College of Business Alumni on Campus

College of Business Alumni on Campus

By Joe Bluhm, Spencer Dix, Phil Loprinzi, Tom O’Dell, Jessica Ward-Sorensen, and Tyler Weigel

The College of Business at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire pushes for distinctive academic programs and value-added educational experiences to ensure the success of each student. UW-Eau Claire is not only a great place to get an education, but it also offers numerous job opportunities. We discovered many former COB students who have chosen to start or continue their career here at UW-Eau Claire.

While many graduates head for larger metropolitan areas, you can find many COB alumni scattered throughout campus working in various positions ranging from the assistant chancellor of budget and finance to an International student advisor. The COB alumni on campus have very similar educational backgrounds, but have chosen different career paths. In the end they were all drawn back to UW-Eau Claire.

Why UW-Eau Claire?

Several COB alumni grew up in the Chippewa Valley area, which made choosing UW-Eau Claire to further their education an easy decision. Jim Mishefske, Jessica Gardner, Dave Gessner, and Dale Johnson are just a few COB alumni who grew up in the area. Alumni Peggy Foy and Jodi Simek chose to attend UW-Eau Claire because it had one of the best business programs in the state.

Jessica Gardner, who is a career and employment manager with Career Services, got her undergraduate degree in marketing at UW-Madison and chose to come back to Eau Claire to pursue her MBA. Jessica said, “The tight knit community made it an easy choice for me and my family to come back to Eau Claire.”

The sense of community both on and off-campus in Eau Claire is an attractive feature that has brought many alumni back to the area. Dale Johnson, a senior student services coordinator in the Financial Aid Office, decided to come back to Eau Claire to pursue a career. As he said, “UW-Eau Claire was such a great place to me as a student and I just wanted to give something back to the college.”

What Makes UW-Eau Claire a great place to work?

The COB has seen some significant changes over the years.

Jim Mishefske, the director of the Small Business Development Center, said “The specialization of certificates, along with programs like the Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up competition, give students access to a more rounded education.” The COB has worked hard to implement programs that give students insight into real world business experiences.

What have you taken away from the COB?

Peggy Foy, the budget coordinator for the College of Arts and Sciences, said, “The accounting program at UW-Eau Claire prepared me to be a problem solver and gave me the ability to make sound financial decisions.”

Dave Gessner and Jim Mischefske both agreed that accounting and finance courses were extremely beneficial and useful in their current day-to-day tasks. Budgeting and financial management are critical skills, that are needed in the majority of business related careers.

Jodi Simek, an international student advisor, believes that everyone, no matter what major, would benefit from a background in business. Many wonder how Jodi could have gone from accounting to where she is now. Jodi said, “Skills are transferrable for so many professions.” There are so many valuable things she learned as a COB student that she uses in her current role in the Office of International Education.

The UWEC COB strives to prepare it students for success by teaching them the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the future, regardless of the career path they have chosen.

Dave Gessner said, “You don’t realize the importance or value of your education until after you graduate. Your degree can really give you an edge in the professional world.”

Other COB Alumni Working on Campus

  • Carol Accola, associate director, LTS—BBA, MIS; MBA
  • Nichole Akright, academic association, Music & Theatre Arts, currently working on a management degree
  • Marcia Backstrom, student services coordinator, Nursing & Health Sciences—BBA, Management; MBA
  • Faith Bogstad, academic associate, Biology—BBA, Office Administration
  • Krista Brown, international student adviser, Center for International Education—BBA, Marketing
  • Kyle Buchmann, major gifts officer, UW-Eau Claire Foundation—BBA, Management
  • Peggy Foy, budget coordinator, College of Arts & Sciences—BBA, Accounting
  • Jessica Gardner, career and employment manager, Career Services—MBA
  • Vicky Gardner, financial supervisor, Budget & Finance—MBA
  • Kent Gerberich, IS services, LTS—BBA, IS; MBA
  • Dave Gessner, assistant chancellor, Budget and Finance—BBA, accounting; MBA
  • Terry Gibbon, men's basketball coach—BBA, Finance
  • Lillian Hillis, IS services, LTS—BBA, MIS
  • Bill Hoepner, IS services, LTS—BBA, MIS
  • Brian Hogan, IS services, LTS—BBA, MIS
  • Tami Langfeldt Adams, IS business specialist, Registrar’s Office—BBA, Marketing
  • Dale H. Johnson, senior student services coordinator, Financial Aid—BBA, Management
  • Jim Mishefske, director, Small Business Development Center, Continuing Education—BBA, Business finance
  • Maxine Mork, university business specialist, Nursing & Health Sciences—BBA, MIS
  • Kimberly O’Kelly, program supervisor, Parking—MBA
  • Suzanne Olson, budget officer, College of Education & Human Sciences—BBA, Accounting
  • Greg Rineck, IS services, LTS—BBA, Management
  • Jodi Simek, international student adviser, Center for International Education—BBA, Accounting
  • Erich Tesky, IS services, LTS—BBA, MIS
  • Cathy Wilson, dean assistant, Nursing—BBA, Management

Joe Bluhm Spencer Dix Phil Loprinzi Tommy O'Dell Jessica Ward-Sorensen Tyler Weigel

From left to right: Joe Bluhm is a senior kinesiology major from Red Wing, MN; Spencer Dix is a senior management major from Clear Lake, WI; Phil Loprinzi is a senior marketing major from Rochester, MN; Tommy O’Dell is a senior marketing major from Red Wing, MN; Jessica Ward-Sorensen is a senior marketing major from Balsam Lake, WI; and Tyler Weigel is a senior marketing major from Madison, WI. They wrote this article for their BCOM Advanced Writing class.

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