■ Lexington Manufacturing nationally recognized as top 100 company
Wood Products magazine named Lexington Manufacturing to its “Wood 100 Strategies for Success,” report recognizing the nation’s top 100 wood product companies for excellence in manufacturing, innovation, productivity, customer service and business strategies.
The “Wood 100” is a compilation of the fastest-growing companies in the wood products industry. With 130 employees and more than 300,000-square-feet of combined manufacturing space at facilities in Brainerd and Coon Rapids, Lexington Manufacturing’s sales grew more than 34 percent in the midst of the recession.
“From our people to our equipment and processes, we’ve worked hard to structure our business for success,” said Mike Dillon, general manager of the Brainerd plant.
Established in 1981, Lexington Manufacturing creates engineered wood products used in commercial and fire rated doors, furniture, cabinets and stairway components. Lexington Manufacturing is among the largest manufacturing firms in the Brainerd lakes area.
■ Lakewood receives March of Dimes community program grant
STAPLES — Lakewood Health System received a community grant from the March of Dimes to fund its Better Beginnings program.
Five other programs across Minnesota also received the grant, which is meant to improve the health of babies with a focus on nutrition, breast-feeding and prenatal education.
“We are excited to fund innovative programs that address weight management and healthy lifestyles among pregnant and parenting women,” said March of Dimes Program Services Chair Kim Pearson. “These grants further the March of Dimes investment in community programs that make a real difference in improving the health of babies.”
The Better Beginnings program seeks to combat obesity in the community by giving mothers-to-be and new mothers access to information about nutrition, physical fitness and breast-feeding. Women will be given information about nutrition and fitness, have greater access to a board certified lactation consultant and have the opportunity to attend classes on fitness and nutrition in the prenatal and postpartum periods quarterly over the next year.
Lakewood’s existing breast-feeding mother’s group will also be enhanced by this grant and will offer prizes at each gathering to aid families in their quest for good health. Finally, nurses and providers will be offered access to training about breast-feeding and lactation to ensure patients receive clear, consistent messaging and evidence based help and support.
Lakewood OB manager Sarah Baumgartner said: “The March of Dimes is a progressive organization that works on many projects and initiatives. They continue to demonstrate support for healthy moms and healthy babies. We are grateful they chose Lakewood Health System to be part of their program.”
“Breast-feeding, good nutrition and physical activity are known to reduce obesity rates,” said Stephanie Rodriguez, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant at Lakewood. “With the high obesity rates in the United States, programs like this become incredibly important to communities. Unfortunately, rural communities often do not have access to these types of programs. I am very excited to be working with Lakewood Health System on this program, and incredibly grateful to the March of Dimes for helping us help promote good maternal and child health in this area.”
■ Mille Lacs Band’s Corporate Commission announces new brand identity
ONAMIA — Through the successful development and operation of Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Grand Casino Hinckley, and the more recent acquisitions of the Crowne Plaza St. Paul Riverfront and the DoubleTree by Hilton hotels in St. Paul, the Corporate Commission of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe reports is has established a reputation for savvy business leadership and entrepreneurial vision.
A new brand identity was created to reflect the spirit of business intellect, the band reported. The new identity is Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures.
“By connecting people, ideals and capital, we are growing a regional economy that benefits all Minnesotans,” said Joe Nayquonabe, CEO of Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures, in a news release. “Our new brand better represents who we are as a company, the value we add to the Mille Lacs region, and what we stand for in the business world.”
The overall design of the logo was inspired by traditional Ojibwe beadwork. The band reported the floral element represents growth and prosperity and the base of the mark is a stylized “M,” representing “Mille Lacs.”
The new name holds significance, too. “Mille Lacs” not only identifies the location, but also indicates the corporation’s relationship to the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. The words “Corporate Ventures” represent a business entity and a new journey, the Mille Lacs Band reported.
Along with the new name, came a new website in www.MLcorporateventures.com. The band reported the website was developed to better serve the company’s traditional visitors, while also enriching interactions with potential business partners as the company expands into the hospitality industry.
■ Wells Fargo tops list of world’s most valuable bank brands
The Brand Finance Banking 500, conducted by leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance, ranks the world’s biggest banks by their brand value.
The results, published in the February edition of The Banker magazine, reflect industry trends and indicate future developments.
Wells Fargo, the world’s most valuable bank brand, reports it added $4.2 billion of brand value to reach a total of more than $30 billion. Lending across a huge range of categories, the improved domestic economy has driven revenues and helped Wells Fargo overtake JP Morgan to become the world’s most profitable bank, the company reported.
Wells Fargo’s enhanced brand rating is up to AAA. Wells Fargo is closely followed by Bank of America and Citi, which have grown their brands by $4.3 billion and $2.8 billion respectively.
The increased number of this year has helped many investment banks and Goldman Sachs in particular. Last year, there were 222 initial public offerings (IPOs), seven times the figure for 2008. Consequently Goldman has grown its brand value faster than any major bank. It is up 37 percent to a total of more than $10 billion.
The successes of America’s top banks are not quite matched by those lower down the list. In fact, at a time of wealth polarisation and calls for greater competition in banking, there has been a further consolidation around the biggest U.S. banking brands. In 2013, the top 10 represented 68 percent of the total value of all U.S. brands in the table, in 2014, that figure is 83 percent.
In addition to the success of U.S. banks, western brands in general have shown promising improvements. HSBC, UBS and BNP Paribas are Europe’s biggest winners, up $4 billion, $3.35 billion $1.6 billion respectively. Meanwhile the total for Greece is up more than 100 percent as successful austerity measures have begun to rapidly transform the country’s economic outlook.
Notable results from elsewhere in the world included the halting of rapid growth in some BRIC countries, namely Russia, India and Brazil. Their national brand value totals are down 6 percent, 13 percent and 23 percent respectively. China, however, continues to grow strongly. Its banks have added a total of nearly $19 billion and there are now three Chinese bank brands in the global top 10.