Iowa Business Leadership Award
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
By Rebekah Tilley

The Oscar C. Schmidt Iowa Business Leadership Award was presented to Tony Bedard, CEO of Frontier Co-op, on Nov. 13 at a reception at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center. The award was established in 1980 to recognize outstanding Iowa business leaders.

“Tony Bedard believes that businesses can be a force for change and that doing good can have a positive impact on a company’s performance,” said Dean Sarah Fisher Gardial when presenting the award. “Frontier Co-op is made of up not only of good business people but also good global citizens.”

Bedard began his Frontier Co-op career in 1991 as plant manager and worked his way to the role of CEO, which he has held since 2002. For the past four year, the company has sponsored the Frontier Co-op/Tippie Impact Competition. This competition gives University of Iowa students hands-on experience developing sustainable business models and identifying environmental and social factors that impact business success.

Under Bedard’s leadership, the company has worked closely not only with the Tippie College of Business but also with Kirkwood Community College where the company provides all of its spices pro bono to the Kirkwood culinary program. In addition, the company funds study abroad scholarships for culinary students so that they have the opportunity to expand their food experiences globally.

Established in 1980 by C. Oscar Schmidt in honor of his father, the Oscar C. Schmidt Business Leadership Award purpose is to bring the university together with area business leaders and to recognize individuals and companies who have had an impact in the state of Iowa.

Past winners include W.A. (Bill) Krause of Krause Gentle, operator of Kum and Go convenience stores; the leadership team at Pella Corp.; and J. Barry Griswell, chairman, president and CEO of The Principal Financial Group; and the Smith family of Sioux City, founders and owners of the American Popcorn Co. makers of Jolly Time popcorn.