The (Real) Power 50

Remarkable players in the Minnesota business community with a knack for getting things done — and being helpful along the way

By Debbie Musser (Project Editor)

We describe The (Real) Power 50 as the linchpins in their company. The connectors in their industry. The heart of the operation. The ones who make things happen. In this article, and in our related social event, we recognize them.

A distinguished group of nominators helped us select the RP50. In most cases, we asked each one to nominate three candidates (outside their own company) who had impressed them in the past year or so. The editors selected one, whom the nominator then told us more about. We thank the nominators for sharing their time and insights  and for demonstrating a spirit of generosity.

Enjoy the first year of the RP50. If you wish to do business in Minnesota, this list is, we believe, a good place to start.

Note: The list is in alphabetical order. Each description was conveyed to us verbally or in writing by the nominator listed at the bottom of each entry.

Jennifer Alstad
President and Co-Founder, bswing

Jen is a superhuman being who juggles a growing family, a growing business, and a handful of other activities outside of those circles. She is a leader in the true sense of the word: takes action, makes decisions, and doesn't wait around for the herd to pick a direction. Jen is respected in her field, but also often asked to help other organizations in advisory roles due to her intelligence and insight. Pleasant and complimentary of people around her, she leads by example and is able to create an environment where people want to work hard for her.
Paul Krumrich, Founder and President, Spyeglass

Nancy Anderson
Senior Vice President and Private Client Advisor, U.S. Trust

It's not what you know, it's who you know. And Nancy isn't afraid to make connections for the greater good. Last summer, Nancy brought her client, basketball star Kris Humphries, to shoot some hoops with the campers at Camp Needlepoint, a camp in Hudson for kids living with diabetes. Not only did this event bring media light to the wonderful work done by the American Diabetes Association, but it brought huge smiles to kids affected by this terrible disease. Nancy understands the challenges facing nonprofit organizations today and loves to face those challenges head-on.
Andrea Kopfmann, Community Leadership Board Member, American Diabetes Association

Meghan AuBuchon
Director of Marketing Communications, PeopleNet

From big-picture strategy to detail-centric focus, Meghan is a business partner that the Introworks team not only admires, but finds more than a pleasure to work with. Since joining PeopleNet in 2008, AuBuchon has initiated and led innovative market and customer communication programs that have earned the company 155 percent more exposure in trucking industry media and trade shows, as well as a 70 percent leap in sales leads. When faced with tough business challenges, she counters with a creative, undaunted approach and is a true brand steward who ensures the PeopleNet brand permeates all they do. From the highly visual, big event experience to internal, tightly focused details, AuBuchon believes in and lives her brand. For her strategy, her fearlessness, her clear vision, sharp insight, and confident leadership — for countless reasons above and beyond these — we are proud to stand behind AuBuchon as one of The (Real) Power 50.
Bob Freytag, President, Introworks

Fred Badiyan
Owner, Badiyan

Fred is passionate about his business and truly cares about his employees. His forward-thinking ability is evident in how he approaches his current business but also in how he explores new ideas for transforming current technology into something that could truly have an impact in the future. Fred developed an online, interactive employee development tool for employees to explore career options and strategies within client companies such as Medtronic. The software platform provides an interactive, customizable experience that is more relevant and useful to the employee. I am personally impressed that Fred's genuine concern for the thousands of job seekers struggling to find work in Minnesota (and nationally) brought him to me. We had lost touch for more than 10 years and Fred remembered the work I did and sought me out to present his idea: to customize his software platform for Minnesota's job seekers, and, who knows, maybe even the nation's.
Beth Jameston, Business Service Representative, Workforce Development Division, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

Rick Beeson
Executive Vice President, Director – Corporate Development & Government Relations, Sunrise Banks

Rick has been passionate about making St. Paul a better place to live and work since the 1980s. As past president of Park Midway Bank, co-chair of the Central Corridor LRT project, and past chair of the St. Paul Area and Midway Chambers of Commerce as well as the District 16 Planning Council in St. Paul, Rick has interacted with many business owners, city officials, and neighborhood residents. His ability to form connections and build alliances is a passion. He also serves as a University of Minnesota regent, where his business acumen has provided keen insight.
Jeff Warner, President, Warners' Stellian

