All Stars 2018

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Meet Derek Powers and

other ALL STARS who are

making an impact in the

region’s business sectors.





3 Sam Jones

4 Derek Powers

5 Nathan Vanderweide


6 Chris Biechler

8 Laura Tietz



10 Linsey Eiben

12 Diana Rodriguez


20 Alison LaGrange

22 Abby Siek


24 Cody Metz

26 Madison Williams


28 Chad Peska



No matter where you are from in our seven-county area of Benton, Cedar,

Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn and Washington counties, we’re all part

of a larger community known as the Iowa City Cedar Rapids Region

(ICR IOWA). We share many of the same needs that are

central to the overall strength of our area. A major factor

behind that strength is our local economy and workforce.

Kirkwood Community College has always been a

leader in developing our region’s talent pipeline. Over

time, that role has grown from technical training to

modern-day career exploration and advancement with

proven educational programs. Today, Kirkwood partners

with industry leaders to develop relevant curriculum for

Mick Starcevich in-demand careers. Businesses get the well-trained staff

they need and members of our community get goodpaying

jobs. It’s a win-win situation.

These sector board partnerships support important

initiatives to develop our workforce into a powerhouse

that strengthens our local economy. The educators, industry

professionals and community leaders in these groups

bring their expertise to the table to support career pathways

that will foster the growth of future All Stars like you

see in this publication. They volunteer for these important

Lori Sundberg partnerships, and I thank them all for their dedication.

As you turn the pages of this magazine, you’ll meet a

few of the most talented employees in some of the ICR IOWA’s most

vital industries. Let these stories inspire you. Use them as examples of

what YOU can do if you put your mind to it. If you’re ready to find YOUR

future, or know someone who is, you’ll also find information on how

Kirkwood guides students to reach career goals and how to get started.

At the end of July, I will be retiring after 15 years at Kirkwood. It has

been an honor to serve as president of this college – and I will certainly

miss it. However, I take comfort in knowing that our next president,

Dr. Lori Sundberg, is ready to continue the great work that has been

done at Kirkwood for more than 50 years. This community will be in

good hands for many years to come.

Mick Starcevich

President, Kirkwood Community College

30 Alivea Carnahan



11 How Can I Be an All Star?

14 About Sector Boards/Resources

15 Pathway to an All Stars Career

31 All Stars Honorable Mentions

Main Campus, 6301 Kirkwood Boulevard

Southwest, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

(319) 398-5411 • www.kirkwood.edu

A print product of the

Corridor Business Journal


Shuva Rahim, Writer, Photographer & Video Producer

Julia Druckmiller, Designer

Judith Cobb, Media Consultant

Want to be a future

All Star?

Learn firsthand from

the All Stars about their

training and career paths

by exploring videos of the

All Star award winners on

the online version of this

publication, http://bit.


2 2018 ALL STARS of ICR


Interior Carpenter

McCreedy-Ruth Construction

Riverside, Iowa

What are your job duties?

I finish houses. I set doors, cabinets, and do all the

interior stuff to make the finished home.

What skills are important to do your job well?

It’s important to have a strong work ethic and be

adaptable. Things don’t always go as planned and

you need to be able to adjust to new situations.

What is a typical day like for you?

Every day is different for me. When I’m building a

house, finishing a house, I’ll usually come to the shop,

meet with one of my guys, we’ll go to the house and

work there all day depending on what we’re doing.

We’re there all day or I’ll be here. I do a lot of finish

spraying and painting, so sometimes I’ll be here for a

couple of hours doing that and then I’ll go to my job

site and work.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

I think the most interesting part is being able to create

something out of nothing and being able to produce

an end product. I really like to build custom things

that go into either remodels or new houses. I like to

build furniture and different kinds of custom aspects

of the house, such as benches and mantels.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I think the most rewarding part is to make people’s

dreams come true and make something they really

wanted in their home.

What’s one thing you do with your job most people

don’t realize?

Most people don’t realize how involved I am with the

customers on a day-to day basis. A lot of times it’s just

me and the customers talking about what they want

and then us getting it done and making it happen.



What was your career path?

I started working for a construction company in

high school and then I decided to go to Kirkwood

for the construction management degree. I got

hired by McCreedy-Ruth for my internship my freshman

year of college and I’ve been here ever since.

What attracted you to this industry?

When I started working in construction in high

school, I really enjoyed it and felt like it was something

I was good at and I could make a career. So,

after going to Kirkwood, I kept learning different

things every day. I enjoyed learning more about the

industrial and construction industry.

What advice would you give someone interested

in going into construction?

To be successful in the construction industry, you’re

going to have to be willing to work hard, put in

some long hours and basically do a lot of different

things in order to get the job done. You also have

to be very detail-oriented and produce good quality.

Every aspect of your job should be your best,

so the homeowner in the end is happy about every

little part of the house. H


2018 ALL STARS of ICR 3



Architectural Associate

& Digital Media Manager

Martin Gardner Architecture

Marion, Iowa

What does your company do?

We are people and community members who love

problem-solving and design. We specialize in planning,

design and creative place-making, and have

made our home in Eastern Iowa for 35 years.

What are your job duties?

I work with architects, project managers and

our entire design team on various project types

throughout all phases of design. I work on schematic

designs, construction document preparation,

building information modeling and product team

coordination. I also specialize in presentation drawings,

architectural renderings, 3-D modeling and

other various forms of digital media.

What skills are important to do your job well?

Learning to adapt to various situations and opportunities

has helped me a lot. I do my best to listen,

communicate, absorb information and create working

solutions to challenges. I love that uncomfortable

feeling of doing something new, and that’s how

I know I’m learning and pushing to better myself.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

Working with all types of tools and technology to

produce everything from construction documents

to high-end renderings. Communicating through

pictures and drawings is really exciting and challenging.

