40 Under 40: The 2012 Class
Each 40 Under 40 entry was individually scored and weighted on leadership qualities, defined as a personal sphere of influence based on (1) professional expertise and (2) community involvement. Outside interests added to points this year, too, and we did not set a maximum of one person per company, to give all candidates equal consideration.
Thanks to our 40 Under 40 judges, who requested to remain anonymous because the selection decisions they made were some of the hardest of the year.
If you or someone you know would like to be considered for our 2013 class, the process starts by filling out an online application form at http://IBMadison.com/40Under40/survey.
Name: Gretchen Petterle Flueckiger, 32
Title: Partner and Dir. of Compliance
Organization: Stafford Financial Group
Born: Madison, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Dan Flueckiger
While working for 3M Company Thailand, Gretchen Flueckiger competed in her first half marathon. "The race was in Pattaya, Thailand. I really had no idea what I was doing. [On race day] I took a public bus to Pattaya, several hours away. Because of the heat, the race started around 4:30 a.m. It was challenging; I had never run that far, I didn't understand the language, and I was all alone. But the last few miles, a group of Thais ran with me to keep me motivated [and] practice their English; it got my mind off the pain and helped me finish."
Flueckiger has since run in Berlin, Germany and in eight U.S. states, including in a 200-mile race from Mount Hood to the Pacific Ocean in Seaside, Ore. The world's largest team relay race "is definitely my favorite team race," she said. "We started on the peak of Mount Hood, and each member of our team ran 36-mile legs of the race. I had one leg at 3 a.m. that required I run with a headlamp and a blaze-orange bib."
Favorite solo race? "My first Chicago Marathon. I had just moved to Chicago and it was an awesome way to get my first full tour. The course is relatively fast and easy [and] I also had a support system for that race, since my family and several friends from law school cheered for me along the way."
The strangest race, she said, was The Stonewall Jackson 20 miler in Spotsylvania, Va. "All of the volunteers for the course and at the aid stations dressed in Civil War-era clothing and were doing reenactments."
This adventurist spent a summer backpacking in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness Area in Idaho and Montana. To gain access, "My group had to agree to do three days of trail maintenance in a place aptly nicknamed Rattlesnake Bar." Flueckiger also mountaineered one summer in the North Cascades, ice climbing in glacial crevasses. She's climbed Mount Kenya and sailed in the Indian Ocean. "While I worked for 3M, I also traveled solo throughout Laos, Cambodia, Northern Thailand, and Vietnam. My favorite [place] was Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I think traveling alone is something everyone should experience."
Part of her work adventure included cultural immersion. "The Thai office of 3M had to submit my photos to a face reader before [hiring me]. I was told the face reader would be able to predict my success rate for the position. While a legal assistant, I met with a group of employees every morning to read the Bangkok newspaper in English. I was the only native English speaker in the office. I conducted courses on cross-cultural business practices and attended meetings with British companies to ensure nothing was lost in translation. I had lunch plans every day; all the employees wanted to practice English."
Closer to home, Flueckiger was a youth camp counselor at Camp HOPE for kids (following her older sister's death) to help children cope with the loss of family members, and she has mentored in the Thurgood Marshall Academy Charter School. When in New York, she volunteered with Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, assisting families preparing for citizenship examination.
In law school, Flueckiger directed the Center for Dispute Resolution and won the CALI Award for Outstanding Achievement in Legal Analysis and Drafting, given at an international competition in Vienna, Austria.
Today, she still loves to run and also enjoys skiing. "The first mountain I ever skied was in Winter Park, Colo. I have since skied all over – Utah, Montana, Colorado, the local Midwest spots, Vermont, British Columbia, etc. There's a pretty fun glacier in Whistler. I liked the feel of Blackcomb in British Columbia because it seems a little more rugged to me. It's not backcountry, but it's definitely more rugged than the perfect trails of Vail. My perfect ski day would be several feet of fresh powder that exhaust your legs after a couple of runs. Nothing is better than that."
Name: Lee H. Schwartz, 35
Title: Business Development Sales Manager
Born: Cleveland, Ohio
Spouse/Partner: Janelle Schwartz
Lee Schwartz and his wife once took nine months off from jobs to volunteer in South America. They spent one month in the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle working at a sanctuary for abused and injured jungle animals, where they fed and cared for over 25 animals, including monkeys, jungle cats, birds, and peccaries (wild boars).
They spent another month deep in the jungle in Bolivia without running water, electricity, or any form of communication. There, they helped a small community develop a startup eco-tourist resort. "I use the term 'resort' rather loosely," Schwartz quipped. "We were the very first volunteers ever in the community, and we coordinated the volunteer program remotely for over a year before handing over responsibility to a more recent volunteer."
That was followed by almost two months' service in Pisco, Peru, volunteering with Hands on Disaster Response. They spent almost every day helping local residents dig out after the tragic 8.0 magnitude earthquake in August 2007. "In addition to removing rubble, we worked in refugee camps spending time with children. My wife and I raised money from family, friends, and contacts to purchase over 100 backpacks filled with school supplies for children who had virtually nothing left."
Then they moved on to Concon, helping a farming community get a water filtration system back up and running.
"We thought [this tour] could be our last opportunity to do something internationally that would allow us to give back without making the 2.5-year time commitment of the Peace Corps," he said.
His life in the U.S. has been interesting in other ways. In a former job, Schwartz strategized the sale of 1.3 million square feet of development rights in Midtown Manhattan. Included in the project was Grand Central Terminal, the largest train station in the world. "There was no precedent for valuing the property," he noted, "however, we sold it for significantly more than the client expected."
Closer to home, he coordinated the first ever Middleton Green Homes Tour in the fall of 2010, and is now planning the 2012 follow-up of 10 more sites. "I presented the basics of a home energy audit and how easy it is to conserve energy. Each site had approximately 100 residents come through."
Schwartz obviously has a keen interest in renewables and has served for two years as a member of the Middleton Sustainability Committee. He participated in the plastic bag ordinance task force that met with Middleton businesses for feedback on what would negatively impact their businesses; the result was that the City Council approved the recommendation to adopt an ordinance requiring recycling of all plastic bags. Program success has been measured in bins: "They've been overloaded with bags and needed to be emptied even more than we expected, so it's been quite successful."
As the first dedicated sales manager in SVA's history, Schwartz is responsible for the development and performance of all sales activities in four office locations, and he represents the firm at key events and meetings. His aspirations are to earn a graduate degree in finance and accounting, get his CPA license, and become a partner in the firm. "SVA's president and CEO, Jack Cotton, is someone I would very much like to emulate," he remarked. "Over his career, Jack has been professionally successful while dedicating significant time to personal and civic causes."
Name: Theresa A. Andre, 32
Title: Senior Counsel
Organization: Foley & Lardner, LLP
Born: Tulsa, Okla.
Spouse/Partner: Steve Nickels
Theresa Andre's involvement with the Wisconsin Innocence Project at UW's Law School is especially meaningful to her. "I worked on a team of attorneys who secured the release of an innocent man last year, who was wrongfully convicted of murder," she explained.
She also uses advocacy skills as a member of the National Associates Committee representing concerns of all firm associates at the senior management level.
Her career aspiration is to be elected into firm partnership. Being recognized for her professional leadership fits well with her service on the committee that organizes the YWCA Madison's annual Circle of Women event.
In addition to family time with her fiancÃ© and daughter, Andre has hired a personal coach to motivate her to undertake a fitness regime. Her goal is participating in cycling racing events. Andre credits that coach, Angie Sturtevant of Specialists in Sports Performance, as being her role model and mentor.
Name: Steve Byrnes, 35
Organization: Van Holten's
Born: Southfield, Mich.
Spouse/Partner: Julie Kleinheinz Byrnes
Since studying in Nottingham, England, Steve Byrnes has become an obsessive traveler. "I've traveled to almost 50 countries, six continents, and have worked abroad as a bar manager in Sydney, Australia, a baseball coach in London, and an English teacher in Southeastern China. My favorite trip was in Borneo, where I hiked the headhunter's trail, spending several nights in a remote longhouse village with the local Iban people."
Under Byrnes' leadership, Van Holten has logged nine years of consecutive growth. "There is no greater measurement of success in business than consistent sales and profit growth," he said. "The company is 114 years old, but we feel like we are just getting started, with many new opportunities ahead. I believe in innovation and thinking differently." (When a quirky promotional giveaway performed well, dill pickle lip balm was added to the product line.) Area interests: Volunteering with Special Olympics and Mu Kappa Tau.
Name: April Carlisle, 33
Organization: April Carlisle Agency Farmers Insurance
Born: Madison, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Dan Marks
This former flight attendant's greatest accomplishment was opening her own business in the heart of the recession.
"I truly believe the more you give the community, the more you get," April Carlisle said. She gives back through involvement in Rainbow Project, with a backpack/school drive and Grandparents Luncheon. She stuffed holiday stockings for the YWCA and helped organize a baby shower for women in the ARC-MIP program in Madison, followed by home deliveries and diaper drives. She's active in holiday food drives and is involved in a MUG drive for Porchlight's new Madison Resource Center.
Carlisle is president of the Monona Chamber board; her bowling fundraising campaign Sting the Pins made the most money for the Monona Chamber in recent years. She credits Monona Mayor Bob Miller as being someone she emulates.
Carlisle also volunteers at her son's school, is active in industry groups, and does public speaking on home ownership.
Name: Matthew C. Carlson, 38
Organization: Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP
Born: Milwaukee, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Clare Carlson
Outside work, Matthew Carlson is a board member and VP of Friends of the Arboretum, where he helps plan educational outings and ecological restoration. He also is the founder and current president of Friends of Capital Springs Recreation Area, organized about seven years ago, for which he has hosted volunteer workdays to establish hiking and water trails, remove invasive species, plane prairies, etc. Now he enjoys biking with his family along those trails.
Carlson is currently founding Friends of the Glacial Heritage Area, working with the DNR and Jefferson County to form a nonprofit group of volunteers to support the 35,000-acre conglomerate of state and county parks.
Urban in-fill projects also engage real estate attorney Carlson, who noted, "University Square redevelopment was a very unique and challenging project."
He admires Susan Schmitz, DMI, for her ability "to build consensus while respectfully engaging [stakeholders'] wide variety of interests and passions."
Name: Timothy T. Cleary, 33
Title: Account Executive
Organization: M3 Insurance Solutions, Inc.
