MAILED: May 22, 2001
EAU CLAIRE—Lana Wirtala, Thorp,
a May candidate for graduation of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, was
recently honored as the 2001 Outstanding Entrepreneur Student of the Year.
Wirtala, who majored in management with an emphasis on
entrepreneurship, received her award at the Entrepreneur Program Celebration
Banquet held May 14 at Fanny Hill Dinner Theatre.
Approximately 100 people attended the annual event,
including the 30 students of the 2001 class of entrepreneurs, their family and
friends, entrepreneur faculty, program mentors, area business people, UW-Eau
Claire Chancellor Donald Mash, Provost Ronald Satz and Dean of the College of
Business V. Thomas Dock.
Wirtala’s fellow entrepreneur students chose her for
the honor, which recognizes classroom and activity participation, volunteer
work, ethics and willingness to help classmates. Although the award came as a
complete surprise, Wirtala said she was particularly pleased to be recognized by
such a “self-motivated, hardworking, independent, and outgoing” group of
Besides being chosen as the outstanding student
entrepreneur, Wirtala also won the award for the 2001 Outstanding Entrepreneur
Student Written Business Plan. The plan is for a retail flower shop called
Flowers By Lana, Inc., a business that Wirtala has been thinking about for some
James N. Pathos, executive-in-residence of the
Entrepreneur Program, congratulated Wirtala on both awards and said he is proud
of what she has accomplished during her year with the Entrepreneur Program. Ron
Decker, program director, and Dennis L. Heyde, chair of entrepreneurship, wished
Wirtala continued success as she enters the world of entrepreneurship.
Other student awards went to Dan Nutini, Sturgeon Bay,
who won the award for the best individual business plan presentation, and to
Ryan Nelson, North Branch, Minn., and Jason Simek, Neillsville,
who won for the best student team business plan presentation.
Nutini’s presentation was for The Nutini Theme Portrait
Company, a business that provides personalized artwork to commemorate special
events such as weddings, anniversaries and retirements.
Nelson and Simek won for their team presentation of their
business plan for Earth Goddess Luxurious Soap, a new company that manufactures
and supplies high quality natural soap products through several distribution
Also honored at the banquet was Leland G. Christenson II,
a UW-Eau Claire Alumnus chosen by the students as the 2001 Entrepreneur of the
Year. Christenson, owner of North American Fly, Ltd., the largest collector and
exporter of deer hides in the world and also one of the top two manufacturers
and import/exporters of fly fishing materials, impressed the students with his
business savvy when he spoke to them during the spring semester.
Both UW-Eau Claire faculty and other business
professionals teach in the Entrepreneur Program at UW-Eau Claire, which has just
completed its seventh year.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: May 22, 2001