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to this year’s T y U  y: Melissa Barber Natalie Brown Paul Cooley Chad Feldmann Kevin Fittro Mason Fromm Matt Halbur Nick Hildebrandt Dr. Chris Holahan Anesa Kajtazovic

Kyle Klingman Krista McNurlen Cheryl Meller William Frost ShanQuiesha Robinson Chuck Rowe Steve Slessor Nick Taiber Kim Tierney Bill Wilson

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20 Under 40 Call it the Fountain of Youth. The Courier’s 20 Under 40 seems to be just that. The program is honoring the Cedar Valley’s best and brightest young business and community leaders for the 11th year. Each year we wonder how we Jim Offner is the Courier can match the business editor. previous class in Contact him at terms of depth jim.offner@ and quality, and each year our panel of business leaders delivers 20 more firstrate individuals. The class of 2012 is a talented, impressive group. There is a nurse who survived cancer and is helping others cope with the disease. There’s a Florida-bornand-reared Web developer who left the Sunshine State to live in Iowa — twice. There’s a young man who has lived in Paris and New York and chose the Cedar Valley to head up a community-development organization. There’s an environmentally savvy owner of a growing sanitation firm. All share one common trait with each other and their 20 Under 40 predecessors: Their energy and enthusiasm have brought promise of a bright future to the Cedar Valley. We began the process of selecting the 11th annual 20 Under 40 winners in July when nomination requests went out. We received 88 entries for 61 nominees. This

A fountain of youth that keeps on giving

BRANDON POLLOCK / Courier Staff Photographer

Krista McNurlen, left, is photographed by Courier Photo Editor Matthew Putney at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center. year’s panel, which selected the winners, included: ■ Kathy Flynn, vice president at Hawkeye Community College. ■ Kim Manning, of the Cedar




Volume 6 ● No. 12

Cedar Valley Business Monthly is a free publication direct-mailed to more than 6,500 area businesses. Contact us at (319) 291-1527 or P.O. Box 540, Waterloo, IA 50704.

Falls Tourism and Visitors Bureau. ■ Bob Justis of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. ■ Karris Golden of Verid-

ian Credit Union and a 2007 20 last year. Under 40 winner. ■ Deb Berry, House District 22 ■ Shannon Clossen, CEO of state representative. Casting Cleaning in Cedar Falls, See 20 UNDER 40, page 5 who was a 20 Under 40 winner


University of Northern Iowa ADVERTISING 20 Under 40 winners share many traits David Braton with entrepreneurs. ..................... page 27 (319) 291-1403 Hawkeye Community College Use social media and other websites to Carrie Gleason drive traffic to your website. ........ page 28 (319) 291-1489 Community Foundation Sheila Kerns Corporate scholarships are a good way to invest in higher education. .......... page 38 (319) 291-1448

SPONSORS EDITORIAL CONTENT Nancy Raffensperger Newhoff (319) 291-1445 Jim Offner (319) 291-1598




Melissa Barber By KAREN BUSHANAM

WAVERLY — Marketing maven Melissa Barber, 36, achieved just the right worklife balance when she took a leap of faith and went into business for herself. The Waverly woman launched Melissa Barber Marketing LLC in 2007. She enjoys having the freedom to be her own boss, take on clients and projects that interest her and set hours that work well for her family of five. “It’s like the ultimate flexibility. The downside is you also have the ultimate responsibility,” Barber said. Ironically, Barber says, she doesn’t need to go out of her way to publicize her fullservice marketing firm that specializes in small- and mid-sized markets. Her work seems to speak for itself, and she takes on clients by referral only. “I think really it’s all word of mouth and the network that you build,” Barber said. Taking time to strategically build positive relationships at work and in the community has yielded professional opportunities time and time again. “You never know where those connections can take you,” she added. But first, a little background. Barber grew up on a farm near Albion. Watching her parents press on through the devastating 1980s farming crisis instilled in her the value of hard work and perseverance. She studied public relations at the University of Northern Iowa with big-city dreams of one day becoming a “superimportant p.r.-marketing person in Boston.” Instead, she fell in love, got married and ended up staying in the Cedar Valley. After resume-building stints with the Mudd Group and Vision Development Services Inc. — she is also grateful for a college internship with Community Main Street — Barber landed her “dream job” in marketing and publications at her alma mater. She spent six years working in marketing and public relations for UNI. Barber never set out to launch her own company. The option came up when she started fielding freelance project requests from former clients. Barber enjoyed her job but didn’t have time to do both. One element Barber finds unique and instrumental to her company’s success is her decision to be industry exclusive. If she is already representing a restaurant,


A marketing maven in the making

Melissa Barber ■ AGE: 36. ■ OCCUPATION: Owner, founder of Melissa Barber Marketing LLC. ■ VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: Community Main Street, Cub Scouts, St. Mary Church. ■ EDUCATION: Majored in public relations at the University of Northern Iowa ■ FAMILY: Husband, Joe Barber; sons Sam, 9, and Nick, 7; and a daughter, Alexandria, 2. ■ A MOMENT IN YOUR PAST THAT HELPED SHAPE YOU: Working alongside her boss Gerald Anglum in UNI public relations and marketing proved inspiring. “He was just passionate. Every day he was there to be creative,” she said. His untimely death in 2004 reminded Barber to enjoy life and make the most of its opportunities. ■ A MENTOR AND WHY: Cary Darrah, Anglum’s widow who has since remarried. Barber and Darrah crossed paths years ago while working for Community Main Street. “She’s so professional. (She’s) just a mentor. She’s always there to support you,” Barber said.

she won’t take on another like client. “I do that because I like the diversity, and I think it gives us a chance to be more creative with what we come up with,” Barber said. Barber handles client services, marketing strategy and copy and pulls in freelancers — former work colleagues that she trusts implicitly — to handle other aspects such as print design or web development. Since she works from home, it is easy to get distracted by piles of laundry or dirty dishes. Barber tries to stick to set hours and work when her sons are in school and her daughter is in day care. So far, the system is working. “My ultimate goal is not to be an empire and have 50 employees,” Barber said. “My goal is to have better balance in our lives.” Cary Darrah nominated Barber for the 20 Under 40 award. Barber worked as Darrah’s intern in 1998 at Community Main Street. Barber considers Darrah a mentor, but the admiration goes both ways. “I go to her often to bounce ideas and perspectives around, and she responds with very professional, thoughtful and honest opinions,” Darrah wrote. “I know I’m not alone in admiring her ability to weigh obligations and tough situations to BRANDON POLLOCK / Courier Staff Photographer make good decisions and stand by them.” Melissa Barber at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls.


20 UNDER 40 From page 3 Over a lunch in early August the group met and came to its decision. They brought their own backgrounds and connections in the community and studied the nomination letters to come to their decision. The exceptional quality of the current class of 20 Under 40 winners will jump from the pages in this issue of the Cedar Valley Business Monthly. Simply to consider how they ďŹ nd time to do their jobs, balance family responsibilities, and perform leadership functions in the community is mind-boggling. Many thanks go to the University of Northern Iowa and the




Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, where the winners had their pictures taken and which served as a beautiful centerpiece for the cover of the magazine. Thanks also to The Courier staff who put this publication together. It is a labor of love by all of those involved. They include photographers Rick Chase, Matthew Putney and Brandon Pollock, who lugged camera equipment and lights all throughout the building; and writers Karen Bushanam, Emily Christensen, Jon Ericson, Meta HemenwayForbes, Kristin Guess Tina Hinz, Pat Kinney, Tim Jamison, John Molseed, Amie Steffen and Andrew Wind. Graphic designer David Hemenway designed the cover, and the page layout was done by Douglas Hines.

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Natalie Brown


Giving and growing from ‘Scratch’


CEDAR FALLS — Natalie Brown has a “cupcake” job — literally. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily been easy. She’s had a lot of help on the way and is more than willing to “pay it forward” to her community and her employees, many of whom are University of Northern Iowa students. Her business, Scratch Cupcakery, is expanding its presence in eastern and central Iowa. Located in expanded space in the 300 block of the Cedar Falls Parkade where a Hallmark store once stood, the business is growing, looking to set up a location in West Des Moines before year’s end and another yet-to-be disclosed location in Iowa next spring. It’s been kind of a whirlwind expansion,” Brown said of her present Parkade site, which opened the day after Thanksgiving. “We did all of our remodel ourselves. ... That day was really insane.” It was a six-figure financial investment and a significant expansion in staff. “When I left ‘Little Scratch,’ “ the original downtown site in the 100 block of West Second Street, “we had maybe 15 employees. And now we’re over 60.” That includes workers at the Waterloo location in the Crossroads “Mini” location on Flammang Drive. “Most of my employees are college students, which is fantastic for me,” she said. “I love being able to invest in someone that age. People invested in me, so I invest in them.” Work hours are structured around classes. ”I really love hiring people that really don’t have any experience, and we can train them. They get to learn a new skill, so the benefit of that is great for those people. Brown opened in June 2010. Sweet Basil Market, a separate bulk and gourmet foods store she operates at 111 Main St., opened a

MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

Natalie Brown at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls. year later. “That opened out of necessity. We weren’t doing the quantities to get bulk discounts from Scratch, so Scratch was purchasing from Sweet Basil,” she said. Now Scratch is large enough to get bulk item discounts, and Sweet Basil has established enough of a local market to operate on its own. “I actually don’t have a business background,” she said. “My background is in marketing and graphic design. It was definitely a year of growth, (starting) two businesses in less than a year, but a whole lot of fun growth in the process.” Brown is known for her donations of product to local nonprofits. Her cupcakes were prominent fare at the Waterloo Salvation

Natalie Brown ■ AGE: 33. ■ OCCUPATION: Owner, Scratch Cupcakery & Sweet Basil Market. ■ VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: Boys & Girls Club of the Cedar Valley. ■ EDUCATION: AA in executive administration from Hawkeye Community College. BS in public policy from Upper Iowa University. ■ FAMILY: One dog, Zoey. ■ A MOMENT IN YOUR PAST THAT HELPED SHAPE YOU: “For my 7th or 8th birthday, I was given a KitchenAid Pro mixer. Then Mom let me use it.” ■ A MENTOR AND WHY: “My dad, Hank Brown, has taught me invaluable life lessons. He was in business for himself and enjoyed it. He worked very hard and never complained — but then all the risk and reward was his own.”

Army’s Christmas Day dinner. “The philanthropy part for me has always been real important,” she said. “I was born and raised in Cedar Falls, and to be able to give back to nonprofits in the community is huge. I worked with a church (Orchard Hill Church) for more than decade,

so I understand what nonprofits go through to be able to provide things to their clients. It started with a couple of contacts I had through the church I was working at” when she had leftovers at the end of a production day, and it has grown from there. “Our donations have kind of

exploded,” she said. Donations are determined quarterly by a committee within the company. “A big part of my personal mission for Scratch is that I love being able to give back. It is a big deal for me,” Brown said. “We’re working to implement a program with our staff for volunteerism, that as a part of their job they volunteer a number of hours in the community,” she said. Kathy Flynn, a vice president at Hawkeye Community College nominated Brown. She called the entrepreneur “a role model” in everything she has undertaken, “whether career related or volunteer work.” “She has been an example of dedication, integrity, perseverance and thoughtfulness,” Flynn wrote.





Past 20 Under 40 winners 2011 winners Joe Barber, Dave Becker, Ryan Bingman, Sarah Meyer-Reyerson, Amy Mohr, Aram Susong, Jordan Alborn, Wade Arnold, Erica Fedrick, Lauren Fincke, Zach Shimp, Jesse Knight, Heidi DuCharme, Scott Gall, Louis Hagarty, Nadia Korbova, Akela McDonald, Shannon Closson, Mike McGill, Derek Sallis.

2010 winners Agnes Kress, Amy Frost, Amy Wienands, Brad Nelson, Brenda Schares, Brian Eddy, Chad Shipman, Chris Hurley, Chris Western, Erica Martens, James (Corye)Johnson, Jason (Jay) Witham, Jenny Graeser, Lisa Zinkula, Michael Soppe, Ryan Frerichs, Sara Fogdall Miller, Sarah Parsons, Susan Roberts-Dobie, Tara Thomas.

2009 winners Dr. Nick Goetsch, Alan Sweeney, Amber Jedlicka, Allison Parrish, Antonio N. Mays, Brittany Argotsinger, Brooke Burnham, Brad Schweppe, Chassidi Ferguson, Chris Reade, Christy Justice, Crystal Ford, Crystal Buzza, Maggie Burger, Stacey Christensen, Sheri Purdy, Jon Hennings, Joseph Fuller, Dr. Ben Squires, Janelle Darst.

2008 winners Brad Best, Eric Braley, Heather Bremer-Miller, Molly Brown, Aaron Buzza, Kelly Christensen, Andrea Elliott, Angie Fuller, Jessica J. Miller, Michael Muhammad, Marc Riefenrath, Francesca Zogaib, Jennifer Hartman, Kristin Schaefer, Chad Abbas, Tavis Hall, Julieanne Gassman, Dan Dougherty, James “Jamie� Fettkether, Dan Kittle.

2007 winners Emily Girsch, Dr. Matthew Kettman, Christopher Rygh, Ryan Sheridan, Christa Miehe, Niki Litzel, Heather Prendergast, Jenny L. Connolly, Nikki Wilson, Karris Golden, Danielle Rusch, Kelly Knott, Paresh Shettigar, Mike Young, Scott J. Sernett, Shelly Smith, Noel C. Anderson, Burton “Bud� Field, Alyssa Becthold, Randolph Bryan.

2006 winners Tammy Bedard, Dr. Kyle Christiason, Beth Cox, David Deeds, Tricia Freeman, Tim Godfrey, Blake Hollis, Jake Huff , Aimee Langlass-Landergott, Matt Loesche, Ryan Madison, Brad Metcalf, Andy Miehe, Dr. Brian Sims, Erik Skovgard, Carolynn Sween, Christy Twait, Deb Weber, Gary Wheat, Jamie Wilson.

2005 winners Sean Abbas, Bill Bradford, Renee Christoffer, Angela Conrad, Matthew Craft, Chris Fereday, Kim Fettkether, Mark Funk, Jennifer Goos, Morgan Hoosman, Brad Leeper, Krystal Madlock, Brent Matthias, Jim Mudd Jr., Josh Schmidt, Justin Sell, John Speas, Andrew Van Fleet, Jason Weinberger, Joanne Wzontek.

2004 winners Sarah Albertson, John Bunge, Steve Burrell, Telisa Burt, Bryan Burton, Jim Coloff , Katherine Cota-Uyar, Jeff Danielson, Abraham Funchess, Brad Jacobson, Scott Larson, David LeCompte, Jeff Mickey, Andy Miller, Marcus Newsom, Jack Nooren, Lisa Rivera-Skubal, Matt Rolinger, Sharon Samac, Joe Surma.

I believe in justice. I know that life can be a challenge, and I think it is important for each of us to help one another. For me, discovering my calling as a legal advocate has helped me benefit my family and neighbors, as well as my clients and community. Wartburg College helped me find my passion and strengthened my desire to lead through service. I mentor two women through my law firm’s mentorship program, as well as a law student in a minority mentorship program. I care about helping people develop their own potential. Wartburg helped me develop mine. — Christianna Finnern, ’98, BA Shareholder at Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A., Minneapolis, MN

2003 winners Stacie Brass, Ben Buckley, Mike Byl, Steve Carignan, Amy Dutton, Jack Emkes, Rachel Ford, Ann Hermann, Ann Kerian, Lake Lambert, Scott Leisinger, Eric Locke, Doug Miller, Maria Murphy, Eric Ritland, Robert Smith, Mike Trachta, Stacy Van Gorp, Mike Walden, Dave Wilson.

2002 winners (21 selected) Troy Boelman, Blake Borwick, Drew Conrad, Barry DeVoll, Bryan Earnest, Theresa Hardy, Quintin Hart, Wade Itzen, Chris McGovern, Beth Meyer, Mason Moore, Mike Newland, Christopher Olmstead, Mike Place, Aimee Shepard, Lynn M. Smith, Robert L. Smith, Chad Stroschein, Chris Thomas, Cathy Wilson-Sands, John Wood.

This is my Wartburg story.

What’s yours? For more information, scan this code using a QR code reader app on your smartphone.

Leadership. Service. Faith. Learning.            




Paul Cooley


Making environmental responsibility his business


GRUNDY CENTER — Paul Cooley doesn’t act like the successful business owner he is, according to Tom McLean, a friend from the Morris Inn Steakhouse in Cooley’s hometown of Morrison, who nominated Cooley for The Courier 20 Under 40 Awards. “He doesn’t ask his people to do anything he wouldn’t do himself,” McLean said. Cooley, 39, owns Grundy Center-based Cooley Pumping and Cooley Sanitation. It’s a function he takes seriously, McLean said. “Paul was recently awarded the Iowa Environmental Health Association industry award for ‘outstanding leadership in environmental health’ at the Iowa Governor’s Conference on Public Health in Ames,” McLean said. The award honored Cooley for his role in educating his customers on properly functioning septic systems and their impact on our environment, as well as his work to maintain and expand recycling efforts in Reinbeck and Morrison. Every business entity in which Paul is involved impacts the environment in some manner, McLean said. “He takes this role very seriously and strives to be a good steward of the environment.” Anybody who plies the Cedar Valley’s rural roads likely knows Cooley, or of him. During detasseling season, the blue portable toilets that dot the farm landscape are Cooley’s. Business is good, he said, although he conveys a sense of humility about it. “Dumb luck, I guess,” he said, when asked how he had been able to nurture his businesses. “Positive attitude. I’ve got a good name and good employees.” Cooley also helps his father with the latter’s farm operation in Morrison. He has shared his success, as well. Cooley is part of a planning committee trying to build a new Orchard Hill Church in Grundy Center to go with the church’s main campus in Cedar Falls. The committee has identified a parcel of land on which it would like to build and hopes to finalize a deal soon, Cooley said. “If there’s a need out there, I like to help people,” Cooley said. “If they really want help and appreciate it, I like it even

MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

Paul Cooley at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls.

Paul Cooley ■ AGE: 39. ■ OCCUPATION: Owner, Cooley Pumping and Cooley Sanitation, Grundy Center. ■ VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: Planning committee for new Orchard Hill Church in Grundy Center; Grundy County Pork Producer Board; Grundy County Farm Bureau Board; Iowa Farm Bureau Young Farmer Program. ■ EDUCATION: Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School, class of 1991; attended North Iowa Area Community College. ■ FAMILY: Wife Deb; son Josh, 14; daughter Rachel, 11; daughter Megan, 7. ■ A MOMENT IN YOUR PAST THAT HELPED SHAPE YOU: “I had a teacher who told my mother I’d never amount to much because I didn’t perform in school. That kind of went to the bone, and I decided I’d get going.” ■ A MENTOR AND WHY: “I guess it would be my parents, because they were go-getters.”

more.” Cooley said he had a chance to farm Cooley credits much of his success to a several thousand acres with Deb’s father solid grounding in family life. He and his and brother in southern Iowa, but he wife, Deb, a native of Humeston, were passed on that chance. married in 1995. “I kind of had things rolling here, so I

thought I’d see where I could go with it,” he said. The couple have three children: a son, Josh, 14, who’s a freshman at Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School; a daughter, Rachel, 11, a sixth-grader at G-R’s middle-school; and another daughter, Megan, 7, who is in second grade at Gladbrook-Reinbeck. “We’re close,” he said of his family. “We live in the country and don’t have neighbors. My kids are active in sports, and we try to stay active in the church.” McLean points out Cooley tries to maintain close working relationships with his 20 full- and part-time employees. “Paul serves as a mentor to employees, coaching them in providing best-inclass customer service and exemplifying a strong, Midwestern work ethic,” McLean said.



