“Nominees in this category will be individuals who have consistently demonstrated outstanding leadership in the community and/or leadership in advance of community projects throughout the years.”
Arnold Potek, M.D.
Forestry’s loss; our gain
This year we would like to present the Cornerstone Award to a very deserving man, Dr. Arnold Potek. There is probably not a person in this room that has not benefited from Dr. Potek’s medical care. He is truly a family physician at heart and one of a dying breed of general practitioners who live and work for rural communities such as Osceola.
Dr. Potek was born in International Falls, MN and his family moved to Minneapolis when he was in first grade. His father was a physician and with only a short time thinking about being a forest ranger, Arnie knew he was going to be a physician. He attended the University of Minnesota and graduated from the medical school there in 1970. He then did an internship year in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was drafted in the US Navy and was sent to San Diego. After his enlistment ended, he moved his family to Lamberton, MN to practice at a University of Minnesota Rural Clinic. Lamberton was not a good fit for him so after seeing a Minnesota Monthly ad that Osceola, WI was hiring a physician, he and his wife Nancy came for an interview with Dr. L.O. Simenstad. Dr. Potek said it was a sunny October day and they drove down the hill on 243 and saw the river valley. He knew he was home.
He joined Dr. L.O. and Dr. John Simenstad in 1975 at the clinic and hospital. He was young and inexperienced. He clearly remembers his first night taking emergency call by himself. It was an extremely busy night and he learned a lot that night. His education would continue over the years with two high quality physicians acting as his mentors.
Dr. Potek and Dr. John worked many years as the only physicians here. They worked long hours in surgery, the clinic, the hospital and ER. They saw just about everything and they tried their best to treat as many people as they could here in Osceola. In 1984, Dr. Potek and his family moved to Israel, returning to his Osceola practice in 1985. The St. Croix Regional Medical Center and Osceola clinic merged in 1985. The merger did not last. However, the Osceola clinic began to grow and was able to attract more physicians. In 2009, the new Osceola Medical Center was opened south of town. Dr. Potek left OMC in November 2014. He currently works for HealthEast in White Bear Lake.
The Poteks have three children and four grandchildren. Dr. Potek’s hobbies over the years have included playing recorder, beekeeping, maple syruping, avid reading and bicycling.
Dr. Potek’s volunteer work included acting as Polk County Coroner for several years and helped found the Mental Health Task Force of Polk County which has grown tremendously over the years and serves many people with mental illness. Dr. Potek takes great pride in serving as medical advisor for 10 years for “Caring Group.” This group was a mix of professionals from around the county and met monthly to review family case histories and brainstorm and develop a plan to help them. He saw first-hand how the group made a difference in children’s lives.
Dr. Potek reminiscences about “the good old days” and how his general medical practice was the way medicine should be: taking care of people and the community. He estimates he delivered about 500 babies. Dr. Potek still lives by some long ago advice from his friend and colleague, Dr. John: “Be nice to people and answer the phone.”
When asked what he sees as the biggest change in medicine since he has been practicing, he responds, “The way people are cared for. Health insurance and policies have greatly changed how medicine is practiced in our country.”
Dr. Potek said his reward for his years of general practice has been that he has had the privilege of taking care of people.
We’d say OUR reward is that we had a fine physician such as Dr. Potek taking care of us. Thank you, Dr. Arnie.
“Nominees in this category will be educators who demonstrate outstanding contributions to education and the community.”
Michael McMartin, Osceola Public Schools
Football coach, track coach, wrestling coach, Camp Wapo creator, assistant principal, principal, teacher, mentor, supporter,
Began in Osceola as a 6th grade teacher.
Assistant principal for three years and then principal for
Many trade marks: one of them was to meet and greet all students at the door as they entered school each morning. Took great pride in caring for all students. His personality was such that students gravitated to him: charismatic in so many ways. He has shaped and molded many lives in this community. He always put kids first and never seemed to tire.
Our community has been blessed with two great high school principals: Bob Vesperman and Mike McMartin. There has been no better man to walk the halls of Osceola High School than MAC.
