How we chose the 2016 Most Admired CEOs

Minnesota has a national reputation for business leadership, and the Business Journal has a 34-year history of covering the people and industries that make the state a great place to do business.

For 40 years, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal has been recognizing chief executive officers from Minnesota’s largest companies in our annual Executive of the Year awards. In the first issue of the year we highlight their professional accomplishments, their community involvement and their company’s successes.

However, since we turn to the state’s billion-dollar companies for our EOY candidates, a large pool of admirable and worthy CEOs from smaller firms are passed over.

We wanted to rectify that, knowing Minnesota has a national reputation for business leadership, and the Business Journal has a 34-year history of covering the people and industries that make the state a great place to do business.

So we created our Most Admired CEOs project. We started seeking nominations for our inaugural year of the awards in January, and the response was enthusiastic! We received nearly 100 nominations; narrowing it down to the 10 individuals honored in this publication was a difficult task for our editorial team.

Our reporters and editors poured over hundreds of pages of nominations, news clippings, resumes and letters of support. We considered our reporters’ in-depth knowledge of the beats and people they routinely cover. And we looked for some key characteristics we determined made a company’s CEO admirable.

Our basic eligibility requirements were that the honorees had to be the top executive of a metro-area based company or organization with less than $1 billion dollars — to make it unique from our Executive of the Year award. We also looked for longevity with the company and as CEO.

Drilling deeper, we wanted honorees who are leading successful, growing organizations with good reputations in the community and as employers. And beyond their obvious professional successes, we wanted CEOs who are active in community and trade groups — as well-respected business leaders are also community leaders.

Our 10 2016 Most Admired CEOs, featured in the following pages, are just the beginning of this endeavor to celebrate Minnesota’s laudable business leaders. We will start seeking nominations for our next class of Most Admired CEOs in January. If you think your boss, friend, client, colleague, even competitor, deserves this award, please tell us his or her story.

You can follow our various awards projects on our website at bizj.us/dhzgf. The nomination form for our 2017 Most Admired awards will be posted early next year.

But back to this year’s honorees: Congratulations on this much-deserved recognition, and thank you for the contributions you’ve made and continue to make to the Twin Cities community, your businesses and the state’s economy.

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