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CVTC alum Mandi Bauer directs marketing for iconic Durand business As a Marketing program student at Chippewa Valley Technical College in 2000-2001, Mandi Bauer learned about subliminal messages in advertising from Jean Husby, an instructor she remembers fondly. While much of what Mandi learned in the program serves her well today as director of marketing for Bauer Built, Inc., there’s not much need to be subtle about the company’s history as it celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2019. Bauer Built, Inc., is a small-town business success story, growing from humble beginnings in Durand to a firm with a Midwest footprint that includes 38 locations and over 575 employees. Mandi and her brother, Company President Tad Bauer, are the third generation of Bauers at the company. Mandi’s grandfather founded Bauer Built, Inc., in 1944 as a petroleum products company. Ten years later, they began manufacturing retreaded tires. The business continued to grow into a leading provider of commercial, fleet, retail tire and wheel reconditioning products and services. Its tire centers also provide brakes and alignment services. Today

Bauer Built, Inc., is one of the nation’s largest commercial tire dealers and retread manufacturers. Company holdings include a wholesale division, seven retread plants and three rim and wheel conditioning plants. Mandi started working at the family business at the age of 16, filing invoices after school. After her high school graduation, Mandi attended a university for a time. She took some time off from school before enrolling in CVTC’s Marketing program, a good fit for her since by then she was working in marketing at the family business. At CVTC, Mandi enjoyed the close relationship with instructors and working at the student-run retail store on the second floor of the Business Education Center. Tad became company president in 2013, taking over for his and Mandi’s father, Jerry, who led the company since 1977. Mandi’s husband, Chad Smith, is the manager of the Bauer Built Tire Center in Durand. Though she has an important role in the company, Mandi prefers to be modest about her role. Mandi enjoys being part of her hometown community, where she and Chad are raising daughters Zoie and Maya. When she isn’t working, she enjoys camping, fishing and boating with her family.

Mandi Bauer Smith, a CVTC alumna and current director of marketing for Bauer Built, Inc., poses with current company president and brother Tad Bauer (left) and father Jerry Bauer, who led the company from 1977-2013.

Mandi’s grandfather Sam Bauer founded Bauer Built, Inc., in 1944.


Terry Giertz, Erin Garney, recognized at Spring Gala Two Chippewa Valley Technical College alumni who have achieved success and given back to their communities have been honored with CVTC Alumni Association awards presented at the annual Spring Gala in April. Terry Giertz, retired CEO of Bill’s Distributing, is the 2019 Distinguished Alumnus Award winner. Erin Garney, a network systems shift manager at WIN in Eau Claire, is the 2019 Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award winner. A 1971 graduate of CVTC’s Marketing program, Terry and his brothers took over a beer distributorship their father was giving up in 1979. Under Bill’s leadership, the business grew from 70,000 cases that first year to millions today. The company headquarters is in a state-of-the-art 153,000square-foot facility in Menomonie. Terry’s CVTC education served him well. On one occasion he adapted a marketing plan he had written as a student and used it to retain the Budweiser distributorship. Later, he wrote his own marketing plan to secure a Coors


distributorship, beating out others who hired consultants. Bill’s Distributing has done much for the communities in which they do business. They have supported at least two dozen community celebrations and are strong supporters of the local stock car racing and softball league scenes. Among the organizations that have benefitted are Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, Dunn County Humane Society, and Dunn County Historical Society. Terry has 40 years of service with Lions Club International and was awarded the prestigious Birch-Sturm Fellow. He is a past vice president of the Wisconsin Beer Wholesalers Association. Erin accepted a position with WIN even before her 2013 graduation from the CVTC IT-Network Specialist program. She had to overcome challenges to succeed. Erin was pregnant during her time at CVTC. She says her instructors were great about helping her stay on track once the baby arrived. “They really understood that life comes first and were flexible to work with me,” she said. She started at WIN as an IT specialist working with a team that kept a data system of servers that handles internet traffic running. She soon earned promotions to network system administrator and shift manager posts. Garney is a member of Leadership Eau Claire and Apprenticeship USA, which looks at expanding apprenticeships for students. And she stays connected to CVTC. She joined the IT-Network Specialist Advisory Committee. “I never thought I would be in management making money that I didn’t think was possible for me and going further than I ever thought possible,” Erin said. “I owe this success to CVTC.”

