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Six to receive Alumni Association awards

December 13, 2012
 PrimleyWeb
Dr. Donald Primley
 Ken Thoreson 2Web
Ken Thoreson
 Rick-Headshot-2010-ColorWeb
Rick Frenette
 carson_kipferWeb
Carson Kipfer
 2012 Dan Debbie WEb
Dan and Debbie Market
EAU CLAIRE — Six accomplished individuals will receive awards from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Alumni Association Dec. 22 at a luncheon and ceremony in conjunction with winter commencement.

Dr. Donald Primley, who graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 1973 with a degree in biology, will receive the Lifetime Excellence Award, which is presented to alumni who have demonstrated longtime and successful commitment to their careers and communities. Recipients have made positive and dramatic impacts through dedication to service and have lived their lives as a testimony to UW-Eau Claire's motto, "Excellence."

On staff at Centrasota Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons in St. Cloud, Minn., since 1990, Primley attended the Marquette University School of Dentistry as a commissioned naval officer and received his doctor of dental surgery degree in 1979, graduating sixth in a class of 125 students. He then completed a one-year general practice residency with surgical emphasis at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland, Calif. His next duty stations were in Adak, Alaska, and Newport, R.I. In 1984 he entered a civilian training program as a naval officer for oral and maxillofacial surgery, which he completed at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, receiving a master of science degree in 1987. Primley served as commander aboard the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy and at naval hospitals in Norfolk, Va., and Jacksonville, Fla. He retired from the Navy with the rank of captain after 23 years of service.

Primley is board-certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and practices the full scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery with a special interest in implantology. He began and has been director of the Great River Study Club, which provides continuing education for dental professional members with an emphasis on implant restorative dentistry. He also has been the director of an implant mini-residency course for dentists to gain knowledge in treatment planning and restoration of dental implants.

While maintaining a busy clinic schedule, Primley has been active in hospital, dental and civic activities. He has served as chairman of the department of dentistry and the Medical Executive Committee at St. Cloud Hospital, president of the St. Cloud Dental Society, president of the Minnesota Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and chief of staff at the St. Cloud Surgical Center.

Ken Thoreson, who received a bachelor's degree in economics and business administration from UW-Eau Claire in 1973, will receive the Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award, which recognizes distinguished service to the community, state or nation in a manner that brings credit upon the recipient and the university.

While at UW-Eau Claire, Thoreson was a founder and first president of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

Thoreson is president and founder of Acumen Management Group Ltd., which provides business and sales management expertise, keynote programs and consulting services for companies seeking to rejuvenate their sales efforts. He is recognized as an expert in sales execution, channel management, revenue generation, sales analysis, compensation, forecasting, recruitment and training within the sales function.

During the past 15 years, Thoreson has created hundreds of strategic sales management programs — from assessment through implementation and re-evaluation — that build positive, predictable revenue for hundreds of early-stage and high-growth corporations in North America, including those in need of renewal. Prior to founding Acumen, he was vice president of sales for a $250 million national vertical software sales organization. In 2012 he was recognized by Top Sales World magazine as one of the top 50 sales and marketing influencers for the year. His award-winning blog is rated among the top 20 sales blogs in North America.

Thoreson is a frequent speaker at major industry conferences and has written for several professional and trade publications. He also has released three books based on his blog, "Your Sales Management Guru," and co-authored "Success Simplified" with best-selling writer Stephen Covey.

Rick Frenette, who graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 1974 with a degree in mathematics, will receive the President's Award, which recognizes outstanding professional and personal achievements and service to UW-Eau Claire.

Chief executive officer of the Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis since 2010, Frenette was introduced to the fair industry as a boy growing up in Chippewa Falls, home to the Northern Wisconsin State Fair. He was 12 when he began selling Pronto Pups from his father's concession stand set up at the small-town fair every summer. By his teens he was managing many areas of the fair from parking cars to selling tickets, which allowed him to spend his summer days learning the fair business.

After graduating from UW-Eau Claire, Frenette received a master of business administration degree with a concentration in finance from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. In his early 30s, he took a job as finance director for the Minnesota State Fair. He also spent 20 years managing state fairs in Ohio and Utah before returning to his home state for what he describes as his dream job at Wisconsin State Fair Park.

When the fair is not operating, Frenette oversees the Fair Park facilities, including the Wisconsin Exposition Center and the Milwaukee Mile Speedway. The Fair Park hosts hundreds of events each year, some of which attract more than 100,000 visitors.

Frenette is an active member of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions, was the 2008 IAFE board chairman, is past president of the Midwest Fairs Association and is a certified fair executive.

Carson Kipfer, a 2004 UW-Eau Claire art graduate, will receive the Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award, which acknowledges special achievements and great promise of alumni who are within 15 years of their graduation from UW-Eau Claire.

Kipfer is co-founder and chief product officer for TST (Team Sport Technologies) Media in Minneapolis. The company designs and creates sports organization management software through its Sport Ngin platform, which provides tools to enhance league/team/tournament management, real-time scoring and game reporting, online registration and other services.

As a freshman in Murray Hall, Kipfer connected with sophomore Justin Kaufenberg (a 2003 economics graduate), and a year later the two entrepreneurs opened Third North Creative, a company specializing in graphic design, Web development and video work for businesses in the Eau Claire area. Puck Systems, a website tool they developed specifically for hockey organizations, gained popularity with several hockey associations and led to their post-college move to the Twin Cities and the formation of the sports technology company TST Media.

After bringing two new partners, including Greg Blasko (a 2004 management information systems graduate), into the business, the group rewrote the Puck Systems program so it could accommodate all sports organizations, resulting in the Sport Ngin platform. The company serves clients from all 50 states and seven countries, providing online solutions for more than 2,800 sports organizations. TST Media has more than 100 full-time employees, many of whom are UW-Eau Claire graduates.

TST Media was named one of the 100 "Best Companies to Work For" by Minnesota Business magazine earlier this year.


Dan and Debbie Market of Eau Claire will receive the Alumni Association's Honorary Alumnus Award, which is presented to non-alumni who have demonstrated great love of and service to UW-Eau Claire.

Dan Market is CEO of Market & Johnson, the largest general building contractor/construction firm in western Wisconsin. He also serves on its board of directors, is a key member of the senior management team and oversees the business development department.

Market & Johnson was founded by Juel Market and Milt Johnson in 1948, and Dan joined his father's firm in 1970. He began his career as a laborer, later supervised projects and then performed project management until 1999, when he became president of the company.

Dan Market and his wife, Debbie, have played an integral role in the success of the Blugold women's basketball program — in the stands and behind the scenes. Dan has served for the past five years on the Blugold Women's Basketball Advisory Board and is one of the founding members of the Fast Break Club, a booster club of more than 200 members that annually raises more than $25,000 for the basketball program. The Markets have often scheduled their vacations around the women's team's out-of-town games to help ensure there are Blugold fans in the stands. They also have attended alumni gatherings in Florida on behalf of the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association, welcoming former Blugolds to the women's games being played there.

The Markets have been instrumental in involving the women's team in meaningful service-learning opportunities, including the Eau Claire Marathon, which donates proceeds to the Eau Claire YMCA. They also actively volunteer in the community. Dan Market has served on the boards of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, United Way, Career Development Center and Chippewa Valley Technical College Foundation. He currently serves on the boards of the Eau Claire Community Foundation and the Eau Claire Area School District Foundation. Debbie Market serves on the board of directors for Bob's House for Dogs, an area foster care and adoption facility for dogs.

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AH/DW

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.