Tag: Communication


UW-Green Bay memories power exec’s generosity

If power industry executive Barbara Nick ’83 ever pens a memoir about her atypical career arc, the chapter on her college experience will be central to the story.

Nick is president and CEO of Dairyland Power Cooperative, La Crosse, which provides wholesale electricity to more than 40 member cooperatives and municipalities in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.

Nationwide, she’s one of only a few female chief executives in her industry. Her start in the tech-heavy field, 35 years ago, also sets her apart. It came in communications.

Nick says UW-Green Bay shares the credit, and it’s partly why she and her husband established the Jay and Barbara Nick Family Endowed Scholarship in 2013 to offer financial assistance to new freshmen.

Nick, then Barb Bielmeier, was a part-time, returning transfer student when her young family relocated to Green Bay in 1980. Raised in Scottsdale, Ariz., she had taken classes at Arizona State and UW-Madison. She was impressed that the quality of her UWGB education equaled the big schools and the campus was accommodating to non-traditionals.

She tutored in the writing lab, was a linguistics researcher for Prof. Donald Larmouth, and offered English-as-a-Second-Language assistance to international students.

In 1981, a job board posting caught her eye. Wisconsin Public Service Corp. was hiring a technical writer. Having studied with the exacting Larmouth, she knew she was qualified.

“The thing was, I had a liberal arts background. I was eight months pregnant when I had to decide whether to go ‘permanent’… and I was not from the Midwest, not male, not an engineer, and not an accountant,” she recalls, laughing. “But I stayed 33 years.”

Nick “fell in love” with the energy industry, and her work brought her to various divisions across the company. She remembers one afternoon at a lathe with a precision machinist at Kewaunee Nuclear Power and being in awe of the “absolute pride of workmanship.”

Nick finished her bachelor’s in Communication. She later completed Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

At WPS, she rose through the ranks to become senior VP of energy delivery and customer service. She was president of the Upper Peninsula Power Co. subsidiary, and by 2014, when she concluded her career at Integrys, she was president of its Minnesota Energy Resources and Michigan Gas Utilities corporations.

Five Phoenix student-athletes earn winter all-academic honors

Five UW-Green Bay student-athletes have been recognized as members of the 2015 Winter Academic All-Horizon League Teams. The teams, which represent success in competition as well as in the classroom, were voted on by the league’s faculty athletics representatives and athletics communications directors. Earning academic all-league honors for the Phoenix were women’s basketball’s Megan Lukan, Communication and Business Administration; and swimming and diving’s Claire Friederick, Human Biology; Tanner Nordlund, Business Administration; James Wise (undeclared) and Ryan Korslin, Human Development.

PRSSA chapter wins Chicago public relations competition

The UW-Green Bay chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America earned top prize in the Edelman Case Studies Competition in Chicago on March 20 and 21. The competition took place at the regional competition hosted by the student chapters of Loyola University and Columbia College, and brought together students from across the region to learn, discuss and compete. During the case study competition, students competed in teams to find the best solution for the proposed client. Teams then presented to a judging panel of executives from Edelman Public Relations. Communication major Taylor Thomson, president of the UW-Green Bay PRSSA chapter, headed a team that included executive board and chapter members William Canzoneri, Leah Christianson, Sally Henne, Michael Kinscher, Emily Schuh, Katelyn Staaben and Katie Vlachina. Read more.

PRSSA students win Chicago public relations competition

The UW-Green Bay chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America earned top prize in the Edelman Case Studies Competition in Chicago on March 20 and 21. The competition took place at the regional competition hosted by the student chapters of Loyola University and Columbia College, and brought together students from across the region to learn, discuss and compete.

During the case study competition, students competed in teams to find the best solution for the proposed client. Teams then presented to a judging panel of executives from Edelman Public Relations,  the world’s largest public relations firm, with more than 5,000 employees in 65 cities.

