Fall 2015 Alumni Notes

This issue of the Bridge reflects notes we received before June 30, 2015. See Highlights about Four Outstanding Alumni  below.

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1970 »

Clark Peterson, Hinckley, Minn., was a guest speaker at UMD’s University for Seniors lecture series earlier this year. He spoke about the Great Hinckley Fire, the Oklahoma City bombing, and flag etiquette.

Stephen Welsh, MLS ’15, Duluth, Minn., enrolled in graduate school at UMD after retirement and earned a Master of Liberal Studies degree. He worked as a teacher and principal in Superior, Wis., and holds both an MS and an MEd from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He formerly served as a deputy sheriff in Douglas County, Wis.

1975 »

Karl Everett, Duluth, Minn., was named principal engineer with KEA Associates in Duluth. His expertise includes managing mining, environmental, and engineering projects for surface and underground mining operations. He assists clients with mine planning, permitting, auditing,

and environmental, health and safety compliance programs. He is an adjunct instructor at Hibbing Community College, a licensed professional engineer in five states, a Wisconsin professional geologist, and he provides Mine Safety and Health Administration training courses in Duluth.

1976 »

Jo Winship, Saginaw, Minn., was hired as a case management specialist at the Cloquet Memorial Hospital.

1983 »

Kerry Juntunen, Esko, Minn., has been hired as the new Hermantown School superintendent. The father of three girls credits his Finnish roots, time working on his grandpa’s dairy farm, and his parents’ emphasis on work ethic for preparing him for his new leadership role.

Ron Tondryk, Cloquet, Minn., of the Coldwell Banker East West Realty Cloquet office, was named to the International Diamond Society.

1987 »

Paul Hammer, Fitchburg, Wis., was promoted to deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

1990 »

William Watson, Duluth, Minn., a managing director of Northwestern Mutual in Duluth, received the company’s Managing Director Achievement Award, which recognizes excellence in district network office development, including productivity, recruitment and retention of financial representatives, and persistency in serving and retaining clients. He has been with Northwestern Mutual for 16 years and became a managing director in 2009.

1991 »

Lars Kuehnow, Hermantown, Minn.,
was hired by Duluth Local Initiatives Support Corp. as its neighborhood development officer. Previously, he worked with the Entrepreneur Fund as senior business advisor and oversaw the Growing Neighborhood Businesses program.

1992 »

Bill Maki, ’92, MBA ’99, Nevis, Minn., was appointed president of the Northeast Higher Education District, a consortium of Hibbing Community College, Itasca Community College, Mesabi Range College, Rainy River Community College, and Vermilion Community College.

1994 »

Jason Davis, MLS ’00, Duluth, Minn., was named the new director of information technology systems and services at UMD.

1996 »

Briana Johnson, Duluth, Minn.,
joined the St. Louis County Heritage and Arts Center in Duluth as program director.

1997 »

Mark Ball, Duluth, Minn.,
was admitted as shareholder in the Esterbrooks Scott Signorelli Peterson and Smithson accounting firm.

1998 »

Maureen McIlvain, MSW ’00, Saginaw, Minn., was hired as a social worker at Sunnyside Health Care Center in Cloquet, Minn.

1999 »

Marnie Johnson, Duluth, Minn., moved to North Shore Mortgage in Superior Wis., as a loan officer.

2000 »

Jill Niksich, Duluth, Minn., was appointed human resources director at Woodland Hills and is responsible for human resource development and strategies.

2002 »

Daniel Aagenes, Duluth, Minn.,
was hired as brewing advisor at Canal Park Brewing Company.

Tory Lukovsky, Duluth, Minn., was promoted to vice president of lending and collections. She will be responsible for the oversight of consumer lending and all collection activities.

2003 »

Ryan Lindahl, Duluth, Minn., director
of operations for the Hallberg Engineering Inc., Duluth office, has more than 10 years of experience as an electrical engineer.

Lynne Williams, Duluth, Minn., accepted the director of external affairs position at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

2004 »

Brok Hansmeyer, Duluth, Minn.,
was named listing leader for March for Re/Max 1 in Duluth.

2007 »

Karlie Howard, Duluth, Minn., joined as a service coordinator at CW Technology in Duluth.

Brian Waldoch, Duluth, Minn., was hired as a senior credit analyst at the National Bank of Commerce.

Mitch Odell, Duluth, Minn., was promoted to the role of team lead at CW Technology in Duluth.

2008 »

Dan Maki, Duluth, Minn., was hired as client services manager at Ascential Wealth Advisors in Duluth. He holds the chartered financial analyst designation. He worked
in institutional asset management in the Twin Cities for seven years.

2009 »

Wade Haworth, Duluth, Minn., was hired as clinic manager at Mount Royal Medical Clinic in Duluth. Previously, he worked
in the Twin Cities as practice manager at Essentia Health, HealthPartners, and Park Dental.

Jesse Meehl, Duluth, Minn., was promoted to guest services manager at Miller Hill Mall in Duluth.

Dr. Matthew Sipola, Virginia, Minn., joined Eye Clinic North with branches in Virginia and Duluth.

2010 »

Emily Andrews, Duluth, Minn., was hired
as a staff accountant at Wipfli LLP (Duluth office). Her focus is on small business and taxes. Lee Carson, Duluth, Minn., is working as an intermediate crew chief for the LHB, Inc. survey group in the Duluth office.

Maria James, Duluth, Minn., joined DSGW Architects in the Duluth office as a marketing assistant.

Jessica Schiff, Duluth, Minn., was promoted to director of community services at Woodland Hills.


