Kirkwood Alumni & Friends
Celebration of Success

2017 Event Pictures 

Kirkwood President Mick Starcevich with the 2017 Celebration of Success Honorees: Steve West (West Music), Mike Sanden, Sharon Cummins, Fred Timko, Ryan Lebeda and Jim Zach.

West Music

Founded in 1941 by Pearl West, West Music has grown to international prominence supplying instruments and expertise to music programs at all levels throughout the U.S. Now in its third generation as a family-run company, West Music is a key supporter to Kirkwood’s music programs as well as an enthusiastic booster of the Kirkwood Foundation. Steve West has been a tireless volunteer and leader in Foundation campaigns and initiatives since 1980, making him our longest-serving Foundation board member. In 2006, West Music established an endowed Kirkwood scholarship for students beginning their studies at Kirkwood, then transferring to the University of Iowa or University of Northern Iowa, pursuing degrees in music education. West Music has also generously supported Kirkwood’s piano practice studios on the main campus for many years.

Jim Zach

Kirkwood Agricultural Science Professor and Coordinator Jim Zach has been a literal “driving force” in the college’s Diesel Agriculture Technology program for nearly 40 years. His colleagues and students alike credit both his deep and extensive knowledge of the tools and methods to keep agriculture diesel equipment in good working order, plus his friendly and open demeanor that builds and enriches relationships in the farm implement and heavy machinery industries. Since his arrival at Kirkwood in 1978, Jim Zach’s positive in uence continues to start careers and keep professional ties strong throughout Iowa and the nation.

Sharon Cummins

When Sharon Cummins earned her General Secretarial diploma from Kirkwood in the 1970s, she took those beginning skills to a series of rising roles in leading and managing public
event spaces for VenuWorks on behalf of the City of Cedar Rapids. For more than 25 years Sharon took on increasing responsibilities in public facilities management, culminating in

her role as executive director of the Cedar Rapids public venues: The U.S. Cellular Center, Cedar Rapids Ice Arena, Paramount Theater and the new outdoor event site, McGrath Outdoor Amphitheater. Her strong organization and leadership talents also led her to a key role as national director of planning and development for the facilities’ national management company, VenuWorks. Sharon Cummins led the 2003-2004 campaign to revive and renovate the Paramount Theater, a $7.8 million renewal effort. She is widely praised and admired for her energetic and positive “can-do” attitude and approach to her work.

Mike Sanden

Mike Sanden brought his innate mechanical skills and a deep work ethic to Kirkwood Community College in the 1980s, where he earned a degree in Automotive Technology. He quickly put those skills and knowledge to work as an employee at Webb’s Transmission
on the south side of Cedar Rapids. Over the next several years he helped the shop grow an increasingly loyal and enthusiastic clientele. When the owner of Webb’s chose to retire in 1992, Mike decided to purchase the business. The next quarter century has seen

a continued growth and strengthening of business, including an expansion of Webb’s Transmission facilities and services. Among Mike’s many customers are Kirkwood faculty, staff and students—and The Hotel at Kirkwood Center. Mike is the service provider for the Hotel’s guest services vehicles. Mike Sanden is a positive role model for a new generation of Kirkwood Automotive Technology students and a living example of the success that honest business dealings and hard work can accomplish.

Fred Timko

Fred Timko came to Kirkwood in the early 1970s to study Architectural Drafting. For nearly 40 years he has been a key gure in building and development in the Cedar Rapids area. He was founder and president of Point Builders, leading many in uential construction and development projects in Linn County and the region. He has developed and owned more than 30 properties and industrial park zones in Marion, Hiawatha and Cedar Falls, Iowa.

In recent years he has launched a new company, Down to Earth Development. One key current project is the renovation and expansion of the Kingston Village neighborhood along the west side of the Cedar River. Fred is also well-known for his civic involvement, serving on the boards of Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust and Tanager Place, among others.

Ryan Lebeda

Following a tour of duty in the U.S. Navy, Ryan Lebeda came to Kirkwood as one of
the college’s many student-veterans. He decided to study Construction Management
and impressed his instructors with his natural abilities, world-aware knowledge and
drive to succeed. Ryan was recommended to a project management internship with Knutson Construction during the company’s major renovation of Linn Hall on Kirkwood’s main campus. His exemplary classwork and job experience earned him the Kirkwood Outstanding Student award in 2013. His work with Knutson earned him a full-time job offer just before his graduation. Since that time Ryan has worked on major Knutson projects, including the new University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.


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