With today’s rapid technological evolution,

there’s always something to learn.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Getting to meet and work with people from all

backgrounds of life, and working on all kinds of

projects and seeing how they evolve and positively

impact the communities they reside in. It’s a great

feeling and it serves as an excellent motivator to

continue to work hard. I couldn’t imagine a better



staff to be a part of and it really feels like working with family.

In addition, working with the ACE Sector Board – area

professionals from architecture, construction, engineering

– to help students find their own path to an ACE career is

something that I find very rewarding.

How did your interest in architecture begin?

In my freshman year of high school I took a class called

mechanical drafting. I learned about perspective drawing,

drawing floor plans and a little bit about architecture. A few

weeks into that class I was hooked and I knew right then

that I absolutely wanted to be an architect. Throughout high

school, I was very fortunate to have access to different types

of architectural technology, from hand-drafting and creating

real blueprints to 3-D modeling. None of it would’ve been

possible without a teacher who was an incredible mentor

and support from my family. Eventually, I chose to go to

Iowa State for architecture.

What’s a career obstacle you overcame and learned from?

When I got to Iowa State, I thought I was prepared. In your

first year, all students apply into the professional program. I

didn’t get in the first time. That was a pivotal moment for me

and reinforced that I really did want to become an architect.

I worked really hard my second year and eventually I was

accepted. So, that failure was tough to deal with at first. But

then I figured failure is a great tool if you decide to use it.

Overcoming my self-doubt, trusting myself to keep working

hard and not giving up were important for me. I wasn’t the

best student at first, but I just try to find a way to learn from

my mistakes and get myself to where I want it to be. H

4 2018 ALL STARS of ICR




Iowa Bridge & Culvert

Washington, Iowa

What does your company do?

We build bridges, culverts, water treatment and

wastewater treatment facilities for state, county and

city municipalities.


What are your job duties?

I’m responsible for coordinating with suppliers, subcontractors

and my crew to make sure projects are

done safely, on schedule and within budget.

What skills are important to do your job well?

It’s important to have a strong work ethic and be

adaptable. Things don’t always go as planned and

you need to be able to adjust to new situations.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

The most interesting part is seeing the new ways

engineers and architects are using concrete to build

innovative, new structures.



What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of the job is knowing that when

you leave a project, it’ll still be used in 60 years.

What was your path to get to where you are today?

I started with the company shortly after graduating high

school. I got on-the-job training and industry-specific

training courses.

What attracted you to this industry?

I have a lot of family who work here. I have three uncles

and father who all have over 30 years at the company.

Two cousins worked for the company and my grandpa retired

from here. So, I grew up learning about bridges. H

ACE Sector

Median Hourly




EMSI occupation employment data are based on final EMSI

industry data and final EMSI staffing patterns. Wage estimates

are based on Occupational Employment Statistics (QCEW and

Non-QCEW Employees classes of worker) and the American

Community Survey (Self-Employed and Extended Proprietors).

Occupational wage estimates also affected by county-level EMSI

earnings by industry.

2018 ALL STARS of ICR 5



Production Manager


Urbana, Iowa

What does your company do?

Clickstop is a company that owns and operates business

units of different sizes, serving multiple industries

and markets. The largest business unit at the

moment is our US Cargo Control brand. This is the

brand that I work most closely with.

What are your job duties?

I work with a team of people to ensure our customers

receive quality products on time. It’s my job to

make sure our team has the necessary equipment

and resources to complete their job well, and to

inspire our team to be great every day.

What skills are important to do your job well?

One of the things I need to do well with each and

every day is really listening to our team to be able

to understand their needs and make sure that I

continue to provide them with the tools or opportunities

they are looking for in their own careers. I

support their needs the best I can and am there for

them to lean on during the day when they’ve got

ideas or things they need to share – not only workrelated,

but also in their personal life.



What is the most interesting part of your job?

I appreciate that no day is the same. Each day is a different

opportunity to tackle a new challenge. Because

the work varies, it usually leads into something that’s

new, fun and exciting.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Really, the most rewarding part of my job is the people

I get to interact with every day. They challenge me

to be a better person and better leader for them. I’m

inspired to be great because of the people I work with,

and the effort and the commitment they have to the

success of our company.

What was your career path to your current position?

I spent most of my early career in retail management

within the Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin areas. Clickstop

was an opportunity for me to be closer to family.

I started with Clickstop almost three years ago and

have held various roles throughout the manufacturing

department. I was excited to work at Clickstop because

I wanted to work with a team of people that were

committed to each other and each other’s successes.

As a young company, getting to know the people that

were involved in making this happen also drew me. The

6 2018 ALL STARS of ICR

culture is what has kept me here and makes

me want to continue to do great things for

this place.

Why is safety important for your job?

I have a background of working for a

company that had safety top of mind at all

times. So that has been ingrained in me.

It’s not just being safe here at work, but

keeping safety in mind when you’re outside

of work. For example, if you’re working on

a project at home, you should be wearing

safety glasses or making sure that you have

the right tool to perform the job. Those

behaviors carry outside the Clickstop walls,

too. But when we’re here, the important

thing I tell everybody, is that my job is to

make sure you go home to your family or

loved ones, in the same way you came in

that day. H

Advanced Manufacturing Sector

Median Hourly Earnings

Machinists: $20.62

Maintenance Workers Machinery: $21.33

Production Workers: $22.46

Sheet Metal Workers: $22.46

Millwrights: $25.80

Welders: $18.12

CNC operators: $24.19

EMSI occupation employment data are based on final EMSI industry data and final EMSI

staffing patterns. Wage estimates are based on Occupational Employment Statistics (QCEW

and Non-QCEW Employees classes of worker) and the American Community Survey (Self-

Employed and Extended Proprietors). Occupational wage estimates also affected by countylevel

EMSI earnings by industry.