Tom Boerboom
President and COO, Welcov Healthcare

Tom is the quintessential savvy businessman with a heart  one who has devoted his entire professional career to improving the quality of life for our aging population. As president of Welcov Healthcare, formerly Mission Healthcare, Tom has guided his company through an unprecedented era of growth, despite a challenging economy, and overseen the successful acquisition and turnaround of numerous skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. In addition, as a founding partner of franchising businesses, Welcyon Fitness After 50 and campus-based Welcamp, he has been instrumental in proving that health and fitness know no age limits.
Travis Anderson, Partner, Oppenheimer

Andrew Borene
Director of Corporate Development & Global Government Relations, ReconRobotics; Executive Director, Robotics Alley

Andrew brings passion and energy to what he does to make a difference in the Minnesota high-tech and robotics community. He is all about connecting and collaborating to put Minnesota on the global map. His enthusiasm and ability to organize is demonstrated in the formalization of Robotics Alley, the growth of the now-annual robotics conference held in Minnesota, and the recently created Minnesota chapter of AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) to support the expansion of the industry in our community. Andrew is a source of ideas with a long-term strategic vision that exemplifies an ability to bring people together and leverage resources.
Ryan Kanne, Office Director, U.S. Commercial Service in Minnesota

Pam Borton
Co-Founder, TeamWomenMN

Pam's passion for helping women succeed is evident ... no matter the arena. It has been personally and professionally rewarding to work alongside Pam in the formation and governance of her nonprofit, TeamWomenMN. Her brand of leadership in the business world seems consistent with that of a winning coach: She attracts and engages top talent, she is objective-driven, and her passion for success is relentless. Pam's ability to focus on and drive toward desired goals is indicative of her training as an athlete. A great listener, she utilizes consistency, organization, and discipline to get things accomplished.
Jan Ballman, President, Paradigm Reporting & Captioning

Scott Burns
CEO and Co-Founder, GovDelivery

Scott is a young entrepreneur who has decided to keep his business in the St. Paul central business district at a time when others would simply go where land and office space is cheap. He's been very successful, and his business continues to grow and add employees. Most important, Scott is a bit of a throwback to business leaders who felt a connection/responsibility to things that make a business home great, while these days so many company owners are focused solely on their bottom line. Scott does the unexpected: He believes that his business owes something to the city it calls home. He's constantly cheerleading about what's going on in downtown St. Paul and forging a connection between commerce and community. We could use more folks like him.

 Jake Spano, Director of Marketing and Convention Planning, City of St. Paul

Lynn Casey
Chair and CEO, Padilla Speer Beardsley

As head of a 115-member public relations firm headquartered in Minneapolis, Lynn is one of the "go-to" professionals for PR work in Minnesota and is personally involved in many local community organizations and charities. Her community work includes service on the United Way, the Minneapolis Foundation and Meet Minneapolis boards, and she has also served on the Minnesota Chamber Board. Padilla Speer is one of our most respected local businesses, and its employees volunteer with dozens of community organizations, serving on many boards as well. The company's employee base is engaged in support of the community and that commitment starts at the top.
John Stanoch, CEO, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Upper Midwest

Mike Derheim
CEO and Co-President, The Nerdery

It is apparent when you walk into The Nerdery that it is very different from your typical employer. Their culture exudes transparency and a helpful-natured group. This flows down directly from their leader, Mike. His actions speak for themselves. He has always been open to helping our organization and others to ensure success. Under Mike's leadership, his employees have also donated their time to countless nonprofits. His willingness to host seminars for other leaders, all the way to helping an individual business leader, makes him a true (Real) Power 50.
John Chabot, Vice President of Operations, Hanratty & Associates

