MEET THE TEAM!
Iowa Prison Industries is the work arm of the Iowa Department of Corrections, providing offenders with the opportunity for Building Brighter Futures, through our work training programs. Learn a little more about our employees and the work they do for Iowa Prison Industries! Every Monday we'll be featuring a new employee in hopes you'll learn about the people, culture and capabilities that make IPI unique.
Meet Chad Bildstein! He has worked for IPI in the Anamosa Metal Furniture shop for 2-½ years! Before working at IPI he worked in welding and manufacturing. He is the Senior Industries Technician in the Metal Furniture shop. He helps run the shop and trains incarcerated individuals in skills such as welding and assembly. He also deals directly with sales and customers to make sure the customer is getting exactly what they want. His typical day includes assisting sales and customers with their needs, making his rounds on the floor and addressing issues and answering questions that staff or incarcerated individuals have. Chad’s favorite project he’s worked on at IPI is the drift wood wall at Iowa State University that he helped Darin Jarding installation. “After the installation was complete it was pretty rewarding to step back and see the finished product that we created.” Originally from Anamosa, Iowa, he graduated from the Kirkwood Community College Welding Program. He is married to his wife of 13 years and has 3 children. His hobbies include welding, fishing, hunting, and coaching his kids sports teams. Chad’s favorite thing about working at IPI is creating opportunities for incarcerated individuals and giving them a job skill so they can become successful upon release.
Meet Jacob Bonert! He’s originally from Epworth, Iowa and has been with us at IPI for 4 years, and works at the License Plate shop in Anamosa. “My shop is the only place in Iowa that is making all the license Plates for the state of Iowa. I am also in charge of the Preventive Maintenance team for ASP that takes care of all the 8 shops we have here. We are currently fixing all varieties of wheelchairs for Easter Seals out of Des Moines.” Some of the tasks Jacob has on a regular day is making sure all of the incarcerated individuals are where they are supposed to be in the shop reporting for work, correcting any and all issues that come up during the day, processing all orders form the DOT and evaluating how many plates the shop will be making for the day. Jacobs favorite part about working at IPI is being able to make your area your own and the support you have from your supervisors. He’s also enjoyed working Lean events.
Meet Jeff Whitson! He has worked at the IPI Print Shop for 6 years managing the production of printed materials. Before working at IPI, Jeff worked for Cedar Graphics in Hiawatha for 18 years. Some of the tasks that he has on a typical day is filling out production plans for new work, troubleshooting issues with the equipment, ordering necessary material and supplies for upcoming orders, and continually coaching offenders to use continuous improvement tools to solve issues. His favorite thing about IPI is “that there is always something to do. There is always something to check into and collect data on.” Jeff’s favorite project while working at IPI was working with Iowa DNR on their outdoor magazine.
Meet Keith Paulson! He has worked at IPI for 3 years in the Anamosa/Braille Shop. Before working for IPI, he was a Canteen Operator at the ASP for 6 years. At the Braille Shop, Keith is a supervisor for the 32 incarcerated individuals transcribing braille in Anamosa, IMCC, Ft. Dodge, and Newton correctional facilities. “I bring in braille work from schools and universities all over the country and assign it to our certified transcribers.” His favorite project while working at IPI was working with a former incarcerated individual all the way through his release so that he could continue to do braille. He did a few projects for our shop while he was in work release and within 2 months of his release he accepted a job with the Iowa Department for the Blind and is now a state employee doing braille. Keith is originally from Anamosa, and is married with 2 kids, ages 1 and 2. “In my free time I like taking road trips on my motorcycle, playing pool, and watching or going to baseball games.” Keith’s favorite thing about IPI is being productive! “Braille in particular has that extra bonus that we are providing materials that are necessary for visually impaired students to have the same access to education as their sighted peers."
