The Czech Village-New Bohemia Main Street District and the NewBo City Market honors the legacy of the late Bob Chadima by recognizing neighborhood leaders who are carrying out his vision of entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity.

The innaugural Robert Chadima Visionary Awards are a part of the meet and greet quarterly programming for CVNB Main Street District business networking Meet & Greet. Neighborhood stakeholders and business leaders from throughout the community celebrated this event on April 19th, 2017.

2017 Honorees

Mel Andringa came to the New Bohemia neighborhood in 1990 with F. John Herbert, in search of inexpensive housing/work space. They found it through R G Prucha, who owned CSPS Hall. In CSPS Hall they gained a fresh perspective through the history of the building, but also gained a vision for the future. F. John Herbert had the idea for Legion Arts, an organization that fosters artists and their expressions in many disciplines. Melvin ran the operations side, and in the last 25 years, has helped rehabilitate CSPS Hall, provided a new resource for the community, and drawn regional, national, and international attention into the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District.

Eric Engelmann played a large role in revitalizing the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District by moving his company Geonetric, a marketing agency and software developer for the healthcare industry, to the NewBo neighborhood in 2014. Through his leadership, the building serves as a town square for entrepreneurship in Cedar Rapids and the Creative Corridor, hosting NewBoCo, Iowa Startup Accelerator, Vault coworking space, educational programs for children and adults, and many community startup events. His efforts have helped make NewBo a destination for entrepreneurs, creatives, and innovators nationwide. 

Jon Jelinek has spent 22 years restoring historic buildings to their original glory. He started in 1995, with the purchase of the ZCBJ building, which is the current home of Brewhemia & Caucho, with the vision of restoring it. From early beginnings, Jon saw potential in the neighborhood and set out to help rebuild it. With the help of his kids and grandkids, he has been able to spend his time restoring several buildings found in the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District. He has helped contribute to the economic development of the area with his restaurant Parlor City, and the restoration of many buildings that are home to several local businesses. Jon has dedicated his time and efforts to help transform a forgotten area, into a thriving neighborhood

Robert Schaffer and his parents first opened Czech Cottage Gift Shop in 1975. When he first started in the area, he wanted to have a store to sell products that were imported from Czechoslovakia. Robert had a desire to be part of the revitalization of the commercial district as well as the preservation of the Czech immigrant culture and history within the area. He has also spent his time as a member of Czech Village Association, the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District, and the Czech Fine Arts Foundation, which was the original organization of today’s National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library. Robert has expanded his desire of revitalizing commercial buildings in the area by purchasing several buildings and houses in the vicinity, and converting them to rental or new housing units. He currently is in the process of constructing a new mixed use building next to the Czech Cottage, to create more retail locations for businesses within the neighborhood. Robert remains an active leader in the community, and has helped shaped the Czech Village/New Bohemia District into what it is today.

Thank you from the Robert Chadima Visionary Award Committee,
David & Lijun Chadima
Scott Kruger
Jennifer Pratt
Jennifer Pruden:
Dean Spina
and the Main Street Economic Vitality Committee

Thank you to our sponsors for this event: Guarenty Bank and Trust, McNary Marketing and Design, Thorland Company, Bradley and Riley P.C.