Find out what’s going on with Blugold classmates and friends, and let them know what is new with you. Class notes will be posted as time permits. Thanks for staying in touch!
Check out the news below, and update us by completing this form.
Click on the appropriate time period below to read what’s happening in the lives of your UW-Eau Claire friends from days gone by.
*New class notes are posted as time allows.
Victor Hosford (BSMT) has had a wide variety of life experiences since graduating from UW-Eau Claire. He worked his way through college and commuted from Menomonie to Eau Claire until 1964. Victor remembers that his first semester of college in Menomonie in 1956 cost $72.50 per semester — a lot of money back then — and books were furnished for a fee. He reports that he worked at Sacred Heart Hospital for almost a year while also working in Menomonie at the old hospital. In July 1965 he moved to Ventura, California, where he still lives and works part time. He says that having his degree has made his life so much better than his parents' lives. Victor says he is 79 years young and finds it hard to believe that he graduated 54 years ago.
Larry McCaghy (BA), director of choirs at Lakeville High School, Lakeville, Minnesota, from 1965-99, was presented with the FMC Lifetime Achievement Award for 2015 by the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota at their annual state conference in November. This award is presented to one member each year who has "lifetime experience providing outstanding contributions and distinguished service to choral music in Minnesota" and "significant and noteworthy accomplishments that embody the distinction and significance of the name 'F. Melius Christiansen,' founder of the St. Olaf Choir."
Theresa (Voelkel) Saltzer (BA) retired in 2009 after 34 years of doing social work in Walworth County. In 2014, she accepted a position as a senior advocate with the Association tor the Prevention of Family Violence in Elkhorn, providing services to seniors who have been victims of abuse.
James Hilt's (BS) book "How to Have a Better Relationship with Anybody" has recently been republished by Moody Publishers into an ebook available on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.
Naomi Vangen Shep (BSN) was named Wisconsin Home Care Nurse of the Year for 2017 by the Wisconsin Association of Home Health Care. The award recognizes the accomplishments of an individual nurse and provides a way to celebrate the work of home care nurses in Wisconsin. Naomi has worked at Stoughton Hospital in home health since 2001 and is currently the clinical coordinator for Stoughton Hospital Home Health.
Thomas King (MS) UW-Eau Claire professor emeritus of communication sciences and disorders, moderated an open public session for clinicians, clients and families with Alex Truesdell, MacArthur Foundation Fellow, in May in Solon Springs. Truesdell, visiting founder of Adaptive Design Association in New York City, is an adapted designer and fabricator of devices for children with severe disabilities. King is part of the ADA NYC collaboration team.
King also moderated the 44th annual Northwestern Wisconsin Writers Conference, featuring New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger. This year's daylong conference was held at the Solon Springs Community Center on July 23 and drew more than 75 writers from throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota. It featured sectional presentations by experienced authors across many topics. King co-presented a session on accurate retrieval of memories and writing vibrant memoirs.
King is the author of "Sewing Awl," his recent essay considering paleo indigenous peoples of the western Lake Superior region from the point of view of a small child. The essay was selected by the Wisconsin Writers Association for inclusion in its first Wisconsin Literary Journal, currently in press. "Sewing Awl" also appears in King's newest book release, "Neighborhood of Bears," Vol. 3 of his "Tales from the Red Pump" series of books about Northland Lake Superior history, language and culture.
Ginger Olson (BA) retired in May 2016 after 38 years at Rochester Hills Public Library in Rochester, Michigan, where she was the head of circulation. She spent the summer traveling with her husband, Eugene Olson, (BS) camping, visiting with children, grandchildren, relatives and friends, and also visiting both of their mothers. Ginger spent several years as a volunteer at the library before becoming employed there. She hopes to be able to spend more of her time reading the books recommended by patrons, biking and camping with her husband, and volunteering at her church and the library.
Terri (Peterson) White (BA) founded T.E.A.C.H. (To Encourage and Challenge Homeschoolers), a university model school for homeschooled students, in 2012. Classes are offered in all of the core subjects for middle and high school as well as several electives. While the classes are held in Cleburne, Texas, students from surrounding areas also attend, for an enrollment of 100+ students. The school includes 14 faculty members, with Terri as the director and sole English teacher.
Patrick Wick (BBA) retired as president and CEO of the Bank of Turtle Lake in January 2014. He held this position for 28 of his 42 years with the bank. Patrick enjoyed numerous activities within the community, including being a Lion, Knights of Columbus and Booster Club member. He will miss working with his customers and his wonderful staff, but looks forward to having time to enjoy his family, grandchildren and lowering his golf score.