Born: Madison, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Kendra Cleary
Complementing his work as practice group leader for M3's Construction and Real Estate Team, Tim Cleary volunteers for Dane County Habitat for Humanity. The connection was made through M3's Charitable Giving Committee, which led to building a home on company property and an ongoing partnership agreement.
Cleary is also part of the charter membership of a board for Carbone Cancer Center that's comprised of area emerging leaders. It targets "younger" business and civic leaders "to get them involved in a myriad of charitable works," he said, and is "immensely rewarding."
In addition, he sits on the Associate Board of Directors for Associated General Contractors of Wisconsin, is on the associate member council for Wisconsin Transportation Builders Assoc., and serves on the marketing and business development committee for Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin.
With the addition of a fourth child in 2011, a "profitable" work-and-life balance is his immediate goal.
Name: Heather Clefisch, 39
Organization: Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.
Born: Prairie du Chien, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Nate Zolik
Heather Clefisch is proud of having helped (pro bono) a Sierra Leonean woman obtain political asylum: "She was raped, her home was burned, and she lost her children. She came to the U.S., achieved asylum, and is now thriving after completing a technical program, finding a full-time job, and getting her own apartment."
The Leadership Greater Madison alumnus and Civitas graduate now volunteers for Woodland Montessori School. She also is committed to saving public school music programs, a great fit given the recent birth of her second child.
Clefisch also serves as a board member for Girls on the Run of Dane County, Inc. and for Wisconsin Women in Government.
What's next? Clefisch said, "I want to figure out a new way of delivering legal services to start-up companies in a cost-effective, valued way."
Mentors include Sally Martyniak, Forward Community Investments. "She's committed to social change and works tirelessly," Clefisch explained.
Name: Karl Dettmann, 28
Title: Financial Representative
Organization: Northwestern Mutual
Born: Appleton, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Laura Dettmann
In 2011, Karl Dettmann was ranked second of 2,500 Northwestern Mutual representatives nationwide. In 2012, he's the top new representative of 1,000 in the Central Region. His long-term aspiration is to become managing partner of the Madison Northwestern Mutual office or to be in a producer role.
In addition to owning Capital Photography with his brother David, Dettmann is marketing/website chair for the Lions Club board. "My passion is being able to help children in Dane County who otherwise couldn't afford to get glasses or eye exams," he said. He also is involved in Athletes in Action, mentoring struggling UW-Madison athletes. He is on the revenue committee board for the March of Dimes and is VP of the board for the Harmony Hills Neighborhood Association. At Blackhawk Church, Dettmann leads the 20-something group called "Access."
To relax, Dettmann enjoys family time and Ironman Triathlons, mountain biking, skiing, golf, and wakeboarding.
Name: Trent Estabrook, 30
Organization: Pinnacle Real Estate Group, LLC
Born: Rhinelander, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Caroline Estabrook
His goal was to own his own business by the age of 30, and Trent Estabrook reports, "It's the best decision I have made thus far." He was top producer for four years at another firm, giving him confidence to do it.
Estabrook listed Leslie Ann Howard, president of United Way of Dane County, as a mentor, explaining, "I am passionate about making change in our community and can't think of anyone who had had such a positive community impact as Leslie has."
He would have insider knowledge, since joining the Rosenberry Society's board in 2009. There, he helps research and develop ways to enhance the Agenda for Change, and he helps hit the annual fundraising campaign goals.
A setter of goals himself, Estabrook wants to be in the top 3% of real estate agents in south central Wisconsin in the next five years (currently he's in the top 5%).
Name: Dan Gibson, 39
Title: Sr. Wealth Manager, CFPÂ®
Organization: SVA Plumb Wealth Management
Born: Madison, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Dr. Angela Gibson
Dan Gibson enjoys Italy, where he took his [now] wife to propose marriage one long-ago New Year's Eve. But the common denominator for Gibson, in the States or in Italy (where he spent a year teaching, coaching soccer, and traveling) is soccer. "I have volunteered my time at numerous camps and coaching clinics for kids learning the game of soccer over the years."
Back in the U.S., he assisted Edgewood College's men's and women's soccer programs for years before becoming head coach for the boys soccer program at Monona Grove from 1998 to 2001, taking his final team there to the final four of the state tournament.
He also is excited about advocating to have financial literacy taught in the schools. He's served as government relations director for the board of Financial Planning Association of Southern Wisconsin and has written features for ABCNews.com's Financial Makeover.
Gibson continues as a nationally licensed coach.
Name: Matthew Gonnering, 35
Organization: Widen Enterprises, Inc.
Born: Appleton, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Sarah Gonnering
Matthew Gonnering is very involved as a volunteer and executive board member for the UW Carbone Cancer Center Clinic. At present, he's focused on a pilot program and fundraising initiative called Forward Lymphoma.
Last year, he completed the Wisconsin Tough Mudder at Devil's Head, a 10-mile obstacle course, and he likes participating on teams for Crazy Legs and the Madison Mud Run. In addition, he's taught DeForest Parks and Recreation Department T-ball for two years, which complements his other role of Cub Scout leader.
Gonnering also enjoys travel, most recently to Basel, Switzerland and Southeast Asia, visiting Bangkok, Thailand, and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. However, he says he'd rather spend time with his wife, Sarah, and their three children hiking, or working on the tree farm he owns with his father, on which they've planted 24,500 trees in the past decade.
Then there's the 47.5-inch northern pike that he caught.
