NIACC Announces Leadership Changes for the Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center

NIACC Announces Leadership Changes for the Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center

Dr. Steve Schulz, President North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) has announced a leadership change for the NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. Candi Karsjens has been named the Center Director after the position was vacated by Tim Putnam.

Putnam joined NIACC in 2000 and has developed and delivered entrepreneurial training programs for entrepreneurs, small business owners, communities, and students. For the past 8 years, Tim Putnam has served as Director of the NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. Tim resigned his position in December to take a business development position for the Iowa startup, Inseer Inc.

Candi Karsjens joined the NIACC Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center in 2019 as the Director of Innovation and Acceleration and has over 30 years of business and industry experience, including owning several successful businesses. Her expertise ranges across strategic planning, organizational design, sales and marketing strategy, and capital structures and financing. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) in Strategy and Innovation. Since 2019 Candi has been working with startups, and business owners on growth, strategic planning, capital finance, SBIR/STTR funding and is the lead instructor for Venture School, a University of Iowa program modeled after the NSF iCorps program for startups. Since joining the Center, Candi has committed to enhancing the Center’s capacity to assist entrepreneurs in
achieving their visions for growth and expansion, build out the North Iowa mentor network and create effective regional economic development partnerships.

NIACC President, Steve Schulz, said, “Candi has extensive experience working in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of north Iowa. She brings a strong business acumen and extensive experience working with new and existing businesses. I am excited about her skill set and the vision she has for the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center.”

The vision of the NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center is to serve as the primary source for entrepreneurship education programs, small business counseling/support services, and as a liaison for additional resources to enhance the entrepreneurial environment and improve client results. As a connecting and collaborating resource for entrepreneurs at all stages, we work in partnership with other organizations to accomplish this vision. By leveraging assets, we improve the scope and depth of services to aspiring entrepreneurs and existing business owners across the region.

North Iowa Area Community College, founded in 1918, is a nationally-recognized, two-year college located in central North Iowa. With approximately 3,000 career and transfer students, the College has been recognized by the Aspen Institute as a leading community college in the nation. NIACC welcomes students from across Iowa, Minnesota, the nation, and the world. The College has served as a leader in student-centered learning, community engagement, and collaborative leadership for more than 100 years. Choose NIACC First.

The NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center is the expert in rural business innovation and success. In partnership with North Iowa’s Small Business Development Center, together we provide tools, support, and resources to Iowa’s entrepreneurs. We counsel both new and existing local businesses, from Main Street to industry leaders. We’re growing Iowa’s entrepreneurial culture through grade school initiatives, college and community programs, and business training and development. Contact the NIACC Pappajohn Center at 641-422-4111 or

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