2016 Alumni Award Recipients

Five honored at UW-Green Bay’s annual Alumni Awards

Not only are they smart, passionate and forward-thinking, but the recipients of the 2016 University of Wisconsin-Green Bay distinguished and outstanding recent alumni awards are incredibly grateful for their UW-Green Bay experience and humbled by the honor.

The annual Alumni Awards were held October 4 on the stage of the Weidner Center stage for the Performing Arts on the UW-Green Bay campus. Surrounded by family, co-workers and lifelong friends, they shared the stories — some fun and some emotional — of their journeys to, and since attending, UW-Green Bay.

The outstanding recent alumni, Ben Kvalo ’10 and Theresa Okokon ’05 travelled the greatest distances, California and Massachusetts, respectively. Kvalo came to UW-Green Bay, he said, to follow his own path and to experience opportunities he didn’t think he would find at a larger institution. What he found, were faculty members (he named former UWGB Prof. Lucy Arendt, specifically) that impressed upon him how important it was to envision his dream and see himself there.

“My goal in college was to be General Manager of the Green Bay Packers someday, but I’ve readjusted my path, just a bit, since,” the business administration major joked. Kvalo is now the global project manager for 2K, a video game development and publishing company, within Take-Two Interactive, that manages brands such as, BioShock, Borderlands, Mafia, NBA 2K, Sid Meier’s Civilization and others.

“Being a tour guide helped me to step outside my comfort zone and improve my communication and presentation skills. I learned that I should set my goals high, and that I am not going to be defined by my failures, but I will allow them to shape and motivate me.” He says he advised students in the same manner he was advised… “Follow your passion and be willing to risk everything to find what drives you.”

Theresa Okokon is the founder and instructor of LEGIT.yoga (Learn, Emote, Grow, Ignite, Transform), providing trauma-informed yoga for homeless, low-income and at-risk populations in the Boston area. She was recently honored with the Kip Tiernan Social Justice Fellowship Award for her organization.

“Someone asked me today how I came up with the idea to teach trauma informed yoga in homeless shelters,” she said, “and perhaps the root of that is twofold…

“First, I come from a mother whose strength is incomparable,” she said. “When you are raised by a woman like my mother, you begin to believe that absolutely anything is possible. Second, I went to UW-Green Bay. I came to UWGB because of an immature decision to just go to school where my boyfriend was in school. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. As a social work major, I got to study with professors like Loretta Larkey, Judy Martin, Candy Conard and Anne Kok. I was challenged by an internship at Brown County Human Services. I was supported by the team at the AIC, and learned how to engaged in things that mattered to me with the BSU, FMLA, SAGA, SGA, SUFAC and the Social Work Club. The opportunities for international studies here at UWGB made it such that I ended up living in Ecuador for two years after having the thought, ‘hey, maybe I should join the Peace Corps.’  The interdisciplinary approach at this University created the kind of mind that would be in a training about treatment for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), and think ‘hey, this sounds like a yoga class.’”

“I know I wouldn’t be me, if it wasn’t for you (UWGB),” Okokon said. “I realized that UWGB was the place I was meant to be.”

Receiving the Distinguished Alumni Awards were Mark Fralick ’82, Glen Tilot ’ 81 and Daniel Young ‘80.

Fralick said he was convinced by a couple of teachers to “be more” and they requested that he explore UWGB.

“I was instantly hooked. Somehow I felt more connected, more included here than the other campuses. In fact, the first week of my first year here, some kids set up a waterslide made out of a slip-n-slide. A girl came up to to me as I walked back to the “Bay Apts” and said, ‘You want to try our waterslide?’ It was really cold, really fun and made me feel part of this place in an odd way. Note to my sons. When you go away to college and a cute girl comes up to ask you if you want to try their waterslide — the answer is always ‘Why yes, yes I do.’”

