Iowa Business Hall of Fame honors Reynolds Cramer, Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Garst and Rick Tollakson1/18/2023
IOWA BUSINESS HALL OF FAME HONORS REYNOLDS CRAMER, ELIZABETH ‘LIZ’ GARST AND RICK TOLLAKSON
GREATER DES MOINES, IOWA (Jan. 17, 2023) – The Greater Des Moines Committee will recognize Reynolds Cramer, Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Garst and Rick Tollakson as the 2022 inductees to the Iowa Business Hall of Fame. The inductees will be honored during the Greater Des Moines Committee’s Annual Induction Event on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, at The Meadows Events and Conference Center. The Iowa Business Hall of Fame honors the achievements of Iowans who have made outstanding contributions to the development and enhancement of Iowa’s business climate.
Reynolds Cramer’s 34-year history with Fareway dates to when he began working at 16 years old. After working as Assistant Manager, followed by store manager, Cramer was promoted to District Supervisor at the Boone corporate office in 2000. In 2008, he was elected to the Real Estate Committee and has been instrumental in the strategic placement of new Fareway locations ever since. After a series of promotions starting in 2009, Cramer was elected CEO for Fareway Stores Inc. in 2014. With Cramer as CEO, Fareway’s employee counts have grown from just over 9,000 to more than 12,000 with over $215 million paid in employee wages in 2022. In addition, 34 of Fareway’s 133 store locations have also come into existence which equates to over 25% growth in an eight-year time period.
Additionally, Cramer is a board member of the Iowa Business Council, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Iowa and UnityPoint Foundation, and an advocate for animal rescue. A native Iowan and graduate of Boone High School in 1987 and Luther College in 1991, Cramer has two adult daughters, Ashley and Zoe. He and his wife Sheila live in Norwalk with their 5-year-old son, Benny.
ELIZABETH ‘LIZ’ GARST
Elizabeth “Liz” Garst is a third-generation leader of the Garst Family Businesses. After obtaining an M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University and an MBA with a concentration in Agribusiness from Harvard Business School, Garst lived abroad with the Peace Corps and the World Bank. Returning to Iowa to work at Garst Seed Company in 1982, she subsequently assumed the role of president and CEO of the Raccoon Valley State Bank in Adel. Continuing to assume more responsibility, Garst founded Garst Farm Resorts, perhaps Iowa’s first eco-tourism business. In 2002, Garst assumed the helm of the Garst Family Businesses, which included five banks, four holding companies, an insurance agency and 22 different land-owning entities including three farming companies. In 2004, the Garst Family announced the formation of Whiterock Conservancy, a nonprofit land trust dedicated to protecting natural resources, farming sustainably and welcoming the public. In 2006, Garst Farm Resorts was donated to Whiterock. For 15 years, Garst has overseen annual land gifts to Whiterock totaling more than 4,000 acres. Garst is the treasurer and a board member of Whiterock and the President of Greene Investment Company, a single bank holding company with the family owning two banks: Raccoon Valley Bank and Home State Bank. Under Garst’s leadership, total bank assets have grown from $250 million to over $750 million.
Additionally, Garst is an advisor to the Environmental Law and Policy Center and a member of the Guthrie County Democratic Central Committee. She also has served on the boards of Iowa Environmental Council, Iowa Natural Resources Commission and the American Civil Liberties Union.
With a Construction Engineering degree from Iowa State University and an MBA from the University of Iowa, Rick Tollakson began his career at Hubbell Realty Company in 1984 and has led Hubbell to operate in three states with 15 operating entities. Starting with a focus Downtown, Tollakson led construction on the Hub Tower, Kaleidoscope at the Hub, and Riverpoint Business Park. In 1992, Tollakson started the residential land development division which has now grown into one of the largest residential land developers in the metro. In 1998, Tollakson started Hubbell Homes which now builds nearly 300 homes per year as one of the largest homebuilders in Iowa. In 2004, Tollakson was named the President and CEO of Hubbell Realty Company. Under his leadership, the company has grown from approximately 50 associates to nearly 350. In 2006, Hubbell Construction Services was started and together with Hubbell Development has developed approximately 4,600 apartment units and built 1.1 million square feet of industrial space. In 2013, Tollakson added the Edencrest senior housing brand of independent, assisted and memory care living which includes projects throughout Greater Des Moines. In 2019, Hubbell’s operation expanded to Omaha and has doubled its size since in both land and home sales.
Additionally, Tollakson leads the Hubbell Extreme Build series which spans over 15 years, impacting thousands of Iowans through various builds for nonprofit organizations. He also is a board member of the Iowa Confluence (ICON) Water Trails Project, Greater Des Moines Partnership and Association of Business and Industry (ABI).
Inductees to the Iowa Business Hall of Fame are selected on merit rather than endorsement. Past Hall of Fame honorees under the leadership of Chair Suzanna de Baca, President and CEO of Business Publications Corporation, serve as the selection committee. The criteria for selection are as follows:
- Business Leadership: The nominated individual should lead or have led a business that has provided valued jobs and economic development to his/her community and the state; creating both wealth and workforce opportunity.
- Community Development Impact: The nominated individual should have made an impact by improving the economies of the community and the state through their leadership in such organizations as chambers of commerce, economic development organizations or centers of education.
- Community Volunteerism/Leadership: The nominated individual should have personally given of their time and financial resources for the betterment of the community through support of charities and organizations.
- Strategic Leadership: The nominated individual should have contributed to community economic growth through visionary leadership, community problem-solving and building strategic alliances.
- Business Recognition: The nominated individual should be recognized by their peers as a business leader.
To register for the Greater Des Moines Committee’s Annual Induction Event on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, click here.
About the Greater Des Moines Committee
The Greater Des Moines Committee was formed in 1907 by a group of 30 local business leaders. Today, the Committee consists of more than 100 members and provides an opportunity for business leaders to come together for an information exchange about important topics in the community, the state and the nation. The Committee founded the Iowa Business Hall of Fame in 1975 to honor the achievements of Iowans who have made outstanding contributions to the development and enhancement of Iowa’s business climate.
The Greater Des Moines Committee’s purpose is to encourage, promote, develop and protect commercial, manufacturing and other business interests of Greater Des Moines (DSM) and the state of Iowa. The Committee is comprised of CEOs, or in the case of professional firms, the senior managing partner of DSM companies that have a vested interest in the growth and development of our community and state.