Chad Feldman By JIM OFFNER

CEDAR FALLS — Sometimes building something from nothing takes more than skill, said Chad Feldman. Perhaps more than anything, he said, it requires a willingness to gamble everything on an idea that could deliver nothing. Fortunately, Feldman said, that willingness to take a big chance paid off handsomely for himself and four others who started Cedar Falls-based Web program developer Far Reach Technologies, now known as Far Reach. Feldman has reached the top of his profession at the young age of 33. The Hopkinton native, who graduated from Wartburg College in Waverly in 2001, secured an internship as a programmer at CUNA Mutual in Waverly while in college and stayed for seven years after graduation. It was at CUNA that Feldman met a handful of like-minded would-be entrepreneurs — Kate Washut, Jason Nissen, Chris Rouw and Lana Wrage. The five colleagues worked in cubicles clustered closely together and shared their thoughts and dreams daily. “I made some good friends there, and we always talked about starting our own business,” Feldman said. “Finally we got to a point where we were ready to make that jump.” The group spent a year or so drawing up a business plan, and then the other four made the leap, starting Far Reach in 2007 in the Business and Community Services Building at the University of Northern Iowa. Feldman joined them about a year later. “Jason is CEO, and he was kind of the ring leader,” Feldman said. “Kate does a lot of day-to-day operations. Everybody contributes what they can; no one really focuses on one area. So, I do a combination of coding, project development and business development, and pretty much every partner has to do that.” That’s not all Feldman does. He is active in the community, too, even helping other entrepreneurs create their own tech-based businesses. Far Reach helped launch Hired Hand Software, a joint venture between Far



A leap of faith with friends pays off

Chad Feldman ■ AGE: 33. ■ OCCUPATION: Partner, Far Reach. ■ VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: Cedar Valley.NET User Group; IT Steering Committee for the Greater Cedar Valley Chamber of Commerce; Cedar Valley Young Professionals: Cedar Falls Rotary; Cedar Valley TechBrew networking group; a founding organizer of BarCamp Cedar Valley; Hyperstream program; Boy Scouts. ■ EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree, Wartburg College, 2001. ■ FAMILY: Wife Jaymie; son Keigan, 12; daughter Paige, 9. ■ A MOMENT IN YOUR PAST THAT HELPED SHAPE YOU: “Leaving CUNA. It was really to take a leap of faith with four friends to start a new business. It was a scary time to leave a nice steady paycheck to you never know, basically.” ■ A MENTOR AND WHY: My dad inspired me, probably due to his work ethic, just working hard. That was something him and my grandfather were always on me about. They always said if you work hard, good things will happen. So far in life, things worked out OK for me.”

Reach and Traer-based Moco Creative. The company offers a management system for Texas longhorn breeders. Another startup Far Reach helped to get going was Nu Squared, a management system for vision therapists. “We’re all passionate about creating something where there was nothing,” Feldman said. Feldman volunteers with numerous organizations, including Cedar Valley. NET User Group; IT Steering Committee for the Greater Cedar Valley Chamber of Commerce; Cedar Valley Young Professionals: Cedar Falls Rotary; Cedar Valley TechBrew networking group; a founding organizer of BarCamp Cedar Valley; and Hyperstream, a technology education program for high school students that started at Price Lab School and likely will start up again at Cedar Falls High. Feldman also is a Boy Scout leader. “I like giving back,” he said. He enjoys participation in the Boy Scouts because it allows him to spend time with his 12-year-old son, Keigan. “It’s been a lot of fun going through that with my son, because it’s a great bonding experience for us, as well as it’s a great opportunity for me to meet his friends,” Feldman said.

MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

Chad Feldman at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls. Feldman believes Far Reach has a responsibility to give back to the community, said co-worker Sue Munnik, who nominated him for the 2012 20 Under 40 Awards. “He has worked on projects via Far Reach

in support of the Sturgis Falls Celebration, the Winnebago Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the UNI Dance Marathon, the Iowa Irish Fest and many other organizations,” Munnik said. “Chad is passionate about giving back to the community.”




Kevin Fittro


Developing a love for the Cedar Valley


CEDAR FALLS — When Cedar Valley business leaders were looking to boost housing starts they turned to an established developer. And when Cedar Rapids-based Skogman Homes — a 60-plusyear-old, large-scale homebuilder — was looking for the right person to spearhead its entry to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls housing market, it turned to a young newcomer, Kevin Fittro. Since moving his family to Cedar Falls in 2003 at age 27, Fittro has helped Skogman build and sell 324 homes, including houses in the highly successful Meadows and Quail Ridge subdivisions in Cedar Falls. The firm has moved into the Waterloo homebuilders’ market in the past two years. Chris Fereday of PDCM Insurance, who nominated Fittro for 20 Under 40 recognition, said the success comes in no small part because of the man at the helm. “Kevin is the right mix of throwback hard work ethic and progressive use of market analysis and design,” Fereday said. “This effort and his newfound love of the Cedar Valley have propelled Kevin as a true leader in his profession, but also in the community.” Fittro, a Joliet, Ill., native, was more interested in developing young minds than houses after graduating with a marketing degree from the University of Iowa. He was helping coach high school football in Iowa City and planning to enroll at Cornell College to become a teacher when he was invited to interview at Skogman. Company president Kyle Skogman then approached Fittro about the Cedar Valley. “Dave Page (a real estate agent in Cedar Falls) did a phenomenal job of pushing the Cedar Valley, and Kyle saw the possibilities,”

MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

Kevin Fittro at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls.

Kevin Fittro ■ AGE: 37. ■ OCCUPATION: General contractor, vice president of Skogman Homes/Midwest Development. ■ VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: Board member for Junior Achievement, past board member Waterloo Junior Hawks, past board member Alzheimer’s Association, coaching, family activities. ■ EDUCATION: Graduate of the University of Iowa, business administration. ■ FAMILY: Wife Tonya, and children Tyler, 11, Taryn, 8, Ashley, 5.

Fittro said. “I came up here, and my brother-in-law (Waterloo native Jason Witham) drove me around and showed me everything the area had to offer; he was a big part of selling me on the community.”

There was a university, plenty of restaurants and entertainment, outstanding schools and a community full of residents who support each other. “It’s a little big city,” Fittro said. “It’s easy to get entrenched in the

community.” A couple of years ago, Dan Watters, president of the Waterloo Development Corp., hooked Fittro up with Waterloo Mayor Buck Clark for a breakfast meeting. Clark encouraged him to work with committee looking to jumpstart what had been a struggling home construction market in Waterloo. Waterloo Community Schools also discussed with Fittro how the new Orange Elementary School could best be situated to spur housing growth. Outside of the office, Fittro focuses on spending time with his wife, Tonya, and their three

children, including their hockey and baseball games, dance recitals and other activities. He has served on the board of the Junior Hawks hockey program and now volunteers with Junior Achievement, which allows him to practice his initial career choice: teaching. Fittro expects to stay in the Cedar Valley for the long haul. “If 20 years from now people look back and say this is the time when Waterloo started to grow again … and the company I’m part of was involved in that, that would really be endearing,” he said.



Mason Fromm



Strictly business, with energy to spare


WATERLOO — “Wow! Pow! Ker-bam!” Anyone who knows Mason Fromm would say those words do not begin to describe the endless energy generated from this individual. So said Thomas Arthur, a Waterloo Community Schools retiree, who nominated Fromm, 37, for The Courier’s 20 Under 40 Awards. He said Fromm wears “too many hats to hang on the rack,” citing “endless energy,” numerous talents and boundless enthusiasm. “Mason relishes in being busy, not running the race, but leading the pack,” Arthur said. Fromm, 37, is a salesman with Signs & Designs in Cedar Falls. The native of Indianola has been part of the Cedar Valley community since 1993, when he started his freshman year at the University of Northern Iowa. Members of the business community recognize him as an organizer behind the annual Strictly Business Expo, a networking event held each spring. Fromm also has been involved with the Rotary organization for the last 11 years. “I’d love to leave the world a better spot than when I came in, and volunteering allows you to make another one of those connections — and it doesn’t have to be on a business level, but it could be on a very personal level,” Fromm said. As a Rotarian, Fromm has been hip-deep in volunteer activities for years, he said. He said it is important to contribute to building a wheelchair ramp, fill boxes of supplies to third-world countries and donate money to the Rotary foundation, which donates on a global basis. “It’s important that a small volunteer effort or small monetary donation that I can make can have a huge impact,” he said. Indeed, as Rotary president, Fromm helped form committees and helped those committees sucessfully implement more than 20 projects, Arthur said. “Perhaps his greatest strength lies in the realm of leadership and group dynamics,” Arthur said. “Mason has the unique ability to identify other workers and committee members’ strengths and help those individuals achieve both individual and group goals.”

MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

Mason Fromm at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls.

Mason Fromm ■ AGE: 37. ■ OCCUPATION: Sales representative with Signs & Designs. ■ VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: Strictly Business, Rotary. ■ EDUCATION: University of Northern Iowa, B.S. in electronic media, 1997. ■ FAMILY: Wife Heather; daughter Jules, 9; son Holden, 7; son Harrison, 4; daughter Ruby, 11/2. ■ A MOMENT IN YOUR PAST THAT HELPED SHAPE YOU: “The birth of my daughter, Jules.” ■ A MENTOR AND WHY: Adam Karroll, a friend from UNI. “We’re very similar in that we’re both energetic, outgoing, we’ll stand up and do anything in front of any group of people. He’s now a professional speaker and a counselor for college students and having them tackle credit card debt before it gets out of control.”

Fromm has scaled back his Strictly Business activities as he has attended to the needs of his growing family, which includes his wife of 15 years, Heather, and their four children. But Strictly Business remains important to him.

“It’s still the best chance for people in the Cedar Valley to network and get together,” he said. “It’s kind of a once-ayear party where everybody can reconnect with people, all the other businesspeople in the Cedar Valley.”

It’s ideal for newcomers who want to make business connections, he said. “Events like that, network marketing events, are exemplary for producing those long-lasting relationships,” he said. Fromm was born outside the Cedar Valley, but has immersed himself in the community since he first arrived as a UNI electronic media student in 1993. Even before that, he would travel to the area with his father, who would pilot a balloon for community events like Sturgis Falls and My Waterloo Days. His first impression of the area was a lasting one. “I remember driving by UNI and thinking, ‘I might go to school there someday,’” Fromm said. “Every time I drive by I think of that.”



Will Frost By JIM OFFNER

WATERLOO — Will Frost could have chosen anyplace to live. In fact, when the Waterloo native and West High graduate returned home a couple of years ago for a job interview at Citi Financial, he was living in New York, working as a club promoter. “I was applying for positions here; my job then was to go out, and it was too much.” Citi Financial offered Frost a job, and it brought the potential to take him anywhere he wanted to go, he said. “If I had taken the job at Citi Financial, I probably wouldn’t be here right now; I’d probably have moved up and requested to move to a different location,” he said. However, while he was in town looking at that opportunity, he was offered a position as executive assistant at the then-Highway 63 Gateway Community Development Corp., which focuses on expanding business opportunities for entrepreneurs on Waterloo’s East Side. Frost had seen what possibilities could be realized in urban settings, having lived in New York and, for a while, Paris. He wanted Waterloo to reach the same heights. He took the job at the organization, soon to change its name to ReNew Waterloo Community Development Corp. A short time later he was named executive director. He has held the post since April 2011, and the organization has expanded its scope to embrace business opportunities on the west side of downtown. “When I left Waterloo, I had no intentions of coming back,” he said. “It’s funny, because even when I was going through the interview process here, I was just kind of going through the motions. I really wanted a secure job, a better job, but I did have a ticket back to New York, too, just in case.” He stayed when the opportunity to do some good for his hometown beckoned, he said. “I am glad I stayed,” Frost said. “I like to think I’m here by choice. Will I always be here? Maybe not. But it’s actually nice. I live near downtown. I work downtown. I play downtown. Every-



Bringing a world of ideas back home to Waterloo

Will Frost ■ AGE: 26. ■ OCCUPATION: Executive director, ReNew Waterloo Community Development Corp. ■ VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: African-American Historical and Cultural Museum events, Main Street Waterloo. ■ EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in business administration, Coe College, Cedar Rapids; Waterloo West High School Class of 2004. ■ FAMILY: Single. ■ A MOMENT IN YOUR PAST THAT HELPED SHAPE YOU: “When I lived in New York I lived in Manhattan, and I used to get the biggest high just going outside. I’m really attracted to big urban centers, and the development of cities. I visited in the past, but just waking up there every day it’s life-changing. It shows the potential. I lived in France for a period, and that was life-altering, too.” ■ MENTOR: “My parents inspire me, actually. My dad emails me inspirational quotes all the time.”

thing is kind of convenient for me, and I like that. And it gives me a purpose.” That purpose is the help to develop a better community. “In New York, things are already developed; here, I could change something instead of being just a part of something that’s already changing,” he said. Frost’s life transcends his role at ReNew Waterloo. He likes to volunteer his services wherever possible. He donates time to Main Street Waterloo and the African-American Historical and Cultural Museum in Waterloo, which he serves as treasurer. “Will is a role model for young AfricanAmericans in Waterloo who have stayed and is giving back by using his education and talent to help make Waterloo a better place to live and play,” said Melvina Scott, executive director of the African-American Historical and Cultural Museum, who nominated Frost for The Courier’s 20 Under 40 Awards for 2012. “He has demonstrated strong management and communication skills, serving as treasurer for the African-American Historical and Cultural Museum. Will provides vision to the Highway 63 redevelopment project and has designed a revolving loan fund that will provide financial opportunities to businesses to help in startup/expansion costs to help create jobs in the Cedar Valley.”

MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

Will Frost at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls. Scott said Frost also provides business counseling for startups and existing businesses. Giving of oneself is a human instinct, Frost said. “I think everybody needs something to love, something to do and something to look forward to,” he said. “In volunteering, you think differently when you are

doing things for pay than when you are doing things because you care about it.” At 26, Frost is one of the youngest of this year’s 20 Under 40 winners. “I’m sure there are a ton of people who maybe are better-qualified, but that someone thought that highly of me, and that I won means quite a bit, actually,” he said.



Matt Halbur



A drive to succeed and help others succeed, too


WATERLOO — A positive attitude and a predilection toward hard work have propelled Carroll native Matt Halbur to leadership of Rydell Chevrolet as the dealership’s general manager, and now made him a winner of a Courier 20 Under 40 Award. “It’s so important because, with all the people working around you and your business contacts, they have to know that when they ask you to do something or they look for you in a partnership of some sort, that you’re going to follow through and you’re going to do what you say you’re going to do,” the 33-year-old Iowa State University graduate said. “I expect that with people I deal with, and I expect people to think the same toward me.” Halbur said he views winning the 20 Under 40 Award as a team accomplishment and a serious responsibility. “I think it’s huge, especially for the people who work under me,” he said, mentioning 130 employees at the dealership and parts warehouses. “I think for them to look at me and to have that honor bestowed upon our organization — because it’s something that I share with everybody — I think it makes them feel real good about the future of Rydell Chevrolet and the leadership at Rydell’s,” Halbur said. Rydell is heavily involved with fundraising for the Waterloo Honor Flight, putting on a car show to benefit the flight for war veterans, Halbur said. “We make donations to the Honor Flight based on attendance, selling auction items, event giveaways,” he said. “It’s very important and enables us to do what we do every day. It’s good for our employees, for us as general managers and owners, and it’s good for the community.”

MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

Matt Halbur at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls. Rydell and Chevrolet also have Matt Halbur donated money and baseball equipment to Waterloo Optimist ■ AGE: 33. Baseball for the past two years ■ OCCUPATION: General manager of Rydell Chevrolet for six years. ■ VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: Organizer of Rydell Chevrolet’s annual Car and and helped put on a registration Bike Show, benefitting local charities, including the Waterloo Honor Flight night with the Waterloo Leisure and the Prevention of Child Abuse with the Waterloo Exchange Club. Rydell Services. The dealership also has and Chevrolet donated money and baseball equipment to Waterloo Optimist contributed to the Prevention of Baseball for the past two years and helped put on a registration night with the Child Abuse program with the Waterloo Leisure Services. Waterloo Exchange Club. ■ EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in sports management and a minor in ag Halbur came to the Cedar Valbusiness, Iowa State University. ley from Minneapolis, where he ■ FAMILY: Wife Krissy; daughter, Kaley, 3; daughter Josie, 1. ■ A MOMENT IN YOUR PAST THAT HELPED SHAPE YOU: “Growing up on a was a territory sales manager farm in west-central Iowa. My dad is a hard worker and taught me the value with Farner Bocken Co. of a hard work ethic and that nothing comes easy from a very young age.” The Twin Cities was where ■ A MENTOR AND WHY: “Two great mentors for me would be my dad and he met his future bride, Krissy Jim Rydell. They both taught me a lot about business, a lot about making the Rydell, a Waterloo native who right decisions in life.” was a neighbor. The two married and settled down in Cedar Falls. “When we The couple have two daughters Halbur went to work at Rydell got here, we just fell in love with — 3-year-old Kaley and 1-year- Chevrolet in 2006 as a sales the area,” Halbur said. old Josie. consultant.

His work ethic enabled him to move up quickly, according to Julie Lake of Terry L. Butz Creative and Steve Lake of KCRGTV, who nominated Halbur for the 20 Under 40 Award jointly. “A positive attitude and an amazing work ethic are just two of the qualities that make Matt an ideal candidate for 20 Under 40,” the nominators said. “Matt ... has worked his way up and around every department at the dealership to become general manager in 2011.” And his positive effect on others spreads easily. “Matt’s infectious smile and attitude cannot help leave a positive and lasting impression on everyone he comes in contact with,” they said.




