A lifelong Epworth resident is leaving his job at Pepsi and transitioning to a new career in the Western Dubuque School District. Kyle Gansen had worked at Pepsi for 15 years, serving as a general manager for the last four. He is taking on the role of director of food and nutrition in the district.

Gansen attended Western Dubuque High School before going to the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, where he majored in business. He accepted his position at Pepsi after that and has been there since.

“There are a lot of moving pieces in the retail environment and it’s all I’ve ever known,” Gansen said. “It’s fast-paced and you have employees working through all hours of the day. I’ve just always thought there was something more for me than distributing beverages.”

He had worked with the former director of food and nutrition at Western Dubuque, Clif Cameron, for a couple of years through Pepsi. When the position came open, with his background, they both thought he would be a great fit.

“I honestly thought I would be at Pepsi for the rest of my life,” Gansen said, “but the opportunity to have an impact on so many different lives in this community is what made me make the change.”

Many people have a dream position in mind that is close to home and one that can make a difference in many people’s lives. Gansen has Western Dubuque close to his heart, but he is also a fan of every school in Dubuque County.

“You will find me rooting for any school from the area,” Gansen said. “Since the WD District covers the whole county, I thought it was a pretty great fit.”

He will oversee all general operations for the food service department. This covers eight total locations and three production kitchens within the district.

His position includes planning menus, maintaining safety records and staff training, along with handling all the requirements of the school breakfast and lunch programs from equipment, staffing, free/reduced applications and much more. The position covers many different areas from purchasing to production.

“I will miss the relationships I’ve gained over all the years and all the experiences I was able to be a part of at Pepsi,” Gansen said, “the Gantz family in particular. Jim, C.J., Michael and Eric Gantz took a chance on a young kid out of college, and I will never forget that. We all need someone to take a chance on us and they did on me.”

Cameron is taking a supervisor role with the Area Education Agency, and Gansen will work with him on many different projects still. He is looking forward to working with the many families of Western Dubuque.

“The fact that I get to do it in my home county is just a bonus,” Gansen said.

Gansen currently lives in Epworth with his wife, Dana, and three children, Andrew, Claire and Cole.