February 2022 Central Connection

February 1, 2022

CCC-Hastings honors staff

Ken Gompert of Hastings and Reba Skalka of Glenvil have received the 38th Annual Outstanding Service Award at Central Community College-Hastings in honor of their exemplary service to the college. 

Ken Gompert

Nominators said Ken Gompert, an information technology services specialist, always looks for solutions to problems with a positive attitude; works overtime to ensure staff and faculty members have what they need to do their jobs effectively; is selfless, reliable, loyal and patient; and puts others’ needs before his own.

Gompert began his employment at CCC in 2000.

Prior to joining the CCC staff, he was a foreman for Industrial Contractors during the construction of the Calamus Reservoir. Upon completion of that project, he followed the company to southern Colorado to help mine gold at the Summitville mine.

Gompert then moved to Burwell to work for Garfield County as a road maintenance worker, eventually becoming the county weed superintendent for Garfield and Valley counties.

He earned an associate of applied science degree in electronics technology in 2000 after traveling from Burwell to Hastings for night classes and was hired by CCC-Hastings shortly after graduating as an electronics/AV technician. 

He also became a paramedic by continuing his education at CCC and now works part time for South Central Emergency Services He is an avid ham radio operator and has contacts in hundreds of countries around the world.

He and his wife, Laticia, have three children and nine grandchildren.

Reba Skalka

Nominators said Reba Skalka, administrative assistant for the skilled and technical sciences division, is always willing to help other departments with projects; works great with students, supporting staff, and representing CCC; makes certain everyone in the department knows exactly what’s going on.

Skalka joined the CCC staff in 1996.

She grew up in Nelson and graduated from Nelson High School in 1990.  She then attended Southeast Community College where she graduated with an associate of applied science degree in office technology in 1994. 

She began employment at CCC as secretary to the college president, serving in that position from 1996 through 1999. She then took a five-year hiatus from CCC but returned in 2004 to start in her current position.

Skalka also has served as a SkillsUSA adviser for 12 years and received the State of Nebraska Adviser of the Year award in 2014. She is a 2018 graduate of Leadership Hastings and serves the campus as a Notary Public.

She is a charter member of the Hastings Bloody Mary Club, whose goal is trying the drink at any Hastings establishment that serves it.

Skalka has three children.

CCC, WSC sign new agreement

Central Community College and Wayne State College have signed a new agreement that allows CCC graduates with associate of applied science degrees to transfer all their academic credits to WSC to earn a bachelor’s degree in technology.

The agreement allows WSC to accept up to 80 credit hours for the 120-credit-hour program.

CCC President Dr. Matt Gotschall said the agreement is an outstanding opportunity for CCC graduates.

“Current students will benefit from this program as well,” he added, “especially since students should be able to complete their bachelor’s degree in technology while working and living in their CCC area community.”

WSC President Dr. Marysz Rames agreed that keeping CCC students in their communities where they can work for their employers and finetune their skills is a “real win” for the business community.

“I think it truly does show real collaboration and real partnership between Central, Wayne State and our business communities in putting students on the right path,” she said.

CCC and WSC will collaborate on recruitment, advising and retention. CCC students planning to transfer to WSC under the agreement are encouraged to work with an academic adviser from both institutions. They must meet WSC admission standards and can apply for WSC transfer scholarships.

The five-year agreement will be reviewed annually by administrators from both institutions.

New Central Community College Foundation Hall of Fame inductees are (from left) Paula and Gale Beirow, Terry and Beth Millard and Rhonda Pauley.

Foundation welcomes five hall of fame inductees

Five individuals were inducted into the Central Community College Foundation Hall of Fame on Dec. 16. They are:

Gale and Paula Beirow

Gale Beirow was born in Campbell and moved with his family to Hastings in 1945 where he graduated from Hastings High School and attended Hastings College. Paula Hohnstein Beirow was born and raised in Hastings.

Paula and Gale were married in 1961. Their family consists of two sons, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Gale has been employed at Hastings Irrigation Pipe Co., a family-owned business, for 58 years.

Gale and Paula serve on various boards and organizations within and outside the Hastings community. Gale has been a member of the CCC Foundation Board of Directors since 1999. In the early 1960s, Paula’s father, Paul Hohnstein, was among the individuals who were instrumental in the formation of Central Community College.

