Foundation announces capital campaign for Food Science and Agriculture Center


Dr. Dave Ohman, Teresa Suttner, Nancy Jusky and Louie Gentine (left to right) are leading the Plymouth Education Foundation capital campaign to build a Food Science and Agriculture Center at Plymouth High School. — Submitted photo Dr. Dave Ohman, Teresa Suttner, Nancy Jusky and Louie Gentine (left to right) are leading the Plymouth Education Foundation capital campaign to build a Food Science and Agriculture Center at Plymouth High School. — Submitted photo The Plymouth Education Foundation is leading a capital campaign to build a Food Science and Agriculture Center at Plymouth High School and has secured donations for more than 70 percent of the estimated $1 million needed to build the state-of-the-art facility.

The pledges came during the silent phase of the campaign; a public phase is set to launch May 1 to raise the remaining $300,000.

“The Plymouth Education Foundation is very grateful for the generous support we have received to date,” said Crystal Fieber, foundation board president. “We hope many more businesses and individuals will support this capital project and help us meet and exceed our goal.”

The foundation has announced that Louie Gentine and Dr. Dave Ohman will serve as honorary co-chairmen and Teresa Suttner and Nancy Jusky will serve as co-chairwomen of the capital campaign.

Honorary co-chairmen

As honorary co-chairmen, Gentine and Ohman will play a critical role in raising visibility for the foundation and fundraising priorities.

“Louie and Dr. Dave have been extraordinarily generous in supporting the Food Science and Agriculture Center project,” said Anne Troka, foundation executive director. “Their remarkable vote of confi- dence is an exciting opportunity for our schools and our community that I know will energize and inspire others.”

Gentine is CEO and a third-generation owner of Sargento Foods Inc. He is a graduate of PHS, the University of Notre Dame and Loyola University. He lives in Plymouth with his wife, Paula, and four children and carries on his grandfather’s stakeholder philosophy, which includes employees, customers, suppliers and the community in business decisions.

“I believe that there must be a partnership between businesses and the communities in which they operate,” Gentine said. “Sargento and other businesses can partner with schools to help nurture more opportunities for all students - whether they are college-bound or interested in applying technical skills or entering directly into the workforce. This particular project resonates with us because advances in agriculture and food science are critical to our country’s ability to continue to satisfy basic needs of people around the globe. And continued investment by our community in local schools helps make the Plymouth area more appealing to families who consider moving here.”

Ohman has been a resident of Sheboygan County for the past 32 years, coming to the community in 1982 after graduating from Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine. He practiced large animal veterinary medicine for 18 years in Sheboygan County and currently is a technical services specialist with Diamond V Technologies, a global company dedicated to animal nutrition and health. He and his wife, Barb, have five children, three of whom have graduated from PHS and two who are currently attending.

“Our school system has been a leader in providing a quality education. They continue to look for ways to prepare our community’s children for future career opportunities,” Ohman said. “This educational facility will allow for expansion of educational opportunities for Plymouth High School students to make them aware of, as well as prepare them for, diverse career fields in food science and technology-related fields. These areas offer great future employment prospects for our children. The Food Science and Agriculture Center will allow our school district to continue to lead and will be an asset to all in our community.”

Co-chairwomen

As co-chairwomen, Suttner, who is also a member of the Plymouth Education Foundation Board of Directors, and Jusky will provide leadership to the campaign, along with a committee of fifteen additional dedicated volunteers.

Suttner spent 15 years working in the agriculture and manufacturing industries for the Chicago Board of Trade and Case Corp. after graduating from Illinois State University with a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness. She and her husband, Joe, live in Elkhart Lake with their three daughters. She has volunteered for numerous fund-raising opportunities through Chilton Catholic School and Parish, St. John the Baptist School and Parish and Plymouth High School.

“The Food Science and Agriculture Center will create a new level of excitement in learning for PHS students,” Suttner said. “Working ‘hands on’ with science or ag-related projects in this state-of-theart facility will make a big impact on their learning. These experiences will give them an advantage toward higher education or many trades they could use locally.”

