About Us

We partner with you to act on what matters most

We Are Catalyst

Originally known as the Applied Research Center (ARC), Catalyst formed in 2007 at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Just like your organization, we have grown & evolved over the years. We've served a wide array of clients in many different capacities. Still, our mission remains the same, partnering with organizations to help them evolve with confidence.

Our Values Guide
Our Work

The Catalyst offices are located on Anishinaabe land.

Evolve Together
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We center the importance of relationships, we work, learn, and grow together.

We are building our collective capacity to make an extraordinary impact.

Collective Liberation & Equity
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We hold at our core a responsibility to advance progress toward equity.

We recognize that there are multiple truths and no singular solutions and help you navigate this complexity.

Human First
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We all do our best work when we can be our authentic selves to the work.

We bring compassion and a sense of joy and humor to all that we do.

Whole-Hearted Service
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We do work that matters to us, in service of ensuring your impact aligns with your values.

We look at the whole picture to identify root causes and help you invest in sustainable, practical, long term solutions.

Our Team

Our team brings more than 50 years combined experience in strategic planning, facilitation, grant evaluation, organizational development, and higher education.
We've guided hundreds of organizations towards mission-driven solutions. When you work with us, you know you are getting the best minds, the most creative process, and the freshest approach.

Dr. Meridith Wentz
Director
My Bio
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Meridith Wentz, PhD, helped to found our team in 2007. She is an Assistant Chancellor in the Office of Planning, Assessment, Research and Quality at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. She is responsible for leading institutional research and assessment, strategic planning, performance measurement, regional accreditation, and policy efforts. She is a master examiner with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission. As a reviewer, she has done comprehensive visits, portfolio reviews, financial panels, change panels, non-financial indicator panels, federal compliance, and assurance reviews. Meridith has presented on using data to inform decision-making at numerous institutional research, assessment, and Baldrige conferences. She has also taught courses in statistics, evaluation, and research design. When not working, she's out running with her dog Rigby.

Cori Beskow, M.S.
Manager
My Bio
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With the team since 2009, Cori Beskow leads Catalyst through supportive management. She truly cares about each individual on the team, empowering them on both a personal and professional level. Cori understands that everyone brings a different perspective to the table and that we can solve problems more effectively and efficiently together. She makes concerted efforts to lead using integrity, empathy, passion, and transparency. In addition to leading the team, Cori manages the budgeting and contract side of the business. She is a wife, a mother of two, a team mom, and coach for multiple sports.

Brenda Krueger, M.S.
Project Manager
My Bio
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Brenda Krueger has served as a Project Manager and Evaluator since 2014. Brenda enjoys being involved in the whole process from program inception through implementation and process improvement. She helps clients by actively listening to understand their needs, working collaboratively to develop a plan, gathering and making sense of the data to facilitate decision-making, and serving side-by-side to implement change. She is a wife, and mother of 3 adult children and one very spoiled dog. In her off-time, you will find her exploring the outdoors in search of wildlife.

Justin Sullivan, M.S.
Project Manager
My Bio
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Justin Sullivan (he/him) is an experienced Project Manager and Evaluator. He finds value in his work by building capacity within organizations to use data to inform decisions. He enjoys learning about novel ways to collect, analyze and display data using a broad spectrum of software platforms. Justin believes that making sense of data is a crucial factor when moving from evaluation results to making meaningful change. While he has had the opportunity to work with a wide range of clients, he particularly enjoys working with those who serve the greater community. Justin has two boys and enjoys exploring local and state parks in West Central Wisconsin. He has been with the team since 2014.

Libby Smith, M.S.
Project Manager
My Bio
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Libby Smith (she/they) is an organizational healing facilitator. As an experienced and holistic evaluator and educator she excels at the human component of research and evaluation. Never one to shy away from crucial conversations, Libby deftly balances accountability and compassion. Their work focuses on building equity and accessibility through personal growth and embodiment practices. Libby uses all of these skills to provide intersectional and liberation-forward guidance to organizations and clients seeking transformative change. They sit on the Board of Directors of the American Evaluation Association and is auntie to 10 year old twin girls. She's been with the organization since 2012.

Christian Lucchesi
Research Technician
My Bio
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ChristianLucchesi (he/him) is an emerging evaluator with experience in training and leadership development. Ensuring others are prepared to make decisions with the big picture in mind while accounting for the moving parts of a program is where he feels at home. Preparing others with data or asking about the “why’s” and the “how’s” of a program's function is how he addresses this preparedness for possible change. Christian utilizes concepts of knowledge-sharing and competency building to empower those incorporated with the process and enables self-sustained action. Christian is a recent graduate, seasonal pole vault coach, and avid reader.

What Our Clients Say

An exceptional team to work with, always professional, detailed, and fast to respond to all my questions. I really appreciate their collaborative culture and dedication to making our grant funded program a success. I would love to work with them again on a future project!
Anne Lemke
Grant Manager
Moraine Park Technical College
Their work has been extremely useful in providing our students with a rich educational experience. The communication from the team has been consistent & thorough, I am impressed with the professionalism & coordination. I look forward to a continued partnership.
Jim Lemerond
Dean of Health & Human Services
Lakeshore Technical College
The way they presented information was essential. Seeing the pieces of the report along the way helped create buy in at our organization.
Jenna Kellerman
Director of Workforce Solutions
LeadingAge MN

Our Clients

Evolve with confidence

Get in Touch