Supported arts as well as academics and athletics. He can be found at every bank, choir and drama performance. He supported Empty Bowls helping to make it the huge community outreach event that it is today. He chaperoned the Heifer Trip to Arkansas for years, helping to teach students first-hand what it’s like to live in poverty for a week without enough to eat and no adequate shelter. He always took the time to get to know the students and to make real connections that will last a lifetime.
“Mac” did not start out wanting to teach at Osceola. In his 10th year teaching 6th grade at New Richmond Schools, he was invited to meet with Mrs. Hartman, an Osceola 6th grade teacher at the time, to learn about math techniques. It was snowing that day and school was cancelled at New Richmond but not at Osceola. Mike plowed his way into Osceola. Mrs. Hartman could not meet that day and so Mike stopped in at the middle school principal’s office to check in. Principal Roger Kumlein heard Mike’s voice in the office. Mike and Roger were high school student athletes in the same conference so knew of one another. Roger insisted that Mike accompany him on a car ride around town. They ended up at the old high school building. Mike Williams was there. Williams immediately offered Mac a job as a reading teacher and as Head Football Coach for Osceola High School. Mac refused. Soon Osceola was calling again and this time, Mac accepted. He started teaching 6th grade for Osceola in 1990. The rest is history as they say.
Mac taught 6th grade at Osceola for four years. While at the middle school, Mike started the Camp Wapo program which is when sixth grade students live and learn at Camp Wappogasset near Amery for 3 days. New Richmond schools had offered the program for several years and it was highly successful for the students. Mac knew it would be a good fit for Osceola students as well and it was enjoyed by students and teachers both for 20 years. Mac also started Camper Mania while he was at the high school. All 8th graders were invited to camp out overnight on the football field (girls on one side and boys on the other, of course).
Mike’s leadership potential was quickly realized and in 1994 he was offered the job of Dean of Students at Osceola High School. At the same time, Roger Kumlein was named the new high school principal. A few years later when Roger accepted the job as Superintendent of Osceola Schools, Mike accepted the job of high school principal. Mike and Roger were a great creative and working team and the students of Osceola continue to benefit from their high standards for education and the school district. Mike is extremely proud of the staff he hired during his time at the high school and how those teachers educate our Osceola students. He states that all the activities that he was part of was a collaborative effort of the teachers he worked with.
Mac had many trademarks: one of them was to meet and greet all students at the door as they entered school each morning. He loves the hands on relationship with the kids. He took great pride in caring for all students. His personality was such that students gravitated to him: he is charismatic in so many ways. He has shaped and molded many lives in this community. He always put kids first and never seemed to tire. He instilled a strong sense of community pride in his students and showed them first hand that actively volunteering is a very important aspect of life.
Mike retired in 2014 and it doesn’t take long talking to him today to sense how much he misses his vocation already. But once he started welcoming students that were kids of past high school kids, he decided it was time to exit. In retirement he is doing construction on various projects, including a new home for himself and his wife, Bonnie. He enjoys being able to spend more time with his three children and two grandchildren.
His love of education shines through. His wife, Bonnie gave him a poem years ago with the line “touching one child is success.” Mike’s life has gone well beyond success. Our community has been blessed with two great high school principals: Bob Vesperman and Mike McMartin. There has been no better man to walk the halls of Osceola High School than MAC.
Thanks you, Mr. McMartin from the Osceola community.
“Nominees in this category will be an individual who supports and reinforces the values of the Chamber and exhibits a high level of commitment, initiative, leadership, cooperation, and dedication – going above and beyond expectations.”
Bob Wolf, Osceola Medical Center
Physics loss; our gain
The next award is given to Bob Wolf for his Above and Beyond work done in 2014 serving as the President of Wheels & Wings Inc. and the Wheels & Wings Work Group Facilitator. Along with Vice-President Rod Turner, Treasurer Jerry Tack, Secretary Paul Strand, Board Member Rob Cardenas and Advisors Jeff Meyer and Phil Mattison, Bob did hours and hours of work, both at the committee level and on-site the day of the event. When his Wheels & Wings collaboration began, Bob was excited to work with so many different groups around town. Bob’s role was to help the Wheels & Wings organization come together and to talk towards a common goal to help improve this festival and the community.
Bob is also currently serving in Osceola as Vice-President for the Millpond Learning Foundation and as a Vision 2030 member. In his home community of White Bear Lake, he teaches martial arts and has volunteered his time building parks in that area. He has been on the Osceola Chamber Board since 2007. Within the chamber he has served as Vice-President, Organization Committee Chair, Wheels & Wings Committee Chair and Finance Committee Chair. His friend, Carter Johnson asked Bob to join the chamber board and Bob jumped at the chance to be able to work with the business community. He takes relating to community very much to heart and it provides Bob with opportunities to grow personally and professionally. Bob feels a big part of his job and volunteer work is to work with everybody. He believes in accompanying others to make them look better.
Bob was born in Ashland, WI. His family moved to southern Wisconsin and Bob graduated from Stoughton High School. He was attracted to UW-River Falls to study physics. One quarter of physics was enough and he graduated with a degree in Journalism and Metropolitan Regional Studies and a minor in Spanish. He really wanted to be a journalist and loves explaining things to people and writing and talking about communities.
Bob has held various communication jobs over the years including reporting for the Hudson Star Observer, Community Relations Coordinator for the North Branch School District, consultant for Twin City Testing in St Paul, general communications consulting, hospice development, Community Relations Coordinator for Core Products in Osceola and currently works at Osceola Medical Center, also in community relations. He helps plan OMC’s annual 5K, parades, health booths and helps promote the fitness center. It was in 1992 when he was working as a consultant that he first came to Osceola. One of his clients owned the Osceola Sun. He enjoyed the area and feels very fortunate in being able to continue to work here.
Bob has two children and enjoys traveling when not at Wheels & Wings meetings. He has visited Ireland, Spain, Montana, most of the Midwest, Washington DC, North Carolina, Alabama, South Dakota and Canada. On his travel wish list is Iceland. One favorite Wolf family activity is taking IQ tests so his wife can stay up to date on testing.
We sincerely thank Bob for his many hours, hard work, patience and leadership for the Chamber and more specifically, Wheels & Wings.
As Bob says, “I enjoy doing what I can to make the bigger picture better.” Thank you.
“Nominees is this category are individuals who stay active in our community after reaching the age of 70 years with volunteerism and outstanding commitment to community service.”
Chemistry’s loss; our gain
The next award is also a new one this year. We only had to think about 30 seconds to know that we wanted to acknowledge Millie for her life-long commitment to Osceola. She is a great lady.
Millie was born in Hanska, MN to a family of Norwegian ancestry, and enjoyed her childhood in the rural community. She earned a degree (with honors) in Chemistry from the University of MN, and met her future husband when he was working in the student clinic of the dental school and she was a patient there. Dick grew up in Sleepy Eye, MN not far from Hanska, but did not know Millie in high school. Dick proposed to Millie in her junior year of college, and they married a few days after she graduated. Dick and Millie moved to Osceola in 1948 and Dick started his downtown dental practice. Shortly after moving to Osceola, Dick (as an army officer) was sent to Okinawa to treat soldiers in the Korean War. That left Millie on her own in Osceola with her toddler son, Michael (1950) and infant daughter, Marian (1952)--and no car!
After returning to Osceola post-war, Dick and Millie built a home on the banks of the St. Croix River and welcomed another son, Daniel, to the family in 1957. All of the children graduated from Osceola high school earning many academic honors. Millie was an active participant in her children's school lives, as well as leading Boy Scouting and Girl Scouting troop activities. Both sons are Eagle Scouts and Marian earned a similar achievement award in Girl Scouting. Millie has two grand-daughters who are graduating with advanced professional degrees in the spring.
She has been a gracious hostess to all of her children's friends who have visited Osceola. As a retired colonel in the army reserves Dick and Millie traveled through the US to many army bases, and visiting relatives and friends along the way. Millie was a member of five volunteer groups in Osceola (including the Women's Club that created the first library in Osceola) and volunteered at the Methodist church during her years in Osceola. She and Dick were charter members of the Osceola Historical Society. She nursed her husband through his last days in 2002, and continues to live in the home that they built on River Street. The neighbors on River Street are great people who have kept an eye out for Millie over the years.
