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Release: Immediate

General Dynamics whistleblower, entrepreneurs speak at UI April 29

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A former high-ranking executive who uncovered mismanagement at defense giant General Dynamics and the leaders of three companies known for their innovation will talk about the professional and personal challenges of business leadership Wednesday, April 29 as part of a lecture series at the University of Iowa College of Business Administration.

The 1998 John R. Hughes Lecture Series in Entrepreneurship will begin with registration at 5:30 p.m. in the Buchanan Auditorium (Room W10) of the Pappajohn Business Administration (PBAB) and continue until about 9:45 p.m. The program sessions begin at 6 p.m.

Sponsored by the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, the UI, and Hills Bank and Trust Co., the lecture series is free and open to the public.

This year's speakers include:

-- Rick Born, co-founder and chief executive officer of BORN Information Services of Minneapolis, speaking on "What Does Culture Have to Do with Competitive Advantage?" at 6:10 p.m. Born was named the 1996 Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year for his work with the Fortune 500 information technology consulting business.

-- James E. Ashton, a UI graduate who was fired from his executive post at General Dynamics for reporting financial mismanagement of several weapons systems, speaking on "Integrity Management: In the Treatment of People, In Big Deals, and In Little Deals" at 7 p.m. Ashton also is former CEO of Fiberite Inc.

-- Cynthia A. Goro, president of Wayne Engineering Corp. of Cedar Falls, speaking on "A Family Business Turnaround" at 8:15 p.m. Goro is credited with turning around the family-run manufacturer of garbage trucks and truck cranes. She and the company received the 1997 Ernst and Young Turnaround Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

-- James Grabek, president and CEO of Comedicus Inc. of Columbia Heights, Minn., speaking on "Virtual Entrepreneur" at 9 p.m. Grabek was co-founder, president and CEO of GV Medical Inc. before founding Comedicus, a medical technology company.

Each session will be followed by a 20-minute, question-and-answer session.

For more information, contact Carolyn Norton at the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, 108 PBAB, Suite 160, the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242; phone: (319) 335-0260; fax: (319) 353-2445; email: