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Leaders Honored for Iowa Service

An educator and two businessmen have been inducted into the Junior Achievement of East Central Iowa Business Hall of Fame.

The newest laureates are Norm Nielsen, president of Kirkwood Community College, Charles "Bill" Seedorff, founder of Seedorff Masonry Inc. in Strawberry Point, and Henry Tippie, a Belle Plaine native and successful businessman.

Nielsen has been an educator in Iowa for more than four decades, beginning as a teacher and coach. His service as superintendent in the Belle Plaine school district led him to Kirkwood in 1979.

During Nielsen's tenure, Kirkwood has grown to be the largest community college in Iowa and the third-largest institution of higher education in the state, reaching an enrollment of nearly 15,300 students.

Nielsen has formed innovative partnerships and strategic alliances with private and public industries, government organizations and educational entities that have had an impact on the local economy.

In 2001, Nielsen received the Marie Y. Martin Chief Executive Officer Award, a prestigious community college leadership award.

Seedorff's first thoughts of Seedorff Masonry were formed as he watched superintendent and former bricklayer Burton North build an addition to the high school in Arlington. The inspiration, coupled with Seedorff's vision, led Seedorff Masonry to become one of the top 10 masonry-contracting firms in the United States.

Seedorff Masonry has been involved with such projects as the Iowa Capitol, Alliant Tower, Coe College Library, Westdale Mall, Lindale Mall, Mercy Medical Center and St. Luke's Hospital.

Seedorff has been active in the community, giving his time, talent and funds to educational and civic groups.

Born on a farm near Belle Plaine, Tippie planned to follow the family tradition of farming until he enlisted in the Army Air Force during World War II and was exposed to different business professions.

Thanks to the GI Bill, Tippie attended the University of Iowa and enrolled in the accounting program. With Tippie's straightforward approach and attention to detail, he completed his undergraduate degree in 24 consecutive months.

Tippie went on to serve as a corporate executive of successful enterprises such as Tippie Services Inc., Rollins Inc. and Dover Motorsports Inc. He is one of the few people involved with the initial listing of a publicly owned company in each of five decades on the New York Stock Exchange.

Tippie, recipient of the Horatio Alger Award, has financially supported the success of many students, giving them the opportunity to continue their education.

He also has provided financial assistance to Belle Plaine, Kirkwood Community College and the University of Iowa.


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