October 19, 2011
Bismarck, ND - The University of Mary, America's Leadership University, honored two outstanding alumni at its annual Alumni Recognition Awards and Hall of Fame Induction event, Friday, Oct. 21, 2011. Kari (Warberg) Block, '04, was presented with the University of Mary Bell Banner Award, and Mike Mabin, '85 & '91, was recognized with the Harold Schafer Alumni Leadership Award at this year's celebration. The ceremony took place during Homecoming 2011.
|Kari (Warberg) Block|
Kari (Warberg) Block
The University of Mary Bell Banner Award
Kari (Warberg) Block is a 2004 graduate of the University of Mary with a B.S. in management. As the founder and chief executive officer of Earth-Kind, a developer and manufacturer of safe, earth- and people-friendly products, she champions innovation and entrepreneurship. Through her commitment to environmental stewardship, Block helps improve the quality of life for countless others, now and in the future, and models servant leadership in business.
Born in Logan, Utah, in 1963, as a child Block lived in New Jersey, Washington, and Minnesota. Her mother died when Block was 12, leading the family to move to North Dakota. There Block attended Williston High School, graduating in 1981. Growing up with her entrepreneur father, founder of Super-Pumper Inc., even as a teen Block envisioned building a great company. In 1995, she founded Crane Creek Gardens in New Town, ND, which she later incorporated as Earth-Kind, after she felt she "had the education to make it a ‘real' business."
After hearing then U-Mary President Sister Thomas Welder speak, Block -then living in New Town - realized that "a sound education in management with a focus on servant leadership" was what she needed to turn her dream into reality. In September 2000, she enrolled in the university's adult education program, which she credits for providing her with the knowledge, discipline, and inspiration to live her values.
In 2008, Block and Earth-Kind moved to Stanley, ND, and in 2009, to Bismarck, where Earth-Kind is presently headquartered, although its manufacturing plant remains in Faribault, MN.
In addition to being involved in professional, civic, and environmental groups - including the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce, Green America, and the Vistage #3133 organization of CEOs, and serving as chair of the Center for Technology and Business and co-chair of Dakota MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership) - Block strives to inspire and shape young servant-leader entrepreneurs through a blog she writes on the Earth-Kind Web site. She also has spoken to students in the Harold Schafer Emerging Leaders Academy and at HOBY summer events. In 2010, Block's efforts to provide meaningful employment at Earth-Kind for individuals with developmental disabilities were recognized with the Business Partnership Award from Minnesota nonprofit Epic Enterprise. The same year, she also was named North Dakota and Regional Women's Champion Advocate by the U.S. Small Business Administration and was the regional winner for Working Woman Magazine's Entrepreneurial Award of Excellence for most innovative new product or service, and made Vistage International's "top 3" for most innovative CEO. In 2011, she gave a presentation on small business job creation to the White House Business Council.
Kari is married to Jim Block.
Harold Schafer Alumni Leadership Award
An alum who earned a B.S. in communications in 1985 and a Master of Management in 1991 while working full-time and then founded his own marketing and advertising business, Mike Mabin exemplifies the passion for lifelong learning and leadership through service that are foundational to the University of Mary. The Minot native began his career journey in 1977, studying photography and filmmaking at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. Just before graduating, however, in 1981, Mabin took a job with St. Alexius Medical Center, fulfilling his desire to return to North Dakota.
Three months after joining St. Alexius as audio-visual coordinator, he became communications director. As a member of the administrative team, Mabin went on to supervise the departments of marketing and public relations, telecommunications and telemedicine, health ministry and rural outreach, and fundraising and development. He also earned two degrees at U-Mary and later brought his educational experience full-circle, serving as an adjunct professor and frequent guest speaker.
After more than 20 years at St. Alexius, in his early 40s, Mabin decided to put his experience to work to realize a longtime dream of owning his own business. In 2001, with his family's support, he founded Agency MABU (Marketing & Advertising Business Unlimited) in Bismarck. Specializing in serving non-profit organizations and government agencies, the full-service consulting firm now boasts nearly two-dozen full- and part-time associates and a satellite office in Fredericksburg, VA.
Mabin is an Accredited Business Communicator, a lifetime member of the International Association of Business Communicators, and a former fellow with the American College of Health Care Executives. An advocate for young business professionals, Mabin provides training and employment opportunities, including job shadows and internships, for students from colleges and universities throughout the region, including Bismarck State College, United Tribes Technical College, and the University of Mary.
As an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in Belcourt, ND, and president of a minority-owned business, Mabin, along with his associates, serves a number of Native American and tribal-based organizations, including Indian Health Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the National Congress of American Indians.
Over the years, Mabin has served on the boards of community organizations, including the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce and the Missouri Slope Areawide United Way. He is currently a board member of the American Red Cross West Dakota Chapter, the Bismarck Public Schools Foundation, and the Wisdom Team with the Young Professionals Network.
He also gives back to his alma mater and was active on the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee. In 1999, Mabin was recognized with the Leadership Bismarck-Mandan Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumni Award, and in 2011, the U.S. Small Business Administration nominated him as District Minority Small Business Person of the Year.
Mabin and Nancy (Smestad) have been married 30 years and reside in Bismarck.