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Agriculture Programs featured at September Trustees Meeting

September 18, 2019

The Agriculture programs were featured at the Iowa Lakes Community College Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

Tom Brotherton, Executive Dean of the Emmetsburg Campus, presented the faculty and students representing the Agriculture programs. The Agriculture faculty at Iowa Lakes includes Neal Williamsen, Director of Agricultural Technology, Kelly Dodge, Agriculture Assistant Professor, Stacey Geerdes, Agriculture Assistant Professor and Tom Quastad, Agriculture Assistant Professor.

Williamsen reported that Iowa Lakes Community College has very strong Agriculture programs including Agribusiness Technology, Agricultural Production Technology and Ag Transfer opportunities. He shared that Iowa Lakes will soon offer two additional transfer options which will include Agriculture Education and Animal Science.

Iowa Lakes Community College has a 300+ acre college-owned farm with a 200 custom-fed feeder calve operation and 60 head, sow herd, farrow-to-finish operations.

“Students enrolled in the Agriculture programs at Iowa Lakes have the opportunity to assist with the management and daily operations of our farm and gain real-life experience, right here on our campus,” said Williamsen.

Agriculture Assistant Professor, Tom Quastad, reported that Agriculture students will soon be entering into the on-the-job training portion of the programs.

Quastad stated, “Our students have on-the-job training opportunities scheduled from New Ulm, Minnesota to Sioux City, Iowa.”

Additionally, two Agribusiness Technology students shared with the Board why they chose to attend Iowa Lakes.

Kolton Blum, a second-year Agribusiness Technology student from Schaller, Iowa, shared, “I chose Iowa Lakes because of the length of the program, its closeness to home and the ability to work on the Iowa Lakes college farm.”

Mason Horkey, also a second-year Agribusiness Technology student, stated, “I chose Iowa Lakes because of its size, it is affordable and I have the opportunity to complete real-life, on-the-job training experiences while attending Iowa Lakes.”

Following the presentation on agriculture, Brotherton received approval to move forward with a self-study of the Iowa Lakes Nursing program with the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Robert Leifeld, Vice President of Administration, presented new faculty members to the Board. Faculty members introduced were Tammy Shimon, Director of Nursing Education, Tim Busch, Aviation/Airport Management Program Coordinator/Assistant Professor and Chief Flight Instructor, Stacey Geerdes, Agriculture Assistant Professor, Zak Kizer, Communications Assistant Professor, Elizabeth Larsen, Massage Therapy Program Instructor/Coordinator, Carl Lund, Math Associate Professor, and Michael Zaugg, Veterinary Technician Program Coordinator/ Assistant Professor.

Julie Williams, Executive Dean of Students, was granted the opportunity to explore the establishment of E-Sports and Disc Golf as possible additions to the competitive offerings at Iowa Lakes Community College.

“We have seen an increase in interest from our students in these two areas.  We currently have an 18  hole disc golf course on the Emmetsburg campus and are creating ‘gaming pods’ on our Estherville, Emmetsburg and Spencer campuses,” said Williams.

In other business, Jolene Rogers, Executive Director of Community and Business Relations, received approval to accept a donation of Allen Bradley Controllogix controllers and numbers PLC modules to the Iowa Lakes Engineering Technology program from Ryan Gilson, Polaris Industries. 

The Trustees also accepted a preliminary 260E New Jobs Training agreement for a company in the region. The Board approved moving forward with the New Jobs Training Bond Issuance, not to exceed $1.35 million.  Seven companies are included in the bond project, with a total of 162 new jobs pledged.

Rogers stated, “The average wage for the new jobs pledged is $25.47/hour. These are great jobs in our region. There are plenty of employment opportunities here, and the College is eager to assist individuals in preparing for those jobs.”

Additionally, Rogers shared the Scholarship Donor Reception will be held on September 23 on the Estherville campus and September 26 on the Emmetsburg campus. As the Performing Arts Center continues to take shape, Rogers reminded the audience that seats are available for chair sponsorship. Seats may be purchased through the Foundation office by calling 712-362-0491. 

Delaine Hiney, Executive Director of Facilities Management, received approval to move forward with hiring architects to develop a design and specifications for a new farm lab facility utilizing Accelerated Career Education (ACE) funding. 

Hiney reported on progress with the Performing Arts Center on the Estherville campus. 

“The stage floor has been installed with the rigging, lights and sound system to follow. Chairs have been delivered, and we are on target for completion in December 2019,” said Hiney. 

The Trustees shared regular monthly business and heard reports from state and regional groups. 

The next meeting of the Iowa Lakes Board of Trustees will be on Tuesday, October 8 in Estherville.

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