Learning ZoneXpress President Melanie Nelson Named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® 2012 Finalist in the Upper Midwest

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Recognized for her innovation and quality leadership, Melanie Nelson is one of 26 finalists in the Upper Midwest Region.

Melanie Nelson, founder and CEO of Learning ZoneXpress

Learning ZoneXpress founder and CEO, Melanie Nelson

All of us at Learning ZoneXpress are thrilled that Melanie has been recognized for her role as a business leader, entrepreneur and innovator.

Learning ZoneXpress today announced that president and founder Melanie Nelson has been named a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2012 program in the Upper Midwest. The award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

Nelson, who was also named a finalist in 2007, was selected from a strong pool of nominations by a panel of independent judges. Awards will be presented at a special gala on June 14, 2012, at the Marriott City Center hotel in Minneapolis, MN. “All of us at Learning ZoneXpress are thrilled that Melanie has been recognized for her role as a business leader, entrepreneur and innovator,” said Learning ZoneXpress COO Joyce Mattson. “It’s a significant and well-deserved honor.”

One example of Nelson’s forward-thinking, industry-leading approach: The USDA revised its food pyramid nutrition guidelines in 2011, and Learning ZoneXpress was one of the first nine companies to partner with the organization to educate children and adults alike on the new MyPlate recommendations. Now, just over half a year later, the MyPlate line of products from Learning ZoneXpress have proven to be wildly popular and effective methods for relaying the new nutrition guidelines to people of all ages.

Now in its 26th year, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 140 cities in more than 50 countries throughout the world. Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year Program. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year Overall Award winner, will be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, California, on November 17, 2012. The awards are the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.

Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored in the United States by SAP America and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Regional sponsors for the Upper Midwest program include ManpowerGroup, Padilla Speer Beardsley and Twin Cities Business. Locally, the program is sponsored by Quarles & Brady LLP, Lockton Companies, Faegre Baker Daniels and the Pohlad Companies.

About Learning ZoneXpress
Learning ZoneXpress, based in Owatonna, Minn., is a leading source of “edu-taining” and award-winning teaching tools. Its mission is to help improve the health and vitality of children by providing relevant, creative and affordable learning tools about life skills, healthy behaviors and nutrition. Learning ZoneXpress offers a wide variety of learning aids and affordable education DVDs, posters, games, lesson plans, and PowerPoint presentations. For more information about Learning ZoneXpress products, visit http://www.learningzonexpress.com or call Toni Gnasdoskey at 888-455-7003.

About Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year®
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential, and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 140 cities in more than 50 countries.

About Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 152,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.

Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit http://www.ey.com.

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