Nick Hildebrandt


Adversity strengthens character


WATERLOO — For Nick Hildebrandt, architecture might seem a natural fit, since he’s been building a successful career through experiences that might shake others to their foundations. Hildebrandt, 33, a native of Tripoli, was a budding architecture major in 2001 at Iowa State University when his then-girlfriend and now his wife, Jacque, suffered a stroke while playing basketball. He stayed by her side through the entire ordeal. Only a month later, his father was killed in an accident. He calls that year “my most valuable life lesson.” He still had a year of college to get through, but with the support of Jacque and family members, he would endure and grow. “Not just letting it define me as a person but have it kind of motivate me and be a part of me as I moved forward was probably the biggest defining moment,” he said. Hildebrandt landed an internship with StuXture at its Des Moines office and worked there full time for several years after his graduation from ISU in 2002. The company eventually moved Hildebrandt to its Waterloo headquarters. He became a registered architect in 2008 and earned accreditation in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design the next year. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects and Iowa AIA. Hildebrandt gradually moved into an associate position and was offered a partnership at StruXture three years ago. With all that, Hildebrandt makes time to give to the community. He’s a member of the Waterloo Downtown Rotary Club, serves as group leader and Sunday school teacher at Heartland Vineyard Church, was secretary of the board of the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley and served on a number of community-betterment boards. Hildebrandt also is a graduate of Cedar Valley Leadership Institute. “His interest in service is not based on resume building but rather in making a difference in a community in which he plans to live and raise his family,” said Geoffrey Grimes, a partner at StruXture. Hildebrandt, who lives with Jacque and their three daughters in Denver, said sev-

Nick Hildebrandt ■ AGE: 33. ■ OCCUPATION: Partner in StruXture Architects, Waterloo ■ VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: Waterloo Downtown Rotary Club; Sunday school teacher, Heartland Vineyard Church; past board member, Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley; board member, Cedar Valley United Way; past board member, Highway 63 Gateway Community Development Corp.; graduate, Cedar Valley Leadership Institute. ■ EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in architecture, Iowa State University, 2002. ■ FAMILY: Wife Jacque; daughters Elaina, 6; Madeline, 4; Kelsey, 2. ■ A MOMENT IN YOUR PAST THAT HELPED SHAPE YOU: “My most valuable life lesson would be the year 2001, my girlfriend, now my wife, had a stroke playing basketball, which we went through together. And then, a month later, my father was killed in an accident.” ■ A MENTOR AND WHY: “My mentor, precollege, would have been my father. Now, in my professional career, my mentor is Geoff Grimes. He was president of the company when I joined. I’ve always considered him kind of a well-rounded architect and kind of a model of what I would want to be if I wanted to be an architect. And all the principals I work with are always there to lean on.”

eral factors guide his philosophy of giving back to the community. “One would be my family, my parents, the work ethic I learned growing up on a farm,” he said. “Another would be my faith. I believe in giving back and not just getting promoted and using them. Ultimately, those are probably the two biggest driving forces and also leaving this place a better place for my kids. I have three girls at home.” Hidebrandt said winning The Courier’s 20 Under 40 Award reminds him that he has a duty to serve the community, but it brings no more pressure than he applies to himself. “I strive to be the best that I can be in everything that I do, so putting more pressure on as being in an elite group does not feel like any different pressure than anything else that I put upon myself,” he said. Jane Miller, a colleague at StruXture, also nominated Hildebrandt for the award. “People are drawn to Nick’s great personality and good business sense; he leads MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor by example and always has time for everyNick Hildebrandt at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls. one,” Miller said.




CEDAR FALLS — A promising business opportunity brought Chris Holahan to the Cedar Valley about five years ago. But it has been the people and personal opportunities that have kept the Mason City native and his young family in the community. “We have been very fortunate and very blessed by the Cedar Valley area,” said Holahan. “It’s been great to us as far as friends and family and schools.” Holahan, who owns Cedar Valley Orthodontics, has always felt a calling to repay those blessings. So when friends and 20 Under 40 alumni Jason Witham and Zach Shimp approached him about an opening on the Boys and Girls Club of the Cedar Valley board, he accepted the opportunity — and went above and beyond quite quickly, Witham said. Witham, who also nominated Holahan for the honor, said he immediately got involved on numerous committees, including the annual fundraising committee, from which many shy away. “It’s our biggest committee and a big commitment,” Witham said. “But he raised his hand and has been involved with it since then.” Holahan’s commitment isn’t just to the board, though. As often as possible he likes to get involved with the kids by attending some of the many special outings. “The club is really going in a positive direction, and we are able to actually see a lot of rallying of the community around the club,” Holahan said. “I’ve been chair of our yearly fundraiser now for two years, and the support we’ve gotten has been pretty impressive. There are a lot of great people on that board who do a lot of great things for the club.” When Holahan isn’t busy with soccer games, church and volun-



Dentist believes in getting involved

Chris Holahan ■ AGE: 39 (at time of nomination and selection). ■ OCCUPATION: Orthodontist in his own practice, Cedar Valley Orthodontics. ■ VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: Council member and finance task force member, Nazareth Lutheran Church; church volunteer for children’s church programs; board member, Boys and Girls Club of the Cedar Valley; executive council member, Iowa Association of Orthodontists; secretary/treasurer, Black Hawk County Dental Society; service on various committees. ■ EDUCATION: Mason City High School graduate. University of Iowa, B.S. in psychology. University of Iowa Dental School, D.D.S. degree. University of North Carolina, 2-year certificate, hospital dentistry residency. Mayo Clinic, M.S. in biomedical sciences, specialization in orthodontics. ■ FAMILY: Wife Brooke (14 years); daughter McKenna, 11; daughter Kate, 5; son Cullen, 3. ■ MOMENT IN THE PAST THAT SHAPED YOU: “I would have to say meeting my wife. She has such a kind heart and desire to help people that it makes me want to be a better person.” ■ MENTOR AND WHY: “Growing up it was certainly my parents. They were both very hard workers and were great examples that if you work hard, good things will happen. In my career, my mentor was definitely Dr. Frederick Regennitter, who was my program director at the Mayo Clinic. He was a retired colonel and orthodontist from the Army, then went on to help teach residents the specialty of orthodontics.”

teering, he is juggling two orthodontics practices in Cedar Falls and Mason City. Holahan bought the practice from Robert Spencer in 2007. He moved the practice, Cedar Valley Orthodontics, from its longtime home on University Avenue to First Street in Cedar Falls one year later. Holahan earned his under-

MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

Chris Holahan at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls.

graduate and dental degrees from the University of Iowa and then served as a general dentist in North Carolina. An interest in orthodontics then took him north to Rochester, Minn., where he studied at the Mayo Clinic before coming to Cedar Falls. With that behind him, Holahan expects his family to call the college community, which is almost equidistant between his family in Mason City and his wife, Brooke’s, family in Iowa, home for many years to come. They’ve found food for their soul at Nazareth Lutheran, where both offer

their time and talents to the church. And the family has found friendship without ever leaving their neighborhood. “We absolutely love Cedar Falls. We’ve lived in a few areas in the country: North Carolina, Minneapolis, Rochester (Minn.), and we always knew we would end up in Iowa long term,” he said. “This is definitely going to be our home. It would be nice to have our kids go to college locally, too.” But the father of three has some time before he has to worry about that. His oldest

daughter, McKenna, is just 11. Then comes 5-year-old Kate and son Cullen, 3. He already is training them in his philanthropic ways. Chris said McKenna has tagged along on some Boys and Girls Club outings with him. “It’s fun to get my family and kids excited about it as well and to see what it is that I am helping out with and what I am doing,” he said. “... I definitely think it is important to show that, to pass it on to your kids, Share some of our blessings and help do some good things as well.”




Anesa Kajtazovic By JON ERICSON

WATERLOO — The middle of campaign season is always a hectic time. Anesa Kajtazovic, already seeking a second term in the Iowa House of Representatives at the tender age of 26, knows what most days will bring: She spends much of her day knocking on doors in her district, sprinkling in meeting with constituents and fellow business and political leaders. It is the other things that pop up that keep her on her toes. Her phone often rings and she finds out on short notice that her presence is requested at another campaign event. At one she meets Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, at a local event for President Barack Obama, then helps convince the national figure to drop in at a fundraiser for Sheriff Tony Thompson. She rides with Wasserman-Schultz from one event to the next, talking about issues related to life, balance and ambition. State Sen. Jeff Danielson, one of Kajtazovic’s mentors, takes his own lessons from her, even as he helps teach her the political ropes. “It is amazing that she came from war-torn Bosnia as a young girl and is showing us what the American dream is all about. Anesa is leadership personified,” Danielson said in recommending Kajtazovic for the 20 Under 40 award. Kajtazovic came to Waterloo from western Bosnia as a 10-year-old. Her parents had worked in marketing and banking and her mother had a technical job. When they arrived in America, her father started working in manufacturing at Bertch Cabinets, and her mother worked in meat processing. “I felt they always told me you can be anything, you have an opportunity to do better than we’ve done. That always inspired me, seeing them work two jobs. Even when my mom was sick she was still trying to work. That definitely influenced me and my work ethic,” Kajtazovic said. Kajtazovic never has been one to sit idly by as life moves on. Before she was a legislator, she was an honor roll student, a tennis player, cross country runner and pageant contestant.


Young Iowa legislator’s story an inspirational immigrant tale

Anesa Kajtazovic ■ AGE: 26. ■ OCCUPATION: Iowa state representative, additional work experience: insurance/finance/mortgage sectors. ■ VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: American Council of Young Political Leaders), NewDEAL Leaders, Participant of Urban-Ag Academy, Waterloo Business and Professional Women, former member of Waterloo Community Development Board, Mid-Western Legislative Energy Council. ■ EDUCATION: Bachelor of Arts in both business and public administration, University of Northern Iowa. ■ FAMILY: Parents, Hazim and Hadzira Kajtazovic, sister Lejla and nephew Adrian Mujdzic. ■ A MOMENT IN YOUR PAST THAT HELPED SHAPE YOU: “Leaving much of my family and coming to the United States for a better life. I remember feeling like we have been given a second chance to move to this country where there was no war. I remember feeling that I wanted to do the best that I possibly could.” ■ A MENTOR AND WHY: “Early in my life, my greatest mentors were my parents. They made sure I put education first and guided me to make good decisions. In my public service life, I’ve had three great mentors: Bob Kressig, Jeff Danielson and Tom Powers. I learned everything about the campaign process, public policy and importance of public service from them.”

Her entry into politics started while she was pursuing a public administration degree at the University of Northern Iowa, working as an intern for Bob Kressig’s campaign for the Iowa House. Since she graduated, Kajtazovic has worked jobs in the insurance and mortgage industries. She entered politics with an idea that she “wanted to change the system for the better,” then proceeded to take down former Waterloo Mayor John Rooff, racking up 59 percent of the vote in the process. With such a diverse resume already, she hasn’t mapped out her future in detail. She has no interest in leaving politics at this time, but she does feel drawn toward the business world as well. She’s had an opportunity to travel to China and Taiwan as part of young leader programs and thinks perhaps a role as an ambassador would be attractive down the road. “I want to do what’s right at the

MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

Anesa Kajtazovic at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls. moment, to go on passion and my gut feeling. It’s what I’ve always done,” Kajtazovic said. Wherever life takes her, Danielson feels her future is bright.

“Anesa Kajtazovic is a leader beyond her years. I’ve known her for about 10 years now, and I’m always impressed by her maturity, thoughtfulness and positive outlook,” Danielson said.

november 2012

cedar valley business monthly

Kyle Klingman By ANDREW WIND

WATERLOO — Kyle Klingman didn’t set out to head a wrestling museum. Some days, though, it does feel like destiny for the director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum. The 36-year-old Cedar Falls native spent many summer vacations in his mom’s hometown of Stillwater, Okla., where the Waterloo museum’s parent organization, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, is located. “That’s what I grew up with; we’d go there every time,” said Klingman. “I actually grew up on Oklahoma State wrestling.” Klingman tried wrestling in junior high, but eventually found he was more suited to track and cross country. He reconnected to the world of wrestling and really fell in love with the sport in 1995. “The person that really put me over the top is a man named Doug Van Gelder.” Klingman was a friend of his son, Seth, and attended an NCAA wrestling tournament that year in Iowa City with the Van Gelder family. Doug Van Gelder “showed me how majestic of a sport it is,” he said. Since then, Klingman has regularly attended NCAA wrestling tournaments. For the past four years, he and Van Gelder have done a weekly radio show about wrestling on KCNZ 1650 called “On the Mat.” Klingman became associate director of the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum in 2002 when it was located in Newton. The museum moved to its present location at 303 Jefferson St. in 2007. The next year, Klingman left for a new job in Minneapolis but came back in 2009 to head the museum after founder Mike Chapman retired. In 2010, the museum merged with the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Klingman said the organization is “a lot more than” a museum, pointing to its efforts to help schools develop their wrestling programs. “It’s been a long time since Waterloo has had a state wrestling champion, and we can’t just keep talking about the past,” he said.



Wrestling museum a labor of love

Kyle Klingman ■ Age: 36. ■ Occupation: Director, National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum. ■ Volunteer activities: Partners in Education with George Washington Carver Academy, Waterloo Jaycees, Friends of the Waterloo Public Library, Panther Wrestling Club. ■ Education: Bachelor’s degree in communication studies from the University of Northern Iowa. ■ Family: Parents, Kenneth and Linda; brother, Kevin. ■ A moment in your past that helped shape you: “Getting held back in first grade. I wasn’t developing socially, so my parents decided to hold me back.” Klingman said that led to whole different set of friends and classmates, some of whom have influenced the direction of his life. ■ A mentor and why: Bob Buckley, CEO of Kirk Gross Co. and a member of the museum’s board. Klingman called Buckley “one of those people that you are influenced by and you feel yourself grow. He’s just given me a lot insights and a lot of tools that have helped me to do my job.”

The museum has an on-site training facility where wrestling clinics and seminars are held. It also partners with George Washington Carver Academy to hold a weekly after-school wrestling program open to all students. The program is intended to feed into the school’s seventh- and eighth-grade teams. Klingman has also remained passionate about the running sports he participated in during high school. He tried out for the track and cross country teams at the University of Northern Iowa and competed until breaking his foot during his sophomore year. After healing, he started running again in 1998 and soon got into ultra running, competing in his first 50-mile race in 2000. Klingman said running “really was my life for about 15 years.” He no longer competes, but volunteers to help with every race or high school meet he can. He has also led a minitraining camp for the West High School MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor cross country team during the past three Kyle Klingman at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls. years. Klingman finds other places to vol“We just need to call on him, and he’s as a whole.” unteer as well. The Waterloo Jaycees, of quick to respond,” said Jaycees past Fuller is “impressed with his profeswhich he is a member, nominated him president Angie Fuller. “He seems quite sionalism and his work ethic in general for the 20 Under 40 honor. interested in improving our community — just an upstanding guy.”




Krista McNurlen


Floridian attracted to Iowa by the warmth of its people


WATERLOO — Krista McNurlen grew up in Orlando, Fla., yet she says she came to Iowa for its warmth — twice. McNurlen, project manager for interactive work at the Waterloo-based ad agency Hellman, originally came to the Hawkeye State to attend the University of Northern Iowa. Then, 10 years after she finished her family services degree at UNI in 1997, McNurlen came back again, this time, taking a job at Hellman. McNurlen said she always has had an affinity for Iowa, perhaps since her mother grew up in the Fort Madison-Keokuk area. “I came back because of the friendliness, the warmth, the comfortableness I felt here,” McNurlen said. “I’m a big sports fan, and I missed the Panthers. My husband has converted me to sharing my allegiance with the Hawkeyes.” Her husband of three years, David, is chief creative officer at Hellman, which is where they met. “It just felt like home,” McNurlen said. Her volunteer activities would seem to back that up. She’s an active member of the University of Northern Iowa Alumni Association and the Cedar Valley Chamber of Commerce and served on the chamber’s Business Expo and Annual Celebration Committee. “Her greatest volunteer impact in the community, however, has come from her involvement with the Waterloo Community Schools Foundation,” said the Rev. Cathy Young of Cedar Valley Hospice, who nominated McNurlen for The Courier’s 20 Under 40 Award. “Krista is an active member of our board of directors and gives wise, valuable input during our meetings,” Young said. McNurlen said her community spirit got its start at UNI, where she served students in a number of capacities, including resident assistant, an assistant hall coordinator and hall coordinator. When asked about her philosophy about volunteerism, McNurlen said she feels an obligation to contribute. “I feel like I owe it to somebody, I guess,” she said. “For me, I started out in student leadership as a freshman at UNI, and I wouldn’t have pursued that if there weren’t individuals who pushed me or

MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

Krista McNurlen at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls.

Krista McNurlen ■ AGE: 38. ■ OCCUPATION: Project manager for interactive work, Hellman. ■ VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: University of Northern Iowa Alumni Association; committee member, Cedar Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Business Expo and annual celebration; Waterloo Community Schools Foundation. ■ FAMILY: Husband, David. ■ A MOMENT IN YOUR PAST THAT HELPED SHAPE YOU: “I think the single most important thing I’ve done that shaped my leadership is my work for UNI. I was a resident assistant, an assistant hall coordinator and hall coordinator.” ■ A MENTOR AND WHY: The late Drake Martin, assistant director for residence life at UNI. “He passed away recently and worked at UNI for probably almost 30 years. He was one of my supervisors when I became an assistant hall director and a hall director. But as a student leader, he was an adviser to groups I was a part of. His message was ‘Give back. Continue to give to others.’”

encouraged me or pointed me in the right direction, so I want to do the same for others.” McNurlen has “wasted no time” in getting involved with community activities, said Carrie Rankin of the Waterloo Community Schools Foundation.

“Krista is my primary contact for marketing and Web production services for the (foundation), and I have been nothing but impressed with Krista’s level of professionalism, as well as keen insight on how to do what is best for her clients and following through with creative ideas,”

Rankin said in nominating McNurlen for the 20 Under 40 Award. McNurlen has repeatedly demonstrated her worth to the volunteer organizations to which she has contributed, said Michelle Temeyer of Iowa State University Extension of Black Hawk County. Temeyer said her association with McNurlen has been with the Waterloo Schools Foundation and with Build Our Ballpark. “She asks probing questions, synthesizes input and provides sound advice to those of us inexperienced in the field of marketing, Web design and social media,” Temeyer said. “As a web expert, her ideas to drive traffic to our site and visual enhancements have proven wildly successful. Her professional skills are topnotch and are notably exceeded by her interpersonal capabilities. “She understands the dynamics of working with volunteers, respecting our time and ideas,” Temeyer said.



