Lynh Nguyen Patterson
Lynh Nguyen Patterson
Age 39 | Government relations manager, Delta Dental of Iowa 

Lynh Nguyen Patterson was just 2 years old when she emigrated with her parents from Vietnam to the United States.

“I don’t remember much being different about my childhood,” Patterson said. “It was only later that I realized how amazing it was.”

Twenty-two years later, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication under her belt, Patterson became a press assistant for U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell, and spent the next five years working in successive legislative assistant positions for three congressmen. Her experience led to an eight-year stint as legislative liaison for the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH).

“Lynh taught me the importance of ‘getting it right’ with legislative proposals,” wrote IDPH Director Tom Newton, “rather than just ‘getting something passed.’”

Last year Delta Dental of Iowa hired Patterson as its government relations manager. Despite a tight budget year, Patterson succeeded in securing $50,000 in new state funding for an education loan repayment program for dental students and protected a $32,000 appropriation for dental services for low-income residents from a potential 6 percent budget cut.

Because there is no professional association for lobbyists, Patterson recognizes the importance of personal integrity in her role. “Being at the Capitol, there are different ways that you can convey a message,” she said. “What I’ve learned is that whatever message you’re giving should be done with honesty, and there should be a positive result that comes from it.”

Patterson is the longest-serving member of the Grimes Public Library board, which she joined in 2006. “Her consistent guidance has moved forward the library’s largest goal of expanding the meet the needs of the rapidly growing Grimes community,” wrote Karla Pfaff, the library’s director.

Patterson and her husband, Craig, have two daughters, Molly, 8, and Elayna, 5.

Five reasons She’s a 40:

• Helped to enact more than two dozen pieces of health legislation, among them the Smokefree Air Act.

• Managed a $226 million budget request for the Iowa Department of Public Health.

• Volunteers for Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa troops 19 and 964.

• Earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Drake University in 2010.

• Provides leadership as a member of the Grimes Public Library board.

Fun Fact:

“If I won the lottery and could do anything I wanted to do, I would probably go back and take art classes. I’ve always wanted to be a Disney animator.”

Meet the 2012 Forty Under 40 Honorees

Michael Abbott - Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
Sondra Ashmore - IBM Corp.
Shannon Baird - JE Dunn Construction Co.
J. Eric Boehlert - Ahlers & Cooney P.C.
Nataliya Boychenko - Holmes Murphy and Associates Inc.
Becki Brommel - BrownWinick
Catherine Cownie - BrownWinick
Spencer Cox - Vending Services Inc.
Scott Crawford - RDG Planning & Design
Tony Dickinson - Wells Fargo Bank
Shannon Duval - Mercy Foundation
Meg Fitz - Greater Des Moines Partnership
Tim Hayes - McLellan Marketing Group
Christi Hegstad - MAP Professional Development Inc.
Naura Heiman Godar - StruXture Architects LLC
Danielle Hermann - OPN Architects Inc.
Sara Kobilka - Science Center of Iowa
Liz Lidgett - Kum & Go LC
Holly Logan - Weinhardt & Logan P.C.
Matthew Marckmann - Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
Bryan Michael - Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc.
Ben Milne - Dwolla Corp.
Suzanne Mineck - Mid-Iowa Health Foundation
Nikki Miras Mordini - Davis Brown Law Firm
David Nelmark - Belin McCormick P.C.
Anthony Nguyen - Wells Fargo Bank
Lynh Nguyen Patterson - Delta Dental of Iowa
Matt Nuetzman - InFocus Partners
Brad Phillips - Farm Bureau Financial Services
Tina Potthoff - MidAmerican Energy Co.
Erin Schneider - Censeo Solutions Inc.
Steve SchraderBachar - Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Inc.
Jamie Schug - Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority
Kristina Stanger - Nyemaster Goode P.C.
Nate Stewart - Perishable Distributors of Iowa Ltd.
Jason Stone - Davis Brown Law Firm
Mellisa Stover - Bankers Trust Co.
Tray Wade - Hospice of Central Iowa
Eric Wieland - Federal Emergency Management Agency
Geoff Wood - Silicon Prairie News