Brian Goldbeck (BA), '79 (BA) was acknowledged by State Department Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy at Goldbeck's November 2016 retirement ceremony in Washington, D.C., for his 32+ years of service, including postings in South Korea, North Yemen, Ethiopia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taipei, Beijing and Guangzhou, as well as Washington, D.C.
Joe "JJ" Haefner (BA) has had a technical primer, "Structured Analysis: The How of 6 Sigma" and a work of fiction, "The Preacher and the Shaman," published. "The Preacher and the Shaman" is selling internationally in England and Australia as well as in the U.S. Joe was the first non-engineer to be accepted into the UW-Madison College of Engineering, where he taught statistics as a graduate student.
Blair Hull (BA) recently had her first mystery novel, "St. Mary's Private Dancer," published. Hull, who earned a master of divinity degree in 1995 from the Chicago Theological Seminary, currently serves the Congregational United Church of Christ in Whitewater.
Mark Werlein (BME), '79 (MST) retired in June 2014. Throughout his career he served as a music teacher in Wisconsin and California, as well as in positions in business management. For the past 18 years he worked as an assistant principal at Oakmont High School in Roseville, California. Subsequent to retirement Mark has been busy writing music for film, television and cinema. Most recently he joined Ross Music Management Group of New Jersey for exclusive publishing and performance representation. Mark's music has been performed on YouTube as well as in several video projects overseas. Mark and his wife, Eileen Calise, divide their time between Sacramento, California, and Daytona Beach, Florida.
Larry Chamberlain (BME) has retired from the Yamaha Corp. of America, band and orchestra division, after 30 years as a district manager. He now lives in St. Germain where he operates a small resort on Big St. Germain Lake.
Warren Kraft (BA) became the new Human Resources director for Wood County, headquartered in Wisconsin Rapids. He formerly served as HR director for Brown County and the city of West Bend as well as Oshkosh city attorney. Kraft also is of-counsel with the Madison law firm of Murphy Desmond, managing its Appleton office. His wife, Elizabeth Kraft (BS-E), is now a substitute teacher for the Oshksh and Berlin schools.
Dale Sieber (BA) shares the sad news that his wife, Ann Marie Sieber, passed away at her son Donald Arnett's home in Omaha, Nebraska, on Sept. 23, 2015. She had recently retired after 34 years of missionary service with the Covenant Players. Ann and Dale had been married for more than 28 years. Dale says that Ann blessed everyone with her prayers, peace and presence, and grace and wise counsel as she inspired them to deepen their faith and expand their capacities to serve. After spending two weeks in the States to take care of funeral arrangements, Dale returned to Europe to finish training his replacement and then returned to the U.S. for Christmas. He currently is working at the WHQ of Covenant Players in Oxnard, California. Dale can be reached at email@example.com.
Brian Strand (BS) has been named Gulf States Regional Medical Director for Humana. Strand practiced plastic surgery for 27 years in the New Orleans area.
Melinda (Kant) Allen (BS) retired after 21 years working for the Kenosha School District as an Elementary School Library Teacher. She is looking forward spending time with her two grandsons Jon (5) and Ben (3).
Dede (Breese) DeWitt (BS-E) is serving as the 2016-17 president of the Wisconsin state chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood. Wisconsin has 139 chapters with 5850 members. This international organization of 250,000 women promotes the education of women and offers scholarships, grants and loans to help women "reach for the stars." Dede also is serving as chairman of the board of directors for Evergreen (a life plan community) in Oshkosh. Dede and husband Andy DeWitt have two grown children and two grandchildren. They reside in Oshkosh and get away to their summer cottage in Eagle River during the summer months.
Mary (Turner) Heimstad (BA), in a significant departure from years of AP-style writing in the journalism and corporate worlds, has published a children's book titled "A Prince of a Dog." It is the story of a dog's quest to adopt a family. The book is available through Archway Publishing.
Monica Stauber Holtz (BA) is the new administrative coordinator for the Friends of L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Eau Claire. She coordinates programs such as Give-A-Kid-A-Book and Books for Babies, which provide new books for children, and she assists the Friends executive board in carrying out many other projects and programs that benefit the library. Monica also handles membership, donations and volunteer recruitment for the Friends. She can be contacted at 715-831-5301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Cairns (BBA), a CPA and attorney, is a partner in the national law firm of Stinson Leonard Street LLP. Jeff was inducted as a fellow in the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel for 2016, and was named Lawyer of the Year in the employee benefits law category in Minneapolis by Best Lawyers in America for 2017.
Ellen (Bournique) Van Vechten (BA) practiced law for over thirty years, obtained a Master of Social Work and became a certified alcohol and drug counselor in Illinois. Her book, On the Other Side of Chaos, Understanding the Addiction of a Loved One was released by Central Recovery Press in September of 2018. The book is based on the theory that individuals who are empowered by knowledge of the disease and who have come to accept their lack of control over the result, can make reasoned decisions to support the recovery of both their loved ones and themselves.