Jusky is a “product” of Plymouth High School Class of 1960 and was inducted this year into the PHS Alumni Hall of Fame. She and her husband, John, a native of Plymouth, have lived in Plymouth their entire married life, almost 49 years, and have educated their daughters in the Plymouth School District. Educated at UW-Eau Claire, Jusky has had a long career in public relations, marketing and resource development both professionally and as a community volunteer. During the past 36 years, she has developed business and community relationships throughout Sheboygan County with Wisconsin Newspress Inc. (The Plymouth Review) and most recently the United Way of Sheboygan County, from which she recently retired after nine years of service.

“Agriculture and the food industry are the backbone of our community,” Jusky said. “It is only fitting for Plymouth High School to offer quality educational choices for its students that would prepare them for careers in the food science and agriculture industries at all levels of employment. To play a major part in attaining this goal is another way I can say ‘thank you’ to the community that has provided a wonderful life for my family.”

Joining Gentine, Ohman, Suttner, Jusky and Troka in helping spread the word about the project are others on the Capital Campaign Committee: Dr. Carrie Dassow, Mike Lanser, Kristi Jankowski, Sylvia Hemauer, Paul Gamoke, Todd Abraham, Camisha Miller, John Mueller, Jeff Mueller, Mike Mulder, Gale Litt, Caren Johnson, Jess Mella and Wally Taylor.

The Plymouth Education Foundation Board of Directors also is working hard to advance the project. Members are Crystal Fieber, Bart Halderson, John Mueller, Dena Budrecki, Brenda Dale, Dr. Carrie Dassow, Steve Douglas, Jamie Gambrell, Erv Golembiewski, Lynn Kulow, Clark Reinke, Karen Rhyan, Teresa Suttner, Bob Travis, Teresa Van Horn and Tom Wegner.

Community support

The project, which is expected to benefit about three-quarters of the PHS student body, is drawing praise from the local business community.

“Sartori Company is supporting this project because we believe in educating and investing in our community,” said CEO Jim Sartori. “As the Cheese Capital, it is very important for Plymouth business, residents and students to support food science and agriculture. I am excited to see this project move forward so we can all gain a better understanding and appreciation for the tremendous impact of dairy farms, cheese manufacturers/ processors and agriculture.”

“When my dad first started Masters Gallery Foods 40 years ago, he chose Plymouth because of the people who live here and the area’s rich history in agriculture and food industry,” said Executive Vice President Jeff Gentine. “Masters is committed to keeping this tradition alive through community-wide efforts and projects like the Food Science and Agriculture Center. We are proud to partner with the Plymouth School District and its educational initiatives to ensure a strong and viable community.”

In addition to support from the Plymouth School District, the Plymouth Education Foundation, Sargento Foods, Sartori Company and Masters Gallery Foods,, the following individuals/organizations also have made generous donations: an anonymous donor, Plymouth Foam, Plymouth Rotary and Fairview Elementary School Parent Organization. In-kind donations have been offered from Kohler Company and Orion Energy Systems.

Project history

The roots of the Food Science and Agriculture Center go back 10 years to a small discussion involving a few interested people from the school and the community.

Last year, the district identified the project as a one of its educational initiatives in its academic threeyear strategic plan, and the Board of Education asked the Plymouth Education Foundation to help support the project financially.

Last summer, the foundation board of directors approved leading a capital campaign. The foundation conducted a series of focus groups last fall, then moved forward with the silent phase of its capital campaign this past winter.

During that silent phase, the foundation shared plans for the new center with numerous businesses, community members and community organizations in the Plymouth/ Sheboygan area in an effort to secure initial support for the project.

Based on the positive feedback from these initial meetings, the district plans to collaborate with many of these community organizations, including Lakeshore Technical College, Nourish, Plymouth Food Pantry, St. Vincent DePaul, Generations, FFA, 4H and the University of Wisconsin- Extension. In addition, the district plans to develop expanded apprenticeships and partnerships with many of the key local businesses and employers in the food and agriculture industries.

“The support for the new center is very positive for our schools and our community,” Troka said. “The Plymouth Education Foundation looks forward to many more individuals, businesses, and community organizations to join our growing list of supporters who can say, I helped to plant a seed, making an investment in today’s students who will become tomorrow’s leaders.”

Details about the Food Science and Agriculture Center and the capital campaign to support the center can be found on the school district’s web site at www.plymouth.k12.wi.us and the foundation’s web site at www.plymouthedfoundation.org.


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