A look at the people behind the numbers in area business:

 

KRISTIN PARDUE and BRAD VON BANK RÊVE CONSULTING, RÊVE ACADEMY

Titles: Pardue, CEO, co-founder; Von Bank, co-founder

Ages: Pardue, 46; Von Bank, 43

Kristin Pardue and Brad von Bank this year will expand Rêve Consulting, their strategy and service design firm, and Rêve Academy, their digital career skills program for students.

Both will move to larger offices in April in northeast Minneapolis, a few miles from their present headquarters on the city’s North Side. The Rêve entities take their name from the French word for “dream,” while the firm’s mission statement is to “help people and organizations dream with direction.”

Rêve Consulting, whose clients include Target and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, helps clients develop strategic plans and design services and integrate technology to execute them.

“We are experts at understanding our customers’ customers,” said Pardue, who founded Rêve Consulting in 2009 after leading strategic initiatives at General Electric and Carlson Hotels Worldwide. Von Bank, who led technology teams for GE and a large retailer, joined in 2010.

The move will help because Rêve Consulting expects to go from 11 to 16 employees this year, Pardue said.

The nonprofit Rêve Academy, which has served more than 3,000 students since 2011, also will have room to grow. Academy students learn to make their own websites, then have the opportunity to intern at student-run businesses, an agency that develops websites for paying clients and a venture that creates retail brands.

Q: What motivated you to launch Rêve Consulting?

Pardue: The driving factor was to help reinvent how strategy was designed and deployed. I wanted to do it in a very innovative way … with technical and kind of emotional methodologies that got people believing in what was possible as well as motivated to do the work.

Q: What led to the formation of Rêve Academy?

Von Bank: We wanted to create a world-class academy that provides pathways for students into digital careers. It’s important to encourage these kids to dream but sometimes they don’t know what it’s like to get there.

Q: What is service design?

Von Bank: We’re not a traditional product design firm. When it comes to services, it’s different. It’s human-to-human and it’s understanding a lot of complex operations. You have to understand digital because it’s so much a part of the service experience. But you also have to understand call centers and brick-and-mortar. It’s really about creating those winning experiences for organizations and helping them to understand how to operationalize that.

Pardue: From a people, process and technology perspective. It’s designing the ecosystem for delivering those experiences to their customers.

Todd Nelson