Sections

Weather Forecast

Close
Advertisement
The eighth annual Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce Awards of Excellence luncheon honored Bob and Joe Welle, left to right, with the Charlie Naylor Lifetime Achievement Award Thursday afternoon at the Hampton Inn & Suites. Monte Draper | Bemidji PioneeR

Welle brothers earn Charlie Naylor Achievement Award

Email Sign up for Breaking News Alerts
News Bemidji,Minnesota 56619 http://www.bemidjipioneer.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/1/0806/201205250525-welles-honored.jpg?itok=I-BXD8wf
Bemidji Pioneer
(218) 333-9819 customer support
Welle brothers earn Charlie Naylor Achievement Award
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

BEMIDJI - Bob and Joe Welle on Thursday became the fourth recipients of the Charlie Naylor Lifetime Achievement Award, presented annually by the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The award was presented to the brothers during the Chamber's eighth annual Awards of Excellence luncheon held at the Hampton Inn & Suites.

"We very much appreciate being honored with this award," Bob Welle said. "Thank you very much."

The award was named for the late Naylor, a longtime Bemidji businessman and community supporter who believed that business and community representatives need to give something back to their community.

"Charlie believed that he should give of his time and talent while he was here rather than waiting until after he was gone," Bob Welle said.

Bob and Joe Welle represent the second generation of Welles with First National Bank Bemidji.

It was their grandfather, Rudolph, who first joined the bank in 1918 and was elected to the board of directors in 1927, continually saving money to buy shares. As the community and bank thrived, he called on his brother, Nick (Bob's and Joe's father), and together they borrowed enough money to buy controlling shares.

Joe joined the bank staff in 1955. Bob joined the staff in 1970, after 23 years with a bank in St. Cloud.

Together, they initiated an array of changes, such as in 1985 offering employee-owned stock ownership and, in 1995, creating the First National Bank Bemidji Foundation with $1 million in endowed funds.

"I'm proud of what the bank has done," Bob Welle said. "The staff, though, has been outstanding. They really should be part of this award."

Bob and Joe Welle, throughout their business careers and into retirement, remained active in community and civic organizations, including the Joint Economic Development Commission and the Chamber.

"We were certainly exposed to the idea of community service from our father, Nick," Bob Welle said. "He really didn't have any other big passions, but he had a passion for doing things for the community. He seemed to thrive on that."

Joe Welle, who had not expected to speak during the award presentation, aimed to lighten the mood as he told past stories, such as how the Chamber years ago was really proud when it garnered 100 members.

Once, while his father was on the Chamber board, perhaps even serving as president, he led Walt Disney on a tour of Bemidji when he came into town. The next day a picture of the two of them in front of Paul and Babe appeared in the Pioneer.

Joe Welle recalled asking his father what he had talked about with Disney while he was here.

"I told him he can have Mickey Mouse, but he can't have Paul Bunyan and the blue ox," was his father's response, Joe recalled.

Other award winners

E Ambassador of the Year: Paul Diehl.

E Wellness in the Workplace: Kraus-Anderson Construction.

E Business of the Year: Harmony Foods.

E New Business of the Year: Stittsworth Meats.

E Entrepreneur of the Year: Jason LaValley with LaValley Industries.

Bemidji Business Gives

Twenty-four businesses also were honored for participating in Bemidji Business Gives. The program recognizes businesses that donate 2 percent or more of their pre-tax earnings to charitable organizations.

E First-year honorees: Northwood's Habitat for Humanity ReStore, MedSave Family Pharmacy and Shannon's Tax & Consulting Services.

E Second-year honorees: TruStar Federal Credit Union and Explore Chiropractic.

E Third-year honorees: Edgewater Group.

E Fourth-year honorees: Target, Bank Forward and Bemidji Building Center.

E Fifth-year honorees: RiverWood Bank, MJB Home Center, Marco Inc., Living Touch Massage, RP Broadcasting and Kraus-Anderson Construction.

E Sixth-year honorees: North Country Business Products, Dunn Bros, Paul Bunyan Communications, Security Bank USA, First National Bank Bemidji, Sanford Bemidji Medical Center, Citizens State Bank Midwest, Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and Pinnacle Publishing LLC.