Millie is the volunteer family archivist, and holds the documentation of her family members' lives *somewhere* in her house. Millie has been the recipient of the Osceola Love Light volunteer award, as well as being recognized for her contributions to the Polk County Historical Society.
Millie is a strong advocate for the downtown business community, and can often be seen patronizing the stores and restaurants. Millie has been known to pull weeds from untended downtown sidewalks to tidy up Main Street! She always has a good word for friend when she sees them. We are extremely happy to give Millie the Senior Citizen of the Year Award for 2014.
“Nominees in this category will be individuals or businesses with outstanding customer service based on first impressions, attitude, helpfulness, exceling above and beyond service expectations and promoting other businesses in the area.”
Bill’s Ace Hardware
What we see today at Bills Ace Hardware has been more than 30 years in the making. It actually started when Bill worked with his parents at a store in Idaho Falls, and where he first nurtured his approach to customer service. It’s really quite simple, he says: “give customers a wonderful shopping experience every time.” So, when he and Jill bought Bruce and Joyce Vetvick’s former Coast to Coast in Osceola 30 years ago, Bill brought that approach with him. “By caring for people, you want to help them. You treat them the way you want to be treated,” he says.
To this day, Bill says that the most exciting thing about having a business is being able to help keep Osceola vibrant and to be able to help people with their needs. Add to that the partnerships with the Chamber and Village and you can “work together as a team with a common goal in mind to keep Osceola thriving,” Bill says.
We are blessed to have such a robust service business in our downtown. We thank Bill, Jill and all of their employees for their service, their business and committment to the community.
Nominees in this category will be an Osceola Area Chamber business or organization that demonstrates excellence in collaboration to improve the economic vitality of the community through leadership, sponsorships, volunteerism, and partnering with other organizations and/or businesses.”
Phil Mattison, Core Products International
Minnesota’s loss; Wisconsin’s gain
Our next award is a new one for this year – Community Partner of the Year. There are many good choices around Osceola but Phil Mattison and Core Products stood out from the rest for the owner’s and company’s support of community non-profit entities such as the Osceola Medical Center, the OMC Health Foundation, The United Way and specifically, Wheels & Wings. Phil has served on the Osceola Airport Commission for 20 years but he DOES receive reimbursement for that – a whopping $25.00 a year. Since Phil has been on the commission, the airport has been expanded and the number of runways and hangars have doubled. Income has also increased. The commission also operates with a nearly balanced budget each year. Does anyone know the reason whether the commission breaks even on their budget each year or goes over? It’s the amount of snow. If there is less snow, the airport can be used more so income increases.
Core Products was founded in 1988. Phil’s motivation to choose Osceola as Core’s headquarters was pure and simple – Wisconsin offered a much better business climate with tax incentives in place at the time than Minnesota. Over time, Phil also has come to highly respect the culture and people of our small town. He feels workers here are the best in all regards: they are highly educated, easy to communicate with, have the best work ethic, and they understand the importance of the quality of the product - all of which makes for a positive culture for work. Core Products currently employs a total of 120 employees in plants in Osceola, Chetek and Toronto, Canada. The Toronto company, Therapeutica was a competitor of Core Products and when the owners wanted to retire, Phil purchased the company. They are presently in the process of turning the company over to Core.
Phil’s journey to his involvement with Wheels & Wings happened over the course of years. He took his first flying lesson at Osceola’s airport and has flown his own plane ever since. Phil has high praise for our airport. It has the best flight school in the area with Woody Minor as a Designated Examiner. This is a BIG deal for the airport reports Phil.
Several years ago, Phil owned the hangar close to the main parking lot where the Wheels & Wings pancake breakfast was served. Phil was asked if he would allow the hangar to be used for the breakfast. He said sure. That first year, the pancake equipment blew every fuse in the place. The next year, Phil had the hangar rewired to accommodate all the equipment. The breakfast has continued to be a popular event and is still held in that hangar (even though Phil no longer owns it). In 2014, 800 plates of pancakes were served.
Several years ago when Classic Motorbooks was sold and moved out of Osceola, Phil and Steve Mueller agreed to keep the car show part of Wheels & Wings going. They moved the car show up to the airport. The last year that Motorbooks sponsored the event, an air show was added. Extra ordinances were needed but it proved to be a very popular draw for Wheels & Wings attendees. That year they also wanted to add drag races but could not do that for liability reasons. The radar run was added instead. Now that is one of the most popular offerings at Wheels & Wings.