Cheryl Meller By AMIE STEFFEN

WATERLOO — Cheryl Meller and her associates will tell you that when she agrees to a project, she puts in the proverbial 110 percent. Nowhere was that more evident than when preparing for her own inclusion into 20 Under 40. She read up on past inductees and even studied up on what questions she thought would be asked, coming up with her favorite quote even though quotes are no longer part of the standard 20 Under 40 biography. That quote in question: “We must overcome the notion that we must be regular. It robs you of your chance to be extraordinary,” said by Uta Hagen. “I found that in a magazine when I was in college, and I’ve hung it on every bulletin board and in every office,” Meller, 33, said. The quote celebrates differences, she said, and embraces uniqueness in a world that sometimes seems like it rewards the opposite. “I think too many people try to fit themselves into some sort of cookie cutter,” she added. “At one time, I was teased for being an individual. I’ve had to kind of learn that that is not a negative: To be unique and to be an individual is very much a positive.” Meller has found herself forging her own path, to be sure. But her experiences have also been shaped by the people around her — from the community college adviser who helped Meller figure out what to major in after the graphic design program was dropped, to the woman who first invited her to a Waterloo Jaycees meeting, and even an opportunity at the Red Cross as the result of a conversation with a fellow Jaycee. “There’s a lot of phenomenal women in this community,” Meller said. “I never had the opportunity to have a lot of women mentors growing up, because I came from a rural community. There’s a lot of really professional and strong women in the community that I look up to.” Since joining the Jaycees, Meller has organized several projects — from the Waterloo Open to the annual fireworks festival, now a two-day event.



Forging her own path with the help of some strong female role models

Cheryl Meller ■ AGE: 33. ■ OCCUPATION: Development and communications director with the Family YMCA of Black Hawk County. ■ VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: Waterloo Jaycees, Blue Zones project. ■ EDUCATION: A.A. from Iowa Lakes Community College (2000); B.A. in public relations with a minor in journalism from the University of Northern Iowa (2002); currently finishing graduate degree from UNI in philanthropy and nonprofit development. ■ FAMILY: husband Dustin and cat Peanut. ■ A MOMENT IN YOUR PAST THAT HELPED SHAPE YOU: “When I was going to junior college — I was going for graphic design — they decided to temporarily terminate my program to restructure it. I was kind of lost, and I didn’t know what to do; I’m kind of an artsy person. A professor took me aside and she says, ‘You’re a good communicator. Have you thought about going into a communications field?’ So we sat down with the UNI catalog and saw public relations would be a good fit.” ■ A MENTOR AND WHY: “There’s a lot of great people in this community that I look up to, whether they know it or not. ... Lisa Rivera-Scuble with the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance. She got me into the Jaycees, and she’s a leader in our community.”

Meller has also been president of the Waterloo Jaycees for the past two years. “It’s exciting, but there’s a lot of work that’s involved,” she said. “The hardest thing with the Jaycees is you tend to be a heavy part of the projects that we do.” Agnes Kress, a fellow Jaycee who works at KWWL and herself a 20 Under 40 alum, said Meller has always shown that excitement. “She’s a very dedicated, very passionate person,” Kress said. “You can tell that, for the Jaycees, she really loved it and believed in its purpose.” In her working life, she’s also helping her community, as development and communications director with the Family YMCA of Black Hawk County. “I love giving back. I feel like I make a difference,” she said. “There are so many people in the community that have a need. (I hope) to play a small role in fulfilling that need for people.” In the next couple of years, Meller hopes to branch out to do more volunteer work with other organizations in the Cedar

MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

Cheryl Meller at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls. Valley. She’s already gotten on board with Blue Zones and hopes to do more work with the Cedar Valley Chamber. “I would like to get more involved in other parts of the community and take that experience in the Jaycees and use it

in other organizations,” she said. But she’s also mindful of overextending herself. “Being in the Jaycees for eight years, I’ve also learned how to say no,” Meller said.





ShanQuiesha Robinson Her fight against breast cancer turned into a support group that strengthens others By JIM OFFNER

WATERLOO — Breast cancer isn’t just a risk in ShanQuiesha “Shae” Robinson’s family; it’s a recurring nightmare. “I was 25 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Robinson, 30, who in December completed a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Allen College. Robinson was only two weeks away from completing her first degree, a bachelor’s in general studies at the University of Northern Iowa, when she received the diagnosis. Robinson had a younger sister, Niisha, now 27, who also was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 21. Their grandmother also was stricken with the disease. There’s nothing like a cancer diagnosis to make the victim feel isolated, Robinson said. “My sister hadn’t come to grips with having breast cancer and couldn’t give me the support I was looking for at the time,” she said. “I kind of felt alone in the sense of being so young and didn’t have the support I needed.” That may have been the most painful part of her ordeal. Both women eventually underwent double-mastectomies, and both are doing well in the wake of their ordeals. But that wasn’t enough for Shae Robinson. She decided to fight back, against the disease and the isolation it can bring. “I told my mom (Cathy Ketton) one time when I was recovering that I didn’t want other women to feel like me, to go through this journey alone,” she said. That was the genesis of Splash of Color, a locally based breast-cancer support group. “Actually, it’s the only organized breastcancer support group for women of color in Iowa,” Robinson said. The group was organized two years ago and drew 40 attendees to its kickoff meeting in November 2010. About six women show up on a regular basis, and others “come in and out,” Robinson said. Once the group generates a bit more momentum locally, there is the potential to grow it in other metro areas across the state, Robinson said.

BRANDON POLLOCK / Courier Staff Photographer

ShanQuiesha Robinson at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls.

ShanQuiesha ‘Shae’ Robinson ■ AGE: 30. ■ OCCUPATION: Registered surgical nurse at Allen Hospital. ■ VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: Founder of Splash of Color, breast-cancer support group for women of color; mentor, Waterloo Community Schools. ■ EDUCATION: Bachelor of science in nursing, Allen College, 2012; B.S. in general studies, University of Northern Iowa, 2004. ■ FAMILY: Daughter Mia, 8. ■ A MOMENT IN YOUR PAST THAT HELPED SHAPE YOU: “I saw how my mom struggled to take care of us as a single parent, and that gave me the drive to be successful and achieve. I’m not done yet; I’m really striving to achieve more and not to just only work for yourself but help others, as well.” ■ MENTOR: “My mom (Cathy Ketton). She never gives up. She’s done foster care. She always gives herself and never complains. She’s my inspiration. It’s funny because she says I’m her inspiration. So, I’m glad we have that type of relationship.”

“We want to provide local leads first, and then maybe have sister organizations,” Robinson said. “We were at a conference in Cedar Rapids earlier this year and were able to speak to women there, and they actually came to a meeting

because my mom works closely with the American Cancer Society, and so some of the women that saw us there and came and supported us.” Robinson said she is equally proactive about heading off cancer with her own

daughter, Mia, who is 8. Shae’s mother nominated her for the 20 Under 40 Award. “She is passionate about teaching students about setting goals and writing down your plans to reach your goals,” Ketton said. “She also speaks about giving back to the community. Most times, she is the key person that a newly diagnosed woman of color will speak to after they have been diagnosed with breast cancer. She takes these women under her wings and encourages them to let them know that there is life after cancer.” Ketton said her daughter is active in her church and serves as a volunteer for the Waterloo Community Schools as a mentor. Mother says she is inspired by daughter. “She exhibits confidence, intelligence, patience and kindness,” Ketton said. “She is concerned about people in this community.”



Chuck Rowe



Faith motivates his determination to help kids


WATERLOO — Don’t tell Chuck Rowe he has won anything. Any honors that come his way, including The Courier’s 20 Under 40 Award, should be a tribute to others, whether it is his parents in New Jersey, his Christian faith — which he considers the “bedrock” of his success — or the organization he guides as CEO, the Boys & Girls Club of Black Hawk County. “Its an honor because it shows that we are doing things right at the Boys & Girls Club,” said Rowe, 36, who grew up in Verona, N.J., near New York. “We are changing and improving lives because we have an amazing staff and board, so when things go well, I tend to unfairly get all the credit.” Rowe says he always has been driven by family devotion and a love of children from all walks of life. He says he probably learned that from his parents. A Korean by lineage, Rowe was adopted by a Caucasian couple, Chuck and Linda Rowe, and reared in an Italian neighborhood. “I’m probably the most Italian Korean you’ve ever met,” Rowe said. “Just knowing I was adopted, and the fact that my parents loved me just as much as any parent loved their kids, was a message that I could use the rest of my life. It doesn’t matter who you are, what race you are, what sex you are, you can just love somebody, no matter who they are. That’s kind of the message my wife and I hopefully live by. We just care for people.” Rowe gets daily inspiration from Karin, his wife of nine years. “She’s a nicer person than I am; she has a good heart,” he said. “When I see her helping somebody, I think I should be nicer.” Rowe said he knew he wanted to work for the Boys & Girls Club at a very young age. “Some people were just kind of meant for certain positions, and I guess that was something I was always headed for,” he said. “I remember I was 13 years old and I worked at my first Fresh Air Camp for kids in Jersey.” Then, at age 16, he worked at an afterschool program for the first time. That sealed the deal.

BRANDON POLLOCK / Courier Staff Photographer

Chuck Rowe at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls. “Really, since then, I’ve worked with mostly at-risk youth,” he said. Rowe said his Christian-focused upbringing pointed him in that direction. “It was kind of one of those things that you kind of do what you want to do, but you eventually find your niche,” he said. “When I was a kid, I grew up going to the Salvation Army for church, and my parents always made it a real point for me to help other people, always give a helping hand to those who need it. I always knew I wanted to work with kids, and as time went on it eventually led to I wanted to work specifically with at-risk youth.” At that point, he tried to discern how to answer the call — as teacher or counselor or some other function. “That’s when I started working in afterschool programs, and that’s when I realized that was my niche and what I wanted to do,” he said. His reverence for the Salvation Army hasn’t diminished, and he continues to

volunteer with the organization. As has become typical with 20 Under 40 winners, Rowe reacted to winning the award with humility. “It’s kind of a funny award to win, because I feel like there’s a billion other people who are more deserving than I am,” he said. “Like I said, I was always raised to help other people, so besides work, my wife and I were always volunteering at different things.” Volunteerism makes the Cedar Valley a better place, said Rowe, who has been with the Boys & Girls Club since 2010. “I’m a true believer that if everyone kind of chips in a little bit and does their part, then we can make some amazing things happen, and I think that’s what happens in the Cedar Valley,” he said. Rowe was nominated for the 20 Under 40 Award by local dentist Christopher Holahan, himself a 20 Under 40 honoree. “Chuck’s dedication ... is without reproach,” Holahan said.

Chuck Rowe ■ AGE: 36. ■ OCCUPATION: CEO, Boys & Girls Club. ■ VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: Numerous activities with the Salvation Army; several projects with Rotary; Waterloo Jaycees; public relations chair for Teen Serve; planning committee for Salvation Army Camping for Heartland Division. ■ EDUCATION: Associate degree in liberal arts at Hartnell College, 1999 ■ FAMILY: Wife Karin. ■ A MOMENT IN YOUR PAST THAT HELPED SHAPE YOU: “Just knowing I was adopted, and the fact that my parents loved me just as much as any parent loved their kids, was a message that I could use the rest of my life.” ■ A MENTOR AND WHY: “If I had to narrow it down, I’d say my parents. They taught me a lot of great values. My wife would be another.”




Steve Slessor


Young Allen Hospital exec learned from his dad


WATERLOO — As Steve Slessor traverses the corridors of Allen Hospital, he greets every employee he encounters. From housekeeping staff to heart surgeons, Slessor knows them by name. “It’s part of how I was raised, something I saw my dad do incredibly well. He would stop and talk to everyone. He knew their name and something about them. You have to be able to do that to be an effective leader.” Allen Health System employs some 2,000 people, and Slessor, vice president of operations, said building relationships fosters a team approach among employees. That approach is critical to running a quality health care operation, he said. “Everybody’s role is important. That’s the culture we want here at Allen.” Slessor has been in his role since January 2011. Prior to that he worked in various roles at Allen. His resume belies his age. At 29, he is the youngest vice president in Iowa Health System, Allen’s parent organization, said Jim Waterbury, Allen’s vice president of institutional advancement. “That’s significant, because IHS employs 23,000 people,” said Waterbury, who nominated Slessor. Slessor doesn’t give much thought to the distinction of youngest V.P. “There’s so much going on here. I need to spend my time focusing on doing the job right. Patting myself on the back wouldn’t let me do that,” he said. A lot going on is an understatement. Allen Hospital is in the middle of two major projects: a $20 million renovation and a total replacement of its medical records computer system. “The amount of activity is

MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

Steve Slessor at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls. sor set foot in Allen by way of an internship, followed by a ■ AGE: 29. fellowship. Former Allen CEO ■ OCCUPATION: Vice president of operations, Allen Hospital. Rick Seidler “really threw me in ■ EDUCATION: bachelor’s degree in business administration, University of the deep end,” Slessor said. Northern Iowa; master’s degree, health care administration, University of Iowa “At the time it was slightly ■ FAMILY: wife, Megan; two cats, Keira and Khloe. disconcerting, but it acceler■ A MOMENT IN YOUR PAST THAT HELPED SHAPE YOU: “For me it was ated my learning significantly,” more of a gradual buildup process. Walking out of (my parents’) home I he said. wanted to do something in administration. My uncle was a hospital CEO in Slessor oversees a wide range Fort Dodge for 35 years. In college I went to shadow him and followed him around for a day or so. I watched that process and knew going in it would not of hospital services, including be a boring field.” recruitment of new physicians ■ A MENTOR AND WHY: “Definitely (former Allen Hospital) CEO Rick Seidler. and the expansion of hospital I did an internship with Rick and then came back for a fellowship. I learned a services and facilities. lot from watching him. The other person would be my dad. He was a school “Steve is in constant motion,” administrator, and growing up I knew I wanted to do something similar.” Waterbury said. “It’s common to see him move from the board borderline crazy, which pro- sonal learning,” Slessor noted. room to a clinic to a conference vides an interesting experience That frenetic pace has been room and then on to a building and has ramped up my own per- par for the course since Sles- construction site, all within a

Steve Slessor

few hours.” Slessor also spends hours outside the hospital tending to community matters. He sits on the board of directors for ReNew Waterloo Community Development Corp., an organization working to stabilize targeted neighborhoods in Waterloo and encourage community growth and sustainability. Slessor also sits on the Cedar Bend Humane Society board as well as the Western Home board. “Steve already has accomplished things that people twice his age aspire to do, and we think he’s just getting started,” Waterbury said.



Nick Taiber



Travel shapes perspective of C.F. councilman


CEDAR FALLS — More than eight years ago, Nick Taiber took a leave of absence from his job that redirected life. Looking back, he couldn’t be happier with where he ended up — establishing roots back in the Cedar Valley. Taiber began an internship as a process engineer for John Deere in Moline, Ill., in 1998. After graduating from the University of Iowa the following year, he moved to the Quad Cities and stayed with John Deere, where he assisted in the development of advanced manufacturing technologies. He spent time in the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Finland and Mexico. In 2004, Taiber took a sabbatical “for courtship and adventure travel.” He and fiancee Molly LaGrange traveled Central America for several months and married that July in Honduras. He never returned to John Deere but instead found a new career at CPM Roskamp Champion in Waterloo. Currently he is the company’s business development manager. “We’ve been growing here ever since,” said Taiber, a native of Waverly, who now is rearing a family. The couple have two sons, Julian, 6, and Roman, 5, and reside in Cedar Falls, which Taiber’s mother and grandparents once called home. Helping his community grow also is vital to prosperity, he said. He has always been engaged as a participant in various organizations. However, a few years ago he was prompted by others to run for an at-large City Council seat. Taiber, generally passionate about politics, said the outlet hit his “sweet spot.” And he won. “I just became so intrigued with the opportunity to help guide policy and the future direction of the city of Cedar Falls,” said Taiber, the council’s youngest member who began his term in January 2010. “I’m a big believer in multigenerational leadership to be representative to all the constituencies.” Taiber often sees things from a global perspective. He is proud of his exposure and continues to savor new discoveries and challenges. That includes at CPM, where he wears numerous hats and seeks out companies around the world that comple-

MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

Nick Taiber at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls. Taiber also draws on his international experience while on the board of Self■ AGE: 37. Help International in Waverly. ■ OCCUPATION: Business development manager, CPM Roskamp Champion in Waterloo. “Travel to me is one of the most excit■ VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: Overman Park Neighborhood Association in Cedar Falls, 2005 to ing things you can do because you get in present; St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 2005 to present; Cedar Valley Young Professionals, 2009 to touch with so many different cultures and present; Self-Help International board in Waverly, 2009 to present; founding member of Cedar Falls challenge your own notions of the world,” Community Gardens, which opened in 2010. Taiber said. “That could be food or value ■ EDUCATION: Graduate of Waverly-Shell Rock High School in Waverly, 1995; industrial engineersystems. Sometimes it sheds light on treing degree, University of Iowa in Iowa City, 1999. mendous need in the world. A lot of times ■ FAMILY: Wife, Molly; sons, Julian, 6, and Roman, 5. we take for granted all that we have here in ■ A MOMENT IN YOUR PAST THAT HELPED SHAPE YOU: Probably deciding to take that leave of absence from work, which changed the trajectory and put me where I am today. the United States of America.” A mentor and why: Twin brother Jon Taiber of Cedar Falls; parents, Tom and Sue Taiber of Waverly; He hopes to lead by example, especially boss, Ted Waitman of CPM Roskamp Champion in Waterloo; Richard McAlister, Cedar Falls director for his boys. Last summer, his wife and of administrative services. “I seek to be mentored wherever I am.” sons spent six weeks in Guatemala for an immersion program. ment the company, a process equipment according to Taiber’s nominator and boss, “That’s part of giving your family the manufacturer. Ted Waitman. He called Taiber an inspira- best experience possible to become global The shift from John Deere to CPM was tion to his subordinates and peers. citizens,” he said. “Time is a matter of pria big change, but he quickly learned the “Nick is very energetic and dedicated,” oritization. You have to make the most of business and exceeded expectations, Waitman added. what you have.”

Nick Taiber





DENVER — When Kim Tierney was a fourth-grade student in Center Point-Urbana she looked at visits with her elementary school principal as opportunities for a “job shadow” experience with a leader she admired. Likewise for her high school principal, who inspired her to enter the educational administration field at the University of Northern Iowa, where she played volleyball and met football player and future husband Casey Tierney. “It’s very rare that I knew what I wanted to do from a young age. I think I’m very fortunate to love what I do going to work every day,” she said. “It’s my hobby, my passion. All in one.” Now Tierney, 31, is a mentor, leader and principal for youngsters in the Denver community. Being a college athlete helped provide Tierney with the skills to be a leader and a professional within her community. She takes those skills and a positive attitude with her every day to work. “You go into the position with a different perspective. I definitely know I don’t have all the answers in terms of education, but I rely on shared leadership and help create committees to help support decisions,” she said. Tierney credits fellow teachers from her four years in the Waukee school system as well as coworkers in the Denver schools, and the community. “I feel very empowered with the staff that I have to make sound decisions for what is best for our kids,” Tierney said. “We really operate as a team here.” Kathy Enslin, also of the Denver Community School District, nominated Tierney. “Kim deserves this honor because she is such a dynamic, outstanding leader for teachers, for kids, for her fellow administrators and co-workers and for the Denver community.”


