Manufacturing 101: July Session

Happy Friday! Today’s post is focusing on the July session of our Manufacturing 101 workshop! The workshop participants are finishing up their second week, and we’re excited to see their progress and also see them interview with local manufacturing companies at the end of the workshop! I thought it might be fun to hear their stories of how they learned about the program and also what their favorite part about the program is. Check out their stories below to see how each of these students have been uniquely impacted by the Corridor’s Manufacturing 101 workshop.

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Luis Ruiz:

“Dan Anderson (from Iowa Lakes Community College) talked to me about this class because I really wanted to get more experience in welding, and he said I should come to Spencer and take this class. I’ve liked learning about sketching and welding, and understanding all of the sizes and diameters for sketching has really helped me. When you need to weld something, you need to know how to weld it right, so sketching and blueprinting has been really useful information for me. I live in Estherville, and everyone there is really nice. I’ve enjoyed living in the Corridor and hope to find a job here soon.”

 

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Dennis Kahl:

“I enlisted in the Marine Corp, and then went back to Arizona. I was working at Pizza Hut, Subway – places like that to keep an income going. My parents moved to Iowa, so when my lease ended I moved here too. They found an article in the newspaper about this class, and I was obviously interested. I really wanted to get some hands-on experience and further my education. I had done some drafting before. I can use my talent in drawing and I’m really excited about the solid works program and seeing all of my progress. I couldn’t ever do any of these things back in high school, and now all of these talents have become hobbies of mine. I’m excited to see my hobbies become my full-time job, and this workshop will allow me to do that.”

 


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Blake Dalziel:

“I graduated high school in eastern Iowa, and I heard about the class through my uncle (Corridor staff member, Brian Dalziel). I first started working at a grocery store and then my grandpa’s shop as a lube tech. I worked there for a year, and by taking this class, I’ll have more experience to return and hopefully take on more of a management role. I love the solid works part of this workshop. I would like to also do industrial maintenance in the future, and that might tie in really well if I decide to go back to the family business. The family business is really important to me, and I’m excited to go back home and take on more roles.”

 

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Doug Falline

“I was in the post office and I saw Bob Becker (from Iowa Works). He mentioned that there was a class provided by the Corridor, so I marched right down to their office and signed up! I worked at StyleCraft for 16 years, so I have some experience in manufacturing. This class is actually hitting me right at my weaknesses, which is turning out to be great. I’m learning so many new tips and tricks so that I can get better at what I’m not the best at, so I’m excited that I’m seeing my improvement as I continue with the program. I’m excited to see what Polaris and other manufacturing companies have to offer. My family has lived in the Corridor for years, so I’m excited to start a new chapter in the place I call home.”

 

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Carol Young:

“I worked at Pure Fishing for almost 40 years. I thought this would be a good review of the information I already had, but I’m learning quite a bit of new information. My favorite part so far has been the drafting overview. My ideal job would be working in welding, and I always see ads for welders. I wanted to see if I could gain the skills to do it before I jumped right in and realized I didn’t like it, and so far I’m really enjoying learning about welding. Through this program, I now know that I can do this job, so I’ll feel so much more confident in getting a job in this industry after completing the workshop.”

 

Peggy Tewes (Not Pictured):

“I heard about the program through Iowa Works. I worked in manufacturing in the 90s, and I thought since this was a free course, I thought it would be a great way for me to gain more skills while I’m looking for employment. Everything that we’re learning is so new, so originally I was feeling like a fish out of water, but Scott has been so helpful and I just keep trying! This program has helped me realize that I want to go back to college. I have had experience in the medical field as well, and I have realized through this workshop that I would love to go back to school and finish my degree. I really love the Corridor because this class is free, our lunches have been free, and everyone is so nice and helpful. Through this program, I’ve been able to get the right contacts to discuss my options with Iowa Lakes Community College as well, so I can’t say enough good things about this program!”