Terry and Beth Millard

Terry Millard, a native of Woodbine, Iowa, and Beth Millard, a native of Sioux City, Iowa, moved to Lincoln in the 1970s.  Together they moved to Columbus in 1981, where Beth worked for Columbus Public Schools for 32 years. She is now a substitute teacher for emotionally disturbed students at the ESU 7 Learning Academy and Seven Center. Terry served as president of Commerce Savings and then began a 33-year career as an investment Adviser and portfolio manager. Terry and Beth have one son who lives in Minneapolis.

They both serve on various organizations and boards throughout and beyond the Columbus community. Terry has been a member of the CCC Foundation Board of Directors since 2010. Both Terry and Beth are passionate about education for people of all ages including themselves.

Rhonda Pauley

Rhonda Pauley was born and raised in Hastings and is a Hastings College graduate. She later graduated from the Colorado School of Banking and worked in the banking industry for 12 years after which she served as part owner and president of Pauley Group LLC. Her family includes two sons and eight grandchildren.

Pauley has served in various capacities for several organizations and boards. She has been a member of the CCC Foundation Board of Directors since 2011. Rhonda’s involvement centers around organizations associated with education at all levels and she continues to enjoy serving in that capacity.

Employees celebrate special anniversaries

Congratulations to the following full-time and part-time Central Community College employees who celebrated special anniversaries in 2021.

Administrative Office

Forty-five years: Sherry Desel, director of enterprise systems services.

Forty years: Tom Peters, information technology services manager.

Thirty-five years: Joni Ransom, chief of staff.

Twenty-five years: Teresa West, human resources specialist and wellness coordinator.

Twenty years: Marni Danhauer, grants manager; Andrew Fausett, systems administrator; and Brian McDermott, director of research and college effectiveness.

Fifteen years: Keith Vincik, director of network and infrastructure services.

Ten years: Craig Boroff, college facilities manager, and Angela Davidson, human resources benefits manager.

Five years: Becky Cook, institutional research coordinator; Scott Miller, senior director of college communications; Ben Newton, environmental sustainability director; and Candace Walton, vice president of innovation and instruction.

Columbus Campus

Forty years: Steve Heinisch, biological sciences instructor.

Twenty years: Lora Hastreiter, health programming director; Tammie Tonniges, visual arts instructor; and Jennifer Wurdeman, events coordinator.

Fifteen years: Dave Beckman, HVAC maintenance technician, and Lenore Koliha, environmental health and safety director.

Ten years: Phillip Broberg, mathematics instructor; Brenda Eller, nursing instructor; Krynn Larsen, TRIO project director; Erica Leffler, extended learning services regional director; CoLynn Paprocki, director of disability services and assessment; and Heidi Wilshusen, academic transfer specialist.

Five years: David Casper, groundskeeper; Lauren Gillespie, biology instructor; Dale Hoessel, custodian; Joan Jones, health instructor; Brent Konwinski, mechatronics instructor; Cindy Sanchez, diversity recruiting coordinator, Bryce Standley, welding technology instructor; Bobbie Waltman, learning center manager; Jordan Wetovick, learning center manager; and Mary Wiegand, adult education coordinator.


Fifteen years: Pat Stange, development coordinator.

Grand Island Campus

Thirty years: Barbara McGraw, nursing instructor.

Twenty-five years: Brent Adrian, speech instructor.

Twenty years: Sue Carlson, training and development administrative assistant.

Fifteen years: Patricia Buchanan, mathematics instructor; Jean Chesnut, adult education instructor; Karen Cox, executive assistant; Kristin Macke, health instructor; Larry Schmitt, biological sciences instructor; and Brisa Valencia Segura, adult education instructor.

Ten years: Robert Briseno, facilities management director; Deb Greenwalt, nursing assistant and medication aide trainer; Sarah Kort, dean of health sciences; Julie Rican, instructional technology specialist; Kayla Sheffield, assistant registrar; and Stuart Williams, biological science instructor.

Five years: Cathy Bergin, student services administrative assistant; Natalie Dokken, adult education instructor; Jerry Dunn, extended learning services regional director; Lee Fischer, adult education instructor; Scott Fox, information technology instructor; Travis Freeman, vehicle services and groundskeeper; Jesse Garcia, computer lab assistant; Joanie Guerrero, Early College administrative assistant; Edward Haynes, logistics and materials management instructor; A.J. Hodtwalker, TRIO coordinator; Liz Jacobs, admissions administrative assistant; Pamela Northup, early childhood education instructor; Kim Ottman, director of disability services and academic adviser; Michael Samuelson, advanced manufacturing design technology instructor; Ashley Scheil, English instructor; Amy Stuart, drafting and design technology instructor; Jana Vincik, business and skilled and technical sciences administrative assistant; and Janel Walton, dean of enrollment management.

