Greater St. Cloud Group of Employees Sees Big Gains in Well-Being

News Release

Greater St. Cloud Group of Employees See Big Gains in Well-Being

St. Cloud, MN, February 13, 2018 – At today’s Workplace Well-Being Summit, the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation – in collaboration with CentraCare Health, St. Cloud State University, health plans, and employers – announced significant gains in health and well-being indicators for a group of employers and employees participating in the Workplace Well-Being Initiative and the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being 5 Survey. 

The Workplace Well-Being Initiative launched in the region with an inaugural summit of employers in February of 2014.  In the subsequent four years leading up to a fifth summit on February 13th of 2018, the collaborators invested in a series of six activities designed to increase awareness of workplaces policies, practices, and systems that can improve employee health and well-being.  For organizational leaders and wellness committee members, the initiative provided annual summits, training, certifications, specialized resources, and a pledge of commitment.  For employees, the initiative provided webinars on health and well-being topics along with a well-being assessment that resulted in personalized recommendations for health improvement. 

In the fall of 2015, the online Well-Being 5 Survey was offered to interested employers and employees for the first time, creating a baseline on 53 questions and indicators within 5 broad elements of health and well-being.  The 5 elements include Purpose and Career Well-Being, Social Well-Being, Financial Well-Being, Community Well-Being, and Physical Well-Being.  There were 2,181 respondents to the survey from amongst 3,657 eligible employees representing a response rate of 59.6%. 

The initiative and its activities continued across 2016 and 2017, and a second cycle of the Well-Being 5 survey was offered in the Fall of 2017.  In this second cycle, there were 1,729 respondents to the survey from amongst 3,053 eligible participants representing a 56.6% response rate.

A subset of 646 employees from an estimated 20 employers participated in the survey in both the Fall of 2015 and the Fall of 2017 (the “Greater St. Cloud Group”).  The results for these Returning Respondents were analyzed to assess favorable and/or unfavorable changes across the 53 questions and indicators of well-being. 

A summary of key findings is outlined below. 

  • The percentage of returning respondents categorized as “Thriving” – as contrasted with “Struggling” or “Suffering” – increased substantially between 2015 and 2017 in all 5 elements of Well-Being:
  • The percentage Thriving in Purpose and Career Well-Being increased from 46.4% to 52.2% (+5.8 points),
  • The percentage Thriving in Social Well-Being increased from 47.8% to 52.2% (+4.4 points),
  • The percentage Thriving in Financial Well-Being increased from 47.4% to 53.4% (+6.0 points),
  • The percentage Thriving in Community Well-Being increased from 56.2% to 58.8% (+2.6 points),
  • The percentage Thriving in Physical Well-Being increased from 59.6% to 61.2% (+1.6 points).
  • Within these 5 aggregate element scores, there were major increases in more than 35 well-being indicators including “Healthy Leaders”, “Managing My Health”, “Goal Reaching”, “Exercise”, “Fruits and Vegetables”, “Eating Healthy”, “Positive Energy”, “Use My Strengths”, “Like What I Do”, “Learn Everyday”, “Time with Friends and Family”, “Enough Money”, “Standard of Living Satisfaction”, “Ideal Housing”, “Physical Health”, “Happy With Appearance”, “Recognition for Volunteering”, “Ideal Community”, “Smiling and Laughing”, “Enjoyment”, and more.
  • There were also major reductions in “Worry” and “Stress”, and a slight reduction in “Alcohol Consumption”.
  • On a small number of the well-being indicators, no material change was reported by the returning respondents, including questions on “Encouragement”, “Closest Relationship Strength”, “Smoking”, and “Obesity”.
  • Initial Well-Being Advantage in 2015 - On many of the well-being measures above, the Greater St. Cloud Group started with higher scores in 2015 than the State of Minnesota as a whole.
  • Greater Well-Being Advantage in 2017 – The Group’s significant improvements described above generally occurred during a period when well-being in Minnesota was relatively flat, and when well-being in the United States was flat-to-down in a series of the indicators.  As such, the Greater St. Cloud Group’s health and well-being advantage on many of these indicators – relative to the State – increased between 2015 and 2017.
  • Growing Productivity Advantage - Higher levels of well-being have been strongly associated with lower absenteeism, lower presenteeism, lower turnover, lower disease incidence, lower healthcare costs, higher productivity, and higher profitability in organizations.
  • Impressive Progress - Initiatives that materially and broadly improve the health and well-being of a group are rare, especially within a period of time as short as two years.

