Do you know Joe?

Brilliant... ambitious... devoted... kind... tenacious—all these words and so many more could be used to describe Joe Shuster of New Prague. But when you really think about it he’s just a regular “Joe.” This is the man who helped put New Prague on the global map when he, and his hand-picked band of “merry men,” began Minnesota Valley Engineering (MVE) in New Prague back in 1963. I’m not sure any of them realized what they were creating in the world of cryogenics, not to mention the town of New Prague. How many hundreds of local people have worked at the largest manufacturing business in the area?

I too, had the opportunity to be employed there for a few years some 30 years ago. I still recall meeting Joe the first time. What a warm, friendly, down-to-earth guy. Whenever he was around MVE he had a sort of “rock star” following. He would wend his way through the office and plant greeting everyone and calling many by name. That’s Joe. You just wanted the chance to say “Hi” and shake his hand. He set the bar high when it came to quality and business ethics. And he led by example when it came to customer care.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Joe’s “right hand,” wife Patsy. She is no shrinking violet. In addition to taking the lead many times in helping raise their five children, Patsy was instrumental in getting the Peace Center started in New Prague, and has volunteered there ever since. Stop in and you’ll probably find her in the back room stocking shelves, keeping track of inventory, or lending assistance to someone in need. Queen of Peace Hospital has benefitted from the thousands of hours she has volunteered and continues to give Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague.

Since his MVE days Joe has gone on to found or cofound a number of technology- based companies, written books and done speaking tours. But if you ask him about some of the favorite times in his life, he will always talk about MVE and the special people.

As I think about all the lives positively impacted in New Prague and around the world, I’ve decided on my choice for the best word to describe Joe...he’s simply AMAZING!

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