JOEY GOETZ, TRUMPET GUEST WRITER
The new director of campus security and safety, Ryan Wegner, is eager to serve students and faculty as he returns to the Wartburg campus after nearly 20 years away.
“It’s kind of surreal walking through the halls,” said Wegner. “Not a lot has changed. The W is here now, but other than that, most everything is the same.”
Wartburg had a vacancy to fill with the departure of Jay Tommasin.
Wegner graduated from Wartburg in 2004 with a degree in psychology. The aim was to get into law enforcement, and after working some different jobs over the next several years, he finally achieved his dream.
“It took a bit of time, but then eventually, in 2011, I got hired with the Waverly Police Department,” said Wegner. “I worked for Waverly for almost ten years.”
After his time in the police force, Wegner worked for several months at Aramark as a production supervisor. Throughout his time there, he began to realize his true calling.
“Over the course of that time, I realized that it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I was more of a ‘get out and do things’ sort of person,” said Wegner. “I don’t like being confined.”
It was around this time that Wegner had a chance run-in with a certain Wartburg security officer who gave him a heads-up about a job opening at Wegner’s alma mater.
“I actually ran into Bernard Holland in Walmart. He told me this job was coming open, and it kind of piqued my interest,” said Wegner. “It gets me back into the service side of things: serving students, serving the faculty and staff. When the job got posted, I applied for it and here I am.”
Though it was this fated meeting with Holland that gave Wegner the jumpstart toward his new career path, he actually had his eye on this position for quite some time.
Throughout his time at the Waverly Police Department, Wegner thought that working back on campus as the security director would be a fantastic plan after retiring from the force.
“I’m a believer in ‘everything happens for a reason,’” said Wegner. “We see Bernard in Walmart and he tells us this and it’s like ‘holy cow, no way!’”
Upon arriving back on campus, Wegner said that he feels at home.
“I feel like everybody that I’m working with here, regardless of the incidents or the calls, everybody here has good intentions. They’re good people,” said Wegner. “The atmosphere here seems to always be positive and the people in the security office, the people I work with, they’ve been great. I definitely feel like it’s a great fit.”
Wegner said that he is eager to build upon the foundations set in place by the security team and continue to work on building lines of trust between them and students. Wartburg currently has four full-time security officers and 10 officers who work part-time.
“You know, I think just getting out and being part of campus more is a goal of mine,” said Wegner. “I think that’s something that was kind of stressed to me as well, that it would be appreciated and well-received, and I would agree with that. I want people to know that the door’s always open here. I want to be a face that people recognize on campus.”
“I think the goal is always to leave better than when you started. I don’t want to say ‘keep the status quo’ necessarily. I want to be sure we have good lines of communication with the students and follow up where we need to follow up. I want to build that trust. I think that a big goal of mine is to continue to build off the trust we already have.”
“I feel like that is what I’m meant to do,” said Wegner. “I don’t need thanks for anything I do, I don’t, but I need to feel that sense of self-purpose. Feel like I’m helping and making a difference. I definitely think this is a good fit and I can see myself being here for a long time.”