Who We Are


APR staff bring senior-level experience to UW-Madison from a variety of business sectors, including financial management, manufacturing, nonprofit, healthcare, government, and higher education. Examples of the skillsets and expertise among the APR staff include:

  • Lean Six Sigma (process redesign) 
  • Process Design
  • Kaizen (fast cycle)
  • Project management principles and tools
  • Process improvement principles and methodologies
  • Financial and other large data management
  • Team meetings facilitation
  • Change management
  • Performance measurement
  • Statistical analysis
  • Software development/deployment
  • Strategic communications planning and implementation

APR Staff

Alice Gustafson 
Director (retired)

Alice Gustafson was the founding director of APR; she served as director from the time the office was created in 2007 until her retirement on July 31, 2017. As APR Director, she developed expertise in process improvement, project management, performance management, and change leadership.

Alice was the Assistant Director for Administration in University Housing before joining the APR office. She received her law degree from UW-Madison, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and Psychology. 

Kathy Contezac 
Communications Officer
302 Bascom Hall

Kathy Contezac joined the APR team as the Communications Officer in January 2017. She provides guidance and strategic direction for communications related to the process improvement projects supported and facilitated by APR. This includes developing and implementing communications plans that help facilitate change management for major campus initiatives.

In her previous role as a Communications Section Chief at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Kathy led a staff of five in communications planning and development in support of the Wisconsin Medicaid Program, the FoodShare Program, and other public benefit programs. She has over 13 years of experience successfully managing high priority corporate communications projects and extensive experience developing communications plans and strategies to support major projects and initiatives. 

Stefanie Freyberger 
Business Performance Manager 
302 Bascom Hall

Stefanie Freyberger is a Business Performance Manager in APR. In her role, Stefanie provides support to campus units in the areas of continuous improvement, project and performance management, data analysis, and change management by aligning work processes, people, and culture to achieve operational effectiveness and efficiencies.

Prior to joining the APR team, Stefanie held several positions of increasing responsibility in Supply Chain Management and Logistics. Stefanie is a certified Black Belt and has led many projects and change initiatives utilizing Six Sigma tools, change management, and the DMAIC process.

Mari Ann Ménager
Business Performance Manager 
302 Bascom Hall

Mari Ann Ménager is a Business Performance Manager with APR. In this role, Mari Ann provides process and project management support to improve the efficiency of business operations.

Prior to joining UW-Madison, Mari Ann led business readiness, project management, and process improvement initiatives in manufacturing and financial services environments. These efforts leveraged Net Promoter Score, Voice of the Customer feedback, and Lean principles to advance organizational goals through improvement of the customer and employee experience.

Mari Ann earned her Master of Science and undergraduate degrees in Communication at UW-Whitewater. She is a Lean Six Sigma Certified Black Belt.

Gerry Pelanek 
Business Performance Manager 
302 Bascom Hall

Gerry Pelanek is a Business Performance Manager in APR, partnering with leaders and teams across campus to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and customer experience of their services. Gerry provides support in the areas of project management, process redesign/development, and performance management and metrics.

Gerry brings diverse industry experience leading process improvements, managing projects, and facilitating strategic decision and planning initiatives. Gerry has also developed and managed product and service portfolios that included diagnostic medical devices, systems for life sciences research, and advanced printing equipment. She has an M.B.A., and undergraduate degrees from UW-Madison in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Biochemistry.

Jim Thompson
Business Performance Manager 
302 Bascom Hall

Jim Thompson is a Business Performance Manager with APR. In this role, he provides support related to process and project management to make processes more efficient. 

Prior to joining UW-Madison, Jim worked as a certified Six Sigma Black Belt in support of the pharmaceutical industry. His experience includes working with global teams across a wide range of scientific staff and on the implementation of LIMS (Laboratory Information Management Systems). Jim’s training experience is based on Lean Six Sigma, Kaizen, and Design for Six Sigma methodologies.