1990s Class notes

New class notes are posted as time allows.

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 PolingJerome 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.

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.

Rita (Johnson) Rahoi-GilchrestRita (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.

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 Kristen Johnson were married on Nov. 4, 2016, at St. Hedwig's Church in Milwaukee.

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.

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 ricpod@msn.com.

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.

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.

Erica BarretteErica 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 VillarrealCarlos 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.

Kristin LarsenKristin Larsen (BS-E) and Alan Higgins were married in December 2014. The two met in a theater production at Nicolet College nine years ago and have been together ever since. Kristin is currently continuing her 22-year teaching career as a middle school adviser at Northwoods Community Secondary School, a project-based charter school in Rhinelander.

Ann (Anderson) Noser (BS) published her novel, "How to Date Dead Guys," in the summer of 2014. The story takes place on the UW-Eau Claire campus. Ann's father, James "Jerry" Anderson, taught physics at UW-Eau Claire for most of his career.

Michael McAnallyMichael McAnally (BS) is a co-founder of and partner at NordicClick Interactive, which recently was recognized by Minnesota Business Magazine as one of the "100 Best Places to Work For," as well as by Inc. 5000 as one of 2014's fastest growing private companies in America.

Pamela SpeckienPamela Speckien (BBA) joined the staff of United Bank in a new position as a private- and commercial-banking officer in September 2014. In this position she develops and manages a commercial loan portfolio as well as the company's new private banking division. Pamela has worked professionally in banking and finance for nearly 20 years in a wide variety of positions. She remains active in the Eau Claire community, serving on the board of directors for the United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley, Boy Scouts of America-Chippewa Valley Council and Big Brothers Big Sisters-Chippewa Valley regional board.

Dr. Tammie WalkerTammie (Behr) Walker (BM) served as the guest artist for the 2014 Wisconsin Music Teachers Association (WMTA) annual convention, where she presented a solo recital and a master class. Tammie was a piano student of Penelope Cecchini, professor emerita of music, during her time at UW-Eau Claire. She then earned master of music and doctor of musical arts degrees in piano performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She currently is a professor of piano at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Ill., where she lives with her husband, Chad Walker '94 (BA) and their four children.

Adam EberleAdam Eberle (BA) has joined SunGard K-12 Education as chief commercial officer. Adam, who reports to SunGard K-12’s president and CEO, is responsible for all sales and marketing efforts at the company. A strategic thinker, entrepreneur and thought leader, Adam has extensive experience in K-12 education and sales leadership and a proven track record of success in sales leadership and growth.

Shaun WestphalShaun Westphal (BSN),
a major in the U.S. Air Force, has recently been selected as the winner of both the Air Mobility Command and the U.S. Air Force Clinical Excellence in Nursing awards. In addition to these awards, he received letters of congratulations from the commander of the Air Mobility Command and the surgeon general of the Air Force. Shaun continues to serve in the U.S. Air Force as the chief of medical aircrew standardization and evaluation for the 440th Operations Group.

Paula GibsonPaula Gibson (BA), director of communications and engagement at Azura Memory Care in Eau Claire, was presented with the Alzheimer’s Association’s Outstanding Professional of the Year Award at the 28th Annual Wisconsin Network on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias in May 2015. The award recognized Paula's Alzheimer’s advocacy work and dedication that serves as a model for others in the field of dementia. Paula has been a strong advocate and spokesperson for the Alzheimer’s Association in the Chippewa Valley since losing her father and grandmother to the disease almost a decade ago.

Eric Olson (BBA) earned a doctoral degree from the University of Central Florida in August 2014 and now is an assistant professor at Iowa State University. His research areas are in services marketing, online word-of-mouth, service recovery and event management.

Amber (Dahlen) Peterson (BME) has been appointed as the new Mazie Barnett Kilmer chair for strings education at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kan. Her roles include conducting the South Kansas Symphony, overseeing the local youth symphony, coaching the Williams String Quartet and teaching both music and music education classes for the violin and viola. Amber also had her article titled "A View of Current Evaluative Practices in Instrumental Music Teacher Education," published in the latest issue of Arts Education Policy Review.

JonMichael Rasmus (BS) and Nichole Fromm (BA) wrote the book "Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine" (History Press, 2015) — a brief account of how Wisconsin's capital came to be home to so many culinary treasures. The project is a corollary to their weblog, madisonatoz.com, where they've documented meals eaten at nearly 1000 restaurants in the Madison area since settling there after their graduation from UW-Eau Claire.