Posts Tagged ‘staff members’

Variety is the spice of work and play

By Ericka Olin, May 4, 2012

Something different every day.

That’s what drives Flint Group Copywriter Elizabeth Hansen—at work and at home, which, most days, are actually the same place.

Ebeth, ready for a trail ride at a South Dakota campground

Elizabeth, ready for a trail ride at a South Dakota campground

“I love not knowing the projects I’ll be working on each day,” she explains. “Ebeth,” as we like to call her, writes for a wide variety of mediums and clients. After 12 years in our Grand Forks office, she now works from her home office in Lakeville, Minn. (Her husband Greg accepted a job relocation a few years ago, and she figured she ought to tag along.) She’s connected and communicates through all the latest interactive technologies, and travels to various Flint Group offices as needed.

Happy campers

Away from work, she and Greg also strive for new adventures, especially camping with their three kids: Julia, 13; Matt, 11; and Caroline, 8, and two dogs. She has plenty to share via her favorite writing medium, blogging. Check out her musings at CamperHappyHansens.

The Hansen kids vs. the Pacific Ocean (kids 0, Pacific 3)

The Hansen kids vs. the Pacific Ocean (kids 0, Pacific 3)

The Hansen pets: a labradoodle who really doesn’t like the outdoors and a springer spaniel who snores. Loudly.

The Hansen pets: a labradoodle who really doesn’t like the outdoors and a springer spaniel who snores. Loudly.

More history, mom?!

“My husband and I both grew up camping, and we enjoy the experience with our own kids now. I like to explore the historical landmarks and churches in the area while duping the kids into thinking it’s adventure, not education,” she admits.

“We’ve stayed in some resort-style KOA Kampgrounds. We’ve also camped at some dumps,” Ebeth says. “We’re always looking for a new spot, but the campground must have a lake or pool. That’s the only requirement.”

The Hansen kids on the shores of Lake Superior

The Hansen kids on the shores of Lake Superior

Everything is better outside

An avid cook and especially baker, camping allows Ebeth to try new recipes. “In case the dish doesn’t work out, there’s always s’mores,” she reasons. “I’d also like to winter camp sometime, since that’s my favorite season, but I haven’t quite convinced my fellow campers to come along.”

Game on

However, one thing they’re all on board with is sports. The kids are all active in youth athletics, which fills the calendar all year. “I’m a fanatic for all sports at all levels, except boxing, which is just stupid,” Ebeth says. “Of course we’re always looking for a nearby stadium when we travel.”

Something different, indeed.

Geared up for another game at another stadium. This time, PETCO Park in San Diego.

Geared up for another game at another stadium. This time, PETCO Park in San Diego.

Get to know a Flintster: Q + A with Ebeth!

What’s your dream job?

Movie poster writer. In those taglines, every syllable must sing.

Which job would you not want to have?

School bus driver. FAR too much responsibility.

What was your first job?

Babysitting. Abhorred it. So my first “real” job was a lifeguard and swim instructor. Never lost a swimmer!

What did it teach you?
I don’t have maternal instincts. Luckily, I have a nurturing husband, we’re close to our families and our oldest is very maternal, so the other two kids got some baby-ing.

What is one thing you’d be willing to practice for an hour a day?

Skipping rocks. It would mean I was outside, near water and not sitting still.

What’s the best advice you ever got?

“Bloom where you are planted.” Worst = “It’s just a game.” No, it’s not.

What sound do you love?

Hockey. Sticks and skates on ice, goal horns, a little cussing at refs and “Mom, just a little while longer?” at outdoor rinks.

What scent do you love?

Our veggie garden in August.

Flint writer posts from Israel

By Elizabeth Hansen, February 10, 2012

Delving deep unearths the real jewels. Same goes for writing compelling copy. When you keep asking insightful questions, you get the nuggets that will truly move people to action. Flint Group Writer and Public Relations Specialist Mary Schieve is incredibly adept at unearthing key information—and crafting it to powerful messages for our clients.

That same curiosity has taken her around the world. Right now, she’s visiting Israel, and some of the world’s most ancient places. Ironically, it’s through modern technology (thanks, Facebook photo uploads!) that she shares some photos and thoughts from her first several days there. In her own words, you’ll see her zest for history and edgy sense of humor.