Athletics gave Denver elementary principal skills to lead professionally, in the community

Kim Tierney ■ AGE: 31. ■ OCCUPATION: Denver Elementary School principal. ■ VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: Junior Achievement board member, and involved in several school committees, including the Olweus Anti-Bullying committee, Denver KIDs group, Denver Technology committee, Denver District Leadership team and District Iowa Core Curriculum committee. ■ EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in education from University of Northern Iowa in 2003, and a master’s degree in educational administration from Iowa State University in 2008. ■ FAMILY: Husband, Casey; daughter, Kadyn, 4; and 4-month old son, Kyle. ■ A MOMENT IN YOUR PAST THAT HELPED SHAPE YOU: Beyond the upbringing from my parents, athletics provided me the opportunity to be a collegiate athlete, which taught me to be a leader and a professional within the education system. ■ A MENTOR AND WHY: There are many mentors I’ve had, but some include my family; UNI volleyball coach Bobbi Petersen; Peg Erke, principal at Eason Elementary in Waukee; David Wilkerson, superintendent at Waukee schools; and my co-workers.

Tierney and her husband moved their family to Denver five years ago. Previously she taught fourth and fifth grades and coached volleyball in the Waukee school system. Fast forward five years, and the Tierneys juggle spending time with their daughter, Kadyn, 4, and 4-month-old son, Kyle. “Time with our family is very precious, so we absorb that as much as possible,” she said. The Tierneys can typically be found being active, enjoying the outdoors and activities in the Cedar Valley, especially UNI’s athletic events, she said. Each evening Tierney dedicates time to her family, and when the kids are asleep she returns to her laptop and work duties.

MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

Kim Tierney at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls. “I think it’s important within your schedule to find time that is related toward your profession and time for your family,” she said. She remains active in volleyball as coach in Denver and helps

with volleyball camps around the state, particularly at UNI, where she played for four years. Other school activities she is involved with are the School Improvement Advisory committee, the AEA 267 elementary

principals network, the NICL conference staff development, Iowa Department of Education Curriculum Academy and the School Administrators of Iowa’s Administrator of the Year program.


Bill Wilson




Insurance proves to be a fulfilling career after getting off a fast track life on the road


WATERLOO — The wisest choice Bill Wilson ever made was also one of the scariest, he says. In his early 30s, and in the middle of an upward career in the food service business, Wilson moved to the insurance industry. Before Wilson accepted a position at PDCM Insurance in Cedar Falls, he had missed oldest son Jack’s first steps and first words while on the road. Although he called Waverly home, his job with Wells’ Blue Bunny Quality Dairy Foods required him to be out of town 160 to 170 nights a year. “I didn’t feel like I was part of a community,” he said. “As much as I loved food service — the customers, the people, the friends — it wasn’t going to be for me.” Since then, Wilson has embraced being a part of his communities in the Cedar Valley. In Waverly, he works as a commissioner on the Waverly Planning and Zoning Commission. “It’s been fun just to see what the city could be in 20, 25 years,” he said. Wilson also served on the North Star board of directors and is now on the Exceptional Persons Inc. board of directors. Most important, he’s able to spend time with his family. “It was a quality of life move that had to be done,” he said. Initially after Wilson graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a business degree, he didn’t plan to stay in the Cedar Valley. After living in Sioux Falls while working for Gateway Computers Inc., he moved to Waterloo ran a restaurant franchise. He then worked for Whitaker Foods. Later, he moved back to his home town of Waverly. His travels did allow him to see other Midwest cities and helped him bring ideas back to his hometown.

MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

Bill Wilson at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls. “You’ve seen how these downtown villages have kind Bill Wilson of blossomed,” he said. “That’s ■ Age — 39. something I think we can do in ■ OCCUPATION — Vice president, PDCM Insurance. Waverly. I hope we can promote ■ Volunteer activities — Exceptional Persons Inc., board of directors; former downtown living.” member of the North Star board of directors; commissioner on Waverly Planning and Zoning Commission. As a member of the board of ■ EDUCATION — Graduated from University of Northern Iowa in 1998 with a directors at EPI, Wilson said, he business degree. gets to see firsthand the differFamily — Wife, Amy; sons Jack, 8, Sam, 5. ■ ence the organization makes in ■ MOMENT IN THE PAST THAT SHAPED YOU — Seeing a picture his wife, people’s lives. Amy, emailed to him of their son, Jack, standing in a wicker laundry basket. “I “To walk in a room and see the realized that was a moment I was missing.” joy in their eyes is so rewarding,” ■ MENTOR — Frank Dowie, partner at PDCM Insurance. he said. The position also reminds him of how tenuous funding for the organization is. Working at PDCM is reward- to see such a broad spectrum of “It’s always such a threat,” he ing, too, Wilson added. businesses,” he said. said. “It has been completely “The insurance industry is such He works with startup busieye-opening.” a great industry because you get nesses and generational busi-

nesses large and small. “I have fun going to work every day, because it always changes,” he said. Wilson said working with PDCM partner Frank Dowie has given him the benefit of decades of experience whenever Wilson finds himself in a new situation or in need of advice. “Just the chance to have his ear when something arises has been immensely helpful,” Wilson said. Now that Wilson has a job that allows him to be a part of his communities, he doesn’t foresee leaving anytime soon. “I can’t see that there would be any reason to leave or move,” he said.





Managing money now will avoid problems later in marriage BY JESSE MEEHAN

Everyone wants a successful financial future, but many newlyweds only discuss their finances when it comes to the cost of the wedding or their upcoming honeymoon. Many new couples fall short because they fail to communicate about the basics.

It is easy to get overwhelmed when it comes to combining two lives, especially when it comes to finances. Though each person may love and be committed to the other, they may have different ideas on what is financially important to their new family. The following tips can help new couples reduce their daily stress and understand their new financial situation: KNOW YOUR NUMBERS — Make sure both you and your spouse understand the basics when it comes to your family’s total income and outstanding debt. A basic understanding of your family’s monthly expenses is also essential. KEEP TRACK OF YOUR MONEY — Create a budget that works for both of you. Talking about the budget will allow you to get on the same page by acknowledg-

ing it as “our” income and “our” debt. Debt management should be a priority for any married couple. There are good debts we assume on the way to a positive result (such as a mortgage), but there are also bad debts we assume through overextending on the purchase of a car and the overuse of credit cards, etc. A good management practice is to pay off debt with the highest interest rate as quickly as possible. Once it’s paid off, add that payment to the next-highest debt. Your budget should make both of you happy and reflect joint decisions which allow you to tackle your debt, pay your monthly bills, and provide a savings plan for your future. DECIDE WHO WILL BE THE BUDGET MANAGER — This person will be in charge of following

Plenty to Smile About When Dr. Lucas Boe wanted to move to the Cedar Valley and purchase an existing orthodontic practice, he needed a financial partner that could work with him from a distance. First National Bank came highly recommended.

Julie Heidt Group/Individual Health Insurance Agent

The Sinnott Agency Inc.

“The bank knew a lot about the practice, and they demonstrated trust in the business model and in me. By the time I moved to town, we had already developed a strong working relationship—which made the transition much easier.” – Lucas Boe, DMD, Zwanziger & Boe Orthodontics 622 West 4th St., Waterloo, IA 50704


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your budget and paying the bills. You will have decided which bank account or bank accounts bills will be paid from and whether or not to have a joint account or separate accounts. There is no right answer to the question of combining accounts or maintaining separate accounts. It’s what works best for you. PUT MONEY AWAY — It’s never too early to start a savings plan for your future, and deciding what to do with that money can be intimidating. Start by putting three to six months of your household income into savings to help in case of life’s little unknowns. Once you’ve done this, where do you save? Do you put your money into a bank account that earns less than 1 percent interest or lock it away in a CD (certificate of

deposit)? How about stocks, bonds or mutual funds? To help determine which path is right for you, consider how long you can let the money work for you before you need it, how much risk you are willing to take and how long you expect the money to last once you start taking withdrawals. The above questions are all things a financial professional will be able to help you decipher. The hardest part of saving for the future is getting started. Many young people disregard the importance of preparing for the unexpected until someone else is relying on them and their income to pay the bills and save for the future. Life insurance is often neglected due to the low probability of death. However, life insurance isn’t just about money when you die, it can also provide accumulation when you live. Three basic functions provided by life insurance policies are as follows: ■ Tax-free death benefit if you die. ■ Tax-deferred cash value with tax free access when you live. ■ Waiver of premium that will provide both in the event of disability. Buy life insurance when you are young and healthy to get the lowest possible premiums. Communicating about money and planning for the future is an important topic to cover before the wedding day, but if you neglected to do so, sit down with your spouse and a professional to talk about your financial goals for the future right away. Managing life is a balancing act and it is an ongoing process so take these simple ideas to help build a strong financial future for your family. Jesse Meehan is investment adviser representative of TFA with Financial Decisions Group in Waterloo. Contact him at 233-8476 or jmeehan@fdg.





Qualities that define 20 Under 40 winners For the past 11 years 20 young leaders in the Cedar Valley have been selected as part of the Waterloo Courier’s 20 Under 40. Each of these leaders has four criteria to meet to be nominated. The criteria are: Katherine dedication and Cota-Uyar is associate director success in their and instructor of vocation; a role entrepreneurship model in their with the John career; demPappajohn onstrates leadEntrepreneurial ership in their Center at the University of Northern business community; and Iowa. Contact her active commuat 273-5732 or nity/volunteer katherine.cota@ participation. Working with entrepreneurs each day, I notice characteristics many entrepre-

neurs exhibit. When I look at each year’s 20 Under 40, I see many of the same characteristics. This year’s 20 Under 40 come from different organizations and companies, but all are making a difference in their organizations and in the Cedar Valley. One thing I notice in entrepreneurs and in this group each of them has a passion for their work. They put in long hours and hard work. This recognition is reward and acknowledgement of this passion and dedication. The 20 Under 40 winners also take the initiative. They do not sit around waiting for things to happen or for others to do things; they take the first step. High levels of energy are important in entrepreneurship, especially with the long hours and hard work. The 20 Under 40s exhibit a lot of energy in their careers and in their volunteer work.

Responsibility is an important characteristic for an entrepreneur, and the 20 Under 40s take responsibility for their careers, being role models, and in their volunteer activities. Discipline, problem-solving, confidence, patience, and persuasiveness are other entrepreneurial characteristics which the 20 Under 40s share. These are effective tools for leadership. All of the characteristics described here are good entrepreneurial characteristics as well as good leader characteristics. As one of the selection criteria notes, the candidates must be leaders in the business community. As a previous 20 Under 40 winner, it is nice to see so many young leaders being entrepreneurial in their companies. This dedication and drive will continue to benefit the Cedar Valley and will continue to inspire a future group of 20 Under 40s.

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Social media, other websites drive traffic to your website We’ve looked at using social media several times over the past few months; however, we looked at Facebook and Twitter as more stand-alone tools and didn’t focus as much on how social media can drive traffic to your website. I got a reminder of the power of social media in a project done with a class at Hawkeye Com-

munity College. We got a chance to collaborate with a group of literature lovers using Facebook, and I was asked to appear on Iowa Public Radio’s “Talk of Iowa” show in late September. How did this all happen? My Introduction to Literature class reads a story written by a famous Iowa writer named Ruth Suckow. Daughter of a Congregational




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minister, she lived in a number of cities around the state. She was born in Hawarden, went to college in Grinnell, kept bees in Earlville and lived in Cedar Falls with her husband Ferner Nuhn. After her death, Cherie Dargan Ferner made is assistant professor it his mission of communications at to ensure her Hawkeye Community literary legacy College in Waterloo. would live on Contact her at 2962320, ext. 1701, — and founded or cherie.dargan@ the Ruth Suck- ow Memorial Association with his second wife, and Ruth’s cousin, Georgeann. Most of Suckow’s books are out of print. The University of Iowa


Press reprinted several due to the early efforts of the RSMA, but when my husband and I joined the group, Mike created a Suckow website and suggested we post pictures, a bio and several of her stories. Later, Mike turned over the website to me and I reinvented it, using the Google Sites website tool and keeping the domain name we had secured years before. We got permission to post three of Suckow’s stories on the website, along with one of her novels. I started to use one of her stories (“A Rural Community”) in my literature class about six years ago and was pleased by my students’ response to her story about a young man who goes back to a small town to visit family. Then, a woman who helps maintain the Rural Lit RALLY website, contacted me in June, after finding our Suckow website. Its mission is to promote the forgotten literature of rural America, and they wanted to feature Ruth Suckow on their website for August and September. We decided to include my students in a discussion of the Suckow story with participants

from the Rural Lit Rally website, including Paul Theobald and his wife, Maureen, recent arrivals to Storm Lake from Buffalo State College in New York. We created a Facebook fan page: I posted pictures, a writing prompt, and included links to the Suckow website, the Rural Lit Rally website and the Suckow Facebook page. Students began posting responses to reading the short story — and so did a few of our Suckow Board members and some of the Rural Lit Rally members. We continued posting over the course of several weeks, and I realized we had created an online community of sorts.

Feedback strong My students’ feedback was overwhelmingly positive, because they feel comfortable on Facebook and liked interacting with people outside our class. We had a great discussion, and students and other participants alike commented on how many of them could relate with the characters in Suckow’s story, set in a small town in rural Iowa.

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time spent on the website, the language of the visitors and the search engines used. We discovered that our hard work paid off, with over 125 people visiting the website who might not have done so otherwise. How much of this was due to the links posted on Facebook, and how much was due to the radio appearance? Perhaps the more important point is that it would have been difficult to get on the radio without the attention online and in our local paper. You, too, can maximize your hard work when you use social media to promote special events and look for ways to collaborate with others in the community — or beyond. However, you must have a presence online. Finding common interests, creating partnerships with other websites, and using Facebook to promote shared causes or events is a great way to start.



looking for the Suckow site (and I assume the Rural Lit Site) after the show. A few days later, we checked Google Analytics and From page 28 saw a definite bump in visitors to the Suckow site right around When the phone call came the time of our appearance on from the producer at “Talk “Talk of Iowa.” of Iowa” I was delighted. The Theobalds of Rural Lit would Google Analytics What is Google Analytics? It’s join us from Storm Lake, and I would go to Iowa Public Radio’s a tool available to webmasters studio at UNI. Host Charity that lets them look at web trafNeebie did an amazing job, and fic in order to see patterns. If the “Talk of Iowa” website fea- you’ve created a website with tured links to both the Suckow Google’s Blog or Google Sites, and Rural Lit websites. “Talk it is a wonderful tool, espeof Radio” also had a Facebook cially if you want to measure page, and I posted links there the effectiveness of specific ad to our page, wrote up a press campaigns or events — like our release for The Courier, and project on Facebook and the posted more links on our vari- radio show. What can you learn from lookous Facebook pages to the “Talk of Iowa” radio site. My students ing at web analytics? Not only and friends at Hawkeye found can you see the daily numbers the various Facebook pages: of visitors, but a breakdown there was a lot of “liking” going of unique visitors, how many on, and other listeners also went pages were viewed, the average






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November 2012


Local Entrepreneur’s Dream Closer to Reality The 2nd Annual Dream Big Grow Here Cedar Valley contest concluded on the evening of October 18th, 2012 with a “pitch-off” by five finalist of the online popular vote portion of the $5,000 grant contest. The winner of the pitch-off, Lizzy Mae’s Cupcakes & Sweets - pitched by Dawn Pursell of Waverly, was chosen by a panel of business entrepreneurs and experts from the fields of law, technology, finance and entertainment. Twenty-one start-ups and small businesses participated in the popular online voting generating over 9,300 votes, from 44 states and 16 countries. The Dream Big Grow Here Cedar Valley competition provides early stage and emerging small business an additional financial boost to accelerate the growth of their business. The contest was open to start-up and small businesses in the Cedar Valley Economic Area comprised of Butler, Bremer, Buchanan, Black Hawk, Chickasaw, Grundy, and Tama counties. "This year we saw more businesses competing in the contest take advantage of the free business services available through the University of Northern Iowa, MyEntrenet and the Small Business Development Center" commented Steve Dust, CEO, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber. “This is the whole point of the contest...helping these individuals take their business idea to the next level." added Nate Clayberg, Chair, Cedar Valley Marketing Partnership. Both the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber and the Cedar Valley Regional Partnership were regional sponsors of the statewide contest. Lizzy Mae’s Cupcakes & Sweets will compete March 7, 2013 for a chance to win $10,000 at the statewide pitch off sponsored by during their annual conference. Pursell plans to use the prize money to expand the her baking operation and open a store front in Waverly. Other event sponsors for the Dream Big Grow Here Cedar Valley Pitch-Off event included,, UNI’s Business Incubator, Point Builders and PDCM Insurance. Other finalist included: Computer Troubleshooters Computer Service and Sales(Cory Vieth) - Waterloo, Eat Cakes Cakery (Elizabeth Wilson)– Hudson , Watapri (Jane Zehr)– Waverly, and Recycle Rite Inc. (Brian Hoyer)- Cedar Falls. Kate Washut of Far Reach Technologies moderated the Pitch-off. The judges panel included; Wade Arnold CEO of Banno; Darin Beck CEO of Barmuda MMC; Eric Johnson of Beecher, Field, Walker, Morris, Hoffman & Johnson, P.C.; Mark Stewart of Prime Logic Partners and Nick Evens of The Veridian Group. Returning to the Dream Big Grow Here Cedar Valley Pitch-Off event and delivering the keynote was author Sarah Miller Caldicott, great grand niece of Thomas Edison. Caldicott’s presentation How Collaboration Drives Innovation: A Midnight Lunch with Thomas Edison, was based on a soon to be released book. Co – author of the book Innovate Like Edison, Caldicott has recently released an e-book titled Inventing the Future: What Would Thomas Edison be Doing Today. Dust added, “Cedar Valley Innovation Day is one way to celebrate the strength and vitality of the individual entrepreneurial drive in the Cedar Valley economic area, and the improvements it brings our businesses and lives. Cedar Valley Innovation Day is a way to inform and demonstrate why it’s critical to create a welcoming place for people to innovate. We need that brainpower – continually striving to find the next better way to do something – create - make – or deliver something – to expand our economy. Encouraging, welcoming and celebrating innovation is still another way to Be Part of Something Greater – the Cedar Valley of Iowa.” Plans are already underway for the 2013 Dream Big Grow Here Cedar Valley & Cedar Valley Innovation Day. Businesses and individuals interested in participating or sponsorships should contact the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber at 319232-1156. Computer Troubleshooters, Cory Vieth

Pictured above: Sarah Miller Caldicott with Steve Dust; Dawn Pursell with Nate Clayberg; Wade Arnold with Laurie Watje and Maureen Collins Williams of UNI; Alan Johnson & John Armon of Point Builders

