Meet the Team at Apel Associates
Kari Apel, CPA
Kari Apel is the president and CEO of Apel Associates, which she founded in 2008. Her professional experience includes working as an accountant for an ag-based financial organization, in addition to holding accountant positions at several larger CPA firms. Kari attended UW-Platteville and earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance, with an economics minor. She is also a licensed CPA.
Kari will be the first to tell you that growing up on a farm played a profound role in shaping who she is—both personally and professionally: “Children today don’t usually see their parents literally ‘at work’ every day the way I did. It was such a great model. I can actually remember sitting in my playpen and watching my mom do chores. As I got older I joined in that work. I also sat at the kitchen table and listened to the talk that revolved around running a farm effectively. Before I even finished high school, I already knew a lot about business. I also learned that if you want anything in life, you have to earn it. That’s my motto to this day.”
Kari’s husband and three daughters share her love of all things outdoors, from camping to a variety of sports. If you can’t find Kari at the office, you’ll most likely find her coaching her daughters’ teams. Finally, here’s a little known fact about Kari: If she had motorcycle, you’d probably find her on the open road. She has the license, just not the cycle!
Rick Wrensch, CPA
Rick Wrensch is a licensed CPA who brings over 30 years of experience to our office in Johnson Creek. For more than 20 years, Rick was an independent business consultant and income tax preparer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting from Milton College, and a master’s degree in accountancy from the University of South Florida.
Born and raised in Johnson Creek, Rick is heavily involved in the community. As a mentor and supporter of youth in the area, Rick is a familiar fixture at local high school sporting events. He also serves on the Johnson Creek School Board.
Rick loves to spend his summer days boating and taking family and friends tubing and water-skiing. He also enjoys traveling and hopes to someday explore the country by motor home. Hopefully he can find time to fit in a little reading by his favorite authors, John Grisham and David Baldacci.
Rick is definitely a team player, showing his positive attitude and offering guidance whenever he can. Always one to offer helpful advice, Rick’s motto is Enjoy your work and do your best at it, no matter what field, and the rest will follow!
Pam Sulima, CPA
Pam Sulima is an accountant at Apel. Before Apel, she worked for many years at other CPA firms, focusing on taxes, accounting, and training interns. Pam received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Lewis University in Illinois and is a licensed CPA. She also has a master’s degree in social work and worked for a few years in child and family counseling. Her time outside of the accounting world wasn’t all a waste. According to Pam, “The psychology comes in handy when working with people from all walks of life.”
Pam has two grown children and three grandchildren, two of whom live close to her in Middleton and one who lives too far away in Portland, Oregon. “It’s wonderful to see life through the eyes of a child again—and so much fun,” Pam says.
Pam had a foster child from Nicaragua here in the U.S. for medical care. The teen knew no English and Pam relied on her two years of high school Spanish. Pam also had an exchange student from Poland who thankfully did know English. Pam enjoys ballroom dancing, attending plays and the symphony, and dabbling in photography. She’s also an artist and would like to spend more time sketching and painting. “Some day…,” says Pam.
Jill Wendt is the office manager in Apel’s Johnson Creek location. She attended Madison College-Watertown, where she earned a diploma in the Accounting Assistant program. Prior to joining Apel, Jill worked as the head teller at a community bank in Watertown. A true team player, Jill is patient and takes delight in unraveling mysteries and fitting the pieces of a complex puzzle together.
That’s probably why she also loves genealogy. Listening to stories from the past and learning more about her family history is a true passion. She recently discovered a bit of Irish lineage, which has deepened her desire to travel to Ireland someday.
A lifelong resident of the Jefferson County/Johnson Creek area, Jill grew up on her family’s dairy farm. It was there that she developed a love of the outdoors, enjoying swimming, biking, and the kind of adventures that only a country kid can have.
Most days you’ll find Jill and her husband spending plenty of quality time with their Lab mix, Buster, at the local dog park. When at home, Jill can usually be found curled up with a good book, most likely by Nora Roberts or Sandra Brown. An avid reader, Jill says, “The Kindle is the best invention ever!”
Lori Nelson is the corporate financial administrator at Apel. Her diverse background makes Lori a great asset to the Apel team. Prior to Apel, Lori worked as an office manager for a Wisconsin-based therapeutic CD business. She also worked in banking and for a time put her bachelor’s degree in elementary education to use as a substitute teacher.
Lori is a stickler for keeping things in good order. As a child she even started a library using her own books. She enforced strict rules for her sisters, such as requiring a library card and demanding books be returned in good condition and on time!
Lori lives with her husband, Scott, near the family farm in Leeds. They share a love of the outdoors and enjoy a variety of activities, from walking and hiking to biking and kayaking. The call of the wild—or at least the partially wild—has led to them setting a monumental goal: visit every national park in the U.S.
Beginning in 2018, Lori and her husband recommitted themselves to daily physical activity and have even added a home gym. The two have realized that a well-lived life involves taking care of yourself both fiscally and physically.
Trayven Weller is an accountant and tax specialist with Apel. He earned an associate degree in accounting from Madison College and is finishing a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UW-Whitewater. He completed an internship with Apel over the course of two tax seasons, which led to his current position in our Johnson Creek office.
Trayven lives in Johnson Creek with his girlfriend of over 15 years and his eight-year-old daughter. One of his true passions is just hanging out with his two favorite girls and listening to his favorite music (by Drake). He also has an interest in cars, which explains his best-loved movie, Fast and Furious.
Trayven is always willing to lend a hand when it comes to helping friends with construction projects. He’ll also tell you he’s just a text or phone call away, which is why it’s no surprise he considers the smartphone the best invention of all time.
Trayven is highly motivated to find the right answers and isn’t afraid to learning something new; his daughter challenges him to do this every day. He would love to confront his fear of heights by skydiving. Now if only he could conquer his other fear—spiders!
Anzy Maerz attended Madison College, where she earned an associate degree in accounting. Prior to Apel, she held various accounting positions for a local convenience store chain. She loves mathematics, problem-solving, and learning as much as possible about the fascinating and ever-changing world of taxes (really, she does).
Anzy resides in Arena with her husband and two sons. They all love to spend time with their pug, Babe, and like to explore museums and interesting places off the beaten path. When she has downtime, Anzy enjoys reading and scrap-booking, and you might find her going fishing now and then as well.
Kim Paul came to Apel with 10 years of experience in bookkeeping and business consulting. Her past positions have included office manager and sales manager. Kim holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in entrepreneurship from UW-Whitewater.
Kim shares her life with her husband, a network administrator, and two kids: a son who’s a bowling, baseball-playing, basketball-shooting, fishing and hunting sportsman, and a daughter who’s a singing, dancing, fancy-dress-wearing gymnast who loves finding worms and frogs. Also, throw into that mix two dogs, one hamster, and way too many fish.
Kim volunteers as a promotional director with 6:8, a local service-based organization that focuses on helping people in the community with a variety of needs. She also sets up and serves at 6:8’s Community Meal twice a month. When not working or volunteering, she enjoys spending time outdoors and sharing quality time with friends over dinner. Kim’s motto to live by is Be honest, ask questions, and follow your instincts.