BY GABE LICHT
DELANO, MN Brad Felknor moved to Delano in 2001, but it wasn’t until his now-11-year-old son, Logan, went to school that he got involved in the community.
“Talk about a missed opportunity,” Felknor said.
He has since seized the opportunity, and is currently the 2018 president of the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce.
Shortly after joining the DACC, Felknor became a board member.
He is an advocate for getting involved in organizations such as the Chamber.
“There’s a big difference between being a member and being involved,” Felknor said. “ . . . It’s like a treadmill. It’s not going to get me any thinner if I don’t get on it. Joining the Chamber may not get you any more business. Being involved in the Chamber might. We’re going to emphasize membership and getting our members involved.”
DACC Executive Director Ryan Gueningsman added, “Brad is continually looking for ways to reach out to businesses in the community that may be members and not active with the Chamber, or may not be members, to see what we can do to get them more involved, which will ultimately benefit them.”
Felknor believes Chamber involvement is mutually beneficial to the members and the organization.
“The health and success of the DACC is a function of the activity and involvement of its members,” Felknor wrote. “In 2018, we will be looking to engage with our members more than ever. We will be resurrecting the Chamber newsletter. I will be reaching out to current members looking for ways that they might engage in Chamber activities.”
He shared his phone number with Chamber members and told them if they see it on their caller ID, to “have an excuse ready, because I will be asking for your participation in something.”
DACC leadership is looking to add more opportunities for members to be involved, in the form of more local events.
“The DACC has taken a look at all events it is involved with or coordinates, and some changes are in store for 2018, which make it imperative to be trying new things,” Gueningsman said. “Brad has already brought, and will continue to bring a lot of good, new ideas to lead our organization through some transition.”
Events such as the DACC Gala, DACC Expo, Taste of Delano, and Christmas tree lighting will continue to serve as networking events and an opportunity to draw people to Delano, Felknor said.
In addition to hosting events, the Chamber will help businesses get recognized in other ways.
“We will also promote members of our business community for awards and recognition for which they might not even be aware of their strong candidacy,” Felknor wrote. “As ‘rising tide lifts all boats,’ so, too, a win for one of our members helps promote us all.”
Felknor has enjoyed meeting new people through his involvement with the Chamber.
“If you want to get to know businesses, what better way than to join the Chamber?” Felknor asked rhetorically.
He appreciates the ability to be in the know.
“Being on different committees like the economic development committee, you hear about what’s coming to town, who is coming in, and what the city is trying to do,” Felknor said. “The more you’re involved in things, the more you realize things aren’t as simple as you think. Everyone’s doing their best here.”
Gueningsman appreciates Felknor’s approach.
“Brad brings a great level of energy and enthusiasm to the Chamber of Commerce,” he said. “He wears his passion for our organization and the community as a whole on his sleeve, and is not afraid to show it.”
Felknor said he and his wife, ShadowRay, chose to live in Delano after considering other communities, and have never looked back.
He grew up in Remer, earned a business degree with a concentration on marketing and finance from the University of Minnesota Duluth, and began working for MassMutual in 1993. In 1995, he went out on his own with his business Felknor and Associates, serving as a broker for all major insurance providers in Minnesota.
Joining Felknor on the board are Vice President Jeanne Matter, of Matter Reuter CPAs; Treasurer Daryl MacLean, of MacLean Law Office; Secretary Michelle Harwood, of Harwood’s Body Shop; Sabrina Stevens, of Bagy Jo; Tom Screeden of Minnesota Lakes Bank; Ali McGinty, of Landscape Structures; Steve Clark, of Unhinged! Pizza; and Past President Mike Nielsen, of Sherman Insurance.