2005 – Spring ’19 Class Letter

Co-Class Agents:

Amanda Zahn Przybyl

[email protected]  / (920) 299-1081

Daphne Meyers Leigh

[email protected] / (414) 841-7210

Spring 2019

Greetings Ripon College Class of 2005!

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I last wrote you all!  Life remains the normal rat race of home life, work life, mom life, wife life, direct selling life, and friend life.  Only now we have homework to deal with. I was one of the weird kids that enjoyed homework in high school but not so much helping my 7 year old do his homework. I’m ready for proof reading book reports and such- simple math, not so much.  And oh how the terrific threes are actually terrible for my youngest. Just this last weekend he found a marker while I was in the shower. Now everything- the floors, walls, toys, furniture, him- has all been marked. It’ll all come off eventually, but for real (and feel free to laugh at my expense)! I got some new responsibilities here at Ripon College- I’m in charge of the OneCard system (the card that gets you meals, into Res. Halls, do laundry, etc.).  I helped install the system back before TJ was born then took a step back and now a step back up. It’s been a nice add to my normal routine as I get to put out fires, trouble shoot, etc, which, I’m learning, is one of my happy places! What are your happy places?

I’m so lucky that for about 7-8 hours a day I get to be full immersed into 6 students’ lives. I hear the good (got a job, internship, into grad school, got engaged, etc.), the bad (my dog died, failed a test, didn’t get into grad school, my car broke, my mom has cancer, etc.) and the everyday (what they did over the weekend, in meetings, in their fraternity, in class, etc.).  The best part is that I get to watch them learn how amazing they are as they grow over their years here and learn their own worth. In a world that’s ever changing (both at Ripon College and the greater world), it is so comforting to know that Ripon College is still a place where it’s safe to explore, find out who you are and, ultimately, become a version of you that is far better than the one who came to Ripon. How did you change during your time at Ripon?

Here is what is going on with your classmates:

CADY SINNWELL GERLACH ’05 writes that- “Peter Gerlach ’02 and Cady Sinnwell Gerlach ’05 are raising two great little boys in Iowa City, Iowa and have recently transitioned jobs. Peter recently accepted work at the University of Iowa International Writer’s Program coordinating their Summer Institute and Cady is now legal counsel and directs strategic operations for Shelter House, a local nonprofit provider working on ending homelessness through innovative housing interventions.”

JUANITA BAATZ GUTBROD ’05 – “I’m currently teaching 3k/4k in Dousman, Wisconsin and finding time to sew for charity. I’m also helping my husband with his business making video games and arcades featuring Cosmotrons by Arcadaholics LLC.”

JACOB GRAF ’05 – “I started Graf Technology during college as an IT Support/Web Development company. In 2011, I went full-time with it, but recently decided to get out of the IT Support side of things and focus on Digital Marketing. I partnered with a buddy of mine and we started Click Insights (clickinsights.com). We also launched a user testing platform called User Insights (userinsights.com). Focusing on one industry has been a great change for me.”

TERI SOLARZ HATFIELD ’05 and MICHAEL HATFIELD ’05 – “We (Teri and Michael Hatfield) are still in Lombard and working for the same organizations. However, I (Teri) am working on my certification to become a Birth Doula! It has been an incredible experience and I love this new work! We unfortunately lost our two golden retrievers last year to health issues, but have since added a new pup to the family. The kids love her to bits and are enjoying having a puppy to play with again. We hope this update finds you well and send our love to you and yours!”

CHARLES JOHNSON ’05 –“Things are going well in the Twin Cities. Almost finished with real estate and property management, I have one property left to sell this spring. Then it’s continue focus on growing my car dealership and financing business. We have been doing this for about 3 years now and it has grown exponentially by word of mouth! My daughter, Charlotte, just turned 4! Our mini juliana piglet, Cami, just turned 2! I’m still living in the metro area right outside of Minneapolis and loving it! Hopefully everyone is well and I can’t wait to read everyone else’s updates!”

AMANDA GUAY KREJCAREK ’05“GENE ’05 and I welcomed Gracelyn’s brother, Brycen, to the world on May 31.”