Growth at Clickstop has been fueled

by hiring people who work according

to our values. Chris consistently

operates according to the values

of the impact he’s had on

the Manufacturing Team.

- Jeremy Meyer

Director of Manufacturing

Jeremy Meyer

Director of Manufacturing

Chris Biechler

2018 All-Star

Advanced Manufacturing Category

2018 ALL STARS of ICR 7



Job & Logistics Manager

Barnes Manufacturing

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

What does your company do?

We are a metal fabrication and machine shop

doing everything from small to very large parts.

What are your job duties?

My job duties are to write up orders and jobs.

I order all the materials necessary for the jobs

and converse with the customers, and I make

sure that our shops have everything they need

in order to do the job. When the job is finished,

I handle all the shipping to get the parts

where they need to go, including the packing

slips and bills of lading. I also do general office

duties. I help out with quoting by getting in

material and subcontractor quotes.

What skills are important to do your job well?

I feel I’m detail-oriented and I have a long customer

service background. My first job was in

a movie theater in town and I worked there for

four-and-a-half years. From there, I moved on

to Ace Hardware in Marion and worked there

for six years, ending my career there with two

years in the store management position.

What is interesting about your job?

Every day is different. You never know what tomorrow’s

going to bring. You don’t even know

what today’s going to bring. You will come in

thinking you’re going to do this, this and this

and end up not even getting anywhere close to

that because something else has come up.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I love what I do and I don’t see it as work. I

come to work every day and I’m excited to be

here and I look back and think, ‘You know, five

years ago I wouldn’t have ever seen myself

here doing what I do, learning what I learned.’

What are some obstacles you overcame to

get to where you are today?

It was a brand new industry for me. I wasn’t

going to come in the gate knowing everything.

I would say the biggest one was learning Auto-

CAD. I had never heard of it, never touched it.

So, I taught myself from online forums and an

old book that my boss had.

What qualities does it take to succeed in this


It helps to be detail-oriented, self-competent

and willing to learn new things. H



8 2018 ALL STARS of ICR




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2018 ALL STARS of ICR 9



Account Manager


Cedar Rapids, Iowa

What does your company do?

We create solutions for companies to protect and

maximize their assets, resources and opportunities.

What are your job duties?

I assist clients by being knowledgeable in the insurance

industry so I can answer questions for them in

regard to their policies. I work with insurance carriers

and brokers to find the right product for insurance. I

also work with new and upcoming account managers

at TrueNorth and the risk management department

to help them grow in the company and learn

the industry.

What skills are important to do your job well?

Being organized is key. I have many different tasks

during the day and get phone calls so I have to stop

one thing and do another. As long as I stay organized,

I can get what is needed in a timely fashion.

Another quality is the eagerness to learn. TrueNorth

gives us so many different opportunities to take

classes or work with carriers to learn about products.

So, I’m able to help the insured and educate them

on what they’re purchasing.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

It’s something different every day. One day I can be

working with a doctor who has decided that he’s

going to fly across the United States to practice

medicine and he needs coverage. And then the next

day I can work with a municipality deciding if they’re

going to build a $60 million building, so I can work

with them trying to find the coverage they need to

stay protected.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part is helping others succeed. If one

of our clients gets a new administrator in their office, they

will call and I go through the insurance they currently carry.

I can help educate the new administrator on what they

have so they can explain that to their doctors, who are the

owners of their company.

What was your path to get to where you are today?

I was at Kirkwood in the nursing program and had been

working at TrueNorth part-time at the front desk. During

nursing school, I figured out that wasn’t what I wanted to

do, but I still wanted to be a part of the healthcare industry.

There was an opening here on the professional liability

team where I could work with hospitals and physicians

– just in a different way. So, I finished with my two-year

degree and then started here working on the other side of

the healthcare industry.

What are some community activities you’re involved in

outside work?

I was born and raised in Central City; now my husband

and I are raising our family there. When I was a kid, there

wasn’t much to get involved in until middle school. After

I had children, I wanted to change that. My husband and



10 2018 ALL STARS of ICR

I worked to create a basketball

program for pre-K–second graders

for eight weeks. After that,

I wanted to start a running club

for pre-K–eighth grade. I worked

with the school to use the track,

where we meet in June twice a

week. I created a youth volleyball

club for girls and boys, pre-K–

sixth grade. I worked with the

city and a theater director to put

on a weeklong camp for third–

sixth grades. We worked with

the library and school to create a

Reading Buddy Program for six

weeks in the summer so older

students meet with younger ones

and read together. This summer

we will start Central City Youth

Golf for kids K–sixth grade. H

How can I be an

All Star?

All Stars represent outstanding employees who are between

the ages of 18-35 and have great stories to tell about their

achievements. All Star and Honorable Mention winners

represent careers within one of these industries:

• Architecture, Construction, Engineering (ACE)

• Advanced Manufacturing

• Financial Service, Insurance, Customer Service

• Healthcare

• Information Technology

• Transportation, Logistics

All Stars can represent any career area within the six identified

industries and are nominated by ICR, Iowa City/Cedar

Rapids region employers and partners. Please see page 14

for contact information.









on being selected as an

ALL STAR by the Iowa City/

Cedar Rapids Region Industry

Sector Boards. TrueNorth is so

proud to have you on our team!



2018 ALL STARS of ICR 11




Recruiting Manager


Cedar Rapids, Iowa

What does your company do?

