News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Daniel Wackershauser, Marketing Specialist
Phone: 608.822.2303
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date of Release: February 14, 2024

Friends completing Supply Chain program together

Duo set to graduate in May

Fennimore -

The idea of returning to school while already in a stable job can be a daunting proposition for some. For two friends in Louisiana, they took the plunge together. Desha Burns, 40, and Kim Salinas, 47, are enrolled in Southwest Wisconsin Tecnhical College’s Supply Chain Management program. After two years of studying in the online program, the duo will be graduating together in May with honors and associate degrees. They have also earned a place in Phi Theta Kappa’s Honors Society due to their hard work and tenacity. “Kim started talking about it and I could tell she was serious, so I said, ‘let’s do it. Why not?’ So, here we are,” said Burns.

“It’s always good to further your education,” said Burns. “If something happens in my current job and this doesn’t pan out I will need something to fall back on. Getting a degree makes it that much easier if I have to find something moving forward. You can lose a job,but never an education.”

Two women taking a selfie.
Desha Burns (left) and Kim Salinas.

“I’ve always wanted to get my degree,” said Salinas. “Right out of high school, things didn’t work out the way I wanted them to. It’s always been on my heart to go back to school and get my degree. I may have had the experience, but I didn’t have all of the education I needed. One day I prayed about it and Googled the best colleges.”

“I am setting an example for my boys that education is important and it is never too late to go after a dream,” said Burns.

“Doing this shows other generations in my family the importance of education and I hope my journey encourages them to go to college too,” said Salinas.

The women acknowledged that when they started the program they were a bit overwhlemed, however, that subsided. “Once you get over those first few weeks, I promise it will get better,” said Salinas. “The time just flies by and you get in the groove of it.”

“The staff has been wonderful the entire time,” said Burns. “Overall, it’s been a really good experience.”

Being able to go through the program together has been beneficial for the friends, who met over nine years ago. “I don’t know if I would have gotten this far without her help,” said Salinas. “It has made it so much easier. Having somebody there who can relate, it has been really great.”

They have built-in study partners and they push each other to stay on track. “It is definitely helpful to have someone familiar with what you are doing, especially online,” said Burns.

Both Burns and Salinas currently work in the supply chain field. Burns is a supply chain, collections and accounts payables manager, while Salinas is a purchasing coordinator.

Doris Pulvermacher, former supply chain instructor at Southwest Tech, noted that the gender ratio for supply chain positions is becoming more equitable. She highlighted numbers from the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics, which showed in 2016 the career field included 35-percent women. That figure has risen to 41 percent. The number of women in supply chain managerial roles is still low, with the center noting 15 percent of women holding those positions.

“What I have seen, is that whenever you are a woman in this field, especially on the oil field side, you run into a lot of men who feel that you aren’t as qualified if you don’t have a degree and many just because you are a woman,” said Burns. “Despite doing this for many many years, I still get that question, ‘well what do you even know about this?’”

Doris Pulvermacher

Pulvermacher said it has been a pleasure having Burns and Salinas in the program. “From my perspective as an instructor, if my program was filled with Deshas and Kims, my job would be super easy,” she said. “They are amazing students who share their experiences in the courses, which help other students to learn and grow.”

As for any advice for others who may be thinking about returning to further their education, the women strongly advise doing it. “We’ve learned and gained a lot,” said Burns. “Don’t put it off because no time is ever going to be the ‘right time.’”

“Do not give up,” said Salinas. “It is overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, it is a lot easier.”

A majority of students in the Supply Chain Management program are non-traditional, and are working in various careers. After graduation, they tend to get promoted within their organizations. It’s a good way to advance within a company. Both Burns and Salinas are hopeful this will aid in advancement in their current roles within their organizations.

More information about the program can be found at

| Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, is one of 16 institutions that comprise the Wisconsin Technical College System. Southwest Tech offers more than 60 programs in a wide variety of disciplines. Courses are offered on campus, online, HyFlex and in a blended format. The college provides apprenticeship, certificate, technical diploma, and associate degree programs that respond to district workforce needs and prepare student for family-sustaining jobs and career advancement.

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