Ahrens receives Retiree Achievement Award from Southwest Tech

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Southwest Tech retiree Lowell Ahrens stands with Holly Clendenen and Jason Wood. (Submitted photo)

The Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Foundation recognized seven individuals and one organization that have made significant impacts in the college’s 50-year history at the Foundation’s donor appreciation and alumni and retiree awards program May 19 at the Fennimore campus.

The Foundation has recognized 30 individuals and businesses as outstanding philanthropists to the organization since 1995, but this was the inaugural year for distinguished alumni and retiree achievement awards. Those recognized with the Philanthropy Award included Huntington National Bank and Shyrle Sedgwick. Recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award were Kevin Raisbeck, Terri Slapak-Fugate, and Gerald Ward. Honorees of the Retiree Achievement Award were Lowell Ahrens, Mary Davis and Carol Needham.

The Retiree Achievement Award was established to recognize retired faculty and staff who have made significant contributions to the college through exemplary service in any capacity, whether in a teaching, administrative or support staff role and exemplified the values of the college in their time on campus and as a retiree.

Lowell Ahrens, a native and current resident of Prairie du Chien, started at Southwest Tech as a young and adult Farmer instructor in 1968, just as the college was getting started. He served in that role until 1980, when he transitioned to agriculture coordinator. In 1987 he started teaching dairy herd management, the position he retired from in June of 2000. Outside of Southwest Tech, Ahrens belonged to the Wisconsin Army National Guard for 32 years. He trained in Germany and in Panama twice and achieved rank of first sergeant. He was also a member of the state high power rifle and pistol team for many years. Lowell is still active in the United Methodist Church, the Masonic Lodge, the Shriners and Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity. Lowell is a two-time graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree.

Distinguished Alumni Gerald Ward, a Steuben native and resident of Reedsburg, is a 1974 graduate of the Accounting Associate degree program and is the Vice President of Operations for Seats Incorporated in Reedsburg.

Ward’s involvement in the community is extensive and includes serving as a founding member of the group that formed Southwest Partners in Richland Center and worked closely with the college to integrate classes at Southwest Tech within the Youth Apprenticeship Program. He also currently serves as a member of the Southwest Tech Supply Chain Management advisory committee.

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