Hibu is a leading provider of digital marketing

solutions to small businesses across the

United States. We provide a comprehensive

portfolio of services, including digital listings

management, website design and development,

search engine marketing and optimization,

online and mobile display as well as social

campaign creation and management. Hibu has

simplified the digital marketing process, allowing

clients to partner with a single provider to

achieve their marketing objectives. Hibu is a

Facebook Marketing Partner, Google Premier

Partner, Yahoo Preferred Partner and Bing Ads

SMB Select Partner.

What are your job duties?

I’m responsible for developing and implementing

recruiting strategies to identify and hire the

best candidates to fulfill our company openings.

This includes developing creative sourcing

strategies and building relationships with

candidates in the marketplace. I also help build

community awareness through career fairs at

universities and events, such as the Cedar Rapids

Farmer’s Market and Uptown Friday Nights.

What skills are important for you to do your

job well?

One of the most important aspects of my job

is developing relationships with hiring managers

and candidates. It is very important for me

to understand the departments I support and

provide a best-in-class experience for our candidates,

from recruitment to onboarding. I also believe

to be successful you must be determined, focused and

resilient along with having the ability to multitask.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

There are a variety of exciting and interesting parts to

my job. Not only do I get to work with top talent in the

area and share my passion about Hibu, I also get to work

with candidates who are just entering the marketplace.

It’s so exciting to see their careers develop and grow

within the organization. Doing my job well means I can

effectively change the direction and success of Hibu by

hiring high-value, diverse and innovative candidates.

This means our products get to our clients faster and

the talents of our employees set Hibu apart from the


What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Apart from hiring great talent and watching their careers

develop, I also love being part of a company that

gives back to the local community in a variety of ways. I

am honored to co-lead our award-winning United Way

campaign. My team and I are responsible for planning,

organizing and implementing the campaign in the Cedar



12 2018 ALL STARS of ICR

Rapids office. Each year we work hard to come up with new and fun

events to keep our campaign creative and exciting. In the past six

years Hibu has raised nearly $1.6 million for United Way’s efforts to

help local communities like our own.

What motivated you to pursue your career path?

My parents instilled a value that education has the power to change

your life. Because of their constant encouragement – even as a fulltime

employee of Hibu and having the responsibilities of a single

parent – I enrolled in the adult accelerated program at Kirkwood and

subsequently earned my bachelor’s in Business Administration with

honors from Mount Mercy University. I am proud to say I am a firstgeneration

college graduate. H

Customer Service,

Financial Services and

Insurance Sector

Median Hourly




GROWTH 2018-2022

Insurance Appraisers, Auto Damage: +17%

Claims Adjusters, Examiners, Investigators: +16%

Bill and Account Collectors: +10%

Credit Analysts: +10%

Personal Financial Advisors: +8%

Loan Officers: +5%

EMSI occupation employment data are based on final EMSI industry data and final

EMSI staffing patterns. Wage estimates are based on Occupational Employment

Statistics (QCEW and Non-QCEW Employees classes of worker) and the American

Community Survey (Self-Employed and Extended Proprietors). Occupational wage

estimates also affected by county-level EMSI earnings by industry.

2018 ALL STARS of ICR 13



Employer members of ICR,

IOWA Sector Boards work to

collectively develop workforce

solutions tailored to an industry

sector. Workforce solutions include

developing and sustaining

a comprehensive regional career

pathway system that is targeted

to meet the needs of the talent

pipeline, employers and workers.

Sector Boards use data to forecast

labor needs and identify specific

jobs and skill needs, develop career

and training pathway maps,

and develop workforce strategies

that address supply and demand.

These Sector Boards are

employer-led, and membership

is comprised of employers as well

as economic development, workforce,

education, nonprofit and

community groups. The region’s

six Sector Boards include:

• Architecture, Construction,


• Advanced Manufacturing

• Financial Service, Insurance,

Customer Service

• Healthcare

• Information Technology

• Transportation, Logistics

Through this partnership, the

ICR, IOWA Sector Boards are able

to collectively promote opportunities

for training and employment

for the region’s growing

industry sectors through various

activities and projects, including:

All Stars

• Job Fairs

• Industry Tours

• Employer Panels


If you are interested in learning more about

the ICR Sector Boards, or want to become

an employer board member, please contact:

Architecture, Construction, Engineering (ACE)


Advanced Manufacturing


Financial Service, Insurance, Customer Service




Information Technology (IT)


Transportation, Logistics


This could

be you!

Alpla’s success

is driven by employee


ALPLA, a place to learn and grow.

Heather Quigley


(319) 337-8040

Alpla’s All Star

Iowa City EBM

2258 Heinz Road

Iowa City

Iowa City ISBM

2309 Heinz Road

Iowa City

14 2018 ALL STARS of ICR




2018 ALL STARS of ICR 15



Career Academies

Explore careers and earn college credit while in high school!

Kirkwood Career Academies give you hands-on experience in

various fields while making progress on a college degree! Talk

with your high school guidance counselor for more details.

High School


Looking to earn your high school diploma? Kirkwood has

many options for you to obtain your diploma and get

started in your career. Learn more by talking to the High

School Completion team.




Short-Term Career

Training Opportunities

Did you know you can get career training without spending

a lot of time in the classroom? Advance your career with no

lost time. Plus, several of the programs offered can go toward

earning a college degree! Contact the Kirkwood Continuing

Education or KPACE team for more information.

Tuition Assistance

Facing roadblocks to training? The GAP tuition assistance or

KPACE pathway program are here to help! Contact Kirkwood

Continuing Education, GAP or KPACE for more information.

With more than 120 program options,

plus agreements for direct admission to Iowa,

Iowa State and UNI, a two-year degree from

Kirkwood means finding your future has never

been easier—or more affordable.

