Staff Directory 6370513

Evan Ramstad

Business Team Leader | Newsroom
Phone: 612-673-4241

Evan Ramstad is a team leader in business news, working with reporters who cover the food industry from field to fork. He also writes about technology, banking and the economy.

He moved to the Twin Cities and joined the Star Tribune in 2013. Ramstad previously worked for The Wall Street Journal in Seoul, Hong Kong and Dallas, and the Associated Press in New York, Washington and Dallas and briefly at the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He grew up in Grinnell, Iowa, where he got a start in journalism at radio station KGRN.
Recent content from Evan Ramstad
WomenVenture CEO LeeAnn Rasachak, right, Chief Program Officer Sarah Pike, center, and Vice President of Lending Sue Moses.

How a Minnesota nonprofit became a lifeline for women business owners

The leaders of WomenVenture reflect on what the financial crisis of the pandemic has meant for women entrepreneurs.
Shares in Tesla burst through the $900 level last week and then the $1,000 level this week.

Even at $1T, Tesla's value still likely to climb, Piper Sandler analyst says

Tesla will keep grabbing car market share and disrupt other industries, says Alexander Potter, the Minnesota analyst who predicted it would join the $1 trillion valuation club.
Sparboe Farms agreed to donate 1 million eggs to Minnesota charities, settling a lawsuit brought by the state Attorney General’s Office over pricing

AG settles price-gouging suit with Sparboe for donation of 1 million eggs

The Litchfield, Minn., egg producer said it has never engaged in price gouging and offered the donation to resolve the state's lawsuit quickly.
Figures on both sides of the Bremer battle have accused each other of trying to make more money for themselves.

A key subplot within the Bremer drama: How much trustees and bank executives are paid

Money is at the center of many disputes and the Bremer clash quickly put the spotlight on the pay of the main combatants.
Attorney Michael Ciresi, right, who represents the three trustees of Otto Bremer Trust, questioned Bremer Financial Corp. CEO Jeanne Crain in Ramsey C

Bremer case lays bare a relationship that goes back decades — but may have reached its limit

Nowhere else in America does a charity like Bremer Trust own a bank like Bremer Financial.
Minnesota added more than 17,000 jobs in September, one of the biggest moves upward all year.

Minnesota added 17K jobs in September, one of biggest jumps of the year

The biggest gain happened in the hard-hit leisure and hospitality sector.
Bremer Financial and the Otto Bremer Trust have spent $36 million on legal fees battling each other over their future during the last two years.

Bremer combatants have spent $36 million on legal battle

Bremer's CEO testified she wanted to preserve founder's vision for a "community" bank.
Michael Ciresi, the attorney representing the three trustees of Otto Bremer Trust, framed a question for Bremer Financial Corp. CEO Jeanne Crain in a

Bremer Trust conflicts 'always understood' as deal discussions began in 2019, bank CEO says

But for months in 2019, bank executives and leaders of the trust that owns the bank appeared to be on the same page.
Michael Ciresi, the attorney representing Otto Bremer Trust trustees, standing at right, questioned Bremer Financial Corp. CEO Jeanne Crain during an

Bremer Financial CEO Crain: Trustees chose 'most destructive way' to try to sell bank

The October 2019 announcement that thrust the Bremer dispute into the public eye likely "destroyed value," CEO Jeanne Crain said.
Jeanne Crain, chief executive of Bremer Financial, spent about 20 minutes on the witness stand in a hearing over alleged misconduct by trustees of the

Bremer Financial CEO says her job is not a factor in dispute with trustees

Jeanne Crain, who has led Minnesota's No. 4 bank since 2016, rejected allegations that the company's conflict with trustees shaped by her job and finances.
U.S. Bank reopened a branch in north Minneapolis in the third quarter — and gave away pizza to celebrate.

U.S. Bank's profit leaps after releasing more pandemic rainy-day funds

But its revenue fell as big businesses scaled back loans and consumer borrowing remained light.
Brian Lipschultz, center, one of the trustees of the Otto Bremer Trust, looks over a document as he is questioned by Assistant Attorney General Carol

Bremer Financial execs appeared to favor a merger in early 2019, trustee says

In early 2019, Bremer Bank leaders held talks with South Dakota-based Great Western Bank and planned for the combined firm to take the Bremer name.
Brian Lipschultz, a trustee of Otto Bremer Trust, led a push to sell the charitable organization’s stake in Bremer Financial Corp., which operates M

Bremer trustee Lipschultz saw 'once in a lifetime' chance to sell Bremer bank company

Through summer 2019, Otto Bremer Trust trustee Brian Lipschultz tried to attract buyers for Bremer Financial and do it in a way a skeptical trustee could accept.
In a file photo, a researcher holds a canola sample at Calyxt. The Roseville-based company announced a strategic change of direction.