Syed Hashemi (BA) received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Riverside, and then spent more than three decades conducting research, teaching and implementing programs to reduce poverty and gender inequality. His professional work encompasses many countries in South and southeast Asia, Central and South America and Sub-Saharan Africa. He lives mostly in Bangladesh but works half time as a consultant to the World Bank in Washington, D.C., advising different governments on policies for reducing poverty. Syed has been married to Rubina for 34 years. They have two daughters. You can contact Syed at email@example.com.
Paul Emmons (BBA) professor of architecture, has been named associate dean for graduate studies in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech.
David Kamm (BBA) has joined the Beauchamp Maleki Group in downtown Milwaukee as the company's chief operating officer. BMG is a rapidly growing financial services company that works primarily with privately held companies and their owners to provide a single comprehensive and collaborative strategy to fully integrate their financial, estate, business succession and financial asset investment strategies.
Tom Lepinkski (BBA) has been re-elected to the Catholic Order of Foresters High Court. He originally was elected to the board in May 2003 and has earned the Legion of Honor (Third Degree) and Merit Award from the organization. During his time with COF, he has held many offices, including Wisconsin State Court Vice Chief Ranger from 2000-2003, Wisconsin State Court Trustee from 1997-2000 and Wisconsin State Court Treasurer 1980-1988.
Ken Morgan (BA) staged the Midwest premiere of the Jay Jeff Jones play "The Lizard King," a psychedelic journey through the mind and imagination of Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, in September 2015 at the Arcade Theatre in Milwaukee.
Dawn Ullrich (BA), president and CEO of Houston First Corp., has been recognized as an "Icon Honoree" and will be honored at the 2017 Top 30 Influential Women of Houston Awards celebration Sept. 29. The event celebrates women who have "defied limitations and broken through many glass ceilings in their respective fields while forever changing the landscape of business and community service in the city of Houston." Ullrich, who holds a law degree from the University of Houston, has held a wide variety of leadership positions within the city of Houston.
Shari (Groshong) VandeRiet (BME) has written and published two musical compositions: "I Heard It in a Dream," performed by the Boulder Big Band, Boulder, Colorado; and "Psalm & Alleluias," recorded by the Boulder Concert Band. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Emery (BA) relocated to New Mexico in 2014, and was recently appointed deputy general counsel for the New Mexico Department of Health and Human Services. His wife, Teresa Churchill '81, has retired from employment with Fond du Lac County and has joined John in New Mexico, to enjoy the 300 days of sunshine annually. Teresa has played with the Drowsy Maggies Irish band, and has performed numerous times at Milwaukee Irishfest, among other venues. Their three children are scattered across the country but fortunately their son and grandson are a mere 70 miles away in Albuquerque.
Ann (Talbot) Fowler (BS-E) graduated in May from the lay ministry program at the St. Clare Center for Catholic Life on the campus of Cardinal Stritch University. This is a two-year certificate program with a variety of courses geared toward all aspects of ministry in the church, history of the church, gifts of the spirit and many more. Beginning in fall 2016 Ann will become part of the youth ministry program at her home parish of St. Frances Cabrini in West Bend. Ann also is a lector and extraordinary minister of communion there. She has lived in West Bend and been a member of St. Frances Cabrini for 26 years.
Tom Harris (BBA) retired in June 2017 as a managing director with Deloitte Consulting after a 38-year career in the healthcare IT industry. He lives in Brookfield.
Tom Washington (BBA) is working in Texas promoting the Republican Party as state treasurer. Tom and his wife, Billie, are also enjoying their first grandson, Connor, who lives in the Houston area with his parents, Andrew and Catherine (Matthews) Washington. Tom is on Twitter @HebronAggie.
Mark DeLap (BA) in journalism and a minor in coaching. Has published four books and currently the managing editor for the Sioux Center News in Sioux Center, IA. In 2017, Mark won the top award for the best feature story from the Minnesota Newspaper Association and also won a national award for the best serious column from the National Newspaper Association. In addition, won awards for photography, winning the Pub Aux top news picture for 2018, and have had several pictures published on National Geographic.
Timothy Kay (BBA) obtained his law degree from Marquette University in 1984. He was re-elected for a second term as Lake Country Municipal Court Judge on April 5, 2016. Lake Country Municipal Court consists of 18 municipalities in western Waukesha County and is the largest joint municipal court in the state. Tim graduated from Marquette Law School in 1984.
Timothy Norris (BBA) is celebrating his first year in his second career as part of the faculty of law at Monash University in Victoria, Australia. He retired from KPMG in 2014 where he served as director and partner of management consulting in the USA, Europe, Middle East, Latin America and Asia.
