Congratulations to 2015 Lending Award Winners


By Jeff Reynolds, former staff member

Every year we recognize entrepreneurs and individuals who have worked with us to strengthen small towns and rural communities through small, self-employed business development. This year the awards will be given on March 11, 2016, at our annual awards banquet.

Friend of the Year Award - Pat Coldiron, Liberty House Bed & Breakfast

Pat Coldiron, owner of Liberty House B&B, Antiques and Gifts in Seward, is also the former Seward Area Chamber of Commerce Director. As the Chamber Director, Pat worked with the Center to sponsor and promote business training opportunities for the community and the region. We have been extremely grateful for Pat's collaborative nature, and for her friendship. She is a truly deserving of the Friend of the Year Award.

Extra Mile Award 2015 - First Central Bank of Curtis

The First Central Bank of Curtis is a great partner of the Center and other resource providers in Southwest Nebraska. Gilbert Larson, Peggy Fritsche, and Byron Brown have worked with us over the years to meet the needs of the community. Gilbert and crew go above and beyond to make deals happen to sustain and grow their community.

Women’s Business Center Entrepreneur of the Year 2015  - Colleen Rickard, C-Pap Easy Clean, LLC, Axtell, NE

Colleen Rickard solved a problem with her C-Pap Easy Clean, LLC device. The germ reducing light can penetrate a micro-organisms cell membrane damaging the DNA, preventing growth and killing the organism. UVC Light kills up to 99.9% of germs, viruses and other micro-organisms on solid, non-porous surfaces. Colleen has participated in numerous training sessions, received numerous hours of pre and post Center loan technical assistance as well a Quick GROW Loan serviced by the Center. She also refers others to our program.

Latino Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 - Arcadio & Ebodio Zepeda, Tu Casa, Norfolk, NE

Arcadio and Ebodio Zepeda, owners of Tu Casa in Norfolk, Nebraska, have managed and owned a food truck since 2007, providing authentic Mexican cuisine they learned growing up in Jalisco, Mexico. Last summer they moved to Norfolk. Their dream is to have their own restaurant and to be able to expand their menu and offer new services. Since 2007, they have been writing their success page by page. With these entrepreneurs, we know there are more great things to come.

2015 Center for Rural Affairs Entrepreneur Award - Greg & Kristy Parr, Custom Sports, Norfolk, NE

Growth is the name of the game for Greg and Kristy Parr. They started Custom Sports in the small rural community of Neligh, Nebraska, in 2004 and have been hitting home runs ever since. Aptly named, Custom Sports provides custom T-shirt and other sports apparel. The business offers custom embroidery in addition to screen printing. They now offer marketing and sales of uniforms, shirts, caps, and apparel for commercial and industrial businesses.