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The Community Volunteer of the Year award went to The Hudson Hot Air Affair Committee. At the presentation were, front from left, Mary Martin, John Knutson, Carla Timmerman, Evy Nerbonne and Linda White; middle, Chuck Jerrick, Katie Jones, Lori Rayome, Cindy Brown Bauer, Chamber President Kim Heinemann, Molly Johnson, Sharon Young, Richard Young and Chamber Board Chair Jim Wookey; back, Linda LaKosky, Michelle Webb, Sue Elmer, Deanna Grigus and Ruth Peterson.

Hudson Chamber presents awards at annual banquet

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Hudson Chamber presents awards at annual banquet
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Lynn and David Robson were winners of the annual Marie Blakeman Award, presented at the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet Thursday night (Jan. 23) at the Hudson House Grand Hotel.


In addition, several local people and businesses were recognized at the event.

Other awards included:

--Large Business of the Year: YMCA-Camp St. Croix

--Small Business of the Year: Minuteman Press

--Chamber Member of the Year: Melissa Peloquin (Star-Observer)

--Chamber Ambassador of the Year: Dawn Marquart (First American Bank)

--Community Volunteer of the Year: Hudson Hot Air Affair Committee.

The banquet also included the introduction of the 2014 Chamber Board Chair Traci Leffner of Sylvan Learning Center. She took the reins from Jim Wookey of Westconsin Credit Union.

Wookey presided over the evening’s events. Chamber President Kim Heinemann also spoke briefly.

Blakeman Award

Both Lynn and David have been very active in the community, serving on various and committees and volunteering their time for numerous causes. The award is presented to people who demonstrate signature and sustaining community leadership.

The Blakeman Award was established for Marie Blakeman (1917-1999), who along with her husband, Harry Blakeman (1912-1976), founded Nor-Lake Inc. in 1947 and owned the business for much of their lives. Marie was extremely active in the community.

The award exemplifies her community leadership, contributions and passion. The award is presented each year by Marie's daughter Barb Richardson.

"Marie came to Hudson in 1947 and served throughout her life," Richardson said. "Tonight's winner has the qualities Marie displayed. Those include leadership, compassion, love of community, selfless contributions, inspiration, truth-telling, sacrifice and support for new ideas."

Among the organizations for which David Robson has volunteered include Chamber of Commerce Board, Daybreak Rotary, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Hudson Boosters, Bethel Lutheran Church, Y Partners, Relay For Life and Hudson hockey.

Robson worked for many years in the car business including general manager at Walser Automotive Group and later Hudson Chrysler. He is now an active developer with Greystone Commercial and president at Ban Tara Companies and Hudson Companies.

Lynn Robson has also volunteered with many of the same organizations and is currently a member of the Hudson School District Board of Education. She is a financial consultant at Morries Automotive Group in the Twin Cities, property manager at Commercial Management and was once a senior executive at Luther Automotive.

“What an honor,” Lynn Robson said. “When you look at all the members of the community who work hard, we are humbled by this award -- very humbled.”

The couple has five children and lives in Hudson.

Large Business

The Chambers Large Business of the Year award (more than 20 employees) went to the YMCA Camp St. Croix. The executive director is Sue Schneider and the program director is Sue Elmer.

The site on the St. Croix River has 420 acres and nearly two miles of shoreline. The camp was established in 1990 and currently has about 140 employees during peak season. The camp serves 18,000 people each year. The camp is currently raising funds for a new welcome center.

“We have a great staff and we appreciate being selected by the Chamber for this award,” Schneider said.

“This is such an honor,” said Elmer. “We have an amazing team and this is an amazing community.”

Small Business

The Chambers Small Business of the Year award (less than 20 employees) went to Minuteman Press, owned by Pete Keskey. He purchased the business in 2006 and it has grown from two employees in a small apace to seven employees in 3,700 square feet. Keskey has opened a second location in Oakdale, Minn. He and his employees have been active in many organizations.

“This is an amazing award,” Keskey said. “The Chamber has been an integral part of our growth. It’s allowed us to make many contacts around the community. We also have an amazing crew -- thanks to them and the Chamber.”

Community volunteer

The Hudson Hot Air Affair Committee was named Volunteer of the Year. The award is sponsored by the Chamber.

The organization has been involved in sponsoring the annual Hot Air Affair since its beginning in 1990. The celebration marks its 25th year of the event scheduled Feb. 7-9.

“On behalf of the committee I’d like to thank the Chamber,” said Evy Nerbonne, speaking for the group of nearly two dozen people at the banquet. “We all love what we do.”

Chamber member

The Chamber Member of the Year is Melissa Peloquin, an advertising representative for the Hudson Star-Observer. Peloquin was born and raised in Hudson and spent 16 years with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune before coming to the Star-Observer in 2008. Chamber Board President Jim Wookey said she has a “can do attitude.” She has served on numerous Chamber committees and has been extremely active with the organization.

“It’ll be nice to have my name in the paper for something other than a speeding ticket,” quipped Peloquin. “Seriously, I am humbled by this honor -- thanks to the Chamber.”

Ambassador Award

The Chamber Ambassador Award was presented to Dawn Marquart of First American Bank. Members of the Ambassadors Committee of the Chamber make numerous contacts throughout the community. They visit new businesses, attend ribbon cuttings, host events, initiate networking programs and recruit businesses for chamber membership. The committee has about 25 members.

Last year’s winner, Traci Leffner, presented the award.

“I am honored,” Marquart said. “It means a lot because it was voted on by my peers.”

Board changes

Two new directors have been named to the Chamber board. The new board members are Amy Bast (akb marketing llc) and Ron Theis (Comfort Suites Hudson).

Retiring from the board are Carla Timmerman (Hudson House Grand Hotel) and LouAnne Berg (J&L Steel & Electrical Services). Each was presented with a plaque.

Returning to the board are chair Traci Leffner (Sylvan Learning Center), Past Chair Jim Wookey (Westconsin Credit Union), Chair—elect Pat Cooksey (Hudson Hospital & Clinics), Treasurer Kevin Blinsmon (Hiawatha National Bank), Sandee Madigan (Elan Clothing & Gifts and Dilly-Dally Gift Shoppe), Brian Hinz (Elliot Architects, LLC), Kevin Frane (United Gear & Assembly, Inc.), Todd Gilbert (Valley Cartage) and Nick Vivian (Eckberg, Lammers, Briggs, Wolff & Fierling, PLLP).

Doug Stohlberg
Doug Stohlberg has been part of the Hudson Star-Observer since 1973 and has been editor since 1987. He worked at the New Richmond News from 1971 to 1973. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota.
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