Congratulations to our 2019 Top 10 Under 40
You’ve all been positive influences on our community, and your efforts have made Rhinelander a better place to work, live, and play! The Top 10 Under 40 provides an opportunity for Rhinelander’s group of growing young professionals to be recognized and showcased. Winners were judged in three categories: business success, mentorship/leadership, and civic/philanthropic activities. Rhinelander’s appreciation for young leaders, business people, and entrepreneurs has been proven by the nearly fifty nominees that are being showcased by the Top 10 Under 40 ceremony. Rhinelander has many recreational opportunities, restaurants, and cultural opportunities that are attracting some of the top young people in the Northern Midwest.
Nick Cirilli graduated from Rhinelander High School in 2009. He then went on to study business management at Northern Michigan University. After college, Nick went to law school at Western Michigan University, where he graduated second in his class. After completing his studies, Nick joined Cirilli Law Offices in 2015, where he handles a wide variety of legal matters. Nick was one of the three attorneys in the state to receive the 2018 Belle Case La Follette Award for this dedicated efforts to provide free and reduced rate legal services to underserved populations. Since beginning his legal career, Nick has also been involved in the Rhinelander community by serving on numerous boards of directors. Past and present examples include the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce, Rhinelander Area Scholarship Foundation, and Headwaters, Inc. In his free time, Nick enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife, Amy.
Christie Kondzela graduated from Antigo High School in 2010. She received an athletic scholarship to play softball for a junior college in Illinois. After that she attended Nicolet College where she received her Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice. In January of 2014 she was hired by the Rhinelander Police Department as a Patrol Officer. In August of 2017 Christie was promoted to Patrol Sergeant on night shift. Christie works hard to keep the community a safer place and tries to make a difference in people’s lives. Christie loves the outdoors, spending time with family, and is happy to be part of the Rhinelander Community.
Brenda Lee graduated from Stephenson, MI High School in 2002. She attended Bay de Non Community College where she earned her Associate in Arts Criminal Justice Degree. She went on to Lake Superior State University where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Degree in May 2007. Brenda came to the Rhinelander area in October of 2007 after accepting a position with Oneida County Department of Social Services. Brenda worked as an Ongoing Social Worker for 2 years, in Initial Assessment for 9 years and is currently an Ongoing Social Work Supervisor. Brenda played a large role in initiating the Drug Endangered Children Program (DEC) in Oneida County. Brenda is a strong advocate for children and families in the community. Brenda and her husband, Lucas Lee, have two children and enjoy camping, fishing and many other outdoor activities.
Robyn Metz has been serving the Rhinelander community and surrounding areas since 2011. Robyn grew up in Rhinelander and graduated from Rhinelander High School in 1998. She then pursued her college education in Stevens Point, where she earned Dean’s List recognition and a degree in Business Administration/Human Resources. After almost 5 years at Sentry Insurance, Robyn found her way back to Rhinelander in 2011 and began working as a licensed personal and commercial lines insurance agent for her father, Don Strupp, at Northland Insurance. In January, 2019, Robyn took the Vice President position, with intent to eventually take over ownership of the agency her father has so successfully built. She loves the challenge and enjoys the client relationships she has built over the past several years. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, teaching youth classes at the YMCA, and watching her daughters participate in all their extracurriculars. She also loves to help her fellow community members whenever she is able. In the past several years, Robyn has taken part in community parades, chaired numerous events and fundraisers for organizations in the Rhinelander area, and continues to challenge and encourage others to take an active role in our community.
Amy O’Melia graduated from Rhinelander High School in 2005 and attended college and law school at UW-Madison. Since returning to Rhinelander in 2012, Amy has worked as an attorney practicing criminal law and currently serves as a court commissioner for Oneida County. 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. Amy and her husband, Michael, enjoy spending time at the O’Melia hunting cabin in Three Lakes, working on DIY projects around their home, and visiting with family and friends.
Brian Paulson was born and raised in Antigo, WI. Brian is blessed to have an amazing wife that has been along side of him as he has fulfilled some lifelong dreams: former Head Basketball Coach, Athletic/Activities Director, and four beautiful children. The City of Rhinelander is a great place to raise a family. As time allows, Brian has been part of the Rhinelander Booster Club and Hodag Schools Foundation. Brian has served on many planning committees to help make Rhinelander a great place! In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family and enjoys participating in any physical activities.
Steve and Erica Sauer
Steve and Erica Sauer grew up in Rhinelander and are both proud graduates of RHS, Steve class of ’99 and Erica class of ’01. After building a business, Flash McGee Inc (a FedEx Ground contract company), Steve was lucky enough to be able to step back and commit the majority of his life to giving back to the community. He has served the residents of Rhinelander’s District 7 for seven years and is actively involved with Camp Fire/Camp Birchrock, Rhinelander Kiwanis, Lights of the Northwoods, the Masons and the Knights of Columbus. Erica is a successful Insurance Agent and has worked for Farmers Insurance for 8 years. She commits a lot of her free time being actively involved with and sits on the board for Camp Fire/Camp Birchrock, Rhinelander Kiwanis, and Lights of the Northwoods. Erica and Steve are proud to be raising their 3 children in the city they have been fortunate to call their home.
Toni Van Doren
Toni Van Doren is an alumni of Rhinelander High School and an active member of the community although you may recognize her as your friendly local Yeti (from Nicolet’s Yeti Fest). Toni is an advocate for people of all abilities and is a board member for Headwaters Inc. and the college’s Jump! Start program lead. Toni is also an advocate for building our community through education and workforce development. She sits on several workforce committees, and is a board member for the Wisconsin Employment and Training Association. She and her husband Matt have a passion for the trades and support all students pathways whether it’s the traditional college route or technical training/apprenticeship. She supports that work by being the Northern Wisconsin Regional ICAR (automotive and collision repair association) committee President. Toni’s passion for education and workforce innovation stems from her three children, Riley, Colten and Evan, who have taught her that every person defines their own path to success and fulfillment and she knows that Rhinelander can be the community that supports all of those paths.
Erika Warning graduated from UW-Oshkosh in 2009 with a Bachelor in Business Administration. In 2012, she was hired as a Career Coach for Nicolet College. For the past 3 years, Erika has served as the Director of Enrollment for the College during which she received a Master’s of Business Administration from Lakeland University. Erika is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Rhinelander and participates in music ministry at Nativity of our Lord Parish in Rhinelander. In her work and daily life, Erika has a service mindset and hopes to inspire others with her passion for education and helping others succeed.
Ryan Zietlow and his family moved to Rhinelander in the fall of 2017. Through Ryan’s service at the YMCA he has helped guide a pattern of growth for the organization where the Y is a strong and respected community partner. Since moving to Rhinelander 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. Ryan has given his time to other organizations by helping facilitate strategic planning for the Northwoods Children’s Museum, ArtStart, and the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce. With other leaders he partnered to spearhead a Nonprofit Summit to build our local nonprofit impact in the Northwoods. Ryan credits his faith, his wife Amy, and the YMCA staff and board for his ability to make a difference in our local community