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UI Tippie College of Business Honors Pure Fishing CEO Tom Bedell

The University of Iowa Henry B. Tippie College of Business will honor Tom Bedell, chairman of the board of Pure Fishing, as the recipient of the 2004 Oscar C. Schmidt Iowa Business Leadership Award.

The Tippie College of Business will honor Bedell on Nov. 8 at a dinner and program at the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union.

"Tom Bedell is a lively, smart and accomplished entrepreneur and business leader. His deep knowledge of the marketing function and his ability to lead with imagination a small, nimble and innovative company led to a spectacular Iowa success story, Pure Fishing," said Gary Fethke, dean of the Tippie College of Business.

A native of Spirit Lake, Iowa, Bedell earned his undergraduate degree from Stanford University in 1973 and attended the UI College of Law. He left law school to head a consulting firm in Washington, D.C., where his father, former U.S. Representative Berkley Bedell, was serving in Congress. In 1979, Tom took over as president of what was then Berkley & Company, the fishing-tackle company that his father founded as Berkley Fly Company in 1937. The company was renamed Pure Fishing in 1998 and today is the world's leading fishing tackle company, and has 20 percent of the market share in the U.S. With its world headquarters located in Spirit Lake, Iowa, the company has manufacturing and marketing facilities in 22 countries and more than 1,200 coworkers worldwide.

Pure Fishing's brands include Berkley, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Fenwick, Johnson, Mitchell, Spider, Stren and 7Strand. Acquisitions of the Stren and Spider brands have resulted in a $7 million investment into the Spirit Lake facilities' fishing line equipment.

The company is in the middle of a five-year, $20 million plan to upgrade the Spirit Lake plant, and received state approval for $102,000 in forgivable loans and tax credits to help with its expansion. It has added about 160 full- and part-time jobs this year, pushing peak employment to about 600 at the Spirit Lake headquarters.

Bedell recently made a $660,000 gift commitment to the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) at the UI. The Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory program was named in recognition of his support. The laboratory provides free office space for students who want to launch business ventures while studying entrepreneurship at the UI. Bedell has served as a mentor to several students in the program, giving them advice as they learn how to run a business.

The Iowa Business Leadership Award was established by the late C. Oscar Schmidt, president of the Cincinnati Butchers' Supply Company, who wanted to honor his father by recognizing an outstanding Iowa business executive. His intention was both to honor an outstanding business leader and to provide a vehicle by which the students and faculty of the College could interact with successful career men and women. The award recognizes outstanding performance in the world of commerce in the belief that business leadership is essential to the economic progress of Iowa and the nation.

Past recipients of the Oscar C. Schmidt Iowa Business Leadership Award, first given in 1980, include: Marjorie M. Scardino, chief executive of Pearson plc; William T. Kerr, chairman and chief executive officer of Meredith Corporation; John Pappajohn, president of Equity Dynamics, Inc.; and Donald R. Keough, former president of The Coca-Cola Company and chairman of the board of Allen and Company.


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