Local business owner gives back
LAURENS — Back in 1976, Clarence Siepker moved to Laurens for a new business opportunity.
The Mallard native, who learned to be an auto mechanic when he was in college, learned a garage was for sale and decided to purchase it.
More than 40 years later, Siepker still owns Siepker Auto Repair, located on Iowa Highway 10.
But in that time, he’s become known more than simply a business owner.
He’s also made a number of contributions to the Busiest Little Town in Iowa.
“Part of it was because the community was so good to me over the years,” Siepker said. “My business has always been great and I wanted to give back to the community.”
He began giving back to Laurens in 1989 when he joined the Laurens Fire Department, where he still serves as a firefighter to this day.
Siepker even spent 11 years as the city’s fire chief.
“I just thought it was a good way to give back to the community for all they’ve done to me over the years,” he said.
Siepker took his work as a firefighter and fire chief seriously. He said he attended every fire school that came up and learned everything there was to know about being a firefighter in a small town.
He voluntarily stepped down as fire chief because he learned another firefighter on the department was interested in the position.
After he served as fire chief, he decided to try his hand at elected office.
He started by filling a vacancy on the Laurens City Council.
“I had eight months to finish that term out,” Siepker said. “I enjoyed it so I ran and was elected for four years.”
During his tenure on the Laurens City Council, Siepker said there were a number of city improvement projects that were happening.
“We had the Veterans Road project where we brought the water up,” he said. “We needed a big water main up to the nursing home in order to keep it going.”
That project also included repairing the entire street.
Siepker said he was also involved in the project that remodeled the town’s water plant.
“It just seemed like we had projects going on all the time,” he said. “It was very interesting and I really enjoyed it.”
He added that his constituents appreciated the fact that he was accessible to them.
“I was easy to contact, too, because my door was always open here,” he said of his garage. “So they could always come in and if they had issues they could always come visit me.”
After a single term on the Laurens City Council, Siepker decided not to run for re-election.
Instead, he decided to seek another office, that of Pocahontas County Supervisor.
Siepker said he knew that the supervisor that was representing Laurens on the Board of Supervisors was going to retire, so he decided to run to succeed him.
He ended up winning that election, and continues to serve as a Pocahontas County supervisor today.
Compared to being a city councilman, Siepker said he’s much busier as a supervisor.
“We deal with a lot of drainage issues,” he said. “We have over 200 drainage districts in Pocahontas County.”
He added there’s also a lot of bridge issues that the county is dealing with.
“We try to get money, as it comes in, to repair the bridges,” he said.
Among the boards he’s on are the U.S. Highway 20 Corridor Association and county social services.
While he’s proud of the work he’s done in Laurens, Siepker is quick to say it wasn’t just him that led to the changes.
“We had other council people that had gotten some of the other projects started,” he said, adding there was some overlap among council members. “It’s more of a community-type thing. It’s not just one person that gets the credit for it.”
He added that towns like Laurens need to move forward if they want to be successful.
“It’s just like me working on cars,” he said. “If I was doing the same thing I did 40 years ago, I’d have been out of business years ago. You’ve got to keep up with the technology, with the changes, everything that’s going on.”
He enjoys being a part of the Laurens community.
“One thing I can say about Laurens is that if you work hard and honest and do good work, you’ll have more work than you’ll know what to do with,” he said. “It’s a very good community, very supportive. Anything they get behind, they really support good.”