Meet Jared Ash! He works in the Anamosa Sign Shop and has been working with Iowa Prison Industries for 7 years. “In my area of the Sign Shop, I supervise between 12-15 Incarcerated Individuals in the process of silk screening signs and decals. My main focus is to ensure all of our customers get a quality product, along with training Incarcerated Individuals skills that will aid them in the workforce once they are released.” Prior to working at IPI, Jared was a Correctional Officer at the Anamosa State Penitentiary from 2003 to 2012 where he worked in numerous areas within the facility. Jared is originally from Colesburg Iowa. “I have been married to my life partner Melissa since Sept 27th, 2003. We have 2 children who consume a lot of our time. Brooke, who is now in College is studying Biochemistry and is pursuing a career in Dentistry. Our youngest is Hunter, he currently is in middle school and has the dream of becoming an airline pilot. We enjoy camping, hunting, and to be honest, anything that deals with the outdoors. When the weather is not in our favor, we travel to destinations where we can indeed enjoy the outdoors.” Jared’s favorite part of IPI is seeing someone who has never had a job in their past, learn skills and utilize teamwork to solve problems. Then seeing an individual who has been released use those skills to better themselves.
Meet Jamey Klostermann! He’s been at IPI for 11 years. He works in the Anamosa Warehouse doing logistics for all shipping and receiving for Anamosa and Rockwell City locations. Prior to working at IPI he was a correctional officer for 9 years. A typical day for Jamey is very busy. He works with 8 different shops in Anamosa and 1 in Rockwell City, coordinating shipping needs to meet customers needs. He used to work in the sign shop, and loved working with customers on their projects to get the best design and showing them our capabilities. Jamey is an Iowa native, is married with 2 kids, has 3 grandchildren, and a dog. He enjoys camping. His favorite thing about IPI is “hearing from customers on how excited they are when I tell them they will be receiving their product.”
Meet Tammy Luchtenburg! She has worked for IPI for about 25 years in the Housekeeping/Laundry & Filter Divisions, in Anamosa. Before working for IPI, she served in the U.S Navy, worked at Asgrow Seed Company, J&P Cycle, and for the Anamosa State Penitentiary as a Correctional Officer. At IPI she oversees about 20 inmates that are responsible for all the production of chemicals and air filters. A typical day for Tammy is “a continuous juggling act between production, reading through emails, computer work, and the day to day "counseling" of inmates. You learn a lot about what each guy needs as far as "support" to keep their head in the game stay on task.” Tammy’s favorite project she’s worked on since being at IPI is helping run the Filter division from the very beginning, and seeing the success it has now. Tammy is originally from Anamosa, Iowa. She is a proud mother of 3, and a very proud grandmother of 5! She loves to golf, and to do just about anything outside when it is warm. She is looking forward to completion of her new home in Florida. Tammy’s favorite part about IPI is the sense of knowing she has made many positive changes with inmates over the years.
Meet Steve Forbes! He has been at IPI for 4 years working with all IPI shops across the state. Before working for IPI, Steve worked at Harley-Davidson Motor Company as a work group advisor, a manufacturing engineer, a cultural transformation advisor and a Continuous Improvement Specialist. At IPI, he works with all the shops to teach and facilitate lean and continuous improvement. He helps them discover ways to make their jobs and processes safer and more efficient, and discovers ways to help them implement their ideas. He says “It is the best job in all of IPI! There is no such thing as a typical day! Some days I'm presenting training, some days I'm facilitating a kaizen, 5S or TPM event in an area, some days I'm out and about working one on one or with a small team developing skills or applying knowledge learned to a process, Or some days I'm out discovering new information to develop my skills and finding ways to share those with others!” Steve has many favorite projects. One of the most exciting current projects is working with the staff in the Anamosa Metal Furniture shop to help them purchase a fiber laser cutting machine for their sheet metal. It is exciting because it will virtually change the culture and thinking of many people in that shop once they get it in the shop and start to recognize the possibilities of what this machine is capable of! He is an Iowa State University grad and is originally from Anamosa, Iowa. “In my career over the years I have been able to travel to almost all of the states in the U.S. and Canada plus I once worked on a project in Brazil! I enjoy being back in the Anamosa area with my wife and working with her training horses. We also enjoy riding around the countryside on our Harley.” Steve’s favorite thing about IPI is “the enormous amount of diverse skills and knowledge we have in the operations across the state! Having the opportunity to spend time with each operation and their teams makes every day a new and exciting adventure!”