 

Thank you to all of our awesome Manufacturing 101 Workshop participants for sharing your stories! For more information about the Manufacturing 101 Workshop, contact the Iowa Lakes Corridor at 712-264-3474. See you next week!

 

Libby Glaser

LibbyGlaser

 

 

Young Professionals Spotlight: Wendy Pouse

Happy (early) 4th of July!! Independence day is one of my favorite holidays. I feel so fortunate to live in this wonderful country, and I can’t wait to spend it celebrating with Corridor residents. The Young Professionals group is celebrating together with a YP party and BBQ. Thank you to Cody Steinkamp from Farm Bureau for offering to host our 4th of July party! For more information about this event, you can contact me at lglaser@lakescorridor.com.

 

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Our next Young Professionals Spotlight is one of the Iowa Lakes Corridor’s own! Meet Wendy Pouse. Wendy is a 33-year-old bookkeeper originally from State College, Pennsylvania who recently moved to the Corridor about a year ago.

“I’m from Pennsylvania and I lived in State College since I was ten. I’ve lived all over – I lived in Germany for four years when I was young and I’ve traveled through most of the United States. I moved to Iowa simply because I needed a change!”

I asked Wendy why she chose Iowa, specifically the Lakes Corridor,  as her new home. Her story is quite unique!

“My sister and I decided we wanted to move away from Pennsylvania permanently, so we got a dart, threw it at a map of the United States and it landed in the state of Iowa. I did my research and realized how many opportunities there are here (and very few tornadoes!). I’ve now been in Spencer for about a year and I couldn’t be happier.”

 

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WOW! Her story is one that sounds like it came out of a movie! Wendy also mentioned that she had been in the state before. Ironically, Wendy accidentally stumbled into the Corridor about a year before she moved to the state.

“I worked at Penn State University in their World Campus department for a while, but then realized that I wanted a complete career change, so I took a job working in trucking. It was such a fun opportunity to see the country, and I actually stopped one day about 5 miles south of Spencer! When the dart landed on Iowa, I was actually really excited because I had been in the state before and loved the scenery and the people I had already met. Looking back on my experience, I couldn’t believe that I had been only 5 miles away from Spencer, the place I now call home.”

 

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Wendy is a bookkeeper for both Arts on Grand and most recently the Iowa Lakes Corridor. She found out about this job through going to her first Young Professionals meeting (score!).

“I got this job because I went to the first Young Professionals meeting, and I met Alexa Guessford who used to work at the Corridor. She said the Corridor was looking for a bookkeeper part-time and it just fit in really well with my schedule at Arts on Grand. I wasn’t expecting to make those kinds of connections right away when I joined the YP group, but I’m obviously thrilled with how everything turned out.”

So are we! Wendy had also met Kathy Evert, our President and CEO, previously in an art class, so Wendy was already up to speed on the Corridor’s mission when she started working with us in June.

“I had actually taken an art class with Kathy, so I already knew her before I applied for the job. We both make and design jewelry so we instantly bonded. I love working here and we’re definitely always busy.”

 

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I asked Wendy what she loved most about the Corridor, and she had plenty of positive things to say, not just about her job and new town, but also the people who live here.

“Since moving here, I’ve really been able to use my college degree in the workplace! I received my Associates degree in Business Administration and Accounting, and I had no problem finding jobs in the Corridor where I could actually use my skill sets. The community here is also so welcoming. I have been able to really come out of my shell and meet new people here. The community is so accessible and everyone is willing to help or give advice when needed. It’s large enough for me that there are activities to do, but Spencer still has tons of small-town charm.”

 

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Wendy said she’s excited to spend time at the Iowa Great Lakes this summer and also spend more time with her family, specifically her soon-to-be five-year old niece, Miranda (pictured above), and her boyfriend, Tim. Additionally, Wendy loves animals and has a strong bond with her cat, Anna. She’s also excited to complete her house hunting process this August. With the recent purchase of a house, Wendy states she’s loving Spencer and can see herself being here for a while.

