Editor's note: This story first appeared in the fall 2019 issue of the Concordian, the official magazine of Concordia University Wisconsin.
If one were to build a case for the benefits of a broad knowledge base, Rev. Dr. Harald Tomesch would be the perfect poster child.
The Jack-of-all-trades theology professor has a lifetime of patents, entrepreneurial pursuits, and hobbies to his name, and he’s one of the most frequent cross-departmental collaborators within the university.
Ordained in 1981, Tomesch served as president of Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in Ontario, Canada, before he accepted a position within CUW’s theology department again in 2008. At different points in time, he also took up refurbishing boats; proved his acumen for wine-making; and served as a consultant for the motion picture industry, having contributed to films and television productions with notables such as actress Sigourney Weaver and Jeff Stewart from the BBC’s “Dr. Who.”
The latest endeavor to excite Tomesch’s entrepreneurial talent: QikVin, a reusable bottle with a one-way valve and piston that preserves wines and vinegars by allowing air to escape while simultaneously creating a vacuum for freshness.
Tomesch came up with the idea for QikVin one day while sitting in a Cedarburg, Wisconsin, winery he had owned for years until he sold it this fall.
“I was looking at 45 bottles that I had open, and I remember thinking, ‘There has to be a better way,’” Tomesch recalled. “Before QikVin, it wasn’t uncommon for me to throw away upwards of $800 a month due to oxidization.”
Ingenuity combined with the fruits of years of exploration and inquisitiveness kicked in, and within two years, in June 2018, Tomesch went to market with QikVin.
Tomesch and his product made it through a preliminary audition round for both the hit ABC show “Shark Tank,” as well as a Canadian version of the same show called “Dragons’ Den.”
Tomesch maintains that his wide array of interests and business pursuits directly benefits his ability to effectively teach his theology students. He is a frequent guest lecturer for Concordia’s business, pharmacy, marketing, and communications programs.
“You bring the knowledge and the experiences you have, and you encourage students to write their own stories,” Tomesch said.
Tomesch is proud that he helps students write their own stories outside of the classroom, as well. By intentionally hiring CUW and LCMS church-work students each season at his winery and manufacturing plant, Tomesch finds fulfillment in the fact that he’s helped over two dozen students support themselves through college while giving them the chance to practice the soft skills that are essential for ministry and life.
“I want to teach students how to interact with people so that they have interests and personality beyond a strict focus of theology,” Tomesch said. “If your passion is wine or travel, or something beyond just Biblical studies, then you have something to talk about with the everyday person. And that’s the start of a meaningful connection and evangelism.”
Want to preserve your wine? Learn more at qikvin.com.
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