Former Iowa Hawkeye and NFL player Julian Vandervelde is harnessing the skills he learned on the football field to help promote the power of the sun as he takes on his new role as Moxie Solar's market president in the Quad-Cities.

The All-Big Ten left guard for the Hawkeyes enjoyed a five-year NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles before he returned home for the next chapter of his career. After a few months in the financial industry, including a stint at Northwestern Mutual, he was recruited by Moxie CEO Jason Hall to lead the North Liberty-based solar company’s new Davenport operation at 1607 W. River Drive.

"It’s a fresh market, but a prime spot for it," said Vandervelde, who credits Moxie's Jared Todd with "warming up the Quad-Cities" before he was hired. Todd is moving on to lead Moxie's first out-of-state expansion in Austin, Texas.

"Renewable energy is something I've been passionate about for some time. I was always doing my own research," said Vandervelde, a graduate of Davenport Central. "They wanted someone from the area, who could network, handle the academic side of it."

Moxie is a full-service solar power provider that engineers, designs and installs solar arrays. Named the fastest growing company in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area last year by Corridor Business Journal, Moxie has 42 employees. It has installed several megawatts of solar arrays across Iowa. One of its new projects is the Current Iowa hotel, a historic renovation project in downtown Davenport by Restoration St. Louis.

"He is an outstanding addition to the Moxie team," said company founder and CEO Jason Hall. "Julian has had success in a variety of fields, and is truly passionate about bringing renewable energy to his home in the Quad-Cities."

Vandervelde, a 2011 University of Iowa graduate, and his wife, Paula, live in Bettendorf with their son Azrael, 4, and daughter, Elondra, 1.

Q-C students earn top honors

Speaking of high-achieving Hawkeyes, hats off to three Davenport natives who have been named to the university's Tippie College of Business' 21 Under 21 list. 

The local students, all juniors at Iowa, are Matthew Moran, finance and accounting double major; Molly Monroe, economics; and Malik Salsberry, enterprise leadership major. They received trophies during a ceremony late last month.

The Tippie College recognizes 21 of its outstanding student leaders under the age of 21 who have demonstrated excellence in the area of scholarship, leadership, experiential learning and cross-cultural and global perspective.

Iowa chapter salutes Q-C architects 

Two longtime Quad-City architects have been honored for their dedication and commitment to the profession by the Iowa Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Timothy Downing and John Gere were awarded 40-year membership certificates during the chapter's spring conference last month. They were among 33 honorees who range in years of service from 25 to 50.

Downing is the principal of Downing Architects. Gere retired in the summer of 2016 from Studio 483.

Stanley-designed dam earns honor

The Lake Delhi Dam Reconstruction project, designed by Muscatine's Stanley Consultants, has received the National Honor Award in the American Council of Engineering Companies, or ACEC,'s annual engineering excellence contest.

Known as the "Academy Awards" of the engineering industry, the ACEC competition pays tribute to the nation's most outstanding engineering accomplishments of the previous year.

It is only the latest award for the project. It also received the 2017 Iowa Grand Conceptor Award, the state's ACEC's highest honor, and the Minnesota Society of Professional Engineer's Exceptional Engineering Award.

The dam features a labyrinth spillway — the first of its kind in Iowa and one of the largest in the Midwest. The design can pass high volumes of water across a short distance without using mechanical gates or electrical systems. The accordion-shaped spillway can pass triple the water capacity of a conventional spillway. It was built six years after floodwaters breached the original earthen dam.

In fact, the new dam got an early test just weeks after the lake reopened when the lake had its fifth largest recorded flood in October 2016. 

The project met opposition on multiple levels, but Stanley Consultants helped navigate the $13 million project through multiple roadblocks over six years.

Biz Bytes is a weekly column by Quad-City Times reporter Jennifer DeWitt. Contact her at 563-383-2318 or jdewitt@qctimes.com

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