“I like the area and I like the people. I’m here to stay. Why would I leave?”

I don’t know why you would :) Thank you Wendy for giving us a snapshot into your life! For more information about the Young Professionals group, email me at lglaser@lakescorridor.com. Have a great day!

Libby Glaser

LibbyGlaser

Young Professionals Spotlight: Mary Halbur

Is it just me, or is summer FLYING by?! It’s almost the 4th of July, and the Young Professionals group has already had some awesome events and meetups! Our next big get-together is this Saturday, June 28th. We’ll be meeting at Arnold’s Park Public Beach at 2pm for a sand volleyball/beach day! Bring your volleyball and sunscreen for lots of summer fun! We’ll be sending out an email with more information, and there’s also information on our Facebook page. Email me at lglaser@lakescorridor.com if you’d like to join our Facebook group!

This week’s Young Professionals Spotlight features a Corridor intern who is also a dear friend of mine. Mary Halbur is a 22-year-old University of Iowa graduate from Ames, IA. Mary and I have been friends for over 12 years, and we were also college roommates! Although we are not from the same area, Mary’s family and my family have become close friends because of our shared love of the Iowa Great Lakes!


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“I’ve been coming to the lakes for about 12 years, and it’s always been a place for my family to get together with great friends and family. The lake is our place to relax and rewind, and I have really come to appreciate the time I’ve spent in the Corridor. I can’t imagine a summer where I’m not at the lakes for at least a little bit of time.”

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Mary graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Speech and Hearing Science, a minor in Human Relations and a certificate in Disability Studies (busy girl!). Mary will attend St. Cloud State University next fall to receive her Masters in Applied Behavioral Science, however she is interning this summer at the Iowa State Extension and Outreach Office of Clay County in Spencer as their K-3 STEM Programming Intern. I asked her why she chose St. Cloud State University, and her answer made me smile!

“Minnesota is the land of lakes, and I could tell that the atmosphere there mimicked the Corridor environment. Being around lakes and being surrounded by such great people will be familiar and nice. It’s not the same as the Iowa Great Lakes, but I’m excited to be close by for 2 years.”

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Mary stays busy this summer with her internship at the Iowa State Extension and Outreach Office, and she was really excited to talk about all the programs she’s helped plan for the summer!

“Right now, I have been planning, coordinating, and facilitating the “World in Motion” programs. The first week’s topic was “Engineering Inspired by Nature”, and after that we did a “Rolling Things Challenge”, where the kids studied toy cars and determined their performances based on their weight and other aspects. All of the camps are very “hands-on”, and it’s fun to watch the younger kids learn from the older kids and vice-versa.”

I asked Mary about the difficulties of working with young children, however Mary said the kids keep her job interesting and gratifying.

“Working with K-3rd grade kids is always really fun and provides an upbeat environment to my job.  During the workshops, I have to make sure to keep the kids on their toes and change things up all the time. They all bring different personalities and aspects to the program, so each day is different and exciting.”

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Mary will also work together with the Extension Office team on the Achievement and Communication Fair for kids to qualify for the state fair before they head back to school in August, as well as helping with the Clay County Fair, and other Extension and Outreach events.

“During the Achievement Fair, kids from the Corridor can get their projects in the human science fields judged to potentially qualify for the state fair, so we’re really excited about that! The fair will take place on July 22nd, and anyone who’s interested can find more information on our website (click here!).”

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I asked Mary if she would ever consider coming back to the Corridor to live here full-time, and she was optimistic about all the opportunities here in her field.

“I will hopefully be working with kids in the “early intervention” stage, and I think there is a great need in Iowa for this particular area. I’m definitely open to returning to the Corridor. I don’t know where I will be after graduation, however I’ll definitely consider the need for my field in the area once I’m done. I would love to come back to Iowa because I would already be familiar with the area and I could continue to build a network of people in my field here.”

