Farewell Roger Hargens, STEM Council Co-Chair

Roger Hargens’ passion for STEM helped solidify bipartisan legislative support at STEM Day at the Capitol.
Roger Hargens’ passion for STEM helped solidify bipartisan legislative support at STEM Day at the Capitol.

On June 22, 2020 Roger Hargens, President and CEO of Accumold co-presided over his final meeting of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council’s Executive Committee. Appointed co-chair alongside Governor Reynolds in August, 2017, Mr. Hargens fulfilled his two-year commitment through August of 2019 before making a decision symbolic of his entire term, indeed of his approach to leadership and life. He re-upped for a bonus year at the helm on the Governor’s request. Speaking to Roger and the Executive Committee, Governor Reynolds said “If there were a STEM Hall of Fame in Iowa, Roger would be an instant inductee for all he's done, loyally and selflessly. Roger, you may be succeeded as my co-chair, but you'll never be replaced. I'm grateful. We're all grateful to you.”

Mr. Hargens was the fourth outstanding co-chair of Iowa’s STEM Council, preceded by Dr. Chris Nelson of Kemin Industries (2015-2017), Mary Andringa of Vermeer Corporation (2013-2015), and Dr. Ben Allen of UNI (2011-2013). All have left imprints and legacies on our vital work for young Iowans. Roger’s legacy might best be captured by the term strategic impatience , coined by Admiral Hyman Rickover. Roger Hargens impressed upon our Council and the operations team a sense of immediacy – young lives are in the balance and need action right now, not later after thinking and researching and debating. Do those things while acting. And Roger walks the talk. A tireless champion for skilled technical trades, work-based learning, and equity of opportunity, Mr. Hargens was exceptionally generous with his time – never missing a Council meeting or associated function even if it meant phoning in from Asia in the middle of the night.

Generous with his talents, Roger’s passion and energy infected audiences from the podium at State Fair, at STEM Summits, at community keynotes and at Council meetings. Generous with his treasures, Roger commits his global company Accumold to assorted college and K-12 partnerships ranging from apprenticeships to BEST partnerships. He’s also been known to donate funding for STEM in moments of need, right on the spot. 

Roger Hargens will be succeeded by a new STEM Council co-chair, but he’s irreplaceable. Young Iowans enjoy stronger and more effective STEM education thanks to Mr. Hargens.

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