Rich Leopold - Deputy Director
Rich Leopold - Deputy Director
Gary Halbersma - Construction Maintenance Supervisor
Lela Mullen - Equestrian Center Manager
Bryan Fix - Equestrian Center Barn Manager

Luke Harshbarger - Mechanic

New Faces at Polk County Conservation

Posted:10/17/2013 Polk

This spring Polk County Conservation Board hired Richard Leopold as the new Deputy Director. “I am honored to join the staff of the Polk County Conservation Board. The Board’s mission of providing quality outdoor recreation, conservation education, and long term protection of our natural heritage has also long been my personal career’s mission. There has been much accomplished by the Polk County Conservation Board. I believe there is a bright future ahead and I am excited about continuing this journey with the citizens of Polk County.” stated Leopold after accepting the position.
Mr. Leopold was the Executive Director for Dickinson County Conservation Board in northwest Iowa. Prior to his employment in Dickinson County, Richard served as the Assistant Regional Director for Science Applications within the Midwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service where he provided leadership, direction, and coordination in the development and execution of high-priority science activities, including those involving climate change, adaptive resources management, and landscape conservation.
Richard was the Director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources from 2007-2010. He was also the Executive Director of the Iowa Environmental Council and has held a variety of positions within the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Minnesota and Iowa Department of Natural Resources and served as the coordinator for Iowa’s statewide volunteer water quality monitoring program.

Gary Halbersma joined ourstaff as the Construction Maintenance Supervisor in May. Gary brings extensiveconstruction experience to his new position. Prior toworking for PCC, he owneda finish carpentry business specializing in luxury homes.Gary built conventional and log homes from start to finish.He also owned a dealership for structural insulated panelsused in homes or commercialbusinesses.
Lela Mullen was hired as thenew Jester Park Equestrian Center Manager in July. Previouslyshe had been workingas an Inventory Manager for a Fortune 500 company.Before that she owned a 64- acre equestrian facility. Shehas been training horses and managing horse farms for thelast 12 years and enjoys sharing her love of horses withpeople of all ages.

Bryan Fix has been hired as the new Jester Park EquestrianCenter Barn Supervisor. He has been active in the horseindustry for 24 years. Bryan has managed a boarding andbreeding facility for the past 11 years and has shown competitivelyon a national level. His biggest showing accomplishmentswould be twicewinning the world’s largest single breed horse show, theAll-American Quarter HorseCongress in Reining.

This May Luke Harshbargerjoined our staff as a Mechanic. Previously Luke worked atVan Wall in Madrid as a mechanic. He has a degree from Southeast Community Collegein Nebraska.