Two years ago, Phil realized that more could be done with the air show. He attended the conference of the International Council of Air Shows and learned lots about air shows. For liability concerns, the air show needs to be run by a legal entity. This is why the Wheels & Wings Corp. was founded. Adaw Jarchow, from Baake Norman Law Office provided the legal work necessary and Wheels & Wings, Corp is now organized and has its 501(c) status. The Wheels & Wings Board of Directors includes one member representing the Osceola Chamber of Commerce, the Village of Osceola, Osceola Lion’s Club and the Osceola Airport Commission. The present board is Bob Wolf, ?????? Rod Turner, Bernie Desmarais. It is important to note that Phil is not on the board.
Last year the Wheels & Wings board was organized but much work still needed to be done to actually host the event. There have been some growing pains with this transition from a small town event into a premier air show. Some are happy with the changes; some are unhappy but to keep the event going, more revenue is needed. 2014 saw an important sponsorship from Central Bank to help fund added traffic control, parking personnel and of course those porta potties. Over 8,000 people attended the event this year. Phil has high praise for Germaine (she is a godsend says Phil) for the hard work and skills she provides. Scott Lindahl is also in need of many thanks for stepping up and developing the new Wheels & Wings website. Thanks to you both.
Wheels & Wings, Corp volunteers started meeting right away. There are board meetings, weekly meetings, steering committee meetings, and marketing committee meetings. This past year, at least one Wheel & Wings group was meeting every week. Wheels & Wings, Corp is a real entity now and will require more “care and feeding” moving forward but the people and interest are definitely there.
So what’s the payoff for an event of this magnitude for our small town? Wheels & Wings brings about 10,000 potential customers in the Osceola area. This translates to about four times our population coming into town for one day. What other town can do that? Once people see what we have to offer, they have many reasons to come back. After all, we have great small town appeal, low crime, great schools and a great lifestyle here.
Phil asks, “How good can we be as using this as an economic development tool?” People come, they stop in stores and restaurants. If you can get people to show up once, it’s much easier to get them to come back a second time. This is a great selling opportunity for Osceola. Demographics show that people who attend air shows are higher educated and have higher incomes. Attractive tax credits also make this a good time for new business in Wisconsin or for businesses to relocate. Phil feels “the airshow is a marketing tool like none other.”
Phil states: “The Wheels & Wings airshow is how we can make the best Osceola we can make!”
Many thanks Phil and Core Products for your support of our town and Wheels & Wings.
We welcome Bernie Desmarais to say a few words about the economic development element to the event and accept the award for Phil. Phil and is family are vacationing in Florida at the present time.
Non-Profit of the Year
“Nominees in this category will be organizations that have shown outstanding support to the Greater Osceola area through contributions and support of the community.”
Osceola Lions Club
The Osceola Chamber recognizes the valuable contributions of our non-profit organizations in and around Osceola. We have 40 and that number is growing.
This new award is being given out this year to the group that consistently has contributed over the years to the vitality of the community and we thank them for their commitment in making the Wheels and Wings event a growing success.
The Lions Club of Osceola is currently made up of 33 men from the area and are part of the International Lion’s Club- the largest service club in the world. Our Osceola chapter has worked hard to fund raise and in the last 15 years has contributed over $80,000 to community projects. They include such things as the restrooms for the Braves, gazebo in the park, playground equipment and Miss Osceola Float for the Osceola Parade to name a few. We appreciate their willingness to give back to the community and every single one of those guys is passionate about that mission.
We appreciate the work the Lions do for our community.
Building of the Year
“Nominees in this category will be the physical building that house successful businesses. The criteria in this category will be new construction as well as buildings which have undergone remodeling or refurbishment in 2014 to the extent that the building becomes an attribute to the community.”
Watershed Café – Steve & Rita Rasmuson, Owners
Culver’s loss; our gain
The Chamber would like to recognize Watershed Café as Building of the Year for 2014.
