The University of Northern Iowa has appointed a new director to the Iowa Waste Reduction Center, a nationally recognized organization devoted to environmental consulting, assistance, research, training and education.
Interim director Joe Bolick, a UNI graduate who has spent his entire career at the IWRC, will lead the center, which has been providing direct environmental assistance and regulatory guidance to Iowa's small businesses and other organizations for over 31 years.
"This opportunity is truly an honor,” Bolick said. “The work we are doing is so important and impactful. We have an incredible team here doing great things, and I'm excited to be in a position to lead us into the future."
Moving forward, Bolick said he wants to continue the center’s track record of innovation and grow its programs on a national scale, while still providing clients in Iowa with the level of service they expect.
The center has four areas of focus: environmental compliance and pollution prevention assistance, food waste reduction, military and industrial painter training and energy efficiency. Bolick said the center takes great pride in working directly with its clients to help them solve real-world environmental problems they face on a day-to-day basis.
Bolick, who graduated from UNI in 2004 with a degree in marketing, has been involved with the center since his time as a student. Since then, he has taken on different roles and responsibilities including developing formal painter-training courses for the US Air Force, developing a virtual-reality simulator used to train painters, hosting two Midwest Food Recovery Summits, handling the marketing and communications for the organization, producing a cooking competition featuring culinary students using food scraps and ingredients, and launching and growing the Iowa Green Brewery Certification program.
The Iowa Waste Reduction Center was borne out of Iowa’s 1987 Groundwater Protection Act, which emphasized a non-regulatory approach that stressed education, demonstration and technical assistance. The center started as a nonprofit with a three-person staff and an office in a trailer. It has grown to a staff of 12 employees and a 17,000 square foot painter training facility.