The 2009 Luther Department of Economics and Business Entrepreneurial Showcase—held on campus March 12, 2009 —featured a keynote address by entrepreneur, educator, and former Luther regent Daryl Erdman ’61 as well as the presentation of scholarships and awards to six Luther students in recognition of their business ventures and academic achievements.
Held annually, the Entrepreneurial Showcase Dinner and Awards Program provides an opportunity for students, faculty, alumni, and friends of the college—including many community leaders and business people—to exchange ideas and share experiences in creating and sustaining successful business ventures. The dinner is funded by the Rugland Family Fund and the Maybelle and Malcom Estrem Endowment for Entrepreneurial
Erdman delivered the presentation “Scar Tissue Lessons from the World of Entrepreneurship”—also the title of his forthcoming book on his life experience as an entrepreneur and educator. Nationally recognized for his leadership and service in the entrepreneurial field, Erdman is founder, chairman, and CEO of Strategic Growth Resources Inc.; senior director of AAVIN Venture Capital, a venture capital firm headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and past director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of St.Thomas and the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Iowa. He also serves as an adviser to many start-up companies, some of which are owned and operated by former students.
In 1989, Erdman and his wife, Audrey (Pederson) Erdman ’61, Luther regent emerita, established the Daryl and Audrey Erdman Prize for Entrepreneurship. The Erdman Prize honors Luther students who create, develop, and manage a successful entrepreneurial enterprise, with the competition open to all full-time Luther students regardless of major.
Sara Zanussi ’10 of Afton, Minn, was awarded the top prize in this year’s Erdman entrepreneurship competition. A music major, pianist, and recipient of a 2008 Weston Noble Entrepreneurship Scholarship, Zanussi was recognized for her business venture, Z’s Keys, through which she offers both accompaniment and lessons—including Internet piano lessons using Skype.
Reese Worthington ’10, a biology major, and Josh Gerber ’10, a physical education and health double-major, were named Erdman Prize runners-up.
Worthington—also a 2007 Erdman Prize runner-up for a beef-production venture he operated with his brother, Seth Worthington ’08—raises and sells daylilies through Pinchey Blooms, a business he established in his hometown of Pleasantville, Iowa, in 2004.
Josh Gerber operates Wayzata Results, an event-management company he founded in his hometown of Plymouth, Minn., in 2001. The company specializes in timing road races, cross country races, track meets, and basketball events.
Steve Mallers ’09—an accounting major from Hoffman Estates, Ill.—and Laura Johnson ’09—an accounting and economics major from Anoka, Minn.—received Weston Noble Entrepreneurial Scholarships.
Established by Allan and Janie Dahl, owners of the Prosper (Minn.) Lumber Co., in honor of Weston Noble ’43, professor emeritus of music, the scholarship is awarded to students who demonstrate strong character, a concern for ethical behavior, and an interest in pursuing an entrepreneurial business endeavor after graduation. Mallers and Johnson were recognized for establishing the business Fresh Start Foods, through which they sold healthy baked goods at the Winneshiek Farmers Market and catered holiday events.
Jacob Vaith ’10, a management and management information systems major, received the Accenture Scholarship—made possible through contributions from alumni and friends of Luther who are employees of Accenture as well as matching gifts from the Accenture Foundation. The award— presented by company representatives Peter Newburg ’97 and Andrew Wright ’08—recognizes a Luther student who has demonstrated academic excellence and leadership while majoring in computer science, management information systems, management, economics, or mathematics. Vaith previously received the Erdman Prize for his business venture, Vaith Website Design.