Louise Dickmeyer
President, People Driven Performance

Louise (Lou) Dickmeyer is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to employee engagement. Lou is very energetic, knowledgeable, and passionate. PDP's product is cutting-edge, and Lou is a driving force when it comes to engaging the front lines. Sharing cultural stories, news stories, and performance metrics here at Jones Metal Products has changed our company for the better. Lou and PDP have changed our culture; I can't wait to see where we go next.
Sarah Richards, President and CEO, Jones Metal Products

Cem Erdem
CEO and President, Augusoft

Cem is the leader of Augusoft, which has developed and maintains the first cloud-based enrollment management software designed for the continuing education industry. In addition to his role as founder of Augusoft, Cem has worked tirelessly as an advocate of entrepreneurs, both as a board member of the Entrepreneurs Organization of Minnesota (EO Minnesota) and founder of the EO Entrepreneurs Rally, bringing the entrepreneurial community together for think-tank-style inspiration and an opportunity to provide mentorship to up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
Chris Guertin, President, Sport Resource Group

Randy Feld
Partner, Boyum & Barenscheer

At Boyum & Barenscheer, you definitely know that you not only have a professional representative, you have a partner that consistently strives to drive your success. This constant support is the focus from partners such as Randy Feld that has led to the success of the company. Randy continues to be involved in a number of groups, which allows others to experience his vast knowledge and expertise, and he also donates his time toward a variety of nonprofit entities. He is a true believer in small businesses and is determined to help them succeed. Randy's ability to go above and beyond for the benefit of his customers, his coworkers, and his network make him an ideal representative of the (Real) Power 50.
Brett Lawrence, AVP and Commercial Lending Officer, Venture Bank


Irene Fernando
Co-Executive Director, Students Today Leaders Forever

I've worked with Irene as a member of her HR committee at Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF). As a founder of STFL, Irene has helped shape an idea that started in a dorm room and has grown to reveal leadership in thousands of young people every year. She has been instrumental in developing a leadership model (The Core Model) that has redefined how an organization can use inclusion and engagement to pursue a mission, and do it with success. She is a person who is relentlessly focused on improving her organization and her own leadership, while ensuring that the development of her employees is a priority. Irene is ambitious without taking herself too seriously, and her success derives, in large part, to the fact that she is a champion for all of those around her.
Adam Faitek, Volunteer Resources Director, AccountAbility Minnesota

Nena Fox
Founder and CEO, Global Robotics Innovation Park

Nena is a powerhouse. Juggling hats as an attorney, adjunct professor, board chair, and startup CEO, she moves capably between sectors. An expansive and critical thinker, Nena is one of those rare leaders who balances the ability to articulate a vision with the detail orientation to navigate processes by which that vision can be achieved. Most importantly, as chair of the Citizens League, Nena is committed to identifying new leaders and creating inclusive pathways in civic engagement and policy-making.
Diane Tran, Project Manager, Grassroots Solutions

Greg Frandsen
President and CEO, Industrial Netting

Greg brings continuity of leadership and renewed entrepreneurial energy to the corporation founded by his father, Dennis. While he may be the son of one of Minnesota's most successful independent businessmen, Greg has learned from the ground up. He began his career at his father's bank in Luck, Wisconsin. In 1999, Greg and his father purchased Industrial Netting, with Greg assuming the role of president and CEO. Through aggressive marketing and astute product line acquisitions, Industrial Netting more than tripled in the ensuing decade. Even during rapid growth, Greg never lost sight of the core values that helped make his company unique: a relentless focus on customer service combined with rewards and recognition delivered regularly to employees at all levels. In recent years, Greg assumed the role of president of Frandsen Corporation along with the day-to-day operational responsibility for its manufacturing entities. 
Dan Ferrise, CEO, Miller Manufacturing Company

Janel Goff
Managing Director, The Goff Investment Group

Janel excels at facilitating business networking: matching people and companies with others who share common goals and interests. She opens doors for Media Relations by inviting us to participate/exhibit in her Leadership Luncheon series, where we benefit not only from the increased visibility but also from the helpful tips and ideas shared by her guest speakers. Janel is adept at using her networking skills to benefit fundraising activities for WomenVenture, Hope Chest for Breast Cancer, and the Breast Cancer Awareness Association. She has also served on the board of directors for local business groups, including NAWBO, where women business leaders help each other succeed.
Robin Kocina, COO, Media Relations

Lisa Grimm
Director of Public Relations and Emerging Media, space150

Lisa exudes passion when it comes to finding new ways to apply technology to communications. She thrives on staying busy at a level that might overwhelm many but seems to keep her energized. I've known Lisa for several years now and she continues to gain experience and knowledge but understands that there is not a singular answer to every case. She remains open to hearing others' viewpoints and considers those in addition to her own beliefs in making smart decisions on a course of action.
Dave Folkens, Director of Healthcare, Padilla Speer Beardsley

Daniel Gumnit
CEO, People Serving People

If you've ever been to People Serving People, you've seen an amazing operation dedicated to giving homeless families a chance to get back on their feet. The mission isn't just to provide shelter, but to help these families find ways to break the cycle of poverty. Everything is addressed, from employment to educational and emotional issues. Helping the children involved is a huge part of the equation. At the center of this operation is Daniel Gumnit, a man who embodies the qualities of the entire organization: selflessness, caring, commitment to a cause. Though seemingly quiet and reserved, Daniel is actually a powerhouse of passion, engendering funding and volunteerism from both the business community and individuals. General Mills is among the companies committed to the cause, as is GdB. People Serving People is no ordinary organization. And Daniel is no ordinary CEO.
Tom Gabriel, CEO, Gabriel deGrood Bendt

Jason Hammerberg
Founder and CEO, Hammer Made

Coming from the big stores where he was a designer, Jason knew the supply and retail chains and traveled the world. He recognized that the fashion industry needs high fashion: great clothes for a good price, along with bringing back those family values. Hammer Made in the Galleria has a small-shop feel, with high-end clothes and brands. Jason goes over to Istanbul looking for fabrics and produces a limited run on his designs. It's a pretty amazing company and continues to grow.
Mike Rynchek, President, Spyder Trap

Jay Hammond
President, Highland Bank

Jay has been instrumental in implementing and sponsoring strategic initiatives outlined by Highland Bank's senior leadership team. He has grown the organization and built value by motivating, mentoring, managing, and leading staff through example and participation. Jay joined Highland with 30 years of business banking experience, focusing on developing new customer relationships and retaining existing client relationships. He is responsible for the leadership, management, growth, and profitability of all business banking functions. Jay is tenacious and intently focused on performance and results. He is a "change agent," instilling a sales culture and leading a team of business bankers in areas of relationship management and business development.
Marnie Ochs-Raleigh, CEO, Evolve Systems


Justin Hanratty
President, Hanratty & Associates

Fast and furiously, emerging leader Justin and his brother took over the reins of their company from their father with a vigorous vision of how they wanted the business and its culture to work. The priority and passion Justin places on having an environment where employees are excited to be working, feel important and appreciated, have clarity of purpose and personal growth and development opportunities is remarkable, along with an extraordinary focus on the quality of service that his customers experience.
John P. Palen, CEO, Allied Executives

Eric Hawkinson
Director of Business Development, CBIZ MHM

When I have a challenge or opportunity I need help with, Eric is most often the first person I call. He is the definition of "give first" when it comes to business. Whether it's looking for qualified employees, potential business, outside services for my clients, industry insight, or just a good bottle of wine, I know that Eric will either have a recommendation or will quickly get one for me. He's served as a resource for not only my firm but other businesses I have relationships with. Eric builds a lasting relationship with everyone he meets that goes beyond his own business development, connecting his clients to other resources that he feels may be of benefit, and he does this regularly. Eric is always asking, "How can I help you achieve success?"  and he means it.
Jaime Nolan, CEO & Founder, IntrinXec Management

