Kuhlman is elected first female president of the ILPA

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Jane Kuhlman, a New Vienna native who makes her home in Guttenberg with her husband, Rick, has been elected the first female president of the Iowa Limestone Producers Association. Kuhlman has been in the aggregate industry for over 30 years. (Photo submitted)

By Molly Moser

Guttenberg resident Jane Kuhlman was elected president of the Iowa Limestone Producers Association (ILPA) during their 70th annual convention held earlier this year. Kuhlman attended her initial ILPA convention in 1981 and was the first female elected to the ILPA board in 2009. She acted in various positions on the board, including serving on environmental, convention planning, and scholarship selection committees, before becoming the organization’s first female president. 

“I do feel a special responsibility as the first female president, and I intend to do my best to make a difference and leave a legacy that makes it easier for other women to be part of this industry,” Kuhlman told The Press. “I also want to be seen and accepted as an aggregate producer. Mining has traditionally been a man’s field, but women have been taking more active roles over the years. One of my goals is to educate people about the mining industry and its necessary place in our world.”  

While limestone has been used for thousands of years as a raw material for building, it is a part of daily life in Iowa that often goes unnoticed. Limestone makes up roads, bridges, and as we know well in Guttenberg, some of our most distinguished architecture. The stone is also used in agriculture to maintain a neutral pH in soil, and aggregates in general are used to make other everyday products like paper, glass, cleansers, cosmetics, toothpaste, and medicines. 

In the typical American home, 400 tons of aggregates are used from the foundation to the shingles and in the wallboard, tile, glass and plaster in between. Aggregates make it possible for us to travel with ease, on asphalt made of 94% aggregate or concrete made of 80% aggregate; and they even help the environment by controlling erosion, cleaning the air in smokestacks, and when used in water filtration, sewage control, wastewater control, and drinking water purification. 

Kuhlman entered the limestone industry in January of 1981 – the same year she and her husband Rick were married. She began working for Kuhlman Construction, owned by her husband and his brother, Reid. “Over the years I got more involved,” she said, having served as secretary and treasurer in the company. “We began a partnership with BARD in 2010, and I transitioned to working for BARD last year when they purchased our half of the business.”

In February of 2014, Kuhlman was hired as BARD’s compliance coordinator. “I work with the safety director and the human resources director to see that we are in compliance with the many regulations that we are subject to,” she explained. 

The limestone mining industry in Iowa aims to be safety and environmentally conscious. Quarry employees across the state are required to complete eight hours of continuing education annually, and annual reports assure each quarry is operating within the law. All facilities must register with the state department of soil conservation. 

Kuhlman is a native of New Vienna and attended Drake University in Des Moines, where she studied public administration. She and her husband, Rick, have five children together: Kenny, Ericka, Katie, Johanna, and Kolton. As president of the ILPA, she will preside over board meetings and represent the organization at various functions in the coming year. 

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