New Directors Elected and Outgoing Board Members Recognized

Orestes Baez, Katrina Harwood, and Aimee Thurner elected to United Way Blackhawk Region's Board of Directors.
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(Blackhawk Region) – United Way Blackhawk Region welcomes three newly elected directors to its volunteer board. The board is responsible for setting policy and providing strategic leadership that aligns with United Way’s mission and meets the standards of United Way Worldwide.

“We are pleased to welcome Orestes Baez, Katrina Harwood, and Aimee Thurner to United Way Blackhawk Region’s Board of Directors,” said Board Chair Derek Hahn. “Each member brings unique skills and expertise to United Way’s fight for health, education, and financial stability.”

Additionally, three members successfully completed two, three-year terms on the board of directors. “Board member rotation is a best practice, to ensure fresh perspective and diverse representation of our beautiful community,” said United Way Blackhawk Region President and CEO Mary Fanning-Penny. “All three of our outgoing members have been stellar advocates whom we’ve learned a great deal from.”

Tom McCawley, Beloit Health System, completed his second term with United Way Blackhawk Region’s Board of Directors. In 2021, McCawley served as Board Chair and his additional commitments include the Executive and Building Committees; he has also volunteered as a community grant review panelist in numerous grant cycles.

Ted Rehl, South Beloit City Manager, has been a longtime volunteer with United Way. In addition to his terms on the board, he was a Campaign Champion in 2017 alongside other local municipal leaders. Rehl consecutively served on the Campaign Cabinet and is a past board member of the former Stateline United Way.

Jon Schlemmer, Modine Manufacturing, completed his second term with United Way Blackhawk Region’s Board of Directors, having served for three years as board chair. Schlemmer is also a member of United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society and a past recipient of the Geraldine Hedberg Volunteer of the Year Award.

“We thank these outgoing directors for their incredible service while eagerly welcoming three new members to our board,” Hahn added. “As a volunteer-driven organization, United Way is grateful for all who generously give their time and talent to serve the greater good.”

To learn more about United Way Blackhawk Region’s community impact or see all members of its board of directors, visit

Orestes Baez – Regional President, Adams Publishing
Orestes Baez is a media veteran with over 30 years’ experience in the print and digital space for various companies. A Clemson University graduate with both an undergraduate and graduate degree in business, he began his career in the direct mail media space. Along the way he picked up digital acumen through charter efforts to launch digital companies and through on-site time at Apple and Google. Baez has led multiple companies in a President/Chief Executive Officer role driving teams to outperform the industry. He joined the newspaper world at the Tribune Company in 2010 and has worked with Tribune, Gannett, and Gatehouse in various leadership roles. He also has spent over 30 years providing support and participating in the non-profit space. Orestes and his wife Donna live in Janesville and enjoy exercising, the outdoors, cooking, and traveling. They have one son, studying and working in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Katrina Harwood – Health Officer, Rock County Public Health Department
Before joining Rock County in March 2021, Katrina Harwood worked for local health departments in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Iowa with a primary focus on maternal and child nutrition. She finds the most enjoyment when working collaboratively with others to address complex public health challenges, and no challenge has more enjoyable than leading a local health department through a successful accreditation process. Currently, Harwood is most interested in developing an adaptive public health system to address current and emerging public health challenges in Rock County. Harwood earned an MPH in Health Policy and Management from Kent State University, a Master of Science degree in Nutrition and Health Science from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics from Idaho State University.

Aimee Thurner – Executive Director, Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce
Aimee Thurner has almost 20 years of experience working with the business community in Rock County. With her position at the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce she has worked with nonprofits, large and small businesses, as well as local and state officials. She also has experience in budget preparation, financial planning, event planning, networking, and leadership. She is currently serving on the board of directors for Visit Beloit and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation. She serves on the advisory board for CareerTek and UW Whitewater. Thurner also serves at the committee level for the Rock County Leadership Development Academy, Beloit City Center Council, Beloit Memorial High School Academy Steering Committee, and Beloit Literacy for Life. Thurner has a passion for Rock County and making it a better place to live, work and play. She lives in Janesville with her husband Nathan and three children.

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