Tim Dwight Talks About New Goal: Renewable Energy
Tim Dwight has been fast all of his life. He was the fastest kid in school growing up in Iowa City, later the fastest one in the state and the fastest one in the Big Ten when he ran track and played football for the Hawkeyes. Once he outran everybody when he returned a kickoff for a touchdown in the Super Bowl.
His athletic career is over but he still talks with speed and one of his favorite topics these days is, surprise, ENERGY! He exudes it so his work on behalf of solar energy is a natural fit for him as a post-playing days second gear career. And twice in the past week he’s visited DMPS schools to spread the word.
Last Thursday Edmunds Elementary School scored a TD when Dwight dropped in to speak to 4th and 5th graders about the importance of seizing opportunities in life. His fast-paced, stream-of-consciousness, off-the-cuff remarks drew heavily upon his own personal experience, first as an exceptional athlete and now, in the wake of the relatively short career that is the flipside of the glamor of bigtime college and professional sports, running along the cutting edge of the alternative energy industry as an advocate for solar power.
And it was in that latter position that he was an invited guest of the Hoover High School STEM Academy Speaker’s Bureau on Wednesday morning.
Dwight is president of the Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association. He joined with Emily Rice, business development director for a local energy efficiency consulting firm, The Energy Group, to encourage the 262 students who are enrolled in Hoover’s STEM Academy to stay their courses as they matriculate into college and adult careers.
Dwight’s background is higher profile but Rice’s is interesting in its own right and, frankly, easier for the audience at Hoover to relate to. She too graduated from the University of Iowa, but before earning a degree in chemical engineering there she graduated from East High in 2004. At East she was a student of Maureen Griffin who later established the STEM Academy at Hoover. The company Rice works for has consulted with DMPS on many of the school renovation projects and upgrades that are central to the district’s status as a five-time Energy Star Partner of the Year as recognized by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Rice told the students that she coasted through high school for the most part. An exception was her experience as a chemistry student of Griffin’s. “She pushed me,” Rice said, “and prepared me for the hard work I had to do in college where, I admit, I even cried once during one of my engineering final exams.”
Dwight, who comes off as a walking, talking energy source even post-sports career, also encouraged the students to stick with math and science. “The game is changing,” he said. “Just like the telephone business went from landlines to cellular smartphones, the energy business is going from oil and coal to the wind and the sun. That’s where the jobs are for you guys.”
So after scoring first at Edmunds last week, local schools got in the end zone again on Wednesday at Hoover. Two TDs in less than a week – and an extra point by Rice, East High Class of ’04.
Photos of Tim Dwight at Edmunds and Hoover