WRTP/BIG STEP’s Staff

Mark Kessenich – President & CEO
Rhandi Berth – Director of Industrial Initiatives
Matt Waltz – Director of Administration
Laura Heller – Construction Program Manager
Michelle Blanchard – SE WI Programs & Partnerships Manager

Roger Anclam – Manufacturing Field Representative
John Anderson – Senior Programs and Partnership Coordinator
Kyle Ashley – Youth Program Coordinator
Jerome Balsimo – Minnesota Program Coordinator
Joan Champion – Construction Program Assistant
Bill Clingan – South Central Wisconsin Program Coordinator
Otis Dunning – Manufacturing Program Coordinator
Carrie Geenen– Triada Coordinator
Demetrius Johnson – Program Assistant
Sherie Kubiak-Librizza – Accounting Coordinator
Jessica Liddell – Data Entry Specialist
Wanda Liddell – Executive Assistant
Stephanie Moreno – South Central Wisconsin Program Coordinator
Joe Nicosia – Manufacturing Industry Coordinator
Jessica Phillips – Operations Coordinator
Rick Schabowski – Instructor
Candace Seib – Financial Manager
Leslie Spencer-Herrera – Senior Planner and Development Coordinator
Janice Stricker – Operations Specialist
Maria Valencia – Data Entry Administrator
Amber Walczak – Construction Program Coordinator
Jacob Walton – Career Coach
Ronny Yang – Contracts & Compliance Coordinator


Mark Kessenich – President & CEO

Prior to WRTP/BIG STEP, Mr. Kessenich served as Director of Planning for the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board where he led fund development, public policy initiatives, and built strategic relationships between industry, community, and public partners. Mr. Kessenich is considered a national expert on workforce development policy and programs. He was recently elected to the Board of the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals.


Rhandi Berth – Director of Industrial Initiatives

Rhandi Berth has been the leading creative force behind the development of the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership into a nationally recognized model for economic and workforce development.

WRTP’s first full-time employee, Berth has been the primary architect of new projects, initiatives, and services that enhance the ability of private sector organizations to recruit, retain, and develop a more diverse, qualified workforce.  Her work includes:

  • Developing nationally recognized model for pre-employment training certificate programs in entry-level manufacturing skills, machining, and welding for the Milwaukee Jobs Initiative
  • Adapting pre-employment training certificate model to building and construction trades and joint apprenticeship committees, including utility line construction, heavy highway construction, and underground construction
  • Facilitating development of peer advisor guide, mentor training guide, shop floor training guide, essential workplace skills program, positive attendance workshop, and other recruitment and retention services

Matt Waltz – Director of Administration

Mr. Waltz has served in this capacity for 9 years, and under his tenure has helped to expand from one Milwaukee location, to five regional offices serving all of southern Wisconsin as well as providing technical assistance throughout the Midwest and other areas of the country. Prior to WRTP/BIG STEP, Mr. Waltz served as a Business Manager for a for-profit company and helped to secure consumer loan financing for hundreds of individuals each year.
Mr. Waltz has a Bachelor’s of Science in Business from Marian University, and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He also holds an SPHR certificate. Mr. Waltz sits on the Workforce Development Board of South East Wisconsin and is a Trustee for the Phi Sigma Kappa Foundation. Mr. Waltz also sits as a board member for Consortium America, LLC, a nationally certified Community Development Entity based in Washington, DC. Consortium America is controlled and managed by the Trammell Crow Company, a national real estate development and investment firm that has developed and acquired over 500 million square feet of real estate, representing $50 billion in value and deploying over $700 million in New Market Tax Credits since 2004.


Michelle Blanchard – Southeast Wisconsin Programs and Partnerships Manager

Michelle Blanchard, Southeast Wisconsin Programs and Partnership Manager, has over 13 years’ experience in Workforce Development, eight of which have been in a leadership role. Ms. Blanchard’s expertise in workforce development includes operation of various federal and state programs with goals to upskill, re-skill and meet the needs of industry with a qualified workforce. Ms. Blanchard obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from University-Wisconsin-Parkside and her Master of Science Degree in Administrative Leadership from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Ms. Blanchard was awarded the National Association for Workforce Development Professionals Professional Development Award in 2017.

Ms. Blanchard’s professional interests include assisting underrepresented populations become engaged with non-traditional careers. In addition to her current work with WRTP/BIG STEP in fulfilling its’ mission, Ms. Blanchard led a team of research assistants studying the underrepresentation of women in IT majors. Because of this research, Ms. Blanchard is a co-author on scholarly journal articles, conference publications and was a published contributor to the book, Women and Information Technology: Research on Underrepresentation.