Four-year-old Adestinn is expecting a growth surge in its business of working with employers to include subsidized vacations as part of employee-benefit packages.

Late last year, the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) national organization approved the Adestinn program for bundling with health insurance policies of all the “Blues” nationally without restriction.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota has decided to partner with Adestinn, making it the first state Blue Cross insurer to offer the vacation-savings program as part of select health-insurance offerings.

Under the Adestinn plan, employees contribute to an FDIC-insured account, which is refundable upon demand and can be carried over year-to-year. Adestinn matches at 50 percent.

Savings placed in an Adestinn account can be applied toward hundreds of hotels and resorts at more than 100 desirable destinations around the world that employees book through the Adestinn 24-hour website and customer-service center.

David-Elias Rachie, founder and CEO of Adestinn, said: “We’re focused on working with health insurance providers, getting another one or two more BCBS organizations … and we’ll go after the Aetnas, UnitedHealth and Cigna. We’ve gotten a lot of traction in direct sales to Fortune 1000 companies of 10,000 or more employees … as well as those with 3,000 to 5,000. We soon will have over 1 million employees in our direct sales pipeline and we would like to see 5 million or more eligible employees.”

Adestinn is growing this year from 15 to 25 employees and plans a move by the end of the year from Mahtomedi to an unspecified site in downtown Minneapolis. The firm also is raising about $750,000 in equity from individual investors to finance its expansion.

Rachie said if he attracts even a fraction of the deals he’s negotiating, Adestinn will go cash-flow positive in 2015. He partly credits federal health care reform with his success because employers and health insurers are looking for distinguishing features in their offerings once the competition heats up and more people come into the system.

“Most of the wellness programs out there are like your mother telling you to do it because it’s good for you,” Rachie likes to say. “This is a wellness program that provides something you want. You save money and get a 50 percent match. There’s no better deal out there.”

Adestinn and BCBS say research proves that out-of-town vacations can provide tangible health benefits. Just don’t lie around the pool all day drinking beer.

Okabena is Changing Leaders, Not Style

There’s a change coming at the top at the Grande Dame of Twin Cities family offices.

Okabena Co., founded by the Dayton family in 1967 to handle wealth management, generational and philanthropic matters, is getting a new leader.

CEO Christine Galloway will retire after 21 years in December. The company will have two bosses:

James Field, 44, former CEO of Chicago-based Northern Trust Company’s Minneapolis office, has joined the firm as president and will oversee financial services. And Doug Neimann, the current president and chief investment officer, will manage the comprehensive investment program for Okabena’s taxable and tax-exempt clients.

Field is a CPA and CFA who earned his master’s degree in accounting from DePaul University in Chicago. A Twin Cities resident, he also has worked at Deloitte and Touche, Portfolio Management Group and American Express.

“Jim understands our client-centered and team approach to all aspects of our clients’ financial lives,” Neimann said. “It’s service-oriented. Very high touch. A multigenerational approach that’s different than a Wall Street or profit-focused firm.”

Toby Dayton, 46, is chairman of Okabena, and keeper of the legacy begun after World War II when his grandfather, the late Don Dayton, was one of five brothers to turn one department store into a national company now known as Target Corp.

Okabena, named for a Minnesota lake, is a break-even operation that manages about $1.34 billion and handles financial planning and generational matters for 42 Dayton-family households, and, since about 1999, for about three dozen tax-exempt endowments and foundations. The young ones get financial education and also learn about the family heritage.

“We’ve been at it for a long time,” said Dayton, who also is CEO of LinkUp, the Web-based job search engine. “We grew our asset base, not to generate profit and earnings but to get scale and as a cost-containment strategy. We have a pretty sophisticated investment program. And we take a 15- or a 22-year-old and we help them understand what they have and how to treat their good fortune and to be good stewards and good citizens with the money.”

Mairs & Power Small Cap Fund Rocks

St. Paul-based Mairs & Power has hit the sweet spot with its three-year-old Mairs & Power Small Cap Fund.

The employee-owned investment advisory firm, a quiet, top-quartile performer since it launched its first mutual fund in the 1950s, achieved an annualized return of nearly 28 percent with the small-cap fund, besting the S&P SmallCap 600 Index, which posted an annualized return of 21.6 percent over the three-year period.

Morningstar, the mutual fund analyst, is expected to rank Mairs & Power Small Cap among the top 1 percent for three-year performance when it updates its statistics in September.

The small cap fund’s largest holdings include Deluxe Corp., Badger Meter, Cray Inc., Techne Corp and Apogee Enterprises.

SHORT TAKES:

• Nearly 1,650 Minneapolis youths ages 14 to 16 got jobs from more than 230 employers throughout the Twin Cities area through the public-private STEP-UP internship program this summer.

The Little Earth Youth Center and the State of Minnesota were among the employers honored by former Mayor R.T. Rybak, the founding co-chair with U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis.

This program has given thousands of kids, disproportionately minority and from lower-income families, their first formal job experience.

Felicia Johnson, a STEP-UP alumna and graduate of Minneapolis South High and Macalester College, emceed the recent summer-ending celebration at the Guthrie Theater.

“My internships may be in the past, but because of the program I bring with me the wealth of knowledge, support, and opportunity to each professional life encounter,” she said.

The celebration was sponsored in part by Thrivent Financial and Allianz Life Insurance, two stalwart Step-Up employers.