Helping the School That Helped Him Launch His Dreams
When entrepreneurs prepare to launch a new product or service, they often need a little help getting those great ideas off the ground. North Iowa entrepreneur John Collins knows firsthand how difficult it can be to get a new business started and keep it moving forward.
Early in his career, John developed new products while working for established companies, and started two of his own companies including his most recent firm, American Crane Inc. (ACI), in Garner, Iowa. Now John is giving back to the school that helped him launch his own dreams, with a $12,000 gift to the NIACC Foundation so that others may have the good fortune to follow in his entrepreneurial footsteps.
John attended the NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) classes in 1991, to help him develop a business plan for ACI. That plan led him to receive a successful entrepreneurial grant of $10,000.
"It was a gift to help me get started," he says.
John's business, ACI, is a custom manufacturer of service trucks for the construction, mining and tire service markets. He has developed a process of remanufacturing equipment to give it a new product warranty and has recently released a new hydraulic supercharger with splitter lines that features high-pressure shutoff valves for operating two systems at the same time.
John's donation to the NIACC Foundation will be used to help the JPEC initiate a series of high school entrepreneurial courses in the fall of 2012.
The goal of the first class in the program John is underwriting is to teach high school students about the principles of entrepreneurship and to help them apply these principles to a product or service that they can sell by the end of the course. The curriculum was developed by the Jacobson Institute of Youth Entrepreneurship at the University of Iowa. University of Iowa instructors trained the teachers from North Iowa in June.
Now a successful business owner with deep roots in the North Iowa region, John knows his gift to the NIACC Foundation will have an impact on a new generation of young Iowa business leaders.
"I want to help develop young people who care about their work to find a sense of accomplishment in what they do," John says. "I want to give something back. I hope it will set an example for others to do the same."
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