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Nominees being sought this month for EDC's annual awards

WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission is looking for nominees for its Earl B. Olson Entrepreneurial Spirit Award and Wilt Croonquist Emerging Entrepreneur Award.

For the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, the EDC is looking for an established Kandiyohi County business owner with the same type of entrepreneurial spirit Earl B. Olson exhibited throughout his professional career. This award has been given since 1995.

Among the most recent recipients are Gary Geiger, president of Heritage Bank N.A., 2006; John O. Christianson of Christianson and Associates PLLP, 2007; and Russ Bennett of Bennett Office Technologies Inc., 2008.

The Wilt Croonquist Em-erging Entrepreneur Aw-ard has been given since 1998 to a business owner who has been in business three years or less. The most recent recipients are Wade Gustafson and Riley Gustafson of Gustafson Dairy Heifers, 2006, and Trista Tensen, owner of the Raymond Super Market, in 2007.

Criteria used in selecting award recipients include number of years in business, obstacles overcome, business recognition/ awards, community service, employee retention, respect and satisfaction, company growth, and quality improvement.

For additional information call the EDC office at 235-7370 or obtain the application form at the EDC Web site at

Nominations should be submitted to the Economic Development Commission, P.O. Box 1783, Willmar, MN 56201, faxed to 320-231-2320 or e-mailed to edp@ on or before Aug. 25.

-- Staff reports