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Mayo CEO emphasizes 'right thing for the community'

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Dr. John Noseworthy
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Mayo Clinic CEO John Noseworthy used "a simple story" Thursday night to show how Rochester's business community supports the world famous clinic.

He told a crowd of 700 business leaders gathered for the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting that a dying patient at Saint Marys Hospital last fall asked nurses for a piece of pumpkin pie. Unfortunately, there was no pumpkin pie in the hospital.

The nurses went across the street to Joe Power's The Canadian Honker, which was also out of pumpkin pie. But the restaurant staff asked why the nurses wanted it and quickly moved to bake a pie, when they heard the reason.

"Now Joe (Powers) didn't say make the pie. He wasn't there. But the staff knew it was the right thing to do for the patient and the right thing for the community," Noseworthy said.

He said that is just one small example of the teamwork between Rochester's businesses and Mayo Clinic that happens every day.

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Noseworthy, who recently met with President Donald Trump to discuss health care, also acknowledged the current "challenging times."

He said that while the new administration is looking to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare, he hopes the approach would be "review and replace."

Noseworthy told the crowd that while morale is good at Mayo Clinic, there is a lot of competition.

"And there's lot of pressure for patients to stay near home," he said.

The annual presentation of business awards followed Noseworthy's speech.

• Volunteer of the Year:Scott Heck of RBC Wealth Management. He was recognized for years of service with the chamber and associated groups like, Journey to Growth. Heck was out of town, so Chamber President Rob Miller accepted the award for him.

• Chamber Ambassador of the Year:Ken MacIver of CHS Inc. While he works for a larger company now, MacIver reminded the crowd of how he used to run a downtown Rochester record store with his brother called Face The Music. "Always support the little guys," he urged the audience.

• The Lamp of Knowledge award:Aaron Benike of Benike Construction. He was honored for his work promoting the building trades. He reminded the crowd that education has a great return on investment. "One of the best returns on investment for this community has been GRAUC (Greater Rochester Advocates for Universities and Colleges)."

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• The Nonprofit of the Year:The Reading Center - Dyslexia Institute of Minnesota. Executive Director Cindy Russell accepted the award acknowledging the 65 years the center has worked to help people dealing with the challenge of dyslexia.

• Large Business of the Year:Rochester City Lines. Owner Dan Holter told the audience that it felt like he'd won "the golden ticket." He recalled how the Rochester Area Chamber had reached out to his parents to start a bus line in Rochester in 1956. Holter referenced tough times his family-owned business faced when the city award the bus contract to another company almost five years ago. "I remember seeing 70 percent of our service hours disappear overnight," he said. However, with "faith and trust," his company has persevered as a commuter bus firm.

• Small Business of the Year:Tilson's Auto Repair. Ben Jr. and Joe Tilson accepted the award, though their father Ben Tilson Sr. couldn't attend due to a hip replacement surgery. Ben Jr. thanked the chamber for all of the networking opportunities that have helped make their business successful.

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