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Mary just recently joined our Young Professionals group, and she said she’s excited to meet new friends in her field here and also learn more about other Young Professionals in the Corridor.

“I’m excited to go to Young Professionals events. I’ve never worked in Spencer before and I didn’t really know people from this area that live here full-time, so I’m excited to expand my network. I’m a big believer that when people from different areas of expertise work together, everyone will leave with a more impactful experience, so that’s something that makes the Young Professionals group so important.”

I couldn’t agree more! When Mary’s not working, she mentioned she loves spending time on the water, hanging out with friends on the end of the dock and spending time with family.

“I love the Corridor because everyone is so friendly. The Corridor has such a positive environment here. It’s nice and refreshing to see so many people who want to grow and prosper here, but also have fun doing it. I always feel like I’m in a good mood at the lakes.”

 

Thank you Mary for being our first YP Intern interviewee! I can’t wait for Saturday’s beach day, so feel free to stop by anytime after 2pm to play a game of sand volleyball! Have a a great week!

Libby Glaser

LibbyGlaser

Manufacturing 101 Spotlight: Temi Otaniyi

Hey everyone! Hope you’re all having a great week thus far. Today I’m doing something a little different on the blog. Instead of focusing on our Young Professionals, I’m taking a minute to share an incredible story. Meet Temiloluwa (Temi) Otaniyi! He graciously let me interview him the other day to talk about his life story, as well as his involvement with this month’s Manufacturing 101 Workshop. Temi is a Spencer resident who is originally from Nigeria. He’s lived in the US for a couple of years, and although he loves the Corridor and enjoys raising his family here with his wife, he’s struggled to finish his degree and find full-time employment.

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“I came to the US as an international student to go to college. I went to SW Oklahoma State and studied Computer Science for two years. I decided to stop because I thought I would be a rock star and have a music career, but eventually I had to draw the line between youthful hopefulness and adult reality. I came to Spencer because my wife is from here and we’ve been here for a couple of years.”

Temi currently works full-time at Jimmy Johns, however he was always hoping to finish his degree and find a career that was rewarding. Although his wife is a registered nurse in Spencer, Temi mentioned that he wanted another opportunity to learn more skills and become more qualified in the manufacturing industry.

“When I was in college, I felt that I was learning valuable information and I was growing. Once I stopped going to college and got out into the work force, I realized I still didn’t have the necessary skills and experience I needed. I had applied to Polaris online and through a temp agency, and I honestly forgot about my applications. I finally got a call from Polaris and they told me about the Manufacturing 101 program, and I felt like it was a second chance at both receiving valuable education and the skills I need to keep growing and succeeding.  I was skilled, I was educated, but I wasn’t really qualified. I was working on grain bins and felt that I wasn’t progressing as a person. That’s where this workshop really came into play. “

 

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The “Manufacturing 101: Learn to Earn” workshop consists of short courses designed for adults and 2014 high school graduates. The 3-week, FREE program emphasizes assisting individuals in a respectful, adult-learning setting where they will learn the manufacturing, human relations, career and safety skills needed to be immediately hired. The Corridor has teamed up with many manufacturing and industrial companies to give students interviews and FREE training and resources in the hopes that they can be hired directly after completion of the workshop. Participating companies include Polaris Industries, Vander Haag’s, Ranco Fertiservice, Maurer Manufacturing, Shine Brothers, Tecton Industries, Pure Fishing and Rosenboom. Additionally, students have the opportunity to receive more information about Iowa Lakes Community College if they feel inclined to go back to school. The July session begins on Monday, July 7th and runs Monday – Friday until July 25th.

Did I mention that this program is totally FREE?? Ok, just checking…

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Temi feels that the Manufacturing 101 workshop came at the right time.

“This workshop has been a blessing. I’ve learned so much in just a week and I had no clue that I would be learning so many valuable skill sets. If you’ve never learned something, then you don’t know. I had limited experience and worked at various manufacturing companies temporarily, but all the skills I’m learning now will help me land a job in the industry that I know will help lead to an exciting career.”

