An Iowa woman who owns a die casting company in Lake Park finished as the runner-up for the National Small Business Person of the Year Award in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. Thursday. Joanne Stockdale, president and owner of Northern Iowa Die Casting won the state award, giving her the chance to compete for the national award. She says it’s been a whirlwind event that she says has been wonderful. Stockdale says her only disappointment in not winning, is the winner got 50-thousand dollars to donate to their favorite charity. Stockdale says she learned a lot in talking with other business owners.She says she found out the Wisconsin state winner sells part to her to use in her company. She says she also learned about how to export more of her company’s products. The 56-year-old Stockdale says there’s a sense among many business owners that the nation’s economy is getting better. She says most businesses are starting to turn around, although she says her industry has been in a depression with many going out of business. Stockdale says she’s been lucky to maintain the business, but does see some turnaround. Stockdale says Iowa’s a good place for small business owners.She says here business is a good example, as a woman was able to buy a small manufacturing company in 1984 and succeed. Stockdale is a Spirit Lake native who graduated from Iowa State as an elementary teacher before eventually entering the business world as an accountant.