Rudy completes journey; we’ve enjoyed traveling with him

June 7th, 2014

Rudy Hummel (left) and his father, Mark, celebrate Rudy’s last night sleeping outside for a full year. Photo courtesy of Duluth News Tribune.

Well done. What else can you say to 17-year-old Rudy Hummel after a year of sleeping outside, fundraising for charity and teaching us all about life and its possibilities?

Rudy completed his 365-day Snore Outdoors journey, which included enduring the coldest winter in 139 years in northern Minnesota, waking up to a squirrel on his head and scrambling when sprinklers went off in the middle of the night on a hotel lawn.

Along the way, he attracted worldwide media attention that included coverage on CNN, Fox News, the Huffington Post, newspapers, television stations, radio stations and websites–and an appearance on “A Prairie Home Companion” with Garrison Keillor.

Thanks, Rudy, along with parents Gail and Mark, for bringing North Coast Communications along for your journey. Here is some of the coverage of Rudy’s last night, and a touching, intimate celebration in his family’s backyard, where Rudy won’t be sleeping tonight for the first time in a long time:

Duluth News Tribune

Northland’s News Center


Fox 21 News

Associated Press

North Coast client nears outside sleeping quest

June 1st, 2014

Six days. That’s how much time 17-year-old Rudy Hummel of Hermantown, MN, has until he achieves his goal–sleeping outside every night for a full year.

He only picked the coldest winter in 139 years in northern Minnesota to do it.

North Coast Communications has been proud to accompany Rudy on his journey, helping spread the word about his amazing quest. Rudy has appeared on CNN, Fox News and local television and radio newscasts across the country. His story has appeared in newspapers and on websites around the world. He joined Garrison Keillor onstage at “A Prairie Home Companion” to talk about his project to a global radio and podcast audience. Rudy has spoken in person about his effort to several groups.

First to chronicle Rudy’s journey was Sam Cook, the outstanding outdoors writer and columnist for the Duluth News Tribune. Here is Sam’s account in Sunday’s paper as Rudy enters the home stretch in an effort Rudy has called Snore Outdoors for a Better World. Please consider visiting Rudy’s website and making a donation to his two charitable causes, helping provide housing to the homeless and enhance outdoors education.

And think about sleeping outside yourself on June 6, Rudy’s final night, when he has invited all of us to Snore Outdoors.

North Coast stands with kids and First Witness

May 6th, 2014

North Coast Communications is proud to stand with client First Witness Child Abuse Resource Center as part of the “I Stand with Kids” campaign. We raised $10,000 from 309 donors for child-abuse prevention and education efforts in the Twin Ports. All donors were recognized on “blue kids” signs along Duluth’s Lakewalk. Blue is the color of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

“Two decades ago, our community said we needed an organization like First Witness to protect children from abuse,” said Beth Olson, executive director of  First Witness. “Today, we understand child abuse much better and know much more about how to prevent it.”

She added: “Our efforts now are aimed as much at prevention and education as they are helping repair lives when abuse has occurred. We know the importance of engaging adults and children by talking about abuse prevention. That is one of the most important activities we do to make sure our entire community stands with kids.”

North Coast client DSGW Architects expands staff

May 6th, 2014

DSGW Architects has expanded its staff, adding three professionals to its Duluth office and one to its Virginia office.

Jarrid Houston is a specification writer and cost estimator based in Duluth and writing specifications for projects managed there as well as at DSGW’s offices in Virginia, Grand Rapids and Lake Elmo. With his background and education in construction management, Houston also will assist with the construction administration process

He has more than a decade of construction management and labor experience and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Construction Management from Bemidji State University.

“I was raised in a family of construction workers, and I love building and creating,” Houston said. “My position at DSGW is unique because I get to be involved in many projects, with an opportunity to play a role in lots of the work we do.”

Matt Smith joins the firm as an architecture intern. He is a 2013 graduate of North Dakota State University with a Master’s Degree in Architecture. He also holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Design from NDSU.

Smith is working on the Y Store retail project on the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa reservation near Tower and also a drug and alcohol treatment center project in Virginia. He is based in the Virginia office.

“I like the creative and problem-solving aspects of architecture,” Smith said. “My goal is to create environments that have a positive effect on the people who occupy our buildings.”

Peter Stauduhar has been hired as an architecture intern. He graduated in 2013 with a Master’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Minnesota and also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Physics from Gustavus Adolphus College.

Stauduhar is from Duluth and wanted to work in his hometown after college. He is currently involved in a project that will transform the former Lincoln Park School in Duluth into apartments.

“I especially like adaptive reuse architecture,” Stauduhar said. “Interesting possibilities come from taking a space designed for one purpose and making it useful for an entirely different purpose.”

Jacob Zikmund also joins DSGW as an architecture intern. He graduated in 2012 from North Dakota State University with a Master’s Degree in Architecture and also holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Design from NDSU.

Zikmund has two years of experience in the industry, having worked as a designer and an architectural project manager at firms in North Dakota and Colorado. He moved to Duluth from Denver to accept the position at DSGW. He is working on a project to renovate and expand the Itasca County Family YMCA in Grand Rapids.

“I love being able to create something in my mind and then working to make it real,” Zikmund said. “That is why I chose architecture for my career.”

