Applications for the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Venture Competition are now being accepted, with $100,000 in cash prizes - double the amount from previous years - now on the line.

The annual business competition, now in its 13th year, has historically awarded $50,000 in prizes, funded by a contribution from Iowa business philanthropists John and Mary Pappajohn in an effort to support the state's entrepreneurial ecosystem. This year's competition will include a cash match from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Iowa businesses that have been in operation for four years or less, or are not yet cash flow positive, are eligible to apply. This competition is open to businesses in the tech, biotech, green tech, medical, advanced manufacturing, agriculture, engineering and education industries.

Participants will present their business plan through a written submission and, if selected to advance to the final round of the competition, through in-person pitches to competition judges. First place will be awarded $40,000, second place $25,000, and third place $15,000. Awards for other categories will total $20,000.

Applications for the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Venture Competition are due May 21. For more information or to apply, visit 

Sean Williams 
Sean Williams has been selected to serve as the new president and CEO of Mercy Iowa City, effective May 1.

Mr. Williams currently serves as president and CEO of Mercy Medical Center - Clinton, where he has led the organization for the past eight years. Mercy Iowa City Interim CEO Shane Cerone, along with Mercy Iowa City COO Casey Greene, will assist to ensure a smooth transition, officials said in a statement.

"Sean has made significant contributions to Mercy Health Network and to the excellence of our Clinton ministry," Mercy Health Network President and CEO Bob Ritz said in a press release. "With his proven track record of leadership and deep understanding of our values and mission, he is uniquely qualified and we are pleased to elevate his talents to serve Mercy Iowa City."

During Mr. Williams' tenure at Mercy Medical Center - Clinton, the organization realized greater clinical success, colleague engagement, patient experience and quality metrics. These achievements led to the hospital receiving Magnet recognition and numerous patient satisfaction and industry quality awards. He also previously served as CEO of Jones Regional Medical Center in Anamosa, where he led the planning and building of a replacement hospital.

"I am honored and excited to join the talented team at Mercy Iowa City," Mr. Williams said in the release. "Their reputation for top quality care is well established and I am humbled to be associated with them."

Mr. Williams, a Quad Cities native, earned a bachelor's degree in economics at Loras College in Dubuque and a Master of Healthcare Administration at Des Moines University. He and his wife, Katie, are excited to return to Iowa City where they met and were married 15 years ago.   
Story4ImOn's March Gladness bracket challenge tips off 

Cedar Rapids-based ImOn Communications has kicked off its third-annual March Gladness bracket challenge, giving local nonprofits a chance to win hundreds in funding on March 23.

The March Gladness Challenge follows along the lines of the NCAA March Madness Tournament, but instead of basketball teams, eight local nonprofits will compete. Each day of the challenge, two nonprofits will vie for votes on ImOn's Facebook page and customer website. The nonprofit that receives the most votes will move on to the next round.

The competition will continue until only one nonprofit is left standing. That organization will receive a $500 donation from ImOn, while the runner-up will receive $250.

Organizations competing include the Cedar Rapids Library Foundation, Cedar Valley Humane Society, Friends of the Animal Center Foundation, Jane Boyd, Johnson County Crisis Center, Shelter House, the Salvation Army and United Way of East Central Iowa.

Past winners include Arc of East Central Iowa and Last Hope Animal Rescue. For more information visit 
Story3Final LWVJC forum to focus on affordable housing        
Affordable housing will take center stage at the final League of Women Voters of Johnson County Sunday Speaker Series event of 2018, set for March 18 at 2 p.m.

A panel of speakers will address affordable housing during the event, to be held in the Iowa City Public Library, Room A. Panelists will include Casey Cook, of Cook Appraisal; Crissy Canganelli, of Shelter House; and Tracy Hightshoe, neighborhood and development services director for the city of Iowa City.

The discussion will include two studies: One that reviews area building permits to help determine the rental market and another that reviews the costs associated with homelessness. The panelists will also take questions following the presentation.

For more information, visit the LWVJC website or the organization's Facebook page.

Story5CBJ Movers & Shakers: Week of 3.12.18
View all of this week's Movers & Shakers in the March 12 edition of the CBJ.
EventHeadlinesShort-Term Event Planner

March 15
BizMix: TRU by Hilton
, by Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance and Marion Chamber of Commerce, 4-6 p.m., 3900 Westdale Parkway SW, Cedar Rapids. BizMix brings together area professionals for an evening of casual networking over complimentary hors d'oeuvres and cocktails, and is hosted by a different member business each month. Free.
March 19
Coralville Roundtable,
by Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, noon-1 p.m., Texas Roadhouse, 2520 Corridor Way, Coralville. Roundtables are social lunches over the noon hour. All are invited to network and keep up-to-date with chamber and community events. Free for members. Call the chamber at (319) 337-9637 if interested and not a member.
WEDG Annual Dinner,
by Washington Economic Development Group, 5:30 p.m., Riverside Casino, 3184 Highway 22, Riverside. Network with 280-plus community leaders from around greater Washington County. Tickets: $40. To register, visit

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Headlines from CBS2/FOX 28
These news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28  
The Iowa City Community School District is working on efforts to keep students safe in the classroom. District leaders say they currently use methods like controlled access to secure their facilities, although they don't have a constant law enforcement presence on school grounds. That could soon change, however. "Having officers present in the school will be a very significant change for the district," said Stephen Murley, superintendent of the Iowa City Community School District. Following the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last month, school resource officers are now being reconsidered in Iowa City. "One of the things we have experienced in the past couple of weeks is a heightened sense of awareness by our students," said Mr. Murley. With the school district considering a more constant approach, district leaders plan on creating a task force made up of parents and students to weigh in on any future security decisions. Read the full story here.

After months of speculation the Roughriders USHL team might skate down the Corridor to a new sports arena in Coralville, the club signed a deal Tuesday making Cedar Rapids "Rider Town USA" for at least 15 more years. The Cedar Rapids City Council unanimously approved the new long-term lease and Roughriders Hockey Club Co-President Doug Miller says everybody wins. "We couldn't be happier, we're excited to be here for many years to come. Cedar Rapids is a great town, it's an amazing city and it welcomed us for the last two decades with open arms," Mr. Miller said. The new agreement means the hockey team will have rent-free use of the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena and the city will receive all profits from the concessions. It also stipulates both the city and the team will invest more than $1 million into the 19-year-old ice facility over that time for improvements including new seats, new HDTV video capabilities, a new scoreboard, fan decks for group gatherings and more concession stands. 
T hese news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28 
CBS2 Chief Meteorologist Terry Swails' Weather First Forecast

With plenty of sunshine and bare ground, temperatures will be climbing well into the 50s today. Winds will be kicking out of the southwest around 15-30 mph. A weak cold front will move in early this evening and switch the winds out of the north and winds will die down. Cooler air will move in as we head toward the end of the week. Temperatures will be in the mid to upper 40s Thursday and mid to upper 30s Friday. Our next disturbance moves in late Friday and will bring the chance for some light rain to a wintry mix to light snow overnight and into Saturday morning. There are still uncertainties as to where exactly the precipitation will set up and how much accumulation there will be. Good news is precipitation moves out early Saturday morning and it will be cool, dry and cloudy for St. Patrick's Day.