The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 12, 2003

UI Team Wins Statewide Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Award - Keller/Lancaster

Photo: John Pappajohn of Equity Dynamics congratulates Michael Keller and Bryk Lancaster
University of Iowa student Michael Keller of Cedar Falls and UI graduate Bryk Lancaster of Le Mars won $5,000 seed capital grants in the statewide Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan Competition, earning the top honors among 12 finalists.

The competition, sponsored by venture capitalist John Pappajohn of Equity Dynamics Inc. and the five John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers (JPEC) in Iowa, was created in 2000 to encourage and help Iowa college students pursue their interests in starting their own companies.

Nominations were collected through the Centers, and 12 regional award winners advanced to the state competition Dec. 5 at the Des Moines Downtown Marriott. The regional award winners gave oral presentations to Pappajohn and his Equity Dynamics staff members, who judged the business plans based on their content and viability.

Keller, an UI electrical engineering major, and Lancaster, a UI electrical engineering graduate, presented their plan for Flexon Solutions, L.L.C.

They founded the company in August 2003 in Oakdale, Iowa, to identify and develop cost-effective road safety solutions including a pavement marking retroreflectometer. The first wave of products will be delivered in March 2004. Product sales will begin in earnest by the first quarter of 2005.

Other statewide winners and their business plans were:

Steven Davis and Brian O'Leary from the UI for Bio::Neos,a provider of bioinformatics software solutions and tools for biomedical research.

UI student Megan Wettach, who, after owning her own apparel business for two years, has developed the Megan Amanda Collection, a line of interview suits for pageant participants.

Regional winners and their business plans included: Paul Harmon, ID Nine (Drake); Jon Von Gillern, Delphi - Intranet And Hosting (ISU); Tammie Calvert, Dreamland Web Page Design & Computer Repair (NIACC); Dulce Culpepper And Claudia Ramirez, Mundo Latino Llc. (UNI); Jeffrey Myers, Uganda Coffee Company (ISU); Henry Munoz And Charity Yesis, (UNI); Augusto Canales, Melissa Harris, Laurie Degeus, Vitaly Pecharsky, Jr. and Willy Nunez, Construction Lingo (ISU); Kelley Bahl, Portraits By Kelley (NIACC); and Heather Neagle And April Ciavarelli, Why Not? (NIACC).

"We are looking forward to working with the three winning University of Iowa teams to assist them launch their new ventures. All of the regional finalists in the competition should be extremely proud of their efforts. They are shining examples of the types of innovative students we see through the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers. It was a great day for all involved in entrepreneurial education," said David Hensley, director of the UI JPEC.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: George McCrory, 319-384-0012,; Program: David Hensley, UI JPEC, 319-335-1023