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The Iowa Business Hall Of Fame Honors Tom L. Aller, John C. Bloomhall And Dr. David Maxwell As 2014 Inductees!

October 23, 2014

The Greater Des Moines Committee will recognize Interstate Power and Light past President Tom L. Aller; Diamond V Chairman of the Board John C. Bloomhall; and Drake University President Dr. David Maxwell as the 2014 Inductees to the Iowa Business Hall of Fame. The inductees will be honored during the Greater Des Moines Committee’s annual Black Tie Dinner to be held at The Meadows Events and Conference Center on Thursday, December 4, 2014.  The Iowa Business Hall of Fame honors the achievements of Iowans who have made outstanding contributions to the development and enhancement of Iowa’s business climate. 

Tom Aller
Tom L. Aller’s career was defined by his tremendous dedication to his city and state, a trait demonstrated in part by his company’s response to natural disasters impacting Iowa in the late 2000s.  Aller worked at Alliant Energy for more than 20 years and for the City of Cedar Rapids for 17 years prior to that. In 2014, he retired as the President of Alliant’s Iowa and Minnesota utility, Interstate Power and Light, and Senior Vice President of Operations Support for Alliant.

Aller’s career started in 1972 when he took a position as an executive assistant to Cedar Rapids Mayor Don Canney and the City Council. Among his accomplishments, he helped implement a plan in 1973 to make the Cedar Rapids Airport a self-supporting organization. In 1988, Aller became Executive Vice President of 2001 Development Corp., a company that laid the framework for downtown development projects. He held that position through 2008. In that time, the company played a role in many projects, including the federal courthouse in downtown Cedar Rapids.

Aller joined Alliant’s predecessor, IES Industries, in 1993, and took over as President of Interstate Power and Light in 2003. His biggest challenges and proudest accomplishments came in response to the ice storms of 2007 and the flood of 2008. In both instances, Aller and Alliant worked quickly to help restore power for residents in the affected communities. The company’s efforts won it an Edison Electric Institute Emergency Response Award both years.

Aller has been heavily involved in the community. He served on the Iowa Business Council for 12 years, including two years as Chair. He served on the Iowa Transportation Commission for eight years, including two years as Chair. Aller served on the Creighton University National Alumni Board, Mount Mercy University Board of Trustees, Wellmark Board of Directors, Cedar Rapids Airport Commission, and Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation Board.

Aller was honored in 2014 with the Ryan Companies Master Builder Award for his contributions to economic development in the state.  He was elected to the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame in 2014. Previously, he received the Priority 1 Special Service Award, and the Paul Harris Fellow Award at the Rotary Club.

John C. Bloomhall
John C. Bloomhall has made a lasting impact in Cedar Rapids.  He and his company were leaders in helping the community recover from the 2008 flood.  Bloomhall is Chairman of the Board for Diamond V, a closely-held company founded in 1943 by his grandfather. In 1999, Bloomhall became the fifth family member to lead Diamond V, and served as President and CEO until his retirement in 2014. Diamond V is a world leader in the technology development and manufacturing of all-natural fermentation products to improve health and productivity for production animals, companion animals, and humans.

Bloomhall joined Diamond V in 1988. He was appointed Vice President, Operations in 1989, and was appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in 1994. Bloomhall was elected to the Diamond V Board of Directors in 1996 and became the Chairman in January 2014.  Under Bloomhall’s leadership, Diamond V expanded to nine facilities in seven locations worldwide, with international sales in more than 50 countries. The company has expanded from less than 100 employees to 250. More recently, and perhaps most-impressively, Diamond V invested $55 million over four years to construct new state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities while navigating the company’s recovery from the Cedar Rapids flood of 2008. The company recently completed construction of a new $5 million global headquarters, a $12.5 million expansion to its newest manufacturing facility, and broke ground on a $30 million expansion to its newest manufacturing plant in 2014.

Bloomhall believes in giving back to the community and industries served by Diamond V. The Diamond V Donor-Advised Fund has awarded $2 million in grants and contributions to charitable causes. He has served on the Board of the Cedar Rapids Downtown Rotary Club; the Board of Trustees of Brucemore, a National Trust Historic Site; the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance; and, the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art where he served as Board Chair. Bloomhall has also served on the Wells Fargo Bank Community Board, the Kirkwood Community College Foundation Board, and the Board of Directors of ILC Resources Inc.