Mike Hedstrom
President, BJ Transport

First and foremost, Mike is in the business of helping people, regardless of whether or not he derives any personal benefit from it. Both at work and in his personal life, Mike will always go out of his way to lift someone up, give them an opportunity, or create a connection. By using this approach, he has developed a high level of loyalty with customers, vendors, and members of the community, which has in turn driven success over the years for BJ Transport. Mike is one of those rare individuals who has achieved success and made it to the top by always doing the right thing. He has taught me many valuable lessons over the years and continues to inspire me to be a better leader here at the bank. 
Raoul Booton, President, Bell State Bank & Trust

Louis Jambois
President, Saint Paul Port Authority

Under Louis's leadership, the Saint Paul Port Authority was instrumental in cinching the deal for the Lowertown ballpark. His attitude of professionalism and sense of fun pervades their organization. They do outstanding work of cleaning up land nobody else will touch so that jobs can be created  table setters of the highest order for the East Metro.
Tom Whaley, Executive Vice President, St. Paul Saints

Michael Lacey
Founder and CEO, Digineer

Michael Lacey invests in his people and in his community. As leader of the management and technology consulting firm Digineer, he helps his employees get the extra training they need to grow into their potential. As the vice chairman of the Minnesota High Tech Association, he strives to make the local technology community one of the best in the nation. As a well-known leader in his field, he serves as an advisor and connector, counseling young entrepreneurs, matching job seekers to fellow employers, and linking companies and clients that might benefit from each other's experiences. He's a perfect fit for the RP50. 
Steve Mollman, Editor, Minnesota Business magazine

Mike Landstad
Senior Property Manager, Duke Realty Corporation

Mike is a responsive, caring, and creative individual who drives forward progress. He genuinely believes by working together and embracing change, good things will happen. This is evident by the success of The Shops at West End in St. Louis Park. Mike's ability to see the big picture and form strong relationships has been instrumental in Discover St. Louis Park being effective; he has been an excellent resource and strong partner in our mission. He's a real decision-maker who makes things happen by being open to hearing any new idea or concept and providing guidance. 
John Basill, President & CEO, Discover St. Louis Park


Kelly Larson
CFO, Summit Brewing Company

A busy mother of three children under the age of seven, Kelly constantly amazes me with how she balances it all. A college professor of mine once said, "If you want something done, ask a busy person." This personifies Kelly, one of the most organized people I know. At Summit Brewery, she has opened her facility to our Twin Cities University of Northern Iowa accounting alumni group for networking. Kelly is an active member of FEWnet (Financial Executive Women Network) who lends advice to her peers; she's also on the board of the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and has been on the board of the Animal Humane Society.
Sally Mainquist, President, Certes Financial Pros

Lars Leafblad
Head of Leadership, Bush Foundation

While Lars' position at the Bush Foundation is relatively new, his activity in our community is an indicator of great things to come. Lars is great to work with because he's so willing to share his ideas and his time. A great example of this is BePollen.com, a great resource in our community that Lars co-created. Whenever I meet friends or acquaintances looking to make a career transition into a nonprofit organization or for opportunities to get involved in the community, I always tell them about BePollen. The inspiration behind it is fantastic: people who are willing to share ideas and opportunities to make our community a better place to live. 
Lynette Dumalag, Associate, Nelson, Tietz & Hoye

Beth Leonard
Managing Partner, Lurie Besikof Lapidus & Company

Beth makes connections with business owners and employees of all levels. Her network continues to expand, which is what makes her so effective at all levels around the community. She genuinely congratulates others on their success. Beth encourages her Lurie team to be involved in profit and nonprofit organizations around town. She creates forums for others to connect with each other through events and sponsorships. In addition to her skills, it is those with whom she surrounds herself that make her so powerful.
Cathy Paper, President, RockPaperStar

Joy Lindsay
President and Co-Founder, StarTec Investments

Joy is a woman who "makes things happen" in the angel community. She was instrumental in my becoming involved with the first Sofia Fund by women, founded by and led by women or whose products and services target women, and also the new Sofia Fund II. Everywhere you look, Joy is there supporting the Minnesota venture capital community and one of the very few women. She also was chair of MHTA and helped drive it to the great organization it is today. Joy will always "get things done." Minnesota needs more women like Joy to help small women business owners now and for the future.
Dee Thibodeau, Co-CEO, Charter Solutions

