Beth Millner ('08 BFA) started a jewelry business in the corner of her tiny kitchen while attending NMU. She was committed to creating sustainable, handcrafted designs inspired by the U.P. landscape and Lake Superior. She opened a storefront studio and shop on Marquette's Washington Street in 2012 and now employs seven full-time and part-time staff, including NMU alumni. The growth, innovation, philanthropy and workplace culture at Beth Millner Jewelry led to its selection as the 2020 Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year in Michigan.
NMU alumnus and 5th-grade teacher Brandon Wislocki ('02 BS) is featured in a USA Today education piece presenting a “parent's guide to online school.” He works at Stonegate Elementary in Irvine, Calif., which is among a growing number of K-12 districts that plan to start the new academic year with online-only instruction.
After falling from a roof and injuring his back, NMU alumnus Greg Ormson ('99 MA) found that yoga delivered both pain relief and a new vocation. He became a certified instructor in the practice, just as he had with another avid interest: motorcycling. Ormson has found a unique way to blend both passions. He leads “Yoga and Leather: Yoga for Bikers,” the first—and, to his knowledge, only—specialized class of its kind in the nation to be held in a Harley-Davidson dealership.
The Northern Michigan University Alumni Association has announced five recipients of its 2020 Alumni Awards: Steve Mariucci ('77 BS, '83 MAE) of Monte Sereno, Calif., and Per Utnegaard ('82 BS) of Oberaegen, Switzerland, Distinguished Alumni; Anita Mattson ('02 BS) of Worcester, Mass., Alumni Achievement; Amanda Rosenburg ('02 BS) of Astoria, N.Y., Outstanding Young Alumni; and Greg Toutant ('94 BS) of Negaunee, Alumni Service.
NMU alumnus and former Wildcat football player Vincent Propson is the new activities director at Randolph High School in Wisconsin. He told the Daily Citizen the job was a perfect match. The school wanted someone to teach physical education and health, who also had experience as an athletic director and could be a strength and conditioning coach.
NMU broadcasting alumnus Jim Gleason (BS '90) was recently featured in a newspaper profile of his Radio Wasteland Records store, which opened in 2017 in Midland. Gleason turned a longtime collecting hobby into an entrepreneurial venture. He sells new and vintage vinyl while working to replicate the 1970s and ‘80s atmosphere of people listening to music playing on a turntable while thumbing through records.
NMU alumnus and former Wildcat basketball player Rod Coe ('58 BS) traveled extensively over his 26-year career with World Book Encyclopedia, before retiring as an executive vice president. His job put him in contact with NBA legend Bob Cousy, Mount Everest climber Sir Edmund Hillary, “Mercury Seven” astronauts, First Lady Rosalynn Carter and others. Coe later formed an RV tour company. At 83, he continues to share his enthusiasm for travel, along with the knowledge gleaned from actually reading the encylopedias he sold.