Making a difference: New class of Rising Stars celebrated at awards ceremony

Anderson Sainci speaks during the Rising Stars breakfast at Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. PHOTO CREDIT: NICKI KOHL

A group of impactful and inspiring young professionals was honored this morning at the Telegraph Herald’s Rising Star Awards.

The 12 recipients of this year’s awards were recognized during a ceremony held at the Diamond Jo Casino Harbor Room.

The event was highlighted by a speech from Anderson Sainci, a 2017 Rising Star, city employee and Dubuque Community School Board member.

As attendees applauded the 2020 class of Rising Stars, Sainci encouraged the recipients to appreciate the moment.

“What I want all of you Rising Stars to do is soak that energy in,” Sainci said. “Sometimes we are so busy — always on the move, always on the go, always trying to solve new things — that we don’t take the time to pause, stop and celebrate the little things we’ve done.”

Sainci also urged the Rising Stars to remember their roots and recognize the difference they can make.

“Greatness is inside of each and every one of us, and in order for us to change our communities, we have to start with ourselves. We have to believe in ourselves … we are the change that we’re looking for.”

The following individuals were honored as 2020 Rising Stars:

Dee Crist, president of private banking and mortgage at Dubuque Bank and TrustHeather Freiburger, vice president of client services at Kunkel & Associates Inc.Michael Fullan, vice president of business development at HodgeBen Gander, senior vice president — treasury management sales leader at Dubuque Bank and TrustKevin Koch, founder and president of New Revolution ToolsLiz Kruse, director of the Institute for Professional Excellence at Clarke UniversityPatrick McCullough, business manager at McCullough CreativeDerrick Parsons, account executive at English Insurance AgencyBritney Ross, senior marketing manager at McGraw-HillWhitney Sanger, sales manager at Travel Dubuque and co-founder of Project RootedDan Wellik, vice president at The Friedman GroupKelly Wenzelman, vice president of property and casualty brokerage services, Cottingham and Butler.