Eat Cakes Cakery, Elizabeth Wilson

Recycle Rite Inc. , Brian Hoyer

Watapri, Jane Zehr





&ƵůĮůůŝŶŐƚŚĞsŝƐŝŽŶ2 – The Cedar Valley’s ƋƵĂƟŽŶĨŽƌŽŶƟŶƵŝŶŐĐŽŶŽŵŝĐ'ƌŽǁƚŚ The work of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber (GCVAC) is to help business and institutions grow in our area, increasing economic vitality and wealth. Repositioned and growing businesses and institutions have produced significant results for the Cedar Valley economic area over the past five years, which included some of the worst years in modern US economic history. GCVAC delivered major development projects, services and opportunities resulting in healthier businesses, over $260 million in new capital investment, good jobs, and a more robust business climate. In those unfavorable times, GCVAC’s work contributed to rising wages and a modest increase in population, when similar cities around the country saw decline. It has emerged as a leader in regional economic development, building relationships with businesses and development organizations throughout the Cedar Valley economic area. The financial investments of businesses and institutions throughout the Cedar Valley fund our work – fulfilling your vision of more economic growth and prosperity to the area. The Fulfilling the Vision2 is both a framework plan and funding campaign designed to respond to today’s quickly shifting and sometimes unpredictable economic realities. Through FtV2, the work of GCVAC is focused on: Workforce & Talent Retention, Recruitment and Development; Business Growth Through Expansion and Location in Targeted, High Value Sectors; Building a Strong Cedar Valley Brand Message to Businesses, Talent, and in Government Relations; Increase Regional Collaboration Among Business & Civic Interests; and Collecting & Reporting Useful Data on our economic base. Emphasis will shift as opportunities and need of our Cedar Valley region dictate. GCVAC is finding strong, unprecedented regional support for FtV2 program and campaign. The campaign is now over the 50% level, with momentum building to reach successful completion near the end of 2012. To learn more, please visit to view a video featuring several area businesses, cities, and GCVAC work. Your financial support – an investment in our work to expand our economy - is important to our success. It will benefit everyone who wants to strengthen our businesses, expand quality employment opportunities, and create a greater place to work, build a career, and enjoy life. To schedule an appointment with one of our FtV2Leadership Team volunteers to discuss why they are involved and how you can best assist, call Campaign Coordinator Blake Woods at 319-232-1156

Thank You to These Companies and Organizations for Significant Investments to Fulfilling the Vision2


WůĂƟŶƵŵŝǀŝƐŝŽŶ ŝƚLJŽĨĞĚĂƌ&ĂůůƐ City of Waterloo :ŽŚŶĞĞƌĞ Lincoln Bancorp Lockard Companies DŝĚŵĞƌŝĐĂŶŶĞƌŐLJ WƌŝŶĐŝƉĂů&ŝŶĂŶĐŝĂů'ƌŽƵƉ h͘^͘ĂŶŬ tĞůůƐ&ĂƌŐŽ͕E͘͘ Gold Division ĂŶŬ/ŽǁĂ ŽƐƐĂƌĚEŽƌƚŚŵĞƌŝĐĂ dŚĞ'ƌŽƵƉ͕/ŶĐ͘ ŽŵŵƵŶŝƚLJEĂƟŽŶĂůĂŶŬ hEDƵƚƵĂů /^dĞŬ/ŶƚĞŐƌĂƟŽŶ͕/ŶĐ͘ &ŝƌƐƚEĂƟŽŶĂůĂŶŬ DĂƌƟŶƌŽƚŚĞƌƐŝƐƚƌŝďƵƟŶŐ Company WĞƚĞƌƐŽŶŽŶƚƌĂĐƚŽƌƐ͕/ŶĐ͘ Warren Transport zŽƵŶŐWůƵŵďŝŶŐΘ,ĞĂƟŶŐ Silver Division ϭƐƚ/ŶƐƵƌĂŶĐĞ^ĞƌǀŝĐĞƐͬ The Accel Group ƐƉƌŽ͕/ŶĐ͘ ĚǀĂŶĐĞĚ^LJƐƚĞŵƐ͕/ŶĐ͘



Bronze Division ŽǁĞƌƐDĂƐŽŶƌLJ͕/ŶĐ͘ City of Reinbeck ĂůƚŽŶWůƵŵďŝŶŐ͕,ĞĂƟŶŐ ΘŽŽůŝŶŐ͕/ŶĐ͘ ĞŶƐŽ/ŶƚĞƌŶĂƟŽŶĂůŵĞƌŝĐĂ ĞŶƚŽŶĂƐƟŶŐƐŽŵƉĂŶLJ DĂŐĞĞŽŶƐƚƌƵĐƟŽŶŽŵƉĂŶLJ DŽĞůůĞƌΘtĂůƚĞƌ͕/ŶĐ͘ EĞƚtŽƌƚŚĚǀŝƐŽƌƐ EƵĂƌĂWŚĂƌŵĂĐLJ ZĂĚĂDĂŶƵĨĂĐƚƵƌŝŶŐ͕/ŶĐ͘ ZͬDy,ŽŵĞ'ƌŽƵƉ ^ĐŚŵŝƩdĞůĞĐŽŵWĂƌƚŶĞƌƐ͕/ŶĐ͘ ^ƉĞĞƌ&ŝŶĂŶĐŝĂů͕/ŶĐ͘ Spinutech Web Designs State Bank & Trust ^ƵůĞŶƟĐ&ŝƐĐŚĞůƐ Commercial Group Superior Welding Company dŚĞ^ŝŶŶŽƩŐĞŶĐLJ͕/ŶĐ͘ hŶŝƚĞĚƋƵŝƉŵĞŶƚ ĐĐĞƐƐŽƌŝĞƐ͕/ŶĐ͘ sĂŶĚĞƌůŽŽŚŝƌŽƉƌĂĐƟĐ Waterloo Warehousing & Service ΎĂƐŽĨKĐƚŽďĞƌϭϱ͕ϮϬϭϮ

As part of an overall strategy to develop, recruit, and retain talented people in the Cedar Valley economic area, the Greater Cedar Valley ůůŝĂŶĐĞΘŚĂŵďĞƌŝƐůĂƵŶĐŚŝŶŐtŽƌŬƚŚĞsĂůůĞLJ͕ĂƚĂůĞŶƚƌĞƚĞŶƟŽŶ ƉƌŽŐƌĂŵƚĂƌŐĞƟŶŐĐŽůůĞŐĞƐƚƵĚĞŶƚƐĂŶĚLJŽƵŶŐƉƌŽĨĞƐƐŝŽŶĂůƐ;zWƐͿ͘ tŽƌŬƚŚĞsĂůůĞLJĞŶĐŽƵƌĂŐĞƐzWƐƚŽƐƚĂLJŝŶƚŚĞĞĚĂƌsĂůůĞLJďLJƐŚŽǁĐĂƐŝŶŐĂƉƉĞĂůŝŶŐǁŽƌŬƉůĂĐĞƐ͕ĐĂƌĞĞƌƐ͕ŐƌĞĂƚĐŽŵƉĂŶLJĐƵůƚƵƌĞƐĂŶĚ ůŽĐĂůůŝĨĞƐƚLJůĞĂŵĞŶŝƟĞƐĂƩƌĂĐƟǀĞƚŽƚŚĞŝƌĚĞŵŽŐƌĂƉŚŝĐ͘ tŽƌŬƚŚĞsĂůůĞLJĞŶŐĂŐĞƐƐƚƵĚĞŶƚƐĂŶĚzWƐǁŝƚŚƚŽƵƌƐŽĨĞĚĂƌsĂůůĞLJ employers, business districts and cultural & entertainment venues, ĚŝƐĐƵƐƐŝŽŶƐΘŝŶĨŽƌŵĂƟǀĞƉƌĞƐĞŶƚĂƟŽŶƐ͕ĂŶĚƐƉĞĐŝĂůƚLJũŽďĨĂŝƌƐ͘




November 2012








Americinn Lodge & Suites 5818 Nordic Dr., Cedar Falls

Hawkeye Regional Transportation Training, 6433 Hammond Ave., Waterloo

Lone Wolf, Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo 777 Isle of Capri Blvd., Waterloo

Crystal Anderson Agency 2327 Falls Ave., Waterloo

Legacy Manor 1050 Flammang Dr., Waterloo

Russell Lamson 209 West 5th Street, Waterloo Veridian Credit Union Blue Zones Certification 1827 Ansborough Ave., Waterloo

Western Home Communities 100th Anniversary 420 E. 11th, Cedar Falls





Thank You Total Resource Campaign Volunteers and Employers

The TRC campaign theme, “Home for the Holidays” emphasises buying local all year long. The campaign will run through November. Alliance & Chamber volunteers are securing sponsorships for a wide variety of activities, events and initiatives as well as recruitng new investors/members.

Dave Krejchi Dalton Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Sales Manager Total Resource Campaign

The TRC’s diverse variety of sponsorships allows our members and investors the chance to plan the use of their promotional dollars for the whole year.

 Watty Berning Bridges Senior Lifestyle Living

Deonna Fritz Expense Reduction Analysts

Tonya Ledvina YWCA of Black Hawk County

Teresa Samec Liberty Bank

Tim Bradford Next Generation Wireless

Glenda Husome Family & Children's Council of Black Hawk County

Andy MacLennan Build the Bottom Line

Brenda Schares Schmitt Telecom Partners, Inc.

Sheri Purdy Covenant Wellness Center

Patrick Smith Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Cathy Rottinghaus Hawkeye Community College

Jerry Twinde Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Bonnie Sadler NuCara Pharmacy/NuCara Home Medical

Dave Vandeventer Oakridge Realtors

Corey Clark Lincoln Savings Bank

Niki Keller Hy-Vee Food Store

Jessica Crouch Shaklee Sandy Formanek Awards, Gifts & Engraving

Jackie Kugler Kugler Construction & Plumbing

dŚĂŶŬzŽƵƚŽƚŚĞƐĞƵƐŝŶĞƐƐĞƐĨŽƌƚŚĞŝƌϮϬϭϯ^ƉŽŶƐŽƌƐŚŝƉƐ ACES ĚǀĂŶĐĞĚ^LJƐƚĞŵƐ͕/ŶĐ͘ Allen College ůůĞŶ,ŽƐƉŝƚĂů ůǁĂLJƐĞƐƚĂƌĞ Senior Services ĞƌƚĐŚĂďŝŶĞƚDĨŐ͘ ƌĂǀŽWƌŝŶƟŶŐ Bridges Senior Living ĂĚŝůůĂĐĞŽǁůŝŶŐ>ĂŶĞƐ ĂƌĚŝŶĂůŽŶƐƚƌƵĐƟŽŶ The CBE Group Cedar Valley Catholic Schools Cedar Valley Culligan ĞĚĂƌsĂůůĞLJ,ŽƐƉŝĐĞ ŚƵƌĐŚZŽǁƵƐŝŶĞƐƐ WĂƌƚŶĞƌƐŚŝƉ Comfort Suites ŽŵŵƵŶŝƚLJEĂƟŽŶĂůĂŶŬ ŽƉLJǁŽƌŬƐ ŽƵƌŝĞƌŽŵŵƵŶŝĐĂƟŽŶƐ hEDƵƚƵĂů ƵŶŶŝŶŐŚĂŵŽŶƐƚƌƵĐƟŽŶ ĂůƚŽŶWůƵŵďŝŶŐ͕,ĞĂƟŶŐΘ ŽŽůŝŶŐ͕/ŶĐ͘


DĂŶƉŽǁĞƌ͕/ŶĐ͘ DĂƩWĂƌƌŽƩͬ^ƚŽƌĞLJ<ĞŶǁŽƌƚŚLJ DΘs DŝĚtĞƐƚKŶĞĂŶŬ DŽƌƌŝƐŽŶŽŶƐƵůƟŶŐ DŽƵŶƚDĞƌĐLJhŶŝǀĞƌƐŝƚLJ EĂŐůĞ^ŝŐŶƐ EĞdžƚ'ĞŶĞƌĂƟŽŶtŝƌĞůĞƐƐ Oakridge Realtors - Ann Lyons Oakridge Realtors Dave Vandeventer WĂůĂĐĞůŽƚŚŝĞƌƐ WD/ŶƐƵƌĂŶĐĞ WĞƚĞƌƐĞŶdŝĞƚnj&ůŽƌŝƐƚƐΘ Greenhouse WƌĂŝƌŝĞ>ĂŬĞƐŚƵƌĐŚ ZĂŵĂĚĂŽŶǀĞŶƟŽŶ ZĂŵĂĚĂŽŶǀĞŶƟŽŶĞŶƚĞƌ Rydell Chevrolet Signs & Designs ^ƉĞĞƌ&ŝŶĂŶĐŝĂů͕/ŶĐ͘ ^ƚƌƵyƚƵƌĞƌĐŚŝƚĞĐƚƐ dƌƵĞĂƌĞ,ĞĂůƚŚĐĂƌĞ^ŽůƵƟŽŶƐ h͘^͘ĂŶŬ hE/ͲDWƌŽŐƌĂŵ

hE/ƵƐŝŶĞƐƐΘ Community Services hŶŝǀĞƌƐŝƚLJŽŽŬΘ^ƵƉƉůLJ hŶŝǀĞƌƐŝƚLJŽĨ/ŽǁĂ ŽŵŵƵŶŝƚLJƌĞĚŝƚhŶŝŽŶ hŶŝǀĞƌƐŝƚLJŽĨEŽƌƚŚĞƌŶ/ŽǁĂ sĞƌŝĚŝĂŶƌĞĚŝƚhŶŝŽŶ s'D&ŽƌďŝŶ s'D'ƌŽƵƉ tĂůͲDĂƌƚĞĚĂƌ&ĂůůƐ Wartburg College

Waterloo Community School District tĂƚĞƌůŽŽŽŶǀĞŶƟŽŶ & Visitors Bureau Waterloo Warehousing tĞůůƐ&ĂƌŐŽĂŶŬ͕E͘͘ tĞƐƚĞƌŶ,ŽŵĞŽŵŵƵŶŝƟĞƐ tŚĞĂƚŽŶ&ƌĂŶĐŝƐĐĂŶ ,ĞĂůƚŚĐĂƌĞ/ŽǁĂ͕/ŶĐ͘ Witham Auto Center zt ΎĂƐŽĨϭϬͬϭϱͬϭϮ

For more information about GCVAC investor/ membership and sponsorships contact Bette Wubbena, Director of Member Services or Business Manager, Kim Schleisman by e-mail at, or call 319-232-1156.








Gold Sponsor: dŚŝƐŝŶĨŽƌŵĂůŶĞƚǁŽƌŬŝŶŐĞǀĞŶƚŐŝǀĞƐLJŽƵƌďƵƐŝŶĞƐƐƚŚĞŽƉƉŽƌƚƵŶŝƚLJƚŽƐŚŽǁĐĂƐĞŝƚƐƉƌŽĚƵĐƚƐĂŶĚƐĞƌǀŝĐĞƐƚŽůůŝĂŶĐĞΘŚĂŵďĞƌŝŶǀĞƐƚŽƌƐ͘ƵƐŝŶĞƐƐŌĞƌ,ŽƵƌƐŽīĞƌƐŶĞƚǁŽƌŬŝŶŐŝŶĂĨƵŶĂŶĚƌĞůĂdžĞĚĂƚŵŽƐƉŚĞƌĞ͘ƐĂƐƉŽŶƐŽƌLJŽƵǁŝůůƌĞĐĞŝǀĞƚŚĞĂƩĞŶĚĞĞƐ͛ďƵƐŝŶĞƐƐ ĐĂƌĚŝŶĨŽƌŵĂƟŽŶ͘WĞƚĞƌƐĞŶΘdŝĞƚnj&ůŽƌŝƐƚƐΘ'ƌĞĞŶŚŽƵƐĞƐŝƐƉƌŽƵĚƚŽŚŽƐƚĂŶĚƐƉŽŶƐŽƌƵƐŝŶĞƐƐŌĞƌ,ŽƵƌƐ͘ŶũŽLJƚŚĞĨĞƐƟǀĞ,ŽůŝĚĂLJ ĂƚŵŽƐƉŚĞƌĞŝŶƚŚĞĐŽnjLJŐƌĞĞŶŚŽƵƐĞƐĂŵŝĚƚǁŝŶŬůŝŶŐůŝŐŚƚƐĂŶĚƚŚŽƵƐĂŶĚƐŽĨƉŽŝŶƐĞƫĂƐ͊ǀĞŶƚŝŶĐůƵĚĞƐĂǁŝŶĞƚĂƐƟŶŐďLJƚŚĞ:ŽŚŶ ƌŶĞƐƚsŝŶĞLJĂƌĚĂŶĚĂƉƉĞƟnjĞƌƐĨƌŽŵƚŚĞŐƌĞĞŶŚŽƵƐĞ͛ƐŐŽƵƌŵĞƚĨŽŽĚƐĞůĞĐƟŽŶƐ͘&ŽƌŵŽƌĞŝŶĨŽƌŵĂƟŽŶĐĂůůƚŚĞŐƌĞĞŶŚŽƵƐĞĂƚϯϭϵͲϮϯϰͲ ϲϴϴϯŽƌƚŚĞ'sĂƚϯϭϵͲϮϯϮͲϭϭϱϲ͘WůĞĂƐĞZ^sWďLJEŽǀĞŵďĞƌϮϮŶĚďLJĞŵĂŝůƚŽďǁƵďďĞŶĂΛĐĞĚĂƌǀĂůůĞLJĂůůŝŶĂĐĞ͘ĐŽŵ͘ The Pre-Session Legislative Reception is a two hour meet and mingle with area leaders from across the Cedar Valley region.Only brief introductions of the legislators in attendance, along with brief comments from each sponsor, make up the program. All area senators and representatives are invited. Investors/ members should attend to indicate broad-based support for pro-market, pro-business policies and the projects and programs that will make the Cedar Valley an even better place to live and operate a business. Sponsors͗

Pre- Session Legislative Reception Wednesday, December 5th, 4:30THE - 6:00pm SAVE DATES Isle Casino and Hotel Waterloo









Cedar Valley a fertile place for young careers As you are well aware from the countless political commercials you’ve watched over the past few months, we find ourselves in yet another presidential election year. The past weeks have been filled with debates, conventions, speeches and rallies. A common theme among all of these events Shawna has been a conBuckley is vice president/ cept as age-old as America itself retail banking administration — the American manager at dream. We hear Community stories of families National Bank in across the nation Waterloo. Contact fighting for their her at 291-2000. dreams, placing their hope in the hands of one of two men willing to step up and lead the country in a way each believes will empower Americans to be successful in their pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. It comes as no surprise to any of you, I fear, that the pursuit of the three aforementioned guiding principles as a young professional in our nation’s current economy is proving difficult. While our economy is certainly showing new signs of life, the job market for new college graduates in many parts of the country is still extremely tough. The Atlantic reported that the three million most recent graduates left college to vie for only one million jobs which has left more than half of them unemployed or underemployed. The Pew Research Center reported that close to 40 percent of these grads are moving back in with mom and dad. While these last statistics prove to be disheartening, one way experts say we can all work to combat those staggering percentages seems simple — choose the right place to live. According to the U.S. Census Records, the unemployment rate in Black Hawk County is 5.3 per-

cent compared to the U.S. average rate of 7.8 percent. Recent job growth is positive for our area. Black Hawk County jobs have increased by .3 percent. Compared to the rest of the country, Black Hawk County’s cost of living is 11.2 percent lower than the national average. Another plus for our area — and for those who would like to avoid the lifestyle associated with larger city living — is a positive economic trend in areas with colleges or universities. Cities and towns such as ours prove to have highly skilled, resilient economies that serve as great holding places for recent graduates pursuing their next move, whether it is within the job market or graduate school. The Cedar Valley is ideally suited for the young person wanting to start a business, as it is situated along the “Avenue of the Saints” U.S. Highway 27 corridor stretching north and south, with connections via U.S. Highway 218/Interstate 380 and an east-west connection via U.S. Highway 20. The area offers more than 10 public and privately owned industrial and office parks, and aggressive local business incentives. We are home to one of three regents’ universities in the state as well as a four-year private college. The arts thrive in the Cedar Valley, through organizations such as the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra, the Waterloo Community Playhouse and Oster Regent Theatre, the Waterloo Center for the Arts, Grout Museum and many other cultural opportunities. Over 100 miles of recreation trails contribute to the health and happiness of our citizens. The Cedar River and chain of lakes offer other leisure activities, as do our beautiful parks and golf courses. The sports spectator has any number of opportunities to watch a variety of sports: hockey, baseball,

soccer, football, volleyball, basketball, and on and on. This is a diverse community with an exciting mix of cultures, families and single professionals, making for a stimulating and inclusive atmosphere. It’s also a great place to raise a family, with its innovative schools and activities designed with kids in mind, such as those at the Black Hawk Children’s Theatre, YMCA and YWCA, the Grout Museum of History and Science, the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum, the Bluedorn Science Imaginarium wand the Phelps Youth Pavilion. We live in an affordable community with a variety of available housing, from a downtown condo to an historic home in a tree-lined neighborhood to a

sprawling acreage or exciting new development. In fact, in 2011, MSN Real Estate named Waterloo-Cedar Falls the fourth most livable bargain market in the nation. I take my hat off to this year’s 20 Under 40 winners, a group of young professionals who have

worked hard and have chosen to live their own American Dream in our great hometown. They are guaranteeing the Cedar Valley will continue to be an enjoyable and rewarding place to live and grow and prosper for themselves, their children, and generations to come.