Meet Peter Quackenbush! He has worked for IPI at the Anamosa Shop for 13 years. He is the jack of all IT trades, working with anything from PC configuration and printer repair, to network and server maintenance. Peter has been working in IT since 1995 in a variety of environments, including monitoring the computer labs at the University of Rhode Island, working in IT for a large family medical practice, and programming software for a small Restaurant, Retail and Security company. Peter says no two days are the same in IT for IPI! “I enjoy assisting the I/I with their projects, since depending on who needs the assist, one day I could be looking up building codes for accessible furniture, next I could be looking for a line drawing of a quail, and then the next I could be trawling message boards attempting to solve an error encountered while compiling C# code.” Peter is originally from Rhode Island, and graduated from New England Institute of Technology University. He currently lives in Cedar Rapids with his wife, son, daughter, and 2 cats. Some of his hobbies include tabletop and computer games, reading, and books. Peter shares, “I find working with incarcerated individuals who have computer access, learning the skills that will help them in the modern world, exceptionally rewarding. I love letting folks know what we do, and the determination that our I/I have in learning their trade and how that trade will translate into opportunity once they are out. I find it important to shatter the misconceptions some may have about prison employment, and how it is so much more than license plates and laundry (but that we do those, also!)”
Meet Ruthanne Mosser! Originally from Anamosa, Iowa she has been at IPI for 14 years working in purchasing. Before working for IPI she spent 26 years in banking and marketing industries. Her position includes purchasing all raw materials and supplies in all commodity categories for Iowa Prison Industries. She gets the best price and value, while following the Administrative Code of Iowa. This involves research and preparation of RFP, RFB and RFQs. She also is in charge of training of all new staff and incarcerated individuals in the rules/standard work of purchasing. She also must reconcile all invoices with the purchase orders, handle any discrepancies, and is the main contact for all vendors who do business with IPI. “I start my day with answering emails which typically involves some kind of research to provide the requested, quote, research or resolution to problems. Once notified of any approved purchase requisitions, I begin the processing and issuing of POs. If bids or quotes are needed, I begin the preparation of the appropriate documents and posting when completed. Throughout the day, I may send/receive 100 emails from IPI staff and vendors, all requesting something from me. Or I am requesting additional information from staff as their needs as presented on purchase requisition is unclear or missing information. I also answer questions and research receipting and inventory situations that require my assistance.” She enjoyed working on a recent project the Custom Wood Department completed, furniture made out of a moisture shield plastic lumber for a park. “The furniture is beautiful and have had positive comments from the manufacturer who sold us the material.” Ruthanne shares, “My pride and joy, is my daughter who is 36 years old. She was born with spina bifida and has over 18 surgeries in her life. She has become a very independent woman and is a caring, nurturing person. I also have a husband; we enjoy golfing together and going on our yearly trip to Jamaica, our little slice of heaven on earth. I was born into a wonderful family and enjoy a close relationship with my parents and siblings. I am blessed beyond words with my family!” Ruthanne takes pride in the knowledge that she is assisting incarcerated individuals while incarcerated and training them for future opportunities.
Meet Kevin Peterson! He has been with IPI in our Des Moines Showroom for 20 years! Before working for IPI, he worked in Food and Chemical Sales. A typical day for Kevin is busy! He maintains and services air filters, plastics, laundry, dietary, and housekeeping chemicals for all State Institutions and State Universities. His favorite project while working at IPI was installing and programming equipment at the IA Veterans Home. Kevin was born in Iowa and was raised in Minnesota. He moved back to Waverly, Iowa his freshman year of high school. Kevin enjoys spending time with his grandkids, riding his Harley, and fishing with his father. He also enjoys playing golf poorly and of course cheering on the Hawkeyes. Kevin’s favorite thing about Iowa Prison Industries is serving our customers and helping them to achieve their goals.
