Woodworking techniques combined with the latest trends and custom graphics is what created the DIY Board & Brush Creative Studio concept. Now with a location in Ames, Board & Brush wants to turn you into a DIY master by educating you to understand and appreciate the beauty of raw materials—the wood, the knots, the color variations, and the simple imperfections that will make your project unique.
If you’re not handy with a hammer, sand paper, or power tools, don’t worry. No experience is necessary to learn how to distress wood. Owner Amy Weber and her team will teach you all the skills required to make a personalized wood sign that you’ll be proud to hang in your house.
The DIY wood sign workshops started as a “Girl’s Night Out” with wine and crafts concept that quickly evolved into a business idea. Make it girl’s night or family-fun night this winter at Board & Brush.
Board & Brush is located at 3326 Lincoln Way Suite 102.
Have you ever wanted to learn how to make French macarons, Vietnamese egg rolls, artisanal sourdough, or a delicious apple tart? Consider taking a class at The Recipe, a new culinary venue in Downtown Ames.
The venue is owned and operated by Patrick and Mindy Bergstrom, proprietors of other Downtown Ames businesses such as Nook & Nest, Z.W. Mercantile, and Cooks’ Emporium, where they previously taught classes.
Teaching cooking classes at Cooks’ dates back to 1981 with the original owner. In 2018, when the Bergstom’s took over, they continued the tradition and remodeled the business to accommodate. “One of the first things we did was figure out how to make the demo kitchen a little bigger,” said Patrick, noting that they immediately got requests for hands-on classes.
By 2021, the classes had been regularly selling out and they explored the idea of a dedicated space. That idea turned into The Recipe that opened this fall. Their most popular classes include Pasta 101 and 201, knife skills, and food prep, but their course offerings are wide-ranging. They sprinkle in sushi classes, those on Mediterranean cuisine, shrimp curry, or a course specifically on kids snacks and dips.
Both Mindy and Patrick come from entrepreneurial families, but their career background is in the corporate world. Mindy started working for a web design and advertising company when she was 19, and Patrick most recently worked as a technology executive. For Patrick, his love of cooking dates to childhood. When the opportunity to buy Cooks’ was available to them in 2017, they jumped at the chance and each year added another business to the mix.
Patrick hosts the majority of classes at The Recipe but brings in other chefs for some of the specialty classes. “The response has been great so far,” said Patrick. “People get excited to learn new skills, and they want to eat healthier and more inexpensively. We’ve heard from several people that coming to one or two classes has changed the way they eat at home.”
With the new space, The Recipe is able to entertain more private events and they are renting their space for retirement and graduation parties, or to cooks who need access to a fully licensed, commercial kitchen.
More information and a full list of classes can be found at:
The Recipe is located at 412 Burnett in Downtown Ames
After twelve years of considering proposals for a new hotel or the extensive remodeling of one of the old existing hotels, a group of Ames business leaders organized the Ames Improvement Company to carry out the community's desire to have a hotel that would meet not only immediate needs but the future needs of a growing city.
The result was the Sheldon Munn, considered one of the finest hotels between Chicago and Denver. Built in 1915, the hotel featured three floors of guest rooms, a large ballroom, meeting rooms, barber shop, coffee shop, dining room, and beautiful lobby.
Parley Sheldon, a banker and perennial mayor of Ames at the time, partnered with lumberyard owners H. L. and A. H. Munn, to construct the hotel.
The new Sheldon-Munn hotel cost $150,000 and represented the “final word know to modern hotel building and equipping,” as writing in the June 6, 1916 edition of the Ames Tribune. The building included seventy-two guest rooms, a banquet hall, dining room, grill room, and the “most beautiful lobby of any hotel in the middle west” in order to entertain the guests in “ease and comfort.” It also touted “A telephone, hot and cold water, and two lights,” are to be found in every room.
The fourth story featured a ballroom and a large dining room stretching the entire length of the first floor. The hotel immediately became a social center for both the town and the college and was an instant success, prompting an expansion to the west in 1926. The $85,000 addition, a close match to the original structure, was completed in February of 1927. Hotel occupancy doubled and there was room for more commercial space on the ground floor.
