Fore! a good cause

February 17, 2022 — The value of a Grinnell College education didn’t register with Craig Junio ’90 while he was receiving it, but by his late 20s Junio realized how Grinnell had a lot to do with who he had become. 

“Looking back on things, Grinnell taught me to have an open mind, listen to other people, and gave me the ability to express my viewpoint,” Junio says. 

In planning for the future, Junio – a chemical engineer who has been president and managing member of Innovative Waste Solutions since 1999 – recently committed a $300,000 planned gift to the Grinnell College men’s and women’s golf teams as part of his trust. 

Craig Junio ’90, left, poses with his playing partner and competition following a golf tournament event.
Craig Junio ’90, left, poses with his playing partner and competition following a golf tournament event.

As a collegiate golfer, Junio had three Top 10 finishes at the Midwest Conference championships. A round of 69 he shot during the 1989 Wartburg-UNI Invitational is the fourth lowest 18-hole score in school history. Golf continues to remain a significant part of Junio’s life to the present day. 

“Golf has been really good to me,” Junio said. “I’m a plus-3 handicap. I’ve played all over the world in big-time tournaments and met a lot of people. Setting aside this money for Grinnell College golf was the right thing to do to recognize the program as a major influence in my growing up. I hope it someday allows for the team to invest in state-of-the-art golf equipment and help with transportation.” 

Junio had envisioned a career as an oral surgeon since he was 8 years old. He recalls picking Grinnell for college because it had the best medical school acceptance rate out of the undergraduate schools where he was accepted. A chemistry major, Junio began to have second thoughts on attending medical school after dabbling in other subjects. His dad asked him one day if he was ready to take the medical school exam.

It was then Junio realized he was unsure about going to school for another 8 to 10 years. Instead, he opted for a graduate program at Arizona State in chemical engineering. In the summers, Junio worked at the Nevada Test Site as part of a team disposing radioactive waste. Ironically, the site drew the ire of Grinnell students at the time who were protesting nuclear testing. 

After graduate school, Junio took a job as a radioactive waste management specialist where he traveled throughout the country making sure the U.S. Department of Energy sites that generated radioactive waste met EPA regulations. He would write up the sites and give the generating sites suggestions to fix the problems. This led into consulting work and at age 29 he started Innovative Waste Solutions. Today the company has waste removal contracts in Chicago, New York, and other places across the country and is a subcontractor with UCOR to clean up contaminated facilities on the Oak Ridge Reservation in Tennessee.

“We have developed at least half of the Department of Energy waste certification complex programs in this country,” Junio says.

NFL Hall of Fame Jonathan Ogden, left, poses next to Craig Junio ’90 at a friendly golf outing.
NFL Hall of Fame Jonathan Ogden, left, poses next to Craig Junio ’90 at a friendly golf outing.

Although he doesn’t have kids, Junio is a firm believer in leaving the next generation in better shape than the previous one. His mother often uses the expression “warm hand to warm hand” to indicate passing along good things to the next person and helping out those that are perhaps a little less fortunate. When it came time to make his plans, Junio thought about Grinnell and what his former golf coach Edd Bowers ’43 taught him. 

“He made me a better pool player for one thing,” Junio said while laughing about some of their Wednesday night billiards outings. “I loved Edd and all he did for Grinnell teams. I also loved how Grinnell exposed students to a lot of subjects because the College wanted us to be able to talk about a lot of subjects with people. I’m grateful for how the Grinnell atmosphere promoted learning.”

Andy Hamilton ’85, director of athletics and recreation, said Grinnell College Athletics is delighted to accept this gift from Craig recognizing how the academic and athletic programs influenced his time at Grinnell.

“I was here when Craig played under legendary coach Bowers, and Craig’s production as a three-time all Midwest Conference performer was remarkable,” he says. “Perhaps best of all, his professional career will serve as a guidepost for our current students as many of them have visions of impacting the world through environmental science.”

— by Jeremy Shapiro

For your information:

To learn more about options for planned gifts, contact Buddy Boulton, Grinnell College director of planned giving, at or 641-269-3248.

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