Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo and Chief of Staff Shan Sievert Climb Wind Turbine at Iowa Lakes


(Estherville, Iowa) Director Ann Lebo and Chief of Staff Shan Seivert from the Iowa Department of Education visited Iowa Lakes Community College to learn more about sustainable energy and technology programs.

During the visit, Valerie Newhouse, Iowa Lakes President, Robert Leifeld, Vice President of Administration, and Daniel Lutat, Executive Director of Foundation and Governmental Affairs, discussed educational topics specifically about technology options at Iowa Lakes with Lebo and Seivert. Then, Lebo and Seivert toured the Sustainable Energy Resources and Technologies (SERT) building, visited the automation lab, completed safety training, and successfully climbed the wind turbine.

“I was so impressed with the state-of-the-art facilities and the sustainable energy programs offered at Iowa Lakes,” said Lebo. “These incredible opportunities offer students pathways to in-demand careers and help ensure Iowa employers have a strong talent pipeline that they need to innovate and grow.”

Mike Gengler, Wind Technology Coordinator/Assistant Professor, and Jalen Tripp, a sophomore at Iowa Lakes, helped during safety portions to ensure hands-on familiarization with the process for safely climbing a wind turbine and during the climb to meet all safety measures.

“Wind energy can be a challenging career. No matter who we climb with or what we climb for, safety must be our number one priority. Training is key to ensuring we can all stay safe from the moment we shut our tower down to the second we start it back up,” explained Gengler.

While visiting the Automation Lab, Engineering Technology Instructor Chad Tischer and some of his students from multiple technological programs shared an Industrial Instrumentation Lab where they used thermostats to turn on indicating lights when a temperature was too high.

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