SAINT PAUL, MINN., (January 22, 2016) – Last evening, the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals (SPACC YPro) announced the winners of the first ever YPro: Discovered Awards. The awards honor young professionals in the Twin Cities and companies that work to support them. Of the 10 Young Professional of the Year award finalists, five winners were selected based on their leadership roles, community involvement, volunteer efforts, innovation and achievements. The award recipients are: Allison Brown, development officer, StepUp Program, Augsburg College; Mitchell Cookas, vice president and director of sustainability, Solution Blue, Inc.; Godson Sowah, manager, advisory services, Ernst & Young LLP; Sara Spiess, corporate and government relations specialist, Science Museum of Minnesota; and Bruce Thao, founder and CEO, LIT Consulting. Each of the five award winners received a $1,000 scholarship for professional development, donated by Bell State Bank, Ecolab, GovDelivery, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Xcel Energy. Additionally, each of the five finalists received $500 to pursue professional development, courtesy of Bell State Bank. Three companies were selected to receive the YPro Advocate of the Year award based on their commitment to the young professionals in their organization and/or the greater Twin Cities community. They include: Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, large organization category (500+ employees); Hiway Federal Credit Union, medium organization category (100 – 500 employees); and Visit Saint Paul, small organization category (<100 employees). The award ceremony took place during the YPro: Discovered Gala – A Night Honoring the Brightest Young Professionals in the Twin Cities, held at The Saint Paul Hotel. About YPro YPro connects young leaders throughout the Twin Cities to Minnesota's largest network of businesses through engaging events. YPro participants are decision-makers, influencers and business owners with a drive to build networks, develop professionally and expand their leadership opportunities. About the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce The Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce is a vital, dynamic force serving the business community through the collective strength of its members. For more than 140 years, the Chamber has provided vibrant programs, powerful advocacy and results that foster member growth. With nearly 1,200 members, the SPACC is the largest local chamber in Minnesota.