Today, the Sheldon-Munn building has been renovated into apartments, offices, and businesses such as Noir bar, Life Distilled and Nook & Nest. It continues to be a vital part of downtown Ames and is owned and operated by OEI, Inc.
Golf simulators, axe throwing, baseball simulators, duckpin bowling, darts, pool tables, shuffle board, cornhole, foosball, Golden tee arcade, and ping-pong, not to mention a full-service bar and kitchen… the newly rebranded Inside Golf & Games has all the ingredients for a great time!
“We view ourselves as being a staple in family entertainment for the community,” said Mike Schmid, co-owner of Inside Golf & Games. Along with co-owner Payton Roberts, Inside Golf has expanded their offerings to create an establishment unlike anything else in Ames and Central Iowa. They credit their ability to expand to the community that has continued to support their business.
“The people that live in Ames are amazing people and without their support, through good times and bad, we wouldn’t be here today.”
Inside Golf opened in 2018 at North Grand Mall in Ames and instantly provided a premium golf experience with the comfort of indoor simulators. “We entered this market during a time when only the most invested and advanced golfers were participating,” said Schmid, acknowledging that it was a niche market. “The first few years, we built our customer base around golfers and their families. With every new investment and update, we expanded our market to include a range of new customers.”
The addition of axe throwing in the summer of 2021 was a formative moment for the business. “Although we did not know exactly how that would impact our business, we quickly realized how it attracted a new demographic and changed the overall trajectory of Inside Golf,” said Schmid.
Each week, more people were experiencing a new attraction to Ames. “The excitement around this entertaining sport quickly spread and soon enough, local businesses were contacting us to host their team building events and holiday parties,” said Schmid. “That is when we knew we had a valuable offering for the community of Ames and wanted to invest further.”
As Inside Golf and Axe Throwing became an outlet for more than just golfers, Schmid and his team continued to brainstorm how they could expand the business to truly make it a place for everyone.
They added more space for dart boards and additional pool tables. They booked more corporate events and expanded their axe throwing lanes to fit larger groups. “The additional lanes were filled every weekend,” said Schmid. “After quickly growing our customer base and filling up every weekend we knew we had to do more!”
A partnership with Time to Roll, a local start-up restaurant located within North Grand Mall, formed to create additional food options. After one full season of this partnership across the mall, Inside Golf acquire Time to Roll, and in the process added a new partner to the company, Payton Roberts.
This acquisition of a full-service restaurant inspired the newest expansion of Inside Golf and the addition of more premium activities that includes Baseball Simulators and Duckpin Bowling.
They were fortunate to be able to acquire additional space in North Grand Mall, across from their original location. As this expansion was taking place and they were quickly becoming a premium family entertainment center, the idea of rebranding surfaced as a way to showcase all they had to offer.
“In honor of our original customer base, we wanted to stick with Inside Golf but felt we needed to expand our brand to include everything else,” said Schmid. “We landed on Inside Golf & Games to communicate that we are more than just golf; we offer something to Play, something to Eat, and something to Drink for everyone!”
Thanks to a great partnership with North Grand Mall, they are working to connect their two separate businesses with a patio / common space concept, making it a perfect space to congregate. After hours, their wing of the mall is home to mini games, including cornhole, ping-pong, with more to come. With an exterior entrance and one of the few active locations open later at night, they are a perfect night out with their range of activities.
“Ames needs more family entertainment and things-to-do, and we have been so fortunate to be able to offer just that to the people of Ames.”
Inside Golf & Games is located at North Grand Mall
If you’re looking for a unique night out in Ames, Time Out may be the place for you. A family-owned bar and arcade, Time Out is full of pop culture nostalgia from the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Owned and operated by Chris Harding and her sons, Lance Harding and Logan Ristau, Time Out has been located just off Main Street since 2017. The idea for Time Out began when Harding was looking for a way out of her corporate job in Des Moines. After doing some preliminary research, she pitched an arcade bar to her family, and they ran with it.