Dan Mallin
Managing Partner, Magnet 360

Dan was one of the first entrepreneurs to profit from the Internet, way back in the mid-1990s. While working inside 3M, he started Oatmeal Media Company to build websites and leverage the web for businesses large and small. Since then, he's built, bought, and sold more businesses in the online/advertising space than I can count. He and his business partner, Scott Litman, made a huge impact on the Minnesota business community by founding the Minnesota Cup, a business-plan contest for entrepreneurs. I'm really lucky because Dan is on the advisory board for my company; he's an unending source of encouragement, ideas, and connections.
Paul Batz, Founder, What Really Works


Scott Mayer
Owner, Mayer

When Scott calls, I always answer and so does everyone else that knows him. Why? Scott is one of the most respected and influential figures in the Twin Cities by way of the fantastic work he does. Most acknowledged for being the creator, founder, and producer of the Ivey Awards, Scott has made a significant impact on promoting arts and culture in the Twin Cities. He also created and produces the Charlie Awards and One Man (which is now expanding to other cities nationwide). One of the most amazing things about Scott is that all his events are new, visionary, and have a strong tie to nonprofit causes. Even more admirably, he brings business and civic leaders together with volunteers to make things happen in an exciting, meaningful, and always fun way.
Jennifer Guarino, CEO, J.W. Hulme Co.

Erich Mische
Executive Director, Spare Key

Under Erich's leadership, Spare Key has experienced renewal in focus, energy, and commitment to serve even more families with critically ill or injured children by making mortgage payments on their behalf. In a little over a year as executive director, his trademark enthusiasm and can-do attitude have yielded extraordinary growth and change, including meeting an annual budget; diversifying board make-up; expanding mortgage assistance to Wis., N.D., and S.D.; revising eligibility guidelines from 21 days hospitalization to 14 days; expanding support to include rental payments and mortgages up to 60 days in arrears; doubling both attendance and the amount raised at the 2013 Groove Gala fundraiser; forging critical partnerships with media and other community relations partners; retaining the Wilder Foundation to better measure effectiveness; and successfully exceeding a $175,000 matching grant award from the Otto Bremer Foundation. His optimism and drive have transformed Spare Key and ignited passion for the great work of the organization throughout the community. 
Liz Miklya, Vice President, Weber Shandwick

Dave Mona
Chairman and Co-Founder, Weber Shandwick–Minneapolis

Dave has been the go-to source for more people, worthy causes, and companies, both large and small, than we can list. He is the kind, connected, and brilliant power broker who repeatedly and relentlessly uses his influence for the betterment of our community. Aside from growing one of the most successful public relations agencies in the country, Dave has dedicated immeasurable effort to bringing Super Bowl XXVI, the NCAA Men's Final Four, the NBA, the Women's U.S. Golf Championship, and Big Ten Football back to the University of Minnesota campus. He's also been a sportscaster, color commentator and statistician, radio co-host, interim athletic director, coach finder, world-class sports memorabilia collector, retailer, reporter, and alumni association president. In short, Dave is the best in the business and the best outside of business. We are fortunate to have him.
Robin Roberts, Senior Vice President, MidCountry Bank

David Moran
Shareholder, Winthrop & Weinstine

A top attorney at a well-established Minnesota law practice, Dave is extremely down to earth and very easy to work with. His clients range from mom-and-pop shops to $100 million companies. Dave's legal knowledge and experience are obviously very deep, but he doesn't "over-lawyer" it; rather, he approaches a situation with a business acumen as opposed to a legal perspective. He has a blue-jeans work ethic and can work with anybody. Dave's not afraid to tell you what he thinks — he's candid — and you're going to feel very good about having him on your team. 
Scott Ebert, Partner, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause

Kari Niedfeldt-Thomas
Manager, Social Responsibility, The Mosaic Company

Kari has a business mind and a progressive heart ... a perfect combination for helping steer a big company like Mosaic to become a leader through its approach to sustainability, corporate responsibility, and community investment. And she approaches this work with the credibility and strong network that come from her deep roots in the Twin Cities social impact community. Being smart, committed, and well-liked assists her in helping Mosaic make a great impact.
Kevin Lynch, President and CEO, Social Enterprise Alliance

