Business Briefs for Oct. 9

ALLETE Clean Energy seeks Yellow Ribbon designation for support of military-connected employees

ALLETE Clean Energy took a first step toward becoming a Yellow Ribbon company with the formal signing of a statement of support at the company’s wind farm in Lake Benton.

Al Rudeck, president of ALLETE Clean Energy, and Jeff Gay, Region 5 chair of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) in Minnesota, signed the statement Sept. 29 before a gathering that included Lake Benton wind employees; Bob Worth, Lake Benton mayor; and the Lake Benton American Legion Post 10 color guard.

Overseen by the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs, the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program supports service members, veterans and their families by connecting them with career counseling, professional development and employment resources. The Yellow Ribbon program is a sister program to ESGR, a Department of Defense program established to promote cooperation between service members and their civilian employees.

Signing the statement of support with the ESGR marks the official beginning of ALLETE Clean Energy’s effort to be designated a Yellow Ribbon company.

“Becoming a Yellow Ribbon Company will be a source of great pride for all of us at ALLETE Clean Energy,” Rudeck said. “Pursuing this Beyond the Yellow Ribbon designation recognizes the importance that military-connected employees play in our company and our communities, and demonstrates our strong commitment to our co-workers and their families. One of our core values at ALLETE Clean Energy is caring for our co-workers and communities. We want to foster a lasting legacy of caring and in this way give back to those that serve our country.”

To earn a Yellow Ribbon designation, companies must build relationships with local military leaders, identify which employees have military connections and commit to hiring, supporting and retaining veterans. The designation recognizes companies that honor military-connected employees and streamlines their access to resources.

While the ceremonial signing is an important milestone toward Yellow Ribbon certification, it’s the experience of employees that brings it home. Rick Nase, a wind technician at Lake Benton, served in the Air National Guard and is an active member of the Brookings, South Dakota, VFW Post 2118.

“You’re balancing a civilian job and a military job and you can’t let one take away from the other,” Nase said of serving in the military while also working. “If you don’t have help from your civilian employer, it’s just not going to work. It means a lot.”

The assistance that a Yellow Ribbon company extends to veterans, service members and their families is felt across the communities they serve. More than 13,000 soldiers and airmen serve in the Minnesota National Guard.

ALLETE Clean Energy was established in 2011 to acquire or develop capital projects to create energy solutions by way of wind, solar, biomass, hydro, natural gas, shale resources, clean coal technology and other emerging innovations. It owns and operates wind generation facilities in Minnesota, Iowa, Oregon and Pennsylvania, including the facility in Lake Benton. Earlier this year, the company announced an $80 million initiative to refurbish a total of 385 wind turbines at Lake Benton and Storm Lake, Iowa.

Kontz qualifies to attend President’s Conference in Banff, Alberta

Jim Kontz, LUTCF, MDRT, a financial professional with The Prudential Insurance Company of America’s Twin Cities, qualified to attend the company’s President’s Conference held recently in Banff, Alberta.

The conference, hosted by Caroline Feeney, president of Prudential Advisors, is held each year to honor a select number of top performing financial professionals from across the country who qualify based on outstanding production results in the prior year.

“The financial professionals, financial planners, and field managers who have qualified for President’s Conference are proven leaders who share a commitment to helping clients achieve their financial security goals and needs. I am extremely proud of them all,” said Feeney.