Al Beach appointed as director of Small Business Development Center
Kirkwood Community College has appointed Alan D. Beach as director of the Small Business Development Center. He replaces Steve Sprague, who left in December after 12 years to start his own consulting business.
Dee Baird, Continuing Education and Training Services vice president at Kirkwood, said a selection committee decided Mr. Beach was a natural fit after “doing a great job” serving as an evening staff member the last year for the SBDC office at the Kirkwood Training and Outreach Services Center in Marion.
“Al is a longtime resident of the Cedar Rapids area and has worked for a variety of local companies. He comes to us with a wealth of marketing and business experience including owning his own small businesses. We’re pleased he’s accepted the full-time position,” Ms. Baird said. “Al is passionate about the role of being a strong mentor and counselor for clients interested in starting or growing a small business.”
She said Mr. Beach will lead efforts to expand the SBDC’s work more into Jones and Benton counties.
Beach has been well-known in eastern Iowa business development circles for more than two decades. He was an early executive at the Teleconnect Company in the 1980s and later owned a TelecomUSA sales agency in Boulder, Colorado. Later business experience included a management position with LinkUSA and his own Beach Consulting Group, a business he continues today. He also co-founded the Eastern Iowa enterprise Council, now known as the Entrepreneurial Development Center.
Beach believes the Small Business Development Center provides “real help for people who want to be proactive” in their personal business lives.
“When faced with the prospect of losing their jobs, many employees don’t just wait around for the pink slip to arrive. Instead, they get serious about starting the small business of their dreams. If it’s their first entrepreneurial venture, the hurdles can look pretty daunting. That’s where the SBDC can be a big help. We can’t guarantee success, but we make the process a whole lot less complicated,” he observed.
Beach also called SBDC’s realistic economic advice “the number one service” provided.
“It’s crucial to know what’s probable and possible from the outset. Funding drives every business decision at some level. We provide good information for the entrepreneur for his or her visit to a lender. Preparation begins with a good business plan so that’s where we usually spend most of our time. I look forward to educating people on the process of starting up, sharing insights and using the tools at my disposal to help them manage their business going forward,” Beach added.
The Small Business Development Center is located in the Kirkwood Training and Outreach Services Center on Armar Drive in Marion, (319) 377-8256.