Recognizing Hibbing, Minnesota's small business growth and success


March 14, 2019

The Entrepreneur Fund presents Lory Fedo with the Mary Mathews Legacy Award for her outstanding contributions to economic development in the region.

Hibbing continues to be a center for Minnesota small business growth and success. Every year, incredible and impactful work propels the Hibbing business community further than anyone could have imagined. At the Entrepreneur Fund, we are very proud to work with so many strong partners who are committed to strengthening economic development in and around Hibbing.

At the 114th annual Hibbing Chamber Dinner, a mood of optimism filled the room with positivity and excitement for the year to come. Opening remarks from outgoing President Lory Fedo, incoming President Vicki Hagberg and 2019 Chair of the Board Jared Lubben echoed the impressive accomplishments of the board over the past three decades, and the ambitious future we’re all working together to obtain.

Champions for Hibbing

Every year, the Hibbing Chamber recognizes outstanding leaders who push our region further, support economic development and have a lasting impact on the chamber, the community and everyone who calls the region home.

Lynn Erkelenz of Midwest Communications was named the Ambassador of the Year for her exemplary work on Sidewalk Sales, Small Business Saturday, ribbon cutting ceremonies for new or expanding businesses. Lynn is also essential in planning and executing community events like National Night Out, Mighty Mutts, the Relay for Life and, of course, the Rotary Chili Cook-off.

Mike Freeden of Range Center received the Outstanding Leadership Award for demonstrating the principles taught in the Chamber’s Leadership Program, and for his work in spearheading a review of the Memorial Building expansion plans through community public forums, surveys and a comprehensive economic impact study.

Don Brunette of Access North, Center for Independent Living was recognized at Volunteer of the Year for his admirable volunteer efforts and contributions to our community. He played a vital role in advancing access to technology on the Hibbing Broadband Steering Committee and is committed to leading a broadband grant project that will use smart home technology to improve safety in senior citizen homes.

A Heartfelt Sendoff for Longtime Hibbing Chamber President, Lory Fedo

We’ve been proud to work with Lory Fedo on many projects and initiatives during her term as Hibbing Chamber President. To recognize her outstanding contributions to economic development in the region, we presented her with the Mary Mathews Legacy Award at the annual Chamber Dinner.

The Mary Mathews Legacy Award recognizes outstanding business leaders in northeastern Minnesota, central Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin and was created in honor of Mary Mathews, founding President of the Entrepreneur Fund.

Lory joined the Hibbing Chamber of Commerce in 1991, during a tumultuous time when Iron Range cities were working to rebuild in the wake of mine closures. Lory believes in the power of community and supports the wide range of industries that lend great strength to our economy.

Under Lory’s leadership, the Hibbing Chamber of Commerce and the Entrepreneur Fund worked together on several key initiatives to attract and retain businesses to the Hibbing area. Over the years, this partnership has resulted directly in:

  • Over $1,000,000 in loan capital for Hibbing area entrepreneurs
  • 20+ small businesses receiving digital marketing consulting
  • Training and consulting to Hibbing area businesses
  • A new Entrepreneur Fund office in Hibbing to provide strategic and financial resources to area entrepreneurs
  • Bringing Wi-Fi downtown and providing technology consulting to entrepreneurs through the Blandin Broadband initiative

Lory has always been a dedicated champion of economic development and her work has strengthened the Hibbing and surrounding community and made it great place to do business. Congratulations on your retirement, Lory, and thank you for leaving the Hibbing Chamber in the capable hands of incoming President Vicki Hagerg. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Hibbing Chamber for many years to come.

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