2018 ALL STARS of ICR 17



Here’s who to contact:

Career Academies

Contact your high school guidance counselor

or go to www.kirkwood.edu/earncredit.

High School Completion

or Equivalency

Call 319-784-1510 or go to www.kirkwood.edu/hs.

Kirkwood Community College

Call 319-398-5517 (toll free: 800-363-2220)

or go to www.kirkwood.edu/admissions.

Short-Term Career Training Opportunities

Continuing Education

Call 319-398-1022 or go to www.kirkwood.edu/ce.

GAP Tuition Assistance

Call 319-365-9474 ext. 31188, go to www.kirkwood.edu/gap

or email skillstoemployment@kirkwood.edu.

KPACE Pathway Training

Call 319-784-1518 or go to www.kirkwood.edu/kpace

or email kelly.foresman@kirkwood.edu.

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delivery and more – Van Meter is ready to help you OwnUp.

Contact us today at vanmeterownup.com/contact

2018 ALL STARS of ICR 19




Family Nurse Practitioner

Vinton Family Medical Clinic

Vinton, Iowa

What does your company do?

We provide services to all ages of people

from prenatal care up to hospice and elderly

patients in the nursing home. Virginia Gay

Hospital is a critical access hospital and then

Vinton Family Medical Clinic is a rural clinic,

which makes us a little bit different from your

standard clinics and hospitals.

What are your job duties?

My primary job duty is to provide primary

care to people of all ages starting around

the newborn phase, generally seven days of

life, up until death. I also provide acute care

services to patients which involve illnesses,

injuries, etc.

What skills are important for you to do your

job well?

First and foremost, I grew up in Vinton so I

know the geographic location, I know a socioeconomic

status, I know families, I know the

people who live here. I did an internship here,

so I knew how the clinic worked and liked it

before I even started. I enjoy generational

care greatly, so that has helped me. As far as

your basic skills, organization and listening

have really helped me to succeed.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

No two days are the same. No two patients are the

same. It keeps me on my toes. It keeps me constantly

learning. Another interesting part is we have a new

building, so we transitioned from a small clinic to a twostory

clinic that expanded our ability to have more staff.

And then the coolest of the things in the last year is we

have a new scribe service. It’s a virtual scribe service, so

we wear Google Glass to see our patients and we have

someone on the other side transcribing in real time.

So, our charts are done in a more accurate and quick

process and it takes a lot of stress off of us providers as

well. It’s really cool.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part is taking care of patients I see

in town: friends, family and the family members of my

friends. I’m starting to, at my age, see my friends’ babies

as they grow up and through their well-child years.

What was your educational path that led you here?

When I was 16 years old in high school, Kirkwood Community

College partnered with the local school district

to provide a nursing assistant class. I took that, and

started working at our nursing and rehab facility until

I moved to Iowa City. I got into the nursing program



20 2018 ALL STARS of ICR

at the University of Iowa getting my BSN and RN and then

worked in the pediatric intensive care unit at the University

of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. I then moved away with my

husband to Washington state and wanted to do more with

my nursing career. Since nursing is so versatile, I decided

nurse practitioner was the route for me. I got accepted into

Georgetown University’s online master’s program. That allowed

me to move back to Iowa to finish the program.

Why did you decide to go into nursing?

My brother was in a motorcycle accident when he was 16

and spent a while in the hospital. I saw the great impact

the nurses had on my brother. It just inspired me how many

people one person can help. H

Healthcare Sector

Median Hourly




GROWTH 2018-2022

Home Health Aides: +12%

Nurse Practitioners: +10%

Personal Care Aides: +10%

Insurance Claims and Policy Processing Clerks: +8%

Registered Nurses: +5%

EMSI occupation employment data are based on final EMSI industry data and final EMSI staffing patterns. Wage estimates are based on Occupational

Employment Statistics (QCEW and Non-QCEW Employees classes of worker) and the American Community Survey (Self-Employed and Extended

Proprietors). Occupational wage estimates also affected by county-level EMSI earnings by industry.

2018 ALL STARS of ICR 21



Acute Adult Float Nurse

& Nursing Supervisor

UnityPoint - St. Luke’s Hospital

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

What does your company do?

St. Luke’s is a 532-bed inpatient hospital. We have 40 years

of cardiovascular care and open-heart surgery. We’re taking

care of patients the way we’d like our loved ones to be

taken care of.

What are your job duties?

I provide after-hours and weekend administrative leadership

to the different inpatient departments and to our

affiliates in the community. I oversee clinical staffing,

hospital admissions and act as a team member for our

rapid response and code blue teams. I also provide patient

care, nursing support and leadership at the bedside to

help facilitate excellent patient care, including patient care

advocacy services.

What skills are important for you to do your job well?

House supervisors need excellent communication skills,

bedside nursing skills and an understanding of how hospital

operations work. We also need to be able to interact well

with people and build relationships. Critical thinking and

problem-solving are part of what we do every day; and, in

a lot of regards, the knowledge of the hospital policies and

procedures is one of the most important functions of what

we do. We provide the expertise to interpret policies and

procedures into excellent patient care. We also get to know

our patients both in the inpatient setting and in the community.

It puts us in a unique position to be able to assess

what the needs of the patient are to most closely match

those needs to the services we have at St. Luke’s.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

I know I am going to be challenged every day, and I know

I am going to learn something. But sometimes the lessons

aren’t exactly what I would have thought, or sometimes the

greatest learning opportunities come when least expected.

