McNeely Center to honor six entrepreneurs Oct. 2
September 20, 2019
Six persons will be recognized by the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship during its ninth annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards celebration from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2 at the Metropolitan Ballroom and Clubroom, Golden Valley, Minnesota.
Sandy Pfefferle Forster ’82 will receive the College of Saint Benedict Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Russ Sherlock ’83 will receive the Saint John’s University Entrepreneur of the Year award.
The CSB and SJU Social Entrepreneurs of the Year will be awarded to Tim Wensman ’79, John Bodette ’72, Steve Bresnahan ’75 and Bill Maney for their entrepreneurial leadership in conjunction with the St. Cloud Rotary Club on the launch of St. Cloud-based Pathways 4 Youth.
Pfefferle Forster is the founder and owner of Little Pepper Promotions in northeast Minneapolis. The company provides promotional branding to its clients in a personal, progressive and purposeful way, putting clients’ names on almost anything. An English major at CSB, she previously held positions as a writer, editor and communications director, and serves on the Board of Trustees at SJU.
Sherlock is the founder of two companies and most recently served as the executive chairman at Equian, LLC, a healthcare information company specializing in payment integrity and focused on lowering the cost of care. He served as Equian’s chief executive officer from 2003-13. Since its founding in 2003, the company grew to over $450 million in revenue and employs 2,500 professionals worldwide. Sherlock studied business administration and explored his passion in music and composition at SJU.
Pathways 4 Youth’s mission is to create a world in which all youth will feel safe, valued and supported while reaching their full potential. This begins with meeting their basic needs and leads to giving them the tools to grow and become contributing members of the community.
As members of the St. Cloud Rotary Club, the “Core Four” – as they are known in the organization – stepped up to frame the strategic leadership team to understand the problem, frame the strategy and secure partners through the community to make the Pathways 4 Youth vision a reality.
Wensman is the board chair of the organization. A biology major at SJU, he served as the executive vice president of GNP, Inc., the upper Midwest’s largest fully integrated producer of premium quality poultry products. He is member of the CentraCare Health System board and chair of the St. Cloud Hospital Board.
Bresnahan, the board’s treasurer, was executive director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud from 1994-2016, serving over 65,000 people each year through 40-plus programs. He majored in choral music as an undergraduate at SJU, and has a master’s degree in health administration from the University of Minnesota.
Bodette, the board’s secretary, recently retired after a 44-year career in journalism. A government and political science major at SJU, he served as executive editor of the St. Cloud Times and Times Media for 11 years and was previously the paper’s managing editor for 20 years. He is board chair of the Stearns County History Museum.
Maney, the board’s vice chair, has been associated with the trucking industry for 55 years. He has three dealerships in St. Cloud, Duluth and Alexandria. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where he majored in business and economics. He has been a Rotarian for more than 50 years.
Winners are selected from nominations of Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s alumnae/i who have successfully launched and led ventures by seizing opportunities while leveraging resources and initiating changes that create value.
The Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship is an interdisciplinary center focused on “inspiring the entrepreneurial spirit” throughout the campus community through curricular, extracurricular and community events – including its signature Entrepreneur Scholars cohort. Students are expected to launch a business during the three-course, 12-credit program.
The celebration, which is open to the public, includes a social hour from 5-6 p.m., featuring heavy appetizers and cash bar stations. The award presentation begins at 6:15 p.m., with a dessert bar and continued social time at 7 p.m.
Ticket prices range from $35 (young alumnae/i from 2014-19), $50 (event admission) and $75 (accelerator admission). Individuals can also sponsor a current student for $50. Tickets are available online.