Mary on a morning boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. As she says: It's actually a very big lake that supplies Israel with its water. It's 696 feet below sea level, and is fed and drained by the Jordan River.

On a morning boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. It's actually a very big lake that supplies Israel with its water. It's 696 feet below sea level, and is fed and drained by the Jordan River.

Israeli tourism observations

People are visiting the region in growing numbers. Their reasons are varied, including:

-       Religious experience in the Holy Land to bring the Bible’s names, events and places to life

The Church of the Beatitudes. Considered by Catholic Church to be where Jesus gave the sermon on the mount, others not so much. But most agree it did happen in the vicinity and this is a beautiful spot.

The Church of the Beatitudes. Considered by Catholic Church to be where Jesus gave the sermon on the mount; Others are not convinced. But most agree it did happen in the vicinity and this is a beautiful spot.

A boat resurrected from the Sea of Galilee, from the time of Christ. It took 14 years of ingenuity and restoration to get it from the mud to a museum.

A boat resurrected from the Sea of Galilee, from the time of Christ. It took 14 years of ingenuity and restoration to get it from the mud to a museum.

Mary with husband Dean (who also once worked at Flint!) in the Chapel at Cana.

With husband Dean (who also once worked at Flint!) in the Chapel at Cana.

One lone tree. Is it familiar? This is the one Judas hung himself on in Jesus Christ Superstar. Naturally, I broke into song upon learning that little tidbit.

One lone tree. Is it familiar? This is the one Judas hung himself on in Jesus Christ Superstar. Naturally, I broke into song upon learning that little tidbit.

-       Views of the natural wonders and archaeology

Ruins of a 7,000-seat theatre. Ah, the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome. Or was it the other way around?

Ruins of a 7,000-seat theatre. Ah, the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome. Or was it the other way around?

Of course no ruins anywhere in the world are complete without the requisite Roman columns. Eleven billion and counting...

Of course no ruins anywhere in the world are complete without the requisite Roman columns. Eleven billion and counting...

-       Vacations on the beaches and in the nightlife of Tel Aviv

-       Discovering their birthright

-       The flavors, especially falafel and hummus

The number one attraction is Jerusalem, followed by Tel Aviv, Dead Sea, Tiberius, Sea of Galilee and Nazareth.

Marketing works

Last year, 3.4 million tourists visited Israel, a number the Tourism Ministry attributes to aggressive marketing efforts to bolster the country’s image as a tourist hot spot. Their goal is 4 million visitors this year. Tourism seems to be thriving, even with political turmoil in the region and nearby violence. We see rows of buses with people from all over the world traveling to the same places we go.

Worlds apart

Mary and her group traveled through the West Bank en route to Jerusalem.

We saw many settlements along the way. It was fascinating countryside, alternating between desolate to land made fertile with irrigation technology and other agricultural advancements, plus rows and rows of beautiful date trees.

We saw many settlements along the way. It was fascinating countryside, alternating between desolate to land made fertile with irrigation technology and other agricultural advancements, plus rows and rows of beautiful date trees.

The Judean wilderness

The Judean wilderness

Only in Israel

At a gas station stop, visitors can also enjoy a camel ride.

Who could resist?

Who could resist?

Whoa, girl.

Whoa, girl.

Mary and her travel group arrived in Jerusalem just as dusk was falling.

We arrived in Jerusalem just as dusk was falling.

Modern, urban turn

We have had our heads in antiquity up until now, but things are going to take a more urban and modern turn. Now that I am in Jerusalem, I expect to see more in terms of promotion, marketing, advertising and public relations. We’re excited to explore this area. We then head to Bethlehem for one day–without the same guide, since he is Israeli, and that is Arab territory. Later, we will visit a refugee camp.

We’re hoping Mary shares her impressions of the other parts of her journey when she returns. Meanwhile, thanks for the insights, Mary!

On the grow through music, graduate school and working out

By Elizabeth Hansen, February 3, 2012

Want something done right? Ask a busy person like Jesse Myers, Account Manager in our Fargo office.

