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Four Inducted Into Northeast’s Hall Of Success; Sedlacek Is Distinguished Service Recipient

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NORFOLK – The Northeast Community College Board of Governors and campus community have honored five individuals for career success, achievement and distinguished service following graduation from the institution.

John W. Davies, Pilger, John Hollatz, Lexington, SC, Thomas Rudloff, Battle Creek and Master Sergeant Loren Zimmer, Washington DC, were inducted into Northeast’s Hall of Success during a reception and ceremony Thursday evening at the Lifelong Learning Center on the Norfolk campus. The Hall of Success is awarded to individuals for achieving significant professional success, exhibiting exemplary citizenship qualities or making significant contributions to their communities and/or community affairs.


Also at the ceremony, Nicole Sedlacek, O’Neill, was presented with the Northeast Community College Distinguished Service Award. The award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated active service to higher education and who have played a significant role in the development of Northeast Community College.


Davies was working in industrial manufacturing several years ago when he decided he would go back to school to be a physician assistant (PA). Since graduating from Northeast Community College in 1992, he has had a long history of working in the medical field. Currently, he is employed by Sunny Meadow Medical Clinic in Norfolk as a PA.

In addition, Davies is the chairperson of the Northeast Community College Board of Governors, serves as the state coordinator for the Association of Community College Trustees and is a member of the Nebraska Medical Board for Physician Assistants.

Dr. Michael Chipps, Northeast president, spoke of Davies’ work with the board.

“He is a committed member of the Northeast Community College Board of Governors and understands the role community colleges play in higher education. Mr. Davies is a testament himself to how community college can transform someone’s life. After a military career and 13 years in the steel business, he went back to school, including Northeast Community College, to pursue a degree in the medical profession.”

Dr. Chipps said Davies’ relationship with Northeast goes back to his days working at Nucor Steel in Norfolk. “It was an idea of his that created a system where shift workers at Nucor could take classes through Northeast at times when it was most convenient for them. Because he saw the need and the desire of his fellow employees, the program was launched with great success due to his visionary leadership of the idea. Mr. Davies is a dedicated and outstanding member of the Northeast Community College Board of Governors. He brings his insightful knowledge of education to each meeting and is invaluable on the state and national level.”

“Northeast Community College changed my life,” Davies said. “It took me from a great job at Nucor and got me started along my dream of a career in medicine.  At a time in your life when the fear of change is so over whelming, Northeast stepped up and said that you can begin achieving that dream here.  Next to marring my wife, it is the single greatest decision of my life.  How can I tell anyone how Northeast Community college impacted my life when the changes I made at Northeast affect every aspect of my current life?”

Davies offered this advice to others, “Northeast Community College is the place where dreams can begin. Use Northeast to try out your dreams and allow them to raise you to your full potential.  Don’t go through life thinking ‘What if?’ Take a chance and see what potential lies within you.”

Davies, and his wife, Diane, a certified public accountant and partner in Morrow, Davies and Toelle, PC, have three adult children and their spouses, Matthew (Jennifer), Paul (Amber), and Jessica Borgelt (Chris) and three grandchildren.


Hollatz graduated from Northeast Community College in 1996 prior to receiving his Bachelor of Science from the University of Nebraska – Omaha. He started his career as a design engineer for Vulcraft in Indiana and later transferred to Norfolk as a sales engineer. He worked his way up the corporate ladder to be the general manager (GM) of Nucor Building Systems in South Carolina. Hollatz has been responsible for leading an entire operating division of Nucor.

Dirk Petersen, vice president/general manager of Nucor Steel-Nebraska, was among those who nominated Hollatz. In his nomination, Petersen wrote, “John was a sales engineer in our sales department at Vulcraft in Norfolk when he applied for the sales manager position back in 2005 when I was GM of Vulcraft. I had several candidates all of whom had more tenure with the company than John, who was 29-years-old at the time. I wasn’t sure if he would be a serious contender because he had not been with Vulcraft that long and he had only been in sales for five years.”

Petersen admits he misjudged Hollatz’s qualifications. “It was evident after I conducted the interviews that John was ready for the role. So I was not surprised when he was promoted to general manager at Nucor in 2011 at the age of 36. He was one of the youngest ever to be promoted to the GM role at Nucor. John is one of the bright young stars at Nucor and I expect him to continue his ascent to even more complicated and important roles in our company.”

Hollatz said when he arrived to Northeast Community College, he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. “I knew I was pretty good with math, and Dr. Jeff Bauer, my advisor at the time, held me by the hand and pointed me in the right direction. At that time, there was no (transfer) agreement between Northeast and the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and Dr. Bauer was able to get all of my credits transferred down there so I was able to go in as a junior which I very much appreciated.”

Hollatz also thanked Petersen for taking a risk on him early in his career.

“Nucor is a $20 billion company with 53 divisions across the country. There are six of us who work directly with for Dirk Petersen in running divisions today and four of us came out of Norfolk. I hope the College recognizes what it has with Dirk in his role as a board member?”

Hollatz and his wife, Michele, have two children, Kaylor, 5, and Kinsey, 3.


Rudloff earned a degree in electrical residential and commercial wiring from Northeast Community College in 1983 prior to receiving his Master’s in Business Administration. He started his electrical career working for Creighton Electric, Incorporated and then transitioned to North Central Public Power District in Creighton, where he started as a lineman. Rudloff worked his way up to operations manager over 19 years. He then transferred to Elkhorn Rural Public Power District in Battle Creek as the general manager.

