UW-Green Bay’s Kassie Van Remortel honored by the International Institute of Municipal Clerks

Congratulations is in order for Kassie Van Remortel who retires from her service at UW-Green Bay this week. With more than 20 years at the university, her positive leadership will be felt at the university for years to come. One of her co-workers recently shared an article in the  International Institute of Municipal Clerks, specifically on page 24.

The following was written to celebrate Kassie’s commitment to the university, her love of life and her absolute dedication to helping others. Congratulations Kassie!

A Tribute to Kassie Van Remortel on the occasion of her retirement from 21 years at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Today we would like to pay tribute to Kassie Van Remortel as she starts her new chapter in retirement. As she looks forward to spending more time with her loving husband, Pete, her two kids and grandkids while basking in the sun at her lakeside cabin, let’s take a look back on the incredible career, and lasting accomplishments that Kassie will leave with us.

Kassie Van Remortel has been the Institute Director at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay for the last 21 years. Since joining UW-Green Bay as Director of Government Affairs and Economic Development in August of 2001, Kassie has built an impressive resume for herself, including a collection of awards which is proudly displayed on her office wall: The Institute Director’s Award from the Municipal Treasurers Association of Wisconsin (2008); Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association President’s Award of Excellence (2016); Wisconsin County Clerk’s Association Quill Pen of Excellence Award (2018); a Certificate of Recognition – Wisconsin Municipal Clerks and Treasurers Institute 40th Anniversary (2018); and not one, but two IIMC Institute Directors Award of Excellence (2008 & 2020). Yet, even with an impressive number of awards, Kassie has stayed humble in her accomplishments.

In 2004, Kassie developed the Downtown H.Y.P.E. (Harness You Professionals Energy) Project which developed to explore how to attract and train young professionals in a community. The project gained national attention after being presented at the 2005 National Young Professionals Network’s conference in Milwaukee. In 2006 the program model was introduced at the International Downtown Association where several out-of-state municipalities adopting Kassie’s model program.

As a result of her impressive leadership, Kassie was selected to become a member of the seventh class of the University of Wisconsin Extension Administrative Leadership Program (EALP). She was one of 24 people selected from the entire UW-Extension system. Her selection was based on her commitment to education and the Clerks Institute was one of the factors that won her admittance into the program. The EALP program is a prestigious group of people who are given the opportunity to strengthen their leadership.

In recent years, Kassie has developed a few notable programs open to both Wisconsin attendees and an international audience with the move to virtual course offerings. In 2019 she held the first-ever Presidential Election Academy in the state of Wisconsin which hosted an impressive 230 attendees its first year. Since its creation, UW-Green Bay has held two Presidential Election Academies and two Gubernatorial Election Academies to help prepare Wisconsin Clerks for the election cycles. The following year, with the partnership of Eastern Illinois University, the University of Nebraska-Omaha and Rutgers University, Kassie spearheaded the Four U’s Project. The project held two national events: Let’s Move Forward: Keep on Truckin’ (2020) and Navigating the Return to Normal (2021) which focused on how to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. And in 2021, Kassie held a Countering Terrorism Series where participants from around the US came together to learn to develop a hazard plan, strategies on preventing terrorism, and lessons learned from real-life events of domestic and cyber terrorism.  

What Kassie is most widely recognized for is her internationally-known Municipal Clerks and Treasurers Institute which remains one of the largest of similar programs in the United States and Canada. The Institute’s success comes from the many initiatives she’s implemented to the program throughout her career: A redesigned, hands-on course curriculum; new networking opportunities; a second-year advisory board mentoring program for new Institute attendees; and lastly, a completely virtual attendance option to expand access across the state. As a result, UW-Green Bay’s Clerks and Treasurers Institute has broken records each year with 426 attendees in 2022 and many positive testimonials from attendees.  

As two-time winner of the IIMC’s Institute Director of the Year, Kassie has proven her dedication and commitment to education. The Institute Director’s Award acknowledges unique and exceptional contributions of current or retired Institute Directors in promoting quality education for Municipal Clerks. Kassie has contributed to the educational needs of Municipal Clerks and the advancement of the profession, and whose performances have supported IIMC’s educational goals. Kassie has continued in her dedication to education and passion for the advancement of Clerks, both current and future, through her continued involvement and support with IIMC, and the mentorship of many new institute directors throughout the nation. Currently, Kassie is part of IIMC’s Education Advisory Group, working with IIMC’s Education and Professional Development Committee and staff to provide guidance and perspective to IIMC education initiatives.

Kassie has also served on a number of other committees including Managing Director for the Wisconsin Government Finance Officers Association (since 2015) and the Educational Committees of the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association (since 2002), Wisconsin County Clerks Association, and Wisconsin County Constitutional Officers Organization. Through her work with these committees, she developed the Master County Clerk Certificate Program, the Public Management Certificate Program for the Wisconsin County Treasurers Association and the Public Management Program for the Wisconsin Government Finance Officers Association. In 2019, she initiated Digital Badged Certificates for Clerks that can be added to resumes and other informational documents which reflect their credentials earned. She also created a 15 credit Emergency Management, Planning and Administration Certificate program (2004) at UW-Green Bay—the first to be offered in Wisconsin.

Lastly, I would like to talk about what it has been like to work with Kassie as her assistant. She has worked with a number of employees and student workers over the years—many of which have gone on to secure full-time employment right out of graduation. The best thing about working with Kassie is the mentorship that she provides to everyone who works with her. She extends trust and confidence in her employees, allowing us to bring our own ideas and skills to the table. And when we succeed, she is the first to celebrate our accomplishments and boast about how proud she is, never taking credit herself. Because of this type of leadership, I have never felt like just an Assistant to Kassie, but more like her partner. I cannot thank her enough for the skills and confidence she has allowed me to grow over the last five years of working with her. She has become my mentor, my biggest supporter, and most importantly, my friend.

By Ericka Rohde-Bloch
Admin Services Professional-GOVT
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay