Lori Schaefer-Weaton, president of Agri-Industrial Plastics, was named the Fairfield Iowa Future Business Leaders of America Business Person of the Year.
Schaefer-Weaton accepted the honor in between the Fairfield girls? junior varsity and varsity games Friday.
Ledger sports editor Justin Webster had a chance to catch up with Schaefer-Weaton after the ceremony.
Question: Talk about your family?s history with Fairfield.
Answer: My family moved here when I was 5 years old. I loved growing up in a small town. It provided me with a great education, great friends and great community.
You have the ability to try a lot of different things and you didn?t necessarily have to be the best at any one of them.
Business-wise, my dad started a company in 1978 here in town, Agri-Industrial Plastics. I did leave for 15 years to go to Chicago, but I chose to come back when I had kids because I wanted them to grow up in a similar small-town community, tight-knit family environment.
Q: Kids are very active in Fairfield. Was it like that when you grew up here?
A: Yes. It?s one of the great things a community like Fairfield affords you. You can try different sports and you don?t have to be a Division-I athlete, and you can try different things. The academic high-achievers are in music, speech, and sports. Very well-rounded kids come out of Fairfield?s school district.
Q: What exactly is FBLA and why does it exist?
A: It stands for Future Business Leaders of America and it gives students at a very young age the ability to start understanding life after high school. It gets them thinking about some of the different opportunities, and even if they don?t go into business at all, the skills they learn will go with them. Whether it?s to college or to a job, giving presentations, writing papers, being able to communicate face-to-face, all of those skills will transfer no matter what they end up doing.
Q: How does it feel to receive an honor from your alma mater?
A: This is a very easy organization to be a part of. Both my husband and I have been very active in FBLA as business people, because we love seeing kids have to give business presentations and this is all on their own time, which is amazing.
It?s very easy to support and we love having kids come visit our company, find out about what business really is, and find out about all of the different opportunities that are out there. To be recognized is great, to be part of it is even better.