Lorin Krueger – Sailor Plastics

When Mankato native Lorin Krueger drives across southwest Minnesota, he sees more than small towns dotting the map. He sees opportunities.“It’s amazing, isn’t it? I have lived here my whole life, but as I’ve gotten out and around more in southwest Minnesota I find there are a lot of really neat businesses. Last month Connect talked about River City Eatery in Windom. That is a neat business. The Worthington area is really starting to pick up.

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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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