Meet the Board


Ashley (Sollman) Gausman, Board President
Agricultural Business, Agronomy minor, 2009
Previously a sales agronomist for Western Wisconsin Ag Supply in Ellsworth, Ashley recently began a new job as an Innovation Specialist for BASF. She enjoys working with agronomic information, technology, and cooperative services for growers. Ashley explains that her coursework in CAFES laid the ground work for her entire professional career. While a CAFES student, she was exposed to many facets of agriculture and people who shared the same interests and desires for the industry as she. It was through these experiences that she gained an awareness of what it really meant to be an agriculture graduate and how it opened the doors to endless opportunities. Ashley lives in Baldwin with her husband, Bill where they have a corn and soybean operation.

Whitney Thome 

Whitney (Piessig) Thome
Ag Marketing Communications major, Ag Business and Food Science minors, 2011
Knowing that she wanted to pursue a career in agriculture, Whitney, originally of Dorchester, WI, chose UW-River Falls. Once at UWRF, she became involved with organizations such as the Agriculture Education Society and the Agriculture Business and Marketing Society. Immediately following graduation, Whitney began working with John Deere. She has been with the company for three years in De Witt, Iowa and has held various roles within Remarketing (used equipment), Order Fulfillment (combine manufacturing) and Parts (metric analysis). Currently, she works within the Parts Division as a Dealer Parts Management Analyst. In this role, Whitney works directly with agriculture and construction dealer accounts to manage their part inventory at a location level.

Stephanie_Jens_Board members

Stephanie Jens, Secretary
Dairy Science major, Chemistry minor, 2005
Stephanie grew up on a small beef farm in Southeast Minnesota and graduated from UWRF in 2005. After college, Stephanie worked for six years at a small agriculture research and development company, providing technical support across the U.S. For the past two years, Stephanie has worked at Lallemand Animal Nutrition as a Territory Business Manager. Stephanie lives with her husband, Josh, and two sons, Cade and Mason, in Randolph, WI. They are expecting their third son this June. Stephanie enjoys reconnecting with other UWRF alumni across the industry. 

Andy Carlson


Andy Carlson
Animal Science - Dairy emphasis, 1983
Andy works as a dairy nutritionist for Vita Plus Corporation in central Minnesota. CAFES challenged him to better understand how dynamic industry agriculture was and introduced him to people who were committed to participating in and serving that industry. Andy says that CAFES is big enough to attract great teachers but small enough to care about individual students. He lives in Darwin, Minn., with his wife, Julie, their son, Aaron, and daughter, Nicole. 


Wendy Kannel
Ag Education, 2003
Wendy has been with the Wisconsin Farm Bureau since 2010 and is the Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Coordinator and Director of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation. Prior to moving to the Madison office, she worked with Farm Bureau members throughout Northwest Wisconsin. After graduating from UWRF in 2003, Wendy was the Agriscience Teacher and FFA Advisor for the Mishicot School District and also served as an adjunct instructor for Lakeshore Technical College. Wendy states that UWRF offered not only great instruction but also opened many networking opportunities and experiences that have helped her in her current position.


Leah (Johnson) James
Ag Education, 2007
Leah grew up on a dairy farm in Southeast Minnesota and graduated from UWRF in 2007. After college, she worked for four years for the American Jersey Cattle Association traveling the U.S. as a type appraiser and area representative. For the past two years, Leah has worked within the AI industry and currently serves as U.S. Jersey Marketing Manager with Genex Cooperative. Leah also farms with her husband, Jason, in Mineral Point where they have a herd of 125 cows. Leah shares that the diversity of courses and networking opportunities in her undergraduate studies built relationships and valuable industry connections that have helped her in her career. 

Krishona Martinson

Krishona (Bjork) Martinson
Agronomy, Ag Business minor, 1998
Krishona currently works for the University of Minnesota as an equine extension specialist in the Department of Animal Science. She insists that CAFES faculty were the key to making campus great! She says that Lou Greub, Steve Carlson, Don Taylor, and Lewi May were especially effective and influential professors during her college career. She resides in Otsego, Minn., with her husband, Chad and children, Montana and Matalyn. 

Jenni Skiba

Jenni (Drinkall) Skiba
Dairy Science, 2003
Having focused her studies on the dairy management option, Jenni currently works with her husband and his family on their family farm, Diamonds S Farm, and is the owner of Silver Star Jerseys. She was also previously employed by Land O'Lakes and the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation. Jenni advises students to get as much out of their coursework as they can, and to take advantage of the opportunities and resources that are open to them during their college years. Come with an open mind, she says, you never know what course might change your career path. Skiba lives in North Branch, Minn., with her husband and three young children. 

Peter Weber1

Peter Weber, Vice President
Animal Science/Ag Business, 1988
Peter grew up on a family dairy farm in Colby, WI, and it was there that he realized his passion for the genetics and reproductive programs. During his time at UWRF, he secured a summer internship at Genex Cooperative, and, following graduation, was offered full-time employment with Genex where he is still employed today. Peter's role at Genex has envolved over the years, from technician to sales manager to his current role as a National Account Manager. He looks forward to the opportunity to promote UW-River Falls and to give back to CAFES in time and talent. 

Contact Us

College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
Fax 715-425-3785
210 Agricultural Science
611 S. 3rd St.
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