Name: Amy Janell Good, 35
Title: Director of Development
Organization: Habitat for Humanity of Dane County
Born: Madison, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: William Good
Amy Good not only is past president of Angel's Wish Pet Adoption and Resource Center; she has adopted several senior and special needs pets. After joining a neighborhood association, she became block captain, board member and communications director. After graduating from Leadership Greater Madison, she became fund development co-chair for the Alumni Association. She walks the walk with organizations she believes in.
Good recently traded a job with the Urban League of Greater Madison to become Director of Development for Habitat for Humanity of Dane County. What is her career highlight to date? "Being a member of the Capital Campaign team that raised over $4 million for the Urban League's Center for Economic Development and Workforce Training."
As a member of Society for Nonprofit Organizations, she is on the editorial board for Nonprofit World. "My career path will likely include becoming an executive director of a local non-profit," Good predicted.
Name: Matthew J. Hein, 33
Title: AVP Commercial Banking Officer
Organization: Town Bank
Born: Thorp, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Jennifer Hein
Matthew Hein learned the humbling lesson of work/life balance when his wife, while pregnant with their second child, faced a life-threatening illness. Though things turned out well, "I would not have kept my composure [without] my family, work colleagues, close friends, and a select group of bank clients."
He gives back through community support, sitting on the executive committee for Madison Festivals, Inc., making strategic decisions for The Madison Marathon and The Taste of Madison. Hein also belongs to the Madison East Rotary and is a registered paraplanner with St. Dennis Church.
Career aspirations include "being directly involved in the leadership and planning decisions of a small to medium-sized business within the next seven years." Hein's mentor is Craig Christianson, chief legal counsel of Promega, whom Hein admires for earning a law degree in night school while working for IBM and "doing all this while being a great father and husband, something I value greatly."
Name: Erik Jansson, 38
Title: Architect, Project Manager
Organization: Engberg Anderson, Inc.
Born: Burlington, Iowa
Spouse/Partner: Molly Jansson
You've seen Erik Jansson's work if you've visited the award-winning Barbara Hochberg Center for Jewish Student Life (winner of IB's "Project of the Decade"). Jansson was the architectural project manager from the initial meetings through the 2.5 years before UW Hillel took occupancy. "As one of the first projects I worked on at Engberg Anderson, it [validated] my good choice, moving back from Minneapolis five years ago," he noted.
Jansson's volunteerism includes chairing the finance committee for Bethany United Methodist Church in Madison. "As an alumnus of the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps and the University of Michigan Marching Band, I have great affinity for the marching arts, too," he added. He taught music, band marching, and drum and bugle corps until soccer coaching for his oldest daughter took precedence.
Jansson cited Judith Faulkner, founder of Epic Systems, as someone he admires for "pushing the envelope on sustainable design."
Name: Josh Johanningmeier, 39
Title: Shareholder, Attorney
Organization: Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.
Born: Waukon, Iowa
Spouse/Partner: Jeanie Eicher Johanningmeier
Josh Johanningmeier is a cowboy with a cause. After a devastating family loss to cancer 10 years ago, he became personally involved in the Relay for Life, and he and his wife have since raised about $25,000 for that cause. "Once you become comfortable asking, fundraising is energizing to see how generous and thoughtful most people are," he noted.
A traveler, he most enjoys renting an inflatable dinghy (with a motor) and "tooling around the island of St. John" in the Caribbean.
However, his most avid interest is in cowboy action shooting, a timed three-gun sport involving pistols, rifles, and shotguns of a design dating to pre-1900. "I have been the Wisconsin overall state champion four times (2006, 2009-2011), which might explain his involvement as master of ceremonies for the 2011 fundraising banquet for Madison Area Friends of the NRA.
At work, he is chair of the products liability team.
Name: Michael Johnson, 36
Organization: Boys & Girls Club of Dane County
Born: Chicago, Ill.
Spouse/Partner: Toya Johnson
When employed in St. Louis, the mayor proclaimed a day in Michael Johnson's honor for his work with families, and he was named Non-Profit Executive of the Year by the St. Louis Metro Sentinel Journal. In Philadelphia, he received proclamations from the City Council and was lead architect for the mayor's fundraising events for area recreational programs.
In Madison, Johnson is on the board of Healthy Community Foundation and also the STAR Credit Union, and he's on the advisory board of the Great Lakes Higher Education Corp. He's a member of 100 Black Men and the Madison Network of Black Professionals, and was appointed to the Community Advisory Board for the Overture Center.
"I am most proud of my efforts to lead a delegation of Madison volunteers to Joplin, Missouri," he reported, after much of the city was nearly wiped off the map by a devastating EF5 tornado.
Role models include Darrell Bazzell, UW-Madison; Chris Fortune, Saris Cycling; and Paul Tonnessen, Fiskars Americas.
Name: Jonathan Koch, 39
Title: Project Development Manager
Organization: Mortenson Construction
Born: Milwaukee, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Christine Bourne
Jonathan Koch's commitment to community is obvious: He sits on the Development Committee for Dane County Habitat for Humanity, the Dance Marathon Planning Committee for American Family Children's Hospital, and DMI's Economic Development Committee, to name a few leadership positions. He also serves on the UW-Madison College of Engineering Early Career Advisory Board.
Professionally, one of his favorite projects was Summit Restaurant at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo. – his first project with Mortenson "as a young, untested engineer." He added, "Although there were moments of high stress and long hours, the result was a successful project for all involved."
With two young children and a wife who is a pediatric nurse, Koch supports venues like the Children's Museum and Henry Vilas Zoo. He credits his family for improving his life. However, he retains a love for mountain biking, which he's done in Ireland, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and North Carolina.
Name: Pam Krugman, 39
Title: Web Mktg & Social Media Consultant
Organization: Select Publishing, Inc.
Born: Madison, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Single ("and looking")
Pam Krugman won a trip to Dublin, Ireland as a perk for earning Sales Rep of the Year & President's Club. However, her personal best is shared with 14 friends. Together, the Fruitcake Friends Foundation "rang bells for Salvation Army; Polar Bear plunged; stopped by four Laundromats and paid for everyone's laundry; bought several families Christmas presents through MOM; held a fundraiser for a family whose wife/mother passed away; volunteered for a food pantry; and hopped on buses and [paid] others' bus fares."
"I wish everyone did a little more for everyone around them," she noted. "There are limitless things individuals and businesses can do to make a difference by getting involved or volunteering for great causes."
Look for Krugman at meetings of Accelerate Madison, BioForward, Dane Buy Local, DMI, GMCC, High Tech Happy Hour, Group Fusion Networking Group, and others – when she's not playing or managing competitive volleyball.
Name: Andy Kurth, 30
Title: GM, Co-owner
Organization: Weed Man Lawn Care
Born: Madison, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Nicole Kurth
His memberships reflect Andy Kurth's interests: he's involved with Planet, a national lawn care and landscaping organization; Trout Unlimited, an organization created to protect cold water resources; and the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce. It's all about his business, which is partly why the combined four markets grew 20% in 2011 in a down economy, adding $400,000 in revenue and pushing the business close to $3 million in total revenue.
Kurth's future goal is to grow his existing four Weed Man franchises to $10 million in revenue in the next decade or so, and to sell more franchises, "especially in the Chicagoland area."
His son Dawson "is truly the happiest thing in my life," but this self-described "avid fly fisherman" also enjoys his annual summer week of backpacking, camping, and "most importantly, fly fishing" in Montana.
Mentors include Lee Bruce of The Bruce Company, and father "Weed Man" Terry Kurth.
Name: Casey Langan, 39
Title: Exec. Dir. of Public Relations
Organization: Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation
Born: Edgerton, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Amanda Langan
Casey Langan's graduate school experience was the UW-Extension's two-year Wisconsin Rural Leadership Program. Completion (and later work experiences) prepared him to join WFB's executive team, record a weekly radio program, edit the member magazine Rural Route, and serve as PR supervisor and spokesman.
Langan is a former small-town newspaper reporter and legislative aide. Today, his mentor is Pam Jahnke, "The Fabulous Farm Babe" on WTDY radio.
At the age of 24, Langan served as president of Edgerton Tobacco Days, Inc., organizing his hometown's signature festival. More recently, he and wife, Amanda, won "best booth" category at Edgerton's 2011 Chilimania festival with a design theme of "Green Acres." He currently serves on the Wisconsin State Fair Ag Advisory Committee. In 2012, he is being awarded Wisconsin Future Farmers of America's Honorary Degree, bringing full circle his FAA involvement during his childhood.
Hobbies include photography and exploring bed-and-breakfasts in rural Wisconsin.
Name: Lynea LaVoy, 35
Title: Manager, Training & Dev.; Adjunct Prof.
Organization: TDS Telecom; Edgewood College
Born: Madison, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Aaron LaVoy
Professor Lynea LaVoy is back in school, earning a fourth degree. "My husband says I'm a school junkie," she quips. Last October, LaVoy earned Edgewood College's 2011 Distinguished Faculty Award. She notes that she didn't enter teaching for recognition, though it was sweet: "I teach because I want to make a difference in someone's life." Her TDS boss, CEO Dave Wittwer, gave the keynote address.
LaVoy says she enjoys juggling two careers: "It's up to us to choose our own destiny. I feel I have found my footing at each. I would like to continue making an impact with the employees at TDS [and] recently I started developing online courses for Edgewood."
Besides work, volunteering, and mothering three children under the age of 4, LaVoy also invests time in public advocacy for her mother and other ALS patients. She cites mentors Elaine Beaubien (Edgewood) and Dr. William Rock (Agrace Hospice).
Name: Brian Lee, 32
Title: President; Lecturer at MC
Organization: Revelation PR, Advertising & Social Media; Madison College
Spouse/Partner: Kristin Lee
In a happy coincidence this January, within one week's time, the Lees added a second child to their family and Brian was notified he was hired as a part-time lecturer at Madison College.
Before Revelation, Lee launched the dining guide EatDrinkMadison.com in 2008, creating opportunities ranging from "VIP event invitations to food judging to appearing on TV about once a month to talk about restaurants." And those contacts helped forge Revelation. While he's building his year-old business, Brian Lee's civic involvement is largely professional. He's membership chair for PRSA and for Professionals Forward. He's also Ambassador for Downtown Madison, Inc.
Regarding future aspirations, Lee said, "Besides hosting a show on the Travel Channel or Food Network, I'd like to expand my agency to the international level."
