Outstanding Alumni

Kenneth Mika

Kenneth Mika is a two-time graduate of UW-Platteville, earning his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 2008 and his master’s degree in engineering in 2015. He is currently a Senior Project Manager with Tetra Tech, Inc., in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Mika is heavily involved with the American Society of Civil Engineers. He currently serves as Region 3 Governor and has served as past president of the Wisconsin Section, Wisconsin Infrastructure Report Card Co-Chair, and as a member of the Committee on Preparing the Future Civil Engineer. He has received a number of accolades from ASCE, including the 2019 Wisconsin Section Distinguished Service Award, 2016 Edmund Friedman Young Engineer Award for Professional Achievement, and the 2016 Engineering Achievement Award. Other professional awards include being listed as a 2019-20 Future 15 Young Professional of the Year and the 2017 STEM Forward Young Engineer of the Year Award. Mika is a strong supporter of STEM education outreach initiatives in his local community and regularly co-leads food drives for Hope House of Milwaukee’s south side food pantry. He also volunteers his time to his alma mater, delivering technical presentations to the ASCE Student Chapter and an engineering class. He was also instrumental in helping to bring the ASCE National Concrete Canoe Competition to UW-Platteville to host in 2021. 

“UW-Platteville helped me get to where I am today by providing me two phenomenal degrees; by encouraging me to get involved in student organizations, where I was able to make lifelong friendships and gain additional leadership experiences outside of the class room; and the relationships I forged at UW-Platteville have turned into professional relationships at work and in professional organizations,” said Mika.  

Nick Wagner

Nick Wagner graduated from UW-Platteville in 2006 with a degree in environmental engineering. He has worked at MSA Professional Services, Inc. since his graduation and is currently Senior Vice President – Service Line Leader in Kiel, Wisconsin and serves as ESOP Trustee and on the Board of Directors. He is an active member of the American Council of Engineering Companies and American Society of Civil Engineers and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Wagner volunteers his time through Elim Covenant Church in Moline, Illinois, and has also served as club president and on the board of directors for the Rotary – Iowa Quad Cities Club. Wagner remains involved with UW-Platteville through serving for the past eight years on the Environmental Engineering Advisory Board.  

“UW-Platteville provided me a great education and prepared me well for my career,” said Wagner. “The faculty and staff are second to none and really care about the success of each student and the industry in which the students will be joining. As a student, I learned that truth. As an advisory board member to the department, I confirmed that truth tenfold.” 

Eugene Woehrle

Eugene Woehrle is a two-time graduate of UW-Platteville, earning his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, along with psychology and business administration minors, in 2009 and his master’s degree in criminal justice, with a management emphasis, in 2013.  He has served with the Madison Police Department since 2009 and is currently a Lieutenant of Police. Woehrle is an active volunteer with the Boy Scouts, serving in numerous roles, and serves on the Board of Directors for Family Service Madison, Inc. and the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. For the past five years, he has served as the Scholarship and Awards Committee Chairman for the WI-Theta Sigma Phi Epsilon Alumni and Volunteer Corporation. In this role, he leads two of the biggest annual fundraising events, helping to raise donations for UW-Platteville student scholarships. At the recent WI-Theta SigEp 20th anniversary celebration, Woehrle was voted Most Virtuous Brother in the chapter’s 20-year history. He also remains engaged with UW-Platteville as a recruiter and a guest speaker. 

“UW-Platteville set me up for future success by providing me with not only courses relevant to my field of study, but also engaging professors, leadership opportunities, and on-campus employment,” said Woehrle. “Each of these experiences made me a more competitive applicant when applying to careers in law enforcement. In addition, my UW-Platteville master’s degree was integral to leadership advancement within my department. I am proud to tell people that I went to UW-Platteville!” 

Ben Wood

Ben Wood graduated from UW-Platteville in 2006 with a degree in civil engineering. He has been employed by Strand Associates, Inc. since graduation, where he is currently a Project Manager within the water supply sector and Sales Coordinator for the Milwaukee Office. Wood is active in the Wisconsin Section of the American Water Works Association (WIAWWA), serving as current chair for the Wisconsin Water for the World Committee. WIAWWA recognized Wood with the Young Professional of the Year Award in 2009 and the Wisconsin Water for the World Award in 2015. He was awarded the Young Professional of the Year Award by the American Council of Engineering Companies in 2019. Wood has volunteered his time mentoring college students on the design of water systems in Guatemala and Haiti. He is also an active volunteer in his local community church and neighborhood organizations in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park Neighborhood. He continues to financially support UW-Platteville’s chapter of the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship—an organization he was heavily involved in while a student.  