Jesse_Myers_T6K5917_FCShe takes care of all account management details for five clients, working to make sure that our projects from our clients get done. “I deliver projects to my Flint team colleagues, shepherd the projects through and present projects to our clients. I also strive to keep my team members and clients happy and excited about future projects,” Jesse says.

Study up

Away from work, Jesse likes working out, going out and staying in to study. She is earning her graduate degree in business/strategic leadership from The University of Mary, and expects to graduate in December 2012.

She says: “Being in school and working full-time, I must be organized and disciplined. Especially since I was out of school for two years prior to going back. I knew I wanted to go to grad school at some point in my life, I just needed to find the program that best fit me and what would help me grow with my current position.

“I spend most of my nights reading or doing assignments. But I’m learning valuable information that I share with my colleagues and our clients, and I know I will be happy in the end when I am finished with my degree.”

Leaders lead

“I am also active in the Fargo-Moorhead Young Professionals Network (YPN), which takes up some of my time outside of work,” Jesse says. “I am most active with the Personal Development Committee. That started when a lady who I worked with on a pro-bono event invited me to get involved. I started in Aug 2011 and so far I really enjoy it.”

Pump up the volume

“Weeknights, If I don’t have class or homework, I go to the gym for a workout. I attend a ‘body pump’ weightlifting class twice a week with some of my colleagues. It is a great way to relieve some stress and keep my head clear. I also try to make dinner if I have enough time. I also enjoy spending time with my boyfriend if I can squeeze him in,” Jesse says with a wry smile.

“I do try to go out with friends at least once during the weekend. Sometimes that means watching NDSU Bison football games or just dinner, drinks and or a movie. I also visit with my baby niece, who lives nearby.”

Jesse, left, tuning in to the NDSU Bison Championship football game.

Jesse, left, and friends tuned in to the NDSU Bison Championship football game as the team won its first Division 1 FCS National Football title last month.

Whenever possible, Jesse also attends music concerts. “I just love music, no specific artists. I have always been active with music. I played the saxophone, piano and even had some guitar lessons. I was also very active in choir and competed at different singing competitions,” Jesse says.

Find Jesse on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Get to know a Flintster: Q + A with Jesse!

What was your first job?

Cashier at a grocery store

What did it teach you?

To go to college!

What is one thing you’d be willing to practice for an hour a day?

I would like motivation to take an hour each day to go to the gym. I would attend a workout class, run, walk, whatever I could to feel refreshed. Or else I would make a really nice meal.

What’s the best advice you ever got?

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Exactness counts in media and baking

By Elizabeth Hansen, January 27, 2012

If there’s a scientific side to our business, it’s media planning and purchasing. Media Planners like Mandy Finke must get clients’ messages to the right audience, at the right time, for the right rate. Mandy’s exactness is also vital to her other passion: baking!

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Get Valentine’s treats made with true homemade love for your sweeties through her Facebook page: Facebook.com/MandysKitchen

Get Valentine’s treats made with true homemade love for your sweeties through her Facebook page: Facebook.com/MandysKitchen

From our Fargo office, Mandy designs media plans for clients throughout the Flint Group. “First, we look at each client’s marketing objectives. I then consider media options, based on reach, cost and effectiveness. I have daily contact with vendors in print, broadcast and interactive. I then choose the medium and vendor that best reaches the client’s target audience. I also manage the regional group dealer programs. These programs allow dealers to advertise in more costly regional publications that have larger reach than local publications by pooling their money together. I handle all media planning and placements for these programs, which really show potential for dealer channels and keep me busy,” Mandy explains.

Baking her way to balance

“I analyze spreadsheets with large amounts of data, which can be mentally tiring,” Mandy says. “When I bake, all I have to do is follow specific instructions. Baking also allows me to be creative, especially when decorating. However, baking is also a lot of standing on your feet. Together, it’s a nice balance.” Away from the office, Mandy plays volleyball once a week and manages a women’s softball team in the summer. She hits the gym with her sister-in-law and makes homemade dinners to enjoy with her husband.

Prime time: Holidays

Mandy’s prime time is the holidays. “I bake, bake and bake some more! I bake every evening and spend several entire weekends rolling lefse, making caramel rolls and cut-out sugar cookies,” she says.

