Editor’s Note-Hall of Famers (3)

Editor’s Note-Hall of Famers (3)

A constellation of enterprise and achievement.

You will be introduced in this issue to this year’s inductees into the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame™, five of Minnesota’s most accomplished business leaders of all time. Each has led at least one competitively superior business organization while making substantial contributions to communities outside of business.

››› Al Annexstad, Jill Blashack, Mark Davis, Stanley S. Hubbard, and Thomas Rosen join a group of 36 outstanding Hall of Fame members inducted in past years. In alphabetical order, they are:

››› Elmer L. Andersen, newspaper owner, one-time governor, and longtime chairman of H. B. Fuller. Andersen, who died at age 95 in November 2004, was known for setting and achieving ambitious goals at Fuller. His favorite newspaper task was writing editorials.

››› Bill Austin, founder of Starkey Laboratories, the largest hearing-aid company based in the United States. While guiding the company’s growth to more than $420 million in annual sales and 3,700 employees, he also established the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which has fitted more than 100,000 needy children with hearing devices.

››› Dale Bachman, who in 1992 became a fourth-generation president of his family’s floral and nursery company and expanded its product lines to include plant-care products, tools, and home-décor items, growing it to 1,300 year-round employees and an additional 500 during peak seasons.

››› Earl Bakken, inventor of the modern battery-powered heart pacemaker and cofounder of one of the world’s leading medical technology companies, Medtronic, where he was CEO from 1957 to 1976 and senior chairman until 1989.

››› Ralph Burnet, chairman of Coldwell Banker Burnet, which became Minnesota’s number-one residential realty company, with more than 3,000 sales associates. He founded Burnet Realty, a predecessor company, in 1973 with a personal investment of $18,000.

››› James Campbell, a leading spokesman on public policies affecting business and a former CEO of Minnesota's largest bank, which he developed into a leading commercial lender. During his tenure, the assets of Minnesota banks within the Norwest/Wells Fargo system grew from $5.9 billion in approximately 40 separately chartered institutions to $52 billion within 166 branches of one institution.

››› Curt Carlson, widely proclaimed “ultra-entrepreneur” and founder of the Carlson Companies, including Radisson Hotels & Resorts, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Country Inns & Suites, and T.G.I. Friday’s.

››› Kenneth Dahlberg, heroic and heavily decorated World War II pilot who developed the first all-in-the-ear hearing aid and founded $100 million (annual revenue) Dahlberg, Inc., which he sold to Bausch & Lomb in 1994. The following year, Dahlberg went on to become a venture capitalist.

››› Dorothy Dolphin, who founded Dolphin Staffing, a temporary-services firm dispensing 20,000 W-2 forms a year. Dolphin also became owner of 13 fast-food restaurants and a six-branch bank with more than $200 million in assets.

››› Ronald Fagen, Granite Falls–based builder of flour mills, meat-packing plants, power plants, corn- and soybean-processing facilities, and—at the time of his 2005 induction—more than half of the nation’s ethanol-production plants. His Fagen, Inc., had grown to $500 million in revenues that year, and employed nearly 1,400 construction workers in 37 states.

››› Tom Gegax, cofounder of Tires Plus, which improved the experience of tire buying with professional assistance and waiting-room amenities. When the company was sold in 2000, it had become a 1,600-employee, nine-state, 150-store chain with $200 million in annual sales.

››› Edgar Hetteen, the “grandfather of snowmobiling” and founder of the companies that became Polaris, Arctic Cat, and all-season vehicle-maker ASV.

››› Ebba Hoffman, who in 1955 was a newly widowed homemaker with two small children, an eighth-grade education, and a debt-hobbled company. At the time of her death in 1999, she had expanded Smead into a 2,000-employee, $300 million office-products powerhouse.

››› Irwin Jacobs, who built Genmar into the world’s largest manufacturer of recreational watercraft with sales of more than $1 billion and 7,000 employees, but who is best known as an investor in underperforming public companies who awakened managements to their obligation to deliver value to shareholders.

››› Robert Kierlin, Minnesota state senator and cofounder of Fastenal, Inc., in a tiny Winona storefront in 1967. He built it into a 7,000-employee company operating 1,600 stores, 12 distribution centers, and a 3,500-vehicle fleet of trucks.

››› Harvey Mackay, author of six business books, including Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive. He turned a tiny company into the Mackay Envelope Corporation, a 500-employee, $100 million business, and exercised community leadership that helped keep the Twins in Minnesota and helped build the Metrodome.

››› Whitney MacMillan, who in 18 years as CEO of Cargill, the world’s largest privately held company, led it to a threefold increase in employees and a fivefold increase in earnings.

