Board and Staff

David Daniels: Executive Director

Hailing from the Kickapoo Valley region in Southwestern Wisconsin, David Daniels spent the majority of his childhood exploring the hills and rocks of Wisconsin’s unglaciated area. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin - Stout with a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management, he moved to Wausau because of the community’s incredible focus on arts and culture. While earning a Master of Science in Management and Entrepreneurial Leadership, David helped co-found Colossal Fossils Inc.

When he’s not working at Colossal Fossils events, David loves spending time exploring and learning about this amazing planet with his beautiful wife, Stephanie, and their two young children.

David is incredibly excited to be a part of this growing organization and to help teach Wisconsin about all of the amazing creatures that have called this planet "home.”

Nick Sweeney: Board President

Nick Sweeney is the owner of Big Fat Designs, LLC, a design firm in Wausau, WI. As a Designer and Illustrator, he works to develop websites, literature and other marketing materials for corporations around Wisconsin and the U.S. Nick grew up in Wausau, and has spent most of his life in Wisconsin. After completing his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, his career took him to Chicago, Los Angeles and more. However, his love of the Midwest soon brought him back home. Nick relocated to Wausau, with his wife Kari, 15 years ago. Their four children help keep Nick motived and inspired to explore new ideas, new technology and educational collaborations.

He is excited to bring this inspiration to Colossal Fossils to help propel them, their message and amazing educational experience to all of Wisconsin.

Stephanie Daniels: Board Vice President

A Wausau resident for most of her life, Stephanie Daniels is the co-founder and vice president of Colossal Fossils, Inc. Stephanie holds a bachelor degree in Human Services, and two associate degrees in applied sciences; veterinary technology and nursing. Starting a career in 2009 in higher education, she discovered a love for teaching. She taught for five years as a full-time instructor and was promoted to Program Chair of the Veterinary Technology Department. In 2012, Stephanie won the Golden Apple Award for teaching excellence in applied learning. Stephanie is presently working as a Career Services Advisor for Rasmussen College supporting students, graduates, and employers within the School of Business nationwide.

In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys life with her husband, two children, and dog. She also enjoys photography and playing volleyball, volunteers for the Good News Project of Wausau, and is an aadvocate to never stop learning.

Justen Willemon: Board Secretary

Originally from Luxemburg, WI, Justen Willemon graduated with a Bachelor of Art degree in Multimedia Design from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in 2007. After graduating, Justen began his career with Miracle-Ear, where he has become a Nationally Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist. Justen helps as an examiner for the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, and is a member of the International Hearing Society and the Wisconsin Alliance of Hearing Professionals.

Justen lives in Wausau with his wife, Melissa, and two children. In his free time he enjoys fishing, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. Justen is a member of the St. Matthew’s Men’s Club, and soon will be a head coach for youth t-ball with Everest Youth Baseball.

Katrina Elgersma, CPA: Board Treasurer

Born and raised in Vesper, WI, Katrina Elgersma went to UW – Eau Claire for a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting. After graduating, Katrina moved to Marathon to take a position as a staff accountant at Wipfli, LLP and has been working there for nearly two years. She has recently earned her CPA license and works primarily in tax.

In her free time, Katrina enjoys reading, running, and learning new recipes. She looks forward to sharing her talents with the Wausau community and helping Colossal Fossils flourish.

Tom Bradford: Board Member

Tom Bradford grew up in Menominee, MI. Through his childhood, he found joy in exploring the lakes, rivers and forests of the upper peninsula of Michigan and Northeast Wisconsin. It helped to develop a lifelong love and appreciation for the natural world and the many ancient forces that shaped it. After graduating from Menominee High School, Tom attended the University of Wisconsin – Marinette, where he earned his associates degree in Liberal Arts. After briefly living in Marquette, MI, Tom was drawn to the Wausau area by its natural beauty, growing culture and booming economic opportunities.

Since moving to Wausau, Tom earned a technical certificate for AutoCAD and one for supervision from Northcentral Technical College of Wausau. Tom has developed an engineering career and subsequently moved into a leadership role. Tom is currently an engineering manager with Wausau Window and Wall.

Tom lives in Wausau with his wife, Katie, and their dog, Daisy, where they enjoy fishing, kayaking and traveling. Tom is very excited to share his passion for STEM activities and to help Colossal Fossils continue to bring exciting new opportunities to Central Wisconsin.

Pat Esselman: Board Member

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris nec varius ligula, quis ornare lorem. Etiam luctus eros vel risus volutpat mattis ac eget diam. Duis commodo blandit sem sit amet laoreet. Nam fermentum arcu id felis blandit aliquam. Sed suscipit augue id erat rutrum, non congue tellus molestie. Cras sed molestie sapien. In quis neque vel magna tincidunt vestibulum sed sit amet ligula. Quisque in feugiat turpis.

Nullam eu erat vitae augue gravida facilisis. Sed quis hendrerit mauris, vitae finibus augue. Etiam nunc sem, interdum et tincidunt id, blandit

Brian Mason: Board Member

The Rev. Brian J. Mason was called as Minister to the First Universalist Unitarian Church of Wausau in the spring of 2017. He discovered Unitarian Universalism while studying English and Philosophy at Webster University. After obtaining a Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary, Brian served as the David & Norma Lewis Ministerial Intern to the First Unitarian Church of St. Louis, and later worked as a chaplain at St. Louis University Hospital and Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.

Brian and his wife, Sarah, live in Wausau with their daughter, Ellie. Together they enjoy road trips, exploring new places, and cooking and sharing meals. Brian also loves to birdwatch, run, and watch classic movies.

Stephen Schmidt, MS: Board Member

Stephen Schmidt is a free-lance science educator and manager of Snapshot Science, LLC with over 18 years of experience teaching a wide-range of science to students from pre-K to College. Snapshot Science develops collaborative science experiences for students of all abilities in order to increase science literacy through afterschool and summer science enrichment programs for elementary students and underwater robotics programs for middle school and high school students. He is an Adjunct Science Instructor at Northcentral Technical College where he teaches Principles of Sustainability to mostly Agriculture and Veterinary Science students. He was honored to become an ARMADA project master teacher where he spent 6 weeks aboard the USCGC Healy participating in oceanographic research in the Arctic Ocean in summer 2004. An avid paddler and naturalist trained in aquatic sciences (MS Natural Resources UWSP 1995), Steve loves to spend time with his family playing, reading, swimming, and exploring in the natural world, especially on Washington Island, WI.

PS. Washington Island is a pretty cool place to look for fossils, too!