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All Classes Will Be Held Virtually – Live Online Intertech's Training Division has been successfully instructing professionals through virtual live online training since the advent of the smartboard. It is a proven form and offers the convenience of live questions, group interaction, and labs with an instructor looking over your shoulder. Because of this, we will continue all classes live but virtually, including Agile and Scrum instruction, so businesses and individual’s seeking professional development can keep moving forward during these unexpected times.

Press Release: Star Tribune Forum: Learn how to lend a hand article by Tom Salonek

I'm lucky. I'm blessed with a terrific wife, great family and friends and a solid business. Yet, there are days that I think there must be something more. Like most of us, I want my life to have a higher purpose. Compassion for others seems like a good place to start. After discussing it with my wife, we decided to create something that would live beyond us, share the success of our business, and involve the company. We started a foundation to help families with terminally ill children. Though we don't have kids, my wife and I enjoy our nieces and nephews. We can't imagine the pain if a child were terminally ill and, at the same time, the family were unable to make ends meet because of financial strains. Helping in a small way in this area is our charter. Intertech Foundation gifts can be used to provide a child's last wish, pay for respite care or pay medical or funeral expenses. Remember the old saying, "no good deed goes unpunished"? That's a little how it felt as we tried to get our foundation launched. Naysayers insisted that we needed $1 million to begin -- this from an East Coast "management group" whose annual fee was $25,000 -- or that we were too small to make a difference. I didn't believe it and suspected it was a matter of asking the right questions and focusing on the outcome, not the roadblocks. So I kept asking questions and making calls. In the end, I found a qualified attorney to help us establish the foundation in our own back yard. Thanks to her talent and expertise, we were up and running at a cost well below the tens of thousands required by the East Coast group. The Intertech Foundation isn't our company's first philanthropic effort. We've contributed to a number of organizations, and Intertech employees volunteer at Mary Jo Copeland's Sharing and Caring Hands. And once a year, like the proverbial holiday fruitcake that keeps coming back, one of our 6-foot-5 gray-haired employees dresses up like Santa while the rest of us "elves" take pictures of kids on Santa's lap and dole out Christmas treats. While all of these activities were good, our approach lacked focus. I'm also not sure employees felt personally connected to our overall company philanthropic efforts. I believed a foundation tied to our company, with employees serving as volunteers, would create that focus and connection to our business, which is why the Intertech Foundation grant committee includes employees. Our grant committee will define and award gifts, as the foundation can afford, to families whose needs match our charter. The committee will be in place early next year, with the first grants to be awarded in late 2005 or early 2006. Starting and running a foundation isn't for everyone. But there are many ways to help others. Consider the approach of Social Venture Partners (SVP), a dedicated group of business people who donate money and time to assist fledgling nonprofits with everything from their business plans to fundraising. (I'm serving as chair of the SVP new membership committee, so feel free to contact me if you're interested in learning more and possibly joining us.) The philosophy of Social Venture Partners is to find a nonprofit at a critical point and, by injecting talent and money, help it go to the next level. Obviously, such help is very different from what the Intertech Foundation offers. With SVP, it's truly the "teach-someone-to-fish-and-they'll-eat-for-a-lifetime" philosophy. With the Intertech Foundation, we're helping families whose lives are so upside-down that they can't fish. SVP is different also in that its members individually contribute $5,000 per year to provide the funds for the nonprofit recipients. The funding for the company foundation comes solely from Intertech, our training and consulting business. Our contribution to the foundation last year was $20,000. Going forward, Intertech will contribute 5 percent of pretax earnings each year to continue the funding. That gives a whole new perspective to profits. As our business grows, so does our ability to help people. Also, the business will bear all legal and administrative costs related to keeping the foundation going. While the company provides the people and the funding, I expect we'll all benefit. The biggest benefit we'll receive, I believe, is a balanced life perspective. By helping those who are in need, I think we'll be reminded that we're fortunate. Plus, it just feels good. Maybe there is something to that old proverb, "It's more blessed to give than to receive." Tom Salonek December 26, 2004

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