Communication major Taylor Thomson, president of the UW-Green Bay PRSSA chapter, headed a team that included executive board and chapter members William Canzoneri, Leah Christianson, Sally Henne, Michael Kinscher, Emily Schuh, Katelyn Staaben and Katie Vlachina.

The success in Chicago continues a run of strategic thinking, training and application opportunities at which UW-Green Bay Communication students have excelled.

Earlier this semester, the UW-Green Bay PRSSA group was retained by the state Red Cross, of Madison, to devise a public relations and communication campaign for blood donation awareness on college campuses.

The student organization was chartered January 24, 2014. The chapter has already successfully completed one project for the UW-Green Bay Admissions department; the planning of Communication Preview Day, and has attended several national and regional conferences. With these early accomplishments, the chapter has grown to nearly two dozen, dues-paying members.

Leading and learning: Schleicher scores internship with the Packers

Schleicher at Lambeau Field.Fun, prestige, experience… what more could you ask from an internship? How about a company CEO that knows your name? For Missy Schleicher, it doesn’t get much better than interning for the Green Bay Packers.

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Communication major began with the Green Bay Packers in December 2014 as a Brand and Fan Engagement Intern. The fun started almost immediately.

“I was at a pizza party to celebrate a departing employee just after Christmas. Everyone from intern to company CEO was invited,” she explains. “My mom had sent a big bunch of Christmas cookies and I was trying not to eat them, so I brought them to work. Packers President Mark Murphy ate two of them, and said they were two of the best cookies he ever had. Now he waves at me whenever I see him. I met him once and now he knows my name.”

Through her position, Schleicher works with the two Green Bay Packers fan clubs: the Junior Power Pack for kids, and the Packers Partners Club for adults. She answers fan questions, packages items to be sent to fans, and assists in planning events designed for the clubs.

“There is a Junior Power Pack clinic in June and we’re just starting to work on planning that,” she said. “We need to get a T-shirt design in, talk to sponsors about getting money for the T-shirts, send out invites, and talk to players who will come and make appearances. That’s the majority of it.”

Having had no previous internship experience, getting the internship was a pleasant surprise for her.

“I just closed my eyes and threw the resume at them just hoping, crossing my fingers, and never really expecting to get it,” she said. “I thought I would have to start way smaller. I’m just really grateful.”

Intending to pursue a career in sports communication, an internship with the Packers was the perfect first step.

“My passion is sports, and I really fell in love with my major,” she said. “My dream job or end goal would really be to get a job in sports. I knew that experience in an internship would be crucial in progressing my career.”

After several months, the experience has helped her to gain insight into her future.

“I learned that a communication job in sports is unlike any other,” she said. “Your ‘nine to five’ is not ‘nine to five.’ You’re there before anyone else is there and you leave when it’s dark out. You eat breakfast, lunch, and supper there. It’s your life, and I totally fell in love with that. I think it will really help me in progressing in the future and knowing you have to put hard work in to get a good outcome.”

Aside from her internship, Schleicher also serves as the secretary for the UWGB chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, is an intramural supervisor at the Kress Events Center, and writes for the Kress Press, the newsletter for Kress employees. These and her classroom experiences have provided Schleicher with a well-rounded look at the field she’s pursuing after graduation in May 2016.

“Right now I’m in Social Media Strategies with Professor Danielle Bina, and my supervisor is the administrator of Packers Everywhere on Facebook and Twitter,” Schleicher said. “Her tweets match up with her Facebook and she’s tweeting at different times to make sure that her target audience is seeing the tweets. So, it’s cool to learn it both in the internship and in class.”

After interning for the Packers, Schleicher is convinced that sports communication is where she is meant to be.
Story by Katelyn Staaben, editorial intern, Marketing and University Communication
Photo submitted.

