2005–Spring ’18 Class Letter

Class Agents:

Amanda Zahn Przybyl

W 2743 Cherry Lane

Green Lake WI 54941

(920) 299-1081

[email protected]

Daphne Meyers Leigh

7026 West Rogers Street

West Allis WI 53219

(414) 841-7210

[email protected]

Greetings Ripon College Class of 2005!


I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I last wrote you all!  Life is pretty normal- trying to get the oldest to school on time each day, working, getting supper/homework/baths in, bedtime routine and a little quiet time for me and then off to do it all again the next day.  I do have to admit with two young kids at home (now 6 and 2) I was struggling a bit to find a balance in my life that allowed me to be a mom, wife, employee AND just plain old me. The biggest problem was I hadn’t yet figured out that what I was “missing” in my life was me!  I had an opportunity to help a friend earn an incentive with her direct sales company, Thirty-One Gifts,- so I joined in April! I was only going to sell for a month or two then be done, but what I found was myself! Now I get time for me to be me and a chance to make some extra cash for the family.  Turns out I really like sales, connecting with other women and the company I work for is pretty darn amazing. It’s also forced me to join Facebook, so look me up (Amanda Przybyl), and let’s be friends! I hope this letter finds you striving to be the best version of you and reaching your goals.


I’m still at Ripon, running the Mail Center and enjoying connecting with students.  Early fall we just completed the massive overhaul of our athletic facility, now call The Willmore (and yes, I still call it Storzer when I’m in a hurry and forget), a re-do of Demmer (goodbye orange chairs) and all those little here and there projects that make life better/more colorful.  Even with the changes that are ever a part of the culture, there are many things that remain the same- the faculty and staff still care about each and every single student and work hard each day to make their experience a true “Ripon” experience; the students still complain about the food and housing and they certainly don’t realize how good they have it compared to when we were here; but most importantly is that the students are always striving to do more, be more and learn more.  I’m so grateful that we’re able to attract and retain students that make me proud to say I work at Ripon College!


Here is what is going on with your classmates:


MICHELLE COOK ERICKSON ’05“We welcomed our 3rd child, Axton James Cook on February 15.  His big sister Lorelai and big brother Ryker are very excited to have another brother.”


SHELBY DEERNING ’05 writes that she- “Continues her work as a journalist, specializing in lifestyle writing for national publications that include Architectural Digest, USA Today, The Cottage Journal, and Prevention. In late 2017, she was accepted into the ASJA (the American Society of Journalists and Authors), and when she’s not writing, you’ll find her going for her beloved runs or frequenting flea markets.” 


BJ DERNBACH ’05 writes that he-“was recently appointed to serve as the Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. In this new role, he will be working closely on development of policy and communications for the Department.”


CADY SINWELL GERLACH ’05 writes that- “PETER GERLACH ’02 is the Director of International Affairs at Coe College, and I am still practicing law at Meardon, Sueppel & Downer in Iowa City, Iowa. We have to great little boys, Max (8 months) and Leo (almost 2). We’re busy and happy – looking for a new adventure soon!”


JUANITA BAATZ GUTBROD ’05 of Sussex, Wisconsin, writes that she is “working at St. Bruno as the 3 & 4 year old academic Kindergarten teacher and also, helping her husband with Arcadeaholics LLC Cosmotrons’ arcade development and sales.”

CHARLES JOHNSON ’05 writes that he is- “Currently still living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My daughter, Charli, is now 3, and we have a mini Juliana piglet named Cami that is now part of the family. For business I have since simplified a few things. I unloaded 8 properties with the increase in values, and sold my fitness franchise as well. Currently, I manage 5 properties that I also own, and am also a 50/50 partner is a car dealership specializing in subprime in-house financing as well! We hope everyone is well!”


ZIAD KHAN ’05– “Vincent (my dog) and I moved to Boston in February 2017 from Fort Myers, Florida. I moved because of a new job I accepted with J.Jill Inc. as a software development Manager.”