Fralick said he learned about excellence from his roommates— all music and theatre majors — Carl Allen who went on to become a famous drummer, Mike Dubois who went on to dance at Juilliard and Erik Andersen became a great teacher. “They, along with Scott Stewart… showed me that excellence doesn’t just suddenly happen on the stage — it happens because of preparation — in the practice room, the dance floor and the practice field. Preparation has a look to it… it looks like hard work.”

Likewise, Fralick says he was pushed by the UWGB faculty.

“I had a lot of great teachers here but the two that challenged me most were Professors Bill Shay and Bill Conley. Professor Shay was very exact in the way he taught, and very demanding. Then there was professor Conley. Hiding inside the noggin of this mild mannered operations research professor were crazy algorithms for solving problems impossible to solve. These programs were so hard on the system when we ran them — this was back in the day of the mainframe — that we were only allowed to run them at night and on weekends. So, these professors prepared me to be a fearless developer. That, along with my business studies prepared me to co-found SAI (Software Architects Inc.).”

Crediting his business partners, Fralick said SAI had the right blend of mad scientists and brilliant problem solvers.

“But, without everything that I learned here, the challenges placed upon me by a couple of brilliant professors — none of this happens,” he said. “The software that has shipped a trillion dollars of shipments and employees hundreds of IT staffs and helps protect American jobs – would never have happened. Talk about a great return on several thousand dollars in Pell grants so a kid with nothing could go to a great affordable university… For me, a large part of the person I am, is due to this University. So, what I feel is profound gratitude and just leave you with something I’ve discovered… Gratitude is a cyclical formula. A person who leads with gratitude becomes the person for whom others have gratitude.  Make gratitude a big part of your life and you will find it just makes you happier.”

Four years out of high school, Glen Tilot was searching for direction when a near life-threatening accident provided some navigation. After months of therapy and vocational rehab benefits in hand, he enrolled at UWGB. Tilot said he was uncertain of a major until taking Prof. Richard Hansen’s Human Relations Skills class. “It changed my life,” Tilot says.

Tilot majored in social work and has been with the Brown County for 32 years. A familiar face around campus, Tilot says he has had the privilege of working with hundreds of UWGB Social Work and Human Development interns and volunteers through the years. The campus has also delivered some of his best father/daughter moments — particularly sharing Phoenix women’s basketball with his now grown daughters since they were little.

“The social work profession is one that doesn’t have many awards,’ he says, “so tonight I accept this award to also honor all of those social workers who have preceded me and those in the field now that are working in the community with people who are hurting and need someone to advocate for them and the professors like Richard Jansen who inspire us to do this work!”

Dan Young is a CPA and the managing partner of Schenck SC (accounting and tax preparation), Green Bay. He and his friend Mark Schleitwiler first attended UW-Fox Valley and decided to transfer as juniors (in 1978). He said he heard good things about UWGB and met with (faculty members) Karl Zehms and Curtis Graham. In the initial meeting, “Karl was fashionably dressed in his favorite leisure suit and we could barely make out Curtis across the desk with smoke billowing from his big fat cigar…”

The friends decided to enroll at UWGB, and by mid-semester were acing the pop quizzes and feeling pretty confident… until they took Zehms’ midterm.

“It was about one-third of way through a three-hour test when I knew it wasn’t going well,” Young says. “You know that churning feeling in the pit in your stomach? I looked at Mark and he was running his fingers through his hair and his face was white as a ghost. We stepped out and went to vending machine just behind the test room to get caffeine hoping that would turn the tide. But the following Tuesday we had our test results and that churning in the pit of my stomach was confirmed — I had gotten a ‘D.’ Karl called both of us to his office and asked, ‘What happened? I thought you guys new that stuff…’”

I said, “Karl, those pop quizzes were like a slow pitch right down the middle of the plate. That’s what we were expecting on the mid-term. That mid-term was a high, inside fast ball and brushed us back on our fanny. Karl gave us three choices — audit, drop or stay. Apparently there wasn’t a fourth option I was hoping for — that he had mis-graded our test. We stayed, and retook the course the following year, and we received an A. We had handled Karl’s fastball.”

