News Release

Published on Thursday, May 28, 2009

Western Technical College’s Alumni Association presented this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award to Lisa Thill, owner of the Train Station BBQ restaurant in La Crosse. Thill was recently honored and presented with her award during Western’s commencement ceremony.

Thill is a 1994 graduate of Western Technical College’s Food Service Management program, and she has spent most of her career in the food service industry, working at St. Mary’s University in Winona, Big Apple Bagels, and the Black Rose Brewhouse. After a stint as a personal banker and loan officer, she returned to her first love and opened the Train Station BBQ restaurant. She not only developed her restaurant from the ground up, but is helping revitalize a historic landmark and neighborhood.

Since earning her degree, Lisa has remained committed to Western and its students. She has hired several students, is active in the Foods Students Mentoring Program, and is a member of the Foods Programs Advisory Committee. She is also involved in the community. She is a member of the Northside Area Business Group, the National BBQ Association, and was a volunteer for the 2008 Freedom Honor Flight, which flew several WWII survivors to Washington D.C. to visit their memorial.

Western’s Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes dedicated service to the community or nation, leadership, personal growth and achievement, professional achievement, and contributions to the Western district. Past recipients include Rich Westpfahl, Deb Lash, Dick Walz, Keith Steenlage, Terry Rydberg, Michael Sexauer, Kathy Foust, Jeff Komay, Cinda Vingers, Donald Jobe, Lynn Smyrk-Lenz, Kevin Kobishop, Karen Long, Karl “Butch” Halverson, Jim Timm, and Dick Fox.

For more information on Western’s Alumni Association or to submit a nomination for the Distinguished Alumni Award, call 608.789.6083. To learn more about Western programs and services, call 608.785.9200 or visit our Web site at