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SEHS grad Nelson finds home at DMACC

Submitted photo: St. Edmond graduate Andy Nelson (left) is the new DMACC Campus Recreation Coordinator at the Ankeny campus.

ANKENY — Growing up, Andy Nelson kept himself as busy as he possibly could.

After graduating from St. Edmond Catholic School, that didn’t change, as Nelson enrolled at the University of Northern Iowa and remained constantly on the go.

Now, years later, nothing has changed for Nelson.

Nelson is the Campus Recreation Coordinator for Des Moines Area Community College’s Ankeny campus. He oversees intramurals, extramurals, outdoor recreation, club sports and youth and adult programming at Trail Point Aquatics and Wellness, and recently was given the approval to bring an e-sports program to DMACC.

“I knew I wanted to be around sports after high school,” Nelson said. “I originally went to school to be a personal trainer, but after a semester, I realized that it wasn’t for me and switched. I was always doing something at the WRC during my time at UNI; intramurals, outdoor recreation, working out and playing pickup basketball.

“It was fun to be around all of that.”

Shortly after graduating Nelson and his wife, Fort Dodge Senior High grad Staci (Lawler) Nelson, moved to Ames.

“I worked two part-time jobs,” Nelson said. “I was the Zamboni driver for the Ames/ISU Ice Arena and was at DMACC. Seven months or so after I started at DMACC part-time I became full-time as the DMACC Intramural Specialist. In 2008, I became the DMACC Campus Recreation Coordinator.”

While in Ames, Nelson was influenced to continue following his career path by Brian Varney.

“He was the arena manager at the time and also worked at Young Arena in Waterloo a few years before I did my internship there,” Nelson said. “The Ames/ISU Ice Arena was home for a few of the ISU intramurals, hockey and broomball. Besides being a Zamboni driver, he allowed me to work with the college intramurals when they were in the rink.”

Nelson says that “every day is different” in his current role.

“I love that,” he said. “There are days where I am providing programming for the DMACC students, faculty and staff, and days where I am providing the community members programming. Other days, I am the Director on Duty in the facility.”

Two events Nelson has been working on are set to take place this summer as former NFL superstar Fred Jackson and Patrick Jackson will host camps.

“I always wanted to bring sports camps to DMACC,” Nelson said. “We have great facilities, amazing staff and a very outgoing community. I also hope to bring more camps to campus in the future and have been able to bring mixed martial arts programs to Trail Point where classes are taught by professionals who fought in UFC and Bellator.”

Nelson earned his degree in Leisure, Youth and Human Services with an emphasis in Programming from UNI. He also has his coaching authorization and is certified in CPR, First Aid, Bloodborne Pathogens and OSHA.

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