In 2012, Bloomhall was named a Laureate to the Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa Business Hall of Fame. Diamond V received the 2011 Prometheus Award for Technology Company of the Year and Life Sciences Company of the Year. He received the 2010 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Central Midwest Region, and in 2009 was presented the Entrepreneurial Achievement Award by the Iowa Biotechnology Association.

Dr. David Maxwell
Under Dr. David Maxwell’s leadership, Drake University has been recognized as one of the finest institutions of higher education in the Midwest. The university currently enrolls more than 3,300 undergraduate students and 1,700 graduate students from 40 states and 46 countries.  Maxwell has served as President of the university since 1999.

Maxwell followed a diverse career path before arriving at Drake. He graduated with a degree in Russian Area Studies from Grinnell College in 1966, holds a master’s degree and Ph.D in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Brown University, and was a Fulbright Fellow in Moscow in 1970-71. Maxwell spent 18 years as a faculty member in Russian language and literature at Tufts University. He also spent eight of those years as the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. Maxwell served as President of Whitman College from 1989 to 1993, and then as Director of the National Foreign Language Center in Washington, D.C., until 1999.

During his tenure, the university has made great strides. Its endowment has grown from $80 million to $185 million. Maxwell led the completion of a $190-million comprehensive fundraising campaign, and launched another $200-million campaign. Drake has implemented four strategic plans, and applications for admission have increased nearly 177 percent. Maxwell is set to retire from Drake in June 2015. When he steps down next summer, Maxwell will have served longer than all but two of his predecessors.

In 2011, Maxwell received the Chief Executive Leadership Award from District VI, Council for Advancement and Support of Education. In 2012, he received the A. Arthur Davis Distinguished Community Leadership Award from the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, and the Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character Award from Character Counts in Iowa.

Maxwell has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Business/Higher Education Forum, and Chairperson of The New American Colleges and Universities, in addition to many other positions in national organizations.  Locally, Maxwell has served on a number of boards, including the Community Board of Wells Fargo Bank, Iowa,­ the Implementation Committee of the regional Capital Crossroads Vision Plan, the Downtown Community Alliance, and the Greater Des Moines Partnership. He is also past President of the Des Moines Higher Education Collaborative, and past Chair of the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

About the Iowa Business Hall of Fame
Inductees to the Iowa Business Hall of Fame are selected on merit rather than endorsement.  Past Hall of Fame honorees under the leadership of the current Chair serves as the selection committee. The criteria for selection are as follows:

  • Business Leadership:  The nominated individual should lead or have led a business that has provided valued jobs and economic development to his/her community and the state; creating both wealth and workforce opportunity.
  • Community Development Impact:  The nominated individual should have made an impact by improving the economies of the community and the state through his/her leadership in such organizations as Chambers of Commerce, economic development organizations or centers of education.
  • Community Volunteerism/Leadership:  The nominated individual should have personally given of his/her time and financial resources for the betterment of the community through support of charities and organizations.
  • Strategic Leadership:  The nominated individual should have contributed to community economic growth through visionary leadership, community problem-solving, and building strategic alliances.
  • Business Recognition:  The nominated individual should be recognized by his/her peers as a business leader.

Media inquiries about the Iowa Business Hall of Fame or the Greater Des Moines Committee may be directed to Kyle Oppenhuizen at (515) 286-4972, or koppenhuizen@DSMpartnership.com

About the Greater Des Moines Committee

The Greater Des Moines Committee was formed in 1907 by a group of 30 local business leaders.  Today, the Committee consists of 111 members and provides an opportunity for business leaders to come together for an information exchange about important topics in the community, the state, and the nation.  The Committee founded the Iowa Business Hall of Fame in 1975 to honor the achievements of Iowans who have made outstanding contributions to the development and enhancement of Iowa’s business climate.

The Greater Des Moines Committee’s purpose is to encourage, promote, develop and protect commercial, manufacturing and other business interests of Greater Des Moines and the state of Iowa.  The Committee is comprised of CEO’s, or in the case of professional firms, the senior managing partner of central Iowa companies who have a vested interest in the growth and development of our community and state.