Tami Paulsen
Secretary/Treasurer and Director of Business, Paulsen Architects

Every company and community should be so fortunate to have Tami among their ranks. Her leadership has been integral to building the company's portfolio and stature. In addition, she has been one of the most influential community leaders for several decades in Mankato, earning her broad recognition. Her involvement on local, regional, and state boards  including being a member of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors  is nothing short of unbelievable. Tami is one of our "go to" people at the Minnesota Chamber. When there's a task to be done, she steps into action.

David Olson, President, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

Bill Popp
Chair and President, POPP Communications

Bill Popp is a local entrepreneur who has carved out a unique and lucrative company by providing voice, data, and Internet services to mostly small and midsize businesses across the Upper Midwest. His company, POPP, has been able to consistently add value in the complex and rapidly evolving world of telecommunications, providing the right mix of technology, services, and customer service. Popp was able to scale a successful business without venture capital, and his vision and tenacity has kept him a few steps ahead of would-be competitors. In addition to Bill's business acumen, I admire his willingness to give back to our local community. His philanthropic work in Minnesota has been exemplary. Scores of local charities have benefited, and Popp actively supports our military as founder and chairman of the Minnesota Military Family Foundation, providing a financial lifeline for hundreds of military families trying to make ends meet. Bill Popp has been a dear friend and mentor, showing me how to grow as a person as well as an entrepreneur.
Paul Douglas, Founder and President, Media Logic Group

Ted Risdall
Chairman and President, Risdall Marketing Group

There are larger and older and perhaps even more praised advertising agencies, but for midsize businesses the name I hear everywhere I go is Ted Risdall. Twenty years ago, Ted combined his passions for technology and marketing to create one of the first web/interactive divisions in the country. The company his father founded continues to be on the forefront of search engine marketing, social media, responsive design, mobile, and video/animation and has become one of the largest independent marketing agencies in the country. Ted quickly adapts to help organizations from Fortune 500 to Main Street achieve their goals. He's not flashy or millennial; he's what they used to call a solid problem solver. And he's extremely good at it.
Patrick Hanlon, Founder and CEO, Thinktopia

Philomena Morrissey Satre
VP, Diversity-Inclusion, Mountain Midwest Region, Wells Fargo

Philomena works with more than 52 diversity-inclusion networks and 25 diversity councils along with managing the region's work-life and wellness efforts. It is by providing leadership in these many tracks that Philomena has become a recognized name as someone you can go to when you need answers, ideas, or a turn in the right direction. She is also a very active community servant, participating on the boards of several organizations including SHIFT and Honoring Women Worldwide. Both organizations are not just aligned with the work she is doing in diversity, but also in her own personal beliefs.
Kathy Kacher, President, Career/Life Alliance Services

Lucy Swift
Vice President, Minnesota Productions & Partnerships, Twin Cities Public Television

Lucy is a true connector of individuals, ideas, and causes. Her daily work focuses on mission-centered programming that leverages the power of storytelling for a positive impact in the community. I had the privilege to work alongside Lucy for three years, witnessing her tireless passion and commitment to making a difference. She is one of those rare talents who can think through the smallest of details while still being able to be a visionary. Lucy is connected, a do-gooder, crazy smart, and a true mentor to those around her. If you have an opportunity to meet her, do so; you won't regret it.
Tamara Prato, Group Publisher, Tiger Oak Media

David Valentini
Attorney, Valentini Law

David is well known and respected for his talent as a criminal trial lawyer, handling his clients' cases with integrity, aggressive representation, determination, and a hands-on, personal approach. He's also a great example of a well-rounded person who takes time to enjoy life and make a positive impact on the community as evidenced by his deep involvement with Smile Network International, which transforms the lives of impoverished children/young adults in developing countries by providing life-altering reconstructive surgeries. David serves on my own personal board of directors, and his insight on business and social issues is invaluable to the growth of my company.
Steven Schussler, Creator & CEO, Schussler Creative

