Entrepreneur. Immigrant. Business Leader. Venture Capitalist. Philanthropist.
July 31, 1928 – April 22, 2023
In 1996, the Greater Des Moines Committee again recognized a major contributor to the Iowa business community when it installed John Pappajohn as its latest inductee into the Iowa Business Hall of Fame. Mr. Pappajohn, who grew up in Mason City, is the President of Equity Dynamics, Inc. and the President and sole owner of Pappajohn Capital Resources, both located in Des Moines.
After his graduation from North Iowa Area Community College and The University of Iowa, Mr. Pappajohn spent nine years as an insurance agent before he founded his first company, Guardsman Life Investors, Inc. Since selling Guardsman in 1969, Mr. Pappajohn has established dozens of new firms. Many of these firms, remain in Mr. Pappajohn’s corporate portfolio in various stages of development. By establishing these firms, Mr. Pappajohn has contributed much to the development of biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and other innovations.
Mr. Pappajohn has also made numerous contributions to many segments of the community, and in the fall of 1996, he established the NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center through a generous $550,000 gift. NIACC’s Pappajohn Center was one of five entrepreneurial centers established at the University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa, Iowa State University, Drake University, and North Iowa Area Community College. Although each entrepreneurial center has defined its own mission and serves the state in the manner consistent with its particular strengths, each center has the same ultimate purpose: to enhance the effectiveness of Iowa’s entrepreneurs.