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Christmas cookies and orange rolls from Mandy’s Kitchen

Christmas cookies and orange rolls from Mandy’s Kitchen

One December weekend in particular: “First I started yeast for caramel roll dough. It’s amazing how a little water, sugar and yeast can rise 10 times larger than when you began! After my yeast was ready I mixed it with the warm milk, sugar, salt and flour. Then I added more flour and kneaded the dough for 20 minutes. Then I cut the dough in half placing each portion into its own bowl, sprayed it with cooking spray to keep the dough soft and covered it with plastic wrap. “While I let the dough rise I started the peppermint kisses, which are made out of meringue and sprinkled with crushed candy cane. I piped the mixture onto the cookie sheets and baked the cookies for 1 ½ hours. As these were in the oven, I prepared the caramel mixture for the caramel rolls. Then I beat down the dough and stretched it out into a long rectangle. I then buttered the dough and sprinkled sugar and cinnamon on top before rolling the dough into a long snake of dough. I then cut the dough into 12 individual rolls and placed them on top of the caramel mixture.”

All in a weekend day’s work: Caramel rolls ready for the oven in Mandy’s Kitchen

All in a weekend day’s work: Caramel rolls ready for the oven in Mandy’s Kitchen

“By then the peppermint kisses were ready to be taken out of the oven. Then I started the cut-out sugar cookies. After mixing the dough I rolled it out and cut-out Christmas trees and stars. After baking I let them cool before frosting each cookie with buttercream frosting. To be efficient, I definitely have to know how to multi-task,” Mandy says.

“I bet my colleagues would like lefse”

“About three years ago, I asked my mother to make lefse with me, as it was always a staple at my grandma’s Thanksgiving Day table. As we were rolling out lefse, I thought, ‘I bet people at work would love lefse!’ “So I put out a sign-up sheet at the office. I made more than 500 pieces of lefse at Thanksgiving and another 500 at Christmas. Since then, I have expanded to Krumkake, spritz and other Norwegian treats as well as cookies, cupcakes and cakes.

Traditional homemade Norwegian lefse from Mandy’s Kitchen

Traditional homemade Norwegian lefse from Mandy’s Kitchen

Small adjustments make a big impact

“I love sharing food with others. It makes me happy to share the treats that my family has passed on to me. Some of my favorite cookies are still the ones my grandma made. I hope to someday pass these treats on to my children as well.

“I also like making small adjustments in recipes to create my own unique goodies. Small adjustments can be made to make a softer cookie, a richer taste, a creamier frosting. I even make my own vanilla!”  I grew up around cooking and baking. My grandmother is still known for always having baked treats around her house. You couldn’t visit her without having a piece of pie or a cookie. She also inspired me to do canning. I make my own seasoned tomato sauce that is great in goulash, lasagna and spaghetti. I canned more than 150 pounds of tomatoes this summer!

“During high school I also worked at the local café, first as a waitress and then as a cook, and sometimes as both. I took great pride in making good meals for customers. Ever since then, I’ve thought about opening my own café/bakery.”

Strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting from Mandy’s Kitchen

Strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting from Mandy’s Kitchen

In the meantime, she says, “I don’t have any trouble finding taste-testers at Flint.” And you never will, Mandy.

If you’d like to order homemade goodies from Mandy’s Kitchen, visit her Mandy’s Kitchen Facebook page.

Get to know a Flintster: Q + A with Mandy!

What’s your dream job? Owner of café/bakery

Which job would you not want to have? Fast food cook My cooking/baking is a way of connecting with people, not serving high sodium high calorie burgers for a buck.

What was your first job? Waitress at the local cafe

What did it teach you? How to cook to order and how to make large quantities of food

What is one thing you’d be willing to practice for an hour a day? Decorating cakes

What’s the best advice you ever got? Don’t expect respect. You have to earn it.

What sound do you love? Ocean lapping on the beach

What scent do you love? Cut grass

From growing an ad agency to growing grapes

By Elizabeth Hansen, December 30, 2011

When did you first have a martini? One of The Flint Group’s longtime employees, Susan Hogen, had her first martini with Harold Flint (yes, the founder of Flint Communications) in Bismarck at a North Dakota Newspaper Association meeting.

