College of Business alumni spends his career helping young people

Tim Greinert (BBA '85)

It’s rare when you meet an individual who has spent his entire career with one organization.

Tim Greinert (BBA ’85), president at Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, Inc. (JA), recalls two reasons he chose to accept his first job with the nonprofit organization 27 years ago.

“Weighing multiple options upon graduating from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Business, the opportunity at JA was a great way to use all of my skills in a role that offered me the ability to do outbound sales, business development and build community relationships,” said Greinert.

The second reason satisfied his personal values.

“I have always had a strong interest in youth development,” said Greinert, who spent years coaching at the high school level.

And just like other young graduates, at the time he took his first job, he had not intended to stay more than a few years.

“I thought that JA would be a great place to get my feet wet,” said Greinert.
In 1985, Greinert started working in program management, but it wasn’t long before his responsibilities evolved to management and he became more involved in the business side of the nonprofit organization.

“Working in nonprofit management is just like any other business except for the tax status,” said Greinert.

Next, he took over as director for northeastern Wisconsin and then moved to the state and national level.

“I enjoyed the opportunity to work in a variety of roles at both the local and national level,” said Greinert, who received his MBA from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs during his time serving at Junior Achievement’s national office in Colordao.

Following several years of service in Minnesota, Greinert moved back to Wisconsin in 2003, where he began his tenure as president of the Wisconsin branch of Junior Achievement.

Fast forward almost three decades, Greinert’s motives for staying with Junior Achievement are still the same: being able to form relationships in the community while making a difference in the lives of young people.

According to its website, Junior Achievement of Wisconsin is an affiliate of Junior Achievement Worldwide, a global economic education organization serving 9.7 million students in 123 countries.

Greinert believes JA gives young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future and make smart academic and economic choices.

“Bottom line, our goal is to teach young people how to control their economic future,” said Greinert.

Embodying the heart of JA, in over 7,000 Wisconsin classrooms, volunteers inspire and empower over 150,000 students a year to believe in themselves.

“JA provides a turnkey program where volunteers go into the school and provide education in areas such as financial management and budgeting,” said Greinert, who believes both corporate and community volunteers who share their personal experiences and breathe life into the concepts make all the difference.
He believes using individuals from the community make the concepts stick with young people.

“The goal is real-life learning,” said Greinert.

Other programs at JA take children out of the classroom.

“Students have the opportunity to go onsite and job shadow,” said Greinert.

Another program is the Business Challenge, which is held annually at UW Oshkosh, which challenges high school students to make decisions in a strategic business simulation game.

“Our research shows that students are learning and that is most important,” said Greinert.

Nearly 80% of students surveyed by the JA agree that the organization has positively influenced their attitudes toward continuing their education.

“We continue to expand our programs each year based on our evaluations of what is working,” Greinert adds.

Looking back, Greinert remembers the solid education he received and the personal relationships he formed at UW Oshkosh.

“To me, UW Oshkosh meant a good, quality education close to home,” recalled Greinert, who grew up in Appleton, Wis. “Professors were accessible and gave me individual attention.”

Greinert and his wife, Tina, have been married for 20 years and live in Cedarburg, Wis. Together, they have three children; Marissa, Joshua and Allison.