Dana Badgerow, a veteran businesswoman and Minnesota Commissioner of Administration during the Pawlenty administration, had helped the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota hit full stride as it celebrates its 100th anniversary this month.
CEO Badgerow, also an attorney and a runner, reports that the Minnesota BBB was just recognized as the best BBB affiliate in the land by its national organization. And Badgerow has been elected to serve a two-year term as a governor of the national Better Business Bureau.
The organization boasts a membership of 6,500 businesses and a staff of 48 who work to resolve consumer-business differences and educate the public.
"We want consumers to gravitate toward businesses who are affiliated with us," Badgerow said last week. "We want you to check with us before you buy or sign a contract, but we will be here to help you after your buy no matter what. We're going to the media with tips and scam stories and we are targeting millennials ... college students are the second-most likely group to be scammed after senior citizens.''
Badgerow said the organization has a plan "to be the go-to resource for consumers about a company's track record in the marketplace before making a purchase. We also would like to grow our membership to 10,000 businesses. The Minnesota attorney general's office has to focus its resources and go after big fish. We are filling some of the gap. If somebody is selling defective asphalt door-to-door, we can help with that."
Companies pay $480 to a few thousand dollars annually, depending on size, to be BBB members.
"We took 24,000 complaints last year and the majority were against non-accredited businesses," Badgerow said. "The lever we have with our accredited businesses is that they have to resolve each complaint to our satisfaction. Failing that, we offer arbitration through volunteer arbitrators."
Badgerow, a youthful 68 who ran the 5K race at last week's Twin Cities Marathon, once was vice president of global operations at Honeywell.
LOST BAGS TOP THE STRESS LIST FOR TRAVELERS
Fear of flying is the lowest cited stress factor for business travelers, but lost or delayed luggage sends the stress meter to a sky-high 79 on a scale of 100. Those are among the results of a global stress survey of business travelers analyzed by Minnetonka-based Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT). The survey is designed to help CWT and its corporate clients understand the needs of their on-the-go employees in order to help productivity and make the travel grind less, well, grindy.
The survey found that: travel stress increases with age and frequency, women travelers have higher stress levels than men, senior executives report higher stress levels than their subordinates and that North America travelers stress more when faced with a language they don't understand than do foreign business travelers.
"Some things were surprising, like lost baggage, but some things were intriguing like the difference between genders," said Joel Wartgow, senior director of the CWT Solutions Group. "A decision as simple as a hotel location could have an impact on productivity. Moving from business class to coach on long flights could result in lost sleep or greater jet lag. Travelers are more empowered than ever before and it changes the way we manage travel."
And this is a sign of the times: after lost or delayed baggage, the No. 2 stressor for business travelers, at 77, is poor, or no, Internet connection.
NORTHERN OIL STOCK BUBBLES UP
Things are heating up for Northern Oil & Gas as the temperatures cool in the red-hot North Dakota oil fields.
The stock price of Northern, a large landowner in an oil-rich neighborhood, trades at a discount to that of traditional energy-field drillers.
However, Global Hunter Securities has a 12-month target price on Northern of $26.79 per share, based on recent purchase prices for area acreage.
Wayzata-based Northern, speculated to be takeover bait by larger drilling companies, rose 5 percent in value last week to a $17.20 close on Friday.
Meanwhile, Denver-based Voyager Oil and Gas, headed by the brother of Northern CEO Michael Reger, has changed its name to Emerald Oil. It's CEO is James "J.R." Reger. The Reger family is four generations deep in the Great Plains/Colorado land-and-oil trades. North Dakota has spurted to become the No. 2 oil-producing state in the country.
Twin Cities gambler Lyle Berman, 71, who has run a few speculative companies in his day, is chairman of Emerald Oil, a much smaller company than Northern. Berman's son, Bradley, is chairman and CEO of Wayzata-based Black Ridge, a neighbor of Northern Oil. Both headquarters, in tony Wayzata on Lake Minnetonka, are far from the dusty oil fields of North Dakota and Montana. Black Ridge so far is a small, fast-growing money loser. Like Northern, the smaller Black Ridge buys land in the oil patch and benefits when oil-and-gas drillers hit payola.
•The Minneapolis law firm Faegre Baker Daniels mourned the loss last week of longtime partner Gerry Nolting, who died unexpectedly Tuesday at age 57. Nolting was a top litigator for the firm and played key roles in the Exxon Valdez oil spill case, helping represent some 2,000 commercial fishermen and business owners in a trial that resulted in a $5 billion judgment. More recently, Nolting led the Faegre Baker Daniels team representing 1,500 fishermen and fishing-related business hurt by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A $7.8 billion global settlement was achieved. "Nolting was an outstanding, hard-working lawyer who contributed significantly to the success of the litigation practice and the firm as a whole," said Andrew Humphrey, managing partner of FBD.
•Sherman Associates has completed the $132 million refinance and renovation of Riverside Plaza, the 40-year-old, 1,303-unit apartment complex on the West Bank in Minneapolis.