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Ask about our new premium car program with low interest car loans*.

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Things to keep in mind when choosing a credit card By TOM MILLER

Credit cards may look the same, but their interest rates, fees and terms can be very different. Don’t sign up for credit card just for the so-called “freebies.” Stop credit card offers for five years or even permanently by registering

at or by calling (888) 567-8688. When choosing a card, compare interest rates, fees and terms before you apply. Contact your financial institution or your current credit card company to see if they will match other offers. Keep these things in mind:

■ INTEREST RATES: Cards often have multiple rates, stated as the APR, or annual percentage rate of interest. Low advertised rates are usually only “introductory” rates. Introductory periods must last at least six months. When the teaser period ends, the APR often goes to a higher rate. ■ LATE FEES: Credit card companies cannot charge a fee of more than $25, unless one of your last six payments was late, in which case your fee may be up to $35; or credit card companies can show that the costs they incur as a result of late payments justify a higher fee. Credit card companies cannot charge a late fee that is greater than the minimum payment. So, check late fees and other penalty rates and terms. ■ HIDDEN FEES: Most cards have cash-advance fees with no “grace

period” — interest charges start immediately. Late fees and overthe-limit fees can go as high as $25 on some out-of-state cards. Iowa-issued cards have greater protections and cheaper fees. Avoid cards with an annual fee and expensive “add-on” items such as “free trial” credit card protection plans, insurance, and buyers’ clubs. ■ SUBPRIME CREDIT CARD FEES: Some credit card companies will charge high up-front fees just to obtain the card. Subprime credit cards often attract people who have a poor credit history and may apply high up-front fees. If the account has a low credit limit, the borrower may quickly be over their limit. ■ REWARDS: Rewards can lure potential cardholders, but their true value can vary great. Figure


Free Design & Estimate

Congratulates Chris Holahan 20 under 40 Class of 2012

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out how much your points are truly worth, how easy they are to redeem, and how it compares to the value of other options before trying to rack up rewards through credit card charges. Avoid credit card debt by managing your cards carefully. Pay on time and pay the full balance each month if you possibly can. Credit card companies will not impose a finance charge (except on cash advances) if you pay in full before the due date on your bill. Avoid “maxing out” on cards or paying only the minimum amount due. For more tips on credit cards, go to: consumer/credit/cre32.shtm. Tom Miller is Iowa’s attorney general. Contact his office at (515) 281-5926 or toll-free ( 888) 777-4590. The website is:

november 2012

cedar valley business monthly



Lean approach often rides on strength of leader As a consultant specializing in lean methodologies, I’m occasionally asked to identify the primary factors in determining an organization’s degree of successful implementation. My list is surprisingly short. The first factor is typically evident by the Rick Brimeyer time we complete is president of our first phone Brimeyer LLC, an independent c o n v e r s a t i o n . In fact, I genermanagement consulting firm ally have a decent located in Ames. read as soon as I Further information understand who is available at I’m talking to www.brimeyerllc. and where they com or by calling (515) 450-8855. fit within the potential client’s o rga n i za t i o n . Factor number one is simply the commitment level of the senior leader. So when Fort Dodge City Manager David Fierke contacted me in early 2009 and clearly articulated his vision for how lean methods could help his

organization, the first hurdle to success was practically cleared. Today other municipalities are calling Fierke and his leadership team asking for advice. Likewise, when I received an impassioned plea for help late last year from Nicole Hunt of Fairfield Line, a multi-generation family business facing some stiff challenges, one of my first questions regarded the caller’s position within the company. No doubt my pulse quickened when she responded, “It’s my business!” Obviously the phone call itself is not paramount. But investing the personal time to investigate and phone screen potential consultants is indicative of the level of ownership which the senior leader personally feels to the success of the effort. During the course of the call, we discuss how success will ultimately be determined by the new tools introduced. More importantly, however, will be the culture of the organization, that is, the mindset of the employees utilizing those new tools. We discuss how changing

organizational culture always lies with leadership. At this point in the conversation I ask if the leader is prepared to make the tough decisions, to the point of slaying some sacred cows if necessary. “We have to!” was Fierke’s response. “We have no other choice.” “Absolutely!” was Hunt’s answer. Her voice was as convincing as her choice of words. Factor number two is a strong offshoot of factor number one. It is the quality and availability of the internal resource assigned to become the internal coordinator for the initiative. While the senior leader is ultimately responsible for establishing the environment where the effort can be successful, it typically isn’t realistic for them to also

become the technical expert on the various tools. Let’s be honest: Some consultants overstay their welcome. Occasionally that’s because the organization hasn’t done an adequate job of weaning itself from the consultant. Selecting a capable and available internal expert guards against that occurrence. Selecting a capable employee to be a liaison to the external consultant is critical. This individual is responsible for absorbing as much knowledge and experience from the consultant as possible and for helping them effectively apply it within the organization. The ideal internal candidate should be a quick learner and be respected by others within the organization as a high performer.

The selection of the internal resource and the amount of time they’re expected to support the effort is the ultimate reflection of the senior leader’s commitment. In the case of Fort Dodge, Fierke tapped his most trusted staff member and made the lean transformation his top priority. At Fairfield Line, Hunt selected an up-and-comer with a passion for lean and learning who also made it his top priority. I strongly suspect these two factors accurately predict success not only with a lean initiative, but with any organizational change that ultimately relies on new behaviors and new ways of thinking. In such cases, the senior leader should have their hands securely on the wheel.

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Corporate scholarships a good way to invest in education Finding ways to ďŹ nance a postsecondary education can be difficult. Federal and state budget cuts in education and tuition inflation are just two facets of the rising costs of educating Ali Parrish todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s students. is director of Corporate development at the Community scholarships are a good option for Foundation of Northeast Iowa, local businesswhich manages es interested in over $61 million directing at least in assets and a portion of their administers corporate giving more than 900 charitable funds. to ease the burden students and famContact her at ilies feel when it 287-9106 or aparrish@cfneia. comes to ďŹ nancorg. ing post-second-

ary education. Some corporations support local students not necessarily affiliated with their corporation, while others award scholarships to employees and/or their dependents. According to Kristy Tsadick, attorney for the Council on Foundations, when deciding how to award scholarships to employees and/or dependents, corporations can make scholarships directly, enlist the corporate foundation to create a scholarship program or establish a scholarship fund at the local community foundation. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are some rules corporations should consider when determining which model to use. Working with counsel is recommended.

â&#x2013; Corporate giving. Corporations cannot take a charitable deduction when making grants directly to individuals, including scholarships, because scholarships they award to employees and their dependents are generally considered an employee beneďŹ t and not a charitable activity. In contrast, grants to the corporate foundation or to a community foundation for such scholarships are eligible for a charitable deduction provided they are not designed to beneďŹ t the company as a recruitment, retention or compensation tool. The advantage of awarding scholarships directly from the corporation is that there is no limit on the number of scholarships the corporation can award in any given year. â&#x2013;  Corporate foundation giving. 1. Charitable class. The group of

because itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about living

faced with illness, death & grief.

of the total number of individuals eligible can receive scholarships (unless the foundation can comply with IRS rules by demonstrating the scholarships are designed to educate the awardees and not provide compensation or incentives to employees). 5. Preapproval. Corporate foundations must obtain preapproval from the IRS. â&#x2013; Community foundation giving. While community foundations are not required to follow the same rules that apply to corporate foundations, it is recommended. Creating a corporate scholarship fund through a community foundation is simple. Businesses can choose between an endowment and expendable fund structure. The community foundation helps the business set the scholarship criteria and handles the administrative details. Investing in education through corporate scholarships is a good way for local businesses to support quality education in their community and reduce the ďŹ nancial burden felt by local high school graduates and their families.

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We are available to support employers and their staff when

employees and dependents eligible to receive scholarships must constitute a â&#x20AC;&#x153;charitable class.â&#x20AC;? The class of potential recipients must be large enough or open and ongoing so an indeďŹ nite number of individuals may beneďŹ t. 2. Selection criteria. Scholarship recipients must be selected using objective and nondiscriminatory criteria unrelated to employment. The one permissible employment-related requirement is a minimum period of employment no longer than three years. Once a recipient has been awarded a scholarship, the grant may not be terminated based on the employeeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s departure from the company. 3. Selection committee. The scholarship selection committee must be independent of the corporation and the corporate foundation. The committee must be solely responsible for determining the recipients and the amount and number of scholarships. 4. Limit on the number of scholarships. Generally, no more than 25 percent of the eligible applicants can receive scholarships, or no more than 10 percent ask the questions. make the call.

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Starting business in hard times has beneďŹ ts NEW YORK (AP) â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Starting a business in a tough economy taught entrepreneurs Chuck Tanowitz and Todd Van Hoosear the value of time. The duo started Fresh Ground, a public relations ďŹ rm, in Boston in early 2010. The recession was technically over, but many companies were still feeling its effects. That translated to some prospective clients trying to get something for, well, very little. They quickly learned to structure conversations with prospective clients so they would know early on how much money a client was willing or able to spend â&#x20AC;&#x201D; rather than discovering at the end of a long meeting that a client had just $1,000 for a project. We learned â&#x20AC;&#x153;how to ďŹ gure out where to ďŹ nd the right (clients) prospects versus the ones who

are just tire-kicking,â&#x20AC;? Tanowitz says. Conventional wisdom says donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t start a business during an economic downturn. Based on government ďŹ gures many people agree. In 2007, there were 844,000 new startups in the U.S. By 2009, that number had fallen to just 700,000, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But a starting a company during bad economic times can be good business. It often teaches entrepreneurs lessons that make them better business owners, and it can reap beneďŹ ts such as savings on rents, products and services and access to a better talent pool. In a downturn, entrepreneurs learn how to be better business owners because they have to work harder to get and keep customers, says Caroline Daniels,

an Entrepreneurship lecturer at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the days when the economy is booming and a lot of resources are around, we get sloppy. We take customers for granted,â&#x20AC;? Daniels says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In a recessionary period ... we need to get to know our customers better.â&#x20AC;? Fresh Groundâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s founders, who decided to start their ďŹ rm after they were laid off from their jobs in 2009, took lessons from some disappointing client meetings and ďŹ&#x201A;ipped them into a strategy that is helping them build their business. The ďŹ rmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s revenue has doubled in the past year, according to Tanowitz. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We knew consciously that coming out of a recession weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be much stronger, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d have a good base of clients,â&#x20AC;? Tanowitz says.

Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re pleased to recognize our favorite marketing consultant Melissa Barber, a 2012 20 Under 40 recipient.

Congratulations! Levi Architecture is a full-service architecture ďŹ rm focused on providing outstanding customer service and creative, sustainable design solutions.



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Volunteering is an ideal holiday-season activity for families November 17 is National Family Volunteer Day, which is immediately followed by the holiday season. What better way is there to spend time together, share your family’s resources, and help area agencies in need Anne Nass is communications than to voluncoordinator for the teer as a family? Volunteer Center It’s hard to of Cedar Valley find a family in Waterloo, which activity with the serves 90 agencies same rewards with more than as spending 150 volunteer time in comopportunities. munity service Contact her work. But getat 272-2087 or anne_nass@vccv. ting your crew involved in volunteering takes some consideration. The Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley helps

you identify your family’s interests, find projects, and frame the experience so the benefits last long after the activity ends. Volunteering as a family confers a multitude of benefits. Here are 10: 1. It’s a chance for parents to spend time with their kids while giving back to the community. 2. It enables parents to pass on basic values to their children, such as good citizenship, community responsibility, compassion and kindness. 3. It can help your kids stay out of trouble: Studies show children who volunteer just one hour per week are less likely than other kids to get involved in destructive behaviors such as smoking or substance abuse. Another bonus: Adults who volunteer are happier and healthier than those who don’t. 4. It brings family members closer and can spark meaning-

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ful discussions about important personal and social issues. 5. It can make you smarter. Hosting a foreign student can teach you about another culture; working to save the rain forest can teach you about ecology and biodiversity. 6. It can make us grateful for what we have. There’s nothing like volunteering for putting our own problems into perspective. 7. It creates a generation of future volunteers. Children who volunteer are twice as likely to be involved in community service as adults. Those who volunteered as children and had parents who volunteered are most generous of all. 8. It helps children appreciate their own talents, gain self-confidence and feel good about making a contribution. 9. It helps break down stereotypes and teaches tolerance. Through volunteering, children

often meet people from diverse cultural backgrounds, lifestyles, ages and income levels. 10. It’s fun. There can be great pleasure in serving others, especially when you’re doing it with the ones you love. Whether you volunteer for a couple hours a year or an afternoon each month, there are projects to match your family’s interests, availability and personalities. Check out opportunities at The Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley publishes a monthly newsletter outlining numerous opportunities for volunteering. Receive your free subscription by sending a request to The Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley can help you focus on family-friendly volunteer opportunities. Here are a few: ■ Serve dinner at a homeless shelter. Volunteer at the Catholic

Worker House or Salvation Army to prepare and/or serve a meal for those without a home this holiday. ■ Deliver a meal. Volunteer with a local meal delivery program through Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging to bring a hot lunch to those who may not be able to join family or friends. ■ Support our troops. Demonstrate your thankfulness toward troops who may be away from family this Thanksgiving. Create and send a care package. Iowa’s Bravest is a local agency who can provide you information. ■ Give thanks to a veteran. Show your personal gratitude by volunteering one-on-one and in-person at a Veterans Center, where you might serve as an escort greeter, transport patients to appointments and perform other duties. VA Volunteer Service has needs for volunteers.

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Illness doesn’t cause all workers’ sick days By Diane Stafford The Kansas City Star

The annual sick season is upon us. The cold and flu season brings higher absence rates at work and school. But studies and surveys make it clear that illness gets twothirds of the blame for “sick” days. One-third of the reasons are all over the map. Take the employee who couldn’t come to work because of a toe stuck in a faucet. Or the employee who was upset after watching “The Hunger Games” movie. Or the one whose hair turned orange in a home dye job. All three were real-life examples shared in a recent CareerBuilder survey in which human resource managers were asked for unusual absence excuses they’d heard. The excuses may be funny, but business managers and productivity experts aren’t laughing. American workers take about 2.8 million work days of unplanned absences a year, not counting planned vacation days, holidays or personal days. And that costs billions of dollars in lost productivity. A 2010 Mercer/Marsh report on the financial effect of employee absences said the cost of unplanned time off amounted to 5.8 percent of total payroll costs. As a percentage, that’s not a big figure. But, the report noted, “the total costs for planned absences, such as vacations and holidays, average an equivalent of 26 percent of base payroll.” In other words, one-fourth of employers’ payroll expenses cover work time when employees aren’t at work. That helps explain why some employers check up on workers who call in sick. According to a Harris Interactive survey

taken in August and September, nearly one-third of employers who responded said they usually called the employee at home later in the day or required a doctor’s note to verify that the person was at home or was truly sick. About one in five of the employers surveyed said they’d asked other employees to call “a suspected faker,” and about one in seven said they’d gone so far as to drive by a suspected faker’s home. The psychological jury is out, though, as to whether faked sick days are completely bad. “Mental health days” get credence from counselors who see the toll of stressful workplaces. According to Sean Sullivan, a co-founder of the Institute for Health and Productivity, there’s a “presenteeism” problem when workers come to work but aren’t fully functioning because of physical, emotional or other time-draining distractions. Organizations aren’t getting value out of workers who show up but aren’t really working. So in those cases, it may not make much difference if an employee calls in sick or shows up. Workplaces with excessive unplanned absences may need to reassess their corporate culture. The new CareerBuilder survey found that next to being sick, the most common reason workers call in sick is because they “don’t feel like going to work.” One-third of the respondents admitted that reason. Nearly one-third said they called in sick simply because they “felt like they needed to relax.” Other excuses included catching up on sleep or running errands. All of those reasons are likely to be used more frequently as the year winds down. December ranks as the most popular month to call in sick.



