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Six Business, Community Leaders Join Simpson Board of Trustees


The Simpson College Board of Trustees appointed six new board members at its annual spring meeting on May 12, including five Simpson graduates. The incoming trustees feature top executives from some of the region’s most prominent business brands.

New trustees include Nick Andersen ’99, vice president of Commercial Lines and Agribusiness Claims at Nationwide; Manuel A. Cornell ’11, trial attorney for Dorsey & Whitney, LLP; Kevin Halterman, president, CEO, chair, and co-founder of Peoples Bank; Laura Howe ’06, Wells Fargo branch banking region director for the Midwest Central Region; Hank Norem ’02, CEO of Ramco Innovations; and Garrett Piklapp ’04, president of Fareway.

“We are thrilled to add this incredible group of diversely talented leaders to our board,” said Terry Handley, chair of Simpson’s trustees. “As the best of the best in their respective fields, they bring a wealth of integrity and industry insights to the table. Most importantly, they are fully committed to ensuring that Simpson’s mission reaches new heights of distinction. With a strong board and a visionary new leader in President-Elect Jay Byers, the College’s future looks very bright.”

Below are brief bios for the newest Class of Simpson College Trustees:

Nick AndersenNick Andersen ’99, Vice President of Commercial Lines and Agribusiness Claims, Nationwide
Andersen started his career at Nationwide in 2000 and has held a variety of leadership positions in the Property & Casualty organization. He currently serves as the leader of the Commercial and Agribusiness Claims operations providing leadership and guidance to teams supporting insurance agency partners and members.


Manuel Gomez-CornellManuel A. Cornell ’11, Trial Attorney, Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Cornell represents a wide range of clients, including Iowa cities and counties, hospital systems, healthcare providers, nursing homes, construction and agricultural companies, and Latin-American countries. He dedicates a percentage of his time to providing pro bono publico, and serving on boards such as Orchard Place, Simpson College Alumni Association, the ISBA’s Young Lawyers Division Executive Council, Co-Chair of the Young Lawyers Division’s DEI Committee, and Co-Chair of Dorsey’s LGBTQ+ Resource Group. He holds a Juris Doctor from Drake University Law School.

Kevin HaltermanKevin Halterman, President, CEO, Chair and Co-Founder, Peoples Bank
Since 1998, Peoples Bank has grown from a single office on Indianola’s Town Square to eight locations in central and south-central Iowa. The bank reported $528 million in assets and $254 million in loans at the end of the last quarter with 75 full-and-part-time employees. Halterman serves as vice chair of the Des Moines Area Community College Board of Directors; vice chair for the Sheriff’s Advisory Commission for 911 Communication; board member for the Hope Foundation; and president of the Indianola Country Club. He previously served on board positions for the Community Bankers of Iowa, Warren County Economic Development Corporation, Warren County Extension, and the Indianola Chamber of Commerce. Halterman attended Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Laura HoweLaura Spain Howe ‘06 Wells Fargo Branch Banking Region Director, Midwest Central Region
Howe oversees Wells Fargo banking operations in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Western Illinois. She is a champion for employee development, with focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion, relationship building, development action planning, recognition, and risk management. A bilingual graduate of Simpson College, Howe began her career with Wells Fargo in 2004. She earned national recognition from American Banker as a Most Powerful Women in Banking Next award winner in 2022. She is also a Golden Spoke Award recipient, a National STAR winner and has served as a member of the advisory council for the national leader of Wells Fargo’s branch banking division. Additionally, Howe is a board member for United Way of Central Iowa, an executive board member for the Greater Des Moines Partnership and a member of the Iowa and Nebraska Bankers Association. At Wells Fargo, she has led the community support campaign for more than 15,000 Wells Fargo employees, leading to $4.5 million in donations and more than 200,000 logged volunteer hours.

Hank NoremHank Norem ’02, CEO, Ramco Innovations
Norem leads Ramco Innovation as an industrial automation products and services provider located in West Des Moines, Iowa. With a focus on high-tech automation solutions, he has worked to strengthen Ramco’s core offerings while expanding business opportunities through the launch of Maple Studios. At the heart of the Midwest entrepreneurial ecosystem, Maple Studios partners with industry-related startups to propel advanced manufacturing. Norem serves on the Iowa Innovation Council and co-chairs the Advanced Manufacturing task force, which helped launch the Iowa Manufacturing 4.0 grant program. He combines his passion for studying and executing strategic business transactions with his financial expertise to drive technology developments in Iowa and throughout the Midwest. As an active member of his community, Norem is a member of several boards. He earned his MBA in finance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Garrett PiklappGarrett Piklapp ’04 President, Fareway
Piklapp has been with Fareway for 15 years, previously holding roles as executive vice president, secretary and general counsel. Areas of oversight include real estate, legal, communications, governmental affairs, community outreach, human resources and information technology. He has served as secretary to Fareway’s board and corporation and continues to hold roles on various company committees. Prior to joining Fareway, Piklapp was a law clerk at the state trial court and student law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit. He is a former White House Intern under President George W. Bush. He is active in many local, state, and federal civic organizations, including the Iowa Grocery Industry Association, Iowa Business Council, Food Industry Association, and National Grocers Association. He is also involved in and supports several local and state charitable organizations including Variety and Muscular Dystrophy Association. Additionally, Piklapp gives his time assisting local communities and government entities on various topics, both where Fareway stores are located and across Iowa. He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.