For more information, the complete report and other presentations from the Workplace Well-Being Summit can be found at

In reflecting on the initiative, Rick Bauerly, CEO of Granite Equity Partners and Chair of the GSDC Workplace Well-Being Corps shared that “ultimately, employee health and well-being are at the root of innovation, growth, and productivity in our businesses and organizations.  They are essential talent and economic development strategies.”  Dr. Ken Holmen, CEO of CentraCare Health continued, “We now know that a large majority of health happens outside the walls of our hospitals and clinics.  It happens every day in our workplaces and schools, in our homes and neighborhoods, and in our faith communities and cities.  The policies, the systems, and the overall environment that we design and live in has a significant effect on the quality and the quantity of our lives.”  Finally, Dr. Ashish Vaidya, Interim President of St. Cloud State University added: “The twenty-first century university prepares students for success in the workplace and in the community.  We are pleased to have our faculty and students involved in this community collaboration, to help us all increasingly see how the designs we shape and the decisions we make influence our individual, organizational, and community health and well-being.”

For more information about the collaborating organizations, see the following web sites:

Key Collaborators:

Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation (“GSDC”) –

CentraCare Health –

St. Cloud State University –


Health Plan Collaborators:

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Minnesota –  

Health Partners –  

Medica –  

Preferred One –  


Well-Being Element Sponsors:

Anderson Center –

Central Minnesota Community Foundation –  

Rejuv Medical –  

VITAL WorkLife –  


Corporate Sponsors:

Coborn’s –  

Coldspring –  

Granite Equity Partners –


Posted on February 21, 2018 .

From Brian Myres, GSDC Board Chair

Dear Investors:

Now that Super Bowl 52 is history and it appears that Minnesota proved to the world that we are the “BOLD NORTH” with our brisk weather, crazy winter outdoor activities and our great spirit and St Cloud successfully hosted Hockey Day Minnesota and created a huge hockey buzz in our community, it is time to get back to the business of growing business!

As an investor in the GSDC, I want you to know that the staff has been working diligently with our Corps leaders and other executive volunteers to execute on our plan for 2018.  Much has been accomplished already in 2018:

  • Planning and executing  the CEO Transportation Roundtable with Congressmen Jason Lewis and Tom Emmer
  • Presenting at the Greater St Cloud Community Pillars meeting
  • Presenting at the SCSU Winter Institute
  • Working on business retention and expansion
  • Further developing our relationships with employers and educators
  • Planning and executing the Workplace Well-Being Summit
  • Kicking off the St Cloud Regional Airport market study
  • Refining and promoting
  • Executing on our strategic plan refresh project

I want to specifically call out Rick Bauerly, Mike Markman, Joan Schatz and Tim Wensman for their extensive volunteer efforts in the first two months of the year and thank Chris Coborn for hosting the CEO transportation Roundtable.  It is this kind of commitment from our executive volunteers that leverages our investment in the GSDC to produce great results for our community.

Thank you.

Brian Myres

GSDC Board Chair

Posted on February 21, 2018 .

And the Answer is: Greater St.!


Do you remember the character, Carnac the Magnificent? For those of you that may not be familiar with Carnac, he was a well-known character from The Tonight Show when Johnny Carson was the host. Carnac was a mystic from the Far East who could psychically “divine” answers to questions yet to be asked.

So humor me a moment as I assume the role of Carnac and announce to you: The answer is: 7,840! The question? How many unique visits have there been to the new community portal,, since its launch late last fall?

Care to try that again? Straight from the lips of Carnac (aka Patti Gartland) we hear, The answer is: 4,785. The question? How many job openings in the greater St. Cloud region are found on JobSpot, the jobs portal at

OK - let’s go for just one more. The answer is:  The newest and most important addition to your talent and business recruitment tool box!  The question?  What is

All kidding and reminiscing aside, is the powerful new resource developed by the GSDC for promoting our region’s advantages and major assets to key audiences far and wide. We’ve launched a stellar social media campaign, but that’s not enough. We need your help in driving interest and traffic to the website and its wealth of information about the vitality of the Greater St. Cloud community. We’d love to see this link on the home page of your website, as a feature in newsletters and other publications you generate, in your talent and business recruitment collateral, and in your social media campaigns. Help us spread the word – greater St. Cloud is the perfect place to live, work & engage – and will help you discover why!

Patti Gartland

GSDC President

Posted on February 21, 2018 .

Educators Learn About Career Paths in Skilled Jobs

The GSDC Talent Corps hosted counselors and career technical education instructors from ISD 742 (St. Cloud Public School District) for a professional development day on January 16.  The purpose of the event was to help the educators understand and promote skilled job careers in our Central MN region.

Three local companies partnered in showcasing careers in three industries: manufacturing, construction and transportation.  Participating companies included Park Industries, W. Gohman Construction and Brenny Transportation.  Participants received tours and observed a panel discussion about careers and educational requirements in all three fields.  

Educators and counselors play key roles in encouraging and directing the career interests of students.  This event provided them with information about local in-demand opportunities.

Posted on February 19, 2018 .

GSDC Investors Expand Businesses

We congratulation the following GSDC investors on their recent business expansions: 


Microbiologics recently completed their $7.25 million, 30,000 square foot expansion.  This expansion will create 35 additional jobs with an average wage of at least $21.53 hr. GSDC supported an application to Job Creation Fund from the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).  Microbiologics was awarded $182,000 to support this expansion and creation of jobs.

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Geringhoff recently completed the addition of a new production line for the manufacturing of corn harvest headers for combines.  This line expansion will support 20 additional jobs paying an average wage of at least $17.50 an hour. GSDC supported an application to Job Creation Fund from the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).  Geringhoff was awarded $169,000 to support this expansion and creation of jobs.

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Cold Spring Brewing Company recently completed a 300,000 sq. ft. expansion to their shipping facility in Cold Spring. This expansion will support an additional 60 jobs. A second phase of this expansion which includes production facility expansion will be completed soon in early 2018. 


Posted on February 19, 2018 .

St. Cloud Regional Airport Air Transport Optimization Planning Study

In 2017, GSDC was successful in leading efforts to attain a $250,000 allocation from the MnDOT Aviation Fund to complete a comprehensive and broad-based planning study with the goal of optimizing the growth and development of the St. Cloud Regional Airport and increasing its economic impact on the region. The study’s outcomes will provide strategies to help maximize the return on investments made to enhance the use and impact of the Airport.

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Steven Baldwin Associates (SBA) based in New York, in association with Mead & Hunt, Inc., Ailevon Pacific Aviation Consulting, Public Solutions, Inc., St. Cloud State University, School of Public Affairs and University of Minnesota Extension, was chosen as the consultant team to lead this effort.

A Regional Airport Study Advisory Committee (RASAC) has been formed and will meet monthly throughout 2018 providing feedback and guidance on study initiatives. Members of the RASAC include:

o   St. Cloud Regional Airport Advisory Board: Roger Bonn, Chair

o   St. Cloud Regional Airport: Bill Towle, Director

o   City of St. Cloud: Cathy Mehelich, Economic Development Director

o   City of Melrose (Stearns County): Mike Brethorst, City Administrator

o   Benton Economic Partnership: John Uphoff, Executive Director

o   Sherburne County: Dan Weber, Assistant County Administrator

o   St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce: Teresa Bohnen, President

o   St. Cloud Area Convention and Visitors Bureau: Julie Lunning, Executive Director

o   Anderson Trucking Service: Rollie Anderson, CEO

o   TJ Farms: Tom Hammer, Co-Owner

o   CentraCare Health: Kurt Otto, VP Ambulatory Support, St. Cloud Hospital

o   Geringhoff: Tosh Brinkerhoff, CEO

o   Cold Spring Brewery: Scott Bender, Managing Partner


GSDC looks forward to working with regional representatives on the completion of this study.

Posted on February 19, 2018 .

GSDC investors Discuss Transportation Needs with Congressmen Emmer & Lewis

 From left to right: Patti Gartland (GSDC President), Brian Myres (GSDC Board Chair), Congressman Jason Lewis (MN 2nd District), Congressman Tom Emmer (MN 6th District) and Chris Coborn (Coborn's, Inc. President/CEO)

From left to right: Patti Gartland (GSDC President), Brian Myres (GSDC Board Chair), Congressman Jason Lewis (MN 2nd District), Congressman Tom Emmer (MN 6th District) and Chris Coborn (Coborn's, Inc. President/CEO)

In April of 2017, the GSDC Transportation Summit was attended by over 100 business and industry leaders who were challenged to think beyond the present and create a prioritized plan of action to achieve our region’s preferred future.  An action item resulting from the Transportation Summit was to convene CEOs from major corporate interests in our region who are particularly impacted by our transportation infrastructure to work with key elected leaders in creating and taking action to achieve our preferred future.

On January 25th, a Roundtable Discussion on Transportation forum was convened by the GSDC (Brian Myres, Board Chair and Patti Gartland, President) and hosted by Chris Coborn, President/CEO of Coborn’s Inc., a founding investor of the GSDC.  Congressmen Tom Emmer and Jason Lewis engaged in a roundtable dialogue with 17 CEOs from the greater St. Cloud region.  The forum afforded a group of GSDC investor CEOs an opportunity to discuss in a private, conversational setting, critical transportation issues impacting their businesses and our region.

Following the roundtable discussion, the CEOs have identified three key areas of immediate focus:

1. Advocate for completion of six lanes on I-94 from Rogers to St. Cloud, including construction of an additional bridge crossing connecting I-94 and TH 10 in closer proximity to the St. Cloud metropolitan area.

2. Advocate for federal support and assistance to grow utilization at the St. Cloud Regional Airport upon completion of the Air Transport Optimization study being led by GSDC and funded through MnDOT Aeronautics.

3. Proactively address relief needed from unwarranted and inconsistent regulatory obstacles and impediments for our businesses (e.g. driver age limit minimums, weight and dimension restrictions for tractor-trailers).

A change in the congressional schedule resulted in Senators Klobuchar and Smith being unable to attend the January 25th  session. GSDC will be hosting a similar Roundtable Discussion session with the Senators in the near future.

We thank the following GSDC investors for participating in this important conversation and working to increase transportation investment in our region: 

  • Chris Coborn (President/CEO, Coborn’s Inc)
  • Scott Anderson (EVP/Treasurer, ATS)
  • Robin Alton (President/CEO, Pan O’ Gold)
  • Jason Bernick (Director of Corporate Affairs, Bernick’s)
  • Scott Blattner (President, Blattner Energy) 
  • Joyce Brenny (CEO/Founder, Brenny Transportation, Inc.)
  • Tosh Brinkerhoff (President/CEO, Geringhoff)
  • Dave Cashman (Corporate Secretary, Spee Dee Delivery Service)
  • Chris Clark (President, Xcel Energy MN, ND & SD)
  • Jason Ferche (President, J.R. Ferche, Inc.)
  • Loran Hall (President, Mathew Hall Lumber)
  • Paul Kuhn (EVP/CFO Global Services/Global Platform Organization, Wolters Kluwer)
  • Mark Lanctot (President, Sysco MN & Western MN)
  • Pat Lynch (President, Granite Logistics)
  • John Quade (President- North Central Region, Knife River)
  • Dan Rea (EVP-Sales & Marketing, Coldspring)
  • Joan Schatz (Co-President, Park Industries)
Posted on February 19, 2018 .

Could your company benefit from a talented STEM intern?

Internships are a great way to showcase your business to aspiring talent.  The SciTechsperience program will match you with a talented college science, technology, engineering or math student.  In addition, they will pay a 50% cash match on the intern’s wages.  Read below to learn more:

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Could your company benefit from a talented STEM intern? 

Receive a 50 percent cash match
on your intern's wages –
up to $2500 through SciTechsperience

SciTechsperience is a free, statewide, state-funded internship program that connects small for-profit Minnesota businesses with talented college STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students. 

Participating companies receive a wage reimbursement of 50 percent of the intern's wages up to $2,500.

What's New?

  • Companies located anywhere in Minnesota with less than 250 employees worldwide may participate
  • Graduate students are now eligible for the program
  • More than 325 reimbursements are available now on a first-come, first hire basis
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Eligible Companies:

  • Are for-profit, registered and conducting business in Minnesota
  • Have fewer than 250 employees worldwide world wide
  • Offer an internship that offers hands-on STEM industry experience
  • Are doing business in one of the following industries:
  • Aerospace and Defense
  • Agriculture and Food Science
  • Biotechnology, Life Sciences and Health IT
  • Engineering Services
  • Fuels, Energy, Energy Management
  • IT/Computer Technology
  • Mining, Materials, Manufacturing and Processing 

For more information and to apply go to 

Want to know more? Check out this short webinar or contact SciTechsperience Program Director Becky Siekmeier, Minnesota High Tech Association at or 952-230-4241.

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Posted on January 3, 2018 .