06.18.10 notes, links

Way too much on my plate this morning, so I need to keep this brief. I’ll be unpacking my thoughts/notes today on last night’s Policy & A Pint on “Cities, Bicycling and the Future of Getting Around.” I’m also going to be talking/playing phone tag with a few more entrepreneurs I want to feature in next week’s issue of The Line.

I’m going to get straight into the links now:

The Seward Co-op celebrated its new 32-kilowatt rooftop solar photovoltaic system with a “commissioning party” on Thursday. The array was installed by Solarflow Energy, a Seward neighborhood company that is trying to prove a solar leasing model. I wrote about ’em this week for The Line.

, an Eden Prairie medical device startup, announced an extra infusion of cash from its existing investors. The company makes an imaging product that it believes can help doctors diagnose and document prostrate cancers. Thomas Lee wrote late last year that the company may have a hard time convincing reimbursers that the product is necessary. I was humming the Yeah Yeah Yeahs after reading this story in the Star Tribune this morning: an airline worker in Arkansas came across a container of human heads and head parts on their way to Medtronic that were apparently not packed or labeled properly. The state confiscated the body parts until it can confirm they were obtained legally.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced May job numbers on Thursday. Minnesota employers created a net 5,600 jobs during the month while unemployment fell to an even 7 percent from 7.1 percent in April. It was the second consecutive month of job gains — a first since Jan.-Feb. 2008. U.S. Census hiring is responsible for a large chunk of the increase, but private employers in the state still created 2,600 jobs. Construction and financial services were the only sectors that didn’t see growth. I spoke with an official from an IT staffing agency in the Twin Cities, who told me that it’s placing a lot more web and app developers than it was a year ago, although much of the activity is temporary contract work.

Morning post. June 17, 2010.

Jumping back into full-time freelance writing has been a chance to reinvent my routine. I’m still tweaking it, trying to find a flow that will be productive, stimulating and sustainable. One aspiration: one blog post per morning, a quick, daily round-up to share interesting links, let you know what I’m working on, and focus my thoughts and energy for the day ahead. So here’s a trial run. I can’t promise it’ll be back tomorrow, so enjoy, and lemme know what you think.

Today, I’ll be reading, digesting and starting to write something about the Minneapolis Chamber’s new 2010 MSP Business Vitality Index (PDF here). Thoughts/impressions?

I’m also following tips and tracking down companies to cover in next week’s issue of The Line. If you know of local startups that are growing or doing something cool, lemme know.

Here’s some links:


TEKSystems, an IT staffing firm in Minnesota, has filed a lawsuit against a former employee alleging her LinkedIn connections violate a non-compete agreement (Wired/Computerworld)


Cap and Trade will burden the rich, but ease energy costs for the poor (Fast Company)

More push back against wind power. A group called Goodhue Wind Truth has put up a billboard accusing T. Boone Pickens of giving residents “the shaft.” (Finance & Commerce)

Advanced Bioenergy, a Wayzata ethanol company, disclosed Wednesday that it’s seeking to raise $10.35 million in equity. (SEC Edgar)


Pine Technical College in Pine City is using a federal grant to set up a $2.4 million entrepreneurship center and technology business incubator. (Finance & Commerce)

ABRA’ Auto Body & Glass is touting CEO Rollie Benjamin’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. I had the chance to interview Benjamin a couple of weeks ago about how he grew the company from a single repair shop in Fridley to a 100-location chain. You’ll be able to read my story in the August issue of Twin Cities Business magazine. (BusinessWire)


The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis predicts Minnesota might not return to pre-recession employment levels until 2013. (Finance & Commerce)

mono, a branding agency I wrote about for The Line a couple of weeks ago, continues to grow. It just added two more creative hires. (PR Newswire)