Former telecom, real estate exec to head Workforce Development

A retired business executive will lead the Iowa Workforce Development agency in Governor-elect Terry Branstad’s administration.  

Teresa Wahlert (pronounced WAY-lert) worked in the telecommunications industry for 32 years.  She started her career with Northwestern Bell in Omaha in 1970.  In 1981, she was promoted to an executive position at AT&T headquarters in New York   She returned to Omaha in 1983 to become general finance manager for AT&T.  In 1986, she was named assistant vice president-finance for U.S. WEST.  U.S. WEST became Qwest, and Wahlert continued with the company, serving at one point as vice president for Iowa and Nebraska.  She retired from Qwest in August of 2002.

In 2003, she served as president and CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership.  From February 2004, to November, 2008 Wahlert was president and chief operating officer of Mid-America Group.  Mid-America Group is the regional real estate firm started by the late Marvin Pomerantz, a key Branstad supporter during Branstad’s first four terms as governor. 

In 2005, then-Governor Tom Vilsack (a Democrat) appointed Wahlert to serve on the Board of Regents which governs the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.  

Read the Branstad Transition Team news release about Wahlert below:

Branstad names Teresa Wahlert as head of
Iowa Workforce Development

(URBANDALE) – Gov.-Elect Terry Branstad today announced Teresa Wahlert as head of Iowa Workforce Development in the Branstad/Reynolds administration.

“I am excited to welcome Teresa Wahlert to the team,” said Branstad. “Teresa’s experience creating and maintaining jobs in the private sector makes her a pivotal part of my administration as we work toward creating 200,000 new jobs.”

Iowa Workforce Development was formed in 1996 to provide Iowa businesses and employees with a broad organization of services and education.

“In a time when many Iowans are looking for a job, I will ensure that Iowa Workforce Development does everything it can to assist Iowans in finding economic security for Iowans and their families,” said Wahlert. “I am ready to work with our job creators to ensure Iowa’s economy is firing on all cylinders.”

Wahlert, a native of Dubuque, holds a Master’s of Science in Business degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as a Master’s in Business Administration from Creighton University. Wahlert lives in Waukee with her husband, Howard. They have three grown children who also live in central Iowa.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. Terry Braindead says

    Yay! With an ex-telecom employee as our new head of IWD, we can all expect more jobs… in CALL CENTERS!