Celebrating a Century of Service at Employee Recognition Celebration

Northwest Technical College recognized 9 employees with 105 combined years of service and winners of the college’s inaugural Awards of Excellence at its annual Employee Recognition Celebration April 28.

NTC’s Awards of Excellence include the Spirit of NTC Award, Outstanding Contribution Award, Excellence in Teaching Award and Distinguished Service Award.

The Spirit of NTC Award recognizes individuals or teams whose positive attitude and infectious enthusiasm embody the Spirit of NTC through active support of students, student-athletes, co-workers and community members.

The Outstanding Contribution Award is given to an individual who has gone above and beyond expectations to contribute in areas of student success, civic engagement, diversity, sustainability and/or public service.

The Excellence in Teaching Award is given to a faculty member who has demonstrated teaching excellence through evidence of exceptional learning outcomes and quality student advising.

The Distinguished Service Award is presented to a faculty or staff member who has been at NTC for at least five years with an ongoing record of superlative performance and professional excellence combined with significant personal impact in the areas of student success, civic engagement, diversity, sustainability and/or public service.

  • Spirit of NTC Award – Sarah Plahn, MnSCU academic professional; admissions
  • Outstanding Contribution Award – Doreen Kuhrke, administrative assistant
  • Excellence in Teaching Award – Peter Thul, probationary electrician faculty member
  • Distinguished Service Award – Gary Sorenson, accounting faculty member

Years of service

  • 40 years of service — Gary Sorenson, accounting faculty member
  • 15 years of service — Sue Sutton, medical/office administrative assistant
  • 10 years of service — Grant Foss, construct/electric faculty member; Kristi Karels, management analyst; Becky Fischer-Walvatne, information officer; Terri Bannor, dental assistant faculty member.
  • 5 years of service — Teresa Blatti, MnSCU academic professional; Sara Thomas, MnSCU academic professional.


  • Duane Schaefer, general maintenance worker

Northwest Technical College, located in northern Minnesota’s lake district, is an open, inviting technological learning organization. For more than 40 years, the college has valued life-long learning and the worth and dignity of all people. The college serves 900 students with a high-quality education, an open-enrollment policy and affordable tuition. NTC offers nearly 60 degree, diploma and certificate programs in areas such as business, health, human and protective services and environmental and industrial technology. Classes are offered on the Bemidji campus, online, or as a combination of both. NTC is a member of the colleges and universities of Minnesota State.