Mike Kolpack, shown at work at Kretz Lumber, began taking classes at
Northcentral Technical College in Antigo 18 years after his high school graduation.

Mike Kolpack Returns to Tech School After 18-Year Absence, He’s Persistent

Mike Kolpack is not the kind of person who goes out of his way to brag about his accomplishments. He seems content to simply do a good job and fly under the radar. However, individuals like Mike often deserve as much recognition as anybody for the work that they do and the way that they contribute to the community and the economy.

Mike’s story starts in Antigo where he was born and raised. He started working at Kretz Lumber two months before he graduated from Antigo High School in 1994. According to Mike, he started “at the bottom, piling boards, and working behind saws.” For the past 22 years, Mike has been a familiar face at Kretz Lumber considering it has been his only employer since high school. This commitment to an employer has definitely become more of a rarity in recent years.

Mike started his educational pursuits in 2012 when he began the industrial electronics and maintenance technician technical diploma program. Mike was part of the first graduating class of this program at the Northcentral Technical College Antigo campus where he learned about hydraulics, pneumatics, and AC/DC electronic controls and circuits. Mike chose NTC Antigo because it allowed him the opportunity to still work and attend school at the same time. While he was preparing to be a new father, this was important.

In speaking about the Antigo community, Mike said that first thing that comes to mind related to the greatest benefit of living here is the safe environment it provides. In his personal life and hobbies, he stays plenty busy with home projects that he takes on in his free time.

When asked about what he specifically likes in working with Kretz Lumber, Mike said that he really enjoys that there is “always something different every day.” He really can’t anticipate each problem or project that he may need to tackle when he comes to work each day. He said he never gets bored and enjoys having to troubleshoot and get creative with making things work.

As far as his job title, Mike works as an electrician but assists with a variety of maintenance items at Kretz Lumber. Between his first position of stacking lumber and becoming a maintenance Electrician Mike also worked as a second shift supervisor and even spent nine months working at a mill in Tomahawk.

Related to the environment at Kretz Lumber, Mike likes that it is an employee owned business. He said that the culture has a family atmosphere and there is a lot of strong connections among the team.

If Mike were to give advice to anyone regarding their career he would say to not put school on hold. He admitted that the 18-year gap between graduating high school and starting his college degree was a little weird.

Do you know of an NTC graduate who is working successfully as a professional in our community? Please contact Zach Popp at 715-348- 7739, or popp@ntc.edu to recommend that individual as a featured story.

Mike Kolpack, shown at work at Kretz Lumber, began taking classes at Northcentral Technical College in Antigo 18 years after his high school graduation.

Source: Antigo Daily Journal