Lori Mannel

Mannel takes over county Extension

Greene County native succeeds Michael Cooley


“I care about the community because I live here.”

How do you argue with that?

Throw in 20 years of experience in community development and the ability to coordinate volunteers and it’s easy to see why Lori Mannel has been picked to head up the Greene County office of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The Mannel era is officially underway at Greene County Extension following the departure last week of Michael Cooley, Extension coordinator since 2011.

Cooley, a 29-year-old native of Adair County, departed for Colorado, where his wife moved in July to begin a veterinary residency at Colorado State University.

“It’s nice to be home,” Mannel, 49, said. “Greene County has always been my home, and it’s always going to be my home.”

A 1983 graduate of Jefferson High School and a 1994 graduate of Buena Vista University in business management, Mannel most recently served as state director of the American Cancer Society, with an office in Carroll.

When the Cancer Society restructured, Mannel took a buyout and has since thrown herself into volunteerism, serving on the board of Grow Greene County, the nonprofit that worked to bring the Wild Rose casino to Jefferson.

“I’ve been extremely particular,” she said. “I haven’t worked for two years, and I’ve enjoyed not working.”

That is, until the Extension job popped up.

“It was the right time and the right job,” she said.

Mannel’s resume also includes a tenure as Greene County Chamber director from 1995 to 2000, and she served on the board of the Greene County Community Foundation for nine years.

“I have a passion for working with volunteers,” she said.

At the last Extension Council meeting of the year last week, two longtime volunteers were honored.

Outgoing council members David Higgins and Wendy Mount were honored for 25 years and 12 years of service, respectively.

Mannel and her husband of 29 years, Dan, have three daughters.

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