Excellence in Economic Development Awards

The awards recognize projects and professionals in the economic development industry who have gone above and beyond or faced significant challenges in the last year. Nominations open in the fall and winners are honored at the Winter Conference.

Nominate by November 18, 2022 for this year's awards!

Nomination Info & Form

Previous Recipients 

2022 Award Ceremony Photos 

Economic Developer of the Year

2022 Recipient
Deanna Kuennen, City of Faribault

The Economic Developer of the Year recognizes a true leader in the industry from the past year.  This person exemplifies excellence in economic development and leadership. This award is intended for a professional who utilizes best practices, collaborative thinking, creativity and a spirit of innovation.

Project of the Year

2022 Recipient
Tribal Entrepreneurship Business Incubator

The Project of the Year Award recognizes a community, organization, or team of individuals who have worked to complete a project that has had a positive impact in the State of Minnesota in the past year. This project will demonstrate collaboration, creativity, and complexity. The project will have created or retained employment and capital investment.

Emerging Professional of the Year

2022 Recipient
Molly Byron, Lead for Minnesota

The Emerging Professional Award acknowledges outstanding achievement by an emerging leader in the economic development industry. This individual shows promising leadership skills and positively impacts their organization, community, and/or region through economic development. This person should have less than five years of experience in the industry.

Innovation Award

2022 Recipient
Neela Mollgaard & Launch Minnesota Initiative

The Innovation Award recognizes a creative solution to an economic development challenge,  awarded to a community, county, organization, or a collaborative team. It could include any or all of the following:

  • Programs or initiatives that focus on business attraction, talent attraction or retention, business retention and expansion, financing, entrepreneurship, technology or other economic development initiatives.
  • Successful partnerships that demonstrate the strength of working together as a collective whole.
  • Creativity, effective communication and impeccable execution of an economic development marketing initiative.