Business and Industry Services Staff
Director of Business and Industry Services and Lifelong Learning
Patti Balacek grew up in La Crescent and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Math with a Secondary Education Licensure. After teaching high school and coaching competitive debate and speech for a number of years, Patti began organizing apprenticeship programs in the construction trades throughout Minnesota. Her role, based in Minneapolis, MN, expanded to include running a non-profit, overseeing the creation and sales of an electrical training curriculum, customized training for electrical companies and legislative lobbying in support of the electrical construction industry.
At Western Technical College, Patti oversees the Business and Industry Services (BIS) area and Lifelong Learning. BIS is the customized training unit within the college and works with local employers to provide quality training and other services when and where they need it. Lifelong Learning is all of non-credit and non-degree where individuals can find courses ranging from creating home-made Christmas cards to improving your supervision skills. When not working, Patti lives in La Crescent with her husband, Jeff, and their three children.
Lean Six Sigma Coach
Susan has been leading Lean Six Sigma transformations since the late 80's for organizations including FMC Corporation, United Defense LP, Medtronic, Inc. and Johns Hopkins University. Before joining Western Technical College's BIS Team in November 2012 as their Lean Six Sigma Coach, Susan led Medtronic's Lean Six Sigma programs & conducted Shingo assessments of Medtronic's global facilities. Susan also continues to facilitate Shingo gemba-walk workshops with the Healthcare Value Network (HVN). Susan is a certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt and received her B.A. in Music from Northwestern University.
Product Development and Sales Coordinator
Angela (Angie) Martin is a Sparta native and a 1993 graduate of Western's Marketing Program. In 2003 she completed her Bachelors of Business Administration from Viterbo University. Angie began her career working in customer service and marketing for a Sparta manufacturer. While serving as the Marketing Director for Valley View Mall, Angie became a familiar face in the La Crosse area by working with retailers, media, and various community organizations. Prior to joining Western, Angie worked in a quality assurance role assisting with the ISO program and continuous improvement planning for a contractor at Fort McCoy. Angie's broad business background makes her well versed in understanding the challenges business face every day. Angie is an avid dog lover and lives in Sparta with her husband and two children.
Cell – 608-343-5566
Steve brings an extensive background in sales, marketing, and customer service to his position as a Training Consultant with Western Technical College. Steve's broad base of experience and knowledge allows him to fully understand the challenges that businesses face on a daily basis. Working in Westerns' regional territory; Steve is available to assist businesses with everything from supervision and leadership skills, to computer and software training, to improving technical skills.
Steve has over 20 years of experience as a consultant, facilitator, tradesman, and author in the fields of manufacturing, construction, health care, and education. He has been a regular contributor to Small Business Times and his writing has also appeared in Training Magazine, American Society for Training and Development Journal, In Business, Tactics, and The Business Journal. Further, Steve has worked with companies including Miller Brewing, Century Foods, Giddings and Lewis, Custom Products Corporation, FedEx, Marathon Petroleum, Merck Pharmaceuticals. As a Consultant for Western his primary focus is to help companies discover ways to improve their performance through performance technology, needs assessment, process improvement, employee development and /or training.
Administrative Assistant, Finance
Britt Pagor is a Tomah native and graduated in 2007 from the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. Her focus was on Service Management and Accounting/Finance, so she began her career as an accounting assistant at Three Bears Lodge. From there, she moved on to work in production control in the logistics area at Fort McCoy. In her role in BIS at Western, she is back to her accounting roots. Britt provides excellent customer service while maintaining extensive financial information to ensure all of our customers' needs are met and their expectations exceeded. She currently lives in Tomah with her husband, their son, and two dogs.