Eventually Young learned that Zehms gave actual old CPA exams to the students. “What better way to prepare us for the real world?” Young said. “I learned that No. 1, your toughest challenges prepare you the most, and that is why UWGB has one of the highest success rate for passing CPA exams in the nation. No. 2, don’t underestimate anything. Be prepared. It was a scary wake-up call and a life lesson I will always remember.

“When one’s ability, determination and effort to positively impact others, shine through his actions, it begins to build a legacy that can’t be measured by only personal success, but rather by how others have been inspired to take action. Just as Karl Zehms, Mike Shinners & Mike Hucovski (who gave him his first job 36 years ago), left a legacy; I hope to do the same.”

Matthew Vanden Avond ’01, President Elect of the UW-Green Bay Alumni Association and Steve Maricque ’78, current president, gave the welcome and served as host, respectively. Chancellor Miller greeted the guests, music was provided by Cheryl Murphy ’95 and alumna Barbi Gossens created this year’s awards that were given to the recipients.

Photos by Dan Moore

Click to advance slideshow or view the album on Flickr.
Alumni Awards 2016

– Photos by Dan Moore, Marketing and University Communication

UW-Green Bay reading group has stood test of time

June 23, 2015 Book Club Meeting Left to right: Peter Kellogg, Larry Smith, Ben Cruz-Uribe, Bob Wenger, Naresh Rimal, Sherry Lacenski, Jacqulyn Jahnke, and Tom Nesslein.
June 23, 2015 Book Club Meeting
Left to right: Peter Kellogg, Larry Smith, Ben Cruz-Uribe, Bob Wenger, Naresh Rimal, Sherry Lacenski, Jacqulyn Jahnke, and Tom Nesslein.

They tackle subjects from economics to the environment. Their discussions have depth and offer varying perspectives. But the uniqueness of this particular reading group is its staying power. The group, comprised of mostly UW‑Green Bay faculty and staff members (now mostly retired), has stayed together for a decade.

May 3, 2016 Book club meeting Sherry Lacenski center
May 3, 2016 Book club meeting
Left to right, front row:
Smith, Sherry Lacenski, Jacqulyn Jahnke
Back row: Tom Nesslein, Bob Wenger

It got started when The Phoenix Bookstore employee Sherry Lacenski (now retired) asked some campus individuals to gather and discuss a read inspired by her daughter who was working in the Peace Corps. It soon evolved into a weekly group which met to discuss books concerning environmental, political and economic issues. Books are selected two at a time, based on input from the group. A few selections from the recent reading list: On Political Equality, The Social Conquest of the Earth, Globalization: What’s New, Thinking Fast and Slow and more than 30 other books and academic papers.

The group has held steady at about eight core members who have been with it from the start. But they would always enjoy more club members, and greater perspective. Currently the group is reading, Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman. Next up is March of Folly, by Barbara Tuchman. Anyone interested in joining is welcome to contact Lacenski at lacensks@uwgb.edu.

— Story by Communication Intern Kelsie Vieux

UW-Green Bay Announces 2016 Distinguished and Outstanding Alumni

Green Bay, Wis—The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is planning an evening of celebration, recognizing the accomplishments of its alumni. This year’s Alumni Awards and Recognition Dinner begins at 5 p.m., October 4 at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts.

Those honored for their Distinguished Achievements will be Mark C. Fralick ’82, Glen G. Tilot ’81 and Daniel J. Young ’80. Recipients of the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award are Theresa I. Okokon ’05 and Benjamin L. Kvalo ’10.

