Lester receives first Tomkovick award

“I don’t think I’ve met anyone like Chuck.”
Scott Lester has been a management and leadership professor at UW-Eau Claire for 16 years. When he started working here, he met fellow management and marketing professor Charles (Chuck) Tomkovick.
“He was here when I first started teaching, so we became close friends,” Lester said. “He was amazingly upbeat, but sincere. He was always excited, but it was always genuine.”


Before Tomkovick’s passing in July, he established the Chuck Tomkovick University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Management and Marketing Teaching Excellence Award.  Tomkovick personally chose Lester to be the first recipient.
The award, which Lester won in August, includes a plaque and a $500 monetary gift.  Recipients of the management and marketing award must demonstrate a passion for teaching, connection to alumni and a commitment to servant leadership, as well as being a professor in the management and marketing department, according to a press release sent out by the College of Business.
Jessica Niesing, a 2010 graduate and one of Lester’s former students, wasn’t surprised to hear her human resources professor won such an award.
“I had Scott for my advanced human resource management class and he was also my advisor,” Niesing said. “The course was mostly student led but he was so willing to help and you could tell he wanted us to succeed.”
Niesing worked several jobs after graduating but returned to her alma mater to work in the university’s human resources department and said she gets to see Lester from
time to time.
“I definitely think he’s a great recipient for this award,” Niesing said. “He always has his students’ best interests at heart.”
Lester is the faculty advisor for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), was the 2010 recipient of the UW-Eau Claire Excellence in Scholarship award and was recently presented with the 2013 Sister Joel Read Civic Engagement Practitioners Award for the service he and the students in his community leadership course provided to Eau Claire.
“Chuck was very passionate and committed to his students and I try to be as well,” Lester said. “When I think of Chuck, I think of the gold standard of teaching. I don’t even think I’m in the ballpark with him.”
Tomkovick taught graduate and undergraduate marketing courses at the university for approximately 21 years.  He led seminars for entrepreneurs and small business owners through the university’s office of continuing education and was a charter member of the UW-Eau Claire Network for Excellence in Teaching Council.
Tomkovick knew he always wanted to start some kind of scholarship program but decided a teaching award would benefit many students and faculty, not just one student,
Lester said.
The award is funded by donations. Future recipients will be chosen by a committee made up of Tomkovick’s family, colleagues and former students. Lester will be the first and only recipient to be specifically chosen by Tomkovick.
“The fact that he appreciated what I did and saw something in me and that he felt he wanted to have my name be associated with his award, it just meant a lot,” Lester said. “It’s really special because from here on, he won’t be picking who receives the award, so knowing he made the choice, it’s incredible.”
Lester said his Tomkovick award is his most meaningful, professional award to date.
If you would like to make a donation towards the Dr. Charles Tomkovick fund, they can be made through the UW-Eau Claire