Bell HeidiAMES, Iowa — The Iowa Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has announced the 2013 award winners for its two special entrepreneur awards.

Heidi Bell, owner, From The Ground, Leon, is the 2013 Deb Dalziel Woman Entrepreneur Achievement Award winner. Michael Sexton, founder/owner, Real Time Ag, LLC, Rockwell City, is the 2013 Neal Smith Entrepreneur of the Year Award winner.

The Deb Dalziel Woman Entrepreneur Achievement Award honors an Iowa woman entrepreneur who has significantly changed or improved her life and the lives of others. The award is presented in memory of Deb Dalziel, a devoted small business advocate who was director of the Small Business Development Center at Southeastern Community College, Burlington, from 1987 until her death from cancer in 1999 at the age of 44.

Read more: Iowa SBDC Announces 2013 Entrepreneur Award Winners

Freedom Creek Prairie Builds Beauty and Habitats in Nature

Schafers ForWebFor almost 20 years, Rick and Julie Schafer of rural Prescott worked for “the other guy” before deciding to start a business and try it on their own.  The Schafer’s, Julie who was formerly a nurse and Rick who was employed in ag retail, had been interested in prairie land and working with prairie remnants for a long time.  They started doing some work seeding for landowners and in 2010, when Julie’s nursing position was eliminated, the Schafer’s “took a leap” and started Freedom Creek Prairie, a business focusing on prairie remnants and natural habitats.

Freedom Creek Prairie has a mission of promoting habitat as nature intended through the discovery and study of remnant prairie areas, thoughtful preservation, restoration, and reconstruction with local eco-type seed.  According to Rick, the business has really evolved to get to the point they are at today.

Read more: Freedom Creek Prairie

Mike Garner, Owner

Mike Garner is extremely thankful for the history he shares with Southwestern Community College. It was late-2009, when Garner went from his position as shop foreman at Bowman Machine to owner of the business.  Charlie Bowman started Bowman Machine in 1988 and Garner had worked as his shop foreman since 2003. On January 1, 2010, when Garner stepped into an ownership role and began operations as Garner Technology Services, he relied on assistance from Dave McLaren at the Small Business Development Center at SWCC. 

Read more: GTS, dba Bowman Machine