“Let’s just say I enjoyed the olive, but couldn’t get the rest down,” Susan recalls with her signature bright smile.

That was in the 1970s.

Flint Communications just celebrated its 65th year of business, and Susan has been part of amazing growth and transformation in the communications world—and with the agency.

Susan, left, with Connie Ness of Radio Fargo Moorhead at the Flint Holiday Party earlier this month

Susan, left, with Connie Ness of Radio Fargo Moorhead at the Flint Holiday Party in Fargo earlier this month.

Today, Susan continues taking care of clients, mainly on the AdFarm side of our business, and she still fills in as the Fargo office receptionist. Away from the office, she and her husband Rodney manage Red Trail Vineyard in Buffalo, N. D.

Rodney and Susan in the Gift Shop and Tasting Room at their vineyard.

Rodney and Susan in the Gift Shop and Tasting Room at their vineyard.

Rewind to 1979
“The first time I met anyone from Flint Communications was at the Gas Light bar in Fargo, which was a hangout for the agency gentlemen,” Susan recalls.“I started working at Flint Communications as the receptionist in May 1979. Since I was the receptionist, I was in charge of making sure the coffee pot was always full, which is also the reason I started to drink coffee,” Susan says. “When I started at Flint, many of the employees smoked at their desks. I remember Harold smoking his pipe and telling stories about the circus.”

 
Susan in the days of typewriters and piles of paper.

Susan in the days of typewriters and piles of paper.

Receptionist to first female account executive
Susan continues: “I soon became a project coordinator, making sure media contracts and materials were sent out in the mail correctly, and then I became Flint’s first female account executive. I worked on various client projects, including Bobcat Parts and any other projects. I coordinated the schedule for Roger (Reierson, now leading the agency) and filled in as receptionist from time to time.”

Again, the martinis
“Back then, there were many long lunches on Fridays, and I only had time to go back to the office and do the mail for the day,” she says. “We had electric typewriters and when you typed anything you used carbon paper to get two copies and white out to fix the mistakes. We also hand wrote our statements first, and then someone would type up the invoice to be mailed to our clients.”

Work hard, play hard
“During those years, we had two Christmas parties every year,” Susan says. “On Tuesday, we hosted our suppliers and media representatives. Then on Thursday, we hosted our clients. One other employee and I did most of the planning for both of them.”

“We also had birthday parties for agency employees. People with birthdays in the first six months planned parties for people in the last six months, and vice versa,” Susan recalls.

Some things haven’t changed
Flint employees still work hard and play hard today. Susan, far right, with agency friends in the photo booth at our 2011 Holiday party:

Susan and agency friends a 2011 Flint Holiday Party

 

Get to know a Flintster: Q + A with Susan!

Tell us about a memorable work experience.
We were the agency for many political candidates and campaigns. The big three media options at that time were newspaper advertisements, radio and TV commercials. One time we needed final artwork to The Farmer magazine, so I hopped a plane to Minneapolis in the afternoon, rented a car and drove the material to the publisher’s house so the ad would be printed the next morning.

I was back on the plane the next day to Fargo and arrived in the office before most others.

How does your passion outside of work fuel your work?
Coordinating all the details of events at Red Trail Vineyard is similar to my time at Flint. It gives me the opportunity to be involved with many organizations. I love meeting people and like to find out what their passion is in life.

What do you do on a typical night or weekend?
In the evenings I look forward to dinner, as Rodney prepares it most of the time. I have gone back to sewing for items to sell in our Red Trail Vineyard Tasting Room. In the summertime we have group dinners, wine tasting, mowing the vineyard and helping with pruning and tying the vines to the trellis. Each year, we host the North Dakota Grape & Harvest Festival the third Saturday of August. I continue to help organize and coordinate vendors, entertainment, wagon rides, wine tours, wine tasting and all the other details.

What was your first job?
Working as a car hop at A&W Drive-In. Some of the nights became quite challenging when the bars closed and people came to get a hamburger and fries. Growing up, our family was very active with 4-H and the high school band, so marching in parades was a summer highlight.

Capturing the buzz of communications—and organic farming

By Elizabeth Hansen, December 16, 2011

Debbie inspecting a hive

Harnessing the latest buzz is smart marketing, and we have the Queen Bee.

Debbie Morrison, who is based in our St. Cloud office, strategizes proven communications for a broad range of clients. Away from the office, she and her husband Jim live on and operate Sapsucker Farms, their Minnesota-based certified organic farm, which includes 12 bee hives, chickens, sugar maple trees, a vegetable garden and an apple orchard. She also contributes to the Simple Good and Tasty blog.

Sweet rewards

You know the colleagues who bring the best treats to the office? That’s Debbie.

Her passion for organic agriculture yields sweet results, especially honey and organic maple syrup. Besides our offices and homes, Sapsucker Farms products are enjoyed all over the world. Debbie ships anywhere: Just order here.

Debbie’s syrup in Jerusalem

Debbie’s syrup in Jerusalem

Accidental farmers

“We got into organic farming accidentally,” Debbie explains. “We bought 172 acres of land near Mora, Minn., in 1997, then built our house and moved in 2000. Our original goal was to restore the land to natural habitat. We started by restoring 40 acres of hayfields into native prairie. All of the prairie flowers inspired me to start beekeeping. A friend from Vermont saw our maple trees and suggested we tap them, so we did. Then we planted the organic apple orchard, which is 60 trees in 30 varieties, and I started learning about organic agriculture. The chickens were added last year. We’ve been certified organic since 2006.”

Jim and Debbie during maple syrup harvest

Jim and Debbie during maple syrup harvest

Do you know where your food comes from?

Watch how Debbie bottles Sapsucker Farms pure, organic maple syrup:

At the office, Debbie is, as she describes, “Director of Strategy and Lots of Other Stuff.” She consults and strategizes for various clients and industries, in part lending experience she gained while working for large Minneapolis-based agencies earlier in her career.

Get to know a Flintster: Q + A with Debbie

How does your passion outside of work fuel your career?
My passion for the farm stimulates my thinking in so many ways. Farming requires constant problem-solving, strategizing, creating, building, and continually forcing me to push beyond my boundaries and work outside my comfort zones. All of this helps me be a much more creative thinker, strategizer, analyzer, problem-solver, and leader in the work place.

What do you do on a typical night or weekend?
It depends on the season. This time of year, our farm chores are feeding, watering the chickens and collecting eggs, plus filling our outside wood boiler twice per day with firewood. In the summer, we feed and water the chickens, and collect all of the fresh, organic free-range eggs – about one dozen a day. On weekends, we inspect the 12 bee hives, weed the garden, cut firewood and basically spend about 12 hours per day of hard labor on the farm. We get dirty, get sore muscles and go to bed exhausted every night. And we love every minute of it. Autumn is harvest time and hunting season. I do as much as I can after work and indulge in both on the weekends. In the spring, during the maple syrup season (usually starting in March), after work I go out into the woods to collect sap, then on the weekends the sap is boiled to perfection to create maple syrup. Also in the spring, I start vegetable seeds in our greenhouse for the garden.

What’s your dream job?
I have it already: I’m an organic farmer.

What was your first job?
In the kitchen at a nursing home, where I served food in the dining room and washed dishes.

What is one thing you’d be willing to practice for an hour a day?
Target shooting with a bow, pistol or rifle.

What’s the best advice you ever got?
Empower the people who work with you and for you.

What sound do you love?
Frogs croaking, especially spring peepers in our pond.

What scent do you love?
The sweet scent of honey inside the honeybee hives.

Making a difference

“Obviously, I’m passionate about growing and producing fresh, safe, organic food, reading and learning everything I can about the food industry, agriculture, and organic practices.

“The earth is in peril, and needs help. By being a good steward of the earth’s resources, I believe I am making a difference,” Debbie says.

