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Welcome to the Panther Caucus, an initiative that engages alumni, students and friends working to increase public and legislative support for the University of Northern Iowa. Periodic emails will be sent to Panther Caucus members about some of the great things happening at UNI. Sign up for the Panther Caucus mailings or follow Panther Caucus on Twitter through @nipanthercaucus.

May 18, 2016

The range of expertise and services offered by UNI's Business and Community Services never ceases to amaze us. With 13 programs in total, there is always something going on. UNI was thrilled that so many of these programs were recognized for their achievements during the month of April.

UNI's entrepreneurship program recognized as best in world

JPEC Staff with award at Kennedy Space CenterThe International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) announced UNI's John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) as the recipient of the first ever Student Entrepreneurship Program of the Year award. The international award recognizes a program that excelled in providing educational and entrepreneurial opportunities to student populations, which is exactly what UNI's JPEC does for its student entrepreneurs each and every day.

The UNI JPEC team then headed to Kennedy Space Center in Florida to attend the International Conference on Business Incubation the week of April 16 where they attended an honors ceremony and received the award.

National association recognizes UNI's metal casting efforts

Sairam Ravi, project manager, and Kip Woods of the UNI Metal Casting Center received the American Foundry Society (AFS) Ray Witt Award on April 17 for their co-written paper, "Design Considerations for Three Dimensional Printed Cores and Molds." The award was presented at the 2016 CastExpo and Metal Casting Congress in Minneapolis. The AFS is the largest metal casting association in the nation. It is truly an honor and positive reflection upon the UNI MCC's continuous efforts in education and advancement.

Student winner in business plan competition

As one of three statewide winners of the 2016 Pappajohn New Venture Student Business Plan Competition, Keevin O'Rourke, senior marketing advertising and digital media major, received a $5,000 scholarship for his business presentation of his company, VIM. VIM is a portable piece that attaches to weight equipment. It tracks sets, weights, reps and sends the information to a user’s smartphone. O’Rourke surpassed one round of regional competitors and was awarded after a statewide competition.

UNI focuses on business retention and expansion

At the 2016 SMART Conference in Des Moines, the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber won the Business Retention and Expansion Award for a project they completed using Research IQ, the brainchild of the Institute for Decision Making and Strategic Marketing Services. Research IQ combines different aspects of market research designed to fit the unique market intelligence needs of each Iowa client. The service was launched at the 2015 SMART Conference and made a stunning impact throughout the past year.

Food waste reduction efforts recognized

Jenny Trent

It all kicked off with the Iowa Waste Reduction Center (IWRC). Environmental specialist and food waste reduction expert Jenny Trent received a UNI C.A.R.E. (Creating A Responsible Environment) award from the UNI Office of Sustainability. Trent has become the IWRC's expert in food waste composting operations. She has worked with numerous organizations, businesses and schools throughout Iowa to reduce food waste and increase composting operations.

Helping Iowa businesses move forward

UNI helps to 'Build a Better Iowa' through our impact in a variety of industries all across Iowa. From entrepreneurship to environmental, UNI BCS continues to provide assistance across the state. You can find out more about our award winners and programs on our website.