Click on one of the people below to find out more information.

Dane Milender
General Manager

Dane has worked in automotive since 2008. A native of Brainerd, Dane is a graduate of Brainerd High School, Central Lakes College, and St. Cloud State University with a degree in social work. He served from 1990 to 1996 in the U.S. Army Reserves as a heavy equipment operator and combat engineer. For 15 years, Dane was manager of Milender Residential Services, a foster care facility for adults with developmental disabilities. He lives in Brainerd and enjoys fishing, hunting, exercise and anything to do with the outdoors.

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JD Berns
New Vehicle Sales Manager

JD joined Mills in August 2014 after previously working in nursing administration and the education department at Essentia Health- St. Joseph's Medical Center. He was also assistant manager for five years at Foot Locker. With a passion for racing, JD has worked in nearly every department at Brainerd International Raceway since 2005, including safety, security, tech inspection and start line. He is a graduate of Brainerd High School and Central Lakes College with degrees in business management and hospitality. JD is an American Heart Association basic life support instructor, Brainerd Area Sertoma Club board member, is serving a term on the Brainerd Charter Commission, and a high school basketball referee with the Lakes Area Officials Assn. JD and his wife, Krystal, live in Brainerd. Besides races at local/area tracks, JD also enjoys golf, fishing, and attending concerts.  Connect with JD on Facebook!

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Scott Pikula
Used Vehicle Manager

A resident of East Gull Lake and Brainerd High School graduate, Scott has been with Honda since 2010. He worked 15 years for M.G. Carlson Construction, Baxter, as a project manager, estimator and supervisor. Scott is a graduate of the machine trades program at Central Lakes College, Staples, and has a degree in architecture technology from St. Cloud State University. He is also a state certified building inspector. After work, Scott enjoys riding his motorcycle, fishing and boating.

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Joseph McLaughlin
Finance Manager


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Matt Liese
Service Manager

Matt joined the Mills team in 2021, prior to that serving as Parts and Service Manager at ACME Tools.  Matt grew up in Circle, Montana, graduating from Circle High School before moving east to earn his bachelor's degree attending North Dakota State College of Science / North Dakota State University (NDSU).  Matt's work experience prior to the Parts and Service Manager position at ACME Tools includes working in retail sales and appliance delivery / truck driver.  Matt and his wife currently live in Staples, proud parents of 3 children including identical twin girls and a younger brother.  When he's not working, Matt enjoys golfing and "spending time with my family" he said.

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Joe Erickson
Sales and Leasing Consultant

Born and raised in Minneapolis and a graduate of Osseo High School, Joe has worked in automotive sales since 1994. He has an associate's degree in business from Anoka Technical College, completed Dale Carnegie courses, was Chrysler Gold Certified (1994-2008) and Honda Certified since 2009. Joe and his wife, Terri, have lived in Baxter since 1986. They have four children, Joe, Elin, Sara and Katie. The family also includes two dogs, Torii and Hunter. Joe enjoys collecting music and electronic gadgets, and he is an avid fan of the Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Gophers.

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Todd LaFlamme
Sales and Leasing Consultant

New to the Brainerd Lakes Area from Alaska, Todd was previously a salmon research/management biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. He also was an assistant manager for yard shipping/receiving at Menards in Baxter, and sales/office/warehouse manager at Northern Meats, Inc. in Anchorage. He is originally from New Hartford, CT. A graduate of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, with a degree in wildlife management, Todd now lives in Brainerd, and enjoys the area's outdoor activities and travel.

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Jill McKenzie
Sales and Leasing Consultant

Jill started with Mills in 2021, enjoying her first endeavor in the automotive field after serving over 27 years in government, including the Court Administrator's office, Crow Wing County Community Services, Aitkin County Sobriety Court and the Crow Wing County DWI and Drug Courts.  She continues to be active with the Treatment Courts, is a member of the Brainerd Lakes Towards Zero Death Coalition, and a Mentor with the 'Presenting Yourself' program through the Brainerd Lakes Area Women's Fund.  Jill grew up in White Bear Lake, Minnesota and attended White Bear Mariner High School before going on to study Business Management at Century College in White Bear Lake.  Prior to her move to the Brainerd Lakes Area she worked 11 years for Montgomery Ward in their Credit Service Center.  Jill lives in East Gull Lake with husband and "high school sweetheart" Pat, and they have 3 children: Sandy, Kelly and Patrick, and 3 grandchildren.  An avid snowmobiler and novice motorcycle rider, when she's not working Jill "loves spending time with family and friends, enjoys being the "guest singer" with my favorite bands, and I love to meet new people".

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Randy Olson
Sales and Service Assistant

Randy originally joined the Mills Automotive Group Guest Service Center in April 2016. He later joined  the MAG Maintenance Dept., returned to the Guest Service Center, then moved to his current position in November 2018. Randy also worked 10 years in patient accounts and registration at Essentia Clinic and Essentia Health St. Joseph's Hospital in Brainerd. He is a graduate of Brainerd High School and lives in Baxter. Randy is an accomplished guitar player and singer with the local bluegrass band, "Gold Rush."

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Thomas Altepeter
Service Advisor

Thomas joined Mills in 2018 after previously working in management and sales, including four years in automotive sales. He is originally from northwestern Minnesota near Thief River Falls. Thomas is a graduate of Lincoln Senior High School in Thief River Falls, and Alexandria Technical College with a degree in marketing/sales management. He lives in Pine River, has two children, and enjoys fishing, hiking, biking, camping, hunting, volunteering, gardening and house projects. Thomas is a Cub Scout leader, and active in the Lions Club.

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Ryan Baker
Parts Supervisor

Ryan has been involved in the automotive world his whole life, on and off working as such for roughly 9 years before joining the Mills Honda team in 2018.  Other past jobs he's worked include customer service, sales and warehouse duties.  He's been part of the MSRA (Minnesota Street Rod Association) for over a decade, and is also a member of the Rat Pack Car Club.  Trained and certified in CPR in 2019, he also has a Coaching certificate he earned back in 2008.  Ryan grew up in Duluth, attending nearby Hermantown High School, but now lives in Nisswa with his longtime girlfriend Melissa and their daughter.  Their family also includes a dog named Piper and a cat named Bella.  When he's not working, Ryan enjoys car shows, sports, drawing and photography.

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