Distinguished Alumni

Mark C. Fralick
Mark C. Fralick ’82

Mark C. Fralick is a 1982 UW‑Green Bay graduate with a degree in Business Administration and a dual emphasis in Communication and Computer Science. In the 1990’s, he co-founded Software Architects Inc., a software company that specialized in Warehouse Management Systems (WMS). While there, Fralick and his business partner created a system called MOCA, a widely adopted computer architecture for logistics and distribution automation. The WMS created on this architecture is now used by hundreds of companies such as Hershey’s, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, and more, is recognized as one of the world’s leading logistics applications and has made more than $1 trillion in shipments across the globe. Fralick later sold Software Architects and went on to create another WMS technology space, called Get Us ROI. As of 2015, Get us ROI is among the top 1000 fastest growing companies in the US. Fralick plays an active role in many charitable organizations as a board member, mentor and advisor. He and his wife Patti also operate their own charitable fund, and have additionally created a number of scholarships for students in Northeast Wisconsin seeking computer science or engineering degrees.

Glen G. Tilot
Glen G. Tilot ’81

Glen G. Tilot graduated in 1981 with a degree in Social Work. He recruits, trains, matches and manages volunteers for The Pals Program, the Parent Pals Program, the Supervised Visitation Program and the Volunteer Guardian Program for Brown County Human Services. He began his career as a social worker and volunteer coordinator, first in Outagamie County’s Department of Human Services, and later in Brown County, where he has worked from 1984 to present day. Tilot serves on advisory committees for multiple universities and organizations. He is the chair for Brown County Voices of Men Breakfast, which encourages men to take a stand against violence towards women. Among his multitude of awards and recognitions, Tilot received the UW‑Green Bay Community Partner Award, and the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce’s Daniel Whitney Award. Widely known for his longstanding commitment to the Chamber’s Leadership Green Bay program, he was presented with that organization’s highest honor — the Leo Frigo Award.

Daniel J. Young
Daniel J. Young ’80

Daniel J. Young graduated in 1980 with a degree in Managerial Accounting. During his time at UWGB, he was on the Dean’s List, and received a scholarship for leadership and academic excellence. He began his accounting career at Shinners, Hucovski and Company. In 1999, Shinners, Hucovski and Company merged with the firm Schenck, where he continues as a certified public accountant and certified valuation analyst, and since 2008, has been the managing partner of the Green Bay office. Young holds leadership roles on the firm’s board of directors and operations committee, and in 2014, he was named the firm’s director of industry teams. He serves on several community boards, including the Greater Green Bay Chamber, Downtown Green Bay, Inc., Green Bay Business Improvement District, Heritage Hill and New Community Shelter.

Outstanding Recent Alumni

Theresa I. Okokon graduated in 2005
Theresa I. Okokon ’05

Theresa I. Okokon graduated in 2005 with a degree in Social Work. In 2007 Okokon joined the United States Peace Corps, where she spent two years in Ecuador, coordinating workshops on health and wellness, and promoting, fundraising and networking, for new volunteers for a grassroots neighborhood organization. In the next few years, she worked at several different companies, as a case manager, program manager and house manager, etc. Most recently, she was honored with the Kip Tiernan Social Justice Fellowship Award for her program, LEGIT.yoga, which provides free, trauma-informed yoga classes for homeless, low-income and at-risk populations in the Boston area. LEGIT.yoga has partnered with more than 10 Boston-based programs, and provided trauma-informed yoga to more than 300 unique participants. Okokon, who began yoga instruction in 2014, will soon be taking part in a year-long, intensive graduate-level certificate program to become certified in Nonprofit Leadership and Management, as well as a 300-hour Yoga Therapy Teacher Training program. Outside of her work, she is an active participant with Massmouth, a nonprofit organization that promotes the art of storytelling in Massachusetts.

Benjamin L. Kvalo
Benjamin L. Kvalo ’10

Benjamin L. Kvalo graduated in 2010 with a degree in Business Administration, an emphasis in Management and a minor in Communication. Kvalo is the International Project Manager with a video game publishing and development company called 2K. His company manages some of the most respected and premium video games in the market, including franchises such as NBA 2K, Borderlands, Bioshock, Sid Meier’s Civilization and Mafia. He has focused on improving process and communication in a fast growing company, and helped to create and project manage large presentations to company executives and external parties. Kvalo also helped found, and is on a management group, for an education initiative called 2KEDU, whose focus is internal growth and knowledge-building opportunities within 2K. To date, he is credited in more than 20 AAA published video games.