He cites Barry Alvarez as a mentor for "surrounding himself with talented people and letting them do their own job with no meddling."
Name: Shana R. Lewis, 38
Organization: Davis & Kuelthau, S.C.
Born: Milwaukee, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Robert Magasano
Friends call Shana Lewis "the joiner." She's president, Friends of University Theatre; secretary, Greenridge Pier and Parks Neighborhood Association; Development Committee member, Forward Theater Company; and member, Theater Grant Advisory Panel, Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission. She prepares meals for actors and crew for Renaissance Theatreworks, writes donor profiles for A Fund for Women newsletters, and handles registration for Girls on the Run's annual 5K.
Outside her own busy law practice, Lewis is the attorney supervisor for the Unemployment Compensation Appeals Clinic on Mondays, which uses law students to answer individual and business questions, or to represent them in hearings.
In February 2011, her school district clients needed help navigating new terrain following Act 10 legislation. Being able to assist all stakeholders was a personal high for Lewis.
Lewis most admires Jan Gietzel, A Fund for Women, for "her work helping businesswomen learn how to give back to the community."
Name: Jason Mattila, 34
Title: Sr. Project Manager
Organization: J.H. Findorff & Son, Inc.
Born: Hancock, Mich.
Spouse/Partner: Tara Bailey Mattila
Jason Mattila's proudest achievement thus far is "being involved in the construction of the UW Biochemistry Phase II project." University Square was another (award-winning) project he was directly involved with.
Mattila is also building the community through volunteer involvement. He is a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and Meals on Wheels. He's invested in the Rosenberry Society (United Way) and participates as a volunteer in the Day of Caring. He's a "Learn to Play" coach for Southwest Eagles Youth Hockey Association and an American Legion volunteer. And the Giving Tree doesn't end there, as he has three children under the age of 7 at home.
Steve Brown, Steve Brown Apartments, is someone he believes is a great role model and leader. "The example of how Steve developed and shaped such a first-class organization is something that I strive to emulate in my own professional career."
Name: Timothy J. McIlwain, 35
Title: Wealth Management
Organization: Lincoln Financial Advisors
Born: Beloit, Wis.
Tim McIlwain says his greatest career achievement was "partnering with Michael Stickney" to form one of the leading financial management firms in the Madison area, "managing assets totaling over $200 million."
He also is committed to the community. McIlwain is table captain for the Circle of Friends' luncheon for the Foundation for the Madison Public Schools, and was recently elected to its board of directors. He serves on the MMSD Recognition Panel and also on the fund development committee. Other civic involvements include the Lion's Eye Bank and downtown Kiwanis. "I have supported the Alzheimer's Wines and Roses event for the last five years and work closely with their president, Paul Rusk," he added.
Role models include Eugene Farley (Farley Center), Judge James Martin (retired) and, in memoriam, Carl Loper (UW-Madison).
To de-stress on down-market days, McIlwain enjoys athletic competitions, basketball, golf, and training at the gym.
Name: Darren Noak, 37
Title: President of Commercial Construction
Organization: Tri-North Builders, Inc.
Born: Fort Wayne, Ind.
Spouse/Partner: Elizabeth Noak
Darren Noak needed a niche slot to set himself apart at Tri-North and found it when he was assigned The Marcus Corp. Success there earned him the title of director of hospitality in 2007, and hitting goals in that department led to his current slot in 2009.
He became involved with the Urban League of Greater Madison when asked to join its board to help realize the dream of building a new Center for Economic Development and Workforce Training. "We achieved just under 30% participation of minority- and women-owned subcontractors and suppliers," besting the city's goal of 22%.
He's chaired the finance committee and joined the executive committee. Now, continuing his volunteer stewardship with Urban League, Noak has joined the faculty committee for the proposed Madison Preparatory Charter School.
Noak also juggles coaching his children's two soccer teams to "instill in them the importance of dedication and commitment to becoming good at something."
Name: Stacey Riechers, 36
Organization: Riechers, Inc. dba/Express Employment Professionals
Born: Belmont, Wis.
"My proudest moment came in 2009, when I opened the doors to my own staffing franchise," Stacey Riechers said. "I started in staffing as a 'temp' in 1998 as a receptionist, and after 10 years of hard work and sacrifice, my dream to be a business owner became reality." Her role models include Angie Heim, owner of The Employer Group, and mentor Bob Trambourg, CEO of Vita Plus.
For professional development, Riechers spent five years on the WI State SHRM Conference Planning Committee. In 2010, the conference was in Madison, and she played a key role, bringing in 1,000-plus attendees. She also holds a key role on Greater Madison Area SHRM's Philanthropic Committee, raising money for Second Harvest Food Bank in 2011.
Outside work, Riechers serves on the Scholarships Committee for The Business Forum, and she's a member of the Executive Women Golf Committee and participates in fundraising golf outings.
Name: Jaytaram Sadasivam, 39
Organization: HexaCorp, LLC
Born: Tamil Nadu, India
Spouse/Partner: Priya Rajagopalan
Jatyaram Sadasivam's goal is to visit one new country every year; toward that end, he recently traveled to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and India. He's toured the UK and visited the Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Mich. Florida is a favorite vacation spot, and he is planning a trip in 2012 to Australia and New Zealand.
