5 Minnesotans Win Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Award

Leaders of Infinite Campus, Proto Labs, Tornier, and TCF Financial Corporation were recognized as winners for the Upper Midwest region and will now compete at a national awards event.

Executives from four Minnesota companies were recognized by Ernst & Young, LLP, as Entrepreneurs of the Year for the Upper Midwest.

The winners—selected from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas—were named at a Thursday awards event in Minneapolis. Two of them were nominated jointly for their work at the same company.

The Minnesota winners—along with the categories in which they won, their company names and headquarters, and a brief description of what they do—are:

• Education: Charlie Kratsch, founder and CEO, Infinite Campus, Inc. (Blaine)—Infinite Campus is an information technology company that works with schools to streamline administrative tasks like enrollment, grading, and scheduling.
• Technology: Brad Cleveland, CEO, and Larry Lukis, founder, Proto Labs, Inc. (Maple Plain)—Proto Labs manufactures custom parts and injection molded parts for machinery and manufacturing.
• Master Entrepreneur: Douglas Kohrs, president and CEO, Tornier, Inc. (Edina)—Tornier designs and manufactures devices that surgeons use for joint replacement and soft-tissue repair.
• Lifetime Achievement: William Cooper, chairman and CEO, TCF Financial Corporation (Wayzata)—With approximately $18.5 billion in total assets, TCF Financial Corporation—which operates subsidiary TCF National Bank—is Minnesota’s second-largest bank holding company. It has more than 430 branches in eight states. Cooper became the company’s CEO in 1985. He retired as CEO in 2006 but returned to the post two years later.

Other winners from the Upper Midwest region—along with the categories in which they won and their company names and headquarters—are:

• Retail and Consumer Products: Paul Grangaard—Allen Edmonds Shoe Corporation (Port Washington, Wisconsin)
• Healthcare Sciences: Cynthia LaConte—Dohmen (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
• Medical Technology: Michael and Stacy Gauthier—Gauthier Biomedical, Inc. (Grafton, Wisconsin)
• Manufacturing: Aaron Jagdfeld—Generac (Waukesha, Wisconsin)
• Financial Services: Scott Happ—Mortgagebot, LLC (Mequon, Wisconsin)

This year’s winners were chosen by a panel of previous winners, leading CEOs, private capital investors, and other regional business leaders.

The Upper Midwest winners will move on to compete for the title of National Entrepreneur of the Year at a November gala in Palm Springs, California. National winners will then compete for World Entrepreneur of the Year.

Ernst & Young provides assurance, tax, transaction, and advisory services. Its annual Entrepreneur of the Year awards program is now in its 26th year. The program honors leaders who are building and leading successful, growing, and dynamic businesses.

The winners from the Upper Midwest will be featured in the August issue of Twin Cities Business, which is a regional sponsor of the awards program.