Steve and Rita Rasmuson lived a few miles out of Osceola for 13 years. For 13 years, Rita had day-dreamed about the building at the corner of 243 and 35. She was ecstatic when the building came up for sale and the time was right for the Rasmusons to purchase it and remodel it into WaterShed Café. Needless to say, it took time, energy and money to see their dream completed. The core of the building was built in the 1880’s and is still solid today, anchored in the bedrock below.
Construction began in April of this year and the new restaurant was open four months later. List of work completed includes new kitchen, new bathroom new deck, new hood and heating systems, new roof, façade work, new doors, new windows, handicapped ramp, new furniture, new fireplace, walk-in cooler, new counters, all new kitchen equipment and refinished floors. “Never again!” says Rita.
Steve grew up in Manitowoc, WI and Rita near Chicago. They met in Milwaukee while they were both at a cooking school there. Rita need to hire a cook and Steve applied for the job. “That’s when Steve and Rita were a done deal,” says Rita. Later, Rita worked as a horticulturist in Spring Green, WI and Steve worked for Culver Franchising. They eventually owned and managed two Culver’s locations, one in Cottage Grove, MN and the other in Stillwater, MN.
They moved their family to the Osceola area when working at Stillwater. Rita’s mother moved in with them from Chicago and they were looking for a good school for their two children. Osceola seemed like a good fit.
Rita sees a huge value with her chamber membership. From experience, she can see how active chambers can change towns. It brings everyone together.
Most of the building renovation has been completed but Steve and Rita still have a couple of ideas for the building and business. They are now open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for dinner. They will continue to evaluate what type of food and hours their clients want. They look forward to many years on Main Street. Welcome and we are glad you’re here!
Business of the Year
“Nominees in this category will have conducted their business in such a way as to distinguish him or herself in an extraordinary way and to have made through his or her business a significant contribution to the community.”
Studio A – Trish Thompson, Owner
A for Aveda and A for Amazing
The Osceola Chamber would like to recognize Studio A, Trish Thompson, owner, as our Business of the Year for 2014. Studio A is owned by Trish but she fully admits she could not operate her successful business without her group of very dedicated employees. Trish would like to acknowledge her fine staff for their hard work and dedication: Ashley Rutledge, Salon Coordinator, Service Providers: Desirae Steffen, Lora Grabowski, Kristen Aarnio, Ann Marie Craig, Emmalee Hite, and Lisa Mangelson; Front Desk Personnel: Mcgee Thompson, Addeline Methvin, Sarah Vater, and Casey Sajna and Behind the scenes: Lisa Rutledge. They all share the same passion for the industry and all work together to see Studio A thrive.
2014 saw Trish’s first year with six stylists – she finally broke the curse of that 5th stylist. Trish says it’s very hard to expand to keep six stylists busy. Studio A has developed a niche in the wedding market that they do very well. Trish has organized a bridal fair in March in partnership with Dancing Dragonfly winery in St. Croix Falls. She also has partnered with Aveda for several years and organizes a Ladies Night Out in Osceola, held in conjunction with Earth Day in April each year.
Trish enjoys working with the chamber herself and encourages her employees to volunteer for various projects around the community as well. “As a whole, we all do well together on Main Street. People discover what we all have to offer the retail community by supporting each other” says Trish.
Trish moved to Minneapolis from North Dakota in 1992 to train with Horst. After graduating and working in Hudson, in 1997 she opened her own business in her Osceola home. She named her new business Studio A. A for Aveda and A for amazing. Her business has grown from working by herself to managing a staff of twelve today.
Trish built the building on First Avenue across from Millpond Park in 2004. Economy changes and major road construction have been challenges for her small business. Trish truly values her local and regular customers that have supported her and her business over the years. She has clients who have been with her since the beginning when her salon was in her home. Studio A continues to be a successful full service salon doing haircuts, facials, massages, nails and various body treatments.
Trish LOVES people and their hair. She loves doing different things. Trends change and Trish loves being part of it. She strives for continuing education: “Crazy what you can do with body waxing!”
She also loves being able to thrive in a small town that appreciates what her business has to offer. Being able to work and live in a rural setting with all Osceola’s hidden gems and have great access to an urban area is a huge draw for her.