“The environment at the UW-Platteville campus provided me the opportunity for exceptional academic, personal, and interpersonal growth that has been foundational to my professional career,” said Wood. “One special quality about UW-Platteville that stands out to me was the open access to professors and the ability to build friendships with them. I proudly display a UW-Platteville license plate cover, even to this day!” 

Dan Smith

Daniel H. Smith graduated from UW-Platteville in 2012, with degrees in soil and crop science and agriculture business. He continued his education at UW-Madison, where he earned a master’s degree in agroecology with a weed science emphasis. Smith is currently an Outreach Specialist and Southwest Regional Agronomist for UW-Madison’s Nutrient and Pest Management Program. Smith serves on the North Central Weed Science Society Board of Directors and, for the past eight years, has volunteered as a Crops Team Coach at UW-Madison. He remains heavily involved with UW-Platteville, currently serving on the UW-Platteville Foundation Board of Directors and previously serving as president of the UW-Platteville Alumni Association Board of Directors. He and his wife, who is also a UW-Platteville alumna, established the Daniel H. and Danielle L. Smith Scholarship for students in soil and crop science and horticulture.  

“UW-Platteville provided me the knowledge and networking connections to become an accomplished professional and knowledgeable citizen in a globally diverse community,” said Smith. “I am an advocate for hands-on learning and being ethically more responsible, components of a degree from UW-Platteville. I am proud to be a UW-Platteville graduate.”

Distinguished Alumni

Gary Goldberg

Gary J. Goldberg graduated from UW-Platteville in 1981 with a degree in mining engineering. He is a Director of BHP, one of the world’s top producers of iron ore, metallurgical coal, and copper, with substantial interests in oil and gas. He also serves on the board’s Remuneration, Sustainability, and Nomination and Governance Committees.

Prior to his role at BHP, Goldberg was the president and chief executive officer of Newmont Mining Corporation, president and chief executive officer of Rio Tinto Minerals, and president and chief executive officer of U.S. Borax. Goldberg’s career has allowed him to visit dozens of countries, including living in England and Australia.

In addition to his 40-year career, Goldberg has been active in several community and industry leadership positions, including the Mining and Metals sector of the World Economic Forum, International Council on Mining and Minerals, and is the founding member of the Women on Colorado Boards, which works to make more gender-balanced leadership and achieve a goal of three or more women directors on the boards of all of Colorado’s Fortune 1000 companies. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Project C.U.R.E., the world’s largest distributor of donated medical relief and as a Trustee on the Denver Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Goldberg has been honored with the Daniel C. Jackling Lifetime Achievement Award by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration. He was inducted into the American Mining Hall of Fame in 2017. In 2021, Goldberg was elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering for his distinguished contributions to engineering for promoting safety, sustainability, inclusion, value, ethics, and responsibility in the mining industry.

Goldberg earned his MBA from the University of Utah. His family has also established two scholarships at UW-Platteville, the Beth and Gary Goldberg Scholarship and the James and Joan (Brandt) Goldberg Scholarship.

“My UW-Platteville education laid the foundation for my success by helping me develop the critical thinking and interpersonal skills necessary to tackle challenges, capture opportunities, and generate sustainable solutions,” said Goldberg. “The need to continually learn and grow throughout my career was a key life lesson I took from my experience at UW-Platteville.”

George Ochs

George L. Ochs graduated from UW-Platteville in 1969 with a degree in civil engineering. In 1980, he founded a real estate development consulting firm in Denver, Colorado. He continued a successful career in real estate, holding leadership positions at Prudential Insurance, JP Morgan, Western National Group, and Cityview.   

Ochs’ community and volunteer service includes his role as Trustee and Chair of the Investment Committee for the Pension Boards of the United Church of Christ in New York, New York and Co-Founder and President of the Peshtigo High School Alumni Scholarship Fund, which has raised more than $175,000 over the past nine years.  

Ochs organizes independent fundraising events for the UW-Platteville Foundation; in 2017 and 2019, he sponsored Phi Sigma Chi / Delta Upsilon fraternity reunions on campus, raising $10,000 per reunion. This September, with a former engineering classmate, he conducted another reunion including civil engineering graduates of their era. Ochs, and his wife, Rev. Sandra D. Ochs, who also attended UW-Platteville, are lifetime Alumni Association members.  

