Waupaca Foundry Supports Youth Development
Iron Casting Supplier Receives Child Advocacy Award
(WAUPACA, WIS.) June 1, 2022 — Waupaca Foundry has been honored by the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators (WASDA) with the statewide 2021-2022 Bert Grover Child Advocacy Award - Business for its significant commitment to children.
Waupaca Foundry is the only business statewide to receive the award. There are over 420 school districts in the state of Wisconsin eligible to nominate a person or a business for the Child Advocacy Award. The Business Award acknowledges the exceptional business educational partnerships throughout the state of Wisconsin that supports the greater mission of educating all children. To be eligible for the award, the business must demonstrate significant commitment to children by sharing time, talents and/or financial support.
“We nominated Waupaca Foundry for this award because they are child advocates. They are in our community not only saying how much they support our schools but are providing their time and talent by having their employees come in and be mentors to our students right here in our schools,” said Ron Sarri, School District of Waupaca superintendent.
Waupaca Foundry has a history of investing in the next generation of talent through scholarships, high school work co-op and apprenticeship programs, and donations and partnerships with local schools.
“Engaging youth and their parents concerning high-quality career opportunities in manufacturing is essential for our future. For too long, too many have perceived manufacturing jobs as an undesirable career path in the U.S. Exposing youth to the benefits of careers in manufacturing is exciting, especially when the student recognizes the significance of the industry and its vitality in the global economy,” said Kirk Kallio, director of human resources.
In the 2021-2022 academic year, Waupaca Foundry provided 75 high school co-ops and youth apprenticeships to students in an effort to develop their skills and offer career pathways into manufacturing.
“Whether it’s time and talents from folks on the team, financial resources, or in-kind equipment – we’re investing in our community. When we build strong communities that translates to a strong team at Waupaca Foundry,” said Sara Timm, director of marketing at Waupaca Foundry.
On May 27, 2022, Waupaca Foundry celebrated its 2021-2022 academic year co-op students and youth apprentices at Waupaca High School for signing day. Signing day, a tradition now in its second year recognizes the graduating high school seniors that plan to pursue a career in skilled trades. Local business co-op students and youth apprentices announced their future career plans at the event. Graduating high school seniors who are pursuing a career in skilled trades and have elected to work for local employers were also recognized. Three Waupaca High School graduating seniors committed to Waupaca Foundry, and more than 100 students will continue seasonal work this summer before heading off to their first year of postgraduate education. The three graduating seniors joining Waupaca Foundry’s workforce:
- Caleb Mullet and Jordan Plum will attend Mid-State Technical College to study in the Precision Machining Technician Program while working at Waupaca Foundry. The apprenticeship program offers a unique opportunity to gain on-the-job training and earn industry-recognized credentials while receiving a full-time wage.
- Ian Walsh is now a full-time employee working in molding at Waupaca Foundry.
“Working with the school districts is a great advantage for Waupaca Foundry and our community. Collaborating with schools to create opportunities for students and develop their skills at the high school level has been rewarding for Waupaca Foundry, districts, and students,” said Rob Johnson, Waupaca Foundry executive vice president administration, CFO, and treasurer.
In a capstone to the academic year and in honor of the Class of 2022, $27,500 in scholarships were awarded to 17 high school seniors across the United States. The scholarships were presented in the last two weeks in May to school districts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. Many graduating seniors who received a $2,000 or $1,000 foundry scholarship are children of Waupaca Foundry employees, and all will attend a two-year or four-year college or university this year. Scholarships awards are as follows:
Waupaca, Wisconsin: Six scholarships totaling $10,000
- Shania Sopa is a graduate of Waupaca High School. She was awarded a $2,000 scholarship and will attend Marquette University to study nursing. Sopa is the daughter of Shawn Sopa, an electrical maintenance technician at Waupaca Foundry.
- Vincent Nikolai is a graduate of Waupaca High School. He was awarded a $2,000 scholarship and will attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison to study kinesiology. Nikolai is the son of Waupaca Foundry President, COO and CEO Mike Nikolai.
- Aryah Elm is a graduate of Wild Rose High School. She was awarded a $2,000 scholarship and will attend The University of Alabama to study law. Elm is the daughter of Todd Grambsch, a mill room inspector.
- Kyle Hotvedt is a graduate of Waupaca High School. He was awarded a $1,000 scholarship and will attend Fox Valley Technical College to study aeronautics, pilot training. Hotvedt is the son of Waupaca Foundry Credit Analyst Mary Hotvedt.
- Brock Keil is a graduate of Waupaca High School. He was awarded a $1,000 scholarship and will attend Northeast Wisconsin Technical College to study electrical power distribution, gas and utilities. Keil is the son of Matt Keil, a lab technician.
- Brooke Peterson is a graduate of Waupaca High School. She was awarded a $2,000 scholarship and will attend the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to study accounting. Peterson is currently working in an accounting co-op role at Waupaca Foundry and will continue in the position this summer.
Marinette, Wisconsin: Four scholarships totaling $7,000
- Kayla Drifka is a graduate of Menomonie High School. She was awarded a $2,000 scholarship and will attend the University of Michigan to pursue a degree in psychology/neuroscience research. Drifka is the daughter of Tim Thill, a tooling engineer at Waupaca Foundry.
- Charles Bailey is a graduate of Marinette High School. He was awarded a $2,000 scholarship and will attend the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to pursue a teaching degree. Bailey is the son of Tom Bailey, a process control technician.
- Jonathan Kregel is a graduate of Marinette High School. He was awarded a $1,000 scholarship and will attend Northeast Wisconsin Technical College-Marinette to pursue a degree in electro-mechanics.
- Alex Raygo is a graduate of Peshtigo Middle/High School. He was awarded a $2,000 scholarship and will attend Michigan Technological University to pursue a degree in chemical engineering. Raygo is the son of Roger Raygo, a VMM operator at Waupaca Foundry.
Tell City, Indiana: Seven scholarships totaling $10,500
- Wyatt Kreilein is a graduate of Tell City High School. He was awarded the $1,500 Stephen Lochner Technical Scholarship and will attend Indiana University to pursue a degree in chemistry.
- Tyler Hubert is a graduate of Perry County Central High School. He was awarded a $1,500 scholarship and will attend the University of Southern Indiana to pursue a degree in engineering. Hubert is the son of Shane Hubert, an engineering manager at Waupaca Foundry.
- Nicolas Hilgenhold is a graduate of Perry County Central High School. He was awarded a $1,500 scholarship and will attend the University of Louisville, Murray State University or Purdue Polytechnic to pursue a degree in engineering. Hilgenhold is the son of Greg Hilgenhold, a molding service person at Waupaca Foundry.
- Kyle Eubank is a graduate of Heritage Hills High School. He was awarded a $1,500 scholarship and will attend Indiana University to study human biology. Eubank is the son of Jeff Eubank a project engineer at Waupaca Foundry.
- Maura Kluesner is a graduate of Gibson Southern High School. She was awarded a $1,500 scholarship and will attend the University of Southern Indiana to study chemistry/math/pre-dentistry.
- Ankita Kashyab is a graduate of Tell City High School. She was awarded a $1,500 scholarship and will attend the University of Louisville to pursue a degree in engineering.
- Joshua Rogier is a graduate of Perry Central High School. He was awarded a $1,500 scholarship and will attend the University of Louisville to pursue a degree in engineering.
The 2021-2022 WASDA Bert Grover Child Advocacy-Award Business was presented on April 21, 2022, at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, presented as part of the WASDA Annual Educational Conference.