One progressive professional strategy Trish has utilized is to partner with her tenant Brad Nygren Photography. Their businesses complement each other and together they can coordinate their services and design whatever special package their clients might like.
2014 saw Trish expanding spa options and other remodeling. In the coming year, she is looking at new signage and new paint. Trish continues to expand retail sales so she can achieve the title of Aveda Lifestyle Location (only a few salons in the area carry this title).
Trish continues to pursue her personal goal of education. She feels it is the key to a thriving business. She is working towards becoming an Aveda Purefessional. This title is only given to stylists who are up-to-date on current trends and techniques and earning the title will set her apart from her peers. Trish also credits Ashley Rutledge for helping her keep up on current trends.
Longer term goals show Trish expanding her business into a full spa. But Trish emphasizes that Studio A will always continue to provide a high quality of service to salon customers and she will continue to support and value her employees.
We wish Trish well in her new endeavors and congratulations on a successful 2014.
Volunteer of the Year
“Nominees in this category will have distinguished themselves and the organization they represent by dedication to an event or the organization in general by selfless contribution of time and effort.”
Broadcasting’s loss: our gain
Our next category is for Volunteer of the Year. No one is more deserving than Ashley Rutledge. The chamber would like to recognize her for her work in 2014 with Ladies Night Out, Main Street Treats, Doe on the Go and Lunch with Santa. She also serves as one of the Chamber’s most active Ambassadors.
We are recognizing Ashley for her volunteer work this past year but even at her young age, she has been an active volunteer for many years already. In 2004 she joined the Osceola’s Queen’s Committee as Royalty Coordinator, Parade Co-Coordinator and serves on the Osceola Fair Board. Ashley also helps with the Osceola Food Shelf (The Open Cupboard). Ashley feels it’s important to help one another as “you never know when you yourself will need the help.”
Ashley was born and raised in Osceola. She was named 1st Osceola Princess in 2002. She graduated in 2004 from OHS and attended Brown College and graduated with a degree in radio broadcasting. She worked at K102 in the Twin Cities but decided she liked small town markets better so worked at the Amery radio station for several years.
Ashley started at Studio A in 2012 as Salon Coordinator. She is owner Trish Thompson’s right hand gal doing bookkeeping, appointments, inventory and assisting Trish with whatever needs doing. Ashley and Trish share the same goals for Studio A which makes them a very strong team. Their goal is to be the Number 5 Top-Selling Aveda Concept Salon in Wisconsin. Sales are up and the salon continues to grow. She looks forward to staying active in her hometown and to continue to be a strong member of Main Street.
When Ashley was 15 years old she met Dick & Jean Kedrowski (owners of Twin City Paper). Dick and Jean would change the course of Ashley’s life. They were big supporters of Osceola and were involved with the Osceola Fair Royalty. They saw Ashley’s potential and sponsored her as a queen candidate in the 2009 St. Paul Winter Carnival Pageant. Ashley won the title of North Wind Princess that year and spent the next year volunteering with her Royal Family. Ashley said she saw and learned so much that year through the many activities that they did. They traveled from Canada to Florida and in-between volunteering at community festivals, hospice centers, hospitals, parades and various local events. It was a jam-packed year and imprinted the love of volunteerism on Ashley. Ashley remarked “It’s amazing how a 15-year-old girl could make connections that will impact her life 10 years later.”
Ashley is a member of the Winter Carnival Past Princesses Association. She also organizes the Titan Boat Trip for the North Wind Titan Organization. She organizes this boat trip for over 50 Osceola residents including queen candidates, royalty, parents and grandparents. It is always impressive to see that many local people together at an out-of-town event that really showcases our sense of community.
Ashley wants to enjoy life before she turns 30. She loves painting and decorating her home. In her hobbies and work life Ashley feels that “small changes make big differences.”
As Ashley does multiple tasks around the salon during her work day with many people needing her attention, she was heard exclaiming, “There’s only one me!”
That is so very true, Ashley. You are one of a kind and the chamber extends deep appreciation for your work for us and for our community. Congratulations on Volunteer of the Year!
Team of authors contribute. Germaine Ross, Chamber Director, Nancy Beck, Board Member.