FlipSide Face: Jeff Wagner

by Bailey Harris/Staff Writer

There are a lot of things that get done on campus that students are likely to take for granted and the man behind many of those projects is Jeff Wagner.

Wagner manages the grounds department at Simpson College and has recently taken on the position as the head of Sodexo’s campus services. Students may not realize it, but Wagner and his team are behind much of the upkeep and grunt work on campus.

For example, the grounds department takes care of all the grass, shrubs, flowers and other plant life that keep campus looking appealing throughout the year. The department also takes care of snow removal, moves furniture and materials and helps set up for events. According to Wagner, they even take care of ridding campus buildings of pests and annoyances in campus facilities, including bats.

“It’s challenging (work), but very exciting,” Wagner said. “We have a great group of employees at campus services and the management team is very helpful.”

Wagner is happy to perform all of these important duties for the Simpson community. Despite the challenge of holding two time-consuming leadership positions, he enjoys the fast-paced work environment and variety of work he gets to do. He also appreciates the added interaction with other departments, students and faculty.

“Working with students, faculty and staff is very rewarding for me,” Wagner said. “The campus community is wonderful, and I couldn’t ask for a better place to be.”

 Jan Keeling, campus services administrative assistant, sees that same enthusiasm in all of Wagner’s work and is impressed with the accomplishments he’s made without asking for recognition.

“He just does what he can to help people and never really seems to realize what a big impact his actions may have had on someone’s day,” Keeling said.

Wagner brought his enthusiasm and expertise from a long history in grounds keeping, where he previously worked in golf course management for 11 years. Originally from Illinois, Wagner grew up in Muscatine, Iowa and has been at Simpson for six years. He said the people, traditions, architecture and natural beauty of the campus are all things that helped bring and keep him here.

“Jeff is a great person to work with, he’s got a very positive outlook and is always willing to help others,” Keeling said.

When not focusing on helping other departments with events setup, maintenance, or making campus aesthetically pleasing, Wagner enjoys playing golf, spending time outdoors and traveling.

Wagner’s goal is to see the beautiful green grass and flowery lawns of the spring, but knows we still may have a long winter ahead. He also looks forward to the future challenges of his two roles at Simpson and wants the campus to know his departments are here for them.

“Feel free to call on us anytime,” Wagner said. “We are here to help whenever possible.”