››› Richard “Pinky” McNamara, for a 35-year career of buying and resurrecting bankrupt or foreclosed-upon businesses. He became the CEO of Activar, a 600-employee, $100 million holding company, and at one point, owned and directed 25 companies at the same time.

››› Ken Melrose, who became CEO of the Toro Company in 1983 amid doubts that it could survive, refashioned its product portfolio, and helped achieve a 25-fold increase in its stock price in the next 22 years.

››› John Mooty, partner for more than 50 years at the law firm now known as Gray Plant Mooty and 24-year chairman of International Dairy Queen, which he and partners rescued and refocused in 1970, after performing a similar turnaround at National Car Rental. Mooty later became a developer of real estate in Arizona.

››› Mahendra Nath, who arrived in the United States with $800 and a newly earned mechanical engineering degree and became an employer of 3,300 people at 130 fast-food restaurants, two hotels, and numerous commercial and residential properties.

››› Marilyn Carlson Nelson, a longtime businesswoman and community activist who became CEO of the $7 billion Carlson Companies in 1998 and promptly implemented plans to expand. As vice chair in 1994, she arranged a merger of Carlson Travel and Wagonlit Travel, expanding the company’s reach to 140 countries.

››› Ron Offutt, farmer of more than 200,000 acres of potatoes and other vegetables, owner of a 21,000-cow dairy, operator of three potato-processing plants, and CEO of RDO Equipment, with a nine-state array of dealerships selling $535 million annually in John Deere Equipment, Volvo, and Mack trucks, and new and used construction equipment.

››› Earl B. Olson, founder of Jennie-O Turkey Store, Inc., the world’s largest grower and processor of turkeys and an innovative developer of turkey products, including turkey bologna and turkey ham.

››› Jeno Paulucci, founder of Chun King Corporation, Jeno’s, Inc., and Luigino’s, the maker of Michelina’s and Yu Sing foods. He later became the second-largest landowner (after the Walt Disney Company) in Florida.

››› John Pellegrene, marketing paragon and retailing innovator, who transformed Target’s bull’s-eye into an icon of branding, invented Dayton’s Santabear, created the first computerized bridal registry, and promoted a largely Target-funded restoration of the Washington Monument.

››› Carl Pohlad, buyer and builder of soft-drink bottlers, banks, and companies engaged in investment management and broadcasting—and owner of the Minnesota Twins, which he kept from leaving the state in 1984, and which won two World Series Championships under his ownership.

››› Gerald Rauenhorst, founder of the Opus Corporation, which since 1953 has built more than 2,000 commercial buildings throughout the United States and changed the skylines of the Twin Cities.

››› Alan “Buddy” Ruvelson, who opened the nation’s first Small Business Investment Company and helped build Minnesota’s venture-capital industry.

››› Richard Schulze, founder and chairman of Best Buy, at the time of his induction in 2003, a $21 billion, 679-store retailer of electronics equipment, appliances, and recorded music and movies. Schulze opened his first store in 1966 and showed a remarkable ability to adapt to changes in consumer demand.

››› Robert Sparboe, who moved to Litchfield, Minnesota, in 1954 to establish the Sparboe Chick Company with his life savings of $5,400. By the time of his death in October 2005, he had developed a $260 million operation that annually sold 2.4 billion eggs laid by more than 10 million hens.

››› Glen Taylor, who in 1967 bought a company with 30 employees and grew his holdings to employ more than 14,000, including the members of the Minnesota Timberwolves, a team he bought in 1994. Taylor served for more than 10 years in the Minnesota Senate and started the state’s first company-owned daycare center.

››› Daryl “Sid” Verdoorn, who in 25 years running C. H. Robinson (1977 to 2002) transformed it from a $150 million seller of fruits and vegetables to a $3 billion, 3,900-employee, multimodal international shipping and transporting company.

››› Manny Villafaña, a “serial entrepreneur” who founded Cardiac Pacemakers, Inc. (CPI), which developed pacemakers worn, when he was inducted in 2003, by 2.3 million patients, and St. Jude Medical, which developed a mechanical heart valve worn by 1.5 million patients.

››› Win Wallin, chairman and CEO of Medtronic from 1985 to 1991, who continued to serve as chairman until 1996. During his tenure as CEO, Medtronic’s revenues rose from $370 million to $1 billion, and the number of its employees nearly doubled to 8,500.

››› Wheelock Whitney, former star investment banker, CEO of Dain & Company, candidate for governor, teacher of management at the University of Minnesota, and part owner of the Minnesota Vikings.

With your guidance, next year’s inductees will be every bit as impressive. Feel free to send me your nominations any time in the next eight months: jnovak@tcbmag.com, 612-336-9299, Twin Cities Business, 220 South Sixth Street, Suite 500, Minneapolis, MN 55402.

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