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I asked Temi what his career goals are, and he stated that he was dreams of being in management and working his way up in the manufacturing industry. Temi also mentioned that he enjoys learning other valuable skill sets in the workshop, like learning proper dress etiquette for interviews.

“I’m definitely preparing for a broader scope of work and many different opportunities, but I would love to eventually get into management. What I didn’t anticipate was that I’m learning other skills too, like interview skills and also how to make a proper resume. I’ve been able to add so much to my resume strictly because of the experience I’ve gained here in the Manufacturing 101 workshop. I’m excited to walk into my interviews and give companies my portfolio because I’m proud of the work I’m accomplished so far.”

 

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One activity students do during the Manufacturing 101 workshop is take a National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) test. The NCRC test helps students discover their interests in the workforce, as well as what industries best suit their interests and strengths.  Temi says he’s excited to see what his results are, and he hopes to continue taking the test to improve his score.

“(The NCRC test) helps to see where I am and where I stand now before training. I really want to take the test again because I’m excited to see how much I can improve. I’ll also be able to see what my strengths are, so once I do get done with the program, I can better use my strengths towards a profession that I love and actually enjoy.”

 

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Scott Rettey, retired industrial education teacher at Spencer High School and also the instructor for the Manufacturing 101 workshop, states he’s impressed with Temi’s progress and hopes to see more success stories, like Temi’s, in July’s Manufacturing 101 workshop. Scott stated:

“Temi is such a personable young man. He’s shown up every day and worked hard, and he has a willingness to learn more skills. He hasn’t been afraid to try things and he’s continuously improved on all standards and tests. Temi’s worked hard on some modeling software and made a portfolio for himself. We’ll be working into mills, welding, torquing assembly, and simulating a production simulation. We’re about halfway through the program and I’m really pleased with the progress Temi has made. I’m hoping to see more stories like his in next month’s workshop too.”

Thank you to Temi for sharing his story! I’m excited to see all the opportunities he will receive after completing this workshop. Applications are still being accepted for the July Manufacturing 101 workshop! Interested individuals can find the workshop application on the Iowa Lakes Corridor website (click here for the application) or you can contact Tina Sherrill at tsherrill@lakescorridor.com.

For more information about this workshop, please contact us at 712-264-3474, or call us toll-free at 1-800-765-1428.

Have a great day! Thanks for reading :)

-Libby Glaser

LibbyGlaser

Young Professionals Spotlight: Kristen Hartwig

Hey everyone! We  just put a ton of new Young Professional events on our Facebook calendar this week and I know I’m anxious to get the group back together again! If you’re not on our email list or Facebook group, be sure to email me at lglaser@lakescorridor.com to start getting event invites! This also goes out to any summer interns – we’d love to show you around the Corridor area!

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Kristen Hartwig is our next Young Professionals Spotlight. I met her a couple weeks ago at the Young Professionals BBQ, and let me tell you, we had so much fun chatting about event planning, watching Storage Wars and the upcoming Hunter Hayes concert. Kristen actually works for the Clay County Fair, so I’m hoping she can score me some tickets :) Kristen and her husband, Jon, moved to Spencer last year after he got a job, and they have now lived here for about a year.

“My husband Jon got a job in Sioux Rapids at Ranco Fertiservice, Inc. last July. We moved here and after a week or two, I found in the local paper that the Clay County Fair needed a temp position to be filled. It was great because I got to work on many projects for the fair, and they soon hired me on full-time as the Special Projects Manager.”

Kristen says she enjoys working for the fair and also likes the challenge of having many different tasks throughout the day.

“I wear a lot of hats. I answer a lot of questions about the fair and help with overall planning. If something needs to be done, I’m usually the go-to girl.”

Kristen likes being in a smaller community, like Spencer, because she is originally from a small town.

“I grew up in Carroll and graduated high school from Kuemper Catholic. I then moved to Ames and attended Iowa State University where I studied Family and Consumer Sciences and Educational Studies.”