Matt Dague, ME, Duluth, Minn., was promoted as an intern to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) engineering manager at GPM, Inc., a hydraulic equipment supplier. He has worked full time as an OEM engineer for three years. He oversees major engineering projects, supervises engineers and staff, develops charters and schedules, oversees product engineering, analysis, design, and testing, and creates project records.

Amanda Ringer, Pine City, Minn., was promoted to senior human resources information systems agent for Ascena Retail Group.


Derek Brochu, Duluth, Minn., joined Symphony Boat Co. as a production manager. He oversees the construction and assembly processes at Symphony.

Rachel Litfin, Duluth, Minn., was hired as an LHB, Inc. project engineer and has experience in construction materials testing, geotechnical design, and construction field inspection.

Justin Niemann, Foley, Minn., completed the requirements to earn CompTIA Network+ Certification.

Eric Sommer, Duluth, Minn., was named executive director of the Duluth Area Family YMCA Camp Miller Branch.

2013 »

Emma Deaner, Duluth, Minn., was hired at KUMD Duluth Public Radio as assistant marketing director, membership director, and underwriting consultant.

Ben Helmer, MS ’15, Duluth, Minn.,
was hired as an engineer in training at Meyer Borgman Johnson in Duluth, where he is working on the new maurices headquarters. Previously, he worked as an intern at MBJ on several projects, including the Duluth Airport terminal addition and parking ramp, Glensheen Mansion restoration, and Bluestone Lofts.

Rebecca Krug, Duluth, Minn., was promoted to the role of planner II for maurices.

Peter Sahlberg, Duluth, Minn., was hired as a web developer at Swim Creative in Duluth and works on power sports, outdoor equipment, and several other small businesses. He was an intern at ARI Network Services in Duluth, where he built themes for websites and created e-commerce catalogs that were intuitive for customers and staff.

2014 »

Michelle Bredin, Waukesha, Wis., was hired in the Duluth office as a marketing college intern at LHB, Inc.

Andrew Diedrich, Avon, Minn., joined maurices as a store sales analyst.

Jade Golen, Duluth, Minn., was hired as a graphic designer/internet marketing specialist at Duluth Pack.

Max Hutchens, Eden Prairie, Minn., was hired by Swim Creative as a project manager.

Katie Ozan, Duluth, Minn., was hired as a staff accountant at Wipfli LLP in the Duluth office. Her focus is on audit and tax.

Tim Smith, Duluth, Minn., was hired as a credit analyst at National Bank of Commerce.

GaoChy Vang, Duluth, Minn., was hired as a graphic designer at maurices. Vang interned at Tweed Museum of Art and Lake Superior Weddings and Events, both in Duluth, and Dajav Artistry in Roseville, Minn.

Brian Voit, Duluth, Minn., was hired as a production specialist at AimClear in Duluth.

Daniel Weatherly, Duluth, Minn., was hired as a survey technician for LHB, Inc. in Duluth.


Alec Ashton, Duluth, Minn., was hired as a mechanical designer working with the integrative design team in the LHB, Inc. Duluth office.

Matthew Beaulieu, Duluth, Minn., was hired as a programmer for Saturn Systems, a San Francisco-based software company. He will provide software support services, customer support, and software development services.

Kelly Bergeron, Duluth, Minn., was hired as a marketing coordinator in the Duluth News Tribune circulation department. She will work with single copy dealers.

Dylan Peterson, Duluth, Minn., was hired as an LHB, Inc. engineer-in-training. He has experience in water resource engineering and is Minnesota Department of Transportation certified for soil gradation, soil sampling, bulk specific gravity of bituminous asphalt cores, and dynamic cone penetrometer testing.

Highlighting Four Outstanding  Alumni
Share your news: umdalumni.com/contact

1963 »


David Wheat, Duluth, Minn., was honored for his military service
when the Northland Veterans Service Committee dedicated a statue in his likeness in June 2015. Captured by the North Vietnamese in 1965 when his plane was shot down during a Vietnam War combat mission, he spent seven and a half years as a prisoner of war. Wheat, now a retired U.S. Navy Commander said, “I was one of the lucky ones. I came home.” The statue honors all prisoners of war and those missing in action from Minnesota and is on permanent display in the Duluth International Airport terminal.

1973 »


Mark Phillips, Minneapolis, Minn., was named commissioner of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton in January 2015. Phillips has been a member of the LSBE Dean’s Business Advisory Council since it was formed in 1998. He served as the IRRRB’s director  of economic development from 1983 –88. He has held positions at Minnesota Power, Northeast Ventures/Iron Range Ventures, and Kraus-Anderson Construction Company. He was the commissioner of the Minn. Dept. of Employment and Economic Development  from 2011–12.

 1980 »


Jeff Maas, Duluth, Minn., was an elementary school teacher in

Madison, Wis., and education director at the Duluth Children’s Museum, before coming to UMD’s Enweyang Ojibwe Language Nest. The Language Nest was created to assist in revitalizing the Ojibwe language. As the assistant teacher, Maas helps children with developmental skills and works closely with the language teacher
to provide the normal preschool curriculum: weather, manners,
teamwork, etc. “The only difference is our kids are learning in
Ojibwe,” he said.

2000 »


Mary Owen ’00, Duluth, Minn., spent two years on the Duluth campus on her way to becoming a physician through the University of Minnesota program. Today, she is back as the director of UMD’s Center of American Indian and Minority Health (CAIMH), where the mission is to raise the health status of Native Americans by supporting and educating Native American students pursuing health care careers.


Photo above: Bagley Nature Area in fall.