Accomplished captains of industry who give tirelessly to their businesses and to the community.

Behind the Scenes

1212_bb_c5_hubbard-(1).jpgStanley Hubbard 
CEO and chairman
Hubbard Broadcasting

Execs who not only want to lead a business but launch it into the stratosphere would be wise to seek out broadcasting legend Hubbard, who did exactly that when he pioneered the inception of satellite TV in 1981. Once a lone voice in the satellite-free wilderness, Hubbard sold United States Satellite Broadcasting to what is now DirecTV for a cool $1.3 billion. Hubbard, the fourth wealthiest Minnesotan according to Forbes, can often be found at the Minneapolis Club or Town and Country Club in St. Paul, sharing war stories with other industry builders.

1212_bb_c5_lindahl.jpgJohn Lindahl 
Managing general partner
Norwest Equity Partners

Anyone who has attended the University of Minnesota or knows someone who has (which pretty much covers everyone in the state), is indebted to alumnus Lindahl and his wife, Nancy. The Lindahls’ volunteerism and philanthropic efforts have varied from establishing flexible endowed professorships to co-chairing the TCF Bank Stadium campaign. Their active and substantial support of children’s health, the arts community, and the United Way have contributed to a higher quality of life for all Minnesotans.

1212_bb_c5_mondale.jpgTed Mondale 
Executive director
Minnesota Sports Facility Authority

Political junkies, business vets, and Vikings fans will have no problem making small talk with Mondale, the politician, entrepreneur and elder son of the former U.S. vice president. In June, Mondale was selected by Governor Mark Dayton as executive director of the newly created Minnesota Sports Facility Authority to oversee development of the Vikings’ downtown Minneapolis stadium. In two terms in the Minnesota Senate as well as a stint as chair of the Metropolitan Council, Mondale’s contributions to the state were as practical as they were plentiful.

1212_bb_c5_morrison.jpgJohn L. “Jack” Morrison 
Managing director

The short list of Olympic hockey stars who are buddies with a former U.S. president has just one name on it: Morrison, who captained the U.S. hockey team at the 1968 Winter Olympics. Leading GHJ&M, the private equity investment firm he co-founded in 1989, Morrison is a respected power broker in the Twin Cities financial community. Oh, about that prez pal: For three years, Morrison served on the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board at the request of his secondary-school and college friend George W. Bush.

1212_bb_c5_opperman.jpgVance Opperman 
President and CEO
Key Investment

Aspiring business insiders can learn a lot from Opperman—if they can keep up with him, that is. Besides having various ownership stakes in more than a dozen companies (including MSP Communications, publisher of this magazine) and previously serving as president of West Publishing, the politically connected Opperman chairs the board of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, is a director and governance chair of TCF Bank, is director and audit chair of Thomson Reuters, and has led dozens of other business boards, advisory committees, nonprofits and affiliated organizations.

1212_bb_c5_taylor.jpgGlen Taylor 
CEO and chairman
Taylor Corporation

Wealthy sports fans, now’s your chance! Timberwolves owner Taylor is looking for a minority partner who will buy him out in a few years and keep the team in Minnesota. Who knows? Maybe he’ll toss in the former world champion Lynx for free. Taylor, a former Minnesota state senator, could absorb the cost, given that his printing company, Mankato-based Taylor Corporation, helped launch him to billionaire status. Taylor will go down as one of the state’s greatest benefactors, having given roughly $25 million to local universities, churches, hospitals, and other organizations.


Longest-Tenured Public CEOs

1212_bb_c5_dolan.jpgJames Dolan 
President, CEO, and chairman
The Dolan Company

Dolan, a Rupert Murdoch protégé, is the Twin Cities’ own print media mogul. After making a name at Murdoch’s News Corporation and serving a stint at a media-focused New York investment bank, he joined with local advisory firm Cherry Tree to buy Minneapolis business tabloid Finance & Commerce, subsequently snatching up others across the country, and today owns 14 daily publications, along with information services for the legal sector. Dolan took his growing company public in 2007, and today he commands a $285 million information empire, with two decades under his belt as chief executive. Whether it’s about investments or the world of information, Dolan has the insight.

1212_bb_c5_hogan.jpgRandall Hogan 
CEO and chairman
Pentair, Ltd.

Hogan transformed Pentair from a maker of power tools to a global behemoth in water-treatment products and systems. After taking the reins as CEO—a position he’s held for an impressive 11 years—he steered the Golden Valley company through more than 20 acquisitions and divestitures, culminating with its recent merger with Tyco’s spun-off flow control division. Known for his promotion of sustainability practices, Hogan’s now at the helm of a $7.7 billion business with 30,000 employees. Having Hogan among your contacts could help you learn the ins and outs of building and transforming a global powerhouse.

1212_bb_c5_smith.jpgSally Smith 
President and CEO
Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc.

After being taken under the wing—pun intended—of revered Minnesota entrepreneur Ken Dahlberg, Smith took over a restaurant chain in which he was invested. Emphasizing improved financial reporting and budgeting, she took Golden Valley-based Buffalo Wild Wings public in 2003 and has expanded it from roughly 50 locations to 850, with her sights set on up to 1,500. The company recently entered Canada, plans up to 26 locations in the Middle East and Puerto Rico, and reported $784.5 million in annual revenue in 2011. With an impressive 16-year tenure as chief executive, Smith can expound on running a tight ship or on the best beer-to-dipping-sauce ratio.


Most Active Current CEOs

1212_bb_c5_akradi.jpgBahram Akradi 
President, CEO, and chairman
Life Time Fitness, Inc.