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I asked her why she didn’t get a degree in event planning, and like most people, she said she had a change of heart, although she enjoyed taking Family and Consumer Science classes. She held many internships in event planning, and also was a member of the Event Management Club at ISU to gain more experience.

“I originally wanted to be a teacher and realized it just wasn’t for me. Then I started to do internships in event planning and really liked it. Working at the Clay County Fair really allows me to see how our residents are impacted by all of the events and competitions at the fair. My job is extremely gratifying.”

I can totally relate to Kristen – seeing so many smiling faces after planning an event is so rewarding! Kristen also mentioned that she has a busy summer ahead of her, as her and Jon are also looking for a house.

“We just moved here about a year ago and we have no plans to move. We live in town and are looking for a home right now, so it’s a really exciting time for us.We also have three fish – Voldemort, Gatsby and Shrimp. They like it here too!”

I think I can guess Kristen’s favorite books! :)

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When asked what her favorite part was about living in Spencer, she mentioned how much she enjoys having neighbors and friends that are so willing to help whenever needed. She also loves the strong sense of community she felt immediately after moving to the Corridor.

“When Jon and I started looking for places to rent, we didn’t really know where to start. I called the Spencer Chamber of Commerce and they were so helpful in giving us many resources to find rental properties quickly. These are some of the perks that you may not be able to receive in a bigger city like Des Moines.”

This summer, Kristen also plans to continue with her hobby of re-purposing old pieces of furniture and turning them into unique, like-new pieces.

“I love re-purposing things. Just recently I redid enough chairs for a small wedding ceremony. I’ve thought about making this into a small business, but it takes a lot of time to collect the items I need. Maybe someday if I don’t ever have a full-time job I’ll be a full-time junker.”

I think the YP group may need to have a re-purposing party soon! I think it’s safe to say that Kristen enjoys living in the corridor and hopes to stay for quite a while!

“I would like to retire at the lakes. Right now I’m focused on the next five years though, so we’ll see. But we’ve liked living in Spencer and being a part of the Young Professionals group.”

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Thanks Kristen for sitting down with me for an interview! The Young Professionals will be meeting next this Friday, June 13th at the Clay County Fair Grounds for a FREE concert, featuring Boogie and the Yo Yoz. We’ll all be meeting at 8pm! I’ll be sure to document our event on the blog :) If you’d like to come, feel free to email me at lglaser@lakescorridor.com so I can add you to our email list and Facebook page!

Have a great day! Thanks for reading!

Libby Glaser

LibbyGlaser

Young Professionals Spotlight: Andy Van Engen

Good morning everyone!! Today’s YP feature is on Andy Van Engen, but first, I should probably introduce myself to all of you! My name is Libby Glaser and I am the new Communications and Events Coordinator for the Iowa Lakes Corridor. I’m SO EXCITED to be a permanent resident of the Corridor, and so far I’m loving my new position, especially my role with the Corridor blog. I am not new to the “blogosphere” – I actually have a style and lifestyle blog of my own called Stylin’ Iowan, however I’m excited to keep writing the Young Professional spotlights and also feature some of the YP events in this space.

OK, enough of my blabbering, on to the real star of the post…

 

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Andy Van Engen so graciously agreed to let me interview him for our next Young Professionals spotlight. Andy is a 35 year old Art Director and Strategist at F8 Creative. If you didn’t know already, Andy was actually the graphic designer that created our lovely Young Professionals logo, and clearly he did a wonderful job!

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“I’ve always liked to sketch, and as a kid I was always drawing sports logos and cartoons. I guess I’ve always been more of a creative. Now I get to create logos and design for companies and organizations, and I love it. I’m really happy with how the YP logo turned out: it’s simple, but versatile.”

We love it too! Andy was born and raised in Spencer, and after high school, he moved to Omaha to attend The Creative Center Art College. He stayed there for about 11 years, and during that time he freelanced and also worked full-time. Andy did most of his freelance work for ad agencies, corporations, and churches but decided to move back to the Corridor three years ago.

