Where Are They Now?

Thirty-five local icons and how they made history

(page 3 of 6)

Joel Skornicka

April 1979 (cover), July 1993

Joel Skornicka will say that Madison—“It’s always been home to me”—shaped his life. We will say that his years as mayor from 1979 to 1983 helped shape the city. When Paul Soglin decided not to run for a fourth term, a moderate coalition got behind Skornicka, then a UW–Madison administrator, in an effort to build more bridges with the private sector. The University Research Park was established on his watch, for example. As a result, Madison’s biotech industry had a home base from which to grow.  Following his mayoral stint, he served on the University of Wisconsin Foundation and as director of development for University of California, Davis. Skornicka is now retired and living in Madison.

Paul Soglin

We stopped counting.

Where is he now? Probably right where he was the last time you looked: in the mayor’s office. Soglin was the mayor of Madison when we first wrote about him thirty-five years ago. He’s our city’s mayor, again, today. And he was the mayor between now and then, although not continuously. Check out our online timeline for the complete Soglin saga.

James Rowen

April 1979 (cover)

He writes one of the shortest blogs on the web, but political candidates and voters alike often hang on every word from Jim Rowen. An award-winning veteran reporter for the Milwaukee Journal (and the Journal Sentinel) and Isthmus, Rowen also worked in mayoral administrations in Madison and Milwaukee and taught political science at Edgewood College. In 1979, when his boss, Mayor Paul Soglin, decided not to seek a fourth term, Rowen ran to replace him but was defeated by the more moderate Joel Skornicka. Today he consults as well as freelances for local, state and national publications and advocates for progressive political and environmental causes at thepoliticalenvironment.blogspot.com.

John Kovalic

July 1988, January 1989

If you’ve ever played Apples to Apples, you can thank longtime Madison resident John Kovalic. Kovalic got his start in cartooning at the Wisconsin State Journal with the popular “Wild Life” comic strip, but his career didn’t really take off until he decided to risk everything. In 1996, he left his job and invested in a gaming company called Out of the Box he’d dreamed up with fellow Madisonian Mark Osterhaus. They have since produced such hits as Apples to Apples and BLINK, and Kovalic’s newest game, ROFL!, was just released by gaming company Cryptozoic.

Dale Beermann

July 2008

Nine years ago, UW–Madison  grad Dale Beermann returned to Madison to work in software development. He soon landed a hot gig as co-founder of two Madison-based media-sharing websites: Myoutdoors.net and Sharendipity.com. Today he continues to develop innovative software as the chief technical and analytics officer for Studyblue.com, a mobile and online free service—think studying apps—that school kids understand, even if their parents don’t. While the company is headquartered in Madison, Beerman works in the San Francisco office.

Deidre Green

March 2009

At the suggestion of one of her teachers, Deidre Green joined the Simpson Street Free Press as an eighth grader. By the time she finished high school at La Follette, Green had become the paper’s senior teen editor and won a national “Coming Up Taller” award from the Presidential Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, traveling to Washington, D.C., to receive it from former First Lady Laura Bush. Today Green is the managing editor of the publication—and a UW–Madison student set to graduate in 2014 with a double major in English and African American Studies. 


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