I-94 West Chamber members recognized at awards ceremony

Dist. 728 Supt. Mark Bezek delivers the keynote address at the I-94 West Chamber of Commerce annual Business and Community Excellence Awards. He spoke about changes necessary to best connect with students of the digital age and highlighted the district’s strategic plan.

Dist. 728 Supt. Mark Bezek delivers the keynote address at the I-94 West Chamber of Commerce annual Business and Community Excellence Awards. He spoke about changes necessary to best connect with students of the digital age and highlighted the district’s strategic plan.

Six Members of the I-94 West Chamber of Commerce were honored Thursday, April 3, at the annual Business & Community Excellence Awards.

The Business and Community Excellence Awards recognize and honor area businesses, organizations, and community leaders that have had a positive impact on the I-94 West Region in the last year. Nominations were submitted by Chamber Members and other local business leaders.

The Awards were presented during a breakfast April 3 at the Crown Room at the Wellstead of Rogers, which featured a keynote address by Dr. Mark Bezek, Superintendent of Independent School District 728. Bezek spoke about changes necessary to best connect with students of the digital age and highlighted the district’s strategic plan.

Gordy Midas accepted the Large Business Excellence Award, sponsored by Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd., on behalf of Coborn’s, Inc. Midas has worked for the employee-owned grocery retailer since 1968 and has managed the Coborn’s Superstore in Albertville since it opened in 2002. St. Cloud-based Coborn’s, Inc. employees 7,400 employees across its 125 retail locations and strives to “Be the Best Place to Work and Shop.”

The Manufacturing Excellence Award, sponsored by 21st Century Bank, was presented to Chris Kauffman, President of K-Manufacturing.  Located in Dayton, K-Manufacturing is a machining job shop providing a multitude of machining services to a wide variety of customers. The end of April will mark their 30th anniversary in business.

The Non-Profit Business Excellence Award, sponsored by Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd, was presented to the Rogers Area Lions Club. Chartered in November of 1976, the Rogers Lions Club is the largest Club in its district, with more than 130 members. Some of the events organized by the Lions include the Community Dinner, Lions Golf Tournament, Dean Eggert Memorial Motorcycle Ride, Rockin’ Rogers Days, and Breakfast with Santa. These events, along with charitable gambling, raise money for CROSS Services, youth activities, service projects, and many other charities. Accepting the Award on behalf of the Lions was President Brian Busch.

EyeWest Vision Clinic & Optical, recipient of the Small/Medium Business Excellence Award, sponsored by Gries Lenhardt Michenfelder Allen, PLLP, opened the doors of its Rogers location in July of 2002. Now, with a second location in St. Michael, EyeWest employs four doctors and twenty support staff. Dr. Leah Colby accepted the Award for EyeWest Vision Clinic and spoke of the importance of providing legendary customer service and of giving back to the community that supports them.

The Lifetime Excellence Award, sponsored by Cabela’s, was awarded posthumously to lifelong Rogers resident and community leader Charles (Chuck) Christian, who passed away unexpectedly in November of 2013. Chuck, who founded Christian Builders and Christian Realty in the early 1970s, was the first fire chief of Dayton, a charter member of the Rogers Lions Club, a member of the Rogers Toastmasters, and the president of the Rogers Rotary Club at the time of his death. He served on the board for a number of local organizations and was dedicated to serving and helping others. Chuck was also instrumental in efforts to create the Rogers Veterans Memorial in the future Lions Park, which will celebrate its ribbon cutting on July 4, 2014. Bill Christian, Chuck’s son and Vice President of Christian Builders and Remodelers, accepted the Lifetime Excellence Award on behalf of the Christian family.

The final award of the day, Excellence in Local Government, sponsored by North Hennepin Community College Professional Training & Development, was presented to Steve Bot. Bot is the city administrator of the City of St. Michael and chair of the I-94 West Corridor Coalition. He has been with the City of St. Michael since 2002 and currently serves as City Administrator, Public Works Director, and City Engineer. Bot is also the President of the City Engineers Association of Minnesota and serves on numerous transportation boards statewide.

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