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Counter retires after 20 years

Mike Counter, at right, introduces his brother, Jim, in 2019 as he gets ready to perform at Knights on the Fox, a music concert series held at St. Norbert each summer. St. Norbert College photo

By Kaity Coisman

Contributing Writer

DE PERE – St. Norbert Director of Media Relations Michael Counter has retired after 20 years at the college.

Counter began his career in television and broadcasting before joining the St. Norbert staff in 2003.

“As director of media relations, my job was to get St. Norbert College as much earned publicity as possible. I worked with local, regional and national media. (TV, radio, newspapers and magazines) Certainly having worked in the television and radio business for nearly 20 years prior to coming to St. Norbert helped a great deal. I knew what they wanted and needed to do a story. I had to learn the newspaper industry, that was new to me. But a great story is a great story. I also understood and appreciated the media’s deadlines, having done it myself. The thing is nothing ever stays the same. The media is a very transient business, people come and go, so there were challenges, but I enjoyed it… I worked in Montana, North Carolina, Michigan and my home state of Wisconsin. At each stop, I learned something about the business and about myself,” said Counter.

When asked what has changed the most since 2003 Counter said, “… the growth of the department I work in. When I started at St. Norbert College, there may have been three people in the office of communications. Now, the department has like 12. It’s really grown, and they handle all of the college’s marketing and communications needs, including video and media relations. They are a talented, hard-working group of dedicated people.”

Counter’s job was not only to handle media relations but he also took a liking to teaching the next generation in various classes.

He was also a valuable member of the communications department due to his background in the field.

Counter talks with Packers Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre prior to a preseason game in the early ’90s. Submitted photo

“I really enjoyed working with students. Many of the communications professors at St. Norbert knew or found out about my broadcasting background and they would send students my way interested in the media, be it TV, radio or newspapers. They would drop by and talk about their goals and ambitions. I would give them advice or help them make contact with various media outlets in the area for internships. If you’re interested in the communications/media field, the Green Bay/De Pere area has a great deal to offer. Many St. Norbert students that either stopped by or interned for me have gone on to do very very well for themselves. It’s nice to see their goals come to fruition. I’m proud of them all,” Counter added.

The next step for Counter is still under wraps for us but he has something in the works as a part-time gig.

Besides the new career possibilities, Counter is ready to enjoy some travel outside the U.S.

“We also want to do some traveling. We plan to go to London in September and are looking forward to that trip very much,” said Counter. 

He also had some parting words for his friends, students and colleagues at St. Norbert, “I’m proud to have stood and worked alongside you on this 20-year journey. It was the best decision I have ever made. It’s a unique place, keeps its mission front and center… I love the people here. The students are smart and end up doing very well for themselves. No place is perfect, but for me, St. Norbert College was the closest thing to it.”

Counter’s last day was July 14.

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