Meet Dan Clark! He has worked at IPI for 8 years as the IPI Director. Before working at IPI he worked for 30 years in manufacturing - aircraft engines, toys, farm tires and feed ingredients. Dan shares that on a regular day, he usually wakes up at 4:15 am and travels to one of IPI’s locations. He is often in meetings, answering phone calls, and of course, sending lots of emails. Dan’s favorite project at IPI so far is working on a new IPI program to construct affordable housing at the Newton facility. “We'll be able to train men in a number of construction-related fields such as carpentry, electrical and plumbing.” He is originally from Syracuse, New York and has a Master's in Operations Research and a Masters in Business Administration. “I've been married for 38 wonderful years and have 5 great children, plus a cat, a puppy and a turtle.” His favorite thing about IPI is helping make Iowa a safer place by improving the ability of re-entering men and women to succeed.
Meet Albert Carr! He is originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and graduated from the University of Northern Iowa. He has worked at IPI for 2 years as a K-12 Sales Representative. He helps school districts maximize their space in a way that is conducive to student and staff learning situations. Before working at IPI, Albert worked at Goldman Sachs as an analyst and at Hibu, a digital marketing company. “A typical day for me is meeting with district staff about upcoming furniture projects. Also connecting with different individuals inside and outside of the prison. I usually spend time connecting with our plant managers on various tasks and projects.” His favorite project so far has been the new Oakhill Elementary School building in Tiffin, Iowa. “I loved working on new buildings there are a lot of challenges when a new building opens, but I love challenges!” Albert is 1 of 10 Siblings. He is recently married, and he and his wife love volunteering with Junior Achievement. He’s always rooting for the University of Northern Iowa even though his wife graduated from the two state schools. “My favorite thing about IPI is that we are truly making a difference in people’s lives. Not just the individuals that we train within our program, but every student and staff that we can please and meet their needs, makes me happy!”
Meet Cristina Banuelos-Moriel! She is currently a Marketing Major and minoring in both Advertising and Digital Media at Iowa State University. She is the Marketing and Social Media Intern this summer. Cristina helps create and schedule content for IPI’s social media channels and IPI’s blog as well. "Depending on the day you can find me updating the blog and planning posts for future months, working on videos for different campaigns or taking pictures of the different shops." Her favorite project she’s worked on at IPI has been following the launch of Homes for Iowa, IPI's new program to construct affordable housing at the Newton facility and getting to design a logo for the program. She’s also enjoyed launching IPI’s Instagram page and seeing that grow. Cristina lives with her family and 3 dogs. She is involved with various groups on campus, enjoys photography, spending time with family and friends, and trying out new restaurants to update her food blog! She shares, “I love getting to be part of an organization that helps incarcerated individuals succeed and gain skills for when they are released back into society. I've learned so much and can’t wait to continue to learn more.”
Meet Michele Anderson! She has been at the IPI Showroom for a year, as a customer service representative for all K-12 Schools in Iowa, all the Institutions in Iowa, as well as Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. She works with 3 sales representatives in these different areas. Michele has worked in customer service since 1990. Before working for IPI she worked in the optical industry, construction industry, and the pit and quarry industry. “A typical day for me at IPI is coming into work and working through my emails. Entering orders and answering questions from all my customers. I have three sales representatives I help also, so every day is different. Some days, we have large school orders to get entered, and some days we are working with a customer to get their order together.” Her favorite project so far was working with Iowa Valley on their donation board. She got to use her creativity to help them design their board using their school logo. She also enjoyed getting to help design the signage for Norwalk's new schools. Michele is originally from Mason City. She shares “I have been married to my best friend for 27 years. We have two daughters, Kelsey and Morgan. Kelsey and her husband Micah gave us our first grandchild, Milo who is a 1-1/2 yrs old. We have two Giant Schnauzers, Rayli and Dokken, who are not spoiled at all. We love that we get to use our camper or going to the lake house to go boating and spending time with our friends and family.” Michele’s favorite thing about IPI is the interaction she gets with the customers. She also likes interacting and getting to share her knowledge with incarcerated individuals, and learning from the them as well. She also enjoys going to trade shows and getting to work with the schools on large projects.
