Honoring the effort
A man who helped to secure the All-America City Award for Fort Dodge, then played a guiding role in changing the form of local government before taking the helm of a large charitable organization, received the highest honor bestowed by the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance Thursday evening.
Randy Kuhlman was presented the Catalyst Award during the Alliance’s annual dinner meeting at the Best Western Starlite Village Inn & Suites, 1518 Third Ave. N.W.
“I’m humbled to be a winner,” Kuhlman said after being presented the award.
“We’re a darn good community – a great community – with a lot of positive things happening,” he added.
A handful of other awards were presented Thursday.
A-1 Moving was named the Rookie of the Year, while Wendy’s was named the Small Business of the Year.
Teresa Naughton received the first Volunteer of the Year Award, while Justin Rogers was named the winner of the Alliance’s photo contest.
Prior to presenting the award, Deb Johnson, the 2012 Catalyst winner, described Kuhlman’s contributions to the community. She said he has been a leader for 25 years.
Johnson said Kuhlman started his community service in 1990 as a member of the board of the Fort Dodge Area Chamber of Commerce. He later served as Chamber president and was a member of the committee that worked on merging the Chamber into the Growth Alliance.
In 2001, he helped to lead the effort to win the All America City Award and was part of a delegation that traveled to Atlanta, Ga., to make the community’s case for the honor.
In 2005, he was the chairman of the charter review committee which proposed switching from the strong mayor form of local government to the city manager form.
Kuhlman is the chairman of the Webster County Trails Advisory Board.
He is the chief executive officer of the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way. Johnson said the organization’s assets have grown from $1.5 million to $11 million under his leadership.
Kuhlman said he feels like the luckiest person in the world to live and work in Fort Dodge.
A-1 Moving, the winner of the Rookie of the Year Award, was established in 2010 by Paul and Dawn Brandow. The company has four full-time workers and completed 130 moving jobs throughout Iowa last year. The company has provided free services to widows and single mothers.
The new Wendy’s restaurant on Fifth Avenue South is now among the top 2 percent of the chain’s stores in terms of sales. Kyle Bangert received the award on behalf of co-owners Dennis Johnson and Mark Miller.
Naughton received the Volunteer of the Year Award for her work to improve the Alliance’s Legislative Action Committee.
Rogers, who won the photo contest, is a Fort Dodge native now living in Des Moines. His photos were of various local landmarks.