The awards were presented by state Sen. John Carlson, R-Bemidji, and Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji. Persell noted that Minnesota Business Gives has honored 212 companies statewide, which means that more than 10 percent of those have been Bemidji area businesses.

"That's something," he said.

BEMIDJI - Bob and Joe Welle on Thursday became the fourth recipients of the Charlie Naylor Lifetime Achievement Award, presented annually by the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce.

The award was presented to the brothers during the Chamber's eighth annual Awards of Excellence luncheon held at the Hampton Inn & Suites.

"We very much appreciate being honored with this award," Bob Welle said. "Thank you very much."

The award was named for the late Naylor, a longtime Bemidji businessman and community supporter who believed that business and community representatives need to give something back to their community.

"Charlie believed that he should give of his time and talent while he was here rather than waiting until after he was gone," Bob Welle said.

Bob and Joe Welle represent the second generation of Welles with First National Bank Bemidji.

It was their grandfather, Rudolph, who first joined the bank in 1918 and was elected to the board of directors in 1927, continually saving money to buy shares. As the community and bank thrived, he called on his brother, Nick (Bob's and Joe's father), and together they borrowed enough money to buy controlling shares.

Joe joined the bank staff in 1955. Bob joined the staff in 1970, after 23 years with a bank in St. Cloud.

Together, they initiated an array of changes, such as in 1985 offering employee-owned stock ownership and, in 1995, creating the First National Bank Bemidji Foundation with $1 million in endowed funds.

"I'm proud of what the bank has done," Bob Welle said. "The staff, though, has been outstanding. They really should be part of this award."

Bob and Joe Welle, throughout their business careers and into retirement, remained active in community and civic organizations, including the Joint Economic Development Commission and the Chamber.

"We were certainly exposed to the idea of community service from our father, Nick," Bob Welle said. "He really didn't have any other big passions, but he had a passion for doing things for the community. He seemed to thrive on that."

Joe Welle, who had not expected to speak during the award presentation, aimed to lighten the mood as he told past stories, such as how the Chamber years ago was really proud when it garnered 100 members.

Once, while his father was on the Chamber board, perhaps even serving as president, he led Walt Disney on a tour of Bemidji when he came into town. The next day a picture of the two of them in front of Paul and Babe appeared in the Pioneer.

Joe Welle recalled asking his father what he had talked about with Disney while he was here.

"I told him he can have Mickey Mouse, but he can't have Paul Bunyan and the blue ox," was his father's response, Joe recalled.

Other award winners

- Ambassador of the Year: Paul Diehl.

- Wellness in the Workplace: Kraus-Anderson Construction.

- Business of the Year: Harmony Foods.

- New Business of the Year: Stittsworth Meats.

- Entrepreneur of the Year: Jason LaValley with LaValley Industries.

Bemidji Business Gives

Twenty-four businesses also were honored for participating in Bemidji Business Gives. The program recognizes businesses that donate 2 percent or more of their pre-tax earnings to charitable organizations.

- First-year honorees: Northwood's Habitat for Humanity ReStore, MedSave Family Pharmacy and Shannon's Tax & Consulting Services.

- Second-year honorees: TruStar Federal Credit Union and Explore Chiropractic.

- Third-year honorees: Edgewater Group.

- Fourth-year honorees: Target, Bank Forward and Bemidji Building Center.

- Fifth-year honorees: RiverWood Bank, MJB Home Center, Marco Inc., Living Touch Massage, RP Broadcasting and Kraus-Anderson Construction.

- Sixth-year honorees: North Country Business Products, Dunn Bros, Paul Bunyan Communications, Security Bank USA, First National Bank Bemidji, Sanford Bemidji Medical Center, Citizens State Bank Midwest, Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and Pinnacle Publishing LLC.

The awards were presented by state Sen. John Carlson, R-Bemidji, and Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji. Persell noted that Minnesota Business Gives has honored 212 companies statewide, which means that more than 10 percent of those have been Bemidji area businesses.

"That's something," he said.

Advertisement
Bethany Wesley
(218) 333-9200 x337
Advertisement
Advertisement