Alumni: Meet the Board

CAFES Alumni Board

Andy Carlson, President

Andy Carlson

Animal Science - Dairy emphasis, 1983
Andy Carlson works as a dairy nutritionist for Vita Plus Corporation in central Minnesota. CAFES challenged Carlson to better understand how dynamic industry agriculture was and introduced him to people who were committed to participating in and serving that industry. Carlson 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.

Chad GlazeChad Glaze

Broad Area Ag, Animal Science minor, 1997
Owner of Vine Vest North, Inc., Glaze is a full-time crop insurance agent. He is also an auctioneer and real estate broker for Wausau Sales Corp. Still close with many friends from CAFES, he felt that campus was just the right size and he was immediately "at home" when he attended UWRF. While classroom work was essential, the "hands-on" experiences he received as a student from outdoor labs and internship programs really prepared him for his future and he encourages students to take advantage of those experiences. He resides in Merrill, with his wife, Kristin, also a UWRF graduate, and their son, Jase, and daughter, Katy.

Ashley (Sollman) GausmanAshley

Agricultural Business, Agronomy minor, 2009 A sales agronomist for Western Wisconsin Ag Supply in Ellsworth, Gausman enjoys working directly with agronomic information, technology, and cooperative services for growers. Gausman explains that CAFES prepared her for more than just her current job - her coursework 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. Gausman lives in Baldwin with her husband, Bill where they have a corn and soybean operation.


Wendy Kannel - NEW

Ag Education, 2003
Kannel has been with the Wisconsin Farm Bureau as a District Coordinator since June of 2010. Her responsibilities include working with county Farm Bureaus to develop and implement programs to serve Farm Bureau members. 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. Kannel states that UWRF offered not only great instruction but opened many networking opportunities and experiences that have helped her in her current position.

Leah (Johnson) James - NEW


Ag Education, 2007
James grew up on a dairy farm in SE MN and graduated from UWRF in 2007. After college, James 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 the U.S. Jersey Marketing Manager with Genex Cooperative. James also farms with her husband, Jason, in Mineral Point, WI, where they have a herb of 125 cows. James shares that the diversity of courses and networking opportunities that were available throughout her undergraduate studies, built relationships and valuable industry connections that have helped her in her career.

Krishona MartinsonKrishona (Bjork) Martinson

Agronomy, Ag Business minor, 1998
Martinson 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, Secretary

Dairy Science, 2003
Having focused her studies on the dairy management option, Skiba 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. Skiba 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.


Leslie (Shuler) Svacina

Marketing Communications, Ag Business minor, 2004
Currently an academic advisor for first-year students at UW-Stout in Menomonie, Svacina also earned an MS in agribusiness from Kansas State University and an MS Ed. in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education from the UW-La Crosse. She held marketing communications positions at CHS Inc., in Inver Grove Heights, Minn., and at the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council in St. Paul, Minn. When thinking about UWRF, Svacina recalls the great friendships she made with others passionate about agriculture. Whether through AdEd/FFA, Dairy Club, or marketing communications classes, many of her close friendships today stem from her experiences at UWRF.

Troy Talford

Troy Talford, Vice President

Agricultural Education, 2005
Talford is an educator in the Sauk Prairie School District, and is an active member of both the Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators and the National Association of Agricultural Educators. While work in the classroom prepared Talford for teaching agricultural topics and content, he explains that it was the involvement in extracurricular programs and residential life that taught him how to work with others which is now a crucial component to his success as a teacher.

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