“I was at a point in my career where work just wasn’t fun anymore,” recalls Chris, reflecting on the origins of the establishment. “I remember pitching the idea to my sons and they immediately ran with the idea.”
At the time, Chris cashed in her retirement to fund the project and the brothers instantly started rattling off arcade games that they wanted to see included. “Lance and Logan immediately let their imaginations run wild, thinking back to all the arcades they frequented growing up,” said Chris. “The ideas started immediately,” said Logan.
They sketched the design of the logo on a napkin and began work on the layout. They chose the name because they wanted to design it as a place to take a “Time Out” from the daily stresses. Before they knew it, they had a building full of arcade games.
“It’s the little things that provide the atmosphere for Time Out,” said Lance, acknowledging the curated nostalgia that they put into the design. He pointed to a Gremlin that sits atop a television on the wall, or Slimmer from the Ghostbusters movie franchise. “Certainly nostalgia is a big part of our place,” said Lance. “Most of the things you see in here date past 20 years, but that is what creates the immersive experience.”
Moving around Time Out, you may also recognize a life-sized TARDIS in the corner from the Doctor Who series, a Back to the Future poster, and an extensive music video playlist from the MTV era of music videos playing on the televisions throughout the bar. From the Beastie Boys to Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston, the music atmosphere takes your mind away from your daily life. Even their power-button like, teal and black, futuristic logo, pays homage to another 1980’s science fiction film: TRON.
Over the past several years, Time Out has grown a following of dedicated patrons that frequent the establishment. Thursday is known for BINGO night, and each evening on the weekend, Time Out is home to karaoke. They have won various Des Moines People’s Choice Awards, most recently been voted the Best for Trivia Night, Karaoke, Children’s Birthday Party Venue, Date Night Spot, Beer Selection, and Ames Bar. All of this is the result of a family working together and leaning into each other’s strengths.
Lance has an eye for details in game placement and decor that gives Time Out its unique atmosphere. He manages the games to make sure that each one is working properly. This isn’t always easy with some games dating back 30-40 years.
Logan is credited with designing the entire bar and building it from the ground up. He was key in their construction projects, from the stage to the karaoke booth. If Chris and Lance dream it up, Logan builds it. His artistic ability can be seen throughout the facility from the circuits on the front of the bar to the paintings on the wall. Chris is happy to do most of her work behind the scenes to ensure that each customer has a pleasant experience.
Time Out is both family-friendly and a late night hang out, depending on the time of day. “We encourage families to stop by in the afternoons,” said Chris. The list of throwback games continues to expand, but includes Galaga, Ms. Pac Man, Frogger, Super Mario Bros, and Marvel vs. CAPCOM, among others. If those games are not your style, they also have skee-ball and a wide range of pinball games, all of which still take quarters.
Time Out is located at 120 Kellogg Avenue in Ames.
Iowa State University (ISU) was recently named the #1 Entrepreneurial University of the Year for the Americas by the Accreditation Council for Entrepreneurial and Engaged Universities. This latest recognition of Iowa State’s entrepreneurship program is the third national or international award in as many years and is the result of a university-wide approach to supporting innovation.
One of the leaders responsible for this success is David P. Spalding, Raisbeck Endowed Dean of the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business at Iowa State University, and Interim Vice President for Economic Development and Industry Relations (EDIR).
Now in his eleventh year at Iowa State, Spalding has been a foundational leader who has overseen the entrepreneurial growth at Iowa State and is at the center of innovation.
Under his leadership, the total enrollment at the Ivy College of Business has grown 33% in the ten years from 2012-2022. Spalding acknowledges that the growth is not an accident, but the result of great faculty who care about what they are doing in the classroom. “Iowa State is internationally known for research, but it is also essential that we be on the cutting edge of what is happening in the field,” said Spalding. “Over the past 10 years, we have launched new programs after listening to the needs of our students and industry.”
In an ever-changing business landscape, Spalding and his team recognize the importance of staying current. “We talk with a lot of businesses across the state to identify where their needs are, and we build our programs in response to that.”