PRSSA students help coordinate Communication Open House

This Friday (Nov. 21), UW-Green Bay will be hosting an open house day for the Communication program. It’s the fifth year of hosting an open house preview day, where prospective students learn about a specific major, get an introduction to faculty and meet current students. This year’s attendees will participate in programs including “A Day in the Life of a Comm Student” and “Communication Lingo Bingo—Learning Comm Language.” For the first time, UW-Green Bay’s Admissions Office partnered with a student organization to plan the event. The campus chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America PRSSA took leadership in organizing the program content, arranging speakers, and coordinating event logistics. A special thank you goes to the members of PRSSA executive board — Taylor Thomson, Sarah Alexander, Bill Canzoneri, Sandra Graybill, Sally Henne, Melissa Schleicher, and Katelyn Staaben — for their dedication in helping the event take shape.

In TV horror heyday, students and alumni ruled the crypt

top-story-horrorRemember watching weekend late-night horror shows as a youngster?

Sneaking into the living room after everyone else went to bed. Staying up well past midnight to make it to the movie’s end. Becoming a fan of the ghoulish horror host who got things rolling and reappeared periodically with the running jokes, sinister sidekicks or weekly skits that made even a cheesy, semi-scary B-movie into must-see TV.

In the 1970s the horror host genre solidified its place in American pop culture. In Green Bay it spawned incarnations including “Eerie Street with Alexander,” “Creature Feature with Misty Brew,” and “Chiller Theater with Ned the Dead.”

Each of the respective hosts was either a current UW-Green Bay student or recent grad. (Who knew the University had such a ghoulish connection to the masters and mistresses of the macabre?) All three look back on their horror hosting days with strange delight.

alex-smallIn 1971 WBAY-TV Green Bay debuted “Eerie Street with Alexander.” With a concept based on other horror-themed shows gaining popularity across the country, the producers turned to a UW-Green Bay student by the name of Al Gutowski, who happened to be working on the station’s floor production crew at WBAY-TV in Green Bay.

When production director John Hrubesky asked Gutowski if he was interested in playing the role, Gutowski recalls, “I jumped at the chance to do something off the wall,” and Alexander of Eerie Street was born.

Alexander’s early costume consisted of a cape made by a co-worker’s mom, stage makeup and his signature beard. (He still has the cape today.) He quickly ditched the makeup and relied on atmospheric lighting to set the somber, dark and ghoulish tone.

Gutowski hosted the show for two years, enjoying the program’s popularity and the connection he built with “Eerie Street” fans. When local schools would request Alexander appearances, Gutowski obliged by showing up in costume with Alexander of Eerie Street cards in hand.

Gutowski recalls when he first met his wife, Sharon, she told him that her brother was a fan of “Eerie Street,” even if she herself wasn’t so sure. (Actually, she thought it was weird, but went on to marry him anyway.) A Regional Analysis major who graduated in 1972, Al eventually left Alexander dead and buried with a successful career in media and communication that led him to become a partner and officer of the Green Bay firm Media Management Inc.

misty-smallThe second UW-Green Bay alumnus to make an impact in the world of horror was Faye Fisher-Ward, Visual Arts, Class of ‘83. In 1982 the independent UHF channel in Green Bay, WLRE, created a show that was inspired by “Elvira’s Movie Macabre,” then a sensation in the Los Angeles TV market. WLRE was looking for a female horror host, and put out a call to UW-Green Bay students.

“I had a lot of friends in the theatre department at the time and they encouraged me to audition for the part. I wasn’t a fan of horror movies, but I was excited to get an acting gig,” Fisher-Ward says.

Fisher-Ward won the audition and Misty Brew was born. The show was called “Creature Feature with Misty Brew.” Fisher-Ward’s transition to Misty Brew required vintage dresses, big hair and lots of make-up. “Creature Feature” would start with the host sitting up in a coffin; at show’s end she would lie down again and close the lid.

Fisher-Ward remembers getting stuck in the coffin at least once: “I was wearing a body microphone and I laid down in the coffin. The coffin lid got stuck and I was trapped… I could hear the crew saying ‘That’s it for today, let’s go.’”

