Garcia in driver’s seat for industrial tech, transportation at Iowa Western | Education | #education | #technology | #training

There’s a new person steering the Department of Industrial Technology and Transportation this year at Iowa Western Community College.

Diana Garcia took over as academic dean of the department last fall, replacing Matt Mancuso, who became executive director of economic and workforce development.

“I’ve always been interested in education,” she said. “I feel like that’s the one way to move up in life. I’m excited that I think society is changing its view of the trades.”

Garcia was previously director of truck services for the Nebraska Trucking Association in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she worked for seven years. She has taught history online since 2010.

Her first big challenge at Iowa Western will be to design and build a commercial driver’s license program that will train the truckers of the future.

“We’re hoping to start a CDL program this fall, so that was a big draw for me,” she said.

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Garcia is, of course, well aware of the shortage of truck drivers.

“It will be our way to help out,” she said.

Garcia will also be involved in launching and overseeing career academies Iowa Western plans to establish in Missouri Valley and Harlan. The college is purchasing part of the Trivium Life Services building at 115 S. Harrison St. in Missouri Valley at a cost of about $285,000. That space will be remodeled for use as a career academy for the Missouri Valley, West Harrison, Logan-Magnolia and Tri-Center Community School Districts. Plans are to offer welding, electrical, construction and agriculture classes in the facility.

Iowa Western also purchased the rest of its Shelby County Center facility from the City of Harlan for $1 and will convert part of that space into a career academy that will serve students in the Harlan area. The college plans to offer electromechanical training for local companies and automotive/diesel, industrial technology, health care and trades instruction there. The Harlan building won’t require as much remodeling to turn it into a career academy, she said.

Garcia grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, and her family moved to Sioux City when she was a sophomore in high school. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Morningside University and a master’s at Institut Barcelona Estudis Internacionals in Barcelona, Spain. Before entering the trucking industry, she worked for the Nebraska Migrant Association.

She lives in Papillion with her husband, Raul Soria, who is a safety director for an Omaha trucking company. She has two stepdaughters, ages 24 and 19; a stepgrandson, 6; and a stepgranddaughter, 3 months.

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