UW-Eau Claire Alumni

Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award
2016 Recipients

Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award: Recognizes distinguished service to the community, state or nation in a manner that brings credit upon the recipient and the university.

Felix Cisneros Cabarello
Felix Cisneros Cabarello

Felix Cisneros Caballero ‘97, bachelor’s degree in journalism  

Felix Cisneros Caballero has been the senior press specialist in the diplomacy section of the U.S. Embassy in Managua, Nicaragua, since 2005. In that position, he monitors the news media on a daily basis and establishes contact with the Nicaraguan press corps, ensuring they are up to date on the embassy’s public positions. He also coordinates the selection, adaptation, targeting, distribution and placement of the embassy’s print, audio and visual communications, and he maintains professional contacts with Nicaraguan officials at the highest level.
Prior to his position at the U.S. Embassy, Cisneros worked for 6½ years as a journalist in his native Nicaragua. He first was a journalist for Channel 2 in Managua, where he was producer of the evening newscast. He then was news director at Channel 12 in Managua, Nicaragua’s national television station. He oversaw four daily newscasts, served as news anchor and directed a weekly show on which he interviewed presidents, prime ministers, and other top national officials, including U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell during his 2003 visit to Nicaragua. 

Cisneros also has a law degree from Universidad Politécnica de Nicaragua, where he teaches part time. He also volunteers with various organizations working with Nicaraguan youth, helping to promote education and sports among youth as a means to overcome social and economic challenges.

John Hecht
John Hecht

John Hecht ‘80 bachelor's degree in accounting  

John Hecht is an award-winning financial services executive with 33 years of experience in Wisconsin and Illinois. He is the Madison market president at Starion Financial, where he is responsible for leadership of the firm’s business banking team and related services in the greater Madison area.
Hecht passed the CPA exam following his UW-Eau Claire graduation and began his career as an internal auditor for a bank in Wausau. After progressing through various positions there, he was recruited to AMCORE Financial in Illinois, where he began as corporate controller and over time was promoted to chief financial officer.
Moving back to Wisconsin, Hecht next was president and CEO for 7½ years at WPS Community Bank, a nationally recognized $100 million start-up community bank in Madison. Hecht led the formation, organization and leadership of the start-up, a wholly owned subsidiary of WPS Health Insurance. In 2014 the Independent Community Bankers of America recognized WPS Community Bank as one of the top 100 industry U.S. loan producers. The bank earned the No. 3 ranking of the more than 250 banks in Wisconsin. In spring 2015, Starion Financial bought WPS Community Bank, which then took on Starion’s name.
Hecht also serves or has served on the boards of several professional and non-profit organizations, including as treasurer of the Aldo Leopold Nature Center board and as president of the boards of the Monona Chamber of Commerce and the Madison chapter of Financial Executives International.


View the list of past recipients of this award.