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Lutat takes helm of Iowa Lakes wind program

By Staff | Jun 5, 2010

Dan Lutat took the position of director of the Iowa Lakes wind turbine and energy technology program. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

Dan Lutat has taken the position of director of the Iowa Lakes Community College wind turbine and energy technology program effective May 1.

Lutat replaces Al Zeitz who left as director in December to take a position as North American director of operations for Irvine, Calif.-based DeWind, Inc.

Lutat, a Montgomery, Mass., native, is married to the former Melissa Reinhardt of the Dolliver area. Lutat retired from the United States Air Force March 1 after a 28-year career in aircraft maintenance.

Lutat has had his eye on the wind program at Iowa Lakes since about two years ago when he was stationed in Omaha, Neb. He and Melissa decided they wanted to live in the area, and at that time he learned about the wind program at Iowa Lakes. Shortly before the position opening for program director closed, Melissa’s sister, Marilyn Moore, called about the opening. Lutat applied for the position and was interviewed and hired.

“The technology and the concepts are very similar,” Lutat said, comparing his job in the Air Force with that of director of the program at Iowa Lakes.

Among Lutat’s goals, he wants to finish the training campus and house the nacelles that have been donated to the program to allow for more comprehensive training. He also wants to install a substation that the program traded for another substation that was donated about a year ago.

Lutat also wants to coordinate data for classroom use and train staff to cross-teach among their various disciplines. “The instructors should be able to cross-teach in their careers,” Lutat said.

Lutat remarked how impressed he is with the reputation program graduates have in the industry.

“Our students are at the last forcing their (industry) employees to work harder and in some cases they’re better prepared than the other employees,” Lutat said. “Our name is on the tip of everyone’s tongue.”

Lutat expects 102-103 first-year students this fall. When the nation adopts a national renewable energy standard, he expects an even greater demand for program graduates.