2005 Conference Presenters

Keynote Speaker: Susan Parks

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

WalkStyles, Inc.


WalkStyles, Inc. is a healthy lifestyle company that creates and sells walking products and services that improve your life. WalkStyles has three product categories: a personal wellness system, which includes a device, the DashTrak, a subscription web site and a spiralbound journal; WalkStyles WalkWear, which is stylish but smart active wear; and WalkStyles accessories. The personal wellness system will be launched in first quarter 2005 and WalkStyles WalkWear and accessories are now available.


Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Parks was the Executive Vice President of Operations for Kinko’s, the leading document solutions and business services corporation. At Kinko’s, she filled the number two leadership position, responsible for all 1,100 domestic Kinko’s locations, marketing, real estate and numerous other operational functions.


Before Kinko’s, Parks was with Gateway, first as Senior Vice President of the Gateway Business Division, then as Senior Vice President of US Markets.


Parks also spent five years at U.S. West, culminating in her heading the Business and Government solutions division. Parks also held leadership positions at Mead Corporation and Avery-Dennison.

In 2001, Parks founded the Women’s Philanthropy Fund through Orange County’s United Way. She serves on several nonprofit and business school boards. She serves on the public board of Tousa. A native of Rockford, Illinois, Parks earned her BS in Industrial Administration in 1979 from Iowa State University.

Global Business Track

“From Concept to Consumer”


Kurt Heiar

Chief Executive Officer

Regena Therapeutics


Regena Therapeutics is a pharmaceutical company focused in the dental and dermatological specialties.  During the past 20 years, Mr. Heiar has held a variety of executive level positions including Vice President of Marketing for Baxter Healthcare’s Biotech North America Group.  Mr. Heiar’s experiences also include leading the development and successful acquisition of a start-up drug discovery company.  Mr. Heiar has held both Business Development and Global Marketing positions in the life sciences as well.  Mr. Heiar also is the Chair of the Iowa Entrepreneurial Formation Team, which is part of the Iowa Coalition for Growth initiative established by the Iowa Business Council.


Mike Slater

Partner & Sr. Finance Consultant



Indianapolis-based banc-serv CONSULTING, LLC specializes in financing solutions for small- to medium-sized businesses that have difficulty obtaining financing through conventional means. Mike has been in financial services for 16 years, beginning by selling group health insurance and retirement plans. His banking career began with Firstar Bank in 1992 as a Trust Officer before moving to Commercial Lending in 1995. In 1996, Mike was hired at Brenton Bank as a Business Development Officer for Commercial Banking and Trust until the bank was sold to Wells Fargo in 2001. Mike began brokering commercial loans with banc-serv CONSULTING, LLC in 2001, opening the Iowa office in late 2003 and becoming a partner in January 2005.


Darrell DeGeus

Business Development Director

Jennifer Estochen

Supply Chain Analyst



Darrell’s experience includes 30 years of in laboratory research and development in a variety of areas, including Pressure Sensitive Tapes, Post-it Notes, Adhesives, Fluorochemical Products, and Ceramics and Abrasives. His responsibilities have included product development and laboratory management, and technical director for several business units. He is a past chair of the Unified Abrasive Manufacturers Association and currently chairs the Materials Science Engineering Industrial Advisory Council at Iowa State University, where he holds his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry.

Jennifer is currently a Supply Chain Analyst with the Industrial Adhesives & Tapes Division at 3M. She is involved in production planning and process improvements for specialty tapes. Prior to that, she was an Information Technology Analyst involved in the development and implementation of software packages for 3M plants, 3M.com and the employee intranet. Jennifer earned her B.S. in Management Information Systems and Transportation & Logistics from Iowa State University and an MBA from the University of Minnesota.


Jay McKee

Vice President & Administrator

McKee Button Company


McKee Button has been in business since 1895, first making pearl buttons from clam shells. The company has evolved with the industry, and today can make buttons from 5,000 formulas. McKee Button’s history of innovation is critical as it adapts to overseas competition and changing regulation in the apparel industry. It is now applying its expertise in plastics to other products and markets.