“We’re pleased to have such a strong group of young professionals joining DSGW at a time of growth and opportunity for us and our clients,” said John Scott, the firm’s CEO. “Our new employees reflect the high skills and values that our clients have come to expect from DSGW. We welcome them to our team.”

DSGW Architects is a Minnesota-based firm with offices in Duluth, Virginia, Grand Rapids and Lake Elmo. Since 1938, it has attracted clients who are active in their communities and proactive in determining how those communities are built. DSGW employs classic as well as contemporary techniques to develop cities, buildings and interior spaces that exceed client expectations. Whether working with local leaders on project financing or creating thoughtful designs, DSGW listens to its clients, knowing their dreams help architects deliver enduring buildings that bring communities together.

North Coast client runs marathon at North Pole

May 4th, 2014

Pam Solberg-Tapper

North Coast Communications is proud to work with Pam Solberg Tapper to tell her amazing story of accomplishment and example. As she says, it doesn’t take that much more effort to go from ordinary to extraordinary. She certainly has achieved extraordinary by completing the North Pole Marathon. Read Duluth News Tribune outdoors writer Sam Cook’s story of how she did it.

We celebrate history–and make a little, too

April 23rd, 2014

The two 1893 Howard Sprague paintings reunited.

We made a little history Tuesday night in Duluth. The two Howard Sprague paintings commissioned by the Duluth, Missabe & Northern Railway shortly after the first Duluth ore dock was completed in 1893 came together again as a matched set for the first time in decades. The paintings now hang in separate buildings in Duluth. We reunited them and talked about their place in the history of industrial America before a gathering of mining and transportation executives. A fun night for those at the gathering and for us at North Coast Communications.

Employers have jobs, advice for young talent

April 19th, 2014

TwinPortsConnex Financial Field Trip Day

Twin Ports employers have jobs and advice for talented individuals seeking careers in the Northland. On Friday, college students interested in working in financial services spent the day with employers in that field. The full day of career connecting was organized by TwinPortsConnex, a local initiative designed specifically to link young talent with local employers.

The students and business leaders talked banking, markets and management. But they also discussed the importance of making and cultivating relationships in finding and succeeding in a job. In-person career connections are easily made in the Northland, as Friday’s TwinPortsConnex experience showed. Watch the Northland’s News Center report about the day’s activities.

TwinPortsConnex is a multi-faceted program offering career development and networking resources to help 18- to 35-year-olds live and work in the Northland. Like the program’s Facebook page. TwinPortsConnex is a client of North Coast Communications.

Can we all get along? Wisconsin group says we can

April 19th, 2014

In a world increasingly divided by extreme partisanship and hostile debate, Rob Karwath just wants everyone to tone it down a bit. The representative of Speak your Peace: The Civility Project was in Eau Claire, Wis., spreading the organization’s message that everybody wins when people can discuss controversial issues without being mean or disrespectful.

Read the full story in the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram here.

Speak Your Peace is a project of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, a North Coast Communications client.

North Coast client names new Duluth president

April 19th, 2014

Deb Otto


Beacon Bank has named Deb Otto as President of its Duluth market, overseeing the community bank’s operations serving customers in northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin.

Otto has 31 years of banking experience in the Twin Ports. For the last three years, she has served as Vice President for Business Banking at Beacon’s downtown Duluth office. She has focused on business banking throughout her career, which has taken her from account management to senior leadership roles. 

“At Beacon, we know the key to our success is the success of our customers,” Otto said. “We’re here to help them achieve their goals, and we have a great team in place to do that.” 

Otto succeeds Tim Meininger, who opened Beacon’s office in Duluth in 2002 and who will remain with the bank through December, when he plans to retire. 

“My role is to support our team through this exciting transition,” Meininger said. “I will continue to work with our customers and will be active in our community, which I love. Beacon Bank has a great history in Duluth and a great future under Deb’s leadership.”

Beacon recently moved to a new location at 331 W. Superior St. in downtown Duluth, where it is expanding its staff. In addition to its main downtown location, Beacon operates a drive-up office at 306 W. Michigan St. and a Miller Hill office at 1405 Miller Trunk Highway.

“We are strongly committed to the community and our customers in the Twin Ports,” said Bob Weiss, CEO and President of Beacon Bank. “Under Tim’s leadership, Beacon has grown by helping our clients achieve their goals. Under Deb’s leadership, Beacon Bank is on firmly established ground and prepared for the future.”

Otto can be reached at 218-788-9942 or

Beacon Bank is an independent community bank with offices in Duluth, Shorewood, Excelsior and Eden Prairie, Minn. Beacon seeks to be its customers’ bank of choice by developing and encouraging staff excellence, providing tailored products that anticipate customers’ needs and building on its reputation for outstanding service.

‘Snore Outdoors’ teen to tell story on ‘A Prairie Home Companion’

March 22nd, 2014

Rudy Hummel

Why has a 17-year-old Minnesotan slept outside for nearly 10 months, through the second-coldest winter in history? Hear Rudy Hummel’s Snore Outdoors tale tonight on “A Prairie Home Companion” with Garrison Keillor, broadcast on public radio stations nationwide, starting at 5 p.m. Central. And consider donating to Rudy’s anti-homelessness effort through his website. North Coast Communications is pleased and proud to help Rudy tell his story and spread the word about his charitable push.