“I decided to come back to Spencer to be closer to family, and figured I would have to just freelance until I figured things out. I started freelancing for F8 in 2012 and after doing that for about a year, Chris and Joe asked me to join full-time.”

 

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Andy mentioned that he was pleasantly surprised at the amount of opportunities available for young people in the area, and he even mentioned how some of the Iowa Lakes Corridor programs helped him see the potential in Spencer.

“Once I came back I realized just how many opportunities there are for young people here. Networking in a small town is so much better and people are always willing to help. There are opportunities here, but you really have to think it through, get creative with it and put in the effort to find them. I took the Corridor’s ‘Prepare to Launch’ class last year, and my instructor, Brian Dalziel, really emphasized making connections. The connections and re-connections I’ve made in Spencer have really paid off for me.”

Those connections have also helped Andy get more involved in the community! Andy serves on a couple different boards in Spencer, holding seats on the Arts on Grand board, as well as the Spencer Main Street board. Additionally, Andy is also a local host for Spencer Tech Brews! Seems like he keeps pretty busy…

“Keeping up with work, family, church and board responsibilities keeps me busy, but so does trying to be funny on Facebook. Ha ha!”

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Sounds like we have a local comedian on hand! When asked what he likes to do for fun, Andy showed that he also has a musical side to him.

“I’ve played bass guitar for 20 years. My wife and I do church music together – she sings, and I play various instruments. It’s fun.”

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Andy and his wife, Melissa, have been married for 2 years. Although they met through mutual friends in Omaha, Melissa is actually from Hartford, Connecticut. So I had to ask, how did he convince her to move to a smaller community??

“When Melissa first visited Spencer, I told her that we still tied up our horses downtown as a joke. But when she got here, she was shocked that we have a Walmart, other big-city amenities, along with the small-town and Lakes charm. We love it here!”

 

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I had to ask what his favorite part about living in the Corridor was, and of course, Andy mentioned being close to family was really important to him. Andy also mentioned that knowing so many familiar faces was an added bonus that they wouldn’t necessarily have living in a bigger city.

“My job is such an amazing opportunity and with having family here, it would be great to live here for a long time. However we also have family on the East Coast, so we’ll see what happens in the future. For the time being, we’re here to stay. I really want to see this region grow.”

 

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I think I know who to call now if I ever need a graphic designer :) I hope you all are having a great week! Be sure to check out next week’s Young Professional’s Spotlight. If you know of anyone who would like to join our Young Professionals group, be sure to email me at lglaser@lakescorridor.com. We’ll be having more fun events soon, so stay tuned! Until next time..

Libby Glaser

LibbyGlaser

 

Young Professionals Spotlight: Libby Glaser

Today’s post is very bittersweet for me (more bitter than sweet). Friday will be my last day at the Corridor. :(  I am moving back to Des Moines this weekend to be closer to my family…which means this is my very last blog post as a member of the Corridor (yes, I’ll be crying throughout the entire writing process).

On a happier note, Libby Glaser has joined our staff as the new “me.” Libby started last Tuesday as the new Communications & Events Coordinator and has been thrown right into all the madness of events season. She is a recent graduate of the University of Iowa, originally from the Des Moines area.

“I received my BA in Communication Studies and also studied Entrepreneurial Management. I graduated last Saturday, moved to Spirit Lake on Sunday and started at the Corridor on the 20th.”

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Libby has been one busy cookie these last few days, moving and probably having information overload from me trying to cram everything into her brain. Luckily for both of us, she’s very familiar with how economic development organizations operate and has caught on very quickly.

“I’ve worked in economic development before and love the type of impact these organizations have on communities. I’m so excited to work for the Corridor and can’t wait to plan and promote fun events in the area.”

