Staff Biographies

Kevin Sorenson – President

Kevin Sorenson is a Deputy Sheriff with the Portage County Sheriff's Department , where he has served for more than 12 years. Kevin has been a Law Enforcement Officer for over 25 years and has held a position on the WPPA Board of Directors since 2004. Kevin previously serving as Board Treasurer and subsequently was elected as President in 2012 where serves today.

Kevin continues to serve his local, the Portage County Deputy Sheriff's Association as their President.


James L. Palmer, II – Executive Director

Jim Palmer is responsible for the development, promotion, and operations of the WPPA. He also oversees the organization's governmental affairs programs and functions as its general counsel. Prior to joining the WPPA in 2003, Mr. Palmer worked for an Indiana law firm and primarily practiced corporate transactional law, which included incorporations, mergers and acquisitions, import law and product safety compliance, as well as specialized employment contracts. During that time, his representation included an investor-owned subsidiary of a national water utility, a regional hospital system, a minor league professional basketball team, and various units of local government.

Mr. Palmer is a member of the board of directors of the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Accreditation Group, a Regional Vice-President for the National Association of Police Organizations, and the chairman of the board of directors for the Wisconsin Coalition of Annuitants. In 2009, he was appointed by Governor Jim Doyle to the State of Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board, and has since been elected its secretary. In addition to having been a presenter at arbitrator and advocate training conferences for the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, Mr. Palmer has been a keynote speaker at police conferences held all across the country to talk on a variety of labor and law enforcement-related issues. Frequently in the media, Mr. Palmer has appeared on national television and radio news media outlets, such as CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, and National Public Radio, to name a few.

Mr. Palmer received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and a law degree from the Valparaiso University School of Law, where he was an editor of the law review. In addition to being a licensed Wisconsin lobbyist, Mr. Palmer is also admitted to practice law before all state and federal courts in Wisconsin. He is an active member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Wisconsin, and the Association of Wisconsin Lobbyists. Mr. Palmer resides in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, with his wife, Elizabeth, and their three children.



Jean Steinhauer – Director of Administration & Finance

Jean Steinhauer joined the WPPA in 2005. She earned her accounting degree from the University of Illinois in 1983, and passed her CPA exam in 1989. A certified nonprofit financial professional, her 20 years of accounting experience is varied, including both public and investment accounting.

As the WPPA's Director of Administration & Finance, her responsibilities include all aspects of financial management, including payroll, financial statements and budgeting, along with organizational strategic planning and human resources management.

 


Gary Anderson – Associate Director of Membership Services

Gary has been employed by the WPPA since April of 2006. He came to the WPPA with a background in law enforcement, and his career has spanned a period of 33 years. He began his employment as a police officer for the Stoughton Police Department in 1973, and he retired from the Dane County Sheriff's Department as a Sergeant in 2006.

Gary has had a great deal of experience working with unions throughout most of his career. He started as a union steward for the Stoughton Police Department, and later represented the members of the Dane County Sheriff's Supervisors Association from 1986 until 2006. During the last ten years of his career, he served as the president of his association. He served on the WPPA Board of Directors for two years as well.

Gary served as a WPPA Business Agent from 2006 until the beginning of 2013, when he was named the organization's Associate Director of Membership Services. In this new capacity, Gary manages the WPPA's field staff employees, and is directly involved and oversees the union's mediation and arbitration advocacy.



Michael S. Goetz – Field Services Manager

Mike has worked for the WPPA since June 2010. He previously served the WPPA's members as a business agent from 2004 through 2008, when he accepted an offer to serve as a staff representative for AFSCME Wisconsin Council 40. Mike returned to the WPPA to serve as a business agent in 2010, and began in his current capacity in January of 2013.

Mike's law enforcement background includes employment as a police officer with the Evansville Police Department from 1991 to 2004, and with the Milton Police Department from 1992 to 1997. In addition, Mike served our country in the military in Operation "Desert Storm," and has a bachelor of science degree in Public Administration with an emphasis on Law Enforcement from Upper Iowa University.

As the WPPA's Field Services Manager, Mike also manage the organization's field staff, and assists in mediation and arbitration matters as well.

 


Andrew D. Schauer – Attorney

Andrew Schauer hails from Watertown, Wisconsin, and graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee. After a year working as a legal assistant at a non-profit public interest law firm in Seattle through the Lutheran Volunteer Corps, he obtained his law degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison Law School. During that time, he worked as an Intern District Attorney in the Walworth County District Attorney’s Office.

Schauer then worked as plaintiff’s side labor and employment attorney, protecting the rights of employees by representing them in discrimination, family and medical leave, wage and hour, and unemployment insurance matters. In that position, he also represented labor unions, including the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 9, which represents over 700 professional employees. In addition to his duties as an attorney, Schauer has served as a Commissioner and as Vice President of the Milwaukee City Services Commission, which oversees discipline, discharge and residency issues of Milwaukee’s non-police and fire employees.

Since joining WPPA’s legal team in February 2007, he continues to fight for the legal and contractual rights of working people by fighting to uphold grievances, and representing our members at arbitrations and PFC hearings. However, he takes even more pride in carefully reviewing matters with WPPA’s team of business agents and negotiating reasonable resolutions to issues before they reach the grievance process.

Schauer is an active member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Labor and Employment Relations Association, the Wisconsin Employment Lawyers Association, as well as the Loyal Order of Moose.



Roger W. Palek – Staff Attorney

Roger joined the WPPA in January of 2008 as a Staff Attorney. Roger grew up on a farm near Lansing Michigan. In 1986 Roger received a B.S. in Education from Central Michigan University. After college he worked as a business, history, and physical education teacher and baseball coach. He then attended Thomas Cooley Law School in Lansing where he was a member of the Law Review and graduated cum laude in 1991. Roger is licensed to practice law in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, and is admitted to the Federal bar of the Western Districts of Michigan and Wisconsin.

Roger moved to Appleton, Wisconsin in 1993 to serve as Executive Director of WEAC-Fox Valley. Roger was responsible for advising and counseling the local union leadership and members, negotiating each of the local contracts, processing grievances and arbitrations, and coordinating political action. Roger left WEAC-Fox Valley for Madison in 2006 and took a labor and employment law position at Lawton & Cates S.C.

In Appleton, Roger was actively engaged in volunteer work with a variety of charities including the Humane Society, the United Way, Harbor House, and the American Red Cross where he served as Board Chairperson from 2001-03. Roger was also an enthusiastic supporter of the theatre and the arts while living in Appleton and now in the Madison area. Roger now lives in Waunakee with his wife and two children.

 


Joseph R. Durkin – Business Agent

Working out of the Madison office, Joe Durkin has been an employee with the WPPA since February of 2005. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison with an Economics Degree. Durkin was a Madison police officer from 1980 until his retirement in 2005. He served in a variety of assignments within the MPD. He served his final four years at the police department assigned to the Patrol Division as a Sergeant.

Durkin is a former Board member of the WPPA, serving in that capacity for six years. He was also a Board member of the MPPOA (Madison Professional Police Officers Association) for eight years, serving as president for five years. Durkin was the WPPA's Director of Field Services from 2008-2012.



Luann Alme – Business Agent

Luann Alme began working for the WPPA in September 2010. Prior to employment with the WPPA, Alme was with the City of Stoughton for 19 years, most recently as the City Clerk/Personnel Director where she was involved in all aspects of personnel management, including benefit administration and collective bargaining. Alme is based out of Stoughton and represents WPPA members in South Central and Southwest Wisconsin.


Alan J. Bitz – Business Agent

Alan Bitz began working for the WPPA in July 2004.  Bitz retired as a lieutenant from the Rice Lake Police Department.  He represents WPPA members in the north central and northwest regions of Wisconsin.



John Dillon – Business Agent

John Dillon began representing WPPA members in January 2000.  He was formerly with the Waukesha Police Department.



Gary Gravesen – PLR, Inc.

Gary Gravesen has been representing WPPA members since 1988. He is a 20-year veteran of the Superior Police Department and a past association president of Superior Local 27. Gravesen is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Superior with a degree in Business Administration and Personnel Management. Gravesen is a representative of Police Labor Relations, Inc.



Randy Ingram – Business Agent

Randy Ingram has worked with for the WPPA since June 2002. His law enforcement background includes employment as an E911 Telecommunicator, Corrections Officer, and Deputy Sheriff with the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department from March 1993 to June 2002. In addition, he served on the Oneida County Deputy Sheriff’s Association Board of Directors, as both the Chairman of the Bargaining Committee and Grievance Committee member.

Ingram served in the United States Air Force from October 1983 to June 1992, and in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. He has a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Mount Senario College and an A.A.S. in Police Science from Nicolet Area Technical College. He lives in Sugar Camp and serves on the Board of Education for the School District of Three Lakes and as the Assistant Chief on the Sugar Camp Volunteer Fire Department. Ingram is a member of the Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

 


Mike Peterson – LBA, Inc.

Mike Peterson began representing WPPA members in 1993, after retiring from the La Crosse Police Department.  He is a representative of LBA, Inc.



Jerry Tomczak – Business Agent

Jerry Tomczak is a Wisconsin native and former Lieutenant with Madison Police Department. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Jerry served on the Board of Directors for the Madison Professional Police Officers Association. He served on the executive board and was grievance officer and has a wealth of experience in working with administrations and negotiating collective bargaining agreements. Jerry represents members in south west and south central Wisconsin.



Gary Wisbrocker – Business Agent

Gary Wisbrocker joined the WPPA staff in November 1988 as a part-time business agent and became full time in June 1990. He is a ten-year veteran of the Thiensville Police Department, where he was the past president of the Thiensville Professional Police Association. Wisbrocker received his law enforcement certification from the Milwaukee Area Technical College in 1980, and is certified in Labor/Management Relations from Marquette University in Milwaukee



Julie Neeley – Office Manager

Julie Neeley has been with the WPPA since June 1993. In December 2007, she was promoted to the position of Office Manager and Editor of the Wisconsin Police Journal. In addition, she coordinates the Annual Convention each year. Neeley also provides support to the Executive Director, the Board of Directors, and the Awards, Scholarship, and Legislative Committees. Neeley is certified as a Legal Secretary by Colorado State University and provides support to the WPPA’s Legal Services personnel