Tickets can be purchased at https://2016gbalumniawards.eventbrite.com and are $50 per person.


Peace Corps alumnus? Share your story

Calling all RPCV’s (Returned Peace Corps Volunteers)!  If you are a RPCV and would be willing to share your Peace Corps experience with current students at UW-Green Bay, please contact Karla Miller, program coordinator for recruitment in Career Services. A recruiter from the Peace Corps will be on campus March 5, and would like to connect with any alumni of the program in advance of this event. Contact Miller at Millerk@uwgb.edu.

Reminder: Sign up for International Women’s Day Luncheon before Tuesday

The Office of Student Life invites you to attend the International Women’s Day Luncheon on Tuesday, March 8, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Union’s 1965 Room. Guest speakers are women who are returned Peace Corps volunteers. Lunch is free, but registration is required. Register by calling the office of Student Life at 465-2720, or by going online – www.uwgb.edu/stulife/leadership/registration.asp.

Peace Corps experience? Let us know

March is Peace Corps Month and this year marks the 50th anniversary of the organization’s founding.  If you are an RPCV (returned Peace Corps volunteer), please contact Karla Miller of Career Services at ext. 2163 to let her know where and when you served.  If you are interested in speaking about your service, or would like to have an RPCV speak to your class, please contact Sherry Lacenski of the Phoenix Bookstore staff at ext. 2331. 

International Women’s Day Luncheon is March 8

The Office of Student Life invites you to attend the International Women’s Day Luncheon on Tuesday, March 8, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Union’s 1965 Room. Guest speakers are women who are returned Peace Corps volunteers. Lunch is free, but registration is required. Register by calling the office of Student Life at 465-2720, or by going online at www.uwgb.edu/stulife/leadership/registration.asp.

International Education Week events for Nov. 18

• 10-11 a.m., CL 207 – Study Abroad First Steps Meeting

• Noon, UU 150 — Study-abroad travel panel featuring students

• 1:30 p.m., CL 207 – Peace Corps and Japan Exchange Teaching presentation
• 2:30-3:30 p.m., CL 207 – Study Abroad First Steps Meeting

• 3:45 p.m., Heritage Room, UU – Italy travel course info, summer

• 4 p.m., Common Grounds Coffee House, UU — Spring break trip to Italy

• 4 p.m., Ecumenical Center — “In the Path of Buddha”

• 4-6 p.m., Christie Theatre, U Union — International Spanish Film “L’Auberge Espagnol”

More details of these and other events.

International Education Week lineup of events

Here is the lineup for International Education Week, a collaborative effort between numerous offices including: American Intercultural Center, Biology, Cercle Francais, Ecumenical Center, French, German, International Club, Japan Exchange Teaching Program and the Japan Information Center, Music, Office of Special Projects, One Book One Community, Peace Corps, Spanish, South Asian Student Union, Theatre, and the Office of International Education.

Monday, November 16:

9:30-10:30 a.m., Christie Theatre – Three Cups of Tea Presentation by Dr. Jerene Mortenson
Dr. Jerene Mortenson, mother of author Greg Mortenson will speak about their collaborative efforts to build schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan though the Pennies for Peace Program. Christie Theatre.

4 p.m., Phoenix Rooms – Outreach and Civic Commitment: Mental Health Service Delivery to Marginalized Individuals and Communities – Presentation by Dr. Cirecie West-Olatunji
Dr. West-Olatunji has initiated several clinical research projects that focus on culture-centered community collaborations designed to address issues rooted in systemic oppression, such as trans-generational trauma and traumatic stress. Phoenix Rooms


7 p.m., Christie Threatre – One Book One Community Discussion with Dr. Jerene Moretenson
Part of Brown County’s “One Book One Community Program,” Dr. Jerene Mortenson, mother of author Greg Mortenson will speak about their collaborative efforts to build schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Tuesday, November 17:

10-11 a.m., CL 207 – Study Abroad First Steps Meeting
Learn about over 200 study abroad and national study opportunities.  In addition to information about financial aid, scholarships and credit transfer.