Calyxt, firm that edits genes in plants, will offer its technology to other firms

The Roseville company until now has focused on using gene-editing technology to develop its own products, including a soybean that had a trans fat gene taken out.
Cargill agreed to buy the Minnesota-based epoxides business of the Dutch chemicals company Arkema. The business operates out of this plant in Blooming

Cargill buys Blooming Prairie business that turns soybean oil into chemicals for home products

The agribusiness is spending about $40 million to buy the epoxides business of Arkema, the Dutch chemical conglomerate.
Andrew Cecere, chief executive of U.S. Bancorp since 2016, agreed to undertake the company’s biggest deal since 2001.

At U.S. Bank under Cecere, doing a giant deal takes 'discipline'

The Minneapolis banking giant waited years to join the industry's latest dealmaking wave as CEO Andrew Cecere applied a tough standard for making a big move.
U.S. Bank will become the fifth-largest bank in California with its purchase of MUFG Union Bank. Shown is the U.S. Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles.

U.S. Bank buying West Coast's MUFG Union Bank for $8B

The deal gives a strong lift to U.S. Bank's presence in California, where it will rise to fifth in market share from 10th.
Graco Inc.’s top executives said the Minneapolis valve manufacturer is seeing higher costs “coming everywhere,” including steel, aluminum, coppe

For Minnesota businesses, higher costs are 'coming everywhere'

Inflation is causing disruptions to workflow, threats to profits and tough decisions about passing rising costs on to customers.
The last corn was received in 2019 at the former Del Monte cannery in Sleepy Eye. The facility will now become part of a fast-growing pet food busines

Pet-food maker buys former Del Monte canning plant in Sleepy Eye

The plant will become a central cog in the rapidly expanding pet-food businesses of entrepreneur Stephen Trachtenberg.
Ceece Kelley, founder of Soaring Kite Books

Lerner will distribute books from publishing startup Soaring Kite

Soaring Kite Books, a startup publishing house in Washington focused on minority authors and diverse audiences, will have its books distributed by Lerner Publishing Group,…
U.S. Bank is buying a small company called Bento Technologies that makes a system for small businesses to keep track of employee spending more easily.

U.S. Bank adds to small-business services with acquisition of Bento Technologies

Bento, since 2014, has built a platform that simplifies the way employees keep track of business expenses.
Jean Taylor

Star Tribune chair Jean Taylor will become MPR's new CEO

She has chaired the Star Tribune's board for the last three years.
Electromed said it recently discovered a security breach involving customer and employee data happened in June.

Electromed reveals data breach, offers identity theft protection to customers

The maker of products for chronic respiratory conditions said the breach occurred in June.
Shares in SkyWater Technology reset last week after executives announced a capital spending plan that would eat into short-term profit margins.

SkyWater shares rise 20% as execs explain move to expand production capacity

The company's capital spending plan will erode short-term profit margins but set it up for sustained revenue growth, executives told investors Wednesday.
Land O’ Lakes saw its profit double this spring compared to a year ago, when food demand shifted at the start of the pandemic. Pictured is the compa

Land O'Lakes profit rose 22% as crop-related businesses drive more growth this spring

Demand for butter and milk surged in spring 2020, giving a boost to the farmers' co-op when the broader economy was contracting.
Sun Country was marginally profitable even without the government assistance that it and other airlines received this spring.

Sun Country nearly back at prepandemic operation levels

The Twin Cities-based airline's third-quarter revenue could exceed 2019 levels, executives said.
Ecolab’s latest financial results illustrated the slow comeback of U.S. workplaces as the pandemic started to come under control.

