Sue Tyrrell, CEO and Owner, Hands Up Communications, Cedar Rapids

Sue Tyrrell, Hands Up Communications, Cedar Rapids, and Dr. Martin Gross, Gross-Wen Technologies, Slater, receive awards

AMES, Iowa – America’s SBDC Iowa (SBDC) is pleased to announce the winners of its 2020 special entrepreneur awards.

Sue Tyrrell, CEO and Owner, Hands Up Communications, is the 2020 Deb Dalziel Woman Entrepreneur Achievement Award winner. Dr. Martin Gross, President and Co-Founder, Gross-Wen Technologies, is the 2020 Neal Smith Entrepreneur of the Year Award winner.

The Deb Dalziel Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award honors an Iowa woman entrepreneur who has significantly changed or improved her life and the lives of others. The award is presented in memory of Deb Dalziel, a devoted small business advocate who was director of the Small Business Development Center at Southeastern Community College, Burlington, from 1987 until her death from cancer in 1999, at the age of 44.

Scott Swenson, Regional Director of the Kirkwood SBDC, Hiawatha, nominated Tyrrell for the Deb Dalziel Award because, “Sue has been a model for how a person with a passion recognized a market opportunity, then sought to complement her technical skills with entrepreneurial skill development. The city of Cedar Rapids has a large and growing immigrant and refugee community. Her team is seeded with employees who have experienced the same fears and have made it their mission to change that person’s life in America.”

The Neal Smith Entrepreneur of the Year Award honors an Iowa entrepreneur who has been in business a minimum of three years and has been significantly assisted by an Iowa Small Business Development Center. The award was established with a dual purpose—to honor long-time Iowa Congressman Neal Smith for his years of service to Iowa’s small businesses, and to recognize Iowa’s entrepreneurs, who are the driving force behind Iowa’s economic growth.

Dr. Martin Gross, President and Co-Founder, Gross-Wen Technologies, Slater

Dave Biedenbach, Regional Director of the Iowa State University SBDC, nominated Gross for the Neal Smith Award, stating, “Dr. Gross grew up in an entrepreneurial family, where his father owned and operated several businesses. He didn’t realize at the time that entrepreneurship was in his blood. The cost-saving technology that he and Dr. Zhiyou Wen created while Dr. Gross was a graduate student, has the potential to have a national impact, especially in rural communities.”

Lisa Shimkat, State Director of America’s SBDC Iowa, agrees that Tyrrell and Gross are very deserving of these awards saying, “We are honored to have clients who have worked diligently to move their businesses forward while still showing a strong commitment to their communities and customers. We are delighted to be able to recognize their hard work and success with these awards.”

The two SBDC special entrepreneur awards will be presented at a ceremony on March 3, 2020, during the SBDC Day at the State Capitol in Des Moines.

For additional information about the award winners:

Sue Tyrell, Hands Up Communications:

Dr. Martin Gross, Gross-Wen Technologies:

America’s SBDC Iowa is an outreach program of Iowa State University’s Ivy College of Business and the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations. Iowa State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability, or status as a U.S. Veteran. Inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies may be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity, 3410 Beardshear Hall, 515 Morrill Road, Ames, Iowa 50011, Tel. 515-294-7612, Hotline 515-294-1222, email

Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, America’s SBDC Iowa has 15 regional assistance centers located strategically across the state. Since program inception in 1981, the SBDC has helped Iowa businesses and entrepreneurs through no fee, confidential, customized, professional business counseling and practical, affordable training workshops.

For more information on America’s SBDC Iowa programs or services, call (515) 294-2030 or visit, or on social media @IowaSBDC.

Stacy Dreyer, America’s SBDC Iowa, 515-294-5595,
Lisa Shimkat, America’s SBDC Iowa, 515-294-2030,