2016 Young Alumni Award
The UNO Alumni Association issued two Young Alumni Awards during its Alumni Night of Honor Thursday, Nov. 3., at the Thompson Alumni Center.
Sponsored by First Data Resources, Alumni Night of Honor highlighted achievements by members of the worldwide UNO alumni network, now numbering more than 100,000 living graduates. Receiving Young Alumni Achievement Awards were Andres Torres and Wendy Townley.
Established in 2014, Young Alumni Achievement Awards recognize outstanding career achievement, active community involvement or exceptional service to the university by graduates 40 or younger.
Torres is business director for the Global Utility Division at Valmont Industries. He is responsible for sales, project management and engineering of tubular steel structures used to support transmission lines, highway lighting and traffic lights for customers in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Born and raised in Bogota, Colombia, he earned an MBA from UNO in 2013. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, including stints as president of the Nebraska Section and co-chair of the Younger Members Group. He also is a council member for the Greater Omaha Young Professionals and one of the founders of the Valmont Professional Network.
Since 2015, Torres has served as a member of the UNO Alumni Scholarship Swing Committee. He also volunteers his time at St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church.
Torres received the Greater Omaha 40 under 40 Award in 2012 from the Midlands Business Journal and was named one of Ten Outstanding Young Omahans in 2016 by the Omaha Jaycees. He is married with two sons.
Townley is development director of the Omaha Public Library Foundation. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism (2002) and a master’s in communication (2011), both from UNO.
Townley previously worked as a campaign manager for the Steier Group and was assistant director of media relations at UNO. She also has worked for Cox Communications, Leslie Kline Lukas & Associates, and elsewhere. Since 2008 she has been an adjunct faculty member in UNO’s School of Communication.
Townley also has written for numerous publications, including UNO Magazine, and in 2010 authored “Nerdy Thirty,” a collection of 13 humorous essays. Her professional affiliations include membership with the Greater Omaha Young Professionals Council (chair in 2016), Leadership Omaha, Women’s Fund Circles, Optimist Club of Omaha and the Omaha Press Club.
UNO’s School of Communication presented her its Rising Star Alumni Achievement Award in 2006 and the Nebraska chapter of the Public Relations Society of America named her Newcomer of the Year in 2005. She is married to fellow UNO alum Matt Tompkins (2007).