Thomas Menold - Venture Award
Morton - Tom Menold said he went to work as usual Wednesday morning, ready to tackle the challenges every business owner faces these days.
He never dreamed that a few hours later he'd be honored by his peers for his entrepreneurial skills.
Menold, president and co-owner of Menold Construction and Restoration, was named the first winner of the Morton Economic Development Council's Morton Venture Award. Menold was presented the award at MEDC's inaugural investor luncheon, which was at the Ashland House.
"I was very surprised," Menold said. "I knew I'd been nominated for the award, but you never think you'll win something like that."
The award - the brainchild of MEDC's entrepreneurial support team - will be presented annually to an entrepreneur who has started and grown a business in Morton. Award criteria include proven leadership skills, the ability to lead by example and a verifiable track record of business success.
Menold Construction and Restoration is a general contractor that does residential and light commercial remodeling and additions, and restoration and reconstruction work from damage caused by fire, water, storm or mold.
The company began as Tom Menold Masonry in 1977. It now does more than 600 projects annually and has 40 full-time employees.
It moved into the former Tazewell Publishing building at 880 Jefferson St. in 2004 and is the anchor tenant in a 32,000-square-foot, mixed-use facility.
This is the second major economic downturn Menold, 60, has encountered since he began the business. He said his secret for surviving tough times is perseverance and diversity.
Scott Witzig, chairman of MEDC's entrepreneurial support team, said his group was impressed by the numerous success stories they read about in the nomination.
MEDC Executive Director Jennifer Daly reported that she's worked with 31 clients, including 15 existing businesses, since she started in June. In six months, her efforts have resulted in seven new jobs and 20 retained jobs.
Among the MEDC's plans for 2009 is a Morton Business Plan Competition that offers seed money for the winning idea.
Keynote speaker at the luncheon was Mike Blouin, president of the Greater Dubuque (Iowa) Development Corp. His group helped Dubuque land an IBM technical service center that will bring more than 1,300 jobs with an average salary of $45,000 to the city by the end of 2010.
Blouin told the luncheon crowd that communities like Morton will need to diversify their work force in future years to retain business.
Blouin served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975 to 1979 and was a candidate for governor of Iowa in 2006.
By STEVE STEIN
« Back to News