‘Where do you get these great people?’ UW-Green Bay, of course.
Six University of Wisconsin-Green Bay alumni were honored at the 2020 Alumni Awards on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, and Brian Mannering was honored as an honorary alumnus. See their profiles.
Todd Jadin is vice president of Associate Relations and Talent Management at Schneider, and is responsible for corporate recruiting, learning and development, change management, associate relations, employment law compliance and the human capital processes. In his acceptance speech, Jadin incorporated a video of Schneider President Don Schneider, who, Jadin said, regularly asked, “Where in the hell do you get those great people?”
“Well, in my case it was from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. I was a bit of an anomaly back then as the majority of the college hiring that Schneider did in that era came from Don Schneider’s alma mater, St. Norbert College… I will also tell you that in 1984 I was just happy to be an alumni much less a distinguished alumni. I do like the ‘ring’ of that.” Much of the rest of Jadin’s speech is worth repeating…
“Schneider came to campus for screening interviews and had pulled my file from the placement office and requested an interview. I decided to go. I was successful and then invited to the corporate office for a structured interview process. One of those interviews was with Don Schneider and he had me at ‘hello.’ It was then I decided if Schneider offered me a job I would give them a shot. It is the only interview I’ve ever had.
Thirty-five years and 15 jobs later within the organization and I’m still there. It’s because of the education and foundation that I received from UWGB, so thank you for that. To know that someone who was born and raised in Green Bay and never had any interest in leaving the area could get the quality of education I received and work at a world-class company in the same city is something I’ve never taken lightly. I am
blessed in that regard. The tie I’m wearing (orange and green) is a gift from UW-Green Bay as the result of a business award I accepted here a couple of years ago on behalf of Schneider and that night I was wearing an orange tie. I commented on how I would have worn an orange and green tie since both organizations were near and dear to my heart but I didn’t have one. UW-Green Bay fixed that the following week. In addition to UW-Green Bay, I’d like to thank Schneider for taking a chance on a young college grad many years ago.”
Outside of his work, Jadin has served in many leadership roles in the community, including a role on the board of directors for the Green Bay YMCA, the UW-Green Bay Founders Association and the UW-Green Bay Alumni Board, along with his involvement in youth basketball, serving as the President of the Green Bay Area Girls Basketball Association while coaching numerous boys and girls AAU teams. Jadin was one of four alumni recognized with the distinguished alumni award:
Lisa Merkel has been an educator at Green Bay West High School since 2001, teaching Physical Science and Chemistry. Merkel focused her graduate school research on the effects of poverty on learning, something that she is still passionate about today. She contributes her knowledge on poverty related to learning in a variety of programs, including the Green Bay West Building Leadership Team, AVID, Student Council and the Medical College of Wisconsin Equity Team.
Paul Northway is the CEO of American National Bank, responsible for setting the bank’s strategic direction, as well as overseeing the company’s culture. Along with his work, he has had a positive impact on UW-Green Bay. Northway, along with his wife, have established a scholarship at the University for business students. In addition, he serves as a member of the Chancellor’s Council of Trustees and is a season ticket holder for men’s basketball and a supporter of the Phoenix Fund. Northway expressed his passion for UW-Green Bay in his acceptance speech.
“I have been passionate about the University because I truly believe that my education was one of those pivot points in your life that makes a difference,” reflects Northway. “I also believe that our community is stronger because of the University.”
Neil Diboll is a prairie ecologist at the Prairie Nursery in Westfield, Wisconsin, devoting his time and energy to championing the use of prairie plants, as well as native trees, shrubs and wetland plants in contemporary American landscapes. Through his work, Diboll developed the first scientific methodology for designing prairie seed mixes. Diboll was unable to attend the event.
There were two recipients of this year’s outstanding recent alumni award:
Diana Delbecchi, now Green Bay Area Public School’s first-ever Community Schools Resource coordinator, spent time reflecting on her deep connection and love for her alma mater.
“UW-Green Bay is like a magnetic force pulling me back to it, time and time again,” states Delbicchi. “To this day, this campus welcomes me with open arms, just as it welcomes all students… Overwhelmingly, I love this school. It not only gave me the confidence to follow my dreams, but it has always shown me the importance of being rooted in community; through giving back, building others up and committing to the betterment of all.” She ended her speech stating how “this honor feels like UW-Green Bay loves me back.”
Since graduating, Delbecchi has spent time working abroad in a refugee camp providing educational programming for out-of-school refugee youth. This experience led her to conduct research, eventually leading to the implementation of a young education program in a refugee camp of 700 residents.
Fellow award winner Amanda Reitz is the founder of the Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary (HEA), which seeks to pair neglected animals with caring families. Since 2006, Reitz and HEA have paired more than 4,000 companion animals with loving families.
Mannering, the president and CEO of LaForce, Inc., was honored for his continued commitment to the greater Green Bay community and UW-Green Bay. Although not an alumnus of UW-Green Bay, Mannering has demonstrated unwavering support for the University, demonstrated by his long-standing support for various initiatives, such as the Phoenix Innovation Park. Mannering reflected on the connection between LaForce and UW-Green Bay:
“At LaForce, my main role is to guide the company, empower people and cultivate a strong culture of team and community. Those same values are resident in the UW-Green Bay culture, and it’s a significant reason why LaForce employs so many GB grads.”
In the featured photo above, from left to right, Jadin, Merkel, Reitz, Delbecchi, Northway and Mannering. (Missing, Diboll).
Enjoy the gallery. Click to advance slideshow or view the album on Flickr.
– Photos by Dan Moore, Marketing and University Communication; event recap by Emily Gerlikovski, Marketing and University Communication student assistant.