40 Executives Under 40
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Charity McCarthy, 36
Born: Lena, Wis.
Partner, Melli Law
Charity McCarthy has gone from farm to fashion to fiduciary (tax law), and her story is that of a renaissance woman. One of 11 children, she was born on a farm in Northern Wisconsin, but followed a professional model mother to the runway, modeling for catalogs. At 16, she prepared her own tax returns. She was the first female in her family to attend college, but decided to travel abroad. While in Barbados, she joined the Air Force and became a computer operator on spy planes. To stay close to Air Force beau and future husband Michael, she trained to become a mechanic. We could go on, but you get the idea.
John Miller, 37
Born: Iron Mountain, Mich.
Vice President of Sales
Perhaps a technology career was inevitable for John Miller, who entered the workforce in 1997 armed with a bachelor's degree in marketing from Northern Michigan, because it was only a matter of time before marketing and technology would become deeply intertwined. At PDS, Miller directs the sales strategy for the IT management company, but he's not a Johnny One Note. He also plays an active role in strategic marketing, he's a contributing writer for LEAD IT magazine, served on an advisory board for Lenovo, and he is a founder of the Wisconsin and Illinois K-12 IT Leadership Councils.
Albert Muniz, 28
Born: Tucson, Ariz.
Interim Director-Posse Program
At the age of 28, Albert Muniz can point to a real first – he was the first director of undergraduate admissions and recruitment for the University of Wisconsin School of Business. He attained that at the age of 26, serving two years before becoming the director of a local Posse, which is not as dangerous as it sounds. The Posse Program, a scholarship program for diverse student leaders, now occupies his professional time. Muniz, who earned a bachelor's degree in geography and a master's degree in higher education at the University of Arizona, took quite a geographic turn in coming to Madison, but he and wife Lindsay enjoy traveling in higher education circles. With more diversity in mind, the one change he'd make in Madison is to have more people of color and women in highly visible and influential community roles.
Elizabeth Norman, 30
Financial Consultant-Partner on Droster Team
RBC Wealth Management
Elizabeth Norman loves spending time with engaged citizens, which explains her membership in the Kiwanis Club of Downtown Madison. Since her involvement with the Bob Heideman Memorial Golf Outing, the Kiwanis have raised more than $35,000 to support local hands-on service projects. She's also hands-on with the YWCA of Madison's Circle of Women event planning committee, and chaired the event last month. At work, she's a financial planner who manages over $250 million in assets for RBC's Droster Team, three financially savvy women named for Norman's partner and mentor, Lauri Binius Droster.
Andrew Pulvermacher, 32
Chief Probability Officer
What does a chief probability officer do? When you serve a company that applies the science of math to the art of business, it entails the use of business analytics. The probability of Pulvermacher's skills driving better business performance is pretty high, given his status as a recipient of the Brad Anderson Legacy Stock Award at Best Buy. He earned the honor for his development of operations research methods – simulating customer purchasing behavior – when he was a member of Best Buy's financial services department.
Scott Resnick, 24
Born: Binghamton, N.Y.
Hardin Design & Development
Mobile applications and Flex programming are the calling cards of Scott Resnick's company, and his proudest accomplishment was the night the business hired its fifth full-time employee. That's when Resnick realized that all the long nights and hours were worth it, and that they were indeed an established small business. Resnick has an entrepreneurial model in Matt Yonkle, who returned to Madison after building and selling TurboTab, and Resnick serves on the board of Capital Entrepreneurs. Resnick would also like to return to school – he attended UW-Madison – and teach about entrepreneurship.
Steve Santek, 34
Vice President-Business Banking
Mid America Bank
Developing banking relationships with small to medium-sized businesses has not been an easy task in the Great Recession, but it's one Steve Santek has taken up with enthusiasm, enough to earn the 2009 Business Banker of the Year award. That came on the heels of a 2006 Sales Manager of the Year award, as he has not only monitored the independent community bank's loan portfolio, he works with business owners to help them identify needs. His ultimate ambition is to be president of a community bank in Greater Madison, but he'll also take time for community with Habitat for Humanity and he enjoys golf, local sports teams, and relaxing up north with wife Jenny.
Julie Sheldon-Vike, 37
Marketing and Events Manager
She might not have taken the prize, but Julie Sheldon-Vike has raised the bar for her fellow professional women. Nominated for the Professional Business Woman Award and the Athena Young Professional Award, she was honored to be recognized alongside others who also are making a contribution to Madison. She handles marketing and events for Applied Tech, and a growing part of her job is making sure the IT services company leverages social media in its e-marketing initiatives. That's well aligned with her social awareness and her aspiration to teach people that even a small philanthropic effort can make a big difference.
Jill Skowronski, 30
Born: Danville, Ill.
VP-Marketing & Customer Loyalty
Jill Skowronski has an unusual title, but one that makes plenty of sense in this day of enhanced customer engagement. In charge of both business development and customer loyalty initiatives, she's also the office ombudsman, the trusted "go-to" person for SupraNet staff to file complaints or pitch ideas, and the person who oversees philanthropy and company giving. If that sounds like a rewarding enough gig for the Illinois State grad, she also aspires to help SupraNet create a greener future, especially reducing technology's claim on the power grid with the construction of a green data center. The goal: an Internet with zero carbon footprint.