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Throughout her time at Iowa, Libby was able to complete 3 internships – two in the financial industry and one as the Marketing and Events Intern at the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) at the university during her junior and senior years.

“I loved the challenges and creativity in both the event planning and marketing fields. Event planning is definitely hard work; however, seeing how people benefit from the events we coordinate is extremely gratifying. Seeing the end result is why I do what I do.”

Throughout our training these last few days, Libby and I have been able to chat about various topics. With OEI just around the corner, we can’t seem to think about anything else. Libby is a former OEI student, so being able to return to the region that taught her so much as an entrepreneurial student was very important.

“Last summer, I attended the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute as a senior, and it was such an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to meet Kathy and really started to see all the opportunities there are for young people here.”

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Libby also has personal ties to the area.

“All of my life I have been fortunate enough to vacation in Okoboji, so I hold many childhood memories here. I’ve always thought of the Iowa Lakes as a very special place, so moving up here seemed like a good option. When this job became available, it was a no-brainer to apply; it’s exactly the type of work I want to be doing and seemed like the perfect fit. I really feel at home here.”

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It’s been an important goal of Libby’s to allow young people the chance to make a difference and have opportunities for success.

“Something that is so unique about the Lakes Corridor is that young people have the opportunity to make an immediate impact. I love that people are relying on the work I do right away as a recent grad, and feel that I’m not necessarily having to wait until my thirties to make an impact.”

Currently, Libby is living in her parents’ condo on West Lake Okoboji but has begun the search for her own place. So far, she has been pleasantly surprised by how many affordable living options there are.

Since Libby has enjoyed many summers in the area, she has a few favorite things on her list of “must-dos.”

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“I could go on and on, but some of my favorites are little treasures like the turtle coffee at Hey Good Cookies or the creme brule at Kazarelli’s (I have a sweet tooth, can’t you tell?). I also love knowing someone wherever I go; it’s refreshing to know that there are so many caring people willing to help if needed. I love being able to enjoy the lakes and the amenities that surround them.”

We both come from and have lived in larger cities, like Des Moines and Iowa City, and are used to all that comes with that. I was shocked when she didn’t mention traffic at all! ;)

“I really have nothing against larger cities; they definitely have their perks. However, I chose to live up here because of the opportunities for young people. It’s such a welcoming community for young professionals to really get their foot in the door and make an impact. There’s no other place where you can work a full day, drive home and enjoy a boat ride or watch the sunset. It’s absolutely gorgeous here!”

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Libby has her own style and lifestyle blog called Stylin’ Iowan. She started the blog during college as a way to document her outfits and keep in touch with family and friends. It has grown into a passion of hers over the years and has allowed her the opportunity to work with local and nationally-known brands.

“I love helping women style themselves and better their self-esteem. I live by the motto: ‘look good, feel good’ and want to help empower women to always put their best foot forward.”

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In addition to her blog, what does Libby do in her spare time?

“I like putting outfits together, taking and editing photos, writing my blog posts and responding to reader emails. When I’m not blogging, I love hanging out with friends on the lake and checking out as many coffee shops in the area as possible. I also signed up for the Okoboji Marathon 10K, so training has officially begun. Wish me luck!” :)

Libby has been given the YP “low-down” so she’s ready to gear up and plan some fun events for the group.

“I’m excited to start planning events with Elissa and, of course, meet all the YP members!”

I hope you all get the chance to meet Libby here in the near future. She is great at what she does and has so many ideas to bring to the table. Feel free to stop in and say ‘hi’ whenever you’re in the area!

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I have enjoyed my time at the Corridor so, so much and feel so thankful for all the opportunities I have been given. I couldn’t imagine working for anyone else other than Kathy or with any other staff members. I truly lucked out. I’ll miss my weekly posts, corresponding with everyone in the region and seeing our impact on the community (and the chocolate dish). I promise to stay in touch and visit often. Behave, Corridor region. I’ll miss you!

Surprisingly, I kept my composure throughout that..

All the best,

- Alexa Guessford

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