Iowa Lakes news

(Estherville, Iowa) The annual organizational meeting of the Iowa Lakes Community College Trustees took place late Tuesday afternoon at the Administrative Offices in Estherville. Under the leadership of Board of Trustees President Janice K. Lund, the 2022-23 board concluded its session, and the reins were handed over to the incoming 2023-24 board, called to order by Board Secretary Mischelle Dahna.

During this meeting, the Trustees conducted the election of officers. Arden Kinnander, District 1, was elected as the new Board President, and Robert Jennings, District 7, was elected Vice President. Additionally, Mischelle Dahna was appointed as Board Secretary, and Jeff Soper assumed the role of Treasurer. The legal representation for the Trustees was designated to Scot Bauermeister.

Following the completion of all organizational business, Kyle Norris, Executive Dean, initiated Tuesday’s meeting with the Iowa Lakes Report. The session began with introductions by Norris, featuring Emily Gottsche, Welding Program Coordinator, and Joe Holtz, Welding Technology Lab Assistant and Adjunct Instructor.

Gottsche has been the Welding Program Coordinator since 2013 and holds the Assistant Professor position. In 2010, she contributed as the technical editor for “Welding for Dummies.” As a Certified Welding Inspector, Certified Welding Educator, and member of the American Welding Society, Gottsche gained national recognition as a semi-finalist for career preparedness for Iowa Lakes’ welding program through ACT. Over the past few years, she spearheaded the Iowa Lakes welding program initiative to achieve accreditation as a testing facility. This accreditation enables the certification of students and industry welders, whose names are then included in a national registry accessible to employers. Gottsche, a proud graduate of Iowa Lakes, has been part of the institution since 2009.

Holtz, who joined Iowa Lakes in 2014, brings extensive industry experience, having worked as a welder for several years. A graduate of Iowa Lakes, Holtz spent years enhancing his skills and qualifications before becoming an integral part of the program. His current teaching responsibilities are centered around the Career Academy, where he conducts non-credit courses and trainings.

“The welding program at Iowa Lakes Community College provides a comprehensive diploma program, allowing students to gain invaluable hands-on experience while preparing for a dynamic career in the welding industry,” said Gottsche.

In today’s evolving landscape, welders are not only expected to master essential skills but also to plan, supervise, and execute tasks crucial for creating, installing, and repairing diverse equipment and structures. Iowa Lakes’ state-of-the-art lab provides an immersive environment for students to receive hands-on training in welding techniques, skills, and cutting-edge equipment.

The Welding Technology program at Iowa Lakes ensures students become proficient in a range of welding processes, including Oxy-Fuel Welding and Cutting, Brazing and Soldering, Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Gas Metal Arc Welding, Gas Tungsten Arc Welding, and Pipe Welding. Specialized training in Robotics and Flux-Cored Arc Welding further enhances students’ expertise. The program’s unique competency-based structure allows individuals to progress at their own pace, advancing to the next level upon achieving competency in a specific welding area.

Iowa Lakes Community College takes pride in being recognized as an Accredited Training Facility (ATF) by the American Welding Society (AWS). This accreditation allows students to obtain welding certification while actively enrolled in the program. Students enter the national registry upon graduation and receive a certificate acknowledging their active participation.

“Whether your career aspirations lean towards manufacturing, pipeline welding, or fabrication, Iowa Lakes Community College provides the foundational skills and experiences necessary for success,” says Gottsche.

During Tuesday’s meeting, current students in the Iowa Lakes Welding program shared their motivations for choosing Iowa Lakes. The testimonials featured Colton Main from Buffalo Center, Iowa; Jalen Mickaelson from Guthrie Center, Iowa; Cooper Tunink, also from Guthrie Center, Iowa; and Jesse Wright from Everly, Iowa.

Jalen Mickaelson expressed, “I was more than just a number. I connected with the program faculty, and after discovering my passion for welding in high school and visiting Iowa Lakes, I knew this is where I wanted to attend college.”

Colton Main stated, “I had heard a lot of positive feedback about the program and decided to check it out. Having spent considerable time welding on the farm, I wanted to turn it into my career.”

Cooper Tunink shared, “Welding is the only thing I have enjoyed. When I visited Iowa Lakes, the impressive knowledge that the faculty had about welding convinced me that it was the right place for me.”

For more information about the Welding Technology program and other Iowa Lakes Community College offerings, please visit

Dr. Dan Lutat, Executive Director of Foundation & Governmental Affairs, secured approval to receive a generous donation from Mau Marine earmarked for the Boat and Watercraft Technician program on the Emmetsburg Campus. This philanthropic contribution further enhances the resources available for students pursuing this specialized program.

Dr. Lutat then shared a comprehensive update on the status of scholarship applications, shedding light on the current standing and total scholarship funds awarded for the 2023-24 academic year. This insight into scholarship allocations reflects the ongoing commitment of Iowa Lakes Community College to supporting students in their educational pursuits.

The Trustees discussed recent meetings in other business before officially adjourning the session.

The next monthly Board meeting will be on Tuesday, January 16, 2024, at 4:30 P.M. at the Administration Building, 19 South 7th Street, Estherville, Iowa. The Work Session will begin at 4:00 P.M.