Spalding grew up in Kentucky and spent much of his career on Wall Street in New York City. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history cum laude in 1976 from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and a Master of Business Administration degree in finance from New York University in 1984.
He began his career in New York with The Chase Manhattan Bank. His rounds in the banking industry included being vice president with The First National Bank of Chicago and senior vice president with GE Capital Corporate Finance Group Inc. In addition, he was a managing director at Lehman Brothers in New York, and more recently vice chairman of The Cypress Group LLC, a firm that he co-founded and co-managed.
After 29 years in banking and private equity investing, Spalding wanted to do something with a higher mission than Wall Street. “I always believed in the transformative nature of higher education, and I wanted to give back to youth in particular.” He returned to Dartmouth and spent the next eight years in higher education, most recently serving as senior vice president and senior advisor to Dartmouth’s president.
Through a national search, Spalding landed in Ames, which was also geographically appealing to his family. “I was drawn into the land grant mission of Iowa State University,” said Spalding.
Comparing Dartmouth to Iowa State is not easy. Dartmouth is one of the smallest Ivy League schools, with a total enrollment around 6,000 students. But Spalding saw Iowa State was well-positioned to impact a vast number of students across the state, region, and country. “As a land grant university, I appreciate the practical admissions process that allows for broad student access, how the university is engaged in the economic activity of the state, and of course, the research component that has a global reach.”
During his time as dean, the college has added six undergraduate majors including entrepreneurship, business analytics, human resources management, health care management, actuarial science, and a bachelor of business administration (BBA), which is an online program for those who started college and want to complete their degree. In addition, five new master’s programs were launched including finance, business analytics, entrepreneurship, healthcare analytics and operations, and real estate development, along with an Executive MBA focused on agriculture, food and biosystems. This year, the college is launching a fully online part-time MBA program and next year, a masters of Accounting Analytics.
The office of Economic Development and Industry Relations (EDIR) that Spalding oversees, assists external stakeholders in accessing the unique capabilities and services of Iowa State University. EDIR is a single point of contact to streamline the process of making connections between industry and the university. This office includes Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS), the Iowa Small Business Development Center Iowa (SBDC), Iowa State University Research Park (ISURP), the Office of Innovation Commercialization (OIC), and the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship.
Last fall, the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship received the 2022 Nasdaq Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, the highest honor presented by the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers, a group of more than 200 leading university entrepreneurship programs around the world.
In 2021, Iowa State received the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Model Program Award, the highest of the organization’s four annual Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education awards.
The most recent entrepreneurial ranking assessed the prioritization of entrepreneurial initiatives across the university and solidified ISU’s global reputation for innovation and excellence. “This award recognizes our approach to incorporate entrepreneurial initiatives throughout the university and foster an innovative mindset in our students, faculty and staff,” said Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen.
Innovation and entrepreneurship are ingrained in the culture at Iowa State University, so much, in fact, that it is part of the brand of ISU. “Iowa State has become a recognized national leader in innovation and entrepreneurship with world-class educational programs, activities, and facilities,” said President Wintersteen. “Our numerous awards for entrepreneurial education demonstrate that Innovate at Iowa State is helping our students express their amazing creativity to make the world a better place.”
It was this culture that not only appealed to Spalding, but one that he has leaned into and reinforced as dean and vice president. “There is a tradition of collaboration among the colleges and deans at Iowa State. In my experience, this collaboration is like nothing I have ever experienced before.”
The culture built the Innovate at Iowa State brand, and the brand is spreading a new energy across campus that is impacting all seven colleges. Iowa State University’s undergraduate entrepreneurship program is ranked #11 in the nation by The Princeton Review. Iowa State was the first public university in Iowa to offer an undergraduate major in entrepreneurship and only the eighth in the United States to offer a Ph.D. specialization in entrepreneurship. Programs like CYstarters, CyBIZ Lab, and ISU Startup Factory exemplify Iowa State’s culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
For Spalding, it comes down to providing opportunities to students that will prepare them for the future and creating a positive economic impact on the state. He points to countless examples where the areas he oversees have a local, regional, national, and international impact and each is led by exceptional leaders.
