Extreme Weather in Iowa: A Symposium

Iowa Events Center - Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center, Room 312-314, 730 3rd St., Des Moines, Iowa
Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Image of hot sun and thermometer next to stormy sky

Extreme Weather in Iowa: Paths to Equitable Response, Recovery, and Resilience
The goal of the symposium was to bring together constituencies affected by extreme weather events in Iowa and share information regarding prevention, response, monitoring, and long-term recovery.


Topics included:

  • An overview of weather trends in Iowa
  • Panel discussion on extreme heat
  • Equity considerations
  • Panel discussion on flooding
  • Panel discussion among policy-makers

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019
Session Details Speakers
9:30 AM Registration and Coffee
10:00 AM Introductory Remarks
10:15 AM Overview of Weather Trends in Iowa
  1. Gene Takle
10:45 AM Heat Panel Discussion
  1. Travis Beckman
  2. Juan Cadenillas
  3. Lana Shope
  4. Christopher Uejio
  1. Lina Tucker Reinders (Moderator)
12:00 PM Lunch and Keynote
  1. Eric Tate
1:15 PM Flood Panel Discussion
  1. Antonio Arenas Amado
  2. Ross Evelsizer
  3. Sharon Gaul
  4. Mary Beth Stevenson
  5. Larry Weber
  1. Kate Giannini (Moderator)
2:45 PM Afternoon Break
3:00 PM Policymaker Panel Discussion
  1. Rob Hogg
  2. Joshua Mandelbaum
  3. David Sieck
  4. Kristin Sunde
  5. Paul Trombino III
  1. Kathie Obradovich (Moderator)
4:15 PM Wrap Up
  • Antonio Arenas Amado

    Assistant Research Engineer, IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering

    Antonio Arenas has a PhD in Civil & Environmental engineering and is currently an Assistant Research Engineer at IIHR Hydroscience & Engineering at the University of Iowa. He has been working with computational models applied to water resources management for more than nine years. Arenas’ research focuses on the development and application of fully-coupled surface-subsurface watershed models to assess mitigation projects directed toward flood damage reduction and study the fate and transport of nutrients. Dr. Arenas regularly speaks at Watershed Management Authority (WMA) and other conservation groups meetings providing technical expertise and guidance to people working in creating more resilient watersheds in Iowa.  

  • Travis Beckman

    Deputy Director, Johnson County Homeland Security & Emergency Management Agency

    Travis Beckman is the Deputy Director at Johnson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Travis worked 9 years in healthcare emergency preparedness before coming to Johnson County and several years in safety and security prior to healthcare.  He also has served as a volunteer firefighter and first responder for many years.  In his current role Travis is program administrator for the county HAZMAT Team, ARES team, CERT team and his duties included overseeing several plans for the county, watershed protection, school and healthcare emergency planning and serves as the liaison to Duane Arnold Energy Center for emergency planning. 

    Travis played an active role in multiple past disasters including the 2008 Floods, H1N1 outbreak, Ebola Preparedness, and the 2016 Flood in Cedar Rapids just to name a few. 

  • Juan Cadenillas

    Public Health Planner, Polk County Health Department

    In his role as a Public Health Planner at the Polk County Health Department, Juan Cadenillas has been involved in planning and coordinating extreme response efforts with the Department and its partners.  These operations have included community-based initiatives and building of partnerships to be utilized during periods of extreme heat. In addition, he assisted the Health Department in conducting a data and mapping research to identify vulnerable areas in the county. The results of this research helped to prioritize outreach efforts and location of extreme heat cooling centers . Mr Cadenillas earned a M.S. in Public Health from Des Moines University.

  • Ross Evelsizer

    Watershed Planner and GIS Specialist, Northeast Iowa RC&D

    Ross Evelsizer is a Watershed Planner and GIS Specialist at Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation and Development in Postville, Iowa. He facilitates watershed planning and implementation for the Turkey, Upper Iowa, and Upper Wapsipinicon watersheds, helping them work toward landscape resiliency that will improve water quality and reduce the impact of flooding. Evelsizer is also leading Multi-Cropping Iowa, which is a grass-roots effort to implement regenerative agricultural practices that are both environmentally and economically sustainable. Evelsizer has degrees in Geography, GIS, and Communications from South Dakota State University. Northeast Iowa RC&D has more than 20 years of community engagement, active planning, and natural resource protection in the Driftless Region of Iowa.

