Rising Stars award ceremony

Anderson Sainci speaks during the Rising Stars award ceremony at Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020.

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.

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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 Trust
  • Heather Freiburger, vice president of client services at Kunkel & Associates Inc.
  • Michael Fullan, vice president of business development at Hodge
  • Ben Gander, senior vice president — treasury management sales leader at Dubuque Bank and Trust
  • Kevin Koch, founder and president of New Revolution Tools
  • Liz Kruse, director of the Institute for Professional Excellence at Clarke University
  • Patrick McCullough, business manager at McCullough Creative
  • Derrick Parsons, account executive at English Insurance Agency
  • Britney Ross, senior marketing manager at McGraw-Hill
  • Whitney Sanger, sales manager at Travel Dubuque and co-founder of Project Rooted
  • Dan Wellik, vice president at The Friedman Group
  • Kelly Wenzelman, vice president of property and casualty brokerage services, Cottingham and Butler.