YOUNG PROFESSIONALS OFFER OPPORTUNITIES FOR CVTC ALUMNI CVTC Alumni, I’m Luke Benedict with Benedict Refrigeration Service, Inc., and current Young Professionals board chair, and I am excited about the opportunities CVTC alumni have to get involved with the Young Professionals of the Chippewa Valley! What is YPCV? The Young Professionals of the Chippewa Valley (currently 450 members strong) is a personal and professional development program of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Chippewa Falls Chamber that encourages anyone age 21–40 to interact socially, exchange ideas, share common interests, learn more about the area’s business community and engage in the community’s future. What do we do? Members of YP are welcome to attend any event our organization puts on in the realms of professional development, community involvement/volunteering and social events to grow your network. We offer two-four events per month with a variety of times and topics to help you grow! YP is a great conduit to make sure that after you graduate, you make the most out of your career and life outside of work. I have taken classes at CVTC, and Benedict Refrigeration hires multiple CVTC grads every year. I know the quality of individuals who come from CVTC, and YP builds upon that outstanding base of knowledge. Joining YP was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my career, and there is something for everyone, so please consider joining YP today! For more information on YPCV, check out the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce’s website: // Or find us on Facebook: //

Just this week the CVTC Alumni Association launched the CVTC Alumni Market featuring businesses owned by CVTC alumni. The Alumni Market is a one-stop website that lists products and services available at CVTC alumni-owned businesses. The listing will contain direct links to business websites. If you are a CVTC graduate and own a business, you can gain valuable exposure by joining the CVTC Alumni Market. It’s totally FREE and will be promoted to the entire CVTC community! Check out the new CVTC Alumni Association Alumni Market and sign up here:

ALUMNI ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS UPDATES MISSION In the summer of 2018, the CVTC Alumni Association Board of Directors developed its next three-year strategic plan. The first goal of the plan called for a change in the mission to further develop the association’s focus on alumni engagement. The new current mission is:

To enhance the experiences of current students, engage with alumni of all ages, and celebrate the success of graduates and friends of the College.




This fall the CVTC Alumni Association will announce details regarding our new annual ‘Forty Under 40’ campaign. This recognition effort will feature the accomplishments of CVTC alumni under the age of 40 whose contributions bring honor to the college. Selected honorees will model integrity, think critically, communicate effectively and value diversity. Each honoree will be an example of success to inspire future CVTC alumni! Nominations for ‘Forty Under 40’ will be accepted from the public. Stay tuned to the Alumni Association website and social media channels for the reveal and nomination information.


Alumni Association Makes Gift to Integrated Business Student Engagement Center Understanding the importance of supporting CVTC throughout its 11-county district, the CVTC Alumni Association is contributing to the Integrated Business Student Engagement Center remodel project. The Alumni Association board recently voted unanimously to pledge $15,000 from the Alumni Association fund to support the project, with a naming opportunity on the reception area. While the business programs have remained up to date, the classroom facilities on the second floor of the Business Education Center have not been updated since the 1980s. Currently underway is a $2.4 million project to improve program areas and include space for student engagement activities. A centerpiece of the remodeled area will be the Student Engagement Center, a large open common area visible from the hallway through a glass partition for student networking and group meetings. The space will include a variety of semi-private areas and large-group seating. Tables and chairs will be mobile and easily configured to group needs. The renovation will create collaboration rooms for group interaction focused on project development. Learning spaces will be designed in various sizes to accommodate new program delivery types. The technology-rich area will include a state-of-the-art digital media lab. An open technology lab will be an inviting space for students to plug in, engage in group assignments and access the software needed for their coursework. The student club collaboration zone will offer a welcoming space for multiple purposes. The project will also involve construction of staff office space, three new classrooms and improvements to corridors and restrooms.

MAKE YOUR SAFE & SECURE GIFT TODAY! As a CVTC alumnus, we invite you to show your support by making a gift today that will directly impact future CVTC alumni. Be sure to specify “Integrated Business Student Engagement Center.” //



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