Meet the Board and Staff

Meet the Staff

We are run almost entirely by volunteers. Our staff and board of directors represent diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and talents, which strengthen the Badger History Group and its mission.

Verlyn Mueller. Following graduation from High School Verlyn worked with his father as a self-employed carpenter and served in the US Air Force, where he taught long-range radar maintenance for three years. Verlyn worked on the start-up of the Alaska Oil Pipeline, and on the construction of the New Acid Plant at Badger. He was employed by Olin Corp. at Badger for 26 years, his last ten years as a Project Engineer working on process control system design for modernization. He retired in 1997. Verlyn is a charter member and past president of BHG and today serves as Curator/Archivist in the Museum. In 2009 he received the Sauk County Historical Society’s William Canfield History Award.

*Orie Eilertson is a charter member of BHG, has served in various officer positions, and is the current vice president. A former minister employee of the Dairy Forage Research Center, he cares for and catalogs the BHG archives and conducts a variety of research.

*Sandy Stiemke is the BHG membership secretary and has served on the board since 2018. Her mother worked at Badger in the Bonds and Insurance Department from 1943 to 1946. Sandy grew up in Spring Green and lives in Sauk City. Her hobbies are genealogy and learning about the many varied facets that make up the Badger story. Sandy is currently collecting obituaries of Badger employees–350 so far.

*Mike Mossman is a retired DNR ecologist with a long interest in the effects of historical and recent land use on wildlife. A founding member of BHG and its first chairman, he is now president and has led projects such as long-term wildlife monitoring, the video documentary Powder to the People, the photo exhibition Inside the Fence, and more recently BHG’s strategic planning, lecture series, audiovisual digitization, and website revision. He lives on a retired farm near Leland with his wife Lisa Hartman and son Angus, where they restore native habitats, play music, and head out to explore the wild places of Sauk County, including Badger.

*Dan Halling taught history for 25 years at Sauk Prairie High School. In 2021, he retired and joined the Badger History Group board, where he chairs the education/events committee. He has been interested in Badger history since a child, often visiting an uncle who had a farm close to the plant. As a teacher, he developed a class called Wisconsin and Local History and led field trips to Badger. He figures he has been on the property over 1500 times since it opened to the public in 2016. Besides running with his wife and dog on the roads and trails, leading field trips, hunting, and gathering, and poking around the old farmsteads, he has worked on a project identifying the largest trees on the property which he hopes will lead to conservation efforts. He is passionate about the land and its history and enjoys working with others who feel the same.

*Heather Sonntag is an archivist of visual materials and researcher. She was drawn to Badger in 2017 when inventorying photographs from the “Inside the Fence” exhibition. She first worked for BHG in 2020 on a needs assessment for the archives and museum collection. As a BHG board member, she helped spearhead the digital preservation project of audio-visual materials, assisted with the website redesign, presented in the lecture series, and provides IT support for the lectures, as well as being BHG secretary. Heather interned with the Library of Congress to prepare a Russian military photography album for digitization, is a former Fulbright Scholar, and works as an associate archivist for the Center for Railroad Photography & Art in Madison.

*Frank Wolf has been a local historian from Mazomanie for over 40 years. He has written eight local history books, on topics that include early settlers, the founding of Mazomanie, the early railroad, and the Civil War. He has also been in the energetic materials business for 55 years, starting as an Army chemical engineer, stationed at the Tropic Test Center near the Panama Canal. He worked 31 years for Olin Corporation at Badger as a chemical process engineer and Chief Modernization Engineer. After retiring from Badger Frank moved to Canada for 14 years to manage an ammonium nitrate plant, then to Arizona for another 5 years of industrial consulting. Frank presented several BHG lectures on production processes and serves as treasurer.

Michael Goc is the well-known author of over 60 local and regional Wisconsin histories, which have won several awards. He found it especially meaningful to receive the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Award of Merit, in a special ceremony for Powder, People, and Place: Badger Ordnance Works and the Sauk Prairie. An emeritus member of the BHG Board, Mike started and still edits the quarterly newsletter Badger Ordnance News, and contributes regularly to the BHG lecture series.

Jack Heinzelman is a regular and dedicated volunteer with the BHG archives. While living in Tomah in March 2013 he attended a lecture by Verlyn Mueller, who stated he needed help. They spoke afterward Verlyn said he needed someone to scan film negatives into the computer archive. Jack has worked at that at least one day a week since then. He gave up counting after 20,000. He moved to Prairie du Sac in 2014.

Joel Green helps maintain the grounds of the Museum. After 18 years in the natural resources management field, he still works full-time but finds time to volunteer. He spends a few hours a week taking care of the landscaping and brings his children along to help. Joel also maintains the Badger Box Geocache near the Museum, convinced The History Guy to do a program on the Badger Ammunition Plant, and enjoys exploring the former plant property.

* indicates a member of the BHG board of directors.