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Tim Krohn
The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Date: November 17, 2015

MANKATO — When Greater Mankato Growth called Chief Operating Officer Mike Ogaard to tell him that Community Bank and its owner Quentin Beadell would be inducted into the business Hall of Fame, Ogaard called Beadell, who was traveling.

“He said he was honored,” Ogaard recalled. “Then he called back a little later and said, ‘Are you sure they got the right guy?’ ”

In business success and longevity Beadell has few rivals. With nearly 60 years in the business, he bought a $4 million bank in 1974 and grew it to a $250 million bank with four branches and 60 employees today. He was the first in the community to offer free checking and said he’s proud of his family-owned bank — a growing rarity these days — and the family atmosphere among the bank’s employees.

The other Hall of Fame winner, honored Tuesday night at the GMG awards banquet, was Tailwind Group, which was financially supported in many of its endeavors by Community Bank.

Tailwind’s Kyle Smith said Beadell and the bank took a big risk in financing a fledgling development company whose partners had little equity and virtually no cash. Smith said that when he went to Community Bank’s John Kietzer for a loan, he was told he’d need to put down 20 percent of the loan amount.

“I looked at him and said, can I put it on my credit card?” Smith said.

Joining Smith on stage were partners Reggie Reed, Michael Sather and Landon Smith.

Kyle Smith and Reed were pilots who were displaced when the airline industry declined after 9/11 and together they bought an old downtown Mankato home, fixed it up and rented it to college students. Later Sather, a banker, joined them in purchasing more homes and Landon Smith, still in college, recruited classmates to rent the houses.

They expanded into building college student housing complexes in cities around the country, including gated student housing complexes near MSU.

“We had two guys who wanted to be pilots, a banker, and a guy who thought he wanted to be an economics teacher, or something. So none of us are doing what we thought we would,” Kyle Smith said.

Tailwind gained wide public notice a few years ago when they started what would be a three-tower construction blitz on one block of downtown Mankato that would transform the City Center. They include Profinium Place and Ridley office buildings and a building on Front Street with commercial space on the ground floor and high-end apartments on the upper floors.

At the end of his acceptance speech, Kyle Smith said they wanted to throw a party in honor of the award and he invited the hundreds of people attending to come to Pub 500 after the event. He noted that he and his partners rotate who pays when they go out for lunches during the week.

“I’m happy to say that tonight is Reggie’s turn to buy.”

Visit Mankato and City Center Partnership also bestowed awards at the banquet.

Other honorees were:

Greater Mankato Growth Awards

Distinguished Business Award: Champion Auto Enterprises.

Entrepreneurial Business Award: Freedom Homecare.

Brian Fazio Business Education Partnership Award: South Central College & CliftonLarsonAllen (Annual Ag Symposium).

Visit Mankato Awards

Bring It Home Award: Minnesota Vikings 50th Training Camp.

Hospitality Award: Peter Olson, Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota.

City Center Partnership Awards

Building renovation Over $3 million: Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota Building – Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota and city of Mankato.

New Construction Over $5 million: Profinium Place — The Tailwind Group and Mid Rise Holdings.