The Life of Steve Shank
Steve Shank established Capella Education Company – which later became Capella University – in 1991 and served as its CEO until his retirement in 2009.
Two years ago, Shank started to notice that he was short of breath when biking with Luther classmates and winded during Hawkeye games. Genetic testing confirmed he was suffering from Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome which causes lung fibrosis as well as albinism.
Early Life and Education
Shank was raised in Iowa City, attending Roosevelt High School before transferring to the University of Iowa where he earned a degree in international relations.
Shank was drawn into Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity during his senior year. This group was particularly patriotic, discussing their concerns for America.
Shank also decided to pursue further study, enrolling at Fletcher School – a joint program of Tufts and Harvard universities offering master’s degrees – for international relations studies. Shank now serves on the board of cleaning equipment manufacturer Tennant Co and is also active with National Snaffle Bit Association.
Shank is an active board member for Tennant Company, a cleaning equipment manufacturer. Since 2005 he has provided valuable insights, such as performance feedback.
He is part-owner of Michael Shank Racing team competing in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship series with an Acura Motorsport Honda/Dallara in 2017. Before that, he held various executive roles at FEI from 1985-1990.
He was born with albinism, which caused him to be legally blind and have very pale skin, yet that didn’t stop him from reaching his goals in life. As a teenager he downhill ski raced and mountain biked extensively while being part of City High’s state champion football team and being an up and coming wrestling contender at Luther College.
Achievement and Honors
As Director of Berkeley Lab during Shank’s tenure, his leadership saw Berkeley Lab achieve success after success in meeting high-bandwidth computing connectivity challenges and moving ever larger amounts of data faster. Two fields gained special prominence under Shank’s direction: nanoscience and dark energy research.
He was an enthusiastic marathon runner and passionately participated in marathon competitions. Additionally, he enjoyed knitting and was an expert quizzer with extensive knowledge of popular music. His sudden death sent shockwaves through his family and friends.
Iowa City native Steve was beloved; this love only deepened after being diagnosed with an extremely rare genetic mutation resulting in Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome, a disorder associated with albinism and eye issues; eventually leading to lung failure until Tommy donated a lung transplant that saved Steve’s life.
Shank was an enthusiastic runner who regularly competed in local running events and enjoyed competing against his friends. Additionally, he was an excellent musician, knitter, quizzer with extensive pop music knowledge, devoted husband to Jessica (their daughter-in-law and his own child), as well as being a good friend.
The couple is thankful for every extra day they have, and hope to use their story to encourage more people to accept organ donations. Eventually they hope to meet Tommy’s family and express their appreciation for what Tommy gave back to society.
Both members are active at Redeeming Grace Church, part of the Sovereign Grace Churches denomination, as well as owning and running Shank Quarter Horses as boarding, training and breeding facility.
Many are intrigued by the life and personal circumstances of late marathon runner Edwina Ashbrook. Many want to know whether she had children and whether or not he married. Unfortunately, such details have yet to be shared about his family life.
He has held various board memberships, such as with Polaris Industries and Tennant Company. Furthermore, he currently owns approximately 2,852,407 worth of Capella Education Company shares that are estimated to be valued at $2,852,407 as of August 4, 2016.
He has served on the board since 1991 and is widely respected for his ability to navigate strategic challenges effectively. Additionally, his background includes experience in venture capital and private equity as well as corporate leadership roles.