Fox Cities At Work

Five professionals show us that work in the Fox Cities is anything but boring.

Photos by David Jackson, Jackson & Co.

Eric Marcoe, 41
Dream Coach
Miron Construction
“Most of my day is spent in conversation with people and most of those conversations are me listening. I try to max out my day at four coaching sessions. In order to be a good coach, I have to be present and completely set aside everything else going on in my life for the hour I’m with an individual. I become a mirror that allows them to relate to or see something differently. In one conversation, emotions can range from me handing someone the box of tissues to them jumping up and down because they are so excited. When I first started, I learned that the word ‘dream’ inspired some people and pushed others away. Some were excited about having a dream and others felt what they wanted wasn’t big enough to be a dream. We had to break through that thought process. It’s not big or small, it’s whatever direction you want to be moving in. A lot of times, the first hour a person spends with me is the first hour of their life that they let go of all the other noise around them. Letting go of that noise creates space to think free of judgement, to see options and opportunities. So many people function out of their head and feel out of their heart, but how do they come together? Sometimes in this space, that begins to happen.”


Mark Coenen, 62
ThedaStar Flight Nurse
ThedaCare Regional Medical Center
“There really isn’t a ‘normal’ day. Some days you have seven flights and some you don’t have any. Probably 70 percent of our business is hospital-to-hospital patient transfers. The other 30 percent is scene response, where we go to the scene of a car crash or someone’s house to get them to the closest hospital. People always ask me how I can do this work, that it must be depressing. Well, if you live for today, you’re going to be disappointed. But we look at these patients a month, six months, a year later and a lot of them have great recoveries and are doing really well. You wouldn’t picture that if you saw them at the scene of a car crash. After 30 years I still get nervous and I worry. You have the responsibility of someone’s life and that’s a big thing. Once you get the airway taken care of, get the IVs established and set with that patient, then I take a deep breath and I can relax but until then, boy, I worry. I might get paid by the hospital, but when I go out to do work, that patient is my boss.”


Rebecca Kraft, 47
Bakery Manager
Festival Foods
“Anybody who can draw can be taught to decorate a cake. Some people just catch on by watching other people. That’s how I did it. Each individual decorator is going to have their own way, which gives more of a selection to our guests. Personally, I just grab the tubes and start decorating whatever my hands decide to do. I have about 21 people on my team right now. Whether it’s a baker, cake decorator or myself, we’re all coming up with new ideas for flavors and concepts. Everybody pitches in and we do a taste test. I do not taste test, because about two years ago I had to go gluten-free, so I can’t eat the stuff anymore. I have to rely on my team now for taste. On average, I would say we go through about 350 to 400 donuts during the week and on weekends it’s more like 600 to 700. White iced long johns are the number one seller always. That and our triple chocolate donut are must-haves all the time. One of the best parts of my job is seeing the reactions we get from guests, how happy they are when we offer certain things. Those reactions just keep me going.”


Thea Haessler, 28
Lead Scientist in the Physical Testing Department
Kimberly-Clark Corporation
“I have a mechanical engineering degree. There were times in college when mechanical engineering got tough, and I wondered if I even wanted to do it anymore. I was watching friends go out and play volleyball while I was stuck inside studying, but I’m glad I did because it paid off. I’ve been at K-C since March 2016. We have baby mannequins that can walk and crawl, and we use them to test our products. Right now I’m working on a new generation of the mannequins. It’s exciting because I get to look into the material that we use to make the mannequins more human-like. When I was experimenting with new materials, I had these flesh-colored samples sitting on my desk. People would walk by and be like, ‘What is that? It looks like a chunk of person.’ Some people find that stuff gross, but I think it’s neat. I think it’s really interesting to work with a product that’s constantly evolving so much. K-C’s products are directly for the consumer, so needs are always changing and there are always new developments. I like that this job has a lot of creative freedom. I’m not afraid to share an idea that may sound crazy to someone else. There are no bounds on what we can innovate.”


Lance Williams, 42
Co-Owner and Special Effects Makeup Artist
The Panic Chambers Haunted House at Annie’s Campground
“I started doing my mom’s makeup for costume parties when I was younger, but I originally got into special effects makeup when I saw artist Dale Kuipers making monsters in Green Bay. I always thought people could only do monsters in Hollywood. Panic Chambers has been going for five years already and we just signed a five-year deal with Annie’s Campground. We’re open every weekend in October and one weekend in September, doing 20 makeups a night. A lot of times it gets to be a mad scramble toward the finish line. But I wait all year for this, so when I get to do 20 makeups in one night, that’s the best part. Every time I work on a character, I want the person to look like themselves, but transformed. I look at the features that define a person and keep those, then augment the features that will make people say, ‘Wow.’ Scaring people is sort of like chemistry. If you put the jumpiest person in the middle of a group and blast a door open as they walk by, the jumpy person scares the people behind them. The people in the front get it because they didn’t see it coming. To me, it’s about creating an atmosphere and perfecting my craft as an entertainer.”


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