Iran-born Akradi arrived in the States at age 17 and quickly climbed the ladder at a fitness chain later bought out by Bally’s. With a steadfast work ethic and keen ambition, he launched Life Time Fitness in 1992, attracting investments from the likes of legendary Minnesota business leader Wheelock Whitney. After taking the company public in 2004, he has grown the business to more than 100 clubs in 22 states and Canada, serving more than 700,000 members and cracking $1 billion in revenue. Akradi’s a stellar example of self-made success, and he knows the formula for taking a business to the next level.

1212_bb_c5_baker.jpgDouglas Baker Jr. 
CEO and chairman
Ecolab, Inc.

Whether you know it or not, Baker has made a difference in your community. His influence extends far beyond Ecolab’s environmentally friendly products and services that ensure clean water and safe food. Ecolab offers financial assistance to organizations like Habitat for Humanity and funds initiatives like early childhood learning that are designed to make the Twin Cities a better place. In September, Baker rappelled down Ecolab’s 22-story headquarters for a Boy Scouts fundraiser. What’s more, he and his wife co-chaired the 2012 United Way campaign.

1212_bb_c5_brainerd.jpgMary Brainerd 
President and CEO

It’s no urban legend. There exists documented proof of a compassion-driven, patients-before-profits health care executive who produces financial results, emotional rewards, and community renewal. We present Brainerd, who leads the country’s largest not-for-profit, consumer-managed health care organization. Brainerd is not only a founding member of the Itasca Project, a consortium of CEOs and government leaders tackling economic and social issues, she’s also a board member of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, where she works to promote the link between better health and thriving communities.

1212_bb_c5_davis.jpgRichard Davis 
President, CEO, and chairman
U.S. Bancorp

Next time you volunteer for a worthy cause, you’ll likely be rubbing elbows with Davis. His dance card is filled to overflowing with charity and community functions. In May alone, he received a Distinguished Citizen Award from the Boy Scouts and helped low-income students sharpen their interviewing techniques for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Step-Up program. Davis and wife Theresa are pillars of the Twin Cities philanthropic community, engaged in everything from co-chairing a United Way annual campaign to volunteering at the Guthrie Theater and Minnesota Orchestra.

1212_bb_c5_frauenshuh.jpgDavid Frauenshuh 
Frauenshuh, Inc.

What’s the link between high-quality medical care facilities, anti-cancer activism, and tireless advocacy for church, community, and state? One word: Frauenshuh. His fingerprints are all over Minnesota’s culture, politics, and economy. Frauenshuh, Inc., the largest privately held medical developer in the United States, acquires, develops, finances, and manages Class A medical office buildings, multispecialty clinics and ambulatory care centers for large institutional customers. The epitome of a servant leader, Frauenshuh donated $5 million to fund the Frauenshuh Cancer Center at Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park.

1212_bb_c5_powell.jpgKendall Powell 
CEO and chairman
General Mills, Inc.

When Powell asks employees why they came to General Mills, he often hears, “I came because of the values.” It’s a powerful testament to Powell’s leadership and a big reason the company was recognized by Forbes as the “Most Reputable Company in America.” Powell, who wrote the foreword for the book Corporate Responsibility: The American Experience, doesn’t just walk his talk through General Mills’ large-scale food bank donations and multimillion-dollar foundation grants, he also talks his walk, getting press recently for boldly and publicly speaking out against Minnesota’s proposed amendment that would ban gay marriage.


Most Active Retired CEOs

1212_bb_c5_nelson.jpgMarilyn Carlson Nelson 

Inspiration and meaningful social change aren’t just buzzwords to Carlson Nelson, they’re her life’s work. She and her sister, Barbara Carlson Gage, may be two of the state’s richest individuals, but it’s Carlson Nelson’s commitment to serving and improving humanity that gives her focus and purpose. She’s taken extraordinary measures to protect at-risk children worldwide and publicly addresses social injustice at every opportunity. Her January 2012 op-ed piece in the Star Tribune supporting gay rights went viral and undoubtedly changed many hearts and minds.

1212_bb_c5_campbell.jpgJames Campbell 
Former chairman and CEO
Wells Fargo Bank Minnesota

Retirement must be a foreign concept to Campbell, who appears to be just as active now as he was while serving at Wells Fargo. From chairing a public-private partnership to plan the development of the Southwest Corridor light-rail line and sitting on the Itasca Higher Education Task Force to acting as a special adviser to UnitedHealth Group’s charitable giving program and serving as a trustee for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Campbell continues the Twin Cities’ legendary gold standard for community activism by retired CEOs.

1212_bb_c5_denny.jpgCharles Denny Jr. 
Former CEO
ADC Telecommunications

A nonprofit with a problem to solve will soon have a former problem if it turns to Denny for some free advice. Yes, that Chuck Denny, who spends his retirement years lending considerable business experience and expertise to numerous community and nonprofit boards. For years, Denny, whose genuine warmth and kindness is legendary, has been a dominant figure in defining, publicizing, and advancing corporate ethics. But what he most enjoys today is volunteering for Minneapolis Public Schools as a GED math tutor to parolees from the court system. Denny also has served as a mentor to dozens of leaders who to this day thank him for his support.

1212_bb_c5_whitney.jpgWheelock Whitney 

Kevin Bacon has nothing on Whitney. If you’re more than three degrees of separation away from Whitney in business, politics, academia, sports, or philanthropy, you’re not as connected as you think you are. Whitney, a former star investment banker, gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidate, teacher of management at the University of Minnesota and part owner of the Vikings, is currently on the steering committee of Minnesotans United for All Families. Look at the name “Mr. Wheelock Whitney” and you’ll find the letters that spell “network.”