Each year, we recognize a truly outstanding Wisconsin Technical College graduates. It is very satisfying to read the nominations describing the great work and lives of our successful graduates. From the nominations, we select one extraordinary person based on five criteria.
Those criteria are:
One inspiring theme stands out in Larry Turba’s journey from Mid-State Technical College graduate to the College’s 2018 nominee for the WTCDBA Distinguished Alumni Award: the confidence gained from applied hands-on skills can spark a career marked by tremendous growth and achievement. Larry has done more than exemplify that idea—he’s invested 34 years of his time and talents to bringing it to life for as many people as possible at Mid-State.
After graduating from Mid-State with an associate degree in accounting in 1978, Larry immediately went to work as an accountant for Paper City Savings in Nekoosa, Wisconsin. Working for one organization for 40 years—eventually leading it as CEO—powerfully demonstrates the impact a degree can have on a person’s life. (If there were any doubt, Larry also met his wife at Mid-State.) Yet, in Larry’s case, the impact of one person on the organization is just as remarkable. A “ground floor” employee, Larry was one of five when hired and quickly became a key player in growing the company to 47 employees across three branches. According to Larry, his path from accountant (1978–81); to treasurer (1982–91); to vice president, secretary, and treasurer (1992–2001); to president (2002) and president/CEO (2003–present) can be traced to one formative experience while still in high school: winning a Mid-State skills competition, which launched him on a lifelong cycle of hands-on skills and confidence in the real world.
Much of Larry’s impressive record of community service has sought to help create that empowering experience for others. Current activities include service on the board of directors of the Mid-State Technical College Foundation (34 years); Wisconsin Rapids Area Habitat for Humanity (treasurer, 25 years); a variety of leadership roles for Our Lady Queen of Heaven parish (19 years); and the Wisconsin Rapids Optimist Club (15 years). Just a few of his past activities include United Way of South Wood County division chair (3 years); Wisconsin Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce (8 years); and 45 combined years of coaching and more for youth athletics.
Larry’s support for the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) is evident in his service to Mid-State. During all 34 years on the Foundation board, he has served on the Scholarship and Grant Committee, where he could best ensure equal access to opportunities for students from all backgrounds and programs. Larry’s support has also touched many other critical areas, including the Accounting Program Advisory Committee, Financial Services Representative Program Advisory Committee, Mid- State District Strategic Planning Session (IMPACT), Mid-State Alumni Association (president), and Office Education Association Alumni – Wisconsin Rapids Chapter (vice president and president).
The WTCS mission has also been aided by Larry’s efforts to hire Mid-State grads at Paper City Savings, resulting in many successful hires over the years, including its current vice president/treasurer and IT director. In this way, Larry has demonstrated his deep faith in the Mid-State education to instill the skills, growth mindset, and confidence needed to help Paper City Savings grow and thrive.
His lifelong devotion to continuing education has helped Larry gain industry-specific insights and the management skills needed in his executive roles. Highlights include the Wisconsin League of Savings and Loans Banking School (1979), Graduate School of Community Bank Management – University of Texas (1997), and ongoing classes through the Wisconsin Bankers Association as well as a wide variety of trainings and courses in leadership, staff management, and customer service.
Larry’s journey from Mid-State grad to CEO is a testament to the transformative power of applicable hands-on skills and the confidence they bring. He has devoted his spare time to creating opportunities for others to acquire skills that matter and build careers limited only by the imagination.
|1998||Mark Senti||Chippewa Valley|
|2000||Marilyn Grainger||Waukesha County|
|2001||Vernon Jung, Jr.||Moraine Park|
|2002||Todd LoCascio||Northeast WI|
|2004||Robin Roberts||Madison College|
|2006||Donna Voigt||Waukesha County|
|2007||Brent Kindred||Northeast WI|
|2008||David Funkhouser||Waukesha County|
|2009||Mark Schmitz||Madison College|
|2010||Barbara Brown||Moraine Park|
|2013||Jeff Urlaub||Chippewa Valley|
|2016||Jeff & Brian Wieser||Western|
|2017||Dr. Adina Ness||Madison College|