Director of Planning, Design, and Construction
University of Iowa Facilities Management
While the floodwaters rose higher and higher and threatened many University of Iowa buildings, Rod Lehnertz found himself utilizing the leadership and team management experiences he gained from his time as a student in the Tippie College’s Executive MBA Program.
As director of Planning, Design, and Construction for the University, Lehnertz was at the epicenter of the University's damage control efforts during the devastating flood of 2008. Each day brought with it different challenges, and Lehnertz is quick to credit the EMBA Program’s team focus for helping him through this crisis.
"The program taught me how to step out of my comfort zone. How to work with a diverse group of individuals—assess their strengths and weaknesses and then make the right assignments for each individual," he explains.
During the peak of the flood, the University had literally thousands of volunteers at the ready. It was Lehnertz and his crew that had to determine where they would be best utilized, assign them appropriate tasks, ensure that the materials they needed were there for their use, and then move on to the next task at hand.
"Our plans had to work. We had no time to fail," he explains.
In the months following the flood, Lehnertz had to move from damage control to repair and recovery.
"In two months, we knew that we would have 30,000 students on campus. With facilities out of commission, we had to find new places for classrooms, laboratories, art studios, and more. This was a considerable effort, and I’m proud of what the University was able to do in that time."
While reminiscing about his time as an EMBA student, Lehnertz describes the program as both challenging and enjoyable.
"The faculty in the program are the best in their fields. And, the students, who come from a variety of different industries, bring a great perspective to the class material. There’s debate, humor, discussion, and wonderful interaction between faculty and classmates alike."