Get inspired

Iowa JPEC sponsors several speaker series each year that are designed to bring successful entrepreneurs and business leaders to campus to inspire students and entrepreneurs alike. These events also provide outstanding networking opportunities. In addition to the two annual lectures below, we bring in additional entrepreneurial speakers throughout the year. Be sure to check our events calendar for updates on upcoming speakers.


John R. Hughes Lecture Series

Each fall semester, Iowa JPEC co-sponsors the John R. Hughes lecture series with Hills Bank and Trust Company.  The series is named for the late John R. Hughes, a former bank president, who was instrumental in expanding the company throughout the Corridor and making the bank a model for entrepreneurship and prosperity.

Past Lectures

In fall 2017, we hosted a panel for Technology Driving the Future, a discussion on the future of driverless machines. Tom Banta, Director of Strategic Growth at the Iowa City Area Development Group, served as the moderator for this discussion. The panel consisted of Joe Buckner, Project Manager at AutonomouStuff LLC, Hugh Ekberg, COO & Group President of CRST International, Dr. Dan McGehee, Director of the National Advanced Driving Simulator and Associate Professor of Engineering, and Terence Pickett, Manager of Advanced Engineering at John Deere.

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Ben S. Summerwill Lecture Series

Each spring semester, Iowa JPEC co-sponsors the Ben S. Summerwill Lecture Series, formerly known as the MidWestOne Lecture Series. The series is presented by MidWestOne and Iowa JPEC. The purpose of this lecture is to promote entrepreneurship and economic development in the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids area. This program is named for the late Ben S. Summerwill, founder of Iowa State Bank & Trust Company, now known as MidWestOne Bank. Ben S. Summerwill was an adventurer and entrepreneur whose compassion and hard work changed the lives of many right here in Iowa City. Check back soon for an announcement on our spring 2018 speaker.

Past Lectures

In spring 2018, we hosted a panel discussion on family business opportunities and challenges with the West Music Company. The panel consisted of Robin Walenta, President, Ryan West, Senior Vice President and 3rd generation owner, and Steve West, Chairman of the Board, of the West Music Company. The West Music Company began in 1941 and has continued for the past 77 years as a family owned and operated business. In that time, West Music built the first Westwind flute, expanded operations throughout Iowa and Illinois, developed West Music Music Therapy Services, and created new lines of children’s exploratory instruments.