The businesses that needed cleaning changed this spring, Ecolab's results show

As the pandemic started to come under control, more restaurants and offices reopened. And they bought Ecolab's cleaning products again.
A marketing representative for Clearfield Inc. meets with a prospective customer at the Fiber Connect trade show in Nashville on Monday. The Minnesota

Brooklyn Park's Clearfield expands as broadband demand soars

Executives at the fiber-equipment maker cite a "once a generation" moment to grow in key rural markets as pandemic makes customers realize necessity of broadband and government investment pours in.
After raising capital with a stock sale this spring, Digi International has made two acquisitions, including Ctek Inc. this week.

Digi continues buying spree, picks up remote-monitor specialist Ctek

The deal brings a longtime maker of remote monitoring equipment into Digi's universe of internet-based technology.
Verdant Technologies’ homepage. The St. Paul food-storage innovator was acquired earlier this week by a Colorado-based maker of food processing equi

Verdant Tech, a food-storage innovator started by Holiday executives, is purchased by Colorado firm

The company developed sheets that go into food packaging and slow the ripening process in fruits, produce and flowers.
U.S. Bancorp raised its quarterly dividend, as did other banks, after the Federal Reserve’s latest stress tests found they had plenty of capital in

U.S. Bancorp boosts dividend 10%, joining other banks after passing stress test

It's the first dividend increase since 2019 and a milestone in the recovery of the economy as the pandemic abates.
Tile Shop Holdings shares will return to the main Nasdaq trading board on Thursday, after a controversial delisting in October 2019.

Tile Shop stock returns to main Nasdaq on Thursday

The Plymouth-based retailer took itself off the main Nasdaq exchange in late 2019, surprising its investors. After a business rebound last year, new investors pushed for its return.
Keli Selness of Wayzata prepared to charge her Tesla before shopping at a Target in St. Louis Park with her husband and two sons last week.

More EV charging stations on the horizon for Minnesota

Within a decade, state transportation officials say they expect 20% of all Minnesota light vehicles will be electric. But for the number of EVs to increase, the construction of charging stations will have to accelerate.
April Clobes, left, chief executive of Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, and Susan Langer, founder and chief executive of Live Give Save

Minnesota-based Live Give Save, a promoter of smart saving, is bought by Michigan credit union

The Red Wing-based company created an app that helped users save and donate money to charities. Now, one of the nation's largest credit unions will help promote it.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Dean Phillips took a tour of SkyWater Technology in Bloomington with CEO Tom Sonderman, right, on Tuesday. The lawmakers d

In visit to SkyWater chip plant, Klobuchar, Phillips tout Minnesota as tech center

As Senate nears vote on technology bill, Minnesota lawmakers say the nation's chip industry needs government investment to compete.
Subfreezing temperatures may have hurt young plants in the northern third of Minnesota. File photo of a farmer in a field of newly-emerged wheat plant

Surprise cold may have hurt crops just emerging in northern Minnesota

Sub-freezing temperatures Thursday night and Friday morning in the northern third of the state might have hurt soybean, wheat and corn plants.
Dust from a lack of rain drifts skyward as a farmer does field work near Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge Thursday in Sherburne County.

Minnesota's crop farmers are off to a strong start this spring

Minnesota farmers are in the best shape in a decade as planting begins.Coming out of a year that appeared disastrous at first and turned out…
Charles Youakim, co-founder and chief executive of Sezzle Inc.

Sezzle, after success in Australian stock market, will offer shares to U.S. investors

The move would raise more capital and give the Minneapolis financial technology firm a higher profile with retailers and consumers.
Polaris Industries said snowmobile sales were the best in nearly 25 years in this year’s first quarter. The company rolled out 22 new models last mo

Recovery is more visible as 1Q results at Minnesota companies emerge

Turnaround is broad-based, extends beyond shock drops of year-ago period.
The Bremer Bank branch at the IDS Center Thursday. ]   Aaron Lavinsky • At the heart of the Bremer dispute is a disag

Bremer Financial shareholders approve a board with no members from the Bremer Trust

The move leaves trustees who want to sell the bank company with less access to its operations and finances.
Walter Mondale in his office at Dorsey & Whitney in downtown Minneapolis in September 1987.

After politics, Walter Mondale made Minnesota business his business

When he returned after two decades in Washington, the former vice president quietly influenced the Minnesota business scene.
Tile Shop CEO Cabell Lolmaugh, above, spent most  of his career as a store manager.

