Tom Bedell, CEO, Bedell Guitars
Bedell is an entrepreneur who connects the earth to the human soul. From sport ﬁshing tackle (Pure Fishing 1979‐2007) to acoustic guitars (Bedell & Breedlove Guitars), he has built companies dedicated to enabling happiness while preserving our planet. An endowment received from Bedell was used to establish the Bedell Entrepreneurial Learning Laboratory (BELL), a 10,000 square foot business incubator for students that is the home of the Startup Incubator program. Over the past 13 years, Bedell has been an active mentor for University of Iowa students, as well as a frequent guest speaker for entrepreneurial classes and events. In addition to helping establish the BELL, Bedell helped launch the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute (OEI), another one of Iowa JPEC’s successful student programs. Neither the Startup Incubator nor OEI would exist without the support of Bedell.
John Buchanan, Founder, RBP, A Marsh & McLennan Company
Buchanan is a 1956 University of Iowa graduate and founder of the insurance consulting ﬁrm Riepe, Buchanan & Piper. The ﬁrm eventually merged with Marsh & McLennan Companies, a Fortune 100 company and the world’s leading insurance broker and consulting services ﬁrm. In 1989, Buchanan was one of 20 United States entrepreneurs selected to participate in the Price‐Babson Fellows Program at Babson College. Following the program, Buchanan started teaching entrepreneurship in the Tippie College of Business. He retired from teaching but continues to mentor students in the process of starting their own businesses.
Alan G. Bunte, Co-Founder, Former COO, and Board Director, Commvault
Bunte is co-founder of Commvault, a leading provider of data protection and data management software. He retired from the company’s chief operating officer position in 2019 and stepped down as board director in 2020. He is currently a private investor, providing seed funding for several projects. Bunte has more than 30 years’ experience in business, product innovation and strategy development, and operations within the IT industry. He holds more than 50 patents. Bunte is also a member of the Tippie Advisory Board. Bunte received a BBA and an MBA from the University of Iowa.
Tara Cronbaugh, Founder and President, Iowa City Coffee Company
Cronbaugh is founder and president of Iowa City Coﬀee Company. As a student in one of the ﬁrst entrepreneurship classes oﬀered at the University of Iowa, she launched Java House in 1994. Cronbaugh has since launched multiple retail locations throughout Iowa City, including within the University of Iowa and regional airports. Other ventures include multiple corridor commercial real estate investments, the launch of Heirloom Salad Company, and most recently, expanding the Java House wholesale division, Java House Coﬀee Roasters, in North Liberty. While Cronbaugh is an advocate of women's leadership and entrepreneurship growth, her passion is to inspire today's youth to explore entrepreneurship and dream big.
Jared Garﬁeld, Founder and CEO, River Valley Growers
Garfield has nearly two decades of experience as a serial entrepreneur, venture investor, and industry consultant in a variety of fields to include biomedical technologies, information technology, and cannabis. Garfield has a strong background in business development, marketing, sales, information technology and fundraising, having raised more than $50 million across multiple ventures with more than 80 patents to his name. Garfield is founder and CEO of River Valley Growers, an emerging vertically integrated cannabis cultivation company based in western Massachusetts. The company has experienced explosive growth in the sector and has become the largest outdoor cultivation farm in the state.
Jay Greenzweig, Chief Executive and Scientiﬁc Oﬃcer, FORCE Communications
Greenzweig founded FORCE Communications in 2001 after a successful career with Eli Lilly and Company where he held multiple roles within medical, marketing, alliance management and sales. He provides the FORCE organization with the “Bringing science to life” vision and entrepreneurial spirit to help transform healthcare knowledge exchange. This is accomplished through the FORCE Communications organization of four separate business entities that provide healthcare consulting, medical communication, creative ideas and technology solutions. Greenzweig graduated from the University of Iowa, College of Pharmacy in 1985 and utilizes his healthcare professional experience to provide insightful perspectives into healthcare practice and adult learning principles. Beyond business, Greenzweig is involved with charitable activities and enjoys spending time with family doing a wide range of activities including travel, wine collecting, golf, skiing, and supporting the Hawkeyes.
Adam Keune, Co‐Founder and Chief People Oﬃcer, Higher Learning Technologies
Keune is one of the founders of Coralville-based Higher Learning Technologies (HLT). HLT is one of the world’s top mobile education software platforms and works with some of the largest educational providers across the globe. HLT’s products have ranked as the No. 1 grossing apps in the medical and educational categories on both Google Play and the App Store. Additionally, they have been downloaded by over 10 million people from every country in the world. As a founder, Adam has helped take HLT from three friends with an idea, to a leader in the edtech space with over $15M in capital raised, over 50 employees, and national recognition from Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the best companies to work for in the US. Outside of HLT, Keune spends time volunteering to help students and startup companies. He is a mentor at both the University of Iowa Venture School and the Iowa Startup Accelerator. Keune is also a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council and works with Iowa Economic Development Authority as co‐chair of the Iowa Innovation Council.
Kincaid is an entrepreneur, company founder, and experienced business executive with a pay-it-forward passion for teaching, coaching, and mentoring. He co-founded – and later sold to a publicly traded company – a real estate and hospitality firm that combined the experience and sharing economies. As an executive coach and university lecturer, Kincaid supports and encourages students, business owners, and emerging leaders in enhancing their knowledge, insight and confidence to succeed in the working world. Kincaid is a real estate investor and an adjunct lecturer at the University of Iowa JPEC in entrepreneurship and innovation. He also lectures at the University of California where he teaches leadership development, negotiations, and entrepreneurial management to undergraduates and MBA students.
Josh Krakauer, CEO, Sculpt
Krakauer is CEO of Sculpt, a B2B-focused social media marketing agency. Sculpt launched in 2012 with a mission to connect clients with their human customers more humanly. Since then, Krakauer has overseen social media campaigns that have launched best-selling books, supported IPOs, and convinced tech workers to move to Iowa. Krakauer was also named one of the Corridor Business Journal’s 40 under 40 at 25. While Krakauer now calls Washington, D.C. home, and the remote-first Sculpt team Zooms in from around the world, he will still convince you Iowa City is the best city on earth.
Kevin Krause, Associate Professor of Practice/ Managing Member, Krausewa, LC
Krause attended the University of Iowa where he graduated with honors with a BS in ﬁnance in 1982. Upon graduation, he attended the University of Iowa College of Law where he received his Juris Doctorate in 1985. Krause has had a variety of roles since graduating from Iowa. He has trained executives, been a prosecuting attorney, bank president, the senior marketing executive for two multi‐billion dollar companies, and ran three minor league sports franchises. Krause manages a $100 million real estate company as well as teaching graduate and undergraduate classes at Iowa. His latest venture is being a grandpa to seven great kids.
Amy Kristof-Brown, Dean, UI Tippie College of Business
Dr. Amy Kristof-Brown was named dean of the Tippie College of Business in 2020. An award-winning professor in Management and Entrepreneurship, she also served as department executive officer, senior associate dean, and interim dean. She joined the Tippie College in 1997. Her research interests focus on the compatibility or fit between individuals and their work environments. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology, co-editor of the book Organizational Fit: Key Issues and New Directions and served as past Associate Editor of Journal of Applied Psychology and Journal of Business and Psychology.
Anne McMahon, Statewide SBIR/STTR Program Coordinator, BioConnect Iowa
McMahon earned a BA in communication studies, certificate in entrepreneurial management, and a museum studies certificate from the University of Iowa. While at Iowa she was engaged in entrepreneurship. She moved to Minneapolis to pursue a career in retail upon graduation. From Minneapolis, McMahon moved to Washington D.C. to care for her nephew, then landed back in Des Moines, Iowa. McMahon joined BioConnect Iowa in 2017. At BioConnect Iowa, she administers the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program statewide. She works with businesses, research, and educational institutions, federal program managers, and statewide service providers to help start-up companies grow and succeed.
Roby Miller, Founder, TelePharm
Miller is an Iowa native, avid technologist, and healthcare innovator. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship and also earned the advanced project management Certiﬁcate from Stanford University. In 2012, Miller founded TelePharm, a digital healthcare company. In 2016, the company was acquired by Cardinal Health, a Fortune 25 company. In addition to receiving a CBJ Forty under 40 award at age 25, Miller is an engaged investor and a co‐founder of Built By Iowa, an early stage seed fund focused on technology startups. He is a frequent speaker at events focused on entrepreneurship, technology and startups.
Tom Niehaus, Co‐Founder and General Partner, Pivotal Capital Partners, LLC.
Niehaus is co‐founder and general partner of Pivotal Capital Partners, LLC., an SBIC Licensed Venture Debt provider based in Menlo Park, California with over $100 Million of assets under management (AUM). Pivotal Capital provides senior secured loans to some of the countries’ top venture backed companies. Niehaus previously served as the first managing director of TriplePoint Capital, a leading venture lending firm, where he originated over $140 million in venture leases and loans to some of the most notable Silicon Valley startups including YouTube, Ruckus Wireless, OncoMed, Cyan Optics, and Proteolix. Prior to TriplePoint, Niehaus was the co‐founder and president of ZoneTrader, Inc., a venture-backed provider of equipment asset management services, where he raised over $65 Million in venture capital and venture debt. Prior to co‐founding ZoneTrader, he served as executive vice president of sales at Comdisco, Inc., where he was responsible for more than $900 million of technology lease transactions. Niehaus holds a BS in journalism from the University of Iowa, class of 1984.
Ravi Patel, President, Hawkeye Hotels
Patel is president of Hawkeye Hotels, one of the fastest growing hotel companies in the country. He has overseen the development of 50 new construction and acquisition projects with total volume exceeding $1 billion. In addition to the hotel industry, Patel is a startup investor, philanthropist, and political activist. He is co‐founder of private equity ﬁrm Built By Iowa, having invested in over 20 early‐stage companies. Patel earned a BA in business management and certiﬁcate in entrepreneurship from the University of Iowa. His current board service includes Iowa Venture Capital Association and West Bank Community Board.
Brad Phillips, Founder & Managing Partner, Phillips Staﬀord Insurance Group
A native of Iowa City, Phillips earned his undergraduate degree in business management and an entrepreneurial management certiﬁcate from the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business in 2007. While at Iowa, he founded a ﬁlm production company based in the motorsports industry. He built the company into a global leader in the industry before exiting the business in 2008. Phillips now serves as a managing partner and founder at Phillips Staﬀord Insurance Group. In 2006, Phillips was recognized by the Entrepreneurs Organization as a top‐10 Global Student Entrepreneur. More recently, he was named one of the "40 under 40" in Des Moines.
Dan Rehal, Founder and CEO, Vision2Voice
Rehal founded Vision2Voice, a healthcare communications agency, in 2008 to continue his passion of connecting the world’s best scientists to leading-edge clinicians in order to improve patient care. Prior to that, Rehal experienced the pharmaceutical industry from the ground up. Between ascending the ranks at Merck, to his responsibilities that took him across the globe at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Rehal oversaw a $4 billion diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular franchise as the marketing group leader, professional strategies. Rehal earned his undergraduate BS in business administration with a minor in chemistry and an MBA from the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business. Rehal serves as trustee and advisory board member on multiple boards including the Business Ethics Alliance.
Nick Rhodes, Managing Partner, Obsession Media
For over 25 years Rhodes has been part of senior management for several successful start-ups and early-stage companies in programming content and video technology. In launching and building these businesses, he was a strategist for the acquisition of $225 million in committed equity and an operating manager through exit—with over $2.5 billion in asset value created. These start-ups exist today as Fox Sports1, Fox Sports Net, Fox Deportes, NBC Universal Sports, and Game TV. Rhodes received his degree from the University of Iowa in communication and theater arts with a focus on broadcasting and film.
Don Schoen, Investor and Consultant
Schoen holds a BA degree from Northwestern University and a MS degree from Michigan State University. Schoen’s companies have won many awards, including two companies named to Inc. 500. In addition, Schoen was awarded the prestigious Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for his leadership at MediNotes. He has also been named Emerging Business Entrepreneur of the year in Iowa and Nebraska and was honored as “CEO of the Year” by the Technology Association of Iowa for his company, MediNotes. Schoen launched two companies in the past 11 years, including a health app for monitoring clients with chronic medical conditions. Schoen currently sits on two advisory boards at Iowa JPEC and the Marketing Institute Advisory Board. Schoen is currently an investor and actively guiding two young technology companies, advising them in areas of strategy, product development, management.
Sparks graduated from the University of Iowa in 1980, with a BA in political science. He spent much of his career with the pharmaceutical industry starting as a Packaging Supervisor, transitioning to a variety of operational and sales roles including plant manager, sales director and a variety of global executive roles. His entrepreneurial role was as COO of UpToDate, Inc., the leading global on‐line resource for healthcare providers (doctors, nurses, etc.), where he played a role in growing the company from $40 million in annual sales to $120 million in a four-year period. The company was sold in 2008. He returned to the pharmaceutical industry (Pﬁzer) coaching/leading a variety of global integration projects. Sparks and his wife Meg, also an Iowa graduate, reside in the Philadelphia metro area.
Nicole Strait, Chief of Organization Strategy, Norwest Equity Partners
Strait received a BBA in industrial relations and human resources management from the University of Iowa in 1993. She spent her earlier career in progressive HR leadership positions with leading consumer products and food companies, including Cargill, Pillsbury, International Multifoods and CNS (Breathe Right® Nasal Strips). In 2007, Strait co‐founded River Rock Partners, a consulting firm focused on assisting small to mid‐sized founder‐run and private equity owned companies with strategic and organizational planning. Since 2014, Strait has served as the chief of organization strategy at Norwest Equity Partners (NEP), a middle-market private equity firm. Strait works closely with NEP’s portfolio company founders and CEOs to help them build the organization capabilities needed to bring their strategic plans to life.
Zac Voss, President, Voss Distributing, LLC
Voss is a native of Des Moines and graduated from the University of Iowa in 2000 with a BS in finance and an emphasis in entrepreneurship. While at the University of Iowa, he founded Voss Distributing, LLC after recognizing the growing demand for the energy drink, Red Bull. In 2000, Voss won an exclusive distribution contract from Red Bull and became the youngest sole owner of a Red Bull distributorship worldwide. Since 2000, Voss Distributing has grown to more than 100 full-time employees and expanded its territory to most of Iowa, South Dakota, Central Missouri, and Western Illinois. In 2013, he co‐founded Inside Out, LLC, a training company providing a customizable mobile learning portal for companies who want to improve employee training. Voss also is a founding member and serves on the board of the Des Moines Water Works Parks Foundation, directing eﬀorts to renovate and fund the 1,500 acre park.
Laura Westercamp, Managing Director, Accenture
Westercamp is part of Accenture’s Life Sciences and Digital Health practice, leading their Commercial Connected Care business. She has over a decade of global experience leading large scale transformation programs, helping companies determine their commercial strategies, operational design, and product development approach. Westercamp is involved in healthcare innovation. In Chicago, she partners with MATTER, a healthcare start-up incubator. At Accenture, she leads strategy and innovation for Accenture’s HealthTech Innovation Challenge. Prior to consulting, Westercamp was in the Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs.