Alumni Awards 2015

First presented in 1964, the NMU Alumni Awards celebrate excellence: Northern alumni who have received an associate, bachelor, masters or educational specialist degree. They have been a positive influence on their professions or on their communities and distinguished themselves through achievements, both personal and professional, which not only set them apart in their field and social circles, but define them as true leaders.

To nominate alumni you know for an award, or to read about past winners, please visit: Nominations can be submitted by friends, family, faculty and staff.

Alumni Achievement Award: Jon Kukuk '76 

Jon is the owner/president of Nestegg Marine which was named National Marina of the Year in 2011. He was one of the first in the nation to achieve the marine industry’s 5 Star Dealer Certification and the first Wisconsin Certified Clean Marina. Jon is National Education Chair for the Marine Growth Initiative. He has been an active member in the Marinette Chamber of Commerce for over 19 years including board member 9 years and past president.  Jon was honored as Marinette’s Person of the Year in 2005, received the NMU Alumni Service Award in 1995, and is a past member of the NMU Alumni Association Board of Directors.  His marina, Nestegg Marine, was recognized as Small Business of the Year in 1994.  He received a BS in Industrial Technology from Northern and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Tech.

Alumni Achievement Award: Lisa Kelley ’99

Lisa is an Undersea Specialist and Expedition Leader at Lindblad Expeditions, an international travel/expedition company that is partnered with National Geographic. She creates and executes successful expeditions while managing 160 guests and a team of up to 16 staff members both on board and during landing operations. Lisa films underwater environments around the world and works on video editing and presentations for Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic and is second in command of the MS National Geographic Explorer. She has helped to oversee operations on an Antarctic station for the United States Antarctic Program and was the first to achieve scuba diving credentials in Antarctica. Lisa is the author of the “The Antarctic Dive Guide” and has led expeditions in over 138 different sites, in over 58 countries, and on all 7 continents. She is also the recipient of the Raytheon Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership, was the captain for NMU Women’s Soccer Team 1997-1998 and graduated with honors.

Outstanding Young Alumni Award: Michael Oswald '03

Michael is the Executive Vice President at Hill and Wilkinson, a $450 million, full service construction firm known for building high profile and big business projects while retaining a small business attitude. He oversees one of four divisions which consist of Industrial, Aviation, Food and Beverage and Special Projects. Michael also oversees operations of the Central Texas Office. He started his career as Project Engineer, moving up to Project Manager, Senior Project Manager, Group Manager and finally Executive Vice President.  He attended NMU on a football scholarship where he received multiple honors including MVP of the Varsity football team, two-time Academic All American and graduated Summa Cum Laude. Michael is involved in The Real Estate Council of Dallas-Ft Worth, orchestrated the design and completion of a greenhouse for Paul Quinn College, participates in the ACE Mentorship program, Habitat for Humanity, Hearts and Hammers, Boys and Girls Club and currently serves on the Professional Services Committee for The Real Estate Council. He has served on the NMU Advisory Council for the last two years and is involved with attracting talent, adjusting curriculum and styles to match up with the industry trends and providing leadership as a mentor in the industry. He is directly responsible for the hiring and retention of at least twelve additional NMU Construction Management students through the years.