In nature photography, there is a nexus of quiet and beautiful natural environments, technical precision, anticipation of the right conditions, and the sheer luck sometimes required to get that perfect shot. This is what Randy Mentz calls his “happy place” — something he has been chasing ever since he developed an interest in nature photography.
“Starting in high school, nature photography became a passion of mine that has endured. Growing up, my parents took us on road trips every summer to see national parks, especially Yellowstone and I learned to appreciate its natural wonders,” Mentz said. He shares his love of photography with his wife, Michelle, and in 2008 they started their own wedding photography business.
The attention to detail and appreciation for a little bit of luck he developed as a photographer also plays a key role in Mentz’s work as Research and Compliance Manager. He supports both the Distance Learning Center and the Office of Continuing Education, which together form the division of Alternative Delivery Systems. After joining the division in July 2017, Mentz quickly set to work assessing the research and compliance needs of his employers and colleagues. While each team identified different needs and concerns, Mentz found that there was one idea at the heart of it all.
“The question, “What is best for our students?” is always at the forefront of everyone’s mind when discussing ideas and making decisions. I enjoy being part of a team that never loses their focus on the student experience,” Mentz said. “I’m continually impressed by the depth of talent among the faculty and staff, and I’m honored to support their efforts.” Mentz started his career at UW-Platteville in 2003 as a water quality researcher at the Pioneer Farm, a fully operational farm on campus that allows agronomy, agriculture, and other students to get hands-on experience to complement their studies. During his time there, he helped the university acquire millions of dollars in grant funding and led various successful research efforts. With the agricultural research program well established on campus, Mentz said he is excited for the challenges and opportunities that come with building a new research program from the ground up.
“It’s especially enjoyable to work in two areas that are still in the early stages of development at Alternative Delivery Systems. It’s fun to be on the ground floor, developing new tools and opportunities for the division,” Mentz said.
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