President and CEO
The Dana Company
When Dana Ramundt studied at the University of Iowa, he took course work from Emmett Vaughan, one of most respected names in the world of insurance and the author of the textbook that is still considered to be the “bible” of the industry today. Ramundt credits Vaughan for influencing his business career.
“Professor Vaughan was a rare breed. I can’t think of any professor who has had as much influence on students,” he says. “He was a phenomenal teacher.”
After graduation, Ramundt began working in the insurance industry in Mason City and Des Moines, eventually starting his own insurance firm, The Dana Company, in 1989, located in West Des Moines.
In the early 2000s, Ramundt contacted Gary Fethke, then the dean of the Tippie College of Business, to discuss the need for a focused program in insurance at the university. While there had been a program in the 1960s and 1970s, it was discontinued in the 1980s. Ramundt saw the growing need for a skilled workforce and knew that insurance could provide beneficial career opportunities for students. He was committed, he told Fethke, to providing those opportunities to students from his alma mater.
He encouraged the college and the university to relaunch the Iowa insurance program. According to Ramundt, the benefits were many: the university could build on its previous reputation in the field; the growing Iowa insurance industry would have a qualified workforce; and Iowa students would find rewarding jobs and careers in the field, many of them within the state.
“For every three insurance professionals who retire, there is only one person coming into the field,” Ramundt says. “We have to do more to ensure that the next generation of leaders is prepared.”
The college began work on an insurance institute that would provide students with a Certificate in Risk Management and Insurance. Ramundt was instrumental in garnering financial support from such key groups as the Independent Insurance Agents Association and Nationwide/Allied Insurance.
Ramundt continues to serve as a mentor to students and serves on the Vaughan Institute’s Advisory Board. Each August, he organizes a golf tournament that brings together students and industry professionals, raising funds for the institute and providing a networking opportunity for students and professionals alike.