22 2018 ALL STARS of ICR

I really enjoy the fact that I can’t necessarily predict

the way the day will go. But at the end of the day, I

have an opportunity to serve other people, including

the people I work with and members of the

community. To me, it’s a really awesome feeling to

come to work every day and know something great

is going to happen.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of nursing is seeing firsthand

the difference healthcare workers can make

in the lives of other people. We tell the students:

‘You don’t study for the test; you study for the day

that the patient will breathe easier because of you

or have a better outcome because you were there.’

I think when you have the opportunity to make

a firsthand difference in the life of a patient or a

family or make the difference for someone who’s

new to the profession, it gives you a real sense of

accomplishment to have paid forward the skills and

opportunities given to you.

What motivated you to get into nursing?

I started out working in cereal processing. When

my mother-in-law became terminally ill, I took

some time off from work and helped take care of

her. During that difficult time, I really felt inspired

to do something different with my life. I took the

things I had learned about myself and healthcare

and turned that into a great second career. I have

learned something every day I’ve been a nurse and

I’ve never regretted the decision to switch careers.

I still use engineering knowledge every day. I take

things apart and I put them back together and

sometimes I break them in the process. But, I take

the things I know about operations and combine

them with the things that I’ve learned about nursing.

It makes me a different kind of nurse. H




Why choose a career with

UnityPoint Health - Cedar Rapids?

As a team member, regardless of your position,

you will have the opportunity to

change lives on a daily basis, delivering on

our vision of Best Outcome for Every Patient

Every Time. That privilege drives employees’

passion for making a difference in the lives

of our patients, helping them create healthier,

more rewarding lives. UnityPoint Health

sets high expectations for team members in

order to establish a trusted team capable of

taking on the toughest of challenges.

Our team members strive to work as one

through four key values:

1. Foster Unity

– We use the skills and abilities of each

person to enable great teams.

– We collaborate across departments,

facilities business units and regions.

– We seek to understand and are open to

diverse thoughts and perspectives.

2. Own the Moment

– We connect with each person treating

them with courtesy, compassion,

empathy and respect.

– We enthusiastically engage in our work.

– We are accountable for our individual

actions and our team performance.

Our Mission: Improving the health

and lives of communities and

patients we serve

Our Vision: Best Outcome Every

Patient Every Time

Our Values: At UnityPoint Health,

we know our collective actions

determine the experience we


3. Champion Excellence

– We commit to the best outcomes and the

highest quality.

– We have a relentless focus on exceeding


– We believe in sharing our results,

learning from our mistakes and

celebrating our successes.

– We take responsibility for solving

problems regardless of origin.

4. Seize Opportunity

– We embrace and promote innovation

and transformation.

– We create partnerships that improve care

delivery in our communities.

– We have the courage to challenge the

status quo.

UnityPoint Health team members come for a job, but stay for a career.

When will you begin yours?

Career Opportunities

Our award-winning providers,

specialists and care teams

contribute to our communities,

support patient’s family members

in time of need and make a difference

in the lives of our patients

every day. And they wouldn’t

have it any other way because

that is why they are in this business

in the first place – to care for

others. To us, everything begins

and ends with delivering an

unparalleled health care experience

for our patients. That begins

with a culture that leverages our

most powerful resource – our

team members – who make a difference

on a grand scale across

our organization, regardless of

the role:

Clinical Opportunities

Registered Nurse

Certified Medical Assistant

Home Care Coordination

Hospice and Palliative Care

My UnityPoint Nurse Call Center




Advanced Practice

Therapy/Behavioral Health

And More!



Billing Office

Environmental Service

Finance and Accounting

Home Medical Equipment

Human Resources

Information Technology

Patient Registration

Procurement, Supply, Distribution

And More!

Come for a

job, stay for

a career.


2018 ALL STARS of ICR 23



Software Developer


Coralville, Iowa

What does your company do?

We make custom software for life science


What are your job duties?

As a software developer, I work on programming

applications for businesses and researchers.

I’m also involved in designing and testing

our applications to make sure they meet our

clients’ goals.

What skills are important for you to do your

job well?

I think critical thinking and problem-solving skills

are really important for a software developer.

Being able to debug the code that you write,

having the ability to think ahead and anticipate

problems and planning out how to implement

new features all require those two skills.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

I think the most interesting part is being able

to create something from code, being able

to build something, see it work, and actually

do what you want it to do. I think that’s really

exciting. One of my first projects working

here was to help create a web application for

researchers to keep track of how their experiments

run and the results of their experiments.

So, being able to work on that and then see it

actually come to fruition was really cool.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of the job for me is

building something that I know other people

are going to use with the expectation that it

helps them do their research or accomplish



their task, which in turn will hopefully help better other

peoples’ lives.

What is one thing about your job most people don’t

realize you do?

I think a lot of people think a software developer probably

just sits at the computer all day. Obviously, that’s a big

part of the job, but there’s definitely a lot of collaboration

and communication with my teammates when we’re

designing something or fixing bugs.

How did your interest in IT begin?

I got interested in computer science and programming

during college. I was majoring in biomedical engineering

and during my coursework, I took a couple of computer

programming classes and found that I really enjoyed it.

As my college career went on, I just took more and more

electives in computer science. When I got out of college

and looked around, I struggled to find a job in the

biomedical engineering field. So instead, I found a job as

a software tester. After that, I applied to Bio::Neos and

became a software developer.

24 2018 ALL STARS of ICR

How are you involved in IT

outside your job and why is that


I’ve been involved with Hour of

Code which is a program that

runs during Computer Science

Week, and I’ve had experience

working with kids at local schools

around the area and introducing

them to computer science and

programming and the logic that

goes with it. I think it’s important

to be involved in the community

because as a kid, I didn’t really

have the opportunity to learn

about computer science or tech

until college. So, I think it’s cool

giving kids the opportunity to

learn about that now and they

can see if they like it. If they do,

then that gives them a head start

on their careers. H

IT Sector

Median Hourly Earnings

Software Developers, Applications: $40.22

Web Developers: $26.81

Database Administrators: $40.12

Computer Programmer: $33.69

Network and Computer Systems

Administrators: $34.63

EMSI occupation employment data are based on final

EMSI industry data and final EMSI staffing patterns.

