Member Spotlight: Gail Sheridan-Lucht
Gail Sheridan-Lucht is an Attorney for the Labor Commissioner, State of Iowa, Iowa Workforce Development Department, Division of Labor Services. She has been married for 25 years (as of March 17th!) to Gene Lucht and has two teenage children, Sierra and Dakota. Sierra is a computer engineering major at Iowa State and Dakota is a junior at Ankeny Centennial High School.
Gail was born and raised in Burlington, Iowa, and got a B.A. from the University of Iowa in Political Science/Psychology in 1983 and her J.D. from Drake University Law School in 1986. She worked briefly as an Assistant County Attorney in Carroll County for the Iowa Department of Human Services as a Child Support Attorney right out of law school, and then has been at the Iowa Division of Labor since 1988 as an attorney, so starting her 27th year there…unbelievable! She has one older brother living in Sacramento, CA and her parents are still living at home in Burlington Iowa and are in their late 80s.
Gail’s email address is Gail.Sheridan-Lucht@iwd.iowa.gov and her telephone number is 515-281-6374.
Question: Tell me about your job.
Answer: I enforce the labor & employment laws for the State of Iowa such as wage and hour, occupational safety and health, child labor, contractor registration, asbestos licensing/permitting, etc. I also do all the collection work for the Iowa Division of Labor.
Question: Can you tell me some of your notable achievements.
Answer: My notable achievements are my children, of course! But if you are talking about legal work, I would have to say I have been associated with several cases that have been argued before the Iowa Supreme Court and have made good law in Iowa in my area of expertise. It has been an honor to be a part of those cases. I have served on countless legal committees for many bar organizations over the years, and I have been lucky enough to receive the Iowa State Bar Association’s Outstanding Section Chair Award in 2010 for my work with the Administrative Law Section.
Question: Why you do what you do?
Answer: I do what I do because it matters. I never wanted to do anything else with my law degree than to help people. Really sounds like a cliché and corny, but I’ve always worked in the public sector to assist people with their legal problems. My most notable achievements are really the day to day things I can do to get past due wages for people; make it safer for workers in their workplaces; make sure kids aren’t working in hazardous jobs; etc. I get extreme satisfaction in knowing what I do may make a difference in someone else’s life.
Question: What you do to get away from work?
Answer: I love to walk outside; I love to travel; I love to be with my friends and family.
Question: Is there anything you do to give back to the community?
Answer: It is important to me to give back to the community. I’m involved in many organizations to do that. Some of my favorite things to do are to volunteer at the Animal Rescue League; make food for our church casserole committee; volunteer at the HOLA Center; and host international travelers in my home through Friendship Force/One World programs.
Question: What is the best thing about the Polk County Bar Association?
Answer: The best thing about the Polk Co. Bar Association is the people in it; I have made long-lasting friendships working with the staff and members of PCBA over the years…it is a great county bar association and very active in the community!
Question: Do you have any words to live by?
Answer: Always do your best and treat others as you wish to be treated (can’t do any better than the Golden Rule!)
Question: What is your favorite book?
Answer: Anything written by John Grisham
Question: What is the best place to visit in Polk County?
Answer: That’s tough as there are many good places to visit in Polk Co. I would have to say the Blank Park Zoo, Science Center and Living History Farms (I call it my Trifecta) would have to rank up there. But I also believe we have a wonderful Art Center and Botanical Gardens, and Saylorville/Gray’s Lake is great for walking, biking and running.
Question: Is there anything you would change about Polk County?
Answer: Safer, larger courthouse/offices for judges, staff, attorneys and the public.
Question: What is your leadership philosophy?
Answer: Lead by example. Don’t expect others to do something you yourself would not be willing to do.
Question: If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor and why?
Answer: I would pick my parents. They were and still are my mentors.
Question: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Answer: I wanted to be an archaeologist, pharmacist, medical doctor and veterinarian growing up. I still would like to be any of those!
Question: What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
Answer: “Don’t Give Up” by Peter Gabriel (then) and Bruno Mars (now); “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (Sam Harris version); “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang and “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
Question: What is the last movie you saw?
Answer: Unbroken, but the book is better!
Question: If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Answer: Superman (or Woman) as I always wanted to have x-ray vision!
Question: If you could learn to do anything, what would you choose to learn to do and why?
Answer: I would like to learn to play several more musical instruments (I play the piano and organ) just for fun and would like to learn more languages (I know some Spanish, French, German and Russian) so I could converse better with the international travelers I meet.