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Entrepreneurs and teacher awarded by Iowa Lakes Corridor

2012-2013 annual report released; Olesen named to board of directors

June 24, 2013
Estherville Daily News

STORM LAKE - The Iowa Lakes Corridor released the 2012-2013 annual report at the Corridor's annual meeting Monday at King's Pointe Resort in Storm Lake. Throughout the night, major events and people were recognized by the Corridor for their contribution to the Corridor's success. It has been a successful year as the Corridor remained focused on existing employers, continued its marketing efforts inside and outside of the region, entrepreneurial efforts, and enhanced its very successful youth entrepreneurship programming.

During the fiscal 2013 year, Iowa Lakes Corridor's goal was to add 150 jobs, Corridor companies committed 430. In addition, 36 jobs were retained, 18 projects completed, 14 acres sold, $37.46 million in new capital investment announced and 489,000 in additional square footage occupied, constructed or planned. There were 27 projects generated, 34 existing industry reviews, eight existing companies assisted, 10 new businesses started, 39 entrepreneurial clients and 33 of the Corridor's entrepreneurial clients experiencing increased revenues. The entrepreneurial clients created 45 new jobs and raise $1,081,000 in capital. In FY 2013, there were 366 students in entrepreneurial training and 18 classrooms participating in Junior Achievement. Over $150,000 of federal/state dollars were awarded for projects. Copies of the 2012-2013 annual report were distributed at the meeting and are available online at

Highlights for the Corridor over the past year included the first Innovation Pavilion at the Clay County Fair, the launch of the Good/ Jobs, People, Life campaign, and participating in the national cost of living index. Also, 2012-13 was the first year the C3 campaign, (Connect, Collaborate, Compete), was instituted. The C3 plan will provide sustainable benefits for the entire region long into the future. Over $2.8 million dollars was raised to support regional economic development for the fiscal years 2013-16. The Corridor has raised the largest dollar amount in history and also has the largest number of members/investors involved: 140.

In 2006, the Corridor began present a Chairman's Award to a dedicated volunteer or group of volunteers that contributes to the success and mission of the Corridor. The 2012-13 Chairman's Award was given to Nichole Krager, a business teacher at Storm Lake High School, for her continued efforts and support for youth entrepreneurship in her classrooms. Krager shows support for the Corridor's efforts to promote and inspire entrepreneurship principles to youth in the Corridor region. Kathy Evert, president and CEO of Iowa Lakes Corridor, presented Krager with the award.

"Nichole has been a participant and leader in our youth entrepreneurship programs since day one," said Kathy Evert. "She was one of the first high-school teachers in our training program for teachers and how to incorporate entrepreneurship in existing classroom curricula, sent a group of students to the annual Be Your Own Boss seminar and worked with us to hold annual business plan competitions for high-school students. We commend her for her support and dedication."

Two retiring board members were recognized this year, Lyle Hevern and Terry Yarns. Hevern served on the Corridor board for the past seven and a half years while Yarns served the board for the past six years. Evert thanked both Hevern and Yarns and gave each an award for their leadership, support and service.

Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation announced the election of new board members and officer positions. The two new members are Rick Olesen and Barry Sackett. Each have been elected to a three-year term beginning July 1. The election of the new officers for 2013-14 board: Brad Simington, Farmers Savings Bank, Milford - chair; Steven Pick, Spencer Municipal Utilities - vice chair; Valerie Newhouse, Iowa Lakes Community College- treasurer.

Rick Olesen has over 30 years of experience in the electric utility industry. Olesen started his career with TXU (Texas Utilities) in 1982 working for Dallas Power & Light Company. In 1987 Olesen accepted a position with Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative. While working for them, he has progressed from work order/materials agent to President and CEO. Olesen has made great strides for Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative including developing several automation projects, two major renewable energy projects and the construction of wind generation facilities in Superior and Lakota. Olesen has his business degree from Iowa Lakes Community College and Buena Vista University. In 2001, Olesen completed the NRECA Management Internship Program. Olesen is an active member of the Estherville Rotary Club, the ILEC Advisory Board for Iowa Lakes Community College Wind Energy & Turbine Technology Program and the ILCC Scholarship Foundation. He also coaches MYFL football, Little League Baseball and American Legion baseball.

Before returning to Iowa to practice law, Barry Sackett served as controller, CFO and/or general counsel with the following companies: TheBrain Technologies, a knowledge management software company; California Waste Services, a construction recycling company; FW Carson Companies, a general engineering and trucking company; Arbor, a sporting goods and apparel manufacturer and retailer and ATI Title Company, the title insurance division of Wells Fargo Mortgage. In addition to his in-house business experience, he has worked with start-up, merger, reorganizations and mature growth of companies large and small. Barry worked in state and federal government on environmental issues. He has a juris doctorate from the University of Iowa College of Law and bachelor of business administration in finance and economics from the University of Iowa. He received his master's of business administration from the University of Minnesota-Carlson School of Management.

The Iowa Lakes Corridor was proud of the progress made in FY 2013 and looks forward to another great year.



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