Deco Products and Luther College: A valuable community connection

March 3, 2021

Deco Products is continuing its support of Luther College and its students. The manufacturing company out of Decorah has established the Deco Products Applied Learning Endowment which will fund internship and applied learning opportunities for qualified students. 

"We want to encourage Luther students to pursue internships as a great way to learn about future career options while also contributing their skills and energy to the organization," said Chris Storlie '84, CEO of Deco Products. "Over the years, Deco Products has had more than 20 Luther interns. We have been very impressed with the knowledge, communication skills, problem-solving, teamwork and passion that they have each brought to the table. It is a win-win experience."

Luther promises students opportunities to learn actively and internships are a great way to do that. 

"I believe that these experiences serve many purposes," said Storlie. "One is a reality check. You are able to explore what your chosen major and career paths are really like. I also believe it helps students understand the practical nature of the classes they are taking and how they can relate what they are learning to their field."

But according to Stephen Sporer, vice president for development at Luther College, internship experiences are not always accessible to students because of the costs associated with them.  

"The increased financial needs associated with relevant internship experiences can, unfortunately, prevent a student from considering opportunities in their area of interest. Deco's creation of a new applied learning fund will help close that financial gap so students can obtain relevant internship experiences outside the classroom, ultimately providing them with necessary skills as they prepare to enter an unpredictable job market," said Sporer. 

In addition to this endowment, Deco Products is pledging new financial support behind the Sports and Recreation Center renovation project. 

"When local businesses like Deco generously commit to supporting Luther in such a direct way, there is an obvious ripple effect that reaches into the Decorah and greater Winneshiek County communities," said Sporer. "We are able to recruit the best and brightest students and provide them with unique pathways to network and get to know our local business leaders, with the goal of graduates wanting to live and work in this great area."

Deco Products has been a longtime supporter of the college with gifts contributing to the construction of the Field House, Preus Library, and Jenson-Noble Hall of Music and, since 2005, Winneshiek County students have received financial aid through the Deco Products Scholarship. Deco Products is a Life Member of Luther's President's Council, recognized as part of the Ylvisaker Circle.

"We are grateful to Deco for their steadfast support over the years. It exemplifies the fact that for both Luther and Decorah to thrive, a strong relationship between local businesses and the college is essential," said Sporer.  

Luther College is home to more than 1,800 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at 

About Deco Products

Deco Products has been in operation since 1960 and is the largest standalone zinc die caster in the USA. In Decorah, Iowa, Deco employs 200 expert team members who work in production, engineering and other support areas. These experts are core to the quality aligned culture, essential for sustained strategic growth and integral to Deco's future success. To learn more about Deco Products visit