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Remodeling resurgence boosts sales for contractors NEW YORK (AP) — Glenn Bridges can tell that the market for home remodeling is picking up — when he’s hanging cabinets or laying a floor in a customer’s house, a next-door neighbor is bound to knock on the door and ask if he’s available for another project. They’ll look at his handiwork and then say, “we have something we’re interested in doing,” Bridges says. “It’s quite uplifting.” The collapse of the housing market decimated business for contractors like Bridges, most of whom are small businesses with just a handful of employees. But many are seeing business improve as home sales recover and homeowners who had put off projects during the recession are feeling better about the economy. Still, the improvement is gradual and projects aren’t typically as lucrative as they were back when homeowners were able borrow

against a large amount of equity in their houses. Bridges was so optimistic about the remodeling market that in February he restarted the contracting business he was forced to shut down in 2007. When he closed, he had to lay off his three full-time workers. But at the start of 2012, things began to change. “I had people that needed work done and all in one weekend they said to me, ‘why don’t you help me ... why don’t you get active again?’” says Bridges, owner of Eagle Ridge Contractor Services in Naples, Fla. He had spent the intervening years working on projects with other business owners. He’s worked steadily since February, installing new kitchens and bathrooms that range from $10,000 to $25,000, depending on the size of the room and the quality of the cabinets and appli-



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ances. He hired one full-time worker when he started his business again and says he may take on as many as three more if business is good enough. And he’s optimistic that it will be, because he’s getting more requests for bids on projects. “Where I was pricing one or two (projects) a month, I might now price five or six a month. And I think I’m not unusual — for our market, there’s more optimism.” Bridges isn’t alone. Sales of previously occupied homes are up more than 9 percent this year, and spending on residential construction has risen 16 percent. People who track housing trends see signs that remodeling is on the rise — and that the improvement will continue. Harvard University’s Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity suggests that annual homeowner improvement spending could rise

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12.2 percent in the first quarter of 2013, up from levels reached in the first three months of 2012. Some of the uptick is coming from new homeowners fixing up and some is coming from people who put off work during the recession. “Even though it’s a down market, homeowners are always having to do certain projects — roofing, siding, heating systems,” says Abbe Will a research analyst with Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. “When we’re moving into a recovery phase, we’re going to be looking to the discretionary projects, like kitchen and bath remodeling. We’re expecting to see lots more of that as the housing market stabilizes.” But while the upturn is encouraging, it hasn’t yet turned into the boom that some had hoped for. After rising from a low reached at the end of 2008, remodel-

ing activity rose sharply but then fluctuated since the end of 2009, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ index of remodeling activity. It’s “improving, but not as much as we thought it had been earlier,” says Steve Millman, director of economic services at the NAHB. And while business is better, some contractors say spending hasn’t returned to levels reached before the housing bubble burst. Hugins Construction in Coral Springs, Fla., is seeing a pickup, but owner Rick Hugins says the market is far from the boom he enjoyed before the housing collapse. “Today, a big job would be $60,000 or $80,000, and most of the work I see is in the $20,000 to $50,000 range,” he says. “There’s a lot of those, but not a lot of what had been the bread and butter for me.”








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U.S. manufacturing industry executives have bemoaned a skills gap in the nation’s workforce, but a new report says the shortfall isn’t a big deal — yet. By the end of the decade, the shortage of highly skilled workers could balloon to 875,000 from 80,000 to 100,000 workers now, according to a study from Boston Consulting Group. The deficiency of workers represents less than 1 percent of the 11.5 million total factory workers in the country, according to the consulting group. Only five of the 50 largest manufacturing centers — Baton Rouge, La.; Charlotte, N.C.; Miami; San Antonio; and Wichita, Kan. — are experiencing fast-growing factory wages, which Boston Consulting Group



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takes as evidence demand for workers is outpacing supply. The numbers “aren’t as bad as many believe,” said Harold L. Sirkin, a Boston Consulting Group senior partner who co-wrote the research. “It’s much less of an issue in larger communities, where supply and demand evens out more efficiently thanks to the bigger pool of workers,” Sirkin said in a statement. “Investment in training and skills development needs to be stepped up, but there’s little reason to believe the U.S. cannot remain on track for a manufacturing renaissance by 2020.” Last month, the factory sector grew for the first time in three months, according to a report from the Institute for Supply Management. Boston Consulting Group said

that the U.S. is on track to create as many as 5 million manufacturing and supporting jobs by 2020 by recapturing production from China and offering an alternative to high labor and energy costs in Western Europe and Japan. But at the same time, U.S. factories are watching their workforce age and begin to retire. The average high-skilled manufacturing worker in the country is 56 years old. As the industry ramps up output and exports, Boston Consulting Group said companies need to invest more energy into filling the gap. Currently, just 16 percent of manufacturers recruit in high schools, while 57 percent partner with community colleges on training programs, according to the firm.

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New factory jobs offer harder lifestyle Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Jim Ellis had a job with benefits but gave it up for a shot at something with a bright future, if he could just get his foot in the door. In this part of the country, that meant he wanted to work for Caterpillar Inc., the construction equipment powerhouse. Now Ellis is on the morning shift at the company’s East Peoria, Ill., plant, installing fenders on tractors and working on hydraulic lines, a manufacturing job description that once promised an American middle-class lifestyle. The reality for Ellis is nothing like that. With the new job he started in January, Ellis’s pay jumped by $5 to $15.57 per hour, but he has no medical benefits for himself or his 3-year-old daughter, custody of whom he shares with his exgirlfriend. Between rent and child support, he acknowledges falling back on his parents for support. “If you talk to my mom and dad, they would tell you I’m an idiot because I’m barely making ends meet,” Ellis, 38, said. Reflecting on his pay, Ellis recalled the years he worked as an assistant manager at a fast food restaurant. “It was one of the easiest jobs I’ve had,” he said. It was also the best-paying job he’s had. He earned up to $34,000 a year — a little more than $16 an hour. His move to Caterpillar hardly evokes the kind of jobs most people think about when they hear President Barack Obama or his challenger, Mitt Romney, talk about bringing back manufacturing. The days when workers earned enough money to buy a car, a boat or a second home while supporting their families no longer exist for a growing number of people employed in manufacturing. Factory jobs can still be good, but in the past three decades, benefits have eroded and pay has stagnated or even fallen. Some entry-level manufacturing jobs pay so little that workers depend on government aid to feed their

families and pay for health care. Take Charles Montgomery. Until he was laid off in mid-September, he worked for a staffing agency that supplies labor to Caterpillar. Montgomery, 28, was paid $8.75 an hour as a forklift operator. He put in as many as 70 hours a week to support his three children and fiancee and relied on government aid to buy food. Even then, he said he pinched pennies to pay for a $3.65 doctor’s visit or a $2 prescription, made affordable through a governmentbacked health care program for the poor. Wages have declined in many industries as unions have lost their bargaining clout, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a pro-labor think tank based in Washington. Between 1973 and 2011, the median hourly compensation of workers, including wages and benefits, rose only 10.7 percent; most of that increase occurred in the ’90s, according to the institute. Robert Bruno, a professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois-Chicago, said earnings of newer manufacturing jobs “are not poverty wages, but they are not middle class. If the jobs don’t pay sufficiently better, sadly, it will turn the manufacturing sector into another low-wage market, and we already have many of those,” he said. With more than 12.5 million people in the U.S. unemployed, some politicians push manufacturing as an answer to the nation’s economic woes, suggesting that bringing back factory jobs from overseas represents a return to greater prosperity. Gary Pisano, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and co-author of “Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance,” is skeptical of that approach. “The idea that we will employ a large share of workers in manufacturing again is not going to happen,” Pisano said. He added that the days when manufacturing provided a good living for

people with little more than a high school education are gone because the U.S. cannot compete with wages paid in developing countries. Pisano said the country needs a policy aimed at spurring research and development that will produce better-paying, highly skilled manufacturing jobs. The drawback, he said, is that such jobs will be small in number. Meanwhile, factory wages could fall even further, predicts Howard Wial, executive director of the Center for Urban Economic Development and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Historically, Wial said, unionized workers accepted concessions in bad economic times by counting on getting something back during good years. But that’s no longer necessarily true.

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If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re looking for work, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t dismiss a temporary job in retail this Christmas season. It may be more of a foot in the door than in past years. Stores say they need extra workers for the holiday rush and are also looking for employees whom they can keep after the season ends. Last year, 15 percent of Toys R Us seasonal workers stayed on after the holidays. Target Corp. said it converted about 30 percent of last yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s extra holiday helpers into yearround workers. About 43 percent of retailers surveyed earlier last month by the Hay Group said they plan to have more permanent workers in stores this year and plan to keep more of them after the holiday, based on responses from 14 major U.S. retail companies. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What better way to audition for a permanent job in retail than during the holidays,â&#x20AC;? said National Retail Federation spokeswoman Ellen Davis. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Last year, Target hired almost one in three of its seasonal workers. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s impressive.â&#x20AC;? Retailers have been caught in the past with too few store employees during the Christmas rush, leaving them with long checkout lines and shelves that needed restocking, Davis said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As the economy rebounds, price will be less important and experience will be more important.â&#x20AC;? Retailers are guarded but

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Macy’s launches new brands THE to target millennial shoppers NEW YORK (AP) — Macy’s is firing its first salvo at the millennials. The venerable department store chain is launching 13 new brands and expanding 10 other existing labels that it believes will resonate with shoppers in that 13-to-30 age group. The roster includes an exclusive Marilyn Monroe fashion collection and a men’s T-shirt line from an upstart called Fatal Clothing, which specializes in tattoo-influenced designs. The chain also will be offering a collection of runway-inspired fash-

ions that will change monthly. The new fashion offerings, which are being rolled out this fall and next spring, represent the first phase of the retailer’s intensive campaign to attract the highly sought-after group. The millennials generation is the first to grow up with cellphones and the Internet and its members are accustomed to getting fast access to anything. The intense focus comes as retailers are paying more attention to members of the generation who are entering their peak earnings and spending years.



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Companies push programs to keep workers well The Miami Herald

It’s lunchtime, and Gayle Goodman heads to the gym in her office tower, where she and co-workers at AutoNation spend a half-hour sweating through a jam-packed workout with a personal trainer. Then, it’s a shower and back to work. “It’s a quick and effective way of getting in exercise,” she says. Finding time to exercise is one of the biggest challenges American workers struggle with today. While we know the health benefits, making fitness part of our routine just doesn’t happen for

many of us — unless we do it on a job. Around the country, businesses are stepping in to help employees who lack motivation to exercise on their own. They’re opening on-site fitness centers, creating walk trails and swimming pools, encouraging gym membership, offering lunchtime workouts and even bringing in at-the-desk exercise equipment. Companies are beginning to realize their employees need help managing stress if they’re going to avoid burnout and stay productive, says Jennifer Owens,

editorial director for Working Mother magazine and the Working Mother Research Institute. For the first time, the magazine has just published a list of 10 Best Companies for Health and Wellness. At these top companies around the nation, seven feature fitness centers, all offer fitness classes and many have on-site medical clinics. General Mills’ on-site fitness center offers personal training and massages, while Goldman Sachs holds a weeklong program on resilience and health. At Discovery Communications, 65 percent of the workforce par-

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ticipated in a four-month fitness challenge. “The companies that are successful are getting people to work together to get well,” Owens says. “The hours we’re at work are inching upward. If we can carve out time at work to exercise, that may the answer.” For Goodman, an information technology director at AutoNation in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., it’s the convenience factor and the enticement of a mid-day stress reliever that lures her to the company’s gym: “Exercise is only an elevator ride away.” Still, for most office workers, it takes the nudge of a co-worker to get past the psychological barrier that there is no time for exercise. Alison Klapper Leon, a communications director in Coral Gables, Fla., and a mother of two, says she relies on her co-worker for the will to exercise. “As a mom, it’s hard to put yourself first and take the time to work out.” She and colleague Sari Govantes joined a fitness center in their office building with the intention of going to yoga classes. “When I get busy, it’s so easy not to go. We push each other.” In most companies, fitness contests are the most popular way to motivate staffers to get active, says Fran Melmed, founder of Context Communication, a consulting firm that specializes in workplace wellness. The idea is to encourage employees to lose weight and become active collectively. Last year, American Express launched a fitness challenge called “Walk This Way” to get employees moving. American Express employees who participated tracked their steps on a pedometer for 12 weeks. Those who reached 420,000 steps earned $200 in their health savings account. Melmed says there are multiple benefits to officewide challenges: “Beyond increasing fitness, you get to know people in other areas and it can ease the way to better collaboration and improved

morale.” Despite common knowledge that exercise is healthful, more than 60 percent of American adults are not regularly active, and 25 percent of the adult population is not active at all, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But what if you could exercise and work at the same time? Some businesses such as Eli Lilly and Discovery Communications have invested in centrally located treadmill desks that employees can sign out for a stretch of walking/work time. Other companies have resorted to an incentive approach. They pay a fee for their employees to log their physical activities on a website called Plus 3 Network. Employees then get kudos points that they can exchange to earn money for charity. And Melmed has created Hotseat, a smartphone app/ reminder system to encourage desk workers to get up and move throughout the day. “Employers are looking at every creative opportunity to get their employees to get up and move around,” Melmed said. Of course, combating inactivity is most successful if a culture of fitness comes from the top, says Marc Cannon, a spokesman for AutoNation. At his company, Chief Executive Officer Mike Jackson works out twice a day, at least once in the on-site gym. President Mike Maroone bikes and uses the company gym. The company has Cross Fit classes, a cycling club with about 50 employees who ride at 6 a.m. on Fridays, and teams that regularly form to participate in run/walks and cycling events. “More than 40 percent of our associates are involved on a regular basis with fitness programs we have going on,” Cannon says. “Mike Jackson’s mentality is part of being healthy company is having employees who are healthy. When you work in corporate America, with all the stress, you’ve got to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

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Drought is leading some restaurants to raise prices, reduce portions Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Scorching weather this summer in the Midwest left crops parched and livestock famished. Restaurants, already struggling with high fuel costs and a sluggish economy, are starting to feel the pinch of higher food costs. Commodity prices were increasing even before the dry spell. Economists say even bigger increases are ahead as the poor U.S. harvest ripples through the food chain. Now fast-food giants, fancy eateries and even corner coffee shops are scrambling to adjust. The cost of food rivals labor as the top expense for most restaurants. Restaurateurs are revamping menus, reducing portion sizes and even considering staff cuts. In the months to come, they say,

watch for smaller steaks, fewer tortillas per entree and maybe even menu-wide price increases. Restaurant prices have been rising for more than a year. Wholesale food costs rocketed 8.1 percent last year in the largest jump in more than three decades. The Olive Garden’s Never-Ending Pasta Bowl, offered at $8.95 for the past five years, jumped to $9.95 in late August, partly because of higher food costs. And this summer, a Big Mac cost $4.33 on average in the U.S., up from $4.20 in January and $4.07 a year earlier, according to the popular Big Mac index compiled by the Economist. Those increases will continue, but at a faster pace. The price of corn — a key component in livestock feed and an ingredient in powdered sugar, salad dressing, soda and more

— catapulted 60 percent in early summer. A British trade group recently predicted “a world shortage of pork and bacon next year,” which most analysts interpreted to mean that higher prices are ahead. In the meantime, chickens and turkeys are getting more expensive just in time for the holidays. Already, chicken prices are up 5.3 percent from a year earlier, while the cost of turkey and other poultry is up 6.9 percent. Eggs cost 18 percent more in September than they did a year earlier. Zacky Farms in Fresno, Calif., one of the country’s largest turkey producers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, blaming the rocketing price of animal feed. Buffalo Wild Wings, the popular chicken wing chain based in Minneapolis, recently told

analysts that it’s boosting menu prices by an average of 4 percent in its company-owned stores to help offset soaring wing costs. Analysts expect overall food costs to rise 5 percent to 20 percent by the end of the year. Many big chains have avoided hefty menu price increases thanks to long-term deals with

their suppliers. It’s the little guys who are getting hammered hardest, said Don Krueger, an analyst at Motley Fool. “Sophisticated large guys can hedge far into the future,” said Krueger said. “The smaller mom-and-pop restaurants are going to get hit with the drought very shortly.”

Sale: $395,000

3050 Wagner Road, Waterloo • For Sale: 2 Buildings • Total of ± 23,000 Sq. Ft. • 22,000 ± Sq. Ft. Warehouse & ± 984 Sq. Ft. Office Space • Located on corner of Airline Hwy. and Wagner Road Jim Sulentic • Sulentic-Fischels Commercial Group 215-5000 Sale: $329,900

111 Washington, Raymond • For Sale • 12,243 sq. ft. Industrial Building • Sits on 1.56 Acres • Convenient Access to Hwy 20 Chris Fischels • Sulentic Fischels Commercial Group 830-5000

For Sale: $79,900 or Lease: $1,100/ Month /Gross

621 Grant Ave., Waterloo • For Sale/Lease • Competitively Priced Office Building • 2,000 sq. ft • Located Near Downtown Waterloo Matt Miehe • Sulentic Fischels Commercial Group 269-6222

Sale: $140,000

HELP FIGHT THE NUMBER ONE KILLER OF WOMEN. Mark your calendar for the ninth annual GO RED FOR WOMEN LUNCHEON on Friday, November 2 at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center in Waterloo.

5331 Lafayette • For Sale: Investment Opportunity • 28 Space Mobile Home Park • Total of 6.3 Acres • 11.86% CAP Kyle Hawthorne • Sulentic Fischels Commercial Group, 415-0505

Local Presenting Sponsor

Eastern Iowa Regional Sponsor

Gift Cards from Crossroads Center are the perfect gift for everyone. Choose a gift card as an incentive for sales achievement, a rewarding holiday bonus, retirement gift, or simply to say thank you. Crossroads Center gift cards may be purchased 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday in the Crossroads Center Management OfďŹ ce. Please call the Crossroads Center ofďŹ ce (234-1788) for further information. Gift cards may be used at all mall retailers that accept American Express.

Jack Jennings, CCIM

Dustin W. Whitehead, CCIM

Medical/Professional Office Building

Office Space

845-847 W 4th Street, Waterloo     

Listed well under assesed value $499,000 $6.00/sf NNN 12,431 sf of total finished area Split-level construction

 Sale includes lease to 2,720 sf oral surgeon  In CURA & Enterprise Districts

1225 W Ridgeway Avenue, Waterloo  $ $4 $4,000/mo 4 000 00//mo NN NNN N  3,726 sf  Features 5 private offices, teller area, large lobby, admnistration area, vault and break room

Flex Space

$4 00/ f NNN $4.00/sf 14,600 sf 6 overhead doors & 1 dock Can be divided

 Z Zoned d ffor lilight h iindustrial d i lb but great for office/retail  In CURA and NMTC districts

 Adaptable Adaptabl Ad ble to retail, retailil restaurant, restaurant professional or medical office users  Quality location at corner of Ansborough & Ridgeway

Medical Office Building

315 E San Marnan Drive, Waterloo

35 Fletcher Avenue, Waterloo    

Brady A. Gruhn, CCIM


$13.00/sf NNN $349,900 2,464 sf available (main floor) Full, partially finished basement with offices & break room

 Class A Office Building  Located on corner of W 9th & San Marnan in prime professional office area

For information on these and other commercial listings, call:

(319) 277-8000

All information contained herein is given by sources deemed reliable. While we have no reason to doubt its accuracy, all information is provided without representation of warranty.

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Business Monthly - November 2012  

2012 20 Under 40

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