Peter Eckerline (BBA), '83 (MBA), a Merrill Lynch financial adviser based in Wayzata, Minnesota, has been recognized by the Financial Times in its top 400 financial advisers list. In addition to the Financial Times honor, Peter has been recognized by Barron's in its list of America's top 1,200 financial advisers in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Barron's also recognized Peter as the No. 1 wealth adviser in Minnesota in 2015 and 2017. In 2012, he was named to Barron's top 100 financial advisers. Peter, who has been with Merrill Lynch his entire career, received the President's Award from the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association in 2004.
Daniel Scholz (BA) is the author of "The Catholic Epistles, Hebrews, and Revelation," which was published by Anselm Academic in August 2016. Scholz, who holds a doctorate from Marquette University, is a member of the philosophy and religious studies faculty at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee.
Skip Sturtz (BBA) retired in 2014 after 31 years as a national account manager with PepsiCo/Quaker Oats. He founded inc2ink in 2014, a venture that focuses on original home and cabin portraits following his passion for drawing. This past year Skip received the Art Excellence Award from the Plymouth, Minnesota, Arts Council and placed second in the 2016 Minnetonka Juried Members Show. He has been married for 29 years and has two children, ages 20 and 24. Skip lives in Plymouth, Minnesota, and currently is training for his 19th marathon next April.
Jeff Koepke (BBA) was hired as vice president and chief information officer for Garner Denver Inc., a global provider of industrial equipment, technologies and services, in December 2016. Jeff oversees the use of worldwide information technology within the company and is responsible for ensuring that all systems necessary to support its operations and objectives are in place. Prior to accepting this position, Jeff served as vice president of information technology for Generac Power Systems Inc.
Steve Berger (BBA) and Terri Berger (BS, '85) have opened a restaurant in Hartland called Beer Snobs, featuring 24 craft beers and pub staples such as burgers and cheese curds.
Tim Cruciani (BME) recently completed a 32-year career in the banking industry as an executive vice president. He recently joined the national consulting company think2perform. At this values-based company, Tim specializes in helping organizations and people become successful in business and in life, accomplishing things they never thought possible. He welcomes email at email@example.com.
Raymond Skwierczynski (BS) has been named head of pharmaceuitcal operations for CoLucid Pharmaceuticals.
Carl Whalen (BS), a UW-Eau Claire chemistry graduate, has completed his first year of medical school at A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona. He recently moved to Beaufort, South Carolina, to complete medical school while caring for underserved patients at a local community health center.
Robert Mathers (BBA) has joined the law firm von Briesen & Roper, at the Fox Valley office in Oshkosh. Mathers provides legal and business advisory services to businesses and their owners, focusing on privately held businesses as well as estate planning. Bob is a CPA and is AICPA accredited in business valuation and is an AICPA personal financial specialist. He regularly provides guidance to CPA firms, financial services firms, and the accounting and investment advisory industries.
Beth Moberg-Wolff (BS) received the 2015 Sir James Carreras Award from Variety, the Children's Charity, at their world conference in Milwaukee for her work caring for children with disabilities. Moberg-Wolff serves as chair of the Pediatric/Developmental Disabilities Council of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. She holds a medical degree from the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health and completed a residency and fellowship in pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitiation in Colorado. Moberg-Wolff is triple board certified in pediatric rehabilitation, brain injury rehabilitation and general rehabilitation. She lives in Milwaukee with her family and has a daughter at UW-Eau Claire!
Tim Ploetz (BBA) was recently promoted to managing director for U.S. Bank's private banking, private client reserve in Minneapolis. Tim has been with the company 20 years.
Jennifer (Sullivan) Hansen (BS-Special Education) has been teaching 6th grade at Owatonna Public Schools for the past 30 years. In 2010, named Minnesota Council for the Social Studies Teacher of the Year, in 2011, named Owatonna Teacher of the Year, and in 2017, recognized at Junior Achievement Capstone Teacher of the Year. Jennifer is a member of the Executive Board for the Minnesota Council for the Social Studies, and Steering Committee for the National Council for the Social Studies. Jennifer married Harold Hansen on December 1, 1990 and have 5 children and 5 grandchildren.
Chip Pedersen (BA) has been hired as director of product development for ZeroLight Limited, a virtual reality startup. The company, based in Newcastle, U.K., develops virtual reality solutions for automotive retailers in Europe and is expanding into the U.S. market. Before leading ZeroLight, Chip worked for Apple, Microsoft Games Studio, Activision-Blizzard and his own game studio.
Jennifer Verhein (BA) was appointed as Nebraska's first statewide language access coordinator in October 2015. In this role she assures limited English proficient litigants have equal access to Nebraska courts and probation services.
