Innovator

Pilar Cruz

Pilar Cruz

A Cargill veteran who’s worked in six countries for the agribusiness giant, Pilar Cruz was named chief sustainability officer in March. She says she’s identifying “investments in innovations that have
Nicole Atchison

Nicole Atchison

At the helm of the company her father started more than 30 years ago is Nicole Atchison, who brings a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, a command of business strategy, and
Nick Elders

Nick Elders

Nick Elders launched Minneapolis-based Ignify Technologies in October 2020, hoping to help small businesses struggling during the pandemic. Ignify is a public benefit corporation that offers SPARK, its cloud-based platform,
Jon Pearce

Jon Pearce

Long before Covid, Jon Pearce saw that the future of health was virtual. He founded his virtual health care platform, Zipnosis, back in 2009, so it was well-positioned to scale
Janssen Hang

Janssen Hang

As a boy, Janssen Hang was involved in his family’s vegetable farming business. He remained in the agriculture industry after he graduated in 2001 from St. Olaf with degrees in
Jeff Ross

Jeff Ross

Eden Prairie-based Miromatrix is not your average medical company. It’s developing bioengineered organs—livers and kidneys—that can be transplanted in humans. Jeff Ross, who holds a Ph.D. in molecular, cellular, and
Ann Holder

Ann Holder

Ann Holder describes her path to entrepreneurship as “convoluted.” She spent more than three decades in engineering, finance, sales, and operations roles in the U.S. Army and at companies like
Manny Villafaña

Manny Villafaña

Manny Villafaña, the legendary—and tireless—med-tech entrepreneur, whose innovative pacemakers and heart valves launched Cardiac Pacemakers (acquired by Boston Scientific), St. Jude Medical (Abbott), and ATS Medical (Medtronic), believes Medical 21
Dr. Kah-Whye Peng and Dr. Stephen Russell

Dr. Kah-Whye Peng and Dr. Stephen Russell

When Mayo Clinic recruited Dr. Stephen Russell in 1998 to establish a new gene therapy program, he had one condition: that he could assemble his own team, which would include
Phil Steger

Phil Steger

Phil Steger’s not your typical whiskey-maker. Then again, his whiskey isn’t typical, either. Steger’s path to founding his Minneapolis distillery and whiskey room was a winding one. He’s lived in
Steele Smiley

Steele Smiley

Steele Smiley has always been one step ahead of the curve. Long before boutique fitness became trendy, Smiley started Steele Fitness, which he sold to the owners of Snap Fitness
Jim Olson

Jim Olson

Flywheel has built a cloud-based platform for life sciences research aimed at improving productivity and collaboration among medical researchers. Flywheel raised $42 million in financing in 2021 and acquired St.
Dana McNabb

Dana McNabb

An executive on the rise, Dana McNabb had been serving as General Mills’ group president of Europe and Australia when she was tapped in July to head a new team
Maria Burns Ortiz

Maria Burns Ortiz

Higher-ed tech startup 7 Generation Games creates culturally reflective video games for students in Latino, Native American, and rural and underserved communities. Learning gaps, particularly in math, grew even more
Jim Snee

Jim Snee

Jim Snee’s tenure at Hormel has made manifest the company’s intent to evolve a meat company into a diversified, snack-driven food business. Austin-based Hormel has divested business units that proved
Dave Anderson and Steve Schussler

Dave Anderson and Steve Schussler

The man who perfected the idea of “eatertainment” has joined forces with the man who brought respectable barbecue to the Lutheran Midwest and they both want to reorient your pizza
Dave Perrill

Dave Perrill

Many people avoid “crypto” because they don’t understand the world of digital currency. Eden Prairie-based Compute North has a booming business supplying computing technology for mining cryptocurrency. Digital coin transactions
John Kelly

John Kelly

John Kelly is on a mission to fix the health benefit experience. His Minneapolis-based insurance tech startup Nexben simplifies the marketplace by connecting the entire industry—national insurance carriers, independent agents,