2016 Outstanding Directors Awards

ODA

Photography by Travis Anderson

Honoring five of Minnesota’s most valued board members.

by Fran Howard, Gene Rebeck, and Suzy Frisch

September 30, 2016

It’s not exactly breaking news that businesses of all kinds are continually facing major change. Big data, new technologies, new regulations, new competition—these challenges require companies to re-evaluate and recalibrate strategy.

Management teams are typically so busy with the day-to-day aspects of their businesses that they often rely on their directors to step back and grasp the big picture. That’s where a strong board plays a crucial role. Directors have the ability to look at long-term trends and industry headwinds, then provide the counsel that leaders need. They also make sure that companies are doing things right. That’s particularly true today, as post-Great Recession regulations have placed more responsibility on public company boards to ascertain that their businesses are meeting regulatory requirements.

This year’s Outstanding Directors honorees understand all this very well. They’ve made it a point to understand in depth and detail their industry and the challenges it’s facing. And they leverage experience in their own companies to bring penetrating and practical insights to the executives of the businesses they serve. These directors know they aren’t there to run the company. Rather, they are there to offer useful guidance, constructive criticism and fresh ideas.

This is the 21st year that Twin Cities Business is honoring corporate directors in Minnesota. As always, the magazine worked with a remarkable group of judges: Linda Hall, entrepreneur in residence, University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management; George Kehl, managing partner, KPMG Minneapolis; Mark W. Sheffert, chairman and CEO, Manchester Cos. Inc.; and Michael Vekich, president, National Association of Corporate Directors, Minnesota Chapter. They were joined by Dale Kurschner, the magazine’s editor-in-chief.

Steve Shank

Steve Shank

He helps companies work their way through strategic challenges and industry evolution.

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MGA

Martha Goldberg Aronson

Her med-tech knowledge has helped Hutchinson Technology evaluate the market viability of a new product.

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Gail Boudreaux

Gail Boudreaux

She brought lessons from the consumer health care sector to a utility on the cusp of change.

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Karen Grandstrand

Karen Grandstrand

Her deep knowledge of banking regulation and risk management helped guide TCF through challenging times.

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Lee Schram

Lee Schram

His leadership experience in technology and business transformation has helped drive G&K’s IT initiatives.

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