Board of Directors.
Chairperson: Louis Oppor
Mr. Louis Oppor, a retired behavioral health professional, has held various positions within the substance abuse field since 1977. He became a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor in 1979, worked for Calumet County Human Services from 1981 to 1986. in 1986, Mr. Oppor began working for Wisconsin Department of Health Services, retiring in 2015. During his employment, Mr. Oppor administered substance abuse prevention services and also served as the Chief of the Substance Abuse Services Section within the Bureau of Prevention, Treatment and Recovery where he administered some Forty Million Dollars in statewide prevention, treatment and recovery services. Mr. Oppor is a founding member of the International Alliance for Health and Social Development providing training and technical assistance to underserved nations. Mr. Oppor also served as the Chairman of the Alliance for Wisconsin Youth for 10 years, until his retirement and also served as the Vice-President of the National Prevention Network.
Vice-Chairperson: Tom Engels
As CEO of T.A. Engels Consulting, Tom Engels has more than 35 years experience in marketing, public relations, media, and fundraising. Since 2005 Engels has provided business development, marketing, and grant writing services to numerous nonprofit organizations, agencies, and foundations, including but not limited to Tellurian Inc., The Teresa McGovern Foundation, Operation Fresh Start, The Beloit Inner City Council, Community Health Systems: Beloit; Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin, Common Threads Family Resource Center, and Colorado based Country Kids Foundation.
Prior to retiring from the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation in 2005, Engels was National Corporate Relations Manager where he secured multi-year national corporate sponsorship commitments and coordinated national fundraising campaigns from corporations and organizations in a 10- state area including: Famous Footwear, US Bank, Ford Motor Company, United Auto Workers, and Farmers Insurance.
Experienced in prospecting, targeting, and securing new business relationships, nurturing and expanding existing relationships, and increasing overall levels of corporate and foundation support, Engels has facilitated and coordinated numerous workshops, strategic planning for non-profit organizations focusing on increasing revenue, brand awareness and community support. Currently residing on Lake Wisconsin, Wisconsin, Engels earned a Marketing degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, served as an officer in the United State Navy, and earned a Media Relations-Broadcasting degree from Madison Media Institute. Receiving his Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) designation in 2003, Engels also remains active in the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the University of Wisconsin Alumni Foundation.
Secretary: Sue Jungen
Sue Jungen, CADC, ICS, started her career in 1979 in the field of substance abuse and retired in 2014 as the Director of Mental Health Services (Inpatient and Outpatient) for Affinity Health System. She is a trained instructor for Youth Mental Health First Aid and QPR. Sue is the founding member and now currently a board member for the Northeast Wisconsin Mental Health connection. She is a faculty member for the Zero Suicide Academy and co-chair for the Zero Suicide initiative as well as a regional leader for the Zero Suicide initiative. Sue is also currently a volunteer for the United Way Fox Cities Health and Healing Impact Panel and serves on the Advisory Council for Fox Valley Technical College AODA Degree Program.
Treasurer: Annie Short
Annie Short has been involved in substance abuse prevention for almost the last 10 years and in the last few years has engaged in mental health/suicide prevention as well. She helped provide oversight to a substance abuse prevention coalition in Manitowoc and was the Alliance for Wisconsin Youth Northeast Regional Coordinator providing technical assistance to 17 substance abuse prevention coalitions. For a short term she served as the Behavioral Health Coordinator for Milwaukee County and now serves once again under the Alliance For Wisconsin Youth and Northeast Wisconsin Area Health Education Center as Grant Manager to oversee efforts to address the opioid epidemic.
Board Member: Barbara Coniff
Barbara Coniff is a relationship-building leader with 23 years of healthcare management experience in hospital and outpatient operations, marketing, business development, provider relations and process improvement. Coniff is the director of Libertas Treatment Center, which includes a 24-bed chemical dependency hospital for adolescents in Green Bay and outpatient substance use disorder treatment for adolescents and adults in Green Bay, Marinette and Sheboygan. Libertas is licensed by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services for inpatient medically managed detoxification, inpatient medically managed treatment and outpatient treatment. Outpatient treatment at Libertas of Marinette includes collaboration with Prevea Health to provide counseling and medication assisted treatment for opioid addiction, funded by a grant from the State of Wisconsin.
At Libertas, Coniff is responsible for overall operations, community relations, strategic planning and business development. Libertas is part of the Hospital Sisters Health System, which includes six hospitals in eastern and western Wisconsin. Coniff is a member of several community task forces combatting alcohol and drug abuse and addiction.
Prior to joining HSHS and Libertas, Coniff was a strategic and operational leader at ThedaCare for 20 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications, a master’s degree in health administration and a track record of thoughtful collaboration with patients, families, physicians, employees and community members.
Coniff was one of the first health care leaders in Wisconsin and perhaps the nation to be certified in Lean improvement methodology. She is passionate about applying these principles in collaboration with patients, physicians, leaders and staff to create the best possible patient experience under any circumstance.
Board Member: Bob Kovar
Bob Kovar was a cranberry farmer for 25 years in Manitowish Waters. As the “Walleye Wars” exposed a deep divide in his community in the late 1980’s, he became active in social justice issues facing American Indian (AI) communities and how they impacted academic success, chronic disease, economic development and their interrelationships with the lasting effects of historic trauma.
He started a grassroots organization called the Intercultural Leadership Initiative (ILI) in 1998 that brought AI and non-AI students together to bridge the cultural divide and improve academic outcomes for American-Indian children. This program was an awardee in 2008 of the Honoring Nations Award from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Bob has since become a long-time ally to Tribal communities bringing a wide variety of tribal, state and local governmental partners to the table, and the funding to support their efforts, to better address the academic and social failures that perpetuate health disparities in Indian Country in Wisconsin. He has also been a founding member of several local foundations and grassroots efforts to improve life and protect the environment in his community.
Bob currently is the Director of the Tribal AmeriCorps Program, a program he started in 2009 that enables local tribal substance-abuse prevention coalitions across Wisconsin to recruit members from their own community to help them “get their prevention work done.” Bob also provides the leadership for the Lakeland Area Rx Drug Task Force, a regional effort to better understand and organize strategies to fight the opiate epidemic in the region.
He is currently president of Kovar Consulting Company LLC in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin.
Board Member: Lawrence J. Connors, FACHE
Currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Jackie Nitschke Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Jackie Nitschke Center is a national leader in addiction treatment and recovery, consisting of residential, outpatient, and aftercare programs for clients and families. The mission of the Jackie Nitschke Center is to provide affordable, superior alcohol and drug treatment in a home-like environment to improve the quality of life for adult clients and their families.
Larry served for over thirty years as a hospital administrator, most recently as Chief Operating Officer at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center in Green Bay. He has a Masters of Health Administration from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Arts (Magna cum laude) in Psychology from the University of Buffalo.
Larry is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.