Governor-elect Terry Branstad has asked a retired business executive to lead the Iowa Workforce Development agency. Teresa Wahlert worked in the telecommunications industry for 32 years and for four years she headed a West Des Moines-based real estate company.
Wahlert, pronounced WAY-lert, started with Northwestern Bell in Omaha in 1970 and held a variety of executive posts in AT&T, then in U.S. West, then in Qwest before retiring from Qwest in 2002.
After a stint as head of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, she became president and chief operating officer of the Mid-America Group in 2004. The company was founded by the late Marvin Pomerantz, a long-time Branstad supporter.
Branstad has asked Wahlert to serve as director of Iowa Workforce Development, the agency that oversees workplace safety regulations and distributes unemployment benefits to Iowans.
Wahlert had a previous stint in state government, serving as a member of the Board of Regents, the panel that oversees the state universities. She was appointed to the board in 2005 by then-Governor Tom Vilsack to serve the last third of a term on the board that expired on April 30, 2007.