involved in the marketing partnership between Concordia
University Wisconsin and businesses in Thiensville are,
from left, Thiensville Trustee David Lange; CUW students
Robert Miranda, Nick Mohlman and Brennan Linse; and
dean of CUW’s Batterman School of Business.
Photo courtesy of Concordia
THIENSVILLE — A partnership involving Thiensville
businesses and Concordia University Wisconsin has become
a win-win proposition.
Starting last September, students in a marketing class
in CUW’s business school were partnered with a variety
of Thiensville businesses.
Groups of three students interviewed the owners of their
business, looked at their website and other social media
activity and finished the semester by producing a plan
with marketing recommendations.
could really use an update on ways to get out into the
public besides the phone book – we need new thinking,”
said Theresa Umhoefer, who owns Herbst Oil, 230 S.
Orchard St., with her husband, Dan. They were one of the
businesses that participated.
Umhoefer said she was very impressed with the thorough
review and the resulting “digital playbook” and video
presentation she received from the three students –
Brennan Linse, Nick Mohlman and Robert Miranda – paired
with the business.
said she and her husband plan to stay involved with a
second phase of the class that will involve implementing
some of the changes. It’s likely they’ll be paired with
the same students.
“This is going to be something good for us – and
something good for the kids,” she said.
Linse, a senior computer science major from Jefferson,
conducted the initial interview with Theresa Umhoefer.
created a mock website design, example social media
posts and sample content – posters and a promo video,”
Linse wrote in an email, adding he’s looking forward to
implementing some of the suggestions over the coming
“Most college courses consist of lectures, readings and
homework assignments,” Linse added. “The e-commerce
course, on the other hand, was purely practical. We had
the opportunity to work with a real local business – and
I think it was incredibly valuable for both parties.”
Mohlman added that the class and his work with Herbst
Oil was valuable.
“Overall, this was an incredible experience that has
made me anxious to gain even more insight into the world
of modern marketing,” he wrote in an email. “I am very
excited to continue on with this course and hopefully
continuing to work with Herbst Oil.”
Mohlman thanked Herbst and the other businesses for
working with the class.
“Working on this project was an awesome experience, and
undoubtedly the most valuable course I have taken as a
college student,” he wrote.
partnership grew from a suggestion by David Lange, a
member of the Thiensville Village Board and the owner of
Lange Medical, a medical products company located in the
village. He has been involved in several efforts over
the years to boost business in Thiensville.
approached Daniel Sem, dean of CUW’s Batterman School of
Business, with the idea. Last semester’s class was
taught by Colin Murdy; Sem is teaching the second phase
of the class this semester.
“This was a great partnership,” Sem wrote in an email.
“The students learned a lot and really liked it. I think
the businesses that do not have much of a digital
presence really benefitted from it, and the feedback was
Herbst Oil was one of seven Thiensville entities paired
with students. They had a digital-marketing need and it
clearly was one of the success stories from the class.
The others involved – some already have a strong digital
presence – were the cheel, glaze, Lange Medical, New-Newtrition,
the Screen on the Green movie series in Village Park and
the Thiensville Business Association.
is changing its approach this semester with those
businesses that already are digital-savvy, Sem said.
example, maybe the students could work on a specific
project defined by the business,” he added. “Those
companies need less guidance on their strategy, but they
may need help implementing some aspect of their existing
said the TBA has been supportive and flexible about
is a learning curve for us, but we are an
entrepreneurial school, so we can pivot as needed along
with our partners,” he added. “This partnership fits
really well with our educational approach in the
Batterman School of Business, where our preference is to
have the students learn business in real-world applied
situations. That is done best in partnership with local
businesses, like those in Thiensville.”
Theresa Umhoefer said she was particularly impressed
with Linse, who conducted the initial interview and then
was attentive to what I said,” she said. “He really
listened, and they came up with a good marketing
presentation. He’s going to be somebody’s good employee
– and they’re hard to find.”