Spencer, IA (KICD)-In showing appreciation for local business and industry, the Iowa Lakes Corridor held its third annual Business Recognition Luncheon on Nov. 14 at the Clay County Regional Events Center in Spencer. Part of the luncheon was to award three businesses in the following categories: Small Business Excellence (30 employees or fewer), Large Business Excellence (more than 30 employees) and Entrepreneur of the Year.
The Corridor requested nominations for the awards, and gave the nominations to a judging committee comprised of business and community leaders throughout the region. The winners were announced at the luncheon. Businesses were nominated for various reasons: contribution to local economy, recent expansion, new product or service, customer service, management practices, and community involvement.
“It is important to recognize the contributions and economic impact our existing businesses have on our communities and region. Research shows that in an average sized community, approximately 80 percent of new jobs and capital investments are created by existing business and industry,” said Kathy Evert, president and CEO of the Iowa Lakes Corridor. “We have seen the truth in that with local companies hiring hundreds of employees over the past year.”
Small Business Excellence was awarded to Vugteveen Lawn Service of Milford. Vugteveen Lawn Service has been serving the Iowa Lakes area for the past 20 years. They take care of lawns as if it were their own. They take pride in their work and hope to meet and exceed customers’ expectations. Their staff is well-trained and treats every job with care and skill. Their lists of services include lawn mowing, aeration, landscaping, hard scaping, watering, sprinkler systems, pest control and more.
Vugteveen Lawn Service was nominated because of Kevin and Heather Vugteveen’s strong management and their commitment to the business. They are always looking at ways to improve or expand the business, whether through establishing or acquiring a new business line, or finding more effective ways to market their existing product line to more customers.
The Large Business Excellence award was given to Maurer Manufacturing of Spencer. In the early 1990’s Bob Maurer believed there was a better method for timing the unloading of clean grain from the combine. This was the spark for the Maurer Grain Tank Extension, a product that took the combine aftermarket by storm and provided the foundation for all we offer today.
In 2000, the Maurer’s transitioned ownership to a group of individuals with years of experience in the manufacturing and supplying of agricultural equipment. Thus began the affiliation with Demco, a relationship that provides the ag equipment market with an unparalleled offering of innovative quality products and services.
Maurer Manufacturing was nominated because they manufacture quality products that benefit the agricultural community and the scrap metal business. Their efforts in advanced manufacturing support not only those industries, but the economy of Iowa, and especially Northwest Iowa. They have had multiple expansions in Spencer and are currently working on an additional expansion to move a recent acquisition of a South Dakota trailer company to Spencer. Maurer Manufacturing has a bright future and is focused on manufacturing quality products within the Corridor region.
Entrepreneur of the Year award was given to Bruce and LuAnn Tamisiea, owners of Tecton Industries in Spencer. The Tamisieas are major contributors to the local Spencer economy by offering good paying jobs at and a progressive work atmosphere at Tecton Industries. Community involvement is the key for them through many years on the SMU Board, Iowa Lakes Corridor activities, charter, supporter and continuous presenter for the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute and numerous state economic development boards.
The Tamisiea’s generosity, both monetarily and through mentoring and other programs, may not be fully noticed as they do many things anonymously and are not seekers of the spotlight. Bruce and LuAnn subtly influence the area’s growth through involvement in the Corridor and as a mentor and coach to many companies and individuals in the area.
Dream Big Grow Here
For the second year, the Iowa Lakes Corridor participated in the Dream Big Grow Here contest, where participants vie for $5,000 for their business. The contest is a virtual one, where participants submit their business dreams online, and voters choose who they believe should win the award money. The top five vote-getters participated in a pitch-off to a panel of judges, who chose the winner.
The five finalists were Tanya Johnson with Kabele’s Trading Post and Lodge, Scott Simpson and Brian Fassbender with Fazz’s Hot Sauce, Dari Fehr with Educational Surgical Instruments, Brad Smith with Cabin Fever Farm, and Megan Huntley with Epic Fashions.
During the Business Recognition Luncheon, the Corridor announced that Fehr was the winner. She will go on to compete against the other regional winners in Iowa for an additional $10,000.
Vugteveen Lawn Service of Milford was presented with the Small Business Excellence Award. Kevin and Heather Vugteveen accepted the award.
Maurer Manufacturing of Spencer received the Large Business Excellence Award. John Tatman, plant manager, accepted the award.
Bruce and LuAnn Tamisiea, owners of Tecton Industries in Spencer, received the Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Dari Fehr was the winner of the Dream Big Grow Here contest, and received $5,000 for her Educational Surgical Instruments.