DMACC Retirement Series: Karen Heuer

Marketing and Management Chair Karen Heuer is retiring after 37 years at DMACC.

Marketing and Management Chair Karen Heuer is retiring after 37 years at DMACC.

By Jesse Garwick.

Karen Heuer is retiring after 37 years as an instructor at DMACC. She is the Marketing/Management Program Chair.

Included in the department are the Marketing, Management, Fashion/Design, Sales & Management, and Retail Management degrees and diplomas.  Many specialized certificates including Interior Design Consultant and Human Resource Management are also part of the department.

She was born and grew up in Fort Dodge, Iowa.  Even in her early years she was interested in fashion. “When I was growing up, I never ever dreamed I would be a teacher,” Heuer said.

Heuer started at Iowa State as a computer science major, which turned out to be a disaster. She just wasn’t interested in it. During her junior year, she decided to follow her passion and get into the fashion industry.

Heuer graduated from Iowa State in fashion and merchandizing. For a time, she worked as a women’s apparel buyer for a retail store. She came to DMACC because of her fashion degree and work experience in the field.

Her career at DMACC began when an old schoolmate of hers whom she barely knew called her up and told her about an opening in the fashion program. She moved up with the faculty very fast during her first year at DMACC, and then moved to Omaha.

She remained in Omaha for two years, where she started a fashion program at a business college.  She moved back to Iowa because her husbands Job location changed.

“I called up the program chair when I came back to ask if there were any open positions, and he told me he was just on his way out to try and find someone to fill my old position, because the one who had replaced me was leaving. He asked if I wanted the job, I said yes, he said, you’re hired. So fate gave me my original position back.” Heuer said.

Since she started, the program has grown steadily, and has graduated students that are now around the world.  Including London, Russia, and New York.

“I get to work every day with my best friends. It doesn’t get any better than this. It reflects the environment of the program, and it is a wonderful program. All the faculty I consider my best friends.”

Heuer was the first recipient of the DMACC president’s award for community service.

“I am the biggest cheerleader for the students. What we do is all for them: we give them the tools they need to be successful. My passion is fashion design. I love what I do as much now as I did when I first started. Retirement is not something I have been eagerly awaiting.” Heuer said.

When asked why she was retiring, Heuer said, “I didn’t really have a choice.  The way the early retirement program is set up; there is a clause that required us to retire by 2013 to receive the early retirement package. If we didn’t retire now, we would not get the benefits of the incentive.”

Heuer wants to enjoy her time after she retires. She plans to live by Nike’s philosophy: ‘Just Do It’. She will do whatever she sets her mind to. Heuer said, “When all is said and done, I want to be able to say, “I really lived”.

Heuer is much loved by the students and faculty, and she will be missed as a friend and instructor at DMACC.

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