Business and Industry Services Staff


Patti Balacek

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. 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. BIS also offers all professional development and continuing education seminars. Recently, Patti obtained her Master’s in Education with an emphasis in Training and Performance Improvement which helped hone her skills in helping all types of organizations improve. When not working, Patti lives in La Crescent with her husband, Jeff, and their three children.

Angela Martin

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.

Steve Bissen

Training Consultant
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 McCombs

Training Consultant

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.

Kim Granum

Performance Consultant

Kim is a former small business owner with 10+ years in the Food Industry and an additional 15+ years as a corporate trainer working primarily in the field of management and supervisory skills. Kim has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. As a performance consultant for Western, her primary role is working with customers helping them to identify the gap between desired workforce performances and where they currently are, offering solutions that best fit their needs. Kim lives in Holmen, WI with her 2 children and enjoys sports, crafting jewelry and drinking coffee!

Sherrie Sime

Administrative Assistant, BIS

Sherrie Sime is a Gays Mills native and a 1998 graduate of Western’s Accounting Program.  In 2008 she completed her Bachelors of Business Administration at Viterbo University.  Sherrie has twenty years of experience in administrative assistant/customer service, accounting, and human resource roles in the public sector.  She has spent the last five years as a human resource professional for a managed care organization and a private not-for-profit.  Sherrie brings several years of experience related to organizational development, planning, training, recruitment and employee relations.  She is excited to be joining the Western  BIS team and for the opportunity to incorporate these skills with excellent customer service.  She currently lives in Gays Mills with her husband.

Britt Pagor

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.