Noon to 1:30 p.m., Cloud Commons – International Awareness Contest
Up to eight teams will compete for bragging rights, tickets to the annual International Dinner, and other prizes. Each team must consist of: an American student, an international student, a staff member, and a faculty member. Questions in a rotational format on various international topics. Registration deadline is Thursday, (Nov.) 12. For more information, contact Hanna Nuqul, nuquht16@uwgb.edu.

2-4 p.m., Christie Theatre – International French Film “The Grocers Son”
Sponsored by the French Program and Cercle Francais.

5-6 p.m., Ecumenical Center – Food for Thought
Come enjoy great international food and learn first-hand what it means to be a part of the global community. Sponsored by the Ecumenical Center and the International Club.

7 p.m., Christie Theatre – Kevin Soucie French Concert

Wednesday, November 18:

10-11 a.m., CL 207 – Study Abroad First Steps Meeting
Learn about over 200 study abroad and national study opportunities. In addition to information about financial aid, scholarships and credit transfer.

Noon-1 p.m., American Intercultural Center, UU 150 – International Study Abroad Travel Panel
Learn about study abroad from students who have made the journey.

1:30-2:30 p.m., CL 207 – Peace Corps & JET Program Presentation
Explore the Peace Corps and the Japan Exchange Teaching program from past participants. Learn how you can be part of one of these programs.

2:30-3:30 p.m., CL 207 – Study Abroad First Steps Meeting
Learn about over 200 study abroad and national study opportunities. In addition to information about financial aid, scholarships and credit transfer.

3:45 p.m., Heritage Room, University Union – Italy Travel Course Information Session
Meet with course leaders, Prof. Donna Ritch and Prof. Amanda Nelson about this exciting summer biology course in Italy.

4 p.m., Common Grounds Coffee House – Spring Break Italy Travel Course
Learn about this exciting AVD travel opportunity to Italy over Spring Break.

4 p.m., Ecumenical Center – In the Path of Buddha
This program invites you to venture into the pathways of the Zen Buddhist tradition. Dr. Raymond (Reed) Hardy offers a unique opportunity to embrace mediation as a mean of personal exploration and discovery.

4-6 p.m., Christie Theatre, International Spanish Film “L’Auberge Espagnol”
Sponsored by the Spanish Program and the Spanish Club.

Thursday, November 19:

11 a.m. to noon, American Intercultural Center, UU 150, Japan Travel Course Information Session
Learn more about studying Arts and Culture in Japan with Prof. Kaoime Malloy and Kristy Aoki.

Noon-1 p.m., American Intercultural Center, UU 150, Sushi Rolling
Learn how to roll Japanese sushi with the South Asian Student Association.

2-3 p.m., CL 207, England Travel Course Information Session
Learn about the summer 2010 travel course to England.

6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Christie Theatre, International German Film, “Emma’s Bliss”
Sponsored by the German Program and the German Club.

Friday, November 20:

4 p.m., Lambeau Cottage, International Club Holiday Pot-Luck
For more information contact Kristy Aoki at aokik@uwgb.edu.

Saturday, November 21:

4 p.m., Jean Weidner Theatre, Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, Folk songs of Tesin, Czech Republic by Petr Eben (1929 – 2007)
Guest Artists, Matthew Markham, baritone, and Timothy Cheek, pianist, University of Michigan.

Job and Internship Fair is Wednesday

The annual Job and Internship Fair will be held Wednesday (Oct. 7) from 9:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the Phoenix Room at the University Union. Representatives of the Peace Corps will be at the fair. They will remain on campus and be available in the Wequiock Room from 6 to 8 p.m. For more information contact Karla Miller in Career Services at ext. 2163.