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Ames, IA
Ames, IA
Bill Bergan
Championship Productions

I was the track and cross-country coach at Iowa State University for 25 years. When I first started, the school had a terrible track-and-field program, so I started Championship Productions as a way to develop some credibility for us. I have a master's in business, and was also interested in entrepreneurial things.

We started by doing a five-book series on coaching track and field. Eventually, we did books on 15 to 20 sports, and in the early 1980s, we were the first company to do instructional sports videos. Now, we offer DVDs and will be doing more online. We send several million catalogs out annually.

We noticed a decline in sales last winter and spring, but through the summer, sales have surpassed last year's numbers. I look at the recession as a reason to work harder and smarter. We're being more aggressive with mailings, are recruiting more coaches for our videos, and are doing more research on what coaches need.

We started in a small corner of our basement and now have a 7,500 square foot building in the Ames Community Development Park. One disadvantage is that Ames is one of the highest-taxed cities in Iowa, and businesses are taxed on the full valuation of the property.

The market for qualified employees is very good here. The city offers incentives, but I'm independent-minded, and feel that if you can't make it without incentives, you shouldn't be in business. -Dinah Eng

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