As the Iowa Waste Reduction Center enters our 31st year, we like to take a little time to reflect on the past while also looking forward at all that is to come this next year and beyond.
2018 was a year of transition and growth for us. Rick Klein, who helped build and continued to manage our successful painter training programs retired after 30-plus years at UNI. His dedication and enthusiasm are already missed, but we’re sure he’s enjoying every second of his new life. We also bid farewell to Lea Hensel, who spent the last 12 years making sure our organization was polished and organized. Jeremiah Treloar, who had been handling the development and sales of our VirtualPaint took the leap of licensing it and starting a business to do the same, which is a perfect example of technology transfer from a public university.
While we are still learning how much they are missed every day, we couldn’t be happier for all three of them. The year wasn’t all goodbyes, however. We welcomed back Tom Giblin to our painting and coating programs, where he hit the ground running. We were also lucky enough to bring on Ana Bender as our new secretary and office manager and she just keeps demonstrating her value to us every day.
The transitions weren’t just with our staff last year. While we like to think that our programming is constantly evolving, 2018 was a year where it was very visible. Here are just a few highlights from the last 12 months.
- To take advantage of our amazing painting and coating research facility, we began a contract with the US Marine Corps to completely refinish two assets (water tanks, generators, vehicles, etc.) a month in addition to providing world-class applicator training, which we have now certified over 3,500 military or contract painters.
- We dove deeper into the fight against food waste by adding direct on-site assistance to schools and institutions as well as hosting another Midwest Food Recovery Summit.
- The Iowa Green Brewery Certification made a push to have a greater impact across the state and grew the number of green-certified breweries from five to twenty-two, which is nearly 25% of all the breweries in the entire state.
- Our Iowa Air Emissions Assistance Program finished a complete overhaul of its GrainPTE online program, which allows grain elevators across the state to easily and accurately calculate their potential to emit, which is a regulatory requirement.
- We also developed an environmental training course for the Association of General Contractors and provided training sessions across the state.
As you can see, we had a busy and exciting year and are looking forward to what we can accomplish in 2019.
Finally, we want to thank all of you: our clients, advocates, and especially our advisory council members. Without all of you, none of this would be possible. Please feel free to reach out to us at any time if you have any questions, concerns or ideas. We love hearing from you all. And if you don’t already, please follow us on social media and sign up for our monthly newsletter to keep up to date with all we have going on.
Thanks again and we hope you have a wonderful and prosperous 2019!
Iowa Waste Reduction Center