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Pappajohn’s Zanios fires back at allegations made by Fosters on incubator

This news story was published on December 12, 2012.
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NOTE: The following information is in response to a recent video interview of Cyclone Steel owners Leland and William Foster, where they talked about their time at the NIACC Pappajohn small business incubator.  That story is here.


NIACC Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center

From Jamie T. Zanios, Vice President of NIACC’s JPEC –

Serious and inaccurate accusations have been made against the services provided by the North Iowa Area Community College John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center Business Incubator by a recent tenant. I would like to take this opportunity to provide correct information.

The NIACC JPEC Business Incubator’s goal, located on the NIACC campus, is providing nurturing, professional environment where new businesses can develop and grow during the challenging first few years of existence. There are many benefits to those who start and grow their business in the incubator.

In addition to reduced rent, free required consulting and networking with other business startup companies, they have free access to all kinds of technology at the college and computer stations loaded with appropriate business software, a printer, copier, conference room, fax machine, telecommunications equipment, and much more located in the main office. It’s all available free of charge by any of the Incubator tenants.

Also included is all heat, light, snow removal and other services as part of the lease, unless there is a separate meter required due to heavy electrical use. Incubator tenants have complete access to their rental space, 24/7 and are free to furnish their rental space as they see it, as long as it meets code and has gone through a risk analysis.

Rent is not charged to full-time NIACC students who start their business in the incubator, but rent begins once they graduate, if still occupying space.

Before moving in, tenants agree to certain requirements that are spelled out and reviewed with them in detail. These requirements are designed to instill the discipline necessary to run a successful business. Tenants agree to submit monthly financials and make themselves available for at least monthly consulting with the NIACC Pappajohn Center staff. Most incubator clients spend many more hours with our staff reviewing marketing plans, financials, hiring practices, process issues, and more. Rent is only part of the agreement for services, though like any other lease rent must be paid when due.

Typically tenants remain in the incubator for 18-24 months, but sometimes a little longer. Ideally, they move out within 36 months.

All tenants are held to the same standard and are only required to leave if they have not met the obligations set forward in the lease and consulting agreement. There was recently an eviction after a tenant failed to comply with their legal agreement. They failed to comply with the terms of the lease — including rental payments, meeting and reporting requirements and repeated failure to cure the deficiencies in the agreement despite a protracted and lengthy opportunity to do so, dating back to May of 2012. All this is documented and signed by the tenant in question. Tenants are free to leave at any time, if they don’t like the requirements, as the lease agreement has a 30 day cancellation opportunity for both parties.

It’s disappointing that the erroneous and false statements in a video were shared with the public. All accusations against the NIACC Business Incubator made by the evicted tenant can be refuted.

The Business Incubator is here to help businesses grow, not tear them down, and it is with reluctance therefor that we have responded to the accusations of a former tenant.

We are excited to welcome our new Business Incubator Director, Daniel Pitts Winegarden, who joins us this month. Upon arrival, his first task will be to contact previous occupants of the Incubator to ascertain the level of support they received; its value and determine if there is more that can and should be done to help our clients. This is an important piece of what the Incubator and the College try to accomplish. Continuous Quality Improvement is important and critical to future success, so a look back and any changes needed in this area will be made.

I would encourage anyone who is interested in starting a business to contact us here at the Pappajohn Center. Our dream is to grow more businesses here in North Iowa. Please contact us if you would like more information.


Thank you,


Jamie T. Zanios, Vice President

North Iowa Area Community College

John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center

Institutional Advancement

500 College Drive

Mason City, IA 50401

Office: 641-422-4162





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18 Responses to Pappajohn’s Zanios fires back at allegations made by Fosters on incubator

  1. Clyde Reply Report comment

    December 13, 2012 at 8:45 am

    What about your english teacher Anonymous? Guess what, when you say teacher that means one and you said themselves that means two, so which is it huh?

