BVU Opens The Foundry; Governor Reynolds alongside The Lamberti’s appear

Blake McMillan, Co-Editor in Chief

Governor Kim Reynolds joined BVU President Dr. Brian Lenzmeier, Casey’s General Stores founders Donald and Charlene Lamberti, Storm Lake and university officials to mark the grand opening of The Foundry, BVU’s new business incubator, on Wednesday, June 2.

The Foundry is located in the heart of the Storm Lake business district at 524 Lake Avenue.  The building underwent 

The Foundry is an incubator and development space in downtown Storm Lake for students seeking to create a startup business. (Tatiana Kelly)

months of renovation prior to its soft open earlier in the spring. It will house student-led small businesses and students will be able to connect with other business owners in order to help jumpstart their own initiatives. Gary Sterling, BVU’s Director of the Lamberti Center for Rural Entrepreneurship was alsoin attendance, and explained it is part of the Center’s strategic plan. “The Foundry specifically is just so we can have a space downtown, in the business area with Storm Lake companies.” The Lamberti Center was made possible following a $2.9-million gift from the Lambertis in August 2019.

“It’s a very exciting day for Storm Lake as it starts down a truly innovative path to transform itself into a rural hub for innovation and entrepreneurship,” Reynolds said in her speech to the small crowd. “Projects like this don’t just happen without active and engaged leadership with a

Gov. Reynolds presented a speech to a small group of BVU administrators at Tuesday’s grand opening. (Tatiana Kelly)

very strong vision.” Reynolds’s speech was followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony outside of The Foundry.

Speaking with The Tack, Reynolds noted, “What I love about work-based learning, about S.T.E.M., about registered programs, and about co-working places like this is you make that connection with other entrepreneursand other businesses, and you start to see the opportunities that exist right here in your own community.” She added, “I think sometimes our young people think that they have to leave the state to find opportunities, and you really don’t. You can do it all.”

 

Governor Reynolds passes a wall of local artwork for sale in The Foundry. Pieces were pulled from the Witter Gallery to support artists in the community. (Tatiana Kelly)

Inside, a foyer holds a wooden countertop in the window and plenty of workspace. Down a hallway, artwork adorns walls that is for sale. Just beyond the hallway is another workspace room with more tables, chairs, and potted plants. Sterling and others from the School of Business were able to give insight to the ways that The Foundry’s design was inspired by businesses in town.

“The Witter Gallery in town chose those pieces to put up there [in the hall],” said Sterling. We told them we wanted to help local artists and even sell their work if possible.” The plants in the space were from the BVU greenhouse, tables from campus, and the wooden countertop in the window found locally in town — desserts were even catered at the opening by Storm Lake Bakery.

Levity Tech, a software development firm created by BVU graduate Bazyl Horsey, is housed in The Foundry. Horsey was joined at the ribbon cutting by two team members, Michael Martin and Bradley Brown.

Horsey said Levity Tech would have never happened if not for The Foundry. “It’s the whole reason we’re open for business, honestly. We could not afford an office business [space] right off the start, and Gary Sterling and BVU gave us an entryway that we could actually make a business and meet clients. That stuff is really hard to pull off if you don’t have capital — as you can imagine,

Bazyl Horsey, founder of Levity Tech, met Governor Reynolds following the ribbon cutting. (Tatiana Kelly)

we’re broke college kids.” Together, Levity Tech worked to form the one sentence definition of The Foundry: “A collaboration center where average people can make extraordinary things happen.” The Foundry is open now and located less than a mile from the BVU campus.