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Success Stories

Director of Center for Economic Development Named Women in Business Champion of the Year

Elaine S. Hansen, Director, University of Minnesota (UMD) Center for Economic Development, has been named the Women in Business Champion of the Year for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Minnesota District Office. The UMD Center for Economic Development is the Small Business Development Center in Northeastern Minnesota serving St. Louis, Carlton, Lake, Cook, Koochiching, and Itasca Counties.

The Women in Business Champion is selected annually to honor individuals who have fulfilled a commitment to the advancement of women’s business ownership. Richard E. Braun, Assistant Director of the UMD Center for Economic Development, nominated Hansen for this award.

Since 2003, Elaine Hansen has served as the Director for the UMD Center for Economic Development and the Regional Director for the NE Minnesota Small Business Development Center (SBDC). She is also a certified public accountant (CPA) licensed in the State of Minnesota and in 2003, completed her Master... Read More

Richard B. Beeson, Jr., President of Park Midway Bank, has been named Minnesota Financial Services Champion of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Financial Services Champion award is presented annually in each state to individuals who assist small businesses through advocacy efforts to increase the usefulness and availability of accounting or financial services.

Beeson has been president of Park Midway Bank for fifteen years. During that time, Park Midway has grown from a small neighborhood bank to a vibrant $260 million organization with a strong community presence. This growth can be attributed to Rick’s leadership and vision in developing a focus on the needs of small business.

In his role as president, providing banking services to small businesses is an integral part of Beeson’s job. Park Midway has been designated as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), an honor earned for lending to small businesses in... Read More

Andrew Wells III, President and CEO of Wells Technology based in Bemidji, Minn., has been named the Minnesota Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Small Business Person of the year is selected annually based on growth in sales or unit volume, increase in the number of employees, financial strength, innovativeness of product or service and evidence of contributions to community-oriented projects. Sherri Komrosky, Program Director of the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), nominated Wells for this award.

Andy Wells is a member of the Red Lake Ojibwa Tribe and still maintains his family farm on the Red Lake Reservation. Andy graduated with a Master of Science degree from Bemidji State University in 1969 and spent 17 years teaching in public schools and universities. During this time, he authored several text books on electronics and received U.S. patents on 7 new products. From 1986 to 1989, Andy served as... Read More