Age 32 | Director of business development, Catchfire Media LLC

Lawrence Cunningham believes that a business is only as successful as the community it serves.

That’s the philosophy that has guided him throughout his career. As a result, he has found himself working in companies that encourage community involvement.

“At the end of the day, if we’re good people, and treat people right, and make good decisions, everything else will fall into place,” Cunningham said. “Take care of people, and people will take care of you.”

That attitude was instilled in him in part by his parents, he said, and in part in his first job out of college at Sigler Cos. It is now prevalent in his current job at Catchfire Media LLC.

His job at Catchfire, which produces mobile, Web and social platforms for businesses, involves helping new customers. The company also works to make it easier for employees to be involved in the community, something he believes is unusual for a small company.

Cunningham has felt a particular passion for working with young professional organizations. As a graduate of Iowa State University who got his first job in Ames, he found himself struggling to distinguish himself from college students as a young professional. He co-chaired the first Young Professionals of Iowa Statewide Conference in Des Moines and founded a young professionals group in Boulder during a stint working in Colorado.

“I love going in and seeing a need and helping create something that doesn’t exist,” he said.

Currently, he and his wife are chairing the Science Center of Iowa’s Annual Event & Auction Fundraiser, something he feels thankful that they can do together.

A South Dakota native, Cunningham has lived in Missouri and Colorado, but came back to Iowa because Des Moines provides opportunities to be a professional and get involved in the community without sacrificing the opportunity to raise a family.



Five reasons he’s a 40:


• He’s responsible for adding $2 million a year in new business at Catchfire.

• Cunningham has been heavily involved with a number of young professional organizations in Des Moines, Ames and statewide.

• He successfully grew digital account revenues in excess of $2.5 million at Stamats Inc. in Cedar Rapids.

• “He is a natural leader, expertly balancing professionalism with personality, drive with compassion, and ingenuity with veracity,” said Jon Troen, founder and managing partner, Catchfire Media.

• “When I think of Lawrence, these words come to mind: values, trust, compassion, giving, creativity, problem solving, energy, personality, approachability, professionalism, action-driven, results-driven and customer focus,” said Pete Petersen, who works for Jensen Consulting.

Mentor: Jon Troen, founder and managing partner, Catchfire Media

Fun fact: During his college days, Cunningham was Cy, the mascot at Iowa State University. One year, at a football game in steamy August, Cunningham posed in a photo for a family’s Christmas card in his mascot costume.


Presenting the 2013 winners:

Desmund Adams, Principal, AdamsDouglas
Lindsay Alderman, Client operations manager, LightEdge Solutions Inc.
Erica Axiotis, Director of development, Mercy Foundation
Kate Banasiak, President and CEO, Diversified Management Services Inc.
Erin Beamis, Senior vice president of logistics and operations, IronWorks
Jonathan Brendemuehl, Marketing events coordinator, Bankers Trust Co.
Curtis Brown, Economic development director, city of Ankeny
Matt Connolly, President, Generation Green Builders Co.
Lawrence Cunningham, Director of business development, Catchfire Media LLC
Angela Dethlefs-Trettin, Director of community investment and initiatives, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines
Josh Fleming, Digital strategy director, Lessing-Flynn Advertising Co.
Felix Gallagher, Principal, PharmServ Solutions
Lori Gelhaar, Director of career services/ corporate relations, Kaplan University
Tina Gray Carstensen, Marketing coordinator, Shive-Hattery Inc.
Shane Greenleaf, Vice president/commercial banker, First American Bank
Danielle Haindfield, Shareholder attorney, Ahlers & Cooney P.C.
Emily Harris, Patent attorney and shareholder at Davis Brown Law Firm
Matthew Harris, Division administrator, Iowa Arts Council, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
Angela Hilbert, Sales and marketing director, Deerfield Retirement Community
Joey Hinke, President, Miller, Fidler & Hinke Insurance Agency Inc.
Hannah Inman, Director of communications, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
Keegan Kautzky, Director of national education programs, The World Food Prize Foundationn
John Lozier, Pediatric interventional cardiologist, Pediatric Cardiology P.C.
Dennis McDaniel, Police chief, Windsor Heights
Rachel McLean, Vice president/consultant, Ruan Cos
John Mickelson, Associate managing director, The PrivateBank & Trust Co.
Keith Olson, Commercial associate, NAI Ruhl & Ruhl Commercial Co.
Matt Ostanik, President, Submittal Exchange LLC
Benjamin Page, Director, Des Moines park and recreation
Dustin Peterson, Partner, McGladrey LLP
Nick Renkoski, Director of marketing and communications, Des Moines Metro Opera
Rachel Rowley, Partner, BrownWinick PLC
John Ruan IV, Vice president, financial institutions, Bankers Trust Co.
Jennifer Soma, Business lead, IDI Actuarial and Product Development Group, Principal Financial Group Inc.
Heather Starr, Real estate agent, RE/MAX Innovations
Aimee Staudt, Director of development, Knapp Properties Inc.
Courtney Strutt Todd, Shareholder attorney, Davis Brown Law Firm
Nikki Sylverson, Event Director, Des Moines Wine Festival Foundation
Howard Tempero, Experience design strategist, Spindustry Digital
Tony Timm, Executive director, Central Iowa Shelter & Services