The Iowa State University Research Park (ISURP), led by the President and Director Rick Sanders, has doubled in the past ten years. With tenants like Vermeer, Kent Corporation, Sukup Manufacturing, Workiva, and John Deere, the ISURP is a hub of global technology and innovation.
The Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS), led by Director Mike O’Donnell, has helped more than 4,400 businesses and manufacturers in the past five years. The program reaches every county in Iowa and created an economic impact of more than $3 billion.
The ISU Research Foundation (ISURF) and Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer (OIPTT), led by Director Patrick Klepcyk, facilitates the inventive and creative works of Iowa State University’s employees and students, and transfers that work for the benefit of society. Collectively, they work on about 100 patent applications and 1,400 supporting agreements in a year.
The Small Business Development Center Iowa (SBDC), led by Director Lisa Shimkat, offers no-cost business counseling to small-business owners and entrepreneurs. During the past fiscal year, SBDC counseled 4,217 clients and those companies self-reported more than $156 million in sales increases, 213 new business starts, and 1,961 new jobs created.
The Pappjohn Center for Entrepreneurship (JPEC) has seen unprecedented success and been validated with top national and international awards. As an example, at the end of last year, 88 total startups have graduated from the ISU Startup Factory and more than $47 million has been raised in external financing since the program’s inception in 2016. Led by Director Judi Eyles, the Pappajohn Center is perhaps the definition of Innovation at Iowa State University.
In an op-ed, Dean Spalding said, “the return on the investment that the university delivers from federal and state sources is significant and the ripple effect reaches well beyond campus to benefit every corner of Iowa.”
On any given weekend, people will arrive at The Slater Station in Slater, Iowa, by car, bicycle, or the preferred method of a golf cart, to enjoy the outdoor atmosphere, conversation amongst friends, and a cold one. This summer, the bar celebrated its one-year anniversary of selling drinks in a can and being a family-friendly place to unwind from the week.
Building a bar was not the original intention of the two couples from Huxley, Ardie and Cindy Drummond and Roger and Carol Ossian, who own the establishment.
“Originally, we were going to turn this space into a garage to hold a couple classic cars,” said Ardie, looking around the space that is now a bar. “We thought it would be fun to have a car club and maybe sell a few drinks. That was the original reason why we got our liquor license, but it quickly shifted once we started building it out.”
The Drummonds and Ossians are long-time friends, having first met each other when their daughters were playing sports together. The friendship evolved over the years to include woodworking that launched their first business venture together. Roger and Ardie create custom cabinets on the side through their 501 Woodshop label, which was the original reason why they purchased the building on Main Street.
As some point when Ardie and Roger were building out the garage, the idea shifted to creating a bar. Cindy and Ardie agreed to take on the day-to-day operations of the bar and spent time learning the point-of-sale system and ordering. “The scary part of starting all of this is wondering if anyone would buy beer from us,” said Cindy, reflecting on the opening weekend.
On June 30, 2022, with no announcement and little fanfare, the Drummonds put a small sign out front that indicated they were open. A golf cart passing by saw the sign, stopped, and asked “are you open?” By the end of the night, there were about 30 people who stopped in. “That was enough,” said Cindy.
Their first test was the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend. “We didn’t know if we purchased enough beer,” said Ardie, who then phoned in a favor from the former owner of the Nite Hawk Bar & Grille. They quickly learned they did not and pivoted to ordering more.
When visiting The Slater Station today, pay attention to the custom made tables by Ardie and Roger that are sourced from repurposed materials. The bar is made from beams from an old car dealership in Des Moines. The outdoor tables are old electrical spools, and the tin siding on the walls are from an old barn.
This past summer, they installed the roof covering for the outdoor seating and expanded the deck. The owners have plans to continue to expand. They recently purchased the lot adjacent to The Slater Station that they will use for a family-friendly green space, and Ardie has aspirations of finally building the garage on the property, with a “car club” to follow.
The Slater Station is located at 501 Main Street, Slater, Iowa 50244.
