News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kim Schmelz, External Relations & Alumni Development
Phone: 608.822.2379
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date: April 19, 2017

Kretschman Receives Innovation of the Year Award

Fennimore -

Eight Southwest Wisconsin Technical College employees were recognized on April 13 at the all-campus in-service on the Southwest Tech campus as nominees for the Innovation of the Year award.  Tom Kretschman, Criminal Justice Instructor, is the 2017 recipient of the award.

The Innovation of the Year Award is designed to recognize college staff members who have designed and implemented a significant innovation that meets the criteria of the award, including an increase in the quality of a course, program, office or the institution; contributes to a more efficient process; adds value to the institution while reducing costs; can be replicated in other departments or institutions; is original and creative and was not developed more than five years ago. A committee of campus representatives makes the selection of the award.

Dr. Joan Senn, retired Vice President of Academics at Southwest Tech, established the Innovation of the Year endowment through the Southwest Tech Foundation to ensure a monetary award for the Innovation of the Year winner and/or other nominees. According to Senn, “Southwest Tech is fortunate to have fantastic faculty and staff members who consistently look toward the betterment of the College and the success of its students. This award gives them a chance to share their implemented ideas with colleagues and the public and encourages the continuance of innovation at Southwest Tech.”

Holly Clendenen, Executive Director of the Foundation, presented the awards and gave a brief description of the nominee’s innovations. Kretchsman’s winning innovation was the development and implementation of a recruitment plan that significantly increased criminal justice enrollment.

Bonnie O’Brien, Matthew Baute, and Brek Schneider were recognized as finalists for improving the basic education entry process. Danielle Seippel was also recognized as a finalist for her work with process improvement in Student Services.

To learn more about Southwest Tech, the Southwest Tech Foundation or the Innovation of the Year award, please contact Clendenen at (608) 822-2362 or


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