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Alumni take on campus spruce-up project through employer's outreach program

April 10, 2014
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UW-Eau Claire alumni (left to right) Matthias Mulder (2010), Nate Henry (2006) and Amanda Zenner (2008), all local managers for Sherwin-Williams, donated labor and materials through their employer for a painting project in the university's Brewer Hall.
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UW-Eau Claire senior Kaitlyn Johnson, one of eight UW-Eau Claire students employed at local Sherwin-Williams stores, pitched in on the project as part of the company's National Paint Week.

EAU CLAIRE — Several UW-Eau Claire alumni who now work in management for Sherwin-Williams in Eau Claire have found a way to give back to their alma mater through their employer's annual community outreach initiative.

Amanda Zenner and Nate Henry, managers at Sherwin-Williams' Hastings Way location, and Matthias Mulder, the manager at the company's Hamilton Avenue location, along with other Sherwin-Williams employees, worked for two days this week in UW-Eau Claire's Brewer Hall, painting both the offices and hallway where Blugold men's and women's basketball offices will relocate this summer. The relocation follows the move to Centennial Hall by the university's College of Education and Human Sciences staff, who previously occupied the first-floor Brewer spaces.

Sherwin-Williams donated all the paint, prep work and labor for the project.

Zenner, who played for the Blugold women's basketball program from 2005-08, previously had contacted her former head coach, Tonja Englund, about the Sherwin-Williams team's desire to do a painting project for the university as part of the company's National Paint Week initiative. The timing was perfect, as the basketball coaches had just learned they would be relocating to the Brewer office spaces, Englund said.

Henry and Mulder both earned business management degrees from UW-Eau Claire, Henry in 2006 and Mulder in 2010. Zenner, a 2008 UW-Eau Claire biology and chemistry graduate, acknowledged her path to management with Sherwin-Williams was slightly different from that of her colleagues.

"I truthfully believe that my well-rounded education and experiences in athletics at UW-Eau Claire had prepared me for whatever career fit my skills," Zenner said. "The numerous community-service events and public speaking engagements that I participated in while at UW-Eau Claire taught me the importance of having a strong connection with the community I live in. I have learned that it truly is enriching to carry on connections with the community, the university and other alumni."

In addition to the Blugold alumni in management, eight current UW-Eau Claire students are employed at the two Eau Claire Sherwin-Williams stores, and the company returns to UW-Eau Claire several times a year to recruit students for its internship and management training programs, Zenner said, adding that she knows of additional UW-Eau Claire alumni now working in Sherwin-Williams management in Marshfield, Wausau and Chicago.

"We are thrilled to be working with Sherwin-Williams on this project, which will directly impact our basketball programs in such a positive way, and we're overwhelmed with the generosity of the entire Sherwin-Williams staff and corporation," Englund said. "We also are proud to see so many UW-Eau Claire graduates excelling with Sherwin-Williams."

The painting project was a way for the Blugold alumni in local Sherwin-Williams management to express their gratitude to the university, Zenner said.

"We believed that it would be a great experience for our current employees and the company to say thank you to the university for all of the support and memories," she said.

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