Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jennifer Smith Receives Bob Klas Sr. Entrepreneur Award

Jennifer Smith of Innovative Office Solutions in Burnsville received the 2011 Bob Klas Sr. Entrepreneur Award at the Dakota-Scott Workforce Investment Board’s (WIB) annual legislative and awards event held Dec. 16 at the Burnsville Performing Arts Center.

The award recognizes a local entrepreneur’s success story. The inaugural award was presented to Bob Klas, Sr. in 2008. Award winners are selected based on their success as evidenced by business growth, the individual’s leadership in the business and/or civic communities, and the mentorship they provide to other entrepreneurs.

Smith founded Innovative Office Solutions in 2001. It is an independently owned full service dealer of office and school supplies, office furniture, facility and maintenance supplies to businesses of all sizes. She was also involved with the founding of Medcare Products in 1998 and remains owner, CEO, and board member.

No stranger to dealing with adversity—the company started just months before the 9-11 attacks, Smith took on the economic downturn by hiring sales staff and product specialists who were laid off by competitors in October 2009. As a result, the company had its most profitable year yet in 2010.

Further evidence of the company’s growth is that it has had double-digit sales increases the last three years, has been ranked as one of the Inc. Magazine’s 5,000 fastest growing private companies in the U.S. in 2008, 2009, and 2010 and was ranked as one of the 50 fastest growing companies in Minnesota in 2010.

Besides her work at Innovative Office Solutions, Smith has an extensive volunteering background, including: coaching children’s track and basketball, serving on the fundraising committee for Eastview Hockey, teaching Sunday school, helping at Feed My Starving Children, and participating on multiple national boards.

Robert Klas, Sr., is the founder and chairman of The Tapemark Company, based in West Saint Paul. Founded in 1952, Tapemark attracted its first customers with the ability to print on self-wound tape.

The Dakota-Scott Workforce Investment Board oversees employment programs and WorkForce Centers in Dakota and Scott Counties including sites in Burnsville, Shakopee and West St. Paul.

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