2016 Entrepreneur of the Year Winners


College of Saint Benedict Entrepreneur of the Year Winner-
Darlene Miller '71
CEO & President, Permac Industries

 Darlene came to Permac Industries as an outside sales representative, and knew from her first sales call that manufacturing was something she loved and knew she could be successful. In 1992, Permac Industries was a small parts machine shop serving commercial customers since 1966.

 When Darlene found out that the company was in "workout" with the bank, she purchased 45% and by 1994 owned 100% and has served as president and CEO ever since.

 Darlene believed that she, along with her team, could transform an out of date manufacturing company into a 21st century precision, clean and highly respected manufacturing company. Not surprisingly, that is exactly what they did - now providing quality and service to entities such as global aerospace, defense, medical device and other high-tech customers.

For her vision and hard work, Darlene has been recognized in many different ways, such as the "Top 25 Women‐Owned Businesses in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area" in 2003, "Woman Changemaker" by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal in 2003, and was a National Award Winner and Regional Finalist of the US Chamber Small Business in 2007 and 2008. In 2011, Darlene was appointed to the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. During her two years of service, Darlene created a fast tracked credentialed training program called "Right Skills Now" that is currently being replicated in 8 states. Darlene is active in manufacturing associations such as MPMA and PMPA - having served on their boards and being the first and only female president in 80 years at PMPA.  In April of 2016, she was inducted into the Minnesota Women Business Owners Hall of Fame.

Click here to see Darlene's video from the event!

Saint John's University Entrepreneur of the Year Winner-

Brian Kueppers '89
Founder and CEO, Apex Revenue Technologies

 As Founder and CEO of Apex Revenue Technologies, Mr. Kueppers has over 20 years of experience working with some of the largest healthcare organizations in the country and has become a pioneer in the industry. Kueppers founded Apex in 1995 to focus on solutions and services that enable healthcare providers to improve revenue cycle results and strengthen relationships with patients. Kueppers graduated from St. John's University (Minnesota) with a B.A. in Management.

Click here to see Brian's video from the event!

CSB/SJU Social Entrepreneur of the Year Winner-
Brother Paul Richards '78
Saint John's Boys Choir, and the Benedictine Volunteer Corps

Br. Paul Richards is a monk of Saint John's coming from a family of 16 from the iron range of northern Minnesota. He joined Saint John's Abbey Collegeville Minnesota in 1978 after completing his BA in Music and Education from Saint John's University. He holds an MA in Choral conducting from The University of Iowa (1988)

Br. Paul's principal work assignments while a monk have included teaching at Saint John's Preparatory School and Saint John's University, serving for nearly 20 years as a faculty resident in the dormitories at Saint John's University, conducting The Saint John's Abbey Schola, and serving the Abbey as subprior, and formation director.
Br. Paul founded The St. John's Boys' Choir in 1981 and served as music director for 26 years. He began The Saint John's Abbey Benedictine Volunteer Corps in 2003 and continues now as its director.

Click here to see Brother Paul Richard's video from the event.