Wage estimates are based on Occupational Employment

Statistics (QCEW and Non-QCEW Employees classes

of worker) and the American Community Survey (Self-

Employed and Extended Proprietors). Occupational wage

estimates also affected by county-level EMSI earnings by


Tara Edmund was

named Honorable

Mention from the

Financial Services,

Insurance and

Customer Service

sector board.


Member FDIC

7045 C Avenue NE, Cedar Rapids

2701 Edgewood Parkway SW, Cedar Rapids


2018 ALL STARS of ICR 25




Project Manager


Coralville, Iowa

What does your company do?

We are an information security and privacy

company that offers customized, full-service

programs to help our customers protect their

corporate data and client data. We do so by

identifying, prioritizing and remediating security

risks within three key areas: People, Technical

and Compliance. Our goal is to build active

partnerships with each of our customers that

uniquely meets their specific needs and wants.

What are your job duties?

We’re a startup company, so naturally, that

means “wearing multiple hats.” The majority

of my time is spent balancing the duties of a

Project Manager and a Lead Trainer. For project

management, I ensure customer deliverables are

executed according to our quality, scoping and

scheduling standards. I enjoy working directly

with customers, creating and communicating

“game-plans” and tracking our internal efficiencies

and successes. It’s very rewarding to be

involved with a project from initiation all the way

to closure and witness the benefits our customers

receive. For my training responsibilities, I

own the delivery of all our end-user training engagements.

Within this area, I create and share

unique training programs with customers from

multiple industries. With every training, my goal

is to relay a message that is engaging, relevant

and immediately applicable to the audience.



What is the most interesting part of your job?

Something I really love about my job is delivering end-user

training. As ProCircular’s Lead Trainer, I routinely get in

front of customers from multiple industries and share the

importance of cybersecurity from an end-user perspective.

Technical controls are critical in order to have an effective

security program; however, you cannot just stop there. It’s

also extremely important to address the human element of

a security program. I enjoy the chance to teach users how

they can play an active role in protecting their company’s

data and how they can easily incorporate this responsibility

into day-to-day tasks. To avoid falling victim to cyber and

social engineering attacks today, you need a solid technical

firewall and a solid human firewall.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part is winning the trust of our customers

and building genuine, ongoing relationships. We

understand the apprehension or uncertainty that can come

with trusting a vendor to protect a company’s most sensitive

data. I love the “shift” when it’s clear that we’ve overcome

the challenge of uncertainty and when our customers

begin viewing us as partners, not just vendors. I think

we gain this trust by ensuring our actions are transparent,

26 2018 ALL STARS of ICR

acked by evidence and expertise, and

committed to providing the best outcome

for our customers’ unique needs.

What was your path into this field?

I graduated from the University of Iowa,

where I majored in marketing and management

with an emphasis in leadership. Prior

to joining ProCircular, I had never worked

for a start-up company. However, when

the opportunity to join ProCircular came,

I found myself interested in the chance to

join something brand new and be a part of

building something from the ground up. I

didn’t know much about cybersecurity at

the beginning, but I knew I could learn the

industry, I knew my skillset would be beneficial

to a start-up, and I knew I was ready to

take on the challenge of being a company’s

sole Project Manager. Over a year later, I am

still very happy and confident with my decision

to join the ProCircular team. H

It’s very rewarding

to be involved

with a project from

initiation all the way

to closure and witness

the benefits our

customers receive.

Madison Williams

People are at the

heart of successful


ProCircular’s Lead Trainer

Madison Williams

No one demonstrates that more genuinely than

Madison Williams, ProCircular’s lead trainer,

project manager, and celebrated 2018 All Star

of the Corridor.

ProCircular engages your employees as active

participants in cybersecurity, linking the power of

their awareness and knowledge directly to your

success. Through her leadership, poise, and affable

instruction, Madison is the nexus of that endeavor.

Congratulations, Maddie, and thanks for all the

ways you make ProCircular shine!

2018 ALL STARS of ICR 27



Service Manager

Papa’s Truck & Trailer Repair

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

What does your company do?

We are a medium- to heavy-duty repair facility

of semis and trailers. Our typical workload

varies week-to-week from 50 units to

200, depending on what repairs are needed.

What are your job duties?

I run the shop day-to-day, managing the

mechanics and giving them their job duties.

I talk to the customers about what repairs

are needed on their trucks and help them

diagnose what’s going on with the unit.

What skills are important for you to do

your job well?

The biggest thing that helps me with my

job would be problem-solving. Every day

there’s a new issue that needs solved every

minute. There’s always something different

going on with trucks and trailers. Every day

we have to put our heads together, really

think about what is wrong with the unit or

what we have to do to fix it. There is some

repetitive work, but every day the same

unit doesn’t break twice for the same issue.

My biggest advice for anybody looking to

be a diesel mechanic is to not get discouraged.

Things can get chaotic and difficult

around a successful repair facility. As long

as you stay focused and consistent in your



work and utilize the resources around you, things will

work out well.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

Because there are people from all different countries

and states that come to us, we get to meet many backgrounds

of people. One day we might be dealing with

somebody from Texas, another day it might be somebody

from Turkey. It’s amazing how many people we

meet. People find out about our company through the

internet (mainly Google) but word of mouth goes a long

way in this area as well.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The saying goes, “If you bought it, a truck brought it.”