In 1996, Anne Taylor and Roger Ossian launched A & R Marketing, a custom screen printing and embroidery company, located in Campustown. For the past 27 years, they have served the business and Iowa State community with apparel marketing needs.
Thinking back to those early days, Ossian said “the company took off immediately.” When they first incorporated back in 1996, they became a licensed vendor of Iowa State products within a few days and over the past three decades, have worked with nearly every college and hundreds of student organizations on campus.
Their original location was on Hayward Avenue, then in 2010 they moved to their current location on Welch Avenue. In between that time, they opened the retail store of the company, Dogtown University, where they specialize in Iowa State vintage logo apparel.
The name of the retail store has historic roots to campus. For many years, the Campustown area was popularly known as “Dogtown” by students and staff. The name was grounded in the lore that students were not allowed to bring cars to school, but rather had to walk or “dog-it” to get around. At the time, small economic centers sprouted up near college campuses to serve the needs of students, many of which were named “Dogtown.” For years, the name was popular with students before Campustown became the norm.
Custom screen printing and embroidery continue to be the number one driver of business for Taylor and Ossian, but the retail store full of ISU gear is how most people know their company. They have a wonderful relationship the Iowa State and love calling Campustown their home.
“One of the misconceptions of Campustown is that it is only for students,” said Taylor. “We encourage everyone to visit the shops and restaurants of Campustown and to embrace the energy that a university has.”
With the fall athletic season upon us, consider visiting Dogtown University and updating your ISU gear. Dogtown University is located at 217 Welch Avenue in Campustown.
In 2022, YSS, focused on creating hope and opportunity by putting kids first, launched its Ambassador Program with Gabe Kalscheur as their first-ever YSS Ambassador.
Kalscheur, a member of the Iowa State men’s basketball team at the time, engaged in volunteer activities such as helping at the local YSS youth shelter and residential treatment facilities, meeting with youth in YSS programs, and making appearances at YSS fundraisers and events.
“I’m excited to partner with YSS and use my platform to give back,” said Kalscheur in a 2022 press release. “I believe in YSS’s mission and the important work they do to empower youth in Ames and across the state.”
Headquartered in Ames, YSS is one of Iowa’s oldest and largest youth-serving nonprofits—ideally positioning the organization to collaborate with Iowa State student athletes such as Kalscheur.
The YSS Ambassador Program collaborates with the We Will Collective, which compensates ISU student-athletes with donated funds while helping the athletes use their name, image and likeness to benefit the community. “Working with YSS has been the perfect match for our mission of keeping the Cyclones thriving by doing great things in the central Iowa community,” said Brent Blum, executive director of the We Will Collective.
YSS creates opportunities for Ambassadors to get involved throughout the year, allowing them to use their influence to bring awareness to the organization’s mission and support local youth and families in need. In 2023, the Ambassador Program expanded to include three ISU athletes: Jaylin Noel (football), Nyamer Diew (women’s basketball), and Tamin Lipsey (men’s basketball).
“YSS has a strong history with Iowa State, with dozens of student athletes volunteering each year to help our youth and families. The YSS Ambassador Program is the perfect evolution of this partnership,” said Andrew Allen, President & CEO of YSS. “I was amazed by Gabe’s impact and how much our youth looked up to him. This year, we are building on that success and expanding the program with three new YSS Ambassadors who, like Gabe, are ready to get involved and give back,” Allen said.
Name, image and likeness — more commonly known as NIL — has rapidly become an integral part of collegiate athletics over the past couple of years. The adoption of NIL stems from a 2021 court case, and subsequent NCAA rules change, that allows student-athletes to monetize their personal brand and on-field accomplishments.
The concept of NIL is seeded in the revenue explosion of collegiate athletics over the past decade. Previously, collegiate athletes were considered amateur athletes, and the NCAA governing body penalized students who made money while at school from their collegiate career.
Although not professional sports, collegiate athletics, especially at the Division I level, has grown considerable. This is mostly due to revenue generated by football, and in some markets like Iowa State, supported by men’s and women’s basketball program.