How Tile Shop survived a delisting, shareholder lawsuits and a pandemic

The Plymouth-based chain wiped out debt to end the year with cash on hand.
Cale Johnston, founder and CEO of ClickSwitch, in a file photo. The Minneapolis company was purchased by Q2 Holdings of Austin, Texas.

Minneapolis fintech ClickSwitch is sold to Q2 Holdings

The Mpls. company, which simplifies switching to a new bank, will keep its office here.
Tile Shop Holdings has submitted a listing application to Nasdaq Stock Market. (Credit: Google Maps)

After 18 months away, Tile Shop aims for return to main Nasdaq

Plymouth tile and remodeling products firm wiped away debt, saw sales recover after shutdowns.
SkyWater Technology’s fabrication plant near the Mall of America in Bloomington was built in the 1980s by Control Data. It has been expanded several

SkyWater, Minnesota's largest chipmaker, will jump into the IPO frenzy

Its strategy as a contract manufacturer will now get a broader test with the investors.
Yemi Adewunmi, Damola Ogundipe and Shawntera Hardy are co-founders of Civic Eagle, a Twin Cities-based software platform company feature in Google’s

Google says its economic impact on Minnesota businesses grew 12% last year

The search and advertising giant is still considering a site near Becker for a data center, a utility executive says.
Cargill is going double the crush capacity at this soybean processing plant in Sidney, Ohio.

As soybean prices and demand soars, Cargill expands soy processing sites

Cargill Inc. said it will spend $475 million to expand and update soybean processing plants in seven states, raising capacity at a moment when demand…
Land O’Lakes saw a 29% jump in 2020 profit, as gains in its dairy and animal nutrition businesses offset a squeeze in its crop inputs and services u

Bakers, pet lovers lifted profits for Land O'Lakes in 2020

As farmers cut back in some areas, the giant cooperative relied more heavily on butter, pet food sales for growth.
The Bremer Bank branch at the IDS Center in November 2019.

Bremer fight flares as bank board tries to boot trustees

Two trustees refused to resign, but other directors decided not to renominate them for another board term.
Hormel executives raised their profit and sales expectations for the rest of the year, even as comparisons are about to get tougher to the big gains i

Hormel CEO frustrated by lack of COVID-19 vaccine access for workers

Snee said some states have placed a priority on meatpacking workers, but he is 'incredibly frustrated' overall.
Arne M. Sorenson became chief executive of Marriott International in 2012. By 2016 it had become the world’s biggest hotel chain.

Sorenson, Minnesotan who became CEO of Marriott, dies of cancer at 62

He grew up in St. Paul, got a law degree at the U and became the first outsider to lead Marriott.
Tesla could soon be worth $1 trillion,   Piper Sandler analyst Alexander Potter said. He explained why in a lengthy research report aimed at investmen

Is Tesla worth a trillion dollars? You bet, says a Minnesota analyst

A Piper Sandler analyst makes an aggressive call on Tesla, just like one did on Apple in the early 2000s.
The buyer of MTS Systems Corp., a presence in Eden Prairie since 1959, has found another buyer for the company's test and simulation unit, its big

Buyer of Eden Prairie's MTS finds another buyer for its biggest business

Amphenol said last month it would review MTS test business and found a buyer quickly.
A farmer planted corn at sunset near Walford, Iowa, in April. An August derecho windstorm reduced the output on 20% of Iowa’s farmland.

For Minnesota farmers, 2020 was nothing like they expected and surprisingly profitable

The continuing pandemic, a trade war and natural disaster blew apart all expectations.
Traders Gregory Rowe and Peter Giacchi worked the floor of the New York Stock Exchange March 12, four days before the Dow Jones fell 12.9%, the second

Diary of a miss: Coronavirus lesson of humility for Minnesota professional investors

Analysts admit they could have done a better job after first hearing about the virus.
Charles Youakim, co-founder and chief executive of Sezzle Inc.

With Sezzle now worth more than $1 billion, CEO describes a year on a rocket ship

During the Black Friday to Cyber Monday weekend two years ago, about 8,000 people for the first time used Sezzle Inc.'s payment system when they…
Ben Daley, in a file photo in the milking barn at the family farm near Lewiston.