    • Watchdog Reply Report comment

      December 13, 2012 at 9:29 am

      Hey Anonymous, Clyde sure told you!

  2. Not a NIACC graduate Reply Report comment

    December 13, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Using “protracted” and “lengthy” in the same sentence to describe the same thing, priceless. Maybe they should clear out the Fosters space and start a new English course for the staff.

    • Katie Reply Report comment

      December 13, 2012 at 12:20 pm

      I see a few problems with usage, punctuation, one spelling error, and one incomplete clause after a semicolon in this article. However, it is far more readable than the article written by the high school official about the dance earlier this fall. The author of this article doesn’t teach English or send notes home with children. He runs a business incubator. It’s not that bad.

    • Victor Sanchez Reply Report comment

      December 13, 2012 at 12:23 pm

      Are you mad because he used synonyms in the same sentance?

      Main Entry: protracted  
      Part of Speech: adjective
      Definition: long

      Synonyms: continued, deep, distant, dragging, drawn out, drawn-out, elongate, elongated, enduring, enlarged, expanded, extensive, far-off, far-reaching, faraway, gangling, great, high*, lanky, lasting, lengthened, lengthy, lingering, lofty, long-drawn-out, longish, outstretched, overlong, prolonged, rangy, remote, running, spread out, spun out, stretch, stretched, stretching, stringy, sustained, tall, towering
      * = informal/non-formal usage

      • LVS Reply Report comment

        December 13, 2012 at 2:37 pm

        @Sanchez-wow-you can copy a dictionary. Big deal.

  3. Clyde Reply Report comment

    December 13, 2012 at 7:47 am

    The way Fosters has lived there lifes would of made Abe Lincoln change his mind about what he done for them.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      December 13, 2012 at 8:12 am

      The way you crafted that comment would have made your English teacher consider themselves a failure.

      • LVS Reply Report comment

        December 13, 2012 at 8:37 am

        @Anonymous-you just can’t help yourself can you? Just to easy to sit at your keyboard and insult and bully someone who did nothing more than offer their opinion. Not all people are as well educated as you claim to be, although if you were as good as you think you are you wouldn’t try to bully and insult other people while hiding behind the name Anonymous. Grow up and get a life.

  4. Jimmy jones Reply Report comment

    December 13, 2012 at 4:19 am

    thanks for the follow up. Glad to hear both sides. Sounds like a culture clash between fly by the seat of your pants and let,s show you how to make this fly. Personally I like the airport with a controller in it.

  5. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 12, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    shitbags shitbags everyone knows the shitbags of mason city, keep up the good work niacc

    • Katie Reply Report comment

      December 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm

      You know, it’s just plain rude to call anyone names the way you did. Look in the mirror. It takes one to know one.

  6. Katie Reply Report comment

    December 12, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    The situation was exactly as I suspected.

  7. cyclone Reply Report comment

    December 12, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    No offense to the Fosters, Im sure they beleive in themselves but lets be honest. Lets look at the real payroll here. It is Derr, Zanious, Putnem, Behr, that payroll is well over half a million dollars and for what? Pretty good for Mason City and North Iowa. Maybe too good.

    • Experience Reply Report comment

      December 12, 2012 at 9:49 pm

      For the record I’ve had multiple dealings and received advice from Tim Putnam and Ted Bair on business dealings. I thought they did an excellent job and are well worth their paychecks. But everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

  8. anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 12, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    It’s the Fosters, what do you expect? They ahve lived their whole life getting everything for nothing. Here’s my suggestion to the Foster Family. Stay out of the court system, pay your bills and stop playing the race card.

  9. rukidding Reply Report comment

    December 12, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    I am glad NIT aired the Foster bros complaints and gave Zanios a chance to respond this is not always the case with the media in the area.

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      December 12, 2012 at 4:14 pm

      I believe that is the only fair way to handle an issue like this. Both parties know that I have respect for both sides, and would not be taking any sides, but only offer a platform to speak and be heard. The rest is between them.