Mr. McKee received his bachelor’s degree in general science from the University of Iowa and his MBA from St. Ambrose University. He spent five years in banking before joining McKee Button in 1982.

Supply Chain Management Track

“Market Innovation in the Supply Chain”


Ken Enstrom

Director of Worldwide Logistics

Deere & Company


Ken is currently the Director of Worldwide Logistics for Deere & Company in Moline, Illinois. He began his career at Deere as a co-op student at the University of Illinois, and joined the firm permanently in 1975. Ken has  had extensive experience in supply chain management, engineering, and manufacturing across a number of product lines and divisions at Deere. Just prior to assuming his current responsibilities, he was the Division Manager of Supply Management OFP for Construction & Forestry. Ken has a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an MS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois.


Mark Walker

Vice President, Transportation

C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.


Mr. Walker joined Robinson in 1980, working within the company’s truck transportation operations before moving on to lead its subsidiary, T-Chek Systems. Under his leadership, T-Chek’s revenues grew to becoming one of the leading carrier services companies in North America. Mark has played a pivotal role in C.H. Robinson’s systems capabilities, helping to develop and oversee the management and execution of the company’s technology strategy. In addition to his management responsibilities for T-Chek, Mark develops value-added services for C.H. Robinson’s carriers, initiates new services for C.H. Robinson’s expanding customer base, and helps lead the company’s information technology development. Mark earned his undergraduate degree in business administration from Iowa State University; and he has a graduate degree from the University of St. Thomas.


Rick Blasgen

Senior Vice President, Integrated Logistics

ConAgra Foods


Rick D. Blasgen is Senior Vice-President, Integrated Logistics for ConAgra Foods. He began his career with Nabisco in a Regional Customer Service Center in Chicago, Illinois.  There he held various logistics positions in inventory management, order processing, transportation and supervised a distribution center operation.  Rick then transferred to Virginia in 1987 as manager of Nabisco’s private distribution center in Chesapeake, VA.  In 1988, he moved to Pennsylvania and spent four years as Eastern Region Operations Manager.  In August, 1992, Rick moved to Nabisco’s headquarters in New Jersey where he was Director of Operations until June, 1993, when he became Director of National Inventory Management.  In August, 1996, Rick was appointed Senior Director, Product Supply, and became Vice-President, Supply Chain for Nabisco in June, 1998, then VP Supply Chain for Kraft in June, 2002.  Rick joined ConAgra Foods in August, 2003, as Senior Vice President Integrated Logistics, where he spends much of his time furthering the company’s supply chain management programs and initiatives.


Rick is an officer the Council of Logistics Management Executive Committee and a Past President of the Warehousing Education and Research Council.  He also chairs the Grocery Manufacturers of America Logistics/Distribution Committee, is a member of Northwestern University’s Transportation Center Business Advisory. Rick is a 1983 graduate of Governor’s State University with a degree in Business Administration, Finance major.


Steve Carter

General Manager

Target Corporation


Steve has served as the General Manager of Target’s Regional Distribution Center in Fridley, MN since September 2003.  This RDC serves 42 Target stores in Minnesota and North Dakota, shipping over 26 million cartons per year.  The RDC covers almost 1.1 million square feet and has over 500 employees.  


Steve has worked at Target Corporation since June 1999.  He started in the Target Stores Distribution Operations group, leading a major strategic initiative to install common methods across the regional distribution center network.  Steve moved into transportation in October 2000, where as Director, Domestic Transportation, he was responsible for all modes of domestic transportation for Target Corporation. 


Steve’s work history includes over twenty years of leadership experience in distribution and supply chain management, including active duty service as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, at McLane Company (a former subsidiary of Wal-Mart), at Case Corporation (manufacturer of construction and farm equipment), and at Reebok International (shoe company) as the Director of Distribution – North America.  He is an active member of the Council of Logistics Management and recently retired as a Colonel from the U.S. Army Reserves.


Steve earned a BS in Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, an MBA with Distinction from the Wharton School, and a Masters of Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.