Advancement staff contacts
Associate Vice President of Institutional Advancement
402-643-7487 | Weller Hall 206
“It is a humbling privilege to work at an institution that helps men and women prepare for their future service to the world.”
Kurth Brashear, as associate vice president of institutional advancement and general counsel, oversees the university’s engagement with its various constituencies, such as alumni, supporters, congregations and Nebraskans. He works with those groups to advance the mission of Concordia through donations, gifts and other means of support.
Before coming to Concordia in 2012, Kurth was an attorney in private practice for 15 years. He has worked in the US Capitol building and the Wrigley Building in Chicago, making Weller Hall the third oldest building he’s worked in, though he claims it has the second best view. Kurth is married to Jessica, and they have two children, Lily and Nolan. He is a lifelong Cleveland Indians fan, despite having no connection whatsoever to Cleveland.
What is it like to serve at Concordia? It is a humbling privilege to work at an institution that helps men and women prepare for their future service to the world. It is a blessing to work at a university where faith in Jesus Christ is a central tenet of the experience and a shared touchstone for the community.
What do you enjoy about your job at Concordia? I feel very blessed to represent an institution that has remained true to its core values and the opportunity to interact daily with truly amazing, intelligent and faithful students, faculty and staff.
Administrative