A bit more about bees

“Our farm is USDA certified organic, certified by MOSA. Organic certification is a LOT of work, with lots of paperwork, but it’s worth the effort.  The only thing that is NOT certified organic is the honey. While I do manage the bees organically, it is nearly impossible to have honey certified organic here in the lower 48 states. The reason why is because bees will forage up to four miles away, and if there are any conventional farm fields, golf courses or other landscapes that have been sprayed or planted with GMOs within that radius, a beekeeper cannot prevent the bees from foraging in those areas,” Debbie says.

“We are also expanding the farm considerably in 2012. We will be putting out 1,000 taps for maple syrup, and have opened up a new one-acre field for vegetable growing. Plus we have qualified for an NRCS (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service) grant to add a high tunnel for vegetable growing. It will be 30’ x 100’ and will extend our growing season. Also in 2012, we will start a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) offering subscriptions to people in our local area,” she explains.

Find Debbie and Sapsucker Farms on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the Simple Good and Tasty blog.

Pssst! Look for just one blog post next week. It will appear on Wednesday, with a little holiday love from us.

Meet Ericka: ButterCup Factory manager, cupcake dreamer and junior copywriter

By Angie Laxdal, September 30, 2011
Ericka poses with her creative concoction: a butterscotch cupcake with salty caramel frosting.

Ericka poses with her creative concoction: a butterscotch cupcake with salty caramel frosting.

Passionate. Driven. And just plain happy.

All these words describe Ericka Olin, account coordinator and junior copywriter, to a tee. She spends her days in our Duluth office, coordinating accounts and smithing words. But on nights and weekends, Ericka adores baking cupcakes. That’s how she unwinds, keeps her creative juices going and spoils her officemates.

“It’s always been a dream of mine,” explains Ericka, “to open my own cupcake bakeshop.” When Ericka and her husband tied the knot in Colorado last summer, they served gourmet cupcakes at their wedding. The three women who started Happy Cakes Bakeshop in Denver are Ericka’s inspiration. “Because cupcakes do just that—they make people happy!”

Word lover Ericka adoringly refers to her kitchen as “the ButterCup Factory.” There, she’s decided to bake a new kind of epicure cupcake every weekend. And the best part? She’s bringing a new sample to the WestmorelandFlint office every week.

“I’m excited to experiment and see where this adventure takes me,” explains Ericka, “though I’m kind of thinking the whole undertaking may only serve to satisfy my voracious sweet tooth and maybe make me some new friends in the office. But who knows—maybe it’ll take off and I can someday open my very own cupcake store!”

Get to know a Flintster: Q + A with Ericka

What’s your dream job?

Ericka's Dr. Pepper Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes

Ericka's Dr. Pepper Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes

Though not necessarily my career goal, I have always wanted to open up my own cupcake shop where I sell homemade gourmet cupcakes and make people’s days just a bit brighter.

Which job would you not want to have?

I don’t think I would want to work at Target, because I don’t really like wearing red. Also, it would kind of ruin my guilty pleasure of roaming Target on Saturday afternoons.

What was your first job?

I was a nanny for two summers (going into my junior and senior years of high school). Though I don’t even know if you can really call it a “job”—I basically just relived my own childhood and played all day long! I remember one day I really wanted to have a lemonade stand, so I persuaded the kids it would be the most awesome thing they’d ever done. They were so kind to “humor me” with my callow cravings.

What did it teach you?
Nannying taught me that you’re never too old to don your overalls and eat mac ‘n cheese with your fingers—in other words, it’s okay to stay young at heart and even act on your infantile impulses.

What is one thing you’d be willing to practice for an hour a day?

I would absolutely be willing to practice tongue-tying a cherry for a day—it’s a lifelong goal.

What’s the best advice you ever got?

“Eat your broccoli.” –My mother

What sound do you love?

I really like the sound of crickets on a summer evening.

What scent do you love?

VANILLA! Actually I love vanilla anything—smell, taste… I’m sure if vanilla had a texture or sound I’d love that too! My favorite beverage is a 16 oz. nonfat extra hot chai with—of course—vanilla syrup. I absolutely love vanilla tootsie rolls, and my secret Santa at work this past year was amazing and gave me a whole 1 lb. bag (though they didn’t last for long!). Don’t tell anyone, but I always add double the vanilla that a recipe calls for—I honestly don’t think you can really ever have enough vanilla.