More than two dozen Iowa companies and college students were honored at the state capitol today (Wednesday) for their work to prevent pollution. It’s part of a college internship program run by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Liz Christensen is deputy director of the agency. “Inefficiency and waste go hand in hand in costing companies, and so if we can give them hands-on assistance from our interns, we can help their bottom line,” Christensen says. For the past four summers, the D-N-R has placed college students in 12-week internships with various Iowa companies to work on pollution prevention. Christensen says about 400 million gallons of water have been conserved, about 40-thousand tons of solid waste has been diverted from landfills and 18-hundred tons of air emissions have been avoided through the program, in addition to significant electricity savings. Since 2001, the interns have helped participating companies save 13-million-dollar according to Christensen. For example, former intern Ryan Daley helped the Dial Corporation in Fort Madison reduce their energy costs. Daley reduced the amount of coal required to make power for the company’s facility, saving Dial Corporation about 50-thousand dollars a year. Twenty-five percent of the companies that participate in the internship program end up hiring the students once they graduate. Daley is one of them; he’s now working for Dial. “I was lucky enough to pretty much have my job interview be the presentation I gave them at the end of my internship…and they hired me on the spot,” Daley says. Mike Hausch, environmental compliance manager for the Dial Corporation, says the state paid the intern. Hausch says Daley did some things that normally would sit on the “back burners,” plus it gave the company a chance to have a three-month look at a potential employee.
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