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Business North - The Daily Briefing - Business Newspaper Online
Knudsen named Business Person of Year
Kjell Knudsen received the Labovitz School of Business and Economics and UMD "Business Person of the Year Award" award Wednesday at the UMD Center for Economic Development's (CED) 21st Annual Joel Labovitz Entrepreneurial Success Awards.
Knudsen is the retiring dean of the Labovitz School of Business and Economics (LSBE) at UMD. He was appointed in 1998 and has been the dean for 15 years. Prior to his role as dean, in 1984 Knudsen served as the associate dean. Then, in 1986, Knudsen served as the founding director of the UMD Center for Economic Development, a large regional business development and technology transfer organization working closely with the private sector.
Other 2013 award recipients included:
Swanky Sweet Pea
The company is a wholesale supplier of dessert-inspired bath and body products, Swanky Sweet Pea provides its products to 850-plus U.S. and international retailers. Owner RaeAnne Conat started in her home and now has a 2,000-square-foot facility where she produces and packages her products and offers workshops for birthdays and special events.
Art in the Alley
Tami LaPole Edmunds and Dan Edmunds
Art in the Alley owners and artists Tami LaPole Edmunds and Dan Edmunds make many of the products they sell right in their stores. In the past year, they relocated their business from Superior to Duluth and opened an additional store. Their two downtown Duluth stores feature repurposed and up-cycled clothing, accessories, furniture, and home décor, as well as the work of 12 local artists.
Lake Assault Boats, LLC
Tom Curelli and Jerry Atherton
Lake Assault Boats designs and builds mission-specific custom aluminum boats, including fireboats, airboats, search-and-rescue boats, work boats, patrol boats, and fishing boats. With a special focus on the emergency-response market, Lake Assault Boats prides itself on offering, "the last boat you ever buy."
Wagner Construction Inc.
Wagner Construction Inc. - Dennis Wagner
What started nearly 40 years ago as a small, family-owned northern Minnesota logging company has expanded to a full-service construction business in four states and Canada. Wagner Construction Inc. offers a full complement of services, from dike and road construction to utility system maintenance and building demolition.
Locally Laid Egg Company
Lucie and Jason Amundsen
The only Minnesota commercial provider of pasture-raised eggs, Locally Laid Egg Company distributes to area restaurants and grocers. Dedicated to community and sustainability, it donates 5 percent of its profits to local organizations, operates solar-powered hen houses, and supports reforestation efforts through its carton-return program and by planting trees for each delivery.
Recognition awards were also presented in several categories:
Nicholas Minardi, Viant Crane
Nick Minardi has seen entrepreneurs in his family and has taken an opportunity to become one of the region's bright, young entrepreneurs. He represents the kind of entrepreneurial leadership that we need to encourage. His focus is on the future, a future to grow the industry, grow markets and find those markets that are yet to be explored. He is active in the community and his enthusiasm for life, entrepreneurship and mentoring has inspired others to take a risk and find the resources they need to be successful. He is encouraging our youth through his work with Junior Achievement, serving as president this year and as the Vice President of IMPACT and participating in the voyageurs area council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Life Time Achievement:
Lee R. Anderson and J.R. 'Rob' Link
Lee Anderson and Rob Link have rebuilt portions of our communities by constructing 35 properties in Duluth alone, resulting not only in jobs, but in targeted investments that have helped create a sustainable economic base for the community. A&L began the process of redefining downtown by removing rundown, substandard buildings and replacing them with the construction of the Technology Village. Anderson and Link provided key investment in an area that had experienced years of disinvestment and neglect. They have been instrumental in reconstruction of portions of West Duluth, and have preserved our local heritage by restoring historic landmarks such as The Duluth Athletic Club, Minnesota National Bank Building, and the Bridgeman-Russell Building. They have developed a funding model for use with the medical industry that provides state-of-the-art facilities to expand and access to healthcare services. Their commitment to the region and its people was recently recognized during the 100 year anniversary of the Jamar Company. Over a period of 28 years their joint efforts have resulted in the investment of over $212,000,000 in regional development projects.
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