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A career at NEICAC that spanned more than 45 years

Posted: Sun, Dec 3, 2017 11:03 AM

When Mary Ann Humpal began working as a bookkeeper at Northeast Iowa Community Acton Corporation in 1972, she joined an agency that ran three programs and had around 45 employees.

On Thursday, December 21st, Humpal will retire from her job as Executive Director of NEICAC after 45 years and four months at the agency.  During that time, NEICAC has grown to cover seven counties in Northeast Iowa, with 185 employees.  She tells she is grateful for the people who have given her the opportunity to serve clients in NE Iowa.

After starting as a bookkeeper, getting promoted to bookkeeper for all of NEICAC, then getting promoted to Office Manager, she was named Executive Director in 1989.  Since then the number of Head Start clients served by the agency has doubled and the number of clients of NEICAC's Transit Program has tripled.

Another program she's proud of is the housing program that she started and calls "my baby."  The program helps low-income people find the housing they need and the money they need to pay for it.  Along those lines, she's proud of a budget counseling program started at NEICAC that teaches low-income clients how to spend their money wisely--although she points out that a study showed three-quarters of the people taking the counseling were already doing a good job of wisely spending limited money.

That skill could come in handy at NEICAC in the future as well.  Humpal predicts there will continue to be funding challenges for NEICAC.  She tells the agency "has excellent programs, but funding sources change." She believes the agency will have to do a better job of telling its story in the future, including doing that with state legislators, since much of NEICAC's funding comes from the state.

The new NEICAC Executive Director will be Trisha Wilkins, who has worked for NEICAC since 2008 as the Human Resources Director.  Humpal says the agency will be in good hands under Wilkins' leadership, with the support of what she describes as "a team (here) that is very engaged in our mission."

A retirement reception for Mary Ann Humpal will be held from 3:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Nob Hill, located north of Decorah on Highway 52.