In recognition of Neal Smith’s leadership in the creation of the national Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program—which serves entrepreneurs and businesses in all U.S. states and territories—America’s SBDC Iowa established this annual award on the occasion of its 25th anniversary (2006) to continually honor Chairman Smith’s contributions to the SBDC program and Iowa’s small business community.

The award is presented annually to a successful Iowa entrepreneur in order to encourage Iowa’s entrepreneurs, the driving force behind Iowa’s economic growth. Winning entrepreneurs must have been in business a minimum of three years and have to have been significantly assisted by an Iowa SBDC center.

In recognition of Neal Smith’s leadership in the creation and building of America’s Small Business Development Center network, a Founding Fathers Award was given to Chairman Smith by America’s SBDC at its Silver Anniversary Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland on September 9, 2005.


[ABOVE]: Former Iowa Congressman Neal Smith and Congressman Tom Latham were honored for their service to Iowa’s small business at the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Iowa Small Business Development Center program held October 4, 2006 in West Des Moines. From left to right are: Ron Manning, former Iowa SBDC State Director; Congressman Tom Latham; former Congressman Neal Smith; Jon Ryan, former Iowa SBDC State Director; Don Wilson, former President/CEO, ASBDC.

List of Award Winners

2021 — Bruce Teague, Caring Hands and More, Iowa City

2020 — Dr. Martin Gross, Gross-Wen Technologies, Slater

2019 — Staci Ackerson, Shankland Insurance, Charles City

2018 — Brad and Angie Barber, Cabin Coffee, Clear Lake
2017 — Steve and Leona Fogle, Fogle True Value & Hardware, Centerville

2016 — Tony Halsted, Hoover’s Hatchery Company, Rudd

2014 — Deb Davis, Sister’s Home Style Entrées, Humboldt
2013 — Mike Sexton, Real Time Ag, LLC, Rockwell City
2012 — Chuck Dirks, CQM Systems, Coralville
2011 — Tim Greene, Quality Machine of Iowa, Inc., Audubon
2010 — Emily Starr, StarrMatica Learning Systems, Clinton
2009 — Gina Blean and Kelly Heysinger, Unified Therapy Services, Inc., Dubuque
2008 — John Lohman, Corridor Business Journal, Coralville
2007 — Marguerite White, Premier Cleaning Services, Bettendorf
2006 — Mary Connell, Air Control, Inc., Clinton