Business Community Breakfast: Watertown Appreciates Students

Ryan Nowatka says he has the perfect job for a Maranatha student.

“Being a funeral director is not unlike being a pastor in the way you minister to families,” said Nowatka, Funeral Director at Watertown’s Pederson Funeral Homes. “A person with a strong faith can really be helpful. That’s why we like to hire Maranatha students. We’ve had wonderful experiences with them, including one who attended mortuary school.”

Nowatka was one of 109 business representatives who registered to attend Maranatha’s annual Business Community Breakfast Aug. 14 at the Dining Complex. Many came to find out more about the College. Many came to find out how their business might benefit from hiring Maranatha students. Those positive experiences have helped the relationship between the College and its community become more productive than ever.

Ivan Thompson, Human Resources Director for the Watertown Unified School District, has worked with Maranatha students in his various roles over the years, including high school principal and athletic director.

“The student teachers we’ve had from Maranatha have proven very capable and have been excellent in student-teacher relationships,” Thompson said. “We also have had a number of Maranatha graduates who have stayed and taught in our schools. Eddie Washetas (’07) at Schurz School is an outstanding teacher and coach. The way he works with students and other teachers is a real credit to his educational background here.”

Todd Hamann of Koplin Excavating and Grading was in a different category. His company has contracted for many College building projects.

“I have dealt with different people over the years, but I’ve had good experiences with everyone I’ve met here,” Hamann said.

Athletic Director Rob Thompson discussed Maranatha’s sports programs as well as a number of community service projects in which those teams have been involved (food and clothing collections, roadside trash pickup). Executive Vice President Dr. Matt Davis and President Dr. Marty Marriott also spoke.

“We feel like we’re partners,” Marriott said. “It’s good for people in town to know what services are available to them through Maranatha.”

Marge Schildbach, an RN Nurse Consultant at River View Assisted Living, said she appreciates the services Maranatha’s student workforce can provide.

“They have been dependable and hard-working,” Schildbach said. “They are compassionate with the residents, something that goes beyond nursing care. We’ve had good workers who have stayed a long time. We’re ready to hire more.”