CAREER CHANGE: Surgery To Carpentry

A Winterset woman had a great career as a surgeon, but that field was not her passion. So Denise Mandi made a big change.

“I’m a podiatrist so I was a foot and ankle surgeon…I eventually became the section chief of foot and ankle surgery at Broadlawns,” said Mandi.

Denise Mandi gave up her medical career to enroll at Southwestern Community College in Creston. She is there to learn carpentry and building trades. She and her male classmates are building a house over the school year. She says she enjoyed surgery but carpentry is her passion.

“It always helped me as a surgeon that I was involved in wood working and I had done some construction…I was familiar with power saws and drills and things like that,” says Mandi.

Her students were surprised by their classmate’s knowledge of carpentry. Mandi says her fellow students are close in age to her three sons.

“I think a lot of us were surprised because she’s a woman and she knows more than the men did,” says Cassidy Warson of Madrid.

Upon graduation, Mandi plans work as a contractor and spend some time restoring old homes in central Iowa.