This news release describes past events and should be used for historical purposes only. Please note date of release.

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

News Bureau • Schofield Hall 201Eau Claire, WI 54702
phone: (715) 836-4741
fax: (715) 836-2900
Outstanding Entrepreneur Students
Honored at Banquet
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 people.
        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 time.
        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 channels.
        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.

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Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741

Updated: May 22, 2001