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WCTC wraps up centennial year with formal gala

Local organizations honored with Employer of the Century awards


PEWAUKEE, Wis. (Friday, Nov. 10, 2023) - Waukesha County Technical College on Thursday, Nov. 9, officially wrapped up its centennial year with a formal gala that honored the College’s remarkable 100-year history, while looking ahead to the institution’s next century of impact. As a highlight of the evening, the College recognized local organizations with prestigious Employer of the Century awards.

The Employer of the Century awards recognize an organization’s unwavering commitment to the College and the shared values of education, innovation and workforce development. These organizations have been steadfast in their support of WCTC students, programs and the College as a whole.

“WCTC is grateful to have so many generous employer partners in the community who champion technical education, support our students and help move our College forward,” said WCTC President Rich Barnhouse, Ph.D., “The Employer of the Century award is just one way the College can recognize some of these incredible community partners and leaders.”

WCTC selected award winners for each of its five schools:


EoTC -- Applied Tech Quad – School of Applied Technologies

Quad has had a longstanding partnership with WCTC for 30+ years. Quad consistently sends employees to WCTC to participate in apprenticeships, helps develop programs, donates significant funds for building projects and student scholarships, has employees serve on advisory committees and much more. (Pictured, from left: Mike Shiels, dean of the WCTC School of Applied Technologies; David Honan, executive vice president and COO of QUAD; Rich Barnhouse, WCTC president.)


Gerhard’s Kitchen, Bath and Lighting – School of BusinessEOTC -Business

Gerhard’s Kitchen, Bath and Lighting has had a solid connection with WCTC for several years. The business has welcomed a number of interns to their stores, staff have served on advisory committees, and Gerhard’s was instrumental in the planning and execution of WCTC’s kitchen and bath lab. (Pictured, from left: Jon Koch, dean of the WCTC School of Business; Jade Phelps, Gerhard’s Kitchen, Bath & Lighting store manager; Rich Barnhouse, WCTC president.)


EoTC - HealthProHealth Care – School of Health

ProHealth Care has been an integral part of the success of students in WCTC health programs. ProHealth has collaborated with WCTC at outreach events and is a strong partner at all levels of student development, including providing consistent clinical sites, having staff serve on advisory committees, donating supplies and more.  (Pictured, from left: Michele Nelson, dean of the WCTC School of Health; Phil Kubow, ProHealth Care chief HR officer; Rich Barnhouse, WCTC president.)

EoTC - Pro & HS


Waukesha Police and Fire departments – School of Protective and Human Services

The departments have been valued partners and supporters of the Criminal Justice program and Fire/EMS programs, respectively, for many years. Both agencies have employees who also serve as instructors at WCTC, and they provide high-quality training to students and those already working in these fields. Members of both departments serve on advisory committees to help shape programs, and many students move to internship roles and later part- and full-time positions within these organizations. (Pictured, from left: Greg West, dean of the WCTC School of Protective and Human Services; Assistant Fire Chief Joseph Hoffman of the Waukesha Fire Department; Police Chief Daniel Thompson of the Waukesha Police Department; Rich Barnhouse, WCTC president.)


EOTC -- Art&SciencesWaukesha County Sheriff’s Department – School of Arts and Sciences

The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department, and specifically the Waukesha County Jail, have partnered with WCTC for more than 50 years to provide educational opportunities to incarcerated individuals. These educational programs provide a service to the individuals who participate in them as well as to the greater community by reducing recidivism rates. (Pictured, from left: Bethany Leonard, dean of the WCTC School of Arts and Sciences; Angie Wollenhaup, Waukesha County Jail administrator; Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson; Rich Barnhouse, WCTC president.)


In addition to the awards presentation, guests viewed an alumni video featuring WCTC grads,  heard from three student speakers, enjoyed a catered dinner, and indulged in artfully created desserts from WCTC Baking and Pastry Management students.

Beyond the gala, which capped off the centennial year, WCTC has recognized its milestone anniversary with a number of activities, including the unveiling of a new mascot, a campus and community cleanup event held on Earth Day, the lighting of the Hoan Bridge, a golf outing, celebrity chef dinner and others.

“This 100th anniversary year has been so special to the entire WCTC community,” Barnhouse said.  “The celebrations and events held throughout 2023 have allowed us to reminisce about the past and reflect on our growth, accomplishments and victories, but we are just getting started. As we look ahead, we are excited to focus on the horizon and intentionally leading WCTC into the future.” 

About Waukesha County Technical College

Waukesha County Technical College, the leader in workforce development, prepares learners for success within the region and global economy. The College offers more than 170 areas of study including associate degree, technical diploma, apprenticeship and short-term certificate programs. Customized training for employers is also available. To learn more, visit