Professionally, Sadasivam is focused on another goal: growing an IT solutions and services company with revenues in the $3+ million neighborhood to one with sales of closer to $10 million annually. His greatest career achievement to date, he says, is "building the company from three partners to 80-plus employees." His aspiration is "to build a 1,000+ employee company with presence in five countries, and a strong base in Madison, Wis."
Volunteer activities include teaching the South Indian language Tamil, volunteering at Red Cross Blood Donation Camps, serving as a board member with Wisconsin Tamil Sangam, and donating time to many temple activities.
Name: Jenny Meicher Santek, 32
Title: Second VP, Financial Advisor
Organization: Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
Born: Rockford, Ill.
Spouse/Partner: Steven Santek
Jenny Meicher Santek's aspiration is to become a million-dollar producer in her practice by the age of 40. "I am almost halfway there," she reported. Already she's won the Triple Crown Award out of 113 candidates nationwide, an honor given to the top-performing financial advisor in each training class.
She enjoys visiting Merida, Mexico, where she lived for a year after college, though she's busy now with a baby daughter, career, and volunteer work. "I chair the Madison Area Service Club Council and am a member of the Optimist Club of Downtown Madison. I enjoy organizing and participating in various volunteer projects through these organizations."
She says her mentor is Gordon Meicher, who built his own public accounting firm. "I believe a true leader leads by example; this is exactly what my father has shown me. Work hard at your career, be dedicated to family, and give back to community."
Name: Steven H. Schroeder, 37
Title: Assistant Dean
Organization: UW-Madison Wisconsin School of Business
Born: Wausau, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Erin Schroeder
Steven Schroeder is "the first person in my family to attend college and graduate school," which prepared him for overseeing the administration for School of Business undergraduate programs. Inside that title, he also is director of the Business Career Center. "I cannot imagine a better way to make a living," he said. Schroeder recently pioneered a more efficient way for employers to navigate the UW decentralized career centers, working out a campus-wide collaboration.
The parent of two young children, Schroeder cites his parents as his mentors, adding that his dissertation advisor, Richard Barrows, taught him, "People in a position of influence have the opportunity to make things better. Use the resources you have to make a difference."
Schroeder serves on the finance committee for the Sun Prairie School District and lectures throughout the area. He is past president of Hire Big Ten Plus, a career service organization for Big Ten Schools.
Name: Jeremy Shecterle, 36
Title: Project Executive
Organization: J.P. Cullen & Sons, Inc.
Born: Burlington, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Amanda Shecterle
Jeremy Shecterle was project manager for The Camp Randall Stadium Renovation and Addition, which led to his being selected as project executive for the Camp Randall Student Athlete Performance Center project, "a $62 million expansion and remodel at Camp Randall Stadium and the McClain Center" now underway.
Being a UW alumnus and a Madison resident, Shecterle says, "I love working on campus," and so it's understandable that he cited Barry Alvarez as someone he would like to emulate. In turn, Shecterle wants to "coach, teach, and lead" the next generation of contractors. Toward that goal, he is a member of Habitat for Humanity Young Professionals and the American Institute of Constructors.
Even with two young daughters at home "who teach me something every day," Shecterle finds time to run. He participates in an annual marathon relay of about 200 miles, and also hunts, fishes, canoes, and plays softball and volleyball.
Name: Jason L. Stephens, 37
Title: Chief Operating Officer
Organization: Thompson Investment Management, Inc.
Born: Madison, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Ana C. Stephens
"After becoming an owner a few years ago, my aspirations are those of the company," Jason Stephens said. He was instrumental with co-managers in launching a midcap mutual fund just prior to the huge market crash, and "the system we created to gather research, make investment decisions, and implement those decisions worked so well that we have applied it to all the products we manage."
Outside work, Stephens is president of Opera for the Young; vice chair of VSA Wisconsin, which brings art to people of all ages with disabilities; and an advisory board member for the UW's Family Business Center.
George Austin, AVA Civic Enterprises, is Stephens' choice for a role model: "His ability to operate so well with people and entities with such disparate agendas is impressive."
A film history buff, Stephens also enjoys canoeing in the Cherokee Marsh – though with three young children, time is a challenge.
Name: Robert H. Thayer II, 34
Title: VP of Marketing
Organization: Tri-North Builders, Inc./Nova Retail Group
Born: Madison, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Jaimie Thayer
At Tri-North, Robert Thayer has taken pride in the Many Stories Anniversary Gala and raising $60,000 for area charities. He's a coordinator for the American Red Cross blood drive, running as many as six annual drives, and noted, "Last year, [they] resulted in about 140 pints of blood, which equates to saving about 450 lives."
For Logan's Heart and Smiles, Thayer helps with website development and St. Patrick's Day fundraisers to provide charitable construction for families with special needs children. He also is a member of ONE, started by Bono of U2 to fight poverty and preventable diseases in Africa. "ONE is not looking for your money, just your voice," he said, "and I help spread that voice."
Thayer also enjoys family time and competitive water-skiing.
His professional mentors are Dad Thomas (#1) and Tim Lopes of Supreme Boats: "Tim is one of the best influences I will ever have."
Name: Amie B. Trupke, 37
Organization: Stafford Rosenbaum LLP
Born: Lancaster, Pa.
Spouse/Partner: Bryan Trupke
Amie Trupke's finest career achievement was arguing and winning a landmark property case before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and the person she would like to emulate is state Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson "for her intellect and work ethic."