“Upon reflection, both the City of Platteville as well as the university proved to be pivotal towards moving my young life forward in a positive direction,” said Ochs. “I recall arriving in Platteville via Greyhound bus on the Saturday night before the fall semester began, and was picked up by a local who delivered me and my luggage to the newly built Wilgus hall. What a welcome by the local community. Upon graduation from UW-Platteville, I was immediately employed in my field, which was exactly what was necessary for me to move forward into my adult life and career. My time at UW-Platteville was far more than an education, it was a well-organized, gracious, and well thought out roadmap towards my transition into adulthood as well as a professional career.”  

Todd Johnson

Todd Johnson graduated in 1981 with a degree in individually contracted engineering management. He is Chairman and CEO of Capstan Corporation, a third-generation family business he has helped lead for 40 years. Headquartered in Duluth, Minnesota, Capstan Corporation is a holding company which focuses on acquiring and growing businesses in a variety of industries, including construction, ship building, plastics, energy banking, and more.

Johnson served on the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Board of Directors for six years. He also serves on the board of directors for Cretex Companies and the Omaha Performing Arts Society.

“My education at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville prepared me very well to assume a wide variety of business responsibilities and challenges, throughout my forty-year career,” said Johnson. “No one knows what journey lies before them as they graduate, but being prepared is a great start. My career has been very challenging and rewarding. The rigor and depth that UW-Platteville expected from me in my studies made a huge difference in my lifetime successes.”

Johnson is a strong advocate for UW-Platteville and a generous supporter of the UW-Platteville Foundation, as well as a member of the Foundation’s 1866 Cornerstone Society.

Phil Molldrem

Phil Molldrem is a two-time alumnus of UW-Platteville, earning a bachelor’s degree in political science and history in 1970 and a master’s degree in secondary education in 1994. After completing post baccalaureate studies at the University of Miami, in Florida, Molldrem returned to his hometown of Boscobel and joined his dad as a partner in Sanitary Creamery, a butter and cheese manufacturing plant—a business he literally grew up in, where he always had summer jobs. As the business grew, a new state-of-the-art plant was built and markets expanded. He was active in dairy associations, including as president of the Southwest Wisconsin Cheesemakers’ Association and a board member of the Wisconsin Cheesemaker’s Association.

After selling the business, Molldrem received his Master of Science in Education from UW-Platteville. He worked for 30 years in the education field, teaching at Upper Iowa University, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, and Boscobel and Wauzeka school districts. In 2001 he returned to UW-Platteville and joined eight other graduate students assisting Dr. Rea Kirk in initial curriculum development for cross-categorical certification in special education. He also worked as a mediator in child custody cases and as a consultant for a business that provided housing for people with disabilities. He is currently a consultant for Rolling Hills Dairy Producers Cooperative in Monroe.

Molldrem is active in volunteer work both close to home and overseas. He served on the Boscobel School Board and as a member and president of the local Kiwanis Club. He has been a volunteer baseball coach for the city recreation department for 35 years and a volunteer assistant high school and middle school jazz band director for 30 years. He also is a volunteer through USAID, providing consulting services to the dairy industry in Albania, Uganda, Russia and Latvia.

Molldrem has been a strong supporter of UW-Platteville, serving for seven years on the Alumni Association Board of Directors, including two years as president and two years as vice president. He was instrumental in authoring the Memorandum of Understanding between UW-Platteville, the UW-Platteville Foundation, and the Alumni Association. Molldrum is a lifetime Alumni Association member and received the Alumni Association’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2018.

“UW-Platteville provided the opportunity for me to pursue my goals by challenging me to work hard, think critically and openly, and did so with instructors, deans, and administrators who were always available to help and provide a very important variable—positive encouragement,” said Molldrem. “It is truly an ‘alma mater grand and glorious.’”

Douglas Weirauch

Douglas A. Weirauch, Jr. graduated from UW-Platteville in 1972, with degrees in geology and mathematics. His career includes 35 years of industrial research and development experience in materials science and engineering at Owens/Corning Fiberglass Corporation; Alcoa, Inc.; and the Carborundum Company. This experience includes the processing and properties of glasses, technical ceramics, aluminum refractories, the evolution of continuously-cast aluminum surfaces, and the electrolytic smelting of aluminum. His career has included authoring over 250 proprietary reports, publishing 36 technical papers, writing two book chapters, and being cited as inventor on 17 U.S. patents.

"UW-Platteville provided a solid educational foundation for a long and productive career in science and engineering,” said Weirauch.

