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Central Converting gains honor

Seven programs, including one in the lakes area, were recently honored for contributions to human services clients across Minnesota. Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson honored seven programs from across the state f...

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith meets Donna, who works at Central Converting, Inc. The Brainerd Lakes area materials converting and plastic recycling business provides integrated employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and was honored as one of seven 2015 Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Award winners by the Minnesota Department of Human Services Friday, Dec. 4, in St. Paul. (Submitted Photo)
Lt. Gov. Tina Smith meets Donna, who works at Central Converting, Inc. The Brainerd Lakes area materials converting and plastic recycling business provides integrated employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and was honored as one of seven 2015 Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Award winners by the Minnesota Department of Human Services Friday, Dec. 4, in St. Paul. (Submitted Photo)

Seven programs, including one in the lakes area, were recently honored for contributions to human services clients across Minnesota.

Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson honored seven programs from across the state for their outstanding contributions to human services clients.

Recipients of the 2015 Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Awards were recognized at a ceremony at the Elmer L. Andersen Human Services Building in St. Paul. Lt. Gov. Tina Smith joined Jesson in honoring the awardees.

Jesson said winners in the fifth annual Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Awards share the department's commitment to supporting healthy people, stable families and strong communities.

"These organizations are making a true difference in the lives of the people they serve. They are going above and beyond to improve the quality of life for those suffering with dementia, find caring families for children awaiting adoption and keep new families struggling with addiction together, employ people with disabilities, help struggling Minnesotans achieve economic stability, and improve health care and mental health services through innovation and integration," Jesson said in a news release. "They represent the very best of many successful partnerships to help people live in dignity and achieve their highest potential, and exemplify all of the great human services work happening across Minnesota."

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Central Converting, Inc., Riverton, is a small, family-owned materials converting and plastic recycling business in the Brainerd lakes area that provides integrated employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

For the past two years, Central Converting has worked with Quality Enterprises, a state vocational program, to employ people with disabilities. A crew from Quality Enterprises assists the company with its recycling projects, including helping divert more than 2 million pounds of plastic from landfills each year, and is an essential part of its operations.

"It all started in 1984 when Dave Wessel opened a small shop in Minneapolis, focusing on mechanical engineering. Over the years Dave and his wife Kathy expanded Central Converting to include recycling plastics, warehousing, packaging and converting services. Eventually Dave and Kathy moved Central Converting to Brainerd, Dave's hometown. In early 2012 Bill Wessel, Dave and Kathy's son, relocated to Brainerd to take over Central Converting and is now the owner," according to the company's website.

Other award winners included:

• Southern Prairie Community Care, a collaboration of 12 counties in southwestern Minnesota working toward integrated community services and supports that improve local health care delivery, lower costs, and foster good health for everyone in the region.

• Kid Connection, a weekly segment on lifestyle show Twin Cities Live that brings awareness to Minnesota's children waiting for adoption.

• Zumbro Valley Health Center, an organization in Rochester that helps people with addiction disorders, mental illness or co-occurring conditions lead more healthy, productive and self-sufficient lives.

• Community Action Duluth, an organization that empowers and engages its community to eliminate poverty, and create prosperity and equity.

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• Ecumen Awakenings, an integrated, holistic care approach for patients with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia across Minnesota that emphasizes human connections and non-pharmaceutical therapies.

• Pregnant Native American's Opioid Addiction Services Collaboration, a partnership of front-line care providers in Hennepin County that goes beyond organizational boundaries to provide highly effective care to pregnant Native American women affected by opioid addiction.

For more information, go to mn.gov/dhs/media/video/ for videos about the 2015 Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Award recipients.

Central Converting, Inc., was honored Friday, Dec. 4, at the 2015 Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Awards. Back row, Quality Enterprises job coach Joanne Munsch (left), Central Converting owner Bill Wessel, Central Converting office manager Jenna Johnson, Anita Walker of Minnesota State Operated Community Services, Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. Front row: Quality Enterprises clients Donna (left), Nathan, Bucky and Dan. (Submitted photo)
Central Converting, Inc., was honored Friday, Dec. 4, at the 2015 Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Awards. Back row, Quality Enterprises job coach Joanne Munsch (left), Central Converting owner Bill Wessel, Central Converting office manager Jenna Johnson, Anita Walker of Minnesota State Operated Community Services, Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. Front row: Quality Enterprises clients Donna (left), Nathan, Bucky and Dan. (Submitted photo)

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