Meet Jeff Peterson! He has worked at the IPI Showroom for a year as a Sales Representative for Federal, State, and County Agencies and all Non-Profit Organizations throughout the state of Iowa. Jeff has worked in sales for over 20 years. Before working for IPI he worked in the Telecom Industry calling on large corporations headquartered in Iowa. On an ordinary day for Jeff you can find him working with the other customer service representatives, working with shops on customer orders, traveling around the state visiting current/potential customers, and being a vendor at conferences. His favorite project while working at IPI was working on custom, conference room tables for the Iowa Lottery. Jeff is originally from Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is married to his wife Barbara, has 4 children and 1 grandson. “Because we're empty nesters we enjoy a lot of free time to go out with friends, attend concerts, and have time for motorcycle rides on our Harley Davidson Road King.” Jeff’s shares “I think IPI is a great training program for incarcerated individuals and I enjoy showing customers the great workmanship that we provide in our products.”
Meet Karen Donahue! She has been at the IPI Showroom for 2 years working in Customer Service and Sales Support for Cities, Libraries, Churches, Private Schools, Colleges and Healthcare. A Des Moines native, Karen is an East High School graduate and attended American Airlines Travel Academy in Ft Worth, Texas. Before IPI, she worked 18 years as an airport agent with American Airlines, and 11 years in Sales/ Photography/Publishing with Lifetouch National School Studios. Her current favorite project is trying to come up with new products to grow sales for the Graphic Arts shop. “On average I spend about half the day on the phone answering questions and taking orders from customers. The remainder of the day I am taking orders via email or the website and working with the shops for layouts, drawings, pricing and other details required to get quotes to the customers and orders into the shop. Throughout the day we assist customers that walk into the showroom with questions and orders.” Karen has been married 37 years to her high school sweetheart. She has 3 adult children, 3 grandchildren, and a feisty dachshund. She loves traveling, the beach, old movies, and relaxing on the patio. Karen is also a proud Hawkeye fan! Her favorite thing about IPI is seeing the growth in our clerks from the time they start until they leave, and the pride they have when they accomplish a new task.
Meet Sara Schnotala! She has worked in the IPI Showroom for 2 years as a customer service representative. She is originally from Fremont, Iowa, and graduated from Buena Vista University with a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology. Before working at IPI, Sara worked in Sales, Customer Service, International roles with Vermeer, Conductix-Wampfler and American Building Components. “I help IPI develop strong relationships with our customers by answering their questions, help resolve their problems and make suggestions regarding the purchase of additional IPI products and services they might not be aware we supply.” A typical day for Sara includes taking customer phone calls, processing orders, training new incarcerated clerks, helping any customers that stop by the Showroom and other LEAN activities. Her favorite project she’s worked on at IPI is a large tv unit, table and credenza for the Pottawattamie County Sheriff. In Sara’s free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Dave and daughter, Brielle. She enjoys reading, volleyball, softball, anything baseball (GO CARDS!), hanging out with friends, attending church and participating in several Army FRG events as a member of the board. Sara’s favorite thing about IPI is working with incarcerated individuals, hearing their stories, and sharing her work experience.
