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Iowa Lakes wind students show their skills at potluck

By Staff | Apr 1, 2011

C.J. Good demonstrated a manual rope rescue. The Iowa Lakes Community College Wind Club held its first-ever community potluck Thursday night at the wind energy and turbine technology building.

Students of the Iowa Lakes Community College wind turbine and energy technology program held a community potluck and gave visitors a tour of the program Thursday night to show the community the program and just how dynamic it really is.

Brian McLaren, Iowa Lakes Wind Club president, said the first-ever potluck and open house was to show the community the program and the students involved.

“We’re trying to get the community in and learn what we’re all about,” McLaren said.

McLaren said Wind Club members have also volunteered time working at Fort Defiance State Park and with the Estherville Gardening Club.

McLaren, who hails from Emmett, Mich., about 60 miles north of Detroit, heard about the program last January when he and his father went to the movie Avatar where they saw the Duracell commercial featuring the college wind program. He went straight home and apply online for the program.

Like many students in the program, McLaren already has a degree. In his case, it’s two associate’s degrees in Horticulture and Agricultural Sales and Service from Sinclair Community College.

McLaren had put his educational skills to good use by opening his own landscaping business in Emmett. However, once the economy soured, he decided to move on to something else.

So what does he think of the wind program at Iowa Lakes?

“It excels my expectations,” McLaren said. “It’s the top in the nation. We’ve got great instructors and a very nice facility.”

C.J. Good of Emporia, Kan., a first-year student like McLaren, had a small construction company, but with the housing downturn found it harder to find construction jobs. Good, too, heard about the program at Iowa Lakes though the Duracell commercial.

So he decided to check it out.

“We learned it was a great school and a good value,” Good said.

Jeff Schrag of Wichita, Kan., a second-year student who was laid off in 2008, had wanted to get into the renewable energy field for quite a while. So he searched online and found about the program at Iowa Lakes.

Boubacaro Sow, a student from Guinea, West Africa, is going to do his internship in Capetown, South Africa for the G7 company. After gradution, he wants to start his own wind energy company in guinea.

“I want to start my own company starting with small turbines,” he said. “There’s no place like home.”

Dan Lutat, program director, commended the students for having the initiative to put on the potluck and promote the program to the public.

For more information about the wind energy and turbine technology program at Iowa Lakes, contact Angie DeJong, office associate for wind energy, at 712-362-7931 or go online to adejong@iowalakes.edu.

You can also learn more about the program online by going to: www.iowalakes.edu/programs_study/industrial/wind_energy_turbine/index.htm.

See the Duracell commercial featuring the wind program at Iowa Lakes at www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNWeAye8IcM.