR INFORMER: I heard a business owner say that she swears by monthly accrued financial statements. Exactly what are these, and how do I use them? DEAR NON-CPA: At last! A question for all of us who hung out in Brit Lit, Anthropology for Fun and Profit, Elvis and […] Continue reading →

2-minute meeting

"The trends nationwide are adverse. Americans have become disconnected from their communities in the last 30 to 40 years," said Robert Putnam, professor of public policy at Harvard and a speaker at a Great North Alliance breakfast in September at the Minneapolis Club. Continue reading →

Real estate

Splice Here's bosses decided to purchase and renovate their new headquarters, in large part because the company has specialized technology needs. Continue reading →


Offerings diverse for small businesses seeking education

Small businesses are works in progress, and there's always room for improvement on a number of fronts.
Many owners and managers tend to look inside the private sector for help, overlooking the wealth of resources on tap through the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system's customized training services and open-enrollment courses. Continue reading →