Lisa Currie (BA), completed my second master's degree, this one in Human Sexuality Education from Widener University and am continuing in the same program to obtain my PhD. In October, I joined Tulane University as their Interim Associate Director for Gender and Sexual Diversity, and relocated to New Orleans along with my elderly (but still feisty) cat, Bink. This represents a new direction for my 21+ year career in Student Affairs which previously focused on health promotion. My current academic pursuits sparked a desire to change functional areas within a very rewarding career field.
Bethine (Hagen) Ellie (BA), director of institutional effectiveness at Northcentral Technical College, earned a doctor of education in higher education leadership in May 2017 from Edgewood College in Madison. In March 2017 she successfully defended her dissertation on followership styles at a two-year higher education institution.
Jerome Poling (MA) has written a history of UW-Stout, titled "An Idea Comes of Age: UW-Stout, 1891-2016," which was published by the university to mark its 125th anniversary. The 497-page book includes 14 chapters and approximately 140 photos. Poling, assistant director of University Communications at UW-Stout, has written three other books, including "A Summer Up North: Henry Aaron and the Legend of Eau Claire Baseball," published in 2002 by the University of Wisconsin Press.
Lane (Mahnke) Johnson (BSN) completed a dual MBA and MSN with an emphasis in Leadership in Healthcare systems in June of 2018 from Grand Canyon University.
Ron Martin (BS), an Eau Claire middle school teacher, was elected president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the largest organization for educators in the state, in April 2016. As president he will represent members of the state association — including pre-K-12 teachers, education support professionals, technical college instructors, aspiring educators in university programs and retired teachers.
Mark Miazga (BA) was elected to a four-year term on the Falcon Heights (Minnesota) City Council. His term begins in January 2018. After graduating from UW-Eau Claire he earned his juris doctorate from Hamline University School of Law.
Patrick Jarvis (BS) Celebrating 10 year anniversary of starting Inktek LLC back in May of 2008. Specialize in the manufacturing and distribution of screen printing inks to the textile market through out the world with an emphasis on the heat transfer market.
Rita (Johnson) Rahoi-Gilchrest (BA) has been appointed interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota. She is a tenured professor in communication studies and previously served as the director of WSU's general education program.
Andy Schlafer (BBA) was named senior vice president and financial advisor for Robert W. Baird & Co. in its Eau Claire wealth management office.
Kelly R. (Kruger) Samuels (MA) has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her poem "On Cells Renewing, or Not." She has two poetry chapbooks being published in early 2019: Zeena / Zenobia Speaks (Finishing Line Press) and Words Some of Us Rarely Use (Unsolicited Press).
Stephanie Carlson (BA) recently completed her third year as Director of the largest Lacrosse tournament in the Midwest, the Black & Blue Tournament in Woodbury, MN with approximately 7,500 participants, families and fans in attendance. A volunteer-run organization, the Black & Blue has about 90+ teams competing from Minnesota, Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest. Carlson is currently the head of Convergint Marketing, a digital agency focused on delivering innovative programs to the financial and healthcare industries.
David Comp (BA) received his Ph.D. in comparative and international education from Loyola University Chicago in 2013. After working for 17 years in international education at the University of Chicago, he began a position in October 2017 as assistant provost for global education at Columbia College Chicago.
Curt Krizan (BBA) has been honored by the Phoenix Business Journal as an Outstanding CFO and recipient of the 2016 Turnaround Achievement Award. He's been the CFO of the Fiesta Bowl and Cactus Bowl in Arizona for nearly five years and was the CFO for AZ2016, the local organizing committee that hosted the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship game this past January.
Mark Stecklein (BS) and his wife, Kristen, announce the birth of their first child, Evelyn Ruth Stecklein, on July 31, 2017.
Jen (Fulkerson) Braico (BA) joined Middleton window treatment manufacturer Springs Window Fashions as a copywriter in its integrated marketing department in January 2016. She previously worked as a freelance copywriter for several clients, including Sonic Foundry, Healthgrades, Dean Clinic, Jazz at Five and others, for 13 years. Jen also volunteers for the Association for Frontotemporal Dementia. She and her husband, Sal, who live in Madison, have two children, Nic and Mia.
Theresa Dachel (BSN) In May 2018, Theresa obtained a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree and completed the Nurse Educator Certificate program from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently, Theresa practices as an adult and gerontology primary care nurse practitioner and is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing.
Rick Podliska (BA) earned a master of professional studies degree in political management from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. If you would like to get in touch, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tammie (Behr) Walker (BM) was named director of the School of Music at Western Illinois University in July 2016. Tammie holds master of music and doctor of musical arts degrees in piano performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She lives in Macomb, Illinois, with her, husband Chad Walker '94 (BA),a band instrument repair technician at WIU, and their four children.
