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Kirkwood’s Beach Leaves Helm as SBDC Director

By September 6, 2013January 9th, 2019No Comments

Retirement reception planned Sept. 26

It’s the end of an era as Al Beach, regional director of Kirkwood’s Small Business Development Center, has announced his retirement, effective September 30.

A retirement open house will be held from 3-5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 26, at Kirkwood Training and Outreach Services, 3375 Armar Drive, Marion. Everyone is welcome.

Beach has been instrumental in helping the Creative Corridor’s small businesses flourish for the past 5-plus years. Beach’s assistance to small businesses devastated by the flood of 2008 was recognized by the Association of Small Business Development Centers with its Iowa State Star award and the U.S. Small Business Administration by its Iowa Small Business Development Center Service Excellence and Innovation award.

“After years of direct success as a senior executive or owner of high-growth businesses, I enjoyed experiencing a new, more rewarding type of success: helping small-business owners with their successes,” Beach said of his career with the Small Business Development Center. “I wanted to work with entrepreneurs because my first love is mentoring small business owners. To have a job in which I got paid for what I love to do was pretty close to perfect. I am a great admirer of the entrepreneurs I’ve encountered over my long career. Most all have been visionaries. Someone once said, ‘Visionaries are possessed creatures, men and women in the thrall of belief so powerful that they ignore all else — even reason — to ensure that reality catches up to their dreams.’ You could say my job was to give a power boost to that reality.”

The Kirkwood Small Business Development Center provides free, confidential counseling to current and prospective businesses in Linn, Benton and Jones counties. “I counseled about 200 new clients a year. SBDC assistance ranges from tactical to strategic and spans financial, marketing and operational disciplines in a wide assortment of industries,” Beach said.

Beach came to Kirkwood after a 35-year career in telecommunications and non-profit directorships, including 10 years as an owner or director of successful start-ups and 15 years as a consultant to new ventures. Even in retirement, he plans to continue his consulting efforts albeit on a part-time basis.

“Al’s retirement definitely leaves a hole here at Kirkwood. His determination and enthusiasm for supporting entrepreneurship in our region is unmatched,” said Kim Johnson, vice president of Kirkwood Continuing Education and Training Services. “But, this opening is a great future career opportunity for an upcoming patron of small business in the Creative Corridor.”

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