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Advance Iowa Team

The Advance Iowa team has the proven capabilities and experience to deliver value to your firm. We have owned midsized businesses of our own and have firsthand experience of what it takes to continually navigate a dynamic business environment.

Dan Beenken

Dan Beenken serves as the Program Director and Lead Consultant for Advance Iowa. Prior to his current roles, his experience was in the asset management, venture capital and investment banking industries – most recently in business development and product management for RBC Dain Rauscher. Beenken has extensive experience working with early-stage firms on capital formation and exit strategies. He has also served as a business consultant at the University of Minnesota and Iowa State University. Dan holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and entrepreneurial management from Iowa State University and an MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business.

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Dan Beenken

Paul Kinghorn

Paul Kinghorn is the Director of the Center for Business Growth & Innovation at the University of Northern Iowa which is known for its nationally recognized and award winning innovative programs in business assistance and development. Kinghorn has over twenty year’s consulting with businesses in all aspects of their operations with a special emphasis on ideation, startup, strategy, process efficiency and change management necessary for each client to achieve their desired objectives. He has held a number of management positions within public and private organizations and has been involved in a number of startups and early stage small business ventures. Paul continues to work closely with ownership and management teams to leverage the resources necessary to achieve desired results and to successfully grow and transform underperforming businesses into profitable ventures through targeted strategies. Paul received his Bachelor of Science in finance from Franklin University and his Masters of Business Administration from Ohio University.

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Paul Kinghorn

Jayne Kielman

Jayne Kielman serves as the Business Development Representative for Advance Iowa. Kielman’s early sales career included the retail, hospitality and advertising arenas where she developed an in depth understanding of what makes small and medium sized businesses successful. Jayne spent 16 years with Pfizer as a pharmaceutical representative winning two Gold Circle awards for top two percent sales achievement. Kielman specializes in connecting people, businesses and resources across Iowa. Jayne earned her marketing degree from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.

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Jayne Kielman

Mike Strajack

Mike Strajack serves as a Lead Consultant for Advance Iowa. Prior to joining our team, he was the co-founder and executive officer for a NIS, Inc., which began as a print and packaging provider for Amana Appliances in 1995. Prior to selling the company in 2015, the ISO registered company provided assembly, inventory management, and warehouse and distribution services to companies in the manufacturing, educational, and healthcare sectors, employing 150+ people, in 2 locations with a 165,000 sq. ft of production and warehouse space. His experience includes strategic planning, succession planning, financial analysis, and business process management. He also has over 10+ years of experience in sales and sales management; with a Fortune 1000 company growing sales in Texas and Eastern Iowa. Mike earned his BBA in Management Sciences from the University of Iowa.

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Mike Strajack

Ricki Alford

Ricki Alford is the marketing and communications coordinator for Advance Iowa and the Center for Business Growth and Innovation. Alford has served is marketing and communications roles for the past ten years. Graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in fine arts, she spent several years serving as a communications specialist for the Institute for Genomic Biology and the Krannert Center for Performing Arts.

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Scott Bailey

Scott Bailey serves as a Lead Consultant for Advance Iowa. In addition to his work with Advance Iowa, Scott is also the president of In The Black – Ink Co, a business consulting firm which provides CFO services, coaching and exit planning. Prior to beginning his consulting practice in 2012, Scott had a successful financial leadership career at Pella Corporation with hands-on experience in distribution (Boston, MA), manufacturing (Carroll, IA) and strategic development of distribution channels (Pella, IA). Scott earned his MBA from Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management and is certified in exit and succession planning.

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Scott Bailey

Gary Nesteby

Gary has spent 43 years in the field of continual improvement, Quality and Performance Excellence. As the Founder and Executive Director of the Iowa Quality Center for 21 years, Gary was the leader in the development and implementation of the Iowa Recognition of Performance Excellence (IRPE.) He was a Director of the Alliance for Performance Excellence, which includes all state programs that feed the applicants into the National Baldrige Performance Excellence program.

Gary has spent the last 20 years assessing organizations in manufacturing, education, healthcare, nonprofit and government. His experience in systems thinking and the assessment tools of the Baldrige framework have given him opportunities to lead groups and address organizational gaps. Gary’s alignment with the CEO Peer Groups is a natural fit for business leaders needing to share best practices and learn from each other.

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Lars Peterson

Lars Peterson serves as a consultant to family businesses on ownership and management transition. This includes helping families with roles and responsibilities, strategic planning, family harmony, leadership development, conflict resolution and effective communication. 

Lars is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice. Lars works with individuals who are experiencing anxiety, stress, relationship issues, trauma symptoms and work/vocational issues. 

Lars also works with couples and families. 

Lars serves as a trainer for Employee Family Resources (EFR). Training topics include mental health, team building, leadership, diversity, and communication issues. Lars is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Iowa, Des Moines campus. 

Lars’ background includes working in leadership roles for both private companies and not-for-profit organizations including Transition Point Business Advisors, Iowa State University and Eyerly Ball Community Mental Health Center. Lars has mediated business, neighborhood, family, and personal disputes.  

Lars holds B.S. and M.S.W. degrees from the University of Iowa.


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Lars Peterson Image