North Stars

25 people on the cutting edge of cool

Christine Fruechte


: Advertising Age: 40 Why she’s cool: Named president of Colle+McVoy in 2006, Fruechte was the first female leader of a major local agency and has gone on to make the company one of the most employee-friendly workplaces in the Twin Cities. Greatest Hit: Creating the children’s marketing division KidCom Worldwide in the 1990s for Campbell Mithun, the Minneapolis agency where she worked before moving to Colle+McVoy. Resumé: Under Fruechte’s leadership, Colle+McVoy has been nominated for 69 advertising awards in the past year alone. Really? Fruechte encourages employees to bring in objects that inspire them and leave them around the office. Stressed? A shiatsu-massage therapist comes in weekly.

Joy Teiken


Fashion Age: 39 Why she’s cool: It’s one thing to be a fashion designer; it’s another when people actually want to wear your designs. This year, Teiken’s Joynoelle collection hit the runway at New York Fashion Week. Andie MacDowell requested a few of her dresses. Local followers save up for their Joynoelle originals, which speaks to the approachable style and timelessness of Teiken’s designs. We’re hoping (and betting) it’s not long before major retail catches on, too. Greatest hit: The first piece Teiken created was a hat for her mother, who was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Fashion sense: “I’m a hippie at heart. I wear jeans and vintage sack dresses. But if I have an event to go to, I’ll just make something for myself.” Really? Teiken was a high-school art teacher in St. Paul before she started Joynoelle. Her students taught her how to sew.

Vincent James & Jennifer Yoos


: Architecture Ages: 55, 42 Why they’re cool: Because someone has to bury the cult of the starchitect—the galvanizing “great man” who parachutes into town and sweet talks his way into building a museum. There’s a reason the couple’s 19-person Minneapolis practice, VJAA, carries a generic name: They shun the notion of a signature style. Rather than give far-flung clients the same “Minnesota building” over and over, these designers sublimate themselves to the specific site. “It’s not about you,” Yoos says. “It’s about seeing the potential in what everything is.” Greatest hits: VJAA designed the Daytons’ Lake of the Isles home and a boathouse for the Minneapolis Rowing Club. But the practice’s recent, adventurous projects have brought them further afield, to New Orleans, Chicago, and Boston. Really? Longtime VJAA principal Nathan Knutson has racked up 500,000 frequent-flyer miles jetting to the American University of Beirut, where the firm’s organic design for a student center takes its form from Mediterranean wind currents.

Michael Noble


: Environment Age: 52 Why him: As founder and executive director of the nonprofit energy-policy and advocacy group Fresh Energy, Noble and his conservation-conscious compadres have pushed, prodded, and generally pestered Minnesota politicians to support significant energy reform, convincing them that maybe it is easy being green after all. Greatest Hit: Noble’s group had a good year in ’07, playing a key role in getting the Legislature to pass a law that requires 25 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020, reduces growth in electricity and natural gas usage by 1.5 percent a year, and sets a goal of decreasing greenhouse-gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

Sean Kershaw


: Public Policy Age: 40 Why he’s cool: As the sixth leader of the Citizens League in its 50-year history, he’s made getting involved cool. One example: the League’s partnership with MPR’s the Current for the popular “Policy and a Pint” events, featuring panel discussions at local watering holes. Kershaw has even gotten kids engaged, with programs such as “Students Speak Out,” which asks kids to evaluate their schools and offer advice for improvement. Known for: Bringing the League back to life after many members had left. Resumé: Kershaw worked for the City of St. Paul for 11 years prior to joining the Citizens League. Really? Kershaw moved to the Twin Cities to be closer to his family, and because being “25 and gay in Omaha was losing its appeal,” he says.

Lead Project

From left:

James Delaney, Eric Dayton, Elizabeth Scattarella, Matt Hemsley, Uri Neren, Ravi Ramalingam, and Ryan Burnet (Not pictured: Dan Miller) Category: Philanthropy Ages: 26 to 32 Why they’re cool: Because they founded the Leadership Emergence and Development (LEAD) Project, a year-old organization dedicated to closing the philanthropic generation gap by getting more young professionals to part with their money. LEAD puts the fun in fundraising, hosting open-bar parties at chic venues like the Chambers hotel and Weisman Art Museum, and has secured corporate sponsorships from Target, Best Buy, General Mills, and U.S. Bank, among others. Greatest Hits: Events have raised more than $50,000 for three Twin Cities nonprofits, boosted volunteer participation, and helped identify young candidates for board positions. Bonus: Attendees take their style seriously. “So often when I attend events around the Twin Cities I am sorely disappointed by the lack of effort put into ensembles,” one fashionista/blogger writes. “The LEAD soiree, on the other hand, was a veritable fashion parade.”

Thomas Oslund


: Design Age: 50 Why he’s cool: In the beginning, there was a parking lot and 7.5 acres of nothingness in the outer orbit of the Metrodome. Twelve weeks of construction later—an eye blink in real-estate development time—Oslund had created Gold Medal Park, the enchanted green space that makes up the Guthrie’s new backyard. Though it’s proven popular, the concept wasn’t an easy sell. “There was a lot of pressure to put stuff in the park—meaning swing sets” and rec fields, the landscape architect says. Known for: His sartorial signature, the vest, which Oslund says acts as a “protective device” against “all the shrapnel that can come flying at you,” when working on public projects. He may want to add a helmet as his eight-person firm, Oslund and Associates, takes on the grounds of the new Twins stadium—a job with more competing parties than the last Balkans war. “We’re currently forging our way through,” he says with a laugh. “And I’ll leave it at that.”

Kim Bartmann


: Restaurants Age: 44 Why she’s cool: At 27, Bartmann opened Café Wyrd with nothing but a dream and some credit cards. Since then, she’s converted the bare-bones coffee shop into Uptown’s most beloved café, Barbette, and founded the versatile Bryant-Lake Bowl, a one-stop-shop for throwing strikes, tipping back a pint, and rocking out to a local band. With her latest project, the Red Stag Supper Club in northeast Minneapolis, Bartmann proves, once again, that she’s got a knack for converting quirky spaces into hip hangouts with great food and an intangible vibe. Bonus: All her restaurants buy local food and subsidize employee health care. Notable: Red Stag is the first restaurant in Minnesota to meet the sustainability guidelines required for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Really? When she was a student at the U of M, Bartmann and her friends threw raves in Dinkytown, once booking the raunchy rap group 2 Live Crew. “Now that was cool,” Bartmann says.

The Legends

Why they’re cool

: Because they schooled us in cool, putting us on the map with their energy and innovation—and they continue to break trail today. Who they are: From left: Brenda Langton, chef/owner of Cafe Brenda and Spoonriver; Horst Rechelbacher, founder of Aveda and Intelligent Nutrients; Bill George, former chairman and CEO of Medtronic; Roxana Freese, founder of the Bibelot Shops; Steve McClellan, former manager of First Avenue nightclub and founder of DEMO (Diverse Emerging Music Organization); Lou Bellamy, founder and artistic director of Penumbra Theatre Company; Jason McLean, proprietor of the Loring Pasta Bar and the Varsity Theater; Charles S. Anderson, graphic designer and owner of CSA Design; Pat Fallon, CEO of Fallon Worldwide.