2016 Finalists

The Entrepreneur of the Year awards program is highly competitive. Here are the individuals and their companies who were selected as finalists from the Upper Midwest region.
2016 Finalists

Steve L. Burian
AE2S Inc.
Founded: 1991
Headquarters: Grand Forks, N.D.
Annual revenue: Not available
Employees: 364
What it does: AE2S is a specialized civil/environmental consulting engineering firm that provides professional services and a unique brand of service to clients in the Upper Midwest.

 

Marty Weintraub
Aimclear
Founded: 2007
Headquarters: Duluth
Annual revenue: $9.2 million
Employees: 35
What it does: Aimclear is dominant in audience targeting and customer acquisition. The agency drives web traffic and tracks merged social psychographic/search personas. Aimclear calls itself the missing link unifying search, social media, public relations and psychographic display.

 

Brendon Schrader
Antenna
Founded: 2006
Headquarters: Minneapolis
Annual revenue: $10 million
Employees: 98
What it does: Antenna is a unique community of marketers. It brings experienced marketing professionals to all types of organizations for project-based consulting, interim leadership, assignments and contract staffing engagements.

 

Paul Jarret, Stephanie Jarret
Bulu Box
Founded: 2012
Headquarters: Lincoln, Neb.
Annual revenue: $5 million
Employees: 17
What it does: Bulu Box is a subscription sample box for health products that gathers feedback on each sample. Brands can publish their sample data to public profiles on Bulu Marketplace to connect with retail buyers.

 

Bob Hartzell
Chuck and Don’s Pet Food and Supplies
Founded: 1990
Headquarters: Mahtomedi, Minn.
Annual revenue: Not available
Employees: 344
What it does: Chuck & Don’s is a local destination pet-supply store offering brand name, specialty and hard-to-find pet food and supplies; known for its outstanding customer service, knowledgeable staff and commitment to the communities it serves.

 

Pat Christie
Conservis Corp.
Founded: 2009
Headquarters: Minneapolis
Annual revenue: Not available
Employees: 64 employees, 19 contractors
What it does: Conservis is a cloud-based farm-business software that provides growers with real-time data collection and reporting services.

 

Ben Gray, Jeff Gray, Scott Gray
Creative Apparel Concepts Inc.
Founded: 2000
Headquarters: New Hope
Annual revenue: Not available
Employees: 54
What it does: Creative Apparel Concepts designs, manufactures and markets apparel for women, men, and children. It primarily offers unique, fashionable T-shirts and sleepwear to major retailers and specialty stores around the country, including Target and Nordstrom.

 

Mason J. Thelen
Elicit
Founded: 2009
Headquarters: Minneapolis
Annual revenue: Not available
Employees: 33
What it does: Elicit is a leading customer science, strategy and transformation consultancy that helps its clients uncover talent insights about their customers and apply them to business, marketing, product and customer experience strategies.

 

Chad Rubner
Express Logistics
Founded: 2003
Headquarters: Waukee, Iowa
Annual revenue: $22.5 million
Employees: 50
What it does: Express Logistics is a family-owned third-party logistics provider, specializing in LTL (less than truckload), truckload and intermodal freight solutions.

 

Mynul Khan
Field Nation
Founded: 2008
Headquarters: Minneapolis
Annual revenue: $100 million
Employees: 100 in U.S., 50 in Bangladesh
What it does: Field Nation’s online work market platform combines a large on-premises freelance management marketplace, allowing service companies and distributed enterprises to directly procure, manage, pay, report and optimize contingent labor.

 

Bob Gardner
Gardner Builders
Founded: 2010
Headquarters: Minneapolis
Annual revenue: $58 million
Employees: 44
What it does: Gardner Builders is a hospitality company in the commercial construction industry dedicated to providing clients with an outstanding experience during the construction process.

 

John T. Meyer
Lemonly
Founded: 2011
Headquarters: Sioux Falls, S.D.
Annual revenue: Not available
Employees: 18
What it does: Lemonly helps brands, corporations, nonprofits and startups tell their story. Lemonly is a visual marketing company that specializes in telling stories through infographics, videos and micro-content.

 

Bjorn Stansvik
MentorMate
Founded: 2001
Headquarters: Minneapolis
Annual revenue: $16.4 million
Employees: 320 (U.S. and Bulgaria)
What it does: MentorMate is a technology firm providing strategy, design, development and dedicated teams to help businesses grow.

 

Brad Goskowicz
Microbiologics
Founded: 1971
Headquarters: St. Cloud
Annual revenue: Not available
Employees: Not available
What it does: Microbiologics is a leading provider of ready-to-use biological controls for microbiological quality-control testing in clinical, pharmaceutical, food, water and educational industries.

 

Bill Evans
Open Gates Business Development Corp.
Founded: 2003
Headquarters: Kalona, Iowa
Annual revenue: Not available
Employees: 94
What it does: Open Gates Business Development Corp., known as Open Gates Group, provides human resources, business planning, administrative and marketing services for a family of nine entrepreneurial companies located in the Kalona, Iowa, area. Its primary focus is growing organic and local food supply chains.

 

Maureen R. Steinwall
Steinwall
Founded: 1965
Headquarters: Coon Rapids
Annual revenue: $21 million
Employees: 145
What it does: Steinwall focuses on developing and manufacturing precision, custom thermoplastic injection-molded components and assemblies for quality-oriented global OEM customers.

 

Dennis Dimka
Uptime Legal Systems
Founded: 2005
Headquarters: Eden Prairie
Annual revenue: $4.15 million
Employees: 21
What it does: Uptime Legal is a leading provider of cloud services to the legal industry. Uptime helps law firms manage and grow their practices with cloud, legal technology and marketing services.