Chamber selects FVTC regional director
By Angie Landsverk
Paul Shrode is the 2015 winner of the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce’s Service Award.
“I was caught off guard,” he said of the award. “I don’t do anything I do for recognition. I just think I pitch in and see needs.”
Shrode’s involvement in the chamber began shortly after he became Fox Valley Technical College’s director of regional operations at its Waupaca and Wautoma regional centers in 2007.
“My role is to manage the staff, help recruit faculty and help students with career planning,” he said. “A significant part of my job is to find out the needs of the community and how the college can meet those needs.”
Shrode said the garden at ThedaCare Medical Center – Waupaca is an example of how the college seeks to meet the community’s needs.
“The college was able to bring its design resources,” he said. “I think that’s what we want to be – a collaborative partner in the community.”
Shrode enjoys working with the local chamber, saying its focus is not only on businesses but on the community as a whole.
He was honored for his involvement in the chamber during its annual awards program, which was held Tuesday, Jan. 26, at the Waupaca Ale House.
“Paul has made a very significant impact in the chamber with his help and guidance since taking his position at Fox Valley Technical College. Serving on several committees, including the Chamber Ambassadors, Tourism Council and the Board of Directors including chairman of the board, Paul has shared his knowledge and experiences. He is always willing to help by volunteering his time not only during working hours but on his own time, too. He exemplifies the Chamber Service Award,” said chamber President Terri Schulz.
Shrode joined the chamber’s board in 2008 and served as its chair in 2013.
In addition, he serves on the chamber’s Tourism Council, including as its chair for about five years.
“I love serving with the chamber. First of all, it’s a welcoming group,” he said. “I believe in a community paying attention to the holistic environment. If there are needs in a community, join together and meet them.”
He enjoys volunteering at Strawberry Fest, the golf outing and at other Chamber events.
Shrode also hosted a past Business After 5 at FVTC’s Waupaca Regional Center.
In addition, Shrode is involved in the local Rotary club, serves on the Waupaca County Economic Development Corporation Board and also serves on the local Tax Incremental Financing board on behalf of the college.
He is also part of a newly formed group called Waupaca County Family Partners, which is meeting at the Waupaca Regional Center to share information and resources.
The group is bringing together representatives from social services agencies, Waupaca County’s UW-Extension office, the school district and other organizations to figure out what they may effectively do together, he said.
Shrode grew up in Detroit and graduated from Albion College in Michigan with a degree in biology.
He intended to seek a master’s degree in that field but discovered college administrative work and instead received a master’s degree in that area.
“I came to appreciate the small college environment,” he said.
Shrode worked in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan before moving to Wisconsin, where he worked at Lawrence University in Appleton for 25 years.
His first three years at the university were as the assistant dean of students before he became the associate dean of students.
His tenure there was followed by his move to FVTC.
“I discovered early on I get a lot of personal fulfillment from helping people and getting to know people,” Shrode said. “I also see volunteering as a way to stretch your skills.”
He does not seek recognition when he serves but said the importance of awards are to state publicly that what people do matters and that everyone, regardless of who they are and their circumstances, may contribute to the community.
“I’m very flattered and very pleased. I’m proud to represent the chamber and the college, and I love this community,” Shrode said. “My experience in Wisconsin has been shaped by northeastern Wisconsin. I think of Waupaca as my adopted community. I think of myself as living in Waupaca and sleeping in Appleton.”