UWNEMN Executive Director Shelley Valentini opened the evening program by talking about the exciting changes and growth of the organization in the past year. “We are so excited to move into our new home very soon! Renovations are underway with the work of Lakehead Constructors, as well as Architectural Resources. The new building will drastically improve our overall effectiveness and efficiencies and will allow for future growth and expansion.”Al Hodnik, chairman, president and CEO of ALLETE, Inc./Minnesota Power introduced keynote speaker Brian Maki, chairman, president and CEO of Lakehead Constructors. Maki, a Hoyt Lakes native, talked about his upbringing on the Iron Range and his extensive experience in the construction industry. Maki and Lakehead are strong UWNEMN supporters. Lakehead is a corporate event sponsor, provides employee volunteer support, and provides in-kind equipment usage donations. Maki personally contributed $10,000 to the Building Renovation Campaign. Maki stated, “The United Way, through its programs and financial support, strengthens our families and communities where it is needed. I urge you to continue to support United Way of Northeastern Minnesota with your dollars, time and in-kind contributions wherever you can.” Awards were given to those supporters and partners who have gone above and beyond in making an impact in area communities. The Sexual Assault Program of Northern St. Louis County received the Agency Achievement Award for their outstanding work in sexual violence prevention and education, as well as victim support. Partnering with Leah Stauber and the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office, the Sexual Assault Program recently launched a youth sexting prevention program called Now Matters Later. Delta Air Lines was presented with the Spirit Award for volunteerism with UWNEMN’s programs and events. Recently, Delta Air Lines announced that they will be the presenting sponsor of Rampage at the Ridge at the $10,000 level.
Hibbing Taconite and USW Local 2705 employees received a Campaign Award because they had a 14 percent increase in overall giving, raising a total of $120,996. They also received the Leadership Giving Award with the highest percentage of Leadership Givers and the highest average gift per person at $350.United Taconite also received a Campaign Award because they had a 14 percent increase in overall giving, raising a total of $84,314. Another Campaign Award went to Minnesota Power which had a 23 percent increase in giving, with a total of $52,478. U.S. Steel received a Campaign Award for their 20 percent increase in giving, raising a total of $214,623. Lifesaver Awards were presented to Sue Wiirre and Laura Rosier of U.S. Steel for their hard work above and beyond on the U.S. Steel campaign. Also receiving Lifesaver Awards were Jerry Forsberg and Larry Pocrnich for their efforts with the United for Veterans initiative. They are both founding members of the United for Veterans committee and spend countless hours on the Rampage at the Ridge event. Lifesaver Awards were also given to Ray and Deb Erspamer for their work with the Buddy Backpack and Good360 programs, Chuck Bainter for his work with Good360, and Roy and Barb Dobson for their work with Buddy Backpacks.
The final Lifesaver Award was presented to Eric Clement for leading the Building Renovation Committee, which is working on UWNEMN’s new home. Clement announced, “The renovations should be completed in nine weeks!” His leadership, time, knowledge and skills have been invaluable during the course of this project.
The final award, the “Leadership Award”, was presented to Lakehead Constructors. UWNEMN is proud to partner with Lakehead as the contractor for the new building renovations. The company was chosen for the project not only for their skills but also because of their support of UWNEMN and their commitment to the Iron Range community.
The evening concluded with the election of a new slate of officers and Board members. The 2018 officers are: Julie Lucas/Hibbing Taconite, president; Paul Janssen/Minnesota Companies, 1st vice president; Eric Clement/Minnesota Power, 2nd vice president; Stacy Hart/Range Center, secretary; and Tony Zupancich/Delta Air Lines, treasurer.
Newly elected board members are:
Robb Peterson/ArcelorMittal Minorca
Mine, Laura Rosier/
U.S. Steel Minntac,
Wells Fargo, Dustin Gangruth/Reichel Electric, and Chad Buus/U.S. Steel Minntac. Julie Lucas, incoming board president, thanked Stacy Hart, outgoing board president, for her service. Lucas noted that she has “big shoes to fill” during the upcoming year.