They are leaders, achievers, and role models. Two have built enterprises from scratch, three have grown established businesses. Each has altered the business landscape for the better. This year’s inductees into the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame join an elite of individuals who rank among the most accomplished Minnesota business leaders of all time.
Dale Bachman faced a rare challenge when, in 1992, he became a fourth-generation president of a 107-year-old family-owned corporation. Having already transformed the company by adding a wholesale landscape-material business, he expanded Bachman’s retail concepts to mirror changing consumer interests.
In an era of deregulation, James R. Campbell became CEO of Minnesota’s largest bank and developed it into a leading commercial lender and a strong provider of retail banking services. In retirement, he is a leading spokesman on public policies affecting business, and an interim dean of the Carlson School of Management.
Ron Fagen incorporated his Granite Falls company Fagen, Inc., in 1988, and has grown it to a projected $500 million in revenues by building grain elevators and processing plants, paper mills, and in recent years, the lion’s share of ethanol plants in the United States.
State Senator Bob Kierlin co-founded Fastenal, Inc., in a tiny Winona storefront in 1967. Today it employs 7,000 people and operates 1,600 stores, 12 distribution centers, and a 3,500-vehicle fleet of trucks. Kierlin, now chairman, served as CEO until late 2001.
Ken Melrose became CEO of the Toro Company in 1983 amid doubts that it could survive. He refashioned its product portfolio, changed its performance culture, and helped achieved a 25-fold increase in its stock price in 22 years.