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Career connections: Greenheck Group recognized as UW-Stout’s Employer of the Year

Wisconsin-based global manufacturer cited for efforts to recruit graduates and interns, help students prepare for careers

By Jerry Poling, UW Stout

From employing more than 100 alumni to many interns annually and engaging with students in multiple other ways year-round, Greenheck Group has a dynamic collaborative relationship with University of Wisconsin-Stout.

It’s why the Wisconsin manufacturing company, based in Schofield and employing more than 5,000 globally, has received the university’s 2024 Employer of the Year award.

“We truly value the depth and breadth of Greenheck Group’s relationship with UW-Stout,” said Bryan Barts, Career Services director. “Our continued partnership spotlights the polytechnic approach of UW-Stout, and this award bookmarks the success by Greenheck Group in doing so.”

Established in 1947, Greenheck Group is the leading manufacturer of commercial air movement, control and conditioning equipment, providing solutions across a range of applications and industries. Greenheck Group’s brands include Greenheck, Airolite, Accurex, Metalaire, Innovent, Precision Coils and Valent.

The award honors an employer who has gone above and beyond to collaborate with UW-Stout and Career Services in their commitment to students.

Accepting the honor for Greenheck Group was Tom Zompolas, product development engineer, who graduated from UW-Stout in 2013 with a degree in engineering technology and a mechanical design concentration. He manages co-op students, represents Greenheck Group at UW-Stout career events and managed a senior capstone engineering project.

“We are truly honored to receive this recognition from UW-Stout,” said Carrie Strobel, chief Human Resources officer. “With more than 100 UW-Stout alumni who contribute their talents to our Greenheck Group team, our partnership with the university runs deep. We look forward to continuing this critical collaboration to empower the next generation of alumni who choose to pursue their career with us.”

Alumni from more than 20 UW-Stout programs work at Greenheck Group, including in various engineering programs, supply chain, business administration, management and graphic design.

During the 2023-24 academic year at UW-Stout, Greenheck Group:

  • Recruited at the biannual Career Conferences, hiring nine students for co-ops and internships and making full-time job offers

  • Sponsored a senior capstone engineering project

  • Employed two student ambassadors at UW-Stout to communicate employment opportunities and brand awareness

  • Participated on advisory committees for academic programs.

Greenheck Group has had a co-op program for more than 30 years. Through UW-Stout’ s Cooperative Education and Internship Program students are paid a competitive wage and earn academic credit. More than 1,000 students annually take part in UW-Stout’s co-op program.

A cybersecurity student intern also was hired this year as part of UW-Stout’s grant through the state Department of Workforce Development.

Due to the nature of our industry – manufacturing – a strong majority of these students will work hands-on in our facilities or at our corporate headquarters for the most integrated experience. Many return for another term and eventually come on full time,” Strobel said.

One of those interns was Sophia Moen, a 2023 graduate in business administration, who worked in human resources and returned for a full-time position as a talent development specialist. “I was able to network with a variety of individuals, expand my knowledge in the field of human resources and complete projects that challenged me. Greenheck Group has a phenomenal culture,” Moen said.

Interns participate in companywide orientation and jump into problem-solving by working on teams to construct “buddy benches” for community partners. They take on meaningful roles, including product testing and launches. They have helped design a facility expansion and implement new automated machinery.

They also take part in Fundamental Fridays during the summer to learn more about the company and industry. At the end of their terms, they give presentations and receive performance evaluations “to share what they’ve learned and receive feedback to help them grow in the workforce,” Strobel said.

Previous winners of the Employer of the Year award, beginning in 2021, have been Menards, Fastenal and Heartland Business Systems, respectively.

Applied learning and collaboration with external partners, like Greenheck Group, are at the core of UW-Stout’s mission as Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University.

The co-op and internship program, which works with 750 companies annually, plays a major role in student success. According to Career Services’ most recent First Destination report, the overall employment rate of graduates was 99% and average starting salary $58,000, both the best in the region. 

UW-Stout’s Career Conferences, which Greenheck Group attends annually, also drive student success. More than 300 companies from across the United States participate each fall and spring in the conferences to recruit students for full-time positions and internships. They are among the largest in the Upper Midwest. The fall Career Conference is Monday, Sept. 23, through Thursday, Sept. 26.

UW-Stout is Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, with a focus on applied learning, collaboration with business and industry, and career outcomes. Learn more via the FOCUS2030 strategic plan.


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