Platinum Group
The Platinum Group Newsletter
T3 – Tools for Tough Times
To survive in this troubled economy, owners and leaders are looking for tried-and-true resources to help in key aspects of their business. Based on patterns and trends that partners at Platinum Group see daily in many different businesses as they experience critical transitions, this “Tools for Tough Times” column showcases common needs and a variety of tools that can be applied to help address these needs.

"How do I make technology
more effective in my business?"

Many business owners today feel that information technology (IT) is more of an expense than an investment. Their past decisions seem more like a waste of resources — which are now more limited than ever — than a way to gain a return in terms of new or ongoing sales. However, until leaders understand how IT can "enable" the business to move forward, it will remain simply an anchor without a boat. Click here to read observations by Darin Lynch, Platinum Member and CEO, Irish Titan.

Platinum in the Community:
Lending Climate: Past, Present & Future
When: 7:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Where: Parlour Room, The Park Centrum Building at Centennial Lakes; 7499 France Avenue South, Edina, MN 55435.
Cost: Free

Mike Zenk — President, Venture Bank
Karen A. Turnquist — President, PrinSource Capital Companies, LLC
Gary Peters — Vice President, Wells Fargo Capital Finance

Click here to read the full invitation for more details and directions.
Note:  The May eBlast incorrectly identified Mike Zenk.  He is President of Venture Bank. 

Preparing for Looming Inflation Seminar
When: 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Where: US Bank, Seventh Floor Training Room, 101 Fifth Street, St. Paul
Cost: Free with complimentary lunch

Topics & Panelists:

State of the Economy and Outlook for the Future Ed Lotterman, Economics Columnist and Professor of Economics at Augsburg College

Using Derivatives to Manage Rising Interest Rates — Bryan Bellisle, Vice President, Derivative Products at US Bank

Managing the Effects of Inflation — Tom Ahonen, Partner, Platinum Group

Where Inflation Will Hit Your Financial Statements — Bob Georges, Shareholder, Wilkerson Associates

Sponsors: Platinum Group, Wilkerson Associates and US Bank

Click here to read the full invitation for more details.

Platinum in the News:
Bruce Baumgarn named Member of Platinum Group

Platinum Group announces the addition of Bruce Baumgarn as a member of the firm. Bruce brings 30 years of experience in banking, private equity management and business ownership. A number of years ago, Bruce asked Dean Bachelor, chairman of Platinum, to sit on the board of directors of his company, Mail Services, a Des Moines, Iowa-based mail preparation, sorting and variable data, print and electronic distribution service company to assist in a strategy to grow the business. After years of growth and increasing profitability, Platinum worked with Bruce to successfully sell his business to a Twin Cities private equity firm.

In the last few years, Bruce has invested in Platinum Group Holdings II, Platinum's turnaround fund, has been a member of the fund's investment committee, has assisted in conducting due diligence for potential fund investments, and has worked with clients on their financial and operational matters. As a member of the firm and a resident of Des Moines, Bruce will expand Platinum Group's outreach in Iowa.

John Hehre Moves from Platinum Associate to Member

Platinum Group announces the addition of John Hehre as a member.  He will take senior leadership roles in privately held companies that are in a critical transition and provide expertise in strategic planning, manufacturing and operations. He has worked with several Platinum clients as an associate for the past year and a half in chief operating officer roles.

Since 1995, Hehre was president of Creative Processes, an operations management-consulting firm.  He brings more than 25 years of experience in senior level management positions in various industries, including warehouse and distribution, machining and fabrication, woodworking and millwork, metal finishing, and foundries. He has significant experience in manufacturing, engineering and management information systems.  Click here to read the news release.

Lesson Learned
Looking for fresh ideas? Reach out and collaborate!
By Tom Koll

In early January, I participated in a 2010 planning session related to increasing revenue.  We were looking for fresh ideas. Isn’t everyone?  On a recent flight I sat next to the minister of finance for a small country in the Caribbean. Due to changes in offshore trust fund regulations in the United States and the poor economy, this country has been hit hard and he was traveling the world looking for fresh ideas.

Waiting for a connection flight in Dallas later that day, the people at the gate were also discussing the economy and their possible options while listening to a television newscast describe the latest economic news.  These economic concerns have become universal, touching people from all walks of life and all parts of the globe.  What I’ve learned over the years is that problems bring people together in conversations to find fresh ideas and new opportunities.  It can lead to reaching out to others with a helping hand.

When I reached my final destination in the Virgin Islands, a friend called me right away — anxious to introduce me to someone who had fallen on hard times. This person owned a sailing charter company but, due to the economy, had lost all but one of his charter boats.  It just so happened that I was finding it financially stressful to keep my sailboat.  We each faced our own difficult situation, and were brought together to help each other.  We did, and both his business and my boat ( are now doing much better.  

I can’t help but imagine what the world would be like if we didn’t reach out, collaborate, and do as much as we can in both our personal and business lives to help others, without waiting for catastrophes to unite us.  Fresh ideas come from reaching out and collaborating to solve problems.

Tom Koll is CEO of Network Access Products (, which designs, sells, services and supports wide and local area networks, nationwide using its 1200 subcontractors and its 7 x 24 Network Operations Center.  Contact him at

Platinum Group
9855 W 78th Street
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

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