Our 2015 Badger of the Year: Stephanie Harvey ’92

Stephanie Harvey is CEO of Independent Surgery Center, a specialized ophthalmic ambulatory-surgery center in Lake Hallie, Wis, and is this year’s Badger of the Year!

She serves on the boards of the Wisconsin Surgery Center Association and the national Outpatient Ophthalmic Surgery Society. As a past president of the Chippewa Valley Chapter, Harvey established a sponsorship program that ensures long-term support for UW student scholarships.

Stephanie Harvey

Back in 1989, what would become a lifelong passion for Stephanie Harvey was set in motion. During her sophomore year at UW-Madison, Stephanie was elected onto the Wisconsin Alumni Student Board (WASB), where she began her long tenure of serving and promoting UW-Madison to alumni and students alike. She conducted campus tours, spoke at Founders’ Day events, and co-chaired the District 5 Leadership Conference, which brought together regional alumni student boards in Madison for a three day meeting. She found true satisfaction in the continued selfless promotion of UW-Madison and Badger Pride. It is not hard to imagine why she is the 2015 Badger of the Year for this Chapter!

Born in Appleton, Wisconsin, to William and Carol Haack, Stephanie learned quickly that hard work was the only way to succeed. She was the last of three daughters that they raised in their modest home on Oklahoma Street. It was just assumed that she would become a Badger like her older sisters. Of course, she earned that opportunity.

At Appleton West High School, Stephanie graduated number one in her class of over 400 students. In addition to her commitment to academics, Stephanie was involved in drama and played the part of Rochelle in Little Shop of Horrors, among other plays and musicals. She also sang in numerous choirs and was part of the elite West Company jazz choir, which toured in Europe for two weeks following her senior year in high school.

Stephanie’s admits that she never applied to or even considered going to any institution besides UW-Madison! Stephanie was torn when deciding on a major but ultimately chose business over civil engineering. Her love of sailing naturally led her to becoming active in the Hoofers Sailing Club; she sailed Lake Mendota and the Florida Keys with that amazing group. Stephanie worked at the Lands End Inlet on State Street for one summer before obtaining an internship with the State of Wisconsin, Bureau of State Risk Management.

Stephanie Harvey during her time in WASB.
Stephanie Harvey during her time in WASB.

After graduating from UW-Madison with a BBA in 1992, Stephanie worked for the Bureau of State Risk Management for two years before joining Alexander & Alexander in Milwaukee. There, she was an account executive in the commercial insurance brokerage industry. During this time, Stephanie returned to Madison often for football games and eventually met Tom Harvey at an alumni weekend cookout. As fate would have it, Tom had been elected to WASB just as Stephanie was graduating, and the two didn’t meet until four years later, well after both had graduated and moved to Milwaukee.

In 1996, Stephanie left insurance brokerage to try her hand in the printing industry. She worked in sales for The Printery in New Berlin, Wisconsin, and later as National Account Executive for their parent company, Consolidated Graphics. During this time, Stephanie also took on the MBA program at UW-Milwaukee and received her graduate degree in 1999.

Stephanie and Tom were married in the fall of 1999. Tom’s medical training took them to Pittsburgh and Houston for some memorable years. Stephanie was involved with the Wisconsin Alumni Association in Pittsburgh as part of their scholarship committee and social committee. While the couple was in Houston, they attended many game watching parties with fellow Badgers who were living far away from their alma mater.

Stephanie Harvey and her family.
Stephanie Harvey and her family.

In 2005, the couple settled in Eau Claire and Tom began working with the Chippewa Valley Eye Clinic. By then their two daughters, Natalie and Kimberly had joined their family. Stephanie was a devoted stay-at-home mom and in charge of what she calls “the Harvey Corporation,” until 2010, when she set up Independent Surgery Center, LLC. Today she continues to work at ISC as the CEO of this specialized ophthalmic ambulatory surgery center in Lake Hallie, WI. Stephanie is on the board of the Wisconsin Surgery Center Association, and chairs their legislative committee. She spends a great deal of time educating and working with legislators to ensure the viability of surgery centers on both the state and national levels. Stephanie is also on the Outpatient Ophthalmic Surgery Society national board where she is a liaison to their President’s Council and a member of their education and communication committee.

Soon after arriving in Eau Claire, Stephanie had an opportunity to attend a WAA: Chippewa Valley Chapter board meeting. Her love of UW-Madison and desire to give back to her new community made joining this group an easy choice. Stephanie’s business background was a nice complement to this already stellar group. One of her most important contributions early on was to help the Chapter take full advantage of the generous offer made by the UW-Foundation to match scholarship dollars raised locally.

During the four years she was President of the WAA: Chippewa Valley Chapter, she created a new sponsorship program to help fund local student scholarships by securing longer term commitments from donors. It was and continues to be one of the most robust programs for Alumni Chapters in the US. Stephanie’s late mother-in-law, Jane Harvey, was president of the Northwoods UW Alumni Chapter for many years; Stephanie is honored to have followed in her footsteps and hopeful that she has made her proud!