Outside the courtroom, Trupke is president of Wisconsin Adopt A Golden Retriever, rescuing the dogs from "high-kill shelters, overpopulated rescue groups, puppy mills, and people who can no longer care for their dog for whatever reason." She's taken in Charlie, a WAAGR dog recovering from knee surgery, who joined golden retrievers Penny and Cleo.
To name other involvements, Trupke also serves on the finance committee for Habitat for Humanity, is a routine presenter for the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, and is an alumnus of Leadership Greater Madison.
Trupke's law practice specialty is property tax litigation, trademark law, and copyright law, and she'd like to argue again before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Name: Robert Wahlin
Organization: Stoughton Trailers
Born: Stoughton, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Heather Wahlin
"During the recent economic downturn, our staffing levels fell from over 1,400 to under 250," Robert Wahlin reported. "Since then, we have built our workforce up to nearly 1,000 employees within the last two years" by educating staff on lean manufacturing, quality, Six Sigma techniques, ergonomics, etc. Using area colleges, he fortified skills and increased leadership talent.
Wahlin is involved with Executive Agenda, a peer leadership group, and the Young Presidents Organization. He also is involved with the American Society of Quality.
At home, he coaches three sons (all under the age of 11) on various football, hockey, and baseball teams, and says his father, Don, is his role model for putting community and business needs ahead of his own.
"I want to build Stoughton Trailers to compete at a much higher level throughout North America, expanding product lines and evaluating additional production facilities to serve new markets," Wahlin said.
Name: Sam Wayne, 30
Organization: Erhard & Payette, LLC
Born: Long Island, N.Y.
Spouse/Partner: Emilie Schwarz
Sam Wayne's work achievements include creating a strategy that wrestled control of a corporation with dormant assets potentially worth millions of dollars for shareholders, and then, for an astronomically fast-growing corporation, he affected a multi-stage ownership transfer that put the company on solid ground to add over 75 employees.
Wayne cites Invision's Dan Paulson as someone he admires for "earning a strong reputation for his great work, novel ideas, and business acumen." His own aspiration is to partner in a small, selective law firm trusted "by Madison's next generation of business leaders" to "handle their most complex legal matters."
Wayne is involved in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization and he's proud of the group's "90 Men in 90 Days" project, for which he helped design a T-shirt. To relax, he maintains a vegetable garden and likes to chill with his wife, two dogs, and cat. He also enjoys soccer, baseball, and yoga.
Name: Corey Westphal, 38
Organization: U.S. Transcription, Inc.; and Mobile Assistant, Inc.
Born: Indianapolis, Ind.
Spouse/Partner: Anna Westphal
After founding U.S. Transcription with his father in 1998 to offer a secure way to document meeting notes, Corey Westphal now measures success in terms of job creation as well as profits, adding 24 new positions in 2011.
"Our Mobile Assistant service has seen a 100% increase in sales in the last 12 months," Westphal reported, "and I expect to triple our customer base by the end of this year."
To achieve those sales, Westphal travels to attend events through the firm's partnerships with broker dealer firms who host annual meetings. He also logs miles to get before potential clients in the financial and insurance industries.
With three children under the age of 7, Westphal most enjoys family time with wife, Anna; keeping fit; and connecting with the school system. He admires Jeff Supple, State Bank of Cross Plains, as a mentor for "exemplifying hard work and ethical business practices."
Name: Forrest Woolworth, 26
Title: Co-Founder; Brand Director
Organization: Capital Entrepreneurs; PerBlue
Born: Marshfield, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Sarah Woolworth
Forrest Woolworth remembers his first PerBlue paycheck, after going a year and a half with no salary. "A few months later, we had enough revenue to start paying our five employees. It was a tiny paycheck, but a huge milestone." The company now has more than 35 full-time (paid) employees.
Capital Entrepreneurs, another Woolworth start-up, has almost 100 start-up company members. Woolworth is the primary organizer, which is "a completely voluntary role." He also was one of the organizers of Build Madison, a 24-hour create-a-thon bringing together more than 60 people "to work on some awesome projects" sponsored by Google and Sony. "Multiples of these projects went on to form real companies."
PerBlue held a holiday board games drive, donating them to the American Family Children's Hospital and St. Mary's. "We also provided 3,000 real-world meals to [needy] children through in-game Thanksgiving and African famine relief charity drives in our mobile game Parallel Kingdom."
Name: Timur Yarnall, 38
Organization: Broadcast Interactive Media
Spouse/Partner: Kimberly Megna Yarnall
With role models "Bill and Dave" of Hewlett Packard, Timur Yarnall says co-founding two companies (Clickability, 1999; Broadcast Interactive Media, 2003) and seeing them grow into profitable businesses is his greatest achievement. "We started BIM in the wreckage of the dot-com crash; it's especially gratifying to be able to grow it with minimal funding and no debt into a 60-plus person company that works with some of the largest media enterprises out there. Seeing the BIM team come together to launch both the NBC Local and the Belo Television sites will always stick with me."
Since moving to Madison four years ago, he joined the board of Accelerate Madison and has participated in Peerspectives through the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center. To relax, Yarnell enjoys playing "old-boy rugby" with the Madison United Rugby Club, and traveling to New Zealand, Australia, Bali, Cambodia, Singapore, the UK, and Turkey in recent years.