  • Sharon Gaul

    Grants Project Manager, City of Dubuque, IA

    Sharon Gaul is the Grants Project Manager for the City of Dubuque and has worked in the land development and housing sectors for the last 18 years. 

      Sharon's passion for health and housing culminated with the opportunity to lead a program designed to increase the resiliency of households and the housing stock in the heart of Dubuque.  Sharon currently helps administer a couple of HUD grants including the Bee Branch Healthy Homes program utilizing Community Development Block Grant- National Disaster Recovery (CDBG-NDR) funds to reduce water intrusion into homes.  Ultimately the project contributes to the Iowa Watershed Approach (IWA).  The program offers an innovative family advocacy component, improving housing conditions and connecting families with the social capital, health care, and economic opportunity they need to build a resilient neighborhood and community.  The data ecosystem created by this project is unfolding Dubuque’s story of social resilience.

    The program employs collaboration with community and regional partners to identify and evaluate strategic outcomes, with the goal of producing a replicable model that can be utilized in other communities facing similar challenges.

  • Rob Hogg

    Iowa Senator, District 33

    Rob Hogg was elected to his fourth term in the Iowa Senate in 2018. He previously served two terms in the Iowa House. He represents the people of Senate District 33 in Cedar Rapids.

    Senator Hogg is Ranking Member on the Justice Systems Budget and on the Natural Resources & Environment Committee. He also serves on the Judiciary, Local Government and Administrative Rules Review committees.

    Rob is a fourth-generation Iowan. He attended the University of Iowa, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history in 1988. He received his master’s degree in public affairs and his law degree from the University of Minnesota.

    Rob and his wife, Kate, have three children. They are members of Christ Episcopal Church in Cedar Rapids. For more information, visit www.robhogg.org.

  • Joshua Mandelbaum

    Senior Attorney, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Des Moines City Council

    Josh Mandelbaum is a Des Moines City Council member and a senior attorney with the Environmental Law & Policy Center(ELPC). In his time on the City Council, Josh co-chaired the Energy Policy Taskforce whose work led to Des Moines’ benchmarking ordinance. He also championed Des Moines’ legal source of income non-discrimination ordinance, complete streets policy, and juvenile diversion program. Previously, Josh served as a senior policy advisor to Iowa Governor Thomas J. Vilsack and Lt. Governor Sally J. Pederson. Josh is a graduate of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute. He was honored as a member of the Midwest Energy News 2016 40 under 40 class and  the Des Moines Business Record’s 2017 40 under 40 class. He lives on the west side of Des Moines with his wife Katherine, children Liam and Ayla, and black lab Truman.

  • Lana Shope

    Executive Director, Iowa Community Action Association

    Lana Shope has been the Executive Director of Iowa Community Action Association since November 2004. She has more than fifteen years of senior level executive experience leading statewide nonprofit organizations, and has been a registered lobbyist for twenty years, advocating for issues relating to children and families with a low income. 

    Lana is a strong community collaborator, skilled at working with multiple agencies and organizations to develop and maintain strong, productive partnerships that achieve positive outcomes. She has twenty five years experienc developing new programs initiatives that improve the lives of low income children and families, twenty five years  of training at the local, state and national levels, and thirteen years leading a small business.  

  • David Sieck

    Iowa House of Representatives

    David Sieck is a fourth generation Iowa farmer, growing corn, hay, and soybeans on his fifth generation family farm in Glenwood. He attended Iowa Western Community College and as well as Iowa State University.  He is also a licensed real estate agent and works for Jim Hughes Real Estate.

    Along with his work in agriculture, Sieck has passionately pursued opportunities in renewable energy and economic development. This includes being a founding board member of both Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy (SIRE) and Western Iowa Energy.

    David is a past president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and past committee member of the National Corn Growers Association.  He has also served as the Vice Chairman of the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee.  He is also an active community volunteer as a member of the Glenwood Optimists and Mills County Economic Development Foundation.

    Sieck and his wife, Kim have three children; Maddison, Evan, and Alexa.  The family attends St. John’s Lutheran Church in Council Bluffs.

  • Mary Beth Stevenson

    Watershed Projects Manager, Eastern Iowa, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

    Mary Beth Stevenson has served as the Iowa-Cedar River Basin Coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources since 2010. She provides technical assistance to local groups to support watershed planning, grant writing, and convening educational workshops and events. Mary Beth works closely with groups such as the Cedar River Watershed Coalition and watershed management authorities in eastern Iowa. She holds a master’s degree in conservation biology from the University of Michigan and bachelor’s degrees in biology and religious studies from Grinnell College. Before working with Iowa DNR, she managed the water quality monitoring program at the Mystic River Watershed Association in Massachusetts. Previous to that, she worked for four years as an environmental educator at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. 

