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Minnesota District Office
100 North Sixth Street Suite 210-C Butler Square
Minneapolis, MN 55403
United States
Phone: 612-370-2324
Fax: 202-481-0139
Hours of Operation:
Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Executive Director Named Financial Services Champion of the Year

Kristin Wood, Executive Director and Assistant Secretary of SPEDCO, has been named Minnesota Financial Services Champion of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Financial Services Champion award is presented annually in each state to individuals who assist small businesses through advocacy efforts to increase the usefulness and availability of accounting or financial services.

Since 1994, Wood has served as the Executive Director of SPEDCO, a non-profit certified development company whose mission is to help small businesses obtain financing for job creation, to fund business expansion and to promote economic development in Minnesota. Among certified development companies in Minnesota, SPEDCO is well-regarded as customer-focused, ethical and meticulous in its approach. Much of this is a result of Kristin’s energetic, focused leadership. She is a strong advocate of helping small businesses achieve job growth by encouraging participation in SBA 504 and other lending programs.

SPEDCO has been certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide long-term, fixed rate loans for the purchase or construction of fixed assets through the 504 loan program. As a registered agent of the SBA since 1981, SPEDCO’s function is to market the 504 loan program, pre-screen potential loan applicants, and to service those loans which receive funding for the term of the loan. In 2005, the SBA ranked SPEDCO #8 on its list of Minnesota institutions using SBA programs.

The SBA 504 program combines financing from a bank with a loan from the federal government. Most real estate transactions involve a bank loan for 50 percent of the total project with the bank taking a 1st lien position; a 40 percent debenture guaranteed by the SBA in a 2nd lien position, and 10 percent owner’s equity injection or money from other non-federal sources. The government guaranteed portion is a 20-year fixed loan, fully-amortizing below-market rate of interest. While the maximum SBA loan is typically $1.5 million (increased to $4 million in certain instances) the total project size can be much larger. The 504 loan program is the premier federal program to assist for-profit, owner-occupied businesses to purchase commercial real estate. Projects as diverse as office condominiums to medical clinics to large manufacturing facilities qualify for the loan program.

Under Woods leadership, SPEDCO’s loan portfolio has grown from $15.7 million to $119 million, and the annual company portfolio has increased from 41 to 278 new loans, resulting in a 73% increase in bottom-line net profits. An SBA 504 loan specialist since 1989, Wood holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, as well as certification as an Economic Development Finance Professional from the National Development Council. Prior to joining SPEDCO, Wood served as Executive Director/Administrator for Central Minnesota Development Company in Coon Rapids and also served as a Corporate Trust Officer for U.S. Bank in Minneapolis.

Wood is active in professional organizations including the Economic Development Association of Minnesota, National Association of Development Companies (NADCO) and Minnesota Career Real Estate Women.

Throughout her career in the certified development company industry, and specifically in her 12 years with SPEDCO, Wood has been a relentless champion of support for small businesses, creating jobs and economic development.


Business Editor Named Small Business Journalist of the Year

Dawn Peake, Business Editor of the St. Cloud Times, has been named the Minnesota Small Business Journalist of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Small Business Journalist of the Year is selected annually to honor journalists representing television, radio, electronic or print media who show a concerted effort to increase public understanding of the importance of small business contributions to the economy, contribute news and feature stories, editorials, columns and commentary that highlight and analyze small business issues, volunteer community service aimed at enhancing small business opportunity and growth, and other achievements that exemplify the nominee’s media efforts to improve the understanding of the role of small business in the U.S. economy.

Peake joined the St. Cloud Times in October 2004 as a non-profit and religion reporter before accepting a business reporter position in December and helping launch the company’s quarterly business magazine, ROI Central Minnesota. She became business editor of the St. Cloud Times an ROI in November 2005.

As a business editor at the St. Cloud Times, Dawn Peake guides two reporters and one intern while producing stories herself. The team writes about business and economics for the daily edition of the newspaper and its Business page, for the Times Website ( and for ROI Central Minnesota quarterly business magazine.

Peake and her staff track trends and individual business indicators in Central Minnesota and regularly report that information to the community in both publications.

Peake’s articles show the breadth and depth of local small-business operations. She has written about the family-owned trucking businesses, the construction and real estate industries, inventors, retail, manufacturing, banking, business recognition and more. She writes and/or edits a twice-a-week column on new, expanding or moving businesses, most of which are small businesses. She writes regularly about broad economic shifts and their effect on local businesses.

As editor, Peake has focused on not only increasing the newspaper’s coverage of local businesses, but also educating business leaders on the media and articulating their messages through one-on-one and small group meetings as well as large group speaking engagements.

Resource Partner Named Women in Business Champion of the Year

Susan Lindgren, President of YESS! – Your Extraordinary Success Strategies – and Ideal Coaching, Inc., has been named the Women in Business Champion of the Year for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Minnesota District Office as well as the upper Midwest Region.

The Women in Business Champion is selected annually to honor individuals who have fulfilled a commitment to the advancement of women’s business ownership.

The regional award winner is selected from among the state winners. In addition to Minnesota, SBA’s upper Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Lindgren is a best-selling author, Certified Management Effectiveness Coach, internationally recognized seminar leader, speaker and entrepreneur with 15 years experience. Her experience includes working across industries with all sizes of organizations. Sue specializes in the domains of communication, leadership, coaching and organizational effectiveness.

Lindgren is an entrepreneur who works with individuals and companies committed to fulfillment and excellence. In 1995, Lindgren co-founded Vistar Integrated Programs, an international training and consulting company. She currently owns and operates YESS! – Your Extraordinary Success Strategies, Inc, an innovative training, consulting and coaching organization. She co-founded Ideal Coaching, a world-class coaching organization offering the first certification program based in Minnesota.

Lindgren donates her time to the clients of WomenVenture, a non-profit organization that has helped over 78,000 men and women achieve their business and career dreams. Through a variety of programs, services and practical tools, Lindgren has been able to provide a comprehensive, full-circle experience that helps people on their journeys to economic success and prosperity during all stages of their professional lives including starting and running effective businesses.

Lindgren also is a facilitator for the three Minnesota Chapters of the Women President’s Organization (WPO). The WPO is an international business owner’s roundtable working with second stage business owners to confidently discuss business issued facing the continuing development of successful woman owned businesses.

Lindgren is known as a resource for business owners. She has donated more than 200 hours of coaching within the last year to facilitate the development of clients and their businesses. She continues with this pro-bono work as a way she can give back to the community.

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