Scary moments aside, she remembers the show had three fan clubs around the area. Even without makeup, Fisher-Ward was often recognized around Green Bay. After 30 years, fans still remember — she still gets the occasional inquiry (as for this story), and the Misty Brew character was even used as inspiration in the book, Unplugged by Paul McComas. Today, Fisher-Ward is an accomplished artist and designer who lives in the Twin Cities.

When Fisher-Ward moved away from Green Bay after graduation, the horror host crown on local television was again up for grads… until a young news photographer at WLUK-TV claimed the throne.

Steve Brenzel, a 1980 UW-Green Bay Communication grad, was outgoing, personable and, in his own words, “a bit of a dork.” No horror buff at the time, he was nonetheless up for the challenge.

Don Schunke was a writer and promotions specialist at WLUK who conceptualized Brenzel’s alter ego, Ned the Dead, and called the show “Chiller Theater.” One of the earliest influences was Dr. Cadaverino, a Milwaukee horror host of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Brenzel says Ned the Dead’s vaguely Slavik accent is drawn partly from his own Milwaukee-area upbringing, partly from Cadaverino.

Ned the Dead’s “Chiller Theater” started in 1982 and ran off and on through 2005, changing names and stations along the way. At times, the show was a ratings monster. When it dominated the late night after “Saturday Night Live,” Brenzel jokes, viewers had only three viewing options: “The 700 Club,” the test pattern or “Chiller Theater.”

Brenzel says the best part of being Ned is the interaction with fans over the last 30 years. He continues to do appearances — as “grand marshall,” he emceed the Shiocton Cabbage Chuck World Championship in September, for example — but don’t think it’s all glamour.

Makeup, for example, can be a hassle. His advice to aspiring horror hosts, “Be careful what you do at the beginning of your career, it will follow you until the end. Make your character look like you, so it is easier to pull off.” (After a thousand-some shows, Brenzel can apply his Ned the Dead makeup in under 10 minutes.)

Brenzel’ says his favorite horror film is the 1959 sci-fi thriller “Killer Shrews.” His favorite line is from the 1940 epic “Green Hell” (a film treasured today for its awesome badness): “It’s not just tissue, it’s wasp tissue.” His least favorite day is Halloween, probably because it’s harder for a professional ghoul to stand out.

Brenzel looks back on his time at UW-Green Bay fondly. He wrote for the Fourth Estate and worked at campus radio station WGBW. When asked why he thought UW-Green Bay was a common thread tying Northeastern Wisconsin’s most memorable horror hosts, he has a ready answer.

“UWGB attracts free thinkers who are not afraid to be themselves and are willing to express who they are.”

— Story and ‘Ned the Dead’ photo by Daniele Frechette

Faculty note: Clampitt lauded by student, honored by NRHH

Prof. Phillip Clampitt, Information and Computing Science and Communication, has been selected by the National Residence Hall Honorary as the Institution Faculty/Staff Member of the Month for September 2014. NRHH recognizes individuals who show great dedication and leadership throughout the campus community, according to the organization. A student nominated Clampitt for the honor, calling his “Great Career Fantasy” project — in which students research their dream job — not only enjoyable but “the most useful project I have ever done.” The student cites other examples of highly relevant coursework, noting that “he always finds a way to relate his teachings to real-life experiences, regardless of who you are, and I have never found a professor to be more practical and inspirational.” More on NRHH.

Communication grad seeks spot on TWC Sports roundtable

Recent grad Jacob Westendorf, a 2014 graduate in Communication, has had an exciting summer. He was selected one of six finalists for the Time Warner Cable Sports Channel “Talking the Talk” competition, which picks an average fan for inclusion as a sports talk panelist. For his audition, Westendorf did a studio sit-down with host Dennis Krause on a quick barrage of topics — is it time for Brett Favre to enter the Packers Hall of Fame? — for a screen test now archived on the service’s Local on Demand channel (411). Viewer votes determine the winner. Criteria include sports knowledge and ease in front of a camera. Westendorf, a native of Rockford, Ill., acquitted himself quite well. See video.