Meet Tammy Nielsen! She has been at IPI for 2 years and handles sales for several markets including colleges, private K-12 schools, cities, churches and healthcare. Before working for IPI, she worked in Logistics and Supply Chain Management for 10 years. She shares, “I spend the majority of my time on the road visiting customers and working with them on furniture projects. Altoona City Hall and Police Department is my favorite project to date. While it was challenging, I learned a lot about the design process and as a result was able to update some of IPI's current furniture lines with new, modern twists.” Tammy is originally from Winterset, Iowa, and has a bachelor's degree in Marketing and Sales. “My family and I are HUGE baseball fans and you can find us cheering on the Cubs and watching my son play his final year of high school baseball in the State Championships.” Tammy’s favorite part about IPI is the design process and seeing new trends in the marketplace. “I learn something new every day!”
Meet Julie Olinger! She has been at the IPI Showroom for 3 years. She searches for General Contractor projects that can be bid by our various shops. Before working at IPI, Julie was a stay at home mom for 12 years. During that time she taught water fitness/swim classes for the YMCA in OH and NC. She also nannied for other families and continues to substitute teach for preschool-12th grade. “I always start my day by looking for addendums to projects that are offered to our shops so they have the most current information available. I also search various sites for new projects to offer. After bids are submitted and a GC selected, I call to see if we won the bid, or if not, try to find out how our bid compared so I can share with shops for future bids. I enter all the job leads and updates into Global for tracking.” When she started, GC bidding was just beginning. She says it’s been fun to figure out the process and procedures. Julie is originally from Persia, Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University. She shares “I have been married for 19 years and we have four children, two boys and two girls...two teenagers! My favorite things to do are sand volleyball and dirt therapy...gardening!” Julie’s favorite thing about IPI is working with incarcerated individuals and reassuring them that people are willing to give them a second chance.
Meet Ann Baughman! A Marketing Manager, Ann has been at IPI for 16 years! She shares “I wear a lot of hats at IPI and my position has certainly evolved over the past 16 years. In a nutshell, I'm ensuring our sales and customer service team have everything they need to promote our products and services to our customers. The orders they generate provide the work needed for training the incarcerated individuals in our programs.” One of her favorite projects was working on the migration from our old website to a fully functioning e-commerce website. “Every day is a little bit different for me, but may entail updating product information on our website and catalogs, preparing and sending email marketing campaigns, hiring and training our showroom clerks, and researching new products and working with the shops on product line development.” Originally from Central Illinois, Ann now lives in West Des Moines with her husband, son, step-daughter, 2 rescue dogs and 2 cats. Before moving to the Des Moines area, she worked as a graphic designer in the publishing and advertising fields since graduating from Bradley University. In her free time she coaches and teaches kickboxing classes and goes to her son’s sporting events. Her favorite part about IPI is watching the showroom clerks gain job skills and confidence during their time training here in the Showroom.
Meet Bob Fairfax! He’s on his 21st year at the IPI Showroom as the Director of Sales/Marketing and Customer Service, the commercial team in charge of all activities involving our customers and developing sustainable revenue growth for IPI. Before working for IPI, Bob worked in Private Sector Business Management/Sales and Marketing Development and Organizational Growth for Fortune 500 companies in the Midwest. He says “No two days are the same at IPI; every day brings new challenges to meet the needs of our customers and prospects while continually coming up with products and services to increase our incarcerated individuals work opportunities and help them develop the skills needed to succeed upon release.” He shares, “While working with our customers is extremely rewarding meeting their needs with product and services, I think one of the most memorable and rewarding projects was working with teams of incarcerated individuals assisting the National Governors Meeting in Des Moines 14 years ago. We did logistics, product and meeting set up and tear down, and helped that organization and Iowa shine with the other Governors from other States. Our team stepped up and made Iowa look like a leader in the Correctional Industries Programs across the United States. Numerous comments from other Governors how they would go back and tell our story to their leaders in their State.” Bob is originally from Kirksville, MO, and graduated from Truman State University with a BS in Business Administration/ Marketing/Accounting. He has been married for 39 years, has 3 sons, and 4 granddaughters. Weather permitting, you can find him golfing. His favorite thing about IPI is the look on the face of an incarcerated individual when they realize they have beat the cycle and succeeded in transitioning back to society as a valuable member of that group. He says it is priceless.