  • Kristin Sunde

    Iowa Representative, District 42

    Kristin Sunde is the Iowa State Representative for House District 42 which includes West Des Moines and part of northern Warren County. Kristin and her husband Matt own a financial advisory business, which specializes in helping Iowans protect their hard-earned incomes and save for the future. They have one son, Cade, and spent several years as proud foster parents, providing a safe, loving home to kids and supporting parents working to overcome their struggles and reunite their families.

    ​Raised in northwest Iowa, Kristin graduated from Newell-Fonda High School. She attended the University of Iowa before graduating from the University of Northern Iowa. She started her career as a TV news reporter and morning anchor in Sioux City, Iowa, before moving to West Des Moines in 1999 and joining a local advertising and public relations firm.

    ​Kristin is a 2006 graduate of the Leadership Iowa Program and before becoming a foster parent spent many years as a volunteer for the Arthritis Foundation, raising money for arthritis research—a cause close to her heart as an Iowan living with rheumatoid arthritis.

    ​As a family, Kristin, Matt and Cade enjoy golfing together and spending time with their dogs Theo and Sunny.

    ​Kristin serves on the Judiciary, Human Resources, Public Safety and Environmental Protection Committees, as well as the Justice System Appropriations Subcommittee.

  • Gene Takle

    Professor Emeritus, Geological and Atmospheric Sciences Department, Iowa State University, Professor Emeritus, Agronomy Department, Iowa State University

    Gene Takle is professor emeritus of agricultural meteorology in the Department of Agronomy at Iowa State University.  

    Professor Takle was a founding member of the multi-institutional team that has produced regional scenarios of future climates under the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program.  He has been a co-author of the 3rd(2014) and 4th (2018) US National Climate Assessments and 2007 report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  

    He is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and has been an AMS Certified Consulting Meteorologist since 1984.  He served a six year term on the Board of Trustees for the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.  

    His current research focuses on impacts of climate change on the Midwest, especially agriculture, and studies of the efficiency of utility-scale wind farms and their interaction with agriculture.

    Dr. Takle holds a BA degree in physics and mathematics from Luther College and a PhD in physics from Iowa State University.

  • Eric Tate

    Associate Professor, University of Iowa Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences

    Eric Tate is an associate professor at the University of Iowa, in the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences.  He teaches and conducts research in the areas of flood hazards, water resources, environmental justice, and social vulnerability, using geospatial indicators to examine environment-society interactions.  Dr. Tate earned a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Rice University, an M.S. in Water Resources Engineering from the University of Texas, and a PhD in Geography from the University of South Carolina.

  • Paul Trombino III

    Chief Operating Officer, Office of the Governor, State of Iowa

    Paul Trombino is the Chief Operating Officer for Governor Reynolds and Lt. Governor Greg.  Paul provides operational management and leadership of state government agencies. Before joining the Governor’s Office, Paul was the President of a regional professional services company and is the former Director of the Iowa Department of Transportation. Paul has bachelor degrees in Economics and Civil Engineering and, has Professional Engineer’s licenses in Iowa and Wisconsin.

  • Christopher Uejio

    Assistant Professor of Geography, Florida State University

    For the past 16 years, Dr. Uejio has researched how the physical environment influences human health and well-being. He is a co-author of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) Framework. Dr. Uejio frequently works with health departments to understand and adapt to climate change.

  • Larry Weber

    Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Iowa, Research Engineer, IIHR - Hydroscience & Engineering

    Larry Weber is an expert in flood-related research, watershed modeling and nutrient management. In 2009, he was co-founder of the Iowa Flood Center, this nation’s first and only research center devoted solely to flood-related research and education. In 2013, he worked with the Iowa Legislature and Iowa State University to found the Iowa Nutrient Research Center to advance science and understanding needed to implement the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Weber holds a B.S, M.S., and PhD. in Civil and Environmental Engineering, all from the University of Iowa. For the last 11 years, he has been the Director of IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering, one of the nation's premier and oldest fluids-related research and engineering laboratories.  He is a member of Iowa’s Water Resources Coordinating Council and serves the state and nation on several private sector and agency advisory boards.

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