Frank Schmitz recognized the value of higher education. As the first member of his South Dakota family to graduate from college, Frank earning a degree in civil engineering from Iowa State University in 1950. Frank was extremely grateful for the opportunities which access to higher education has afforded him.
The Frank Schmitz Memorial Scholarship was endowed by Frank’s family, friends and colleagues to help students gain access to higher education and to honor Frank’s contributions to the civil engineering profession in North Iowa. The scholarship is designated for a pre-engineering NIACC graduate who plans to attend Iowa State University to complete an engineering degree. Preference is given to civil engineering students.
After graduating from Iowa State University, Schmitz joined the Iowa State Highway Commission as a bridge designer. He worked as a project engineer for Wallace Engineering in Mason City for two years, then served as a structural design engineer for HNTB Corporation in Kansas City, Missouri. Schmitz returned to Mason City in 1958 to become the head of the structural and highway departments of Wallace and Holland. He became partner in the firm in 1964, was elected executive vice president in 1969, and served as president of Wallace Holland Kastler Schmitz & Company (WHKS & Company) from 1985 until his death in 1994.
In addition to helping build a successful consulting engineering firm, Frank was a strong supporter of professional and civic organizations. He was a registered Professional Engineer (PE) in five states, served on the advisory council of the Iowa Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS), was on the board of directors at the Mason City County Clun, and was a director of the Mason City Development Association.
Although Frank did not attend NIACC, his daughter, Penny Schmitz, said the idea of keeping the scholarship local appealed to the family because “this is where Frank did his life’s work.”