Forward Rhinelander selects ‘Top 10 Under 40’ making an impact in community
By Eileen Persike
Forward Rhinelander has named the 2019 Top 10 community members under the age of 40. This is the organization’s second consecutive year of the awards which recognize exceptional local young people who are making an impact in the community in a variety of ways. The Forward Rhinelander selection committee sorted through the nominees and chose the top 10 based on business success, mentor/leadership and civic or philanthropic activities. The Star Journal will feature the winners in the coming weeks.
Rhinelander’s Top 10:
Brenda Lee has worked in the Oneida County Department of Social Services, currently as an ongoing social work supervisor. She played a large role in initiating the Drug Endangered Children Program in the county and is a strong advocate for children and families in the community.
Christie Kondzela, Rhinelander Police Patrol Sergeant. According to her nomination, Kondzela “Works hard to keep the community a safer place and tries to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Steve and Erica Sauer are both Rhinelander High School graduates. Steve has been able to step back from the company he built to “commit the majority of his life to giving back to the community.” He has served as the District 7 city alderman, and serves with the Masons and Knights of Columbus. Erica is an insurance agent; Steve and Erica are both involved in Camp Fire/Camp Birchrock, Lights of the Northwoods and Rhinelander Kiwanis.
Amy O’Melia, is an attorney and court commissioner. The person who nominated her stated, “She loves the Northwoods and is committed to making our community better, which is why she volunteers her time for various organizations including the YMCA of the Northwoods, Rhinelander Athletic Booster Club, and Rhinelander Partners in Education.”
Erika Warning, Director of Enrollment at Nicolet College. Erika has “A service mindset and hopes to inspire others with her passion for education and helping others succeed.”
Toni Van Doren is an “advocate for people of all abilities, and for building the community through education and workforce development. Toni serves as a board member for Headwaters Inc., and is the program lead for Nicolet College’s Jump! Start program.
Nick Cirilli, attorney with Cirilli Law Offices. In 2018, Nick was one of three attorneys in the state recognized for his dedicated efforts to provide free and reduced rate legal services in underserved populations. He is also involved in the Rhinelander community by serving on numerous boards of directors.
Robyn Metz, vice president at Northland Insurance. In recent years, she has taken part in community parades, chaired numerous events and fundraisers for area organizations and “continues to challenge and encourage others to take an active role in the community.
Ryan Zietlow, CEO at YMCA of the Northwoods. Since moving to Rhinelander in 2017, Ryan has joined the Rhinelander PIE board, volunteered in local schools, spoke at the United Way Leaderfest and was recently appointed to the Nicolet College Board of Trustees. He has also volunteered time to help facilitate strategic planning in a number of Northwoods nonprofit organizations.
Brian Paulson, School District of Rhinelander Activities Director. In addition to his duties with the school district, Brian has been part of the Rhinelander Booster Club and Hodag Schools Foundation and has served on many planning committees to help make Rhinelander a great place to live.