When he came to UW-Whitewater on a path to a degree in printing and publishing, Brett Jarman had no idea that his experience on campus would lead to an international career - in a completely different field.
During sophomore year, Jarman took his first programming course. Realizing the impact it would have on the future, he switched his major. On campus he served as the editor of the Minneiska, the university's yearbook at the time. Jarman was also part of an honors program for new students where he met Darcy Appleman - the two would marry in 1977.
Stevens Point-based Sentry Insurance hired Jarman before he graduated. He credits his success as a programmer with putting him on the radar of a vice-president who proposed Jarman and his wife move to South Africa, where the company was establishing an office. Although they had never been outside of the U.S., the Jarmans accepted - the country would be their home, along with a stint in the U.K., for the next five years.
"For someone who was not quite 30, this was a way of combining Peace Corps-type social service with a high-tech job."
The Jarmans eventually returned to the company's headquarters in Stevens Point. After Darcy Jarman retired from her role as a programmer, she started volunteering for the Humane Society of Portage County. Jarman soon joined her and as a full time volunteer provides information technology, publishing and fundraising support and serves as vice president of the organization's board. He is also chairman of the board of Stevens Point-based CAP Services, Inc.
As a key accomplishment of his more than 36 years in IT, Jarman cites the Hall of Fame Award that Sentry Insurance gave him in recognition of a printing and mailing system he created that took the company from hand folding and stuffing policy documents to machines that could fold mailings and fill 6,000 envelopes an hour.
"I finally joined my early interest in publishing and printing with my experience in programming."