Knowing that with every truck we repair and get back

on the road, helping necessary goods get from A to B is


What’s one thing most people don’t realize you do?

We have diagnostic software for trucks. We hook trucks

up to a computer multiple times daily. Typically, people

don’t picture mechanics as doing “computer work” but

every day we diagnose problems with large wiring schematics

all based off a software program.

28 2018 ALL STARS of ICR

Transportation, Logistics Sector

What sparked your interest in this industry?

I’ve tinkered with and worked on things with

engines since I was a boy. I lived on a rural

acreage and saw my father work on demolition

derby cars. I looked at the job growth

and the stability of diesel mechanics, knowing

that goods are always going to need delivered.

I thought that was a really good deal

– that nothing can come in and replace me. I

went to school at Kirkwood in Cedar Rapids

and got an associate’s degree of applied science

in diesel truck technology.

What motivates you to do your job?

I’m always thinking about what I can do better

at my job to help my company. But my

biggest motivation in life in general is my

family – my wife and two kids – being able to

support them by doing something I am passionate

about is a great motivator. My family

is everything to me. H

In 2018, there are 14,293

jobs in ICR region.

30 % above national


Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators, there

is a 10% growth from 2018- 2022

Production, Planning and Expediting Clerks,

5% growth from 2018-2022

EMSI occupation employment data are based on

final EMSI industry data and final EMSI staffing

patterns. Wage estimates are based on Occupational

Employment Statistics (QCEW and Non-QCEW

Employees classes of worker) and the American

Community Survey (Self-Employed and Extended

Proprietors). Occupational wage estimates also affected

by county-level EMSI earnings by industry.

Don Hummer Trucking Salutes the



Don Hummer Trucking is proud to help Eastern Iowa develop a

sustainable workforce by offering great career opportunities. We

believe in developing and fostering local talent to make our region

more competitive, successful and a better place to work.



2018 ALL STARS of ICR 29




Certified Nursing



Kirkwood Nursing


Oaknoll Retirement Community

Iowa City, Iowa



What are you doing currently?

I am currently working as a CNA at Oaknoll and I am

going to Kirkwood for nursing.

What are your job duties as a CNA?

When I get to work, I am assigned a section of the

nursing home and a specific hallway. I usually have

about five to six residents I look out for the entire

second shift that I’m on. I help them with getting

dressed. I help them go to the bathroom. I help them

with anything in their daily life. I’m there to help them

if they are not able to do it themselves.

What skills are important to do your job well?

In my current position being very open-minded is

important. One thing you really have to be cautious

of is always having a positive attitude because when,

for instance in a nursing home, people see you being

negative, then they’re going to think negative. You

just want to be positive and love what you do.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

The most interesting part of my job is there’s never a

dull moment. Every day is different. I constantly am

laughing because the residents just put a wonderful

smile on my face. They’re constantly telling me stories

about their life in the past or even now. It’s definitely a

very fun job.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of the job I would say is

definitely seeing the smiles on the residents’ faces. As

soon as they see you, it’s almost like you’re their own

family and that’s how they treat you and it makes you

feel really wonderful.

What is one thing about your job most people

don’t realize you do?

We take care of residents to the ability where they

aren’t able to do things themselves. Most of the time

it’s helping them emotionally, not just helping them

to their room. A lot of them are going through some

things because they’re in a new place. It’s not their

actual home and there’s a lot of emotions that go along

with it. It’s not just the aspect of we’re there to take

care of them, but we’re also there to be there for them.

What sparked your interest in healthcare?

Growing up, I’ve always wanted to help people. I’ve

had family members in the field. My grandpa was a

30 2018 ALL STARS of ICR




The following individuals are All Star Honorable

Mentions and are to be commended for the

contributions they make to their industry:

Ram Adhikari

Raining Rose

Robert Akerson

Reinhart Foodservices

Gabriel Glambo Akpalo

Raining Rose

Jess Bertling

The New Bohemian Innovation

Collaborative (NewBoCo)

Janelle Beswick

Iowa City VA Health Care System

Chelsey Blue

ESP International

Erik Bussey


Caley Conry

Living Center East

Kyle Cowman

Ovation Networks

Tara Edmund


Maria Gaffney


Jennifer Germaine

Germaine Law Firm

Mallory Gritton

UnityPoint-St. Luke’s Hospital

Colton Halder

Boyens Machining

Sandra Hawes


Geoff Knoop

UFG Insurance

Jennifer Lahey


Anthony Lauber

Engineered Building Design

Michael Lyon

Bio::Neos Inc.

Casey Martin

Rockwell Collins

Michael Nielson

TSF Structures Inc.

Dalton Ott

GreatAmerica Financial

Heather Quigley


Michael Rozum

Benefit Solutions Inc.

Eric Schmitt

Rapids Foodservice Contract

and Design

Jeff Talbot

Greiner Buildings

Courtney Upah

Kirkwood Community College

Shamus Veach

Modern Sheet Metal Inc.

Aaron Voss

TrueNorth Companies

Cory Witham

Timberline Manufacturing

general surgeon. My mom’s in healthcare. My dad is,

too. So, it’s just been running in my family and I’ve

always looked up to them.

What is your plan for the future?

I would like to graduate from Kirkwood with my RN and

continue to get my BSN elsewhere. I am looking to go

into labor and delivery as a nurse or pediatric oncology.

What motivates you to pursue a nursing career?

There are always people out there who need more

help and there’s that part of me that says, “I can help

them.” Every day I just think about before I go to

work: “I’m going to help someone today, I’m going

to put a smile on someone’s face.” That motivation to

think ‘I’m going to make somebody else’s day’ makes

your own day as well. H

2018 ALL STARS of ICR 31

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