Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and neXt to Recognize Community Excellence in the Willmar Lakes Area

The Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce is looking for nominations of the individuals who have exhibited community leadership, volunteerism and giving in the Willmar Lakes Area. The Annual Awards Leadership Luncheon recognizing community leadership, volunteering and giving will take place on Friday, February 2, 2018 from 12:00-1:30pm at the Willmar Conference Center. It will be presented by neXt and the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. Nominations are being solicited from the community and nominations should be submitted to the Chamber on or before December 31, 2017. The nomination forms can be emailed, faxed, mailed, electronically or picked up at the Chamber office.

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2017 Emerging Young Leader Award

The Emerging Young Leader Award is awarded to an individual younger than 40 years of age who demonstrates outstanding leadership that benefits the community and its citizens. Areas of outstanding service include working with youth, adults and families to improve the Willmar Lakes Area Quality of Life. Leadership qualities include creativity, volunteerism, responsibility, problem solving, respectfulness, cooperation and organizational skills. Leadership qualities are not limited to Chamber activities and may include work for other organizations. 

Recipients of the Emerging Young Leader Award have been:

Robert Mathiasen, Heritage Bank, N.A.
Lourdez Schwab, All Star Realty & Willmar Area Multicultural Market
Jonathan Kreps, JD Kreps Financial Group
Chad & Angela Koosman, Celebrate the Light of the World
Melissa Sorenson, Jennie-O Turkey Store, Inc.
Aaron Madsen, Nova-Tech Engineering

2017 "MILO" Award

The "MILO" Award is named after long-time Chamber volunteer, Milo Halberg who passed away in 2001. Milo served a three-year term on the Board of Directors and was a longstanding member of the Membership Committee until his retirement from "volunteerism" from the Chamber in 1998. During his years of service to the Chamber, Milo personally signed over 100 members for the Chamber, and many times was requested by certain members to have him personally pick-up their membership check as part of our overall retention program.

The award was established in Milo's name to recognize local business leaders who exemplify Milo's leadership in the areas of volunteerism, community leadership & involvement, and dedication to the Chamber of Commerce. The "MILO" Award will be presented to a Chamber member who is 40 years or older who has provided leadership and commitment not only to the Chamber, but also to other community organizations and programs as well. The recipient will recive the "MILO" Award and their picture will be featured in the Chamber lobby, along with past recipients.


Recipients of the “MILO” Award have been:

Bob Dols, Northern States Supply
David Reed, Welders Supply
Lachlan Smith, Affiliated Community Medical Centers
Ken, Behm, Home State Bank
Smitty Luschen, Heritage Bank, N.A.
Greg Hilding, Bremer Bank, N.A.
Gary Geiger, Heritage Bank, N.A.
Milan Schmiesing, Conway, Deuth & Schmiesing, PLLP
Russ Bennett, Bennett Office Technologies
Jim Siben, Nova-Tech Engineering
Joanna Schrupp, MinnWest Technology Campus
Dave Baker, Baker Hospitalities


2017 ELA Award (Exemplary Leadership Award)

The Exemplary Leadership Award (ELA) is designed to honor a male or female who has achieved recognition in their field and made significant contributions to the respective profession and business or organization of which the individual is a part of. The award is open to a man, woman, or business that has demonstrated a successful and exemplary history of leadership resulting in noteworthy accomplishments for the business or organization that the leader serves. In addition, the recipient will have been successful in serving his/her profession in a manner that inspires others in the profession to recognize the person as a leader in the field. Ideally, community members also will readily identify the recipient as being successful as a leader.

Recipients of the ELA Award have been:

Kathy Leedom, Willmar Public Schools
Julie Asmus, Willmar Police Department
Lynn Johnson, Ridgewater College
June Boie, Rice Memorial Hospital
Dr. Dale Lauer, MN Poultry Testing Laboratory
Sara Carlson, Willmar Area Community Foundation

Chairman's Circle Chamber Members