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University of Wisconsin hires Daniel Kugler to run risk management program


After a distinguished career as a risk management practitioner, Daniel H. Kugler will retire from Snap-on Inc. at the end of May and move full-time into risk management education as director of the Center for Insurance and Risk Management in the College of Business at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

“I wasn't looking for a different opportunity because I love what I do and I'm at a great company to work for,” said Mr. Kugler, assistant treasurer of corporate risk management at Kenosha, Wisconsin-based Snap-on, where he has worked in the risk management department for 34 years.

It was Mr. Kugler's involvement with education, by way of his being a member of the board of the Spencer Educational Foundation and the Risk Manager in Residence program, that led him to meet Scott B. Beyer, an associate professor in the Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Business, and they discussed the Risk Manager in Residence program.

“At the end of my presentation, he asked if I'd be interested in running the (university) program,” Mr. Kugler, 60, said. “One thing led to another and they offered me a job right before Christmas.”

“I've been a pretty lucky guy, and then this fell in my lap,” Mr. Kugler said. “I've been teaching as an adjunct (professor) and teaching various programs, and this was the next step.”

“The bonus is I graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 1976,” Mr. Kugler said.


In addition to being a longtime participant in the Risk Manager in Residence program funded by the Spencer Foundation, Mr. Kugler has taught risk management, managerial economics, international economics and sustainability at Concordia University Wisconsin; served as an instructor for the International Center for Captive Insurance Education and the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research; and taught a fundamentals of insurance course for the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.

Mr. Kugler, who will retire from Snap-on on May 30, said he's learned best practices from all risk management programs with which he's been involved, “and I hope that I'll be able to incorporate those at Oshkosh.”

“Dan has been a fixture at academic institutions for as long as I can remember,” said Zachary S. Finn, clinical professor and director of the Davey Risk Management & Insurance Program in the Butler University College of Business in Indianapolis.

Mr. Finn, who was risk manager at J.M. Smucker Co. and worked in other risk management capacities before moving to Butler, recalled Mr. Kugler as a Risk Manager in Residence while Mr. Finn was a student at Indiana State University.

“He was really a motivator for me to get into the risk management industry,” Mr. Finn said.

Mr. Kugler, who joined Snap-on in 1979 as a risk analyst, has seen his risk management efforts lead to recognition such as his selection as Business Insurance's 2002 Risk Manager of the Year® and in 2012 as the first individual honoree in the Katie School of Insurance and Financial Services of Illinois State University's Midwestern Insurance Innovation and Leadership Awards & Hall of Fame.


With Mr. Kugler's departure from Snap-on, Irene Sudac, vice president of financial services and a five-year Snap-on veteran, will take over the risk manager role.

With approximately 70 students, the current risk management and insurance program at Wisconsin Oshkosh is a “robust minor” that is comparable in content to many similar majors, Mr. Beyer said. The university could ultimately seek approval from the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents to offer the program as a major, he said.

As director of the center, Mr. Kugler will teach part-time and engage industry partners, other businesses and industry groups, Mr. Beyer said.

“It's a big task he's getting involved in,” he said. “When we were interviewing for the position, we had people come in and say, "I've always wanted to settle into a teaching position.' I said, "Hey, there's some heavy lifting here. This isn't a retirement job.'”

In Mr. Kugler, the university has found “the kind of energy and enthusiasm you need and that's why we're glad to have Dan come in,” Mr. Beyer said.