News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Katie Glass, Marketing Manager and Public Information Officer
Phone: 608.822.2411
Email: kglass@swtc.edu
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date: April 30, 2019

SWTC team earns prestigious DMI award for improved risk management system

Fennimore -

Elkhart Lake, Wis. – A team of Southwest Wisconsin Technical College employees earned one of the top awards at the 2019 District Mutual Insurance (DMI) annual meeting.

The team of Josh Bedward, Dave Friesen, John Troxel, and Brandon Wallin were awarded DMI’s prestigious J. Timothy Greene Risk Impact Award for its work on implementing an improved mass notification system for the campus. DMI is comprised of the 16 technical college districts of Wisconsin.

First introduced to Wisconsin Technical College System members in 2016, the award is intended to honor those integral to creating or maintaining a risk-aware culture. Nominations can be made by any employee of any WTCS college, for the following reasons: Reduction of a specific risk; improving the overall risk environment; initiating programs that address risk issues or any other outstanding risk management achievement, DMI award criteria states.

“Creating and maintaining a risk-aware culture is a college-wide effort. However, as with any project, some individuals make outstanding contributions who may go unrecognized. DMI seeks to recognize those individuals within the college community that is making exceptional contributions to the area of risk management. DMI realizes that contributions can be made by anyone, regardless of job duties or title, and seeks to recognize these individuals via the DMI Risk Impact Award.

DMI’s criteria say technical colleges can nominate individuals or teams who represent the frontline “boots on the ground” staff that have made a significant contribution to reducing risk on campus. We are looking for individuals who have made outstanding contributions, above and beyond what is normally expected.”

Their peers nominate award recipients. Then the DMI staff evaluates each nomination and makes a final award selection. DMI intends to make this recognition inclusive rather than exclusive, by recognizing the unsung heroes of risk management and encouraging the concept that risk management is everyone’s responsibility.

This year, Southwest Tech Director of Facilities, Safety and Security Dan Imhoff and Information Technology Systems (ITS) Director Heath Ahnen co-nominated the “Campus Mass Notification Implementation Team” for DMI’s Risk Impact Award. Bedward is the daily maintenance lead/master electrician, while Friesen and Troxel are network administrators for the campus’ information technology systems (ITS). Wallin works as a maintenance technician. 

In the award application, Imhoff described the team’s impact during the award application.

Imhoff wrote that, in 2017 Southwest Tech, with the help of Tim McNulty of DMI, identified the college’s mass notification system as an area that could be improved. So this team along with other members of the ITS and facilities staffs completed a DMI Risk Management Project Award application to enhance the system.

The application called for the installation of several pieces of new equipment, and the modification to existing equipment to enable college officials to and quickly alert our college community in an emergency. The Risk Management Project Award application was approved, and the team dove head first into making this project a success.

Over the past year, this group has taken on the task of designing, installing, and implementing the campus-wide mass notification system. These team members accepted this daunting task in addition to their regular campus duties without complaint or desire for recognition, Imhoff said. Each member of the team recognized the value an all-inclusive mass notification system provided to the safety and security of our campus community and used their diverse skill set to make this project a success.

“The coordination and communication by these individuals throughout this process could be used as an example of how to complete any cross-departmental project,” Ahnen said.

“Each team member was willing to put aside his respective ego and do whatever it took to make this project a success,” Imhoff added. “Everyone involved in the project was willing to provide and accept feedback in a constructive measure that ensured the success of this endeavor and an improvement in our general campus safety.”

DMI Staff agreed with Imhoff and Ahnen’s recommendation to recognize this team for its achievements, and the award certificate was presented to them during DMI’s 15th Anniversary Dinner Program on April 11. “This team most certainly exemplifies the award criteria,” said a DMI spokesperson. “It is DMI’s pleasure to recognize this team for its significant achievement in reducing risks on SWTC’s campus and promoting safety and awareness for all.”

Imhoff and Ahnen presented the improved system at all-staff in-service on April 19. Their presentation was well-received. “We are continually trying to improve our systems, especially when we can mitigate risk. We are proud of the efforts of this team and look forward to new and exciting ways to make our system even better,” Imhoff said.

Ahnen (2017) and Brian Kitelinger, Southwest Tech safety coordinator, who won in 2018, have been past recipients of the J. Timothy Greene Risk Impact Award from DMI.

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