Judge finds Winona County board was biased in denial of dairy farm expansion

The judge found that an activist group's members didn't give a fair hearing to a farm near Lewiston that wants to triple its size.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, left, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, of Iowa, in a February photo at the U.S. Capitol. They d

Small businesses that took PPP aid may face a tax problem

An IRS ruling hardened a battle over the tax treatment of aid to small employers.

No matter who wins, Minnesota business fortunes are shaped by other forces beyond the president

The U.S. president can influence the economy, but some trends are outside the reach of the office.
City Pages is closing after 41 years of covering arts, culture, politics and business in the Twin Cities. The alternative weekly, distributed free at

City Pages is closing, ending era of Twin Cities alt-weeklies

Four decades of alt-weekly journalism ends in Twin Cities.
The Southwest Journal will cease publication at the end of the year unless a buyer is found.

Southwest Journal, two magazines to close as owners seek buyer

One of the last neighborhood newspapers in Minneapolis is an influential voice in the city.
Fastenal said rising sales of personal protective equipment helped the company weather a downturn in its core products for manufacturers.

Fastenal sales, profits rise as demand for safety gear at manufacturers remains strong

The manufacturing supplier has also seen the decline of its main industrial parts business slow down.
SkyWater Technology CEO Tom Sonderman, with scissors, cuts the ribbon on an expansion of the company’s semiconductor factory in Bloomington on Monda

As SkyWater expansion shows, government's role in U.S. chip industry is rising

Semiconductor industry sees future public-private cooperation
Rebuilt or new U.S. Bank branches will be open in Minneapolis by late next year, and U.S. Bank said it will hire minority-owned contractors for all th

U.S. Bank reveals targets for reopening Minneapolis branches damaged in riots

Two of the three branches — damaged in riots following the police killing of George Floyd — are being rebuilt from the ground up.
Neel Kashkari, here in a 2015 file image, is president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune)

Mpls. Fed's Kashkari explains why he hasn't turned into a hawk on rates

The Minneapolis Fed chief insists board's inflation fears are overblown.
SkyWater began to roll in manufacturing equipment to its new clean room at its Bloomington plant last week. The equipment will be installed after vent

Minnesota chipmaker SkyWater finishes addition construction, equipment going in sooner than planned

The turning point is a signal to SkyWater's customers that chip design work can begin.
Jeanette Dorazio, new CEO of Leadpages

Leadpages taps Jeanette Dorazio, a software veteran, as new CEO

She most recently was vice president of operations for Solera Inc., a Texas-based provider of risk-management software used chiefly in the insurance and automotive industries.
The Bremer Bank branch at the IDS Center in November 2019.

Bremer trustees fire back at Ellison's attempt to oust them

In legal response, Bremer's trustees say Minnesota attorney general's desire to remove them is a 'political ploy.'
A soccer ball flies through the air to a car guided by Kyle Storer, known as “Torment,” in the video game Rocket League. Wise Ventures E-sports, o

Wilfs' e-sports venture starts a team playing Rocket League

The new team, called Version1, has its first game on Friday.
Ecolab corporate headquarters building in St. Paul.

Ecolab's most profitable business is suffering the most from the pandemic

Profits fell for the cleaning-products company, though executives see big rebound.
A Public Utilities Commission meeting on the proposed Enbridge pipeline in 2018 that had a full room of both advocates and opponents of the project.

Minnesota's state watchdog agency dings utilities commission on dealings with public

The state review focuses on Enbridge pipeline plan.
Tile Shop Holdings has reached a tentative settlement with shareholders angered by its plan to delist from the Nasdaq Stock Market. ORG XMIT: MIN20022

Tile Shop tentatively settles lawsuit brought by angry investors

Plymouth company sets up $12M settlement fund.
Charlie Youakim, chief executive of Sezzle

Sezzle's growth rockets higher as online shopping soars

The Minneapolis-based fintech company saw its Australia-listed shares hit a new high on the news.
Workers use combines to harvest soybeans in Tangara da Serra in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil.

Cargill mapping project in Brazil meant to help control deforestation

Cargill Inc. last week announced it has mapped out its entire supply chain for soybeans in Brazil, where the destruction of forest to make land…
General Mills’ Gold Medal flour was in huge demand for much of the spring as consumers forced to stay at home for work and school resorted to baking

After a spring like no other, the question for General Mills is how to keep it going

At-home eating drove a huge jump in sales and profits, and no one is sure how long it will last.