Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO David Ross was presented the Sam Solon Leadership Award on Thursday at a legislative breakfast that capped the annual two-day Duluth and St. Louis County at the Capitol lobbying event.
The award is named for the late lawmaker from Duluth. His widow, Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, made the presentation at the Crowne Plaza St. Paul Riverfront hotel, lauding Ross’ tireless support of Duluth, his cheerleading for the community and his infamous speaker introductions.
“It takes a community of citizen leaders working together to make our community a great place,” Prettner Solon said. “We are fortunate to have people like David fighting for the city of Duluth.”
Ross, a Duluth native and 1974 East High School graduate, joined the Chamber in August 1997 and has worked closely with area business leaders and elected officials on lobbying efforts at the Capitol for the past 15 of the city and county’s 16 total years.
Still, the honor came as a surprise.
“I know Yvonne Prettner Solon keeps it very much within her area of decision-making, so the fact that it would be a surprise to someone made perfect sense to me,” Ross said. “There’s many people that could have received this.”
To Ross’ colleagues, the choice made sense.
“When people are bestowed that award, it’s a lot of times for everything that happens publicly. But with his history with Yvonne and Sam, it’s a lot more from his heart,” said Linda Kratt, the Chamber’s director of events and retention. “It’s great to work with a leader like that. I just think it’s fitting.”