Bill Eckles

In 2003, Bill Eckles felt undeserving and unworthy after his father named him chief executive officer of Blue Earth-based BEVCOMM. In 2012, he feels undeserving and unworthy after being named a Connect Business Magazine Business Person of the Year finalist. In both cases, the evaluators—the first, his father, and the second, our panel of Minnesota State College of Business judges—saw something in Eckles he didn’t.

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So. Minn. Skydiving, So. Minn. Surgical, The Picker-Uppers

Southern Minnesota Skydiving opened for business at Le Sueur Municipal Airport on May 15, 2010.
Dr. William Lee of Blue Earth began seeing potential in developing a niche market in southern Minnesota: Lap-Band surgery for weight loss.
The Picker-Uppers owner, Justin Keech, learned a lot from his mother, Sue Rothmeier, a New Ulm RE/MAX real estate broker.

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Spinning Spool Quilt Shop, Midwest Horse Digest, Sven and Ole’s Books

New Ulm: Spinning Spool Quilt Shop – “I was sewing by hand with my grandmother and mother when I was little, making doll clothes, for instance,” said Val Besser, owner.

Blue Earth: Midwest Horse Digest – Rahn Greimann’s grandfather and mother owned horses, and his godparents owned a pony farm where children could ride for $1.

New Ulm: Sven and Ole’s Books – Sven—yes, there really is a Sven in New Ulm—came here in 2006 when New Ulm Medical Center hired his wife as an orthopedic surgeon.

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Nuvex Ingredients

Think back to breakfast.

Did you spoon up crispy flakes or crunchy O’s? Did you slurp down light little puffs or listen to the happy melody of crackling crisps? Did you enjoy a mouthful of sweetened oats or savor the texture of a healthy breakfast bar? And as you were eating them, did you think at all about what went into the way those bites tasted, the way they crunched, crackled, or melted in your mouth?

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MAK-BEA Laboratory Inc.

Galen Maki’s refrigerator has bacteria that can kill you.

He and wife Sharon Maki (pronounced Macky) co-own MAK-BEA Laboratory Inc., an outpost of death and hope in Blue Earth. It’s potential death to anyone mishandling samples of Listeria Monocytogenes, Salmonella, and E. coli 0157:H7; and hope for supermarkets, food processors, and restaurants who rely on MAK-BEA to keep millions of customers safe.

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New Hope Counseling & Mediation Center

The outdated notion of private counseling being an hour of pure hell with a daffy German shrink asking stomach-churning questions goes out the window for good during an appointment with Joanna Hocker. She’s a Licensed Psychologist all right, but none like most people have experienced: with her seemingly perpetual cackle of a laugh and infectious Christmas glow she’s more a cross between Phyllis Diller and JoAnne Worley (of Laugh-In fame) than Sigmund Freud and Carl Rogers, both well-known therapists.

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