Know an Outstanding IA/IL Business? Nominate It for an MRA Award PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business, Economy & Finance
Written by Mark McLaughlin   
Monday, 11 August 2014 13:49
IOWA/WESTERN ILLINOIS – This year, residents of Iowa and western Illinois will have an opportunity to recognize and celebrate outstanding businesses in their communities. MRA - The Management Association, Inc., a Midwest-based employers association, will host an award ceremony recognizing exemplary businesses that act as role models within their communities. The public is invited to nominate qualifying businesses for recognition at the 2014 Business Appreciation & Awards Reception. The deadline for award nominations is August 22, 2014.

The reception will be held on Monday, October 27, 2014, at the iWireless Center, Moline, Illinois beginning at 5:00 p.m. The theme of the event will be Celebrating Our Past, Growing Our Future. The keynote speaker will be the Honorable Jim Edgar, former Governor of Illinois.

“We look forward to reviewing nominations from the community, telling us about exceptional businesses that have touched people’s lives,” said Heather Roberts, Executive Director of the Iowa/Illinois Division of MRA. “Individuals who are interested in entrepreneurship, business growth, networking and leadership will want to attend our annual event.”

Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, MRA is one of the largest not-for-profit employers associations in the nation, serving 4,000 employers and their 800,000 employees in the U.S. and abroad.
Prestigious Awards for Exemplary Businesses
Members of the community are invited to nominate Iowa/Illinois businesses that exemplify success by investing in their people and their community. MRA is now accepting nominations for the following awards:

The MRA Business Community Award recognizes a business that has created an impact in the Iowa/Illinois region in three or more of the following areas:
- Has shown significant growth over the past five years and has increased employment.
- Recognized in the community for its ‘give back’ attitude.
- Has benefited the community by its presence.
- Participates in a variety of volunteer roles within the community.
- Known for outstanding customer service.
- Supports charities that benefit Iowa/Illinois area communities.

The MRA Regional Impact Award recognizes an organization that has created an impact in the Iowa/Illinois area in three or more of the following ways:
- Provides or has influence on the growth of jobs in Iowa/Illinois area communities.
- Recognized as a leader within its industry or service area.
- Recognized outside the Iowa/Illinois area for products, services, and/or changes.
- Provides a positive influence in the Iowa/Illinois area regarding transportation, environment, education, quality of life, and other community issues.
- Has shown commitment to the Iowa/Illinois area through new construction, redevelopment, or expansion.

“At the event MRA will present Visionary Awards, as well, to their charter members, who in 1948 came together to create an association that would foster and promote an effective array of programs and services,” Roberts said. “MRA will also honor the retirement of employee Debra Carlson after 19 years of dedicated service.”

The Awards Reception
The Business Appreciation & Awards Reception, to be held October 27, 2014, begins at 5:00 p.m. with gourmet appetizers, cocktails, and music provided by Ellis Kell and the Friends of the River Music Experience. Dress will be business attire.

At 6:30 p.m., the keynote speaker, the Honorable Jim Edgar, will share his vision on exploring future opportunities in the Midwest. Master of Ceremonies Kai Swanson will begin the awards presentation at 7 p.m. Admission is $75 per person, $550 for groups of eight. 

If you wish to nominate a business or register for the awards reception, call 888-516-6357 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . You can also visit and search ‘awards’. The Business Appreciation & Awards Reception page provides links to online nomination forms, and an event registration page is also available. 

For more than 110 years, MRA has helped businesses to thrive. Organizations join MRA as corporate members for the latest information, resources and guidance on recruiting, compensation, benefits, compliance and talent management. Members are supported with a 24/7 HR Hotline and InfoNow e-mail, access to crucial survey data, and HR, management and leadership training. To find out more about MRA, call 888-516-6357 or visit
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Keynote Speaker: The Honorable Jim Edgar
Jim Edgar, a Distinguished Fellow with the Illinois Institute of Government & Public Affairs (IGPA), was the 38th governor of Illinois. First elected in 1990, Edgar won re-election in 1994 by the largest margin ever for a governor. By the time he left office, he had eliminated the backlog in payments of the state's bills, given the state a surplus, and reduced the size of state government. Edgar has served in a variety of leadership roles, including president of the Council of State Governments, as a member of the executive committee of the National Governors’ Association, and as chairman of the Midwest Governors’ Association. He has also been a Resident Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Edgar serves on a variety of civic and corporate boards of directors.
Master of Ceremonies: Kai Swanson
Kai Swanson is executive assistant to Augustana College’s president, Steve Bahls. He has held this position since 2005. Swanson has been on the staff of the college since his graduation in 1986. His past positions at Augustana include news editor for WVIK-Augustana Public Radio, public relations director, and editor of the Augustana College Magazine. In 2011, he served as interim general manager of WVIK. Swanson grew up in Rock Island, Illinois, just across Lincoln Park from the Augustana campus.

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