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Two UW-Stout alumni awarded for leading with excellence, vision

Joe Pregont named Distinguished Alumni; Danielle Goss the first Trailblazer award


By Abbey Goers, UW Stout


Menomonie, Wis. – A philanthropist and an entrepreneur received awards from University of Wisconsin-Stout’s Alumni Association for their professional accomplishments and generosity to their alma mater.

Joe Pregont, a 1981 industrial technology alum with a packaging concentration, is this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. Danielle Goss, a 2013 dietetics alum and registered dietitian, received the inaugural Trailblazer Alumni Award.

Alum Danielle Goss and Joe Pregont with Chancellor Katherine Frank / UW-Stout

Pregont is president and CEO of Prent Corporation in Janesville, a global leader in custom thermoform packaging for the medical, electronics and consumer industries.

Goss, of River Falls, is founder and CEO of KUL MOCKS, one of the leading alcohol-free, ready-to-drink mocktail brands on the market. Created with health and wellness in mind, KUL MOCKS is sold at more than 1,000 retail locations across the country.

They received the awards and served as honorary marshals during UW-Stout’s homecoming parade on Oct. 13.

A philanthropic leader

Pregont and his wife, Tina, donated $1 million to the Stout University Foundation’s Pathways Forward campaign in 2020. Their gift included $500,000 in new lab equipment for the renamed Prent Packaging Laboratories and $500,000 to establish the Prent Packaging Equipment and Technology Fund.

Joe and Tina Pregont / Joe Pregont

“The many accomplishments throughout his career and his passion for providing UW-Stout students with scholarships, professional development opportunities and innovative campus laboratories are why we chose Joe as our Distinguished Alumni Award recipient,” said Alumni Association Board President Nikki Westvig Stephany.

Pregont serves as a guest speaker for classes, was the 2011 Cabot Executive in Residence and has served as a spokesperson and external stakeholder for academic programs.

Prent has co-developed a medical device class at UW-Stout and offers an annual scholarship through the Foundation. When the pandemic hit, Prent donated 3,000 face shields to help protect UW-Stout students’ health while working in various campus labs, supporting hands-on applied learning experiences.

Prent has more than 2,000 global employees, has hired more than 30 UW-Stout graduates over the years and hosts two interns each semester.

“When I applied for and was accepted to UW-Stout, I had no idea how great an impact this choice would have on my career in business. I am indebted to UW-Stout. I believe it is the finest applied learning institution in America,” Pregont said. “It is important as an alum to continue to give back. Through support, we can advance not only the lives of students and graduates but companies in America as well.”

An entrepreneurial spirit

Goss began the journey of creating KUL MOCKS in 2019, when she was pregnant with her first child. She didn’t feel comfortable consuming traditional nonalcoholic beverages, which still contain a small amount of alcohol.

Danielle Goss / Danielle Goss

“Danielle is a true entrepreneur,” Stephany said. “She began her own consulting company in dietetics, developed employee wellness programs and most recently established KUL MOCKS. She continues to make us Stout proud.”

Goss mixed her own mocktails from scratch. Then, she and her husband, Nate, a 2013 packaging alum, looked into starting a beverage company.

“Almost four years later, we’ve overcome the pandemic, doubled our craft mocktail lineup, welcomed our second baby into our family and KUL MOCKS has grown into an emerging national brand in one of the hottest categories in adult beverages.

“As consumers continue to moderate their alcohol consumption, we’re on a mission to keep the party going – helping everyone feel a part of the social drinking experience,” Goss said. “My education and experiences at Stout allowed me to grow into where I am today.”

The Alumni Association offers on- and off-campus alumni events, travel adventures, opportunities to impact student experiences and more. Contact the association to learn or to connect with alumni: 715-232-1151 or alumni@uwstout.edu.

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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