(DES MOINES) - Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced that Mary Vermeer Andringa, president and CEO of Vermeer Corporation in Pella, will serve as co-chair of the Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Advisory Council when University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen steps down from that role on June 30, 2013. Andringa will assume the role of co-chair next July 1.
The 40-member STEM Advisory Council has been co-chaired by Reynolds and Allen since Branstad established it by Executive Order 74 in 2011. Reynolds will continue serving as co-chair. The new council is working to bolster STEM education, STEM innovation and to better position Iowa’s young people and economy for the future.
“It is with great pleasure that Lieutenant Governor Reynolds and I announce that Mary Andringa will become the next co-chair of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council,” said Branstad. “Mary’s outstanding leadership and background in both business and education uniquely position her to continue to build Iowa’s commitment to STEM. We are determined to boost student interest and achievement in STEM and promote STEM economic development.”
Andringa began a two-year term as chair of the National Association of Manufacturers, the nation’s largest manufacturing association, in January 2011. As the association’s first woman chair, she leads its efforts to promote a robust manufacturing sector. She is also one of 18 private sector members of President Obama’s Export Council, where she represents manufacturing on key trade matters. Andringa began her career as a K-6 music teacher in Iowa City, Iowa. She began working in market research at Vermeer in 1982.
“I am thrilled that Mary has agreed to serve as co-chair of the Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Advisory Council,” said Reynolds. “It has been a great honor to serve with President Allen, whose vision and insight have helped move the STEM Council and its 40 hard-working members forward. I look forward to working with Mary and value the many perspectives that she brings to this initiative."
In May, the council created a network of six regional STEM hubs to meet local STEM needs across the state. In October, the council announced that more than 800 schools and community organizations will participate in scale-up programs in 2012-13 provided through the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. A generous $4.7 million appropriation from the 2012 Legislature is making the council’s work possible.
The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council’s priorities moving forward include establishing STEM-focused schools to offer students more STEM education opportunities, building an online portal to house a best practices clearinghouse, and increasing retention of top math and science teachers.