2018 Bell Tower of Fame Award to an ‘idea dude’

Terry Rich

This year’s Bell Tower of Fame recipient is fondly called an “idea dude” as a result of his professional career that has spanned the state and nation. Terry Rich is an entrepreneur, author, zoo and lottery dude.

Rich, a 1970 graduate of Jefferson High School (now Greene County High School), was born and raised on a farm in Franklin Township near Cooper in southern Greene County.

He is currently the president and CEO of the Iowa Lottery and author of the book Dare to Dream, Dare to Act. Prior to that, he was CEO of the Blank Park Zoo; president and CEO of Rich Heritage Inc., a national marketing and television production company that produced shows for HBO, ESPN and Comcast, among others; and vice president of marketing for Heritage Communications Inc. During his cable tenure, he managed the cable build and operations in Jefferson.

The Bell Tower of Fame Award recognizes people whose personal or professional accomplishments internationally, nationally or statewide, bring great pride to Greene County. They must have resided in Greene County for a period during their lifetimes.

Under Rich’s leadership, the lottery’s annual sales increased by $100 million — from the $240 million range to more than $350 million currently. The lottery proceeds to state causes also increased from the $60 million range in 2009 to the $80 million range now

He also has led lottery efforts at the national level as the past president of the North American Lottery Association that is responsible for policy, raising more than $80 billion for states’ good causes and also serves on the board of Powerball.

At the Blank Park Zoo, he recruited millions of dollars in private donations to launch a $40 million renovation and expansion of the zoo. Under his leadership, the zoo was named Iowa’s Tourism Attraction of the Year in 2006. Zoo directors from around the world visited the zoo to consult with Rich about his successful efforts in enhancing the Blank Park Zoo’s reputation and improving its revenues.

As an entrepreneur, Terry developed Rich Heritage Inc., along with four other companies including radio station KBBM, US Digital Video, Newsletter Ease, and the World Championship Socker League, LLC. He is the recipient of the National Cable TV Innovative Marketing and Innovative Programming awards.

He has appeared in national media in many roles, including ABC, NBC, HBO, CBS, 20/20, CNN, GSN, USA Today; as movie host on Starz!; was on the advisory board for the original start-up of MTV cable and satellite television channel; and was a panel guest on television’s Tonight Show when he led the successful campaign to name Tonight Show host Johnny Carson an honorary 51st citizen of Cooper during its centennial.

Rich has entertained audiences across the nation about promotional lessons he has learned over his lifetime, culminating in his popular book, Dare to Dream. Dare to Act.

Rich, a 1974 graduate of Iowa State University, is married to Kim and lives in Urbandale. They have three children.

Rich will be presented with the award during the Bell Tower Festival’s opening ceremonies at Friday, June 8, at 6:30 pm on the Tower Plaza south of the Greene County courthouse in Jefferson. A public reception for him will be held in the courthouse rotunda following the ceremony until 8:30 pm.

He will be grand marshal of the Bell Tower Festival parade on Saturday, June 9.

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