Marci Boyarski (BBA) Wipfli LLP (Wipfli), a top 20 accounting and consulting firm, has announced that a new partner has been named in the firm’s Eau Claire market. Marci Boyarski, CPA is among the group of 14 associates, half of whom are women, named to the partnership on June 1. “Marci is a strong leader and she sets an excellent example to others joining the firm,” said Mark Faanes, Wipfli’s Western Wisconsin Market Leader. “Her extensive knowledge and commitment to providing top-quality, value-added services to our clients embodies the firm’s vision for growth." Boyarski leads the firm’s employee benefits practice and is responsible for the development and delivery of benefit plan services. From one-person organizations to large companies, she works with clients to design and implement plans that meet their unique needs and goals. She specializes in administration and record keeping, consulting and auditing of employee benefit plans such as retirement plans, cafeteria plans and welfare plans. Boyarski is a member of the American Institute of the Certified Public Accountants, the Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and the National ESOP Association. She is also a member of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Department of Accounting and Finance Advisory Board, Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce (past board member) and the Young Professionals of the Chippewa Valley (past member and past chair). She is a cum laude graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting.
Heather MacLaughlin Garbes (BME) has been appointed an affiliate assistant professor in the Baltic Studies Program at the University of Washington. Garbes is the curator of the Baltic Choral Library, the first collection of its kind in the United States, and also continues her research about the use of music in political movements and national identity. She also is the founder and artistic director of the Mägi Ensemble, a 12-voice professional women's vocal ensemble that performs and records music from the Baltic region. The Mägi Ensemble released its first CD, "Baltic Sounds," in 2015 and will release its next CD, "Musica Baltica," in fall 2017. Garbes was honored to come back to UWEC this spring to talk about the Baltic Singing Revolution and lead the Concert Choir and Women's Concert Chorale in a reading session of Baltic repertoire.
Jason Voiovich (BS) is the chief customer officer for Logic PD. He is responsible for spearheading global marketing, business development and customer-facing initiatives, with an emphasis on creating strategic plans to support customers' growth initiatives. Prior to this appointment, Jason served as Logic PD's vice president of marketing, research and analytics services.
Laura Finley Opicka (BBA) and Chad Opicka '99 (BS) welcomed a daughter, Katelynn Claire, on March 14, 2017. She was welcomed at home by brothers Hudson and Grayson. The family lives in De Pere.
Matt Wanner (BME) has been awarded the Civic Music Association’s 2016 Certificate of Excellence in Choral Music Instruction. Matt is director of choirs at Muskego High School and music department chair and district music coordinator for the Muskego-Norway School District.
Kurt Whitman (BA-English) and his family have permanently relocated to San Diego, California. Kurt Whitman has joined the law firm of Gatzke Dillon & Ballance LLP in Carlsbad, California (San Diego County). Kurt practices law in the areas of land use, real estate, and litigation and resides with his family in San Marcos, California. .
Erica Barrette (BS) has been named Sacred Heart Hospital's Physician of the Year for 2017. She joined HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in September 2011, and she transitioned to OakLeaf Clinics on June 1, 2017. Barrette will continue to care for patients and deliver babies at Sacred Heart Hospital. She completed medical school at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and an obstetrics/gynecology residency at Tri-Health Medical Center in Cincinnati. Barrette is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology. She currently serves as a member of the HSHS Western Wisconsin Division Ethics Committee, the HSHS Physician Informatics Committee and the OB Multidisciplinary Safety Committee.
Carlos Villarreal (BA) has been promoted to general manager of concrete pipe and precast at County Materials Corporation in Roberts. Carlos joined County Materials, a family-owned company based in Marathon, in August 2015. Carlos and his wife, Erin (Gjertson) Villarreal '00 (BBA),have three children and live in Woodbury, Minnesota.
Kurt Whitman (BA-E) has joined the Los Angeles law firm of Cox, Castle & Nicholson as an attorney in the firm's Land Use & Natural Resources group.
Classes 2000 to present
Sarah (Becker) Myers (BS) has had her book, titled "Outnumbered Mom: Outrageous Stories of My Three Sons," published. It is available online through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Monica Schley (BA) quit her day job last spring to pursue a full-time career with her minor, music. Her primary instrument is harp. She just returned from a highly acclaimed tour to New York City with jazz trumpeter/comedian Ahamefule Oluo and the show “Now I'm Fine,” which was featured in Time Out New York and The New York Times.
Heather (Schultz) Heezen (BA) and Nicholas Heezen '04 (BS) were married in October 2014, with many Blugold alumni in attendance and in the wedding party. The couple met during their sophomore year at UW-Eau Claire, and after dating briefly, went their separate ways. Heather went off to study abroad in France, and Nic changed his major and decided to pursue a medical career. After 14 1/2 years, the two reconnected and have been together every since. The Heezens are expecting their first child in early 2017. They say that UW-Eau Claire has played a big role in their lives and will forever have a special place in their hearts.