Hastings Campus

Forty years: Vicki Kucera, area director of student financial aid services.

Thirty-five years: Gordon Wheeler, media arts instructor.

Twenty years: Jeff Cox, electrical technology instructor; Lindsay Higel, hospitality management and culinary arts instructor; and Shelly Steinkruger, dental assisting instructor.

Fifteen years: Jeff Bexten, diesel technology instructor; Robin Buckallew, biology instructor; and Susan Medcalf, dental hygiene instructor.

Ten years: Mike Consbruck, welding technology instructor; Megan Fritz, financial aid technician; Curtis Gosser, media arts instructor; and Jackie Zeckser, early childhood education instructor.

Five years: Jason Baker, heavy equipment operator technician instructor; Jeff Buescher, assistant facilities management director; Andrew Callahan, speech instructor; Brian Davis, advanced manufacturing design technology instructor; Dale Davis, custodian supervisor; Brad Dobesh, facilities management instructor; Sean Griffin, associate dean of students; Clint Hansen, electrical technology instructor; Nick Kelley, automotive technology instructor; Matt McCann, heavy equipment program director, Teresa Pinon, student services administrative assistant; Hannah Randell, dental hygiene instructor; Janice Richter, custodian; Luke Schenk, HVAC maintenance technician; Lyndsi Soucie, health instructor; and Brandon Stalvey, enrollment specialist.

Kearney Center

Ten years: Renae Allen, business technology instructor.

Five years: Francis Ayimiah-Nterful, mathematics instructor, and Ruth Kirkland, learning center manager.

It’s a world record

Katy Ayers in her world-record-breaking fungal
mycelium boat.

Two people connected with Central Community College have earned a spot in the 2021 Guinness World Records for creating the longest fungal mycelium boat.

Katy Ayers (left), a 2021 graduate of the Columbus Campus and a Washington State University student, and William “Ash” Gordon, an intern in the CCC environmental sustainability office, created the 7 ft. 6 in. mushroom boat in 2019.

“Being named as Guinness World Record holder is a forgotten dream-come-true for me,” said Ayers, who used to try and fail to break world records as a child.

“I hope people from across the world will read about us and find inspiration for their own passion in life,” said Gordon, who has been inspired to continue experimenting with mycelium composites and researching new ways to use fungi.

Lindsay signs up for apprentice program

Central Community College-Columbus signed Lindsay Corporation as its first business for the Registered Apprentice Program (RAP) in December 2021.

RAP provides apprentices with the opportunity to further their educational and skills development while supporting themselves through employment. It also prepares them for high-demand and high-wage careers.

Catrina Gray, CCC apprenticeship coordinator, said flexibility is part of the program. “It is customized to fit the needs of every business and apprentice. It’s not just set one way to retain and sustain employment for apprentices and business,” she said.

“This is a great opportunity for us to gain access to talented students and help develop their skills for a long-term career in the welding profession,” said Kelly Staup, senior vice president of human resources for Lindsay Corporation.

Founded in 1955, Lindsay Corporation specializes in making Zimmatic pivot systems and irrigation and road safety items.

Employee news

Columbus Campus

Mark Boatwright has joined the staff as a chemistry instructor.

Kim Muller, 62, of Columbus, died Jan. 5 at his home.

Funeral services were Jan. 11 at the Word of Life Church in Columbus with interment in Roselawn Cemetery.

He was born April 11, 1959, in Columbus to Earl and Kathryn (Rawhouser) Muller. He graduated from Columbus High School in 1977. He worked in security, was a deputy sheriff in Butler County, and worked in part-time and full-time maintenance positions at Central Community College-Columbus in the 1990s. He was married to Gayle Wrolson in Columbus.

Survivors include a brother, three sisters, four stepchildren and a number of step-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers and a sister.

McKown Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Grand Island Campus

Hodan Farrah has joined the staff as a counseling and prevention education service coordinator.

Resigning from their positions are Angel Gabriel, financial aid technician, and Ron Christensen, Academic Success Center director.

Janel Walton, dean of enrollment management has earned a doctorate in education from Arizona State University. Her thesis, “Perceptions of Supervisory Behaviors Among Student Affairs Professionals at a Community College,” was successfully defended on Nov. 1, 2021.

Ryan Walton has been promoted from part-time to full-time vehicle service/groundskeeper. He replaces Travis Freeman who has shifted to shipping and receiving.

Hastings Campus

Alex Toney has resigned as residence life coordinator.

Kearney Center

Paige VanWinkle has resigned as a nursing instructor.