In 2001, the Iowa State University athletic department saw revenue of just under $20 million. By 2007, that grew to $33 million and was funded largely by ticket sales and supported by conference revenue, fundraising, and media rights.
From 2008-2012, the amount of money that media companies paid to air games tripled and by 2014, every Division I football game was on television. Athletes increasingly became household names across the country, becoming the face of their respective programs, or the sport as a whole. For Iowa State, consider the likes of Georges Niang, Monte Morris, Allen Lazard, Brock Purdy, and Breece Hall as recent examples.
University athletic departments pumped this influx of money into their programs in what became known as an “arms race.” Facilities for athletes were modernized and the best coaches garnered higher salaries, all while student-athletes on the field were unable to benefit from their work.
The new NIL policy changed that, now allowing athletes to receive money to participate in promotional and marketing campaigns, including events, signing autographs, or endorsing products via social media.
To help support and manage these opportunities, independent collectives have been set up to support each Division I program, including in Ames at Iowa State University. On August 1, 2022, Brent Blum was announced as the first Executive Director of the We Will Collective.
The We Will Collective is not directly overseen by any University entity but is a 501c3 organization that has a simple mission: We aspire to support student-athletes that share our passion for the Cyclones and encourage them to be community-minded.
As the Collective’s only full-time employee, Blum runs the day-to-day operations for the We Will Collective. A class of 2007 Iowa State alum, Blum is a life-long Cyclone and known figure in the Cyclone community. He spent the previous ten years working for the Cyclone Radio and TV networks and served as a Director of Development for the Iowa State Foundation.
“We have a retain, not recruit goal through the We Will Collective,” said Blum, acknowledging both the importance of supporting student-athletes financially with the reality that he cannot fundraise the same amount of money as other programs.
The We Will Collective has set a goal to fundraise $3 million per year to support Iowa State athletes. This can be done through fan or donor subscriptions, fundraisers, or other traditional marketing efforts. Right now, their focus is on supporting the revenue-generating sports of football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball. “We would love to be able to set a base level of support for each one of those athletes.”
One of the primary aspects of the Collective is to provide opportunities for athletes to use their position in the community to give back to charities and others in need. “We believe that NIL should be used to grow the character of athletes and to benefit our communities,” said Blum. “Part of what makes Cyclone Nation so special is the connection between Cyclone athletes and the community. These players come from all over the nation and world and decide to be a Cyclone; choose to be one of us. They are our highest-profile ‘celebrities’ and become heroes for our youngest fans.”
One successful partnership has been through the Ames-based Youth and Shelter Services of Central Iowa. Last year, Cyclone basketball player Gabe Kalscheur spent considerable time with YSS youth through their Ambassador Program. This year, it has expanded to more athletes giving back to the community.
“For us, it is not about just giving big sums of money to athletes, it is about finding ways for them to engage with our community and compensating them accordingly.” The We Will Collective also partnered with the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association.
“We believe that we can do good in Iowa and help Iowa State as well,” said Blum. “There’s no avoiding that NIL opportunities are attractive to students. We want to make those opportunities available for work that makes Iowa better and Iowa State student athletes more engaged in their community.”
More information on the We Will Collective can be found at their website: https://www.wewillcollective.com
Ames Lager, a unique beer blend from Okoboji-based brewery, West O Beer, is coming this fall. Proceeds from the Cyclone-branded beer will benefit the We Will Collective.
What is Name, Image and Likeness:
Name, image, and likeness, or NIL, is the term used by the NCAA to refer to a student-athlete and their ability to monetize their brand.
In the past, due to NCAA rules, student-athletes could not profit from their NIL. This included selling autographs, memorabilia, or being paid to appear at events or other marketing endeavors. Colleges and universities could use the individual’s NIL in marketing, merchandise, school promotion, and other materials.
In 2021, the NCAA voted on and approved a change in rules regarding NIL after a court ruled in favor of student-athletes on the topic. Previous NIL rules were suspended, and student athletes can now take full advantage of their NIL. A few of the most common ways include participating in camps, selling autographs, sponsorships, and social media posts.