Alumni Award winners 2010
Each year the college is privileged to honor a few among many outstanding alumni. Meet this year’s winners, recognized at a celebratory dinner in October.
Kelly Biese ‘01
|Kelly Biese ’01
2010 Young Alumni Award
Kelly Biese’s involvement in helping and serving others while advancing her own life and career began as a student at St. Norbert College. She performed as principal euphonium in the wind ensemble, trumpet in the concert band, and trombone in the jazz band, and participated in pep band, concert choir, low brass ensemble and pit orchestra. She was also a guest soloist and guest conductor with the De Pere City Band.
During her St. Norbert years, Biese served as both a residence hall assistant and a music office assistant. She practice-taught instrumental music at local schools, and also gave private instruction in euphonium, trumpet and trombone. Biese managed to balance her full slate of activities with a strong academic performance; she graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in music.
After graduation, she went on to Bowling Green State University, earning master’s degrees in euphonium performance (2006) and music education (2007). As a graduate teaching assistant, Biese worked in the music library, taught a course in low brass techniques and helped organize several school bands. She was principal euphonium in five musical groups, and taught music part-time at two area grade schools.
Since 2005, Biese has been the director of bands for all the Catholic schools in Lima, Ohio, and conducts the high school’s concert band, marching band, pep band, jazz band and pit orchestra. In 2007, she introduced a music theory course at the high school.
Of her teaching experiences, Biese says: “Special to me is that I have the unique opportunity to work with my students and watch them grow from fifth grade through 12th grade, knowing that I taught them to play their very first note.
“There truly is no greater feeling than watching them walk across the stage at graduation and begin a new phase in their lives, knowing that God blessed me with the opportunity to play some small role in their growth and development.”
Biese has also been a member of JUNCTION, a professional tuba/euphonium quartet, performing across the United States and Europe, with guest appearances with Pershing’s Own U.S. Army Band, the Lexington Brass Band, and brass bands in Switzerland and Austria.
She has also been honored by, among others, the International Women’s Brass Conference Artist Euphonium Competition.
Recently, Biese was one of three leaders who introduced “Celebrate Recovery,” an international 12-step Christian recovery program in her community. In addition, she has served as a volunteer on the expressive arts committee for Camp Sunrise, which helps children and teens who are impacted by HIV and AIDS.
Biese credits her liberal arts education at St. Norbert with instilling a passion for learning, as well as a strong desire to stay involved with her Catholic faith. She gratefully cites the influence of faculty members including professors Kathy Muhs (Mathematics), Larry McAndrews (History), Howard Ebert (Religious Studies), Paul Wadell (Religious Studies) and Sharon Huff (Music).
Her advice to current and future students is something she herself has clearly heeded: “Savor each moment you have as an SNC student, and take advantage of every opportunity you have to get involved.”
Mike Daniels ‘86
|Mike Daniels ’86
2010 Distinguished Achievement Award: Business
Mike Daniels is an accomplished businessman, active volunteer and proud parent (along with wife, Sherry) of seven children. In everything he does, he strives to have a positive impact on people and their lives. He hopes, ultimately, to make the community a better place. It seems he is already doing just that.
Daniels graduated from St. Norbert College in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. His first job was with USA Financial Services. By March of 1987, he was vice president of commercial lending with Associated Bank in Green Bay.
A mere six years later he became president/CEO of Rincon Bank & Trust in Georgia. Daniels returned to the area and to Associated Bank in 1995 as senior vice president of commercial lending. In 2000, he co-founded Nicolet National Bank with Robert Atwell. He remains there today as president and COO.
In less than 10 years, Nicolet National Bank has grown from a fledgling community bank to a full-service bank with 120 full-time employees and more than $650 million in assets. According to Donald J. Long Jr., a long-time colleague and friend, Daniels and Atwell have built a great business model and set a standard of excellence in community banking.
Nicolet has been acknowledged as one of the fastest-growing banks in the United States. Some cite the “customer-first” culture at Nicolet as a big reason for its success.