AMANDA GUAY KREJCAREK ’05– “Gene and I are looking forward to welcoming our second child, a boy, in June. Gracelyn is very excited to be a big sister!” 


JOE LAEDTKE ’05– “In the spring of 2017, Edible Milwaukee was sold and my time as an Art Director ended. Since then, I did some commercial work for Aiwa speakers and Outpost Natural Foods Co-op here in the Milwaukee area, as well as making an appearance as a judge on the Big Bad BBQ Brawl on the Cooking Channel. In January 2018, I accepted a position at the Prasser Kleczka Funeral Home, continuing my 11 year career as a funeral director.”


PAUL LARSON ’05 wrote- “I got promoted to associate professor of economics and wrote a new certificate program in data literacy.  Kids, Parker (5 in May) and Tanner (3 in May) shape a lot of my free time, so I’ve explored new hobbies that I can do whenever time is available.  I’m currently building some furniture in my garage.  Plans are still on track to move to Wisconsin in the summer of 2019.” 


BRANDON MUMM ’05 writes- “I’m now a Commercial Financial Analyst for Alliance Laundry Systems and a State Certified Firefighter for the Ripon Area Fire District. When I’m not financing laundry equipment or fighting fires, I spend my free time with my wife, PAM SCHUMACHER MUMM ‘08 and children, Allison (4) and Charlie (2).”


PAUL NEUBERGER ’05 writes- “On December 1, I became President of the Starr Group, one of the largest independent insurance agencies in the state of Wisconsin.  Located in Greenfield, we specialize in insurance and risk solutions, including Personal Lines, Commercial Lines and Group Benefits.  The company has nearly 50 total employees between Wisconsin and Nebraska.  Additionally, I continue to be CEO of the sales consultancy that I founded, The Cold Call Coach.  Although the amount of new clients I have taken on has decreased due to my new role with The Starr Group, I am still working with a handful of clients, giving speeches, and motivating sales professionals all across the country, especially with my online and virtual platforms.  On the personal front, my wife, Tanya, and I just celebrated seven years of marriage and welcomed our daughter, Reagan, into the world on June 6.  She joins older brothers Kennedy (5) and Hudson (3).  Life is good on this end and I pray it is for all of you, as well!”


RENEA VORPAHL ’05– “We are enjoying spending time as a family of 4.  Our daughter, Georgia recently turned 3 and trying to take on the world and our patience.  Sterling is almost 1 and trying to conquer walking.  I was recently promoted to Senior Field Claims Representative at ACUITY, a mutual insurance company, and enjoy helping people recover from some of their toughest moments.  We adopted our dog, Sergeant Queso, in September, and he has been an amazing addition to our family.”

Everyone else- Please, please, please send an e-mail, text or call me and let me know how you’re doing and what you’ve been up to.  I’d also love to get an updated address or e-mail address from you so Ripon can get you all the important Ripon mailings (like this class letter!).  

A few more thoughts from me: Do you have any concept of how much money 2.2 million dollars is?  I sure don’t BUT what I do know is that’s what the College’s budget says we need to keep educating students.  Do you know how hard it is to raise 2.2 million dollars? I sure don’t, BUT I know that every penny counts. So send your pennies (and a few dollars too) to Ripon College, via debit/credit card here http://www.ripon.edu/give/ or send your check to Ripon College Annual Fund, 300 W Seward St, Ripon WI 54971.  


One other thing- Where would you be without your Ripon education?  I bet in a very different place then you are now. Think about that and talk about Ripon to every single person you meet.  You never know if that person’s niece, grandson, daughter, neighbor, etc. is in the college search process. Make sure they have Ripon College on their list as a place to visit, and then see if you can find a few minutes to get back to campus yourself.  I’ll gladly give you a tour, and we can do lunch!


All the best!


Your Class Agent,

Amanda (Zahn) Przybyl