Next week, Concordia University Wisconsin will officially launch the only Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program in the Milwaukee area and the university's sixth doctoral offering.

Learners in the inaugural DBA cohort will begin the journey to their terminal degree with a week-long residency experience (dubbed “Doctoral Week”) on Concordia’s campus.

Outside of two on-campus residency requirements, the DBA program is offered completely online, which allowed for professionals near and far—19 in total—to enroll.

“It is an accomplishment in and of itself to start a brand-new doctoral program with a full roster, but we’re also excited to welcome a truly diverse slate of learners from all variety of backgrounds,” says Matt Hurtienne, PhD, associate dean of Concordia’s Batterman School of Business. “We can’t wait to welcome our newest graduate learners to campus next week and begin to see the fruition of more than a year of preparation and planning.”

DBA: Learn More

In anticipation of Doctoral Week, we invite you to get to know a few of our newest Concordians!

Joseph Smith

Job Title: Field Services Director – Bureau of Meat and Poultry Businesses

Employer: Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection

From: Madison, Wisconsin

Joe has a decade of experience in the food industry. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife, Katy, and their four-month-old daughter, Nora. Together they enjoy gardening, hiking, and doling out their homemade canned tomato sauce each year to eager friends and family.

“I’m excited to start this journey in the DBA program at Concordia focusing on the impact that regulation has on business growth and learning strategies to improve employee morale.”

Renée Washington

Job Title: Sr. HR Business Partner

Employer: Evoqua Water Technologies

From: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Renée brings nearly 20 years of experience in leadership development and change management, as well as deep expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies, to improve organizations and communities. In addition to her position with Evoqua Water Technologies, Renée is the Founder and Principal of La Vie Business Solutions, a firm that aims to assist organizations in their quest for organizational effectiveness through culture.

Kate Walker

Job Title: Talent Recruitment Specialist

Employer: Racine County Economic Development Corporation

From: Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin

Kate has worked in economic development for over 15 years. In her current role, she focuses on promoting and onboarding businesses to the Greater Racine County website. Prior to RCEDC, Kate spent almost eight years with Gateway Technical College’s Business and Workforce Solutions. In addition, she was the Assistant Director for CATI Inc., the founding Project Director for the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiation Corporations South East Location, and spent over 10 years in banking.

She is passionate about providing opportunities through education, training, business development, and talent attraction. She resides in Mount Pleasant with her husband, Nathan, and their two children, Bingham and Tatum.

Doreen Dockweiler

Job Title: Director of University Relations

Employer: USAA

From: San Antonio, Texas

Doreen has worked for USAA since May 2017, and prior to that, she worked at Dell for more than 16 years in a variety of leadership roles, including University Relations, Business & Sales Operations, Customer Experience and Product Development.

Outside of work she enjoys traveling (especially to a tropical island), reading, hiking, scuba diving, and watching Aggie sports.

Through CUW’s DBA program, Doreen is most excited to learn about research regarding strategic approaches for attracting, onboarding, and retaining Early Career Talent, particularly the role that experiential learning and internships can play at the start of an employee’s career.

James Trazile

Job Title: Medical Operations Officer

Employer: U.S. Army

From: Kansas

James is originally from Haiti, but began calling Wisconsin home in 2007.

Following his 2013 graduation from Lakeland University, he joined the U.S. Army and served as a Healthcare Specialist (aka Combat Medic). He went on to pursue his MBA from CUW, graduating in 2020. Concurrently, he received a Commission in the Army to serve as Officer in charge of medical readiness for his unit. He now lives in Kansas with his wife and daughter.

Kristin Blanchard Stearns

Job Title: CEO

Employer: Lakeshore Community Health Care

From: Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin

Kristin has 21 years of experience in non-profit social services in Sheboygan County and is currently the CEO of Lakeshore Community Health Care. She has a bachelor’s and master’s in social work from Carthage College and UW-Milwaukee, respectively.

Kristin is actively engaged with the community through her service with the Sheboygan Rotary Club, Healthy Sheboygan County, and many other community boards. While studying for her DBA at CUW, Kristin looks forward to researching the return-on-investment organizations receive when they develop, mentor, and coach mid-level managers.

Nicolle Hebeisen

Job Title: Director of Outreach Engagement

Employer: MOBE, LLC

From: Dundas, Minnesota

Nicolle has led customer-centric teams for over 20 years in various industries from motorsports to healthcare. Currently, she is the Director of Outreach Engagement for MOBE, LLC, an innovative health and wellness company. She is passionate about creating a positive and high performing culture through effective leadership, employee engagement, and coaching.

Nicolle’s research interests include human-centered design in a service culture and the impact to organizational performance and culture. She lives just south of the Twin Cities with her husband and two children, Hunter and Brooke. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, adventure sports, strength training, and kickboxing.

Sam Borgwardt

Job Title: Program Coordinator

Employer: AMC Theatres

From: Leawood, Kansas

Sam is currently employed at the AMC Theatres corporate office in a business development role. His previous experience was with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) based in Changsha, China, where he worked as a translator for business development projects.

Sam holds an MBA from Avila University, a master’s in Asia-Pacific Studies from National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan, and a bachelor’s degree in Mandarin Chinese from the University of Minnesota. His research at Concordia will focus on best practice sharing across international ventures, specifically examining the sharing of best practices between China and the United States.

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at or 262-243-2149.

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