News Release

Published on Friday, April 15, 2011

Western Technical College’s Alumni Association awarded this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award to Joel Guberud, vice president and general manager of Chart Energy & Chemicals, in La Crosse. Guberud will be presented with his award during a special reception prior to Western’s commencement ceremony on Friday, May 13. He will also be the keynote speaker during the ceremony.

Guberud is a 1976 graduate of Western’s Welding program and a 1986 graduate of the Supervisory Management program. After graduation, he started at Chart Energy & Chemicals as a production supervisor and worked his way up the ladder over the next 23 years. Today, he oversees all aspects of the La Crosse operation and manufacturing responsibilities for plants in Louisiana and China.

Even after graduation, Guberud stayed involved at Western, serving on the college’s Supervisory Management Advisory Committee for several years. He also established a $50,000 scholarship sponsored by Chart for welding program students.

“A Western education has been the starting point for so many successful alumni,” said Sally Emerson, alumni relations coordinator at Western. “And Joel is a great representative of those alumni who have taken advantage of their education to better their communities, profession, and families. He is a great role model for our alumni and students alike.”

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 Harold Coppernoll, Lisa Thill, 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 website at