He is actively involved in his community, including the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce, Battle Creek Booster Club, Knights of Columbus and the Nebraska Rural Electric Association.

In his letter of nomination, Keith Harvey, general manager at North Central Public Power District, wrote, “In my opinion, as both a fellow Public Power District general manager and as his former supervisor, Tom is the personification of the mission of Northeast Community College. In addition, he has dispelled the myth of Nebraska’s “brain drain” by electing to pursue his career in Northeast Nebraska. Make no mistake about it, Tom could have moved to any number of other locations in and outside the state. Instead, he decided to use the education he earned at Northeast to dedicate his life to making this part of the world a better place to live.”

Harvey went on to say, “It is fitting that someone of this caliber; with this type of work ethic; with his dedication to making the most out every minute of every day and his relentless pursuit of ways to help other people achieve their goals – got his start at Northeast Community College. That is certainly an honor and a reflection on the entire institution.”

Rudloff said the education he received from Northeast Community College opened doors for him, providing a variety of career opportunities.

“When I decided to return to school to further my education, I turned to Northeast Community College because its leadership was and is still visionary in providing for and meeting the needs of non-traditional students. Once I contacted personnel at Northeast, they worked with me to find programs to help me attain my educational goals. Northeast’s ‘student first’ philosophy meant a great deal to me.”

Rudloff encourages others to be life-long learners. “Education does not stop the day you graduate from an educational institution. If you surround yourself with people who are inspirational and driven to succeed, they will help you foster success.”

Rudloff and his wife, Be, have two sons, Josh and Aaron.


Zimmer, a 1998 graduate of Northeast Community College, began his career in the US Air Force as a live sound engineer with the Concert Band and Singing Sergeants. During his time in the studio, he has had the opportunity to work with artists during the band’s Veteran’s Day television specials. It was due to this work that he recently received a regional Emmy Award.®

In his nomination of Zimmer, Timothy Miller, audio recording technology instructor at Northeast, said, “During his time at Northeast, Loren exhibited the same work, learning and team effort and service based approach that won him his recent Emmy Award. His focus on excellent technical knowledge as well as his customer service based approach to working with talent was evident then as it must be now.”

Miller continued, “Loren was a mentor to freshmen students while he was at Northeast, helping them with their studies as a tutor. He is an outstanding example of what a Northeast Community College graduate can accomplish. I am proud to be a part of the institution and training that has helped him achieve this success.”

Zimmer values the degree he earned at Northeast to this day. “Don’t take the value of your education for granted. There are so many people who assume that a two-year degree is not as valuable as a four-year degree. This is simply not the case.”

He said he is thankful for his education at Northeast which has allowed him to achieve the success he seen in his career. “The audio program at Northeast not only focuses on fundamentals and teaching students all they need to be in the classroom environment, it also teaches them how to continue to learn procedures, equipment and technology after they complete their degrees at Northeast. Not only did the curriculum give me the tools to be competitive in the job market, but it encouraged me to explore and customize my education to learn more about specific areas that I was passionate about.”

Zimmer said, “I owe a lot of my success to my experiences at Northeast and I especially want to thank instructors Tony Beardslee, Timothy Miller and Noel Stanley (former instructor) for mentoring me and sharing their expertise with me so that I have been able to have a successful career in a very competitive industry. In my experience, I believe Northeast has one of the finest audio recording programs in the country and I am honored to be a graduate of that program.”

Zimmer and his wife, Lisa, live in Washington DC.

Also at the ceremony, Dr. Chipps presented the Northeast Community College Distinguished Service Award to Nicole Sedlacek of O’Neill.

Sedlacek, a 2006 graduate of Northeast Community College, is currently the executive director of Holt County Economic Development based in O’Neill. She is very active with Northeast, serving as an adjunct instructor for the west region of the service area; served as a co-chair for the College’s O’Neill Extended Campus Campaign and is a member of the Northeast Community College Foundation Board.

She currently serves as the president of the Nebraska Economic Developers Association, is secretary/treasurer for the Holt County Teammates organization and is treasurer for the O’Neill Community Foundation.

In her letter of nomination, Merri Schneider, director of the Northeast Community College Extended Campus in O’Neill wrote, “When the decision was made to embark on the journey to begin a capital campaign to build a new extended campus in O’Neill, Nicole agreed to be a campaign co-chair and went above and beyond to ensure that we would be successful. She was also instrumental in the effort to get an LB 840 (economic development package) approved in O’Neill. People from the Holt County area know that if they want to get something accomplished they want to have Nicole on their team.”

Schneider said Sedlacek has a great deal of passion for her work. “Nicole often says that she “gains energy” from being involved in many projects at the same time. She is a great example of the story about filling a jar. In this case, it is a professor filling a pickle jar with golf balls, followed by pebbles, then sand and finally water. This signifies making room in your life for everything that is really important, but also including all the other things too. I am confident that Nicole ‘fills her jar’ every single day!”

Sedlacek said Northeast Community College impacted her life in many ways. “The education I received was top notch. My classes gave me hands on experience that would prepare me in numerous ways for my careers.”

She said education is one of life’s top priorities. ”Put your education first! Even if you have to work part or full-time while attending college, stay on top of your classes. It’s easy to let life happen and put your education on the back burner, but you are the only one who has control over your future.”

Sedlacek, and her husband, Brian, have two daughters, Ally and Emma.



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Four Inducted Into Northeast’s Hall Of Success; Sedlacek Is Distinguished Service Recipient