Daniels credits much of his approach today to lessons he learned from St. Norbert College coaches Don LaViolette and Mike Heideman. Daniels says, “Both men are quality human beings who (at the time and to a degree I did not realize) taught me about hard work, dedication, teamwork and respect.”
In his office at Nicolet National Bank, Daniels still displays a sign that Coach Heideman taped to his football locker in the fall of 1985. It reads, “No team, regardless of its physical capabilities, can win unless its members have togetherness and a mutual love for one another.”
Daniels is a dedicated servant of his community. He is a past board member of the CP Center and the UW-Green Bay Phoenix Athletic Fund. He is a current board member for the Brett Favre Fourward Foundation, the Nicolet Foundation and the Deanna Favre Hope Foundation. He coaches football at St. Philip’s. He also serves St. Norbert College on the President’s Advisory Council and the outdoor athletic facility steering committee.
Scott King, former president of Bank One in Green Bay, joined Daniels at Nicolet National Bank in 2003. King says that, at Nicolet, they like to joke about the “Daniels discount.” He explains that most of the people who work for Daniels took a pay cut to do so, some to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.
King says: “His ability to lead and inspire people to perform at their best is well worth the lost wages. After all, money isn’t everything and people like Mike are not exactly a dime a dozen.”
Wayne Lubner ’71
|Wayne Lubner ’71
2010 Alma Mater Award
There is no question that Wayne Lubner is an outstanding St. Norbert College alumnus and a tremendous blessing to the Green Bay community. The facts speak for themselves: He is an accomplished businessman, having worked for 36 years in a variety of leadership roles for Schneider National, and he is a servant to the community, having volunteered tirelessly on behalf of numerous organizations, including St. Norbert College.
What the data doesn’t show is the personal impact he’s had on people – and that may be his most notable accomplishment.
Lubner graduated from St. Norbert College in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He then served two years in Vietnam as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Upon his return, he married his college sweetheart, Terese (Emer) Lubner ’74, and began work at Schneider National.
Lubner became a trusted leader during his many years with the company, serving as a senior-level operations and human resource executive. He furthered his education by earning his MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1979.
St. Norbert College recognized Lubner for his professional accomplishments in 1989 with its Distinguished Award in Business.
Lubner is known for his generosity, optimism and sense of humor. He has a passion (and now his own consulting business) for helping people grow and develop in whatever field or endeavor they choose.
James Van Hefty ’84 took a job with Schneider National because of Lubner, whom he views as an icon in the transportation business. He never regretted the decision. He says: “Not only did Wayne teach so many of us about the transportation industry, he exemplified what it means to truly care about others. Wayne is a ‘do as I say and as I do’ kind of leader. ... Hands down, Wayne has been the best leader that I have had the privilege to work with over the past 26 years.”
Lubner has always given generously of his time and talent. He has volunteered a total of 35 years on the boards of the following organizations: St. Norbert National Alumni Board, United Way, Hmong Association of Green Bay, Cerebral Palsy Inc. and the YMCA. For many of these groups, Lubner served one or more terms as board president.
Steve Harty, president/CEO of the Greater Green Bay YMCA, says: “Wayne is a natural leader who inspires confidence and enthusiasm in everyone fortunate enough to be part of his team. His passion and dedication to support those less fortunate in our community is unsurpassed.”
Lubner is highly respected by his St. Norbert College counterparts; his input and leadership skills are valued and often sought out. He is chairman of the selection committee for the William E. Dargan Fellowship and remains involved in the college’s capital campaigns.
Ed Sturzl ’71, long-time friend and college trustee, says, “Wayne exemplifies communio to its fullest; he has open dialogue with everyone he meets, communicates with people over long periods, consults and collaborates with everyone.” According to Sturzl, head football coach Howard Kolstad would say of Lubner, “He’s a man, he’s a man, he’s a real St. Norbert man!”