Creative Services Coordinator
Northwest Iowa Community College
Lori Richards keeps her cubicle walls decorated with reminders: inspirations from Bob Ross, 16-year-old artwork from her children, and the notes “I am a graphic designer, NOT a miracle worker” and “You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep everyone else warm.”
Richards has been with Northwest Iowa Community College (NCC) since she graduated from South Dakota State University. The plan was to stick around for about two years; it’s been 22. Over those two-plus decades, she has kept up with the latest techniques and trends in graphic design and web publications. She’s continually up-to-date on demographic research. She knows and understands her audience, and she applies that knowledge to her design work.
From the beginning of her career at NCC, Richards demonstrated dedication, leadership and management skills, says her nominator, Kristin Kollbaum, NCC’s director of marketing and communications. She first saw those traits during her own interview process, 18 years ago: Though Richards had been on maternity leave, she came in for Kollbaum’s interview.
“This was a mere week after having her baby,” Kollbaum writes in Richards’ nomination. “I can without hesitation say that Lori has the best can-do attitude of anyone I know.”
She is a skilled communicator, professional and easy to work with. Kollbaum says she often hears as much from NCC vendors, especially printers. The communication skills are especially helpful when dealing with coworkers across the college with different priorities, skills and personalities.
Richards is a member of her local K-12 school board; leads fundraisers for school functions like the high school Spanish club’s trip to Costa Rica; has been named NCC’s Employee of the Year; and was the recipient of the N’West Iowa REVIEW’s 20 Under 40 leadership award.