Ben Blecha of Benkelman, whose company develops and manufactures innovative braces for dogs with ligament injuries, joins the 2013 Class of "The Pipeline" Entrepreneurial Fellows.
Pipeline announced the 2013 Class of Entrepreneurial Fellows at its "Innovator of the Year" awards event Jan. 24 at The Midland in Kansas City.
Pipeline is an exclusive community of high-potential entrepreneurial leaders building high-growth companies throughout the Midwest Region. Each year, approximately a dozen new members representing the Region's top entrepreneurial companies are invited to join Pipeline after an extensive selection process. New members from Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri participate in a year-long business leadership development program focused on accelerating the growth of their companies. Pipeline blends workshop modules, advice from national experts and a deepening of the relationships among new and current Pipeline members.
"I'm honored and thrilled to have been chosen for this elite fellowship program," Blecha said. "Pipeline has proven success in accelerating the growth of entrepreneurial companies. I'm looking forward to the coming year and building close relationships with other Pipeline members AND bringing that knowledge back to share with Southwest Nebraska."
Blecha's "Ace Ortho Solutions" is a veterinary manufacturer focusing on orthopedic devices for animals. Ace had designed an innovative ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) brace for canines.
Other brace lines focus on the carpus (wrist) and hock (ankle). All of Ace's brace designs are custom made. Veterinarians all over the world take a cast of the dog's leg and send it to Ace. A plaster mold of the dog's leg is made and the brace is made to the exact contours of the dog's body.
Each dog gets a personal touch.
The company focuses on using biomechanical principles to help "Spike" get from Point A to Point B.
Pipeline's entrepreneurs do not just "learn about business," according to Joni Cobb, Pipeline CEO. The aim is to undergo a life-altering experience that also changes the direction and trajectory of their company and connects them to lifelong friends and allies. In the process, Pipeline entrepreneurs recognize the power of the network and remain engaged as they start new companies, enter even higher growth issues, become investors and continue as leaders in Pipeline and in their communities.
"Pipeline helps entrepreneurs grow both as business leaders and as community leaders," Cobb said. "Our members are the next generation of entrepreneurs who are changing industries and driving economic growth in the Region, the United States and the world."
Other members of the 2013 Pipeline class are:
Dave Alburty, InnovaPrep and AlburtyLab, Drexel, Missouri; Leandro Castro, MultiMech, Omaha; Alexandros Cavgalar, Ulterius Technologies, Wichita, Kansas; Abigail Cohen, Sparo Labs, St. Louis, Missouri.
Keith Entzeroth, instin, Kansas City, Missouri; Paul Jarrett, Bulu Box, Lincoln, Nebraska; Matt Medlock, PaySAFE, Omaha.
Scott Pribyl, eNovation, Kansas City, Kansas; Rob Rhodes, InjuReplay, Lincoln; Joshua Sestak, Orion BioScience, Lawrence, Kansas.
Dennis Steinman, Iron Mountain Products, Lecompton, Kansas; and Patrick Stoddart, Revdel, Kansas City, Missouri.