Brian Wachtler
President and Partner, Haberman

While the name on the door is out gallivanting around (I love you, Fred!), Brian is always working diligently to help build an incredible business. Haberman has grown to be one of the most impressive and world-changing PR firms in the market, due in no small part to Brian's management. If Fred is the soul, Brian is the legs. The best businesses always have both, and Haberman is no exception.
Justin Kaufenberg, CEO, Sport Ngin

Jeff Weness
Senior Director of Corporate Development, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

Jeff is one of the top people to know in health care in Minnesota. He engages corporate partners to join Children's for a wide range of initiatives, from reducing stress for families by providing free Geek Squad tech support during their stay to incubating emerging partners, including new care models for kids with chronic diseases. Jeff faces inward and outward for Children's, acting as a catalyst for the best innovation and resources available in Minnesota channeled into the Children's care experience. Jeff's drive to improve the patient experience comes from his family's personal experience at Children's. Knowing the worry, stress, and tribulation of having a sick child, he brings a unique ability to empathize with the community Children's serves, alongside his savvy clinical and operational insights.
Kai Worrell, CEO, Worrell Design

Joyce Wisdom
Executive Director, Lake Street Council

Joyce is an advocate, a cheerleader, and a conductor, and she performs a thousand other roles with great passion. She is the face of an organization charged with being the champion of the economic and civic vitality of Lake Street for the betterment of our community through programs, information, answers, and assistance to its constituents. Joyce is truly a perfect representative of "the heart of Midtown," proudly representing small and large businesses along Lake Street, from Lake Calhoun to the Mississippi, an area rich with decades of diversity. She ties together the strategy and tactical implementation, all while having fun. Joyce leads her team and encourages and welcomes others to join in tackling both big and small tasks without hesitation. If Joyce believes in something, she will make certain that it gets done. She is a connector who is accessible, capable, honest, and driven, and I admire her greatly.
J. Marie Fieger, President, Nemer Fieger

John Wooden
Owner, River Valley Power & Sport

From mowing lawns for $5 to pushing $30 million in revenues, John does it all, driving every function of River Valley Power & Sport. During high school, he bought himself a John Deere tractor for lawn mowing. After graduating from college, John had the opportunity to buy a small John Deere dealership in Red Wing. He relocated and expanded it, managing through 2008-09 with an optimistic spirit, and now has two additional locations, in Rochester and Wayzata. John is a self-made guy, significantly committed to what he does  an amazing entrepreneur.
Dan Massett, Community Bank President & Regional Team Leader, Associated Bank

Michael Zenk
President, Venture Bank

Mike Zenk started Venture Bank in 2001 with a focus on assisting smaller, entrepreneurial businesses with their banking needs. While many bankers talk about knowing the customer and being their partner, Mike actually does it. His message and motto that "small is powerful" is a fundamental part of Venture Bank's culture and is well communicated throughout the organization. Venture has helped countless businesses grow as well as weather difficult, uncertain times. His employees and customers appreciate and respect his acumen and positive outlook, and Venture Bank's success is a result of Mike's enthusiasm and passion.
R. Craig Bednar, President, Tiger Oak Media

Harvey Zuckman
CFO and Principal, FirstTech

Harvey embodies not only power as a successful Minnesota business person, but an admirable use of that power in our community. As a leader in his second-generation family business since 1974, he has shepherded the business successfully through challenging times while never compromising his dedication to his colleagues, employees, or the larger community. FirstTech provides personal computing solutions for home and business; the company has been an authorized Apple Specialist since 1977, the only one in the U.S. that has continually sold Apple products from the same location for all those years. Harvey always makes time to benefit those around him, especially those less fortunate. He has been active in the Red Ribbon Ride and Community Shares of Minnesota, is a champion activist for Marriage Equality Minnesota, serves as Metro IBA board president, and contributes to the local arts scene as a clarinetist in the Minnesota Freedom Band.
Mary Hamel, Executive Director, Metro Independent Business Alliance