PAUL LARSON and SARAH MCGILL LARSON ’05 – “Our plans are still on for a move from Maryland to either Minnesota or Wisconsin.  It’s been on our minds for a few years, and the time table has moved around a bit. If job prospects work out well, the move should be happening Summer ’19. Paul may be leaving college teaching for a private sector analysis job to boost our chances of landing in Green Bay where Sarah’s two brothers live. Our son, Parker, is 5 and in Kindergarten. Daughter, Tanner, is 3, but she wants to be 5. We lost two cats in the last few months: we had Gus and Euler (named after mathematicians Gauss and Euler) since we adopted them from the Green Lake shelter in 2006. Schnapps remains our loyal kitty buddy, and we adopted Furmat (after mathematician Fermat) last fall.”

LISA MAISONNEUVE KICK ’05 writes- “I’m still doing child welfare work in Milwaukee but was promoted from supervisor to program manager in December of 2018. SCOTT ’07 is a supervisor with the post office in Madison but is about to start a 6 month detail as postmaster in Lake Mills. We reside in Lake Mills and have two daughters ages 4 years and 20 months.”

LORYN OHLAUG MERRILL ’05 writes- “I’m still working for Boeing but currently in a new role. I’m the propulsion integrated product team lead for a new program. I’m in charge of the design, procurement, and manufacturing of the propulsion subsystem for a satellite bus module. This role requires more travel which is both good and bad. I’m learning a lot and looking forward to seeing the hot fire test of our main engine. Family life is busy as usually. My oldest son is too active and broke both his arms in a 6 month time frame. Fingers crossed that my other 3 boys don’t copy their big brother! So far all my boys are excelling in math, this makes me very happy! My husband is also doing well. He was promoted to a management role at Northrop Grumman. We are busy, but happy and enjoying life.”

BETSY JONES SKIBICKI ’05– “My husband Eric and I sold our home and bought a new house in Mequon, Wisconsin in June 2018. I continue to work for the Federal Bankruptcy Court in Milwaukee and have two sons, ages 5 and 8.”

ASHLEIGH SMITH ’05 – “Our son Doug got married last fall and he and his wife Whitney are expecting their first child this spring. So excited to be a grandma!! Decided to switch up careers a little bit and just started a brand new job as a transit driver.”

RENEA VORPAHL MERTENS ’05Not much as changed since my last report. My husband and I are busy with our kids, Gigi (4) and Sterling (2) in Green Bay, Wisconsin. We both still work in insurance and love it that we both can work from home. I recently completed my AINS designation and am working my way towards CPCU. We bought a camper and have a permanent camp site in Wautoma, Wisconsin, which puts us close to Ripon often. We can’t wait to spend more weekends there with family and friends.”

PAUL NEUBERGER ’05 of Colgate, Wisconsin, writes, “Good afternoon, I pray this message finds everyone at Ripon College doing well! Not sure if you would like to include this as an announcement in the various Ripon College platforms that you oversee, but I was recently named the Chairman of the 2019 American Heart Association Heart Walk in Milwaukee.  Peter Feigin, President of the Milwaukee Bucks, held this post before me. In this highly visible role, I will be responsible for creating awareness, signing up volunteers, fundraising, and bringing new organizational sponsors into the fold. Peter set the fundraising record for this initiative by generating just over $965,000 in revenue.  My goal? I aspire to nearly double that haul by raising $1.75 million. Attached to this email, please find a banner that was created on my behalf to promote this initiative.

Everyone else- Please, please, please send an email, 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: Did you know Ripon College has a #OneDay Rally day??  Seeing it firsthand last year was pretty darn amazing! We raise over $650,000 in ONE DAY!! Were you a part of that total? I was, and it felt good☺ So plan to give on May 1 and be a donor with me. Don’t want to wait- increase your gift from last year today and you can be a GAME CHANGER (contact me to learn more).  Even $20 counts, EVERY SINGLE DOLLAR counts! Watch for #OneDayRally all over our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. page. It will also a good day to wear some Ripon Red!

One other thing- Did you know that next summer, 2020, will be our 15th reunion? Make your plans to come back to campus now so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of other summer plans (last full weekend in June)!  So many changes that you just have to see in person and so many memories to smile over. I’ll gladly give you a personal tour (special bonus because I work here)! Where is life going to take you between now and then? Stay in touch and let me know☺


All the best!

Your Class Agent,

Amanda Zahn Przybyl