Heartland entrepreneurs honored for their vision

Vision Awards recipients.

The Vision Awards took place Thursday evening honoring entrepreneurs in SE Iowa.

The celebratory dinner happened at Indian Hills Community College with keynote speaker, author and Iowa native Richard Longworth. Longworth now lives and works in Chicago. He says recent statistics show Iowa is one of the top four states of out-migration college grads, and he commended the people, projects and businesses being honored for the impact they are making to Iowaâ??s economy.

Awards were handed out in six categories with a surprise â??Lifetime Achievementâ?? award. CEO Joe Crookham of Musco in Oskaloosa won the Lifetime Achievement Vision Award, but couldnâ??t make it to the awards because he promised to attend his granddaughterâ??s track meet. The person accepting on Crookhamâ??s behalf said, â??Thatâ??s just the kind of guy Joe is.â?? Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. won Business of the Year. Mitch Goudy from Fairfield High School won Student Entrepreneur of the Year for his company MTG DJ Services, LLC. Holly Berndt of Wayne Community Schools won Entrepreneurial Educator of the Year. The Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year award went to IHCC graduate Josh Bear of Kar KNUTS located in Derby, IA. The alumni award is the only category in which the business or project need not have to be in the Indian Hills 10-county region, but Bear just so happened to win and be in the area. The New Business of the Year Vision Award went The Little Bake Shop in Ottumwa.

â??I was always the employee and so this was a big step,â?? The Little Bake Shop owner Melissa Little said. "Itâ??s interesting because it took us moving from a metropolis to a rural area of Iowa where my skills weren't necessarily as marketable, and so thinking what can I do now? Now I do come from a long family, or long line of entrepreneurs, so it's in my blood I guess.â??

Littleâ??s cupcakes were also served as dessert at the second annual event.