Skip to main content
Monthly Archives

May 2017

In the News: Grocery Store on Wheels

By Uncategorized No Comments

Many FCS Professionals members will remember learning about the “food deserts” that exist in Minneapolis and St. Paul at our annual joint meeting in November 2015.   University of Minnesota professor Chery Smith spoke of the lack of quality fresh food being available in many areas of the Twin Cities.   In case you missed it, the Minneapolis Star Tribune published an article about a solution to the food deserts that exist—mobile grocery stores!   Click here for the article.

Blog Feature: Marie Winker Shares her Experience with VEAP

By Uncategorized No Comments

Thank you to Marie Winker for sharing her experiences with VEAP (Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People)

The VEAP Service Center in Bloomington is a service hub combining services from Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department as well as the VEAP Food Program under one roof for low income residents of Bloomington, Richfield, Edina and South Minneapolis.

The VEAP Food Program includes the largest food pantry in Minnesota where clients arriving by bus are able to arrange to get transportation home with their food.

The NEAT (Nutrition Education and Teaching) program supplements the Food Program by repurposing fresh food (by making banana bread to distribute in the pantry), provide samples (to introduce and teach clients how to use some less common food items) and conduct cooking classes.

I first heard of VEAP when a professional group I belong to was invited to a meeting of another group in winter 2014.  VEAP had recently moved into the building and the commercial/teaching kitchen was still under construction.  I had the distinct impression that I could see myself volunteering there.  Two years later, a group from my church worked in the warehouse and after that I finally pursued becoming a volunteer.

Volunteers are needed in all aspects of VEAP programs.  Thus far, I have volunteered in several ways. The first was with the church group in the warehouse where we sorted produce before putting in the pantry the foods that were still fresh enough to safely use or bagged potatoes, apples, carrots, onions or other donated produce that came in enormous boxes.

The program I work primarily in has been the NEAT cooking classes as a classroom assistant.  Extension provides the educator, there is a volunteer culinary instructor who demonstrates the techniques for each class session and then up to three classroom assistants who help the class run smoothly by doing tasks in the background, prepare the materials that the students take home (including a bag of groceries to prepare the featured recipe of that class session), help the students as needed while they prepare the recipe and help with the clean up.

Other programs include Summer Youth Food Program, Back to School Program, Birthday Bag Program, Holiday Toy Program and Transportation Program.  Volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks in each of these programs including verifying the amount on donated gift cards for the Holiday Toy Program.

I have greatly enjoyed working with the NEAT program at VEAP and would encourage anyone looking for a place to volunteer to explore the possibilities that VEAP has.  They have opportunities for all ages including jobs both active and seated.  Further information about VEAP can be found at and the volunteer director is Shari DeBlieck(

Meeting Recap: How to Grab that Job and Go!  Lessons from a Top Recruiter

By Uncategorized No Comments

Thank you Colleen Glenn for providing the meeting recap!

On Saturday, April 8th we had the pleasure of learning from Andrea Pollari, Founder of Key Search and Consulting, who shared tips and tricks of successful job searches in a question and answer format. The event was held at the private banquet room at Burger Moe’s in St. Paul.  Lunch included burgers and sandwiches and was served during Andrea’s discussion session. Four student guests were in attendance.

Discussion topics included: interviewing, current employment cultures and dynamics, and setting expectations at work. She provided tips on resumes, interview preparation, phone interviews, questions to ask the employer, and how to handle the (often dreaded and/or intimidating) salary conversation.  Her suggestion was to start with, “You know, I’m really open to your best offer because I’m really looking for the best fit and a long term position.” If the follow up question to that response is wanting a specific number, Andrea’s advise is to give an explanation along with the number, if you think it is too high or low. One of her most beneficial pieces of advise of the day was her 3 piece formula on how to close an interview. The essential pieces are: appreciation, 2 or 3 key items based on what you heard that are skills you bring (think buzzwords they used), and your interest level.

Another conversation topic surrounded setting expectations at work. She suggested to make sure you have company goals, know what they are expecting of you, and how you can meet and, better yet, exceed those expectations. She also stressed the importance of having personal goals, such as reading a book and learning about Emotional Intelligence (EQ). It is important to be aware of and spend time on EQ because this is something that can change and grow and, Andrea explained, is more important that IQ. Some tips Andrea provided on helping set and meet our goals are to have a daily plan on paper and in writing that is very specific and to check our emails two times a day. The limited number of email checks was almost shocking for many attendees and there was great discussion on the benefits of that and ways to ease into it, for those of us who are prone to having it open all day.  One of her other main takeaways was to always be authentic, from the interview to on the job.

This event was designed for students and young professionals, however, everyone walked away with a greater knowledge of navigating the current job market and how to improve in our current role.  Attendees of this program had nothing but positive feedback—mostly appreciating Andrea’s honest and enthusiastic persona and her professionalism.

Attention all Entrepreneurs! Free Upcoming Seminar

By Uncategorized No Comments

St. Thomas presents: Rocket Network: What I Learned from a Lifetime of Building Businesses

Featured speakers are:

Norm Dann is a pioneer in the Medical device industry.  He started The Dann Co. a manufacturer’s rep company for medical and research instrumentation that provided sales, service and customization. This company was purchased by Medtronic, where he served as VP Sales and Marketing and Senior VP Development. He co-founded Pathfinder Venture Capital to invest in computer and medical device companies. Participated in three funds before retiring. Norm continues  to  serve as a director, consultant and investor in medical device companies.

His background is with US Navy V-12, WW2, BS Industrial Engineering, Penn State Univ.

Erv Kamm. Pioneer in the EdTech Industry. As President-CEO of PLATO WICAT SYSTEMS he started a startup educational software company funded by Control Data Corporation in 1985. Plato Wicat Systems received national acclaim for its initiative in Values Based Management.

He has led four publicly held companies to record growth in diverse industries including educational software (Control Data), telecommunications (Norstan), industrial manufacturing (Zytec) and internet accessibility (Digi International).   Zytec, received national acclaim as the Malcom Baldridge Quality award winner.

When: June 1, 2017 5.30 -8.00 pm

Where: 46 South 11th Street, Room 127 Schulze Hall, University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis, MN

Parking: Skyway connected Ramp on 11th Street & Harmon Place.

Registration: Free.  Click here to register


Meeting Recap: Food Building

By Uncategorized No Comments

Thank you to Cheri Olerud for providing this meeting recap!

Tom Brossart, Digital Architect, gave about 20 members and guests an excellent private tour of the Food Building on Wednesday, March 22nd, located at 1401 Marshall Street NE, a renovated historic edifice of incredible food businesses.  We were able to view firsthand, the art, craft and care that goes into each of the foods they produce.

03_22_2017-15   03_22_2017-14

The Twin Cities has greatly benefited from Kieran Folliard, the founder of this brainchild, a brilliant innovator generous with his time, talent and money since his arrival from Ireland 22 years ago.  Inside the 27,000 square foot Food Building is event space, upstairs offices for the six who form the legal, financial and marketing team (including Kieran’s oncology dietitian wife, Lisa), and three distinct businesses.

03_22_2017-5  03_22_2017-9

From the tables and benches (built in a very unusual pattern) made from wooden pallets to the barn door and livestock ear tags hanging from the ceiling, the décor is also very lively, meaningful, fun, functional and one-of-a-kind. FCS Professionals members loved the architecture of space and whimsical artwork by Nora Wildgren.

Although no processing was happening on the other side of the glass while we were there, Tom, himself a producer of homemade sauerkraut, shared and thoroughly explained the usual Food Building production happenings.

The first business is award-winning Red Table Meat Co.  Red Table is one of the smallest USDA whole hog production facilities in the country. At the sixth annual Good Food Awards in San Francisco, Red Table recently won for two awards for their cured meats and smoked ham. What an honor!


A second business creation is The Lone Grazer Creamery . The cheese made at this urban location used milk from MN grass-fed cows, and the washed rind cheeses used locally inspired flavors including 11 Wells Rye Whiskey and 2 Gingers® Irish Whiskey.  Sadly, this business is now closed and the equipment is setting empty, while the Food Building owners decide upon the next concept that pairs well with meat and bread.

The Drafthorse restaurant, a lively, industrial-chic bistro, bar & deli, is the third ingenious idea, serving great food with a retail counter for Lone Grazer cheeses and Red Table meats. It’s also the business holding the liquor license for events in the building.

03_22_2017-19   03_22_2017-7

The fourth business endeavor, Baker’s Field Flour and Bread, a stone-milled flour and naturally leavened bread company, is headed up by Steve Horton, who founded Rustica Bakery a decade ago and is a 3-time James Beard semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef and Outstanding Baker.  Steve is using his experience and connections growing Rustica to launch Baker’s Field Flour and Bread.  Years of experience working with dozens of flours to make hundreds of breads have inspired Steve to connect farmers, millers and bakers to create exceptional flour and bread.

What else is in store for this cool building that has the meat, beer and bakery business covered, plus 76 solar panels and bee hives on the roof? There’s 10,000 sf more space in the adjacent lot and Folliard has secured the domain name FOOD BLDG. He told us not to be surprised if, someday, we see FOOD BLDG somewhere downtown. As he told it, of course it stands for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Grab & Go!

03_22_2017-22  03_22_2017-6  03_22_2017-21

If you’re sad you missed out, and curious to see this space and meet these interesting food artisans, self-guided tours are offered every Tuesday through Friday. Several comprehensive chalkboards  throughout the building offer descriptions of what you’re looking at. Check out the very thorough and easy-to-navigate website:  for details, history and lots of photos. The only thing the website won’t get you is the tasty food we got at the end of our tour:  Salumi—dry cured meat
from Red Table Meat Co. (from MN pasture-raised pigs), cheese from the Lone Grazer Creamery (from MN grass-fed cows) and naturally leavened bread from Baker’s Field.

See how enthusiastic FCSP members and guests were about the Food Building tour, as the comments from the evaluations below demonstrate:
1. “This was an excellent tour and presentation, Tom was great!”

2. “I would never have known about this industry without this meeting. It’s fun to know what’s in our neighborhood.”

3. “I loved the architecture of space, artwork by Nora Wildgen, barn door and pallet furniture.  I can’t wait to go again with friends!”