Brian Stark

In many ways, starting a business is like creating a piece of art: building a company often involves bringing together different “materials,” then honing and crafting them to meet the vision of what the entrepreneur wants the business to be.

An artist will first sketch a thumbnail of their project, much like an entrepreneur creating a business plan. An artist will then compose the basic elements needed to get the project going, much like a start up securing financing, a location, employees. Then the artist will start creating, one step at a time, adding detail and sometimes going in a different direction than the original sketch, much like a business owner finding the perfect niche for them.

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Wu Lin, Tokyo Sushi & Hibachi

According to an old Chinese proverb, “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” The life of Wu Lin, born in Fuzhou, China 34 years ago, certainly reflects that teaching. From learning the art of sushi, to learning English, to learning how to run a business: Lin says his constant yearning for learning got him where is today. Where he is today, is a long, long way from his birthplace. For Lin that single step was discovering his true passion in the kitchen: sushi. A passion that led him on a journey from China to Japan and eventually the United States.

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Mayo Clinic’s Dr. James Hebl

For James Hebl, medicine and a positive patient experience are not only professional pursuits, but are very personal as well. “When I was a sophomore in high school, my youngest brother was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus at age 5. I saw the impact diabetes had on not only my brother – but the entire family. The pediatrician caring for my brother was so kind, patient and knowledgeable when describing the condition and what we needed to do as a family. This life event, in addition to my passion for pharmacology and the biologic sciences, played a major role in my decision to enter medicine,” he reflects.

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Pat Hentges

In the game of football, linebackers are often regarded as a key position in defense. Linebackers are known to be versatile, either providing hard hits on running plays or providing an additional layer of pass protection, whichever the situation calls for. Linebackers are required to use their judgment on every snap, to quickly determine their role after “reading” the offensive play. Why the sports primer in a business magazine? Because linebacker is a position that Mankato City Manager Pat Hentges knows well.

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Julia Ketcham Corbett

I don’t mean to scare you, but if you own or manage a small to medium size business (under 500 employees), a recent study shows you have a one in five chance of getting hit with an employment claim. The study, by business insurer Hiscox, also finds the average cost to defend employment charges is $125,000, which includes expenses such as attorney’s fees and settlement costs. If you are not prepared, these can be alarming statistics.  

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Vanyo Moody

Vanyo Moody will likely take exception to this description, but he is truly a Renaissance Man. Consider this: a Renaissance Man is defined as someone who is neither an expert nor a specialist in any one area, but rather is multidimensional and has knowledge in many different areas. Indeed, Vanyo Moody fits the bill. His time and talents are spread across his myriad of business enterprises.

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Tom Peterson – The Creative Company

In 1932, the United States was in the throes of the Great Depression. Unemployment hit 24%. Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the United States. Al Capone was convicted for Income Tax evasion. Indeed, these are historical events that would shape the future of our country. Events that would go down in the history books. And chances are, some of those books would be published in Mankato, Minnesota. By one of the last remaining independent publishing companies in the United States, The Creative Company.

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