Sondra (Swiney) Norder (BSHCA) was honored in June with the Tomorrow's Leaders Award from the Catholic Health Association at its annual assembly in Washington, D.C. Sondra, who received her law degree from Marquette University Law School, is president and CEO of St. Paul Elder Services Inc. in Kaukauna.
Kris Sonsin (BA) had been living in Malaysia since September 2014 and now has relocated to Kuala Lumpur. She is a lecturer with INTI, International College's English Laureate Program.
Jodi (Becker) Tonarelli (BA) has been promoted from communications director to director of weekend experience at The Ridge Community Church. The Ridge is a nondenominational church with two campuses in metro Milwaukee.
Ben Frederick (BS) has been promoted to lieutenant of police within the Eau Claire Police Department. Ben has served with the ECPD since 2004 and has held the positions of patrol officer, school resource officer, patrol sergeant and detective sergeant. He also serves on the Tactical Response Team, is involved with the Police Training Officer Program and firearms instruction. Ben recently created the Junior Police Academy which serves area youth and enhances his agency's connection to children and their families. During his career he has received two National School Safety awards from the School Safety Advocacy Council, the Respect for Law Award from Optimist International and the Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award from the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association.
Justin Hentges (BA) has been promoted to the position of senior advisor for accountability and oversight to the assistant secretary in financial resources at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C.
Rachel DuPont (BA-Communications) Rachel and her husband Michael are the owners of i9 Sports Madison, fall of 2015. The DuPont's own the first franchise in WI and looking to expand their franchising endeavors! i9 Sports is the first and fastest growing youth sports league franchise in the country. The program is a one day a week, recreational youth sports league that offers flag football, soccer, basketball, t-ball/coach pitch, lacrosse and volleyball. A waiver needs to be signed by parents stating they will stay positive at the field/court. The DuPont's have created a fun, positive, family environment where families want to come back week after week!
Jacob Hookom (BS) received the Fellows Award from McKesson Medical in fall 2016. The Fellow's Program rewards "intentional innovation" as demonstrated by a McKesson technologist who has a reputation for strategic delivery and innovation. This elite award and designation recognizes current and sustained accomplishments over a period of time (a minimum of two years, including the current fiscal year). Jacob is only the sixth person to receive this award.
Tim Johnson (BS) has been named director of the Smith College Botanic Garden. He previously served as head of preservation at Seed Savers Exchange, an international nonprofit organization that works to conserve, share and promote heirloom seeds and plants. Johnson holds master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Florida. (Photo by Brittany Todd)
Jon Kramer (BA) currently is a research analyst for the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison. Jon, who learned the game of pool at the UW-Eau Claire Bowling and Billiards Center, where he worked as a student, has since advanced to the masters level. In February 2017 he won the Wisconsin state pool championships in the masters division. Jon says he's officially a state champion and it all started at the BBC!
Heather (Baier) Krzmarzick (BSHCA) is the executive director for the national campus of the Good Samaritan Society in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She also has been elected and re-elected to serve on the Good Samaritan board of directors.
Jess Schmidt (BA) has joined the Los Angeles office of global public relations company Porter Novelli as a senior vice president in the consumer brand marketing practice. Schmidt will play a key role in the agency’s work with a top consumer client, the Almond Board of California, and will be responsible for managing, growing and developing talent. Schmidt has more than a decade of experience developing strategic communications campaigns. Prior to joining PN, she was a vice president at Finn Partners, where she managed several food and beverage accounts, including Dole Packaged Foods, the Happy Egg Co. and Auntie Anne’s.
Sally Schwartz (BA) and Josh Hummel were married July 4, 2015, at the American Homestead in Naches, Washington. Sally works as a graduate school adviser for the Milgard School of Business at the University of Washington. The couple spent their honeymoon canoeing the Bowron Lake circuit and float plane mountain biking out of Tyax Resort in British Columbia. They live in Tacoma, Washington.
Monica Frederick (BA) is vice president of business development for Royal Construction in Eau Claire. She is responsible for building relationships with clients, consultants and industry stakeholders, and supporting the organization’s business development and marketing strategy. Monica previously worked as a marketing and event specialist for HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital and in business development and marketing for RW Scobie and the Eau Claire YMCA. She and her family have lived in Eau Claire for the past 20 years.
Adrian Klenz (BA) is the executive director for The Reach Foundation, based in Eau Claire. He says that as an individual with a disability, it is an honor to raise funds and awareness for the foundation, which has served adults and children with disabilities in the Chippewa Valley since 1963. Adrian also has started his own business, Klenz Financial Counseling, and has had the opportunity to travel throughout the country teaching nonprofits about financial capability and financial education.
Jolene Clarke (BA) has launched her own talent development agency, Redhead Momentum. She specializes in creating customized experiences to promote the building and sustaining of high-performing teams; strategic planning; and professional and personal change/growth, including work through emotional intelligence, positive psychology and values-based leadership. Jolene also leads the Denver chapter of an international women's entrepreneur group called FemCity, an organization of women supporting women in business.
Kevin Gostomski (BA) received his master of arts in teaching from the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History.
Andrew Kerbel (BA) and Sarah (Hafeman) Kerbel (BA) started an organization called Seeds from Seeds to help victims and families of child abuse and neglect after their son was a victim of abusive head trauma, also known as Shaken Baby Syndrome, at the age of 7 months. The family lives in De Pere and the Green Bay Press Gazette ran a front-page article on their story and organization in October 2015. The Kerbels have turned a horrible event in their lives into something good for the community and other victims and hope to make a difference. They wanted to let the UWEC Alumni Association know that there are graduates out there doing remarkable things, partly because of the education and some amazing professors at UWEC.
Steven Kerbaugh (BA) has joined Jackson Lewis P.C. as Of Counsel in the firm's Minneapolis office. His practice focuses on representing employers in workplace law matters, including preventive advice and counseling. Mr. Kerbaugh frequently advises clients on disputes, including non-competition agreements, tortious interference with contracts, fiduciary duty liability, and misappropriation of trade secret matters.
Monette Bebow-Reinhard (MA) has published a new novel released by Solstice Shadows publishing. "Adventures in Death & Romance: Vrykolakas Tales" uses history research to develop this paranormal romance between 1503 Greece and 1933 Hollywood. This is her fourth historical novel. See more at her website, www.grimmsetc.com.
Emily Eastwick (BSN) completed her master's degree in Nursing at Winona State University in May 2015. She is now practicing as a clinical nurse specialist in St. Paul.
Luke Plese (BBA) has been a financial advisor with Wells Fargo Advisors in Shorewood for three years. He and his wife, Jenny Smith, were married in July 2016 and enjoyed their honeymoon in Ireland.
Noah Taylor (BA) reports that after graduating from UW-Eau Claire, he went on to pursue a master's degree in international peace and conflict studies from the United Nations University for Peace in San Jose, Costa Rica; a master's degree in peace, security, development and international conflict transformation from the University of Innsbruck in Austria; and a doctorate in peace, conflict and development studies from the University Jaume I in castellón de la plana, Spain. He currently is working with the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, a Cambodian nongovernmental organization that focuses on intervention into armed conflict in Myanmar and other countries in Southeast Asia.
Megan deWerff (BA) has been promoted to the position of senior client lead at 84.51° in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Angela Halama (BA-E), and her husband, Matthew Halama '06 (BS-E), have published their first book, “Door Within a Door.” Designed as a bedtime read for preschool-age kids, the theme of the book is for all people, from little ones to seniors, to search their hearts for bravery and their minds for curiosity, and be willing to try new adventures, seek out their dreams and befriend those who they wouldn’t normally befriend. The authors describe the book as having a beautiful bedtime cadence and rhymes to engage kids and help them develop a love for reading. The Halamas live in Apple Valley, Minnesota, and would love to see their book reach families in Minnesota, Wisconsin and beyond.
Brian Claxton (BA) and Mary (Imsdahl) Claxton '11 (BME) are making music a family affair. They are members of a nine-piece soul band called The Burroughs based in Greeley, Colorado. The band has opened for acts such as Sir Mix-a-Lot and the Steve Miller Band and have released two studio singles under the title "You Are My Joy." They are incredibly grateful to be able to combine their professional talents and passions.
Rachel Perry (BS-Public Relations and Psychology) and Kevan LaPorte (BS-Athletic Training) got married on September 22, 2018. They reside in Eau Claire where Kevan is a Physical Therapist at Optimum Therapies in Eau Claire and Rachel is a Major Gifts Officer for the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.
Morgan Holien (BBA) has accepted a new position as administrator for Trillium Woods, a life plan community in Plymouth, Minnesota. She previously served as administrator for Sandhill Cove Retirement Living in Palm City, Florida.
Arielle Jasper (BBA) earned her CPA license in October 2015 and was recently recognized by the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants. She currently works in public accounting at RSM US LLP in Minneapolis.
Matthew Mitchell (BS) recently was promoted to the position of strategic technical account manager at Jamf.
Emily (Goldnick) Christiansen (BA) currently is employed by the Department of Defense, serving as the assistant state coordinator for military funeral honors for the state of Minnesota. She says she proudly serve this country in the U.S. Army, and is the mother of a precious baby boy named Maverick James.