New LPA Project Manager on the Job
By Susan Thompson
A Guthrie County native has been named the new project manager for the Lake Panorama Association. Lane Rumelhart, who grew up 12 miles west of Guthrie Center, began work December 30 at the LPA. He replaces Brad Halterman, who was hired as director of the Guthrie County Conservation Board in early December.
“I’m excited to welcome Lane Rumelhart to the LPA team,” says John Rutledge, LPA general manager. “The LPA project manager position demands a diverse skillset and the ability to work with people in a variety of contexts. Lane’s education, experience and demeanor proved to be an excellent fit for our organization.”
Rumelhart graduated from Guthrie Center Schools in 2015, where he was a star wrestler. He was recruited to Central College in Pella, where he wrestled for four years and was team captain and a Scholar All-American.
He graduated from Central in May 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, and minors in biology and business management.
“I grew up an outdoors person, hunting and fishing with my father,” Rumelhart says. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after graduation, but knew I wanted it to be something related to the outdoors world. I had great relationships with a couple of my professors, who helped me choose the environmental science major. It’s not just the study of wildlife, but also has economic and social factors mixed in.”
Rumelhart says he also was interested in the business side of agriculture and land management, so minors in biology and business management were a good fit. Past summer jobs and internships also helped prepare him for the LPA project manager position.
He was hired in March 2019, a couple of months before his college graduation, by JCG Land Services, where he worked as a right-of-way agent. As such, he provided land acquisition and relocation assistance services for a variety of public works, utility and transportation projects.
Rumelhart was a 2018 summer intern with Vermeer Manufacturing as an environmental product specialist. In the summer of 2016, he was a crew member at Springbrook State Park north of Guthrie Center, which is managed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. He maintained trails, mowed, and removed invasive species such as autumn olive and Tartarian honeysuckle from the oak forest.
While Rumelhart had been on Lake Panorama several times as a guest, an internship in 2017 gave him a closer look. That summer he worked for the Guthrie County Environmental Health office. He did onsite sewage and septic tank inspections, water quality testing, and GPS coordinate data gathering around Lake Panorama. “I got to know the area pretty well,” he says. “It’s a beautiful place.”
As LPA project manager, Rumelhart will be responsible for managing the LPA building codes, interacting with the building codes committee and LPA members. He says working six summers for Rumelhart Building Co. in Guthrie Center, which is owned by his grandfather, provided him with experience in reading blueprints and all aspects of construction.
He also will begin to take over management of some projects financed by the Lake Panorama Rural Improvement Zone (RIZ), such as the three wetlands currently in place to prevent nutrients and sediment from reaching Lake Panorama. “Wetlands were my favorite ecosystem to study in college, and I’m excited to work with those and other RIZ projects,” Rumelhart says.
Other responsibilities will include assisting with LPA communications, the annual deer hunt program, and campground and beach management.
Rumelhart says he applied for the LPA project manager position because he felt he had the necessary experience and interest. “During my interview, John Rutledge told me there are two kinds of employees—specialists and generalists—and this position requires a generalist,” he says. “I am a generalist. I like to be busy, and do different things every day. It’s clear this job will require those things, and I look forward to contributing.”
Rumelhart currently lives in an apartment in Waukee with a former wrestling teammate. But when the apartment lease is up this summer, he plans to move closer to Guthrie County, and to his new job at Lake Panorama.