Weirauch has volunteered his time as a youth soccer coach and served on committees for the United Methodist Church in Murrysville, Pennsylvania. He also contributes time to the Nittany Mineralogical Society and the Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania. Weirauch is a supporter of the UW-Platteville Foundation and a lifetime member of the Alumni Association.

Michael Roy

Dr. Michael Roy is a 1969 graduate of UW-Platteville, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology. He later earned a master’s degree in tropical medicine and medical parasitology from the Louisiana State University Medical Center and a Ph.D. in pathology from UW-Madison.

Roy is an Emeritus Professor at UW-Madison, having taught as Adjunct Professor in the Master of Science Biotechnology Program. He has successfully developed biopharmaceutical and medical device products for more than 30 years, serving as a consultant since 2001 with BioDevelopment Resources, Inc., Science Applications International Corporation, and more recently, at Michael Roy and Associates. Much of his work has focused upon early development of novel biotechnology products and vaccines with emphasis on product development planning, regulatory affairs, quality systems, and project management. 

Roy spent 10 years as a civilian scientist at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, where he managed and led biopharmaceutical development projects aimed at creating over 20 products. He retired as a Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, where he was involved in the development of in vitro diagnostics and established ISO quality systems for diagnostic laboratories at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Ft. Detrick, Maryland. Roy is also the author of the book Biotechnology Operations: Principles and Practices, recently published by CRC Press.

“I am most grateful to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville for providing me with an excellent college education in the arts and sciences,” said Roy, who has served on the advisory committee for UW-Platteville’s biology program for 13 years. “My UW-Platteville experiences were the foundation that allowed me to progress into my chosen scientific, military, and teaching careers and endeavors.”

Michael Fiedler

Michael Fiedler earned a degree in speech communications, with a broadcast emphasis, in 1971. He led a three-decade long career in broadcast engineering, spending the majority of it at KMSP TV in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he advanced to assistant chief engineer.

Fiedler recently retired as a senior business analyst for Delta Airlines. He received numerous awards from Delta Airlines for his service there since 2006.

Fiedler has remained a champion for UW-Platteville throughout his career. He was a member of the College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture Alumni Chapter board and is currently secretary of the UW-Platteville Alumni Association.  Fiedler is also a strong supporter of the UW-Platteville Foundation and a member of the 1866 Cornerstone Society.

“[At UW-Platteville] I was taught a certain amount of flexibility in work. I found out shortly after graduation that I would need to be flexible as to what aspect of broadcast I would focus on and later in my airline career to be flexible to do whatever came my way,” said Fiedler. “Another thing I learned from Platteville and my mantra at Delta was, ‘I don't have all of the answers to problems, but I will find one, and I most likely will find it by collaborating with others.’”

Mike North

Mike North graduated from UW-Platteville in 1996, with a degree in agribusiness. He began his career in the futures industry with First Capitol Ag in Platteville. After nearly two decades there, he founded Commodity Risk Management Group in 2014, the company that he would later merge with Rice Dairy to form ever.ag. In 2021, ever.ag merged with Dairy.com to broaden its offering to not only the dairy industry vertical but also grain and livestock producers and end users as well.  His team of brokers and advisors leads production and processing clients in their efforts to construct marketing plans and margin management programs. 

North enjoys using his experience to educate producers and business professionals about the tools available for price protection and risk management. He has been published in several agricultural periodicals; is a regular guest on several national programs, such as AgDay, RFDTV, and the U.S. Farm Report; can be heard frequently on several local and national radio programs; served as a part-time lecturer at UW-Platteville; and is a featured speaker at programs across the country. 

In 2008, North was elected to the board of directors of the Dairy Business Association, an organization which represents the dairy industry and its economic and environmental stake in Wisconsin. He now serves as its president. North has been honored as the 2006 Rising Star in Business for the Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin Tri-State Region, and in 2011 as the recipient of the UW-Platteville Outstanding Alumni Award. He is a strong supporter of the UW-Platteville Foundation and donates his time to speak to UW-Platteville classes and student organizations.  

“I came to UW Platteville with only a vague idea of what I wanted to accomplish in life,” said North. “I knew a variety of people that I had met in other arenas. However, I didn't know myself. UW-Platteville fostered a tremendous platform for higher education, but more importantly created an environment where I could learn who I was, what I did well, and how I could use that to better my life and the world around me. What took place in the classroom was second to none. What happened outside of it was life changing.”