Dawn Smith, 31
Born: Ripon, Wis.
Vice President of Operations
It wasn't long ago that Dawn Smith started as a part-time receptionist with Web Courseworks, but her rapid ascension – four promotions over the past 3-1/2 years – to the position of VPO, proves that some companies leave no stone unturned to find business skills. Hearing her boss, Jon Aleckson, say things like "Dawn runs the company" brings a measure of pride, but the UW-Platteville grad is not letting it get to her head. She admires Aleckson's entrepreneurial prowess so much that she hopes to one day run her own business, but she'd prefer that Madison evolve into a community that does a better job supporting and incentivizing businesses to hire and grow.
Vern Stenman, 33
Born: St. Cloud, Minn.
Madison Mallards and Wisconsin Rapids Rafters
Few people can expound on the beauty of baseball like Vern Stenman, but to him, America's favorite pastime is more than a business and a form of family entertainment, it's a way of life. The baseball "Like It Oughta Be!" slogan of his Madison and Wisconsin Rapids baseball operations has been woven into both community's fabric for several years, and he'd like to expand to other cities. The St. Cloud State University alum merges his love of baseball with family time for wife Kallie and toddling daughter Chloe, plus downhill skiing, and playing in a rock band called Superstar Fantastico. (Do you think they know "Center Field"?) With a band name as grand as that, he promises we'll soon know all about it.
Michelle Marie TerMaat-McGrath, 38
Born: Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
Executive Director-CEO Wis. Assn. of School Councils
She is the CEO and wearer of many hats, but Michelle Marie TerMaat McGrath mainly finds volunteers to donate hours to serve young people in Madison and Wisconsin. Heading a nonprofit youth leadership development organization is a labor of love, but education-leadership is a constant theme in her affiliations like the Wisconsin Parent Teacher Association. Most educational leadership associations have been male-dominated, so she's proud to lend a new perspective. Looking forward, her vision is to make Madison the student leadership hub of Wisconsin.
Bryon Thompson, 36
Born: Green Bay, Wis.
Bryon Thompson is a risk-taker, but only with half of his business interests. While he manages the sales staff and the Madison Regional office of ADP, a Fortune 500 company that provides HR and payroll services, the UW-Stevens Point alum also owns and manages a real estate investment portfolio. He is very proud of taking that entrepreneurial risk, he has a pretty good role model, Jason Punzel of WhiteCap Real Estate, to emulate personally and professionally, and he's also president of the Leadership Greater Madison board. Thompson and spouse Daniele are enjoying every minute of raising children ages four and six, especially water-related fun at their home on Lake Kegonsa.
Casey Trudgeon, 39
For Casey Trudgeon, being an executive with Wisconsin Distributors not only brings the opportunity to lead daily operations of a Dane County-based beverage distributor, but a chance to develop the culture and careers of 200-plus employees. His high-integrity, give-back-to-community mentor is Dan Lee of First Weber Group, who he wants to emulate in terms of career-family balance. He throws a little community into that balance with a board membership at the Dane County Salvation Army, and some fitness balance with a zest for running marathons and coaching his kids' sports teams.
Benjamin Udell, 31
Born: Janesville, Wis.
Sr. VP of Retail Sales
Monona State Bank
Since his 40 Under 40 selection, Benjamin Udell continues to make strides in banking, moving from a VP position at Wells Fargo to his new post at Monona State Bank. He's excited to make this switch because the new position will increase his responsibility and career development. His development as a new citizen of Madison includes the strong impression that organizations like the Madison Children's Museum and the Overture Center have made on him, but this baseball fan, who turns 32 on March 12, loves statewide institutions as well. He attends 15 to 20 Milwaukee Brewers games each year with wife Amanda, who grew up in Milwaukee, and even travels out of state to watch them play. He's somewhat of a Brewer himself, as he makes his own beer.
Jennifer Uphoff Gray, 39
Forward Theater Company
Armed with degrees in dramatic literature and stage history from Harvard College, Jennifer Uphoff Gray returned to Madison, after 16 years on the East Coast, to found Forward Theater Company. She marvels at the experience of building a company from scratch with theater artists she respects, while creating a collaborative model that fits Madison. The business person she most admires is Carol "Orange" Schroeder of Orange Tree Imports, citing her business philosophy, her tenacity, and Schroeder's gift of building relationships with customers. A new goal? Gray would love to see more awareness in the business community of art's many benefits.
Kenneth Walz, 39
Born: Park Ridge, Ill.
Chemistry-Engineering Instructor/Project Director
Renewable energy is vital for our economic and national security future, and research and education will be needed to drive new discoveries. Kenneth Walz is eager to prepare a new generation of alternative energy evangelists, which is why he serves as project director and principal investigator for the Consortium for Education in Renewable Energy Technology. The mission is to advance renewable energy technical education for high school and two-year college students. That's well-suited to his day job at Madison College, and his interest in global education with Engineers Without Borders.
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