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Release: Immediate

Leadership symposium promotes "Entrepreneurial Spirit"

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Nationally known and local entrepreneurs will be featured when students from the University of Iowa MBA program present "The Entrepreneurial Spirit: Believing and Achieving" Friday, April 4 from 7:30 a.m. to noon in Buchanan Auditorium (Room W10) in the Pappajohn Business Administration Building. The symposium is free and open to the public.

The 1997 Leadership Symposium will feature Dan Dye and Mark Beckloff, founders of the nationally acclaimed Three Dog Bakery; Westell Technologies CEO Gary Seamans; and Quass Broadcasting Company owner Mary Quass.

Dye and Beckloff's company began with a 59-cent biscuit cutter and a mixing bowl. The dog treats produced by their Kansas City company have attracted the attention of The Wall Street Journal, CNN, People magazine, NBC's Today Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

In addition to six company-owned retail locations, Three Dog Bakery canine confections are sold by Nieman Marcus, Hallmark and PetsMart Superstores. The company has 50,000 mail-order customers. Dye and Beckloff authored "Short Tails and Treats from Three Dog Bakery" (Andrews and McMeel), featuring selected recipes and business tips.

Seamans, an Iowa City native and UI graduate, helped turn the suburban Chicago company Westell Technologies into a key player in the attempt to upgrade phone lines for the information superhighway. Westell's technology allows regional Bell companies to transmit video and computer data without replacing their copper-line infrastructure.

Before taking the top post at Westell, Seamans worked for MCI and AT&T. When he began work at Westell, it was a declining firm with 114 employees, $8 million in revenues, substantial losses and a product line approaching obsolescence. At the end of the 1996 fiscal year, it had 750 employees, $83 million in revenues and the company's November 1995 initial public offering raised $35 million. In the eight months following the offering, the value of the stock rose 504 percent.

Quass began working at KHAK Radio in 1977 in an entry-level sales position. Eleven years later, she became owner of Cedar Rapids' award-winning country-music station. A former UI MBA student, she moved up the ranks at KHAK, leading the station to its first profitable year after becoming general manager in 1981.

As owner, president and CEO of Quass Broadcasting Company, Quass acquired the Christian station KTOF, which she moved to the AM band to make room for the soft-rock station KDAT-FM. Since then KDAT's audience share has doubled.

Active in community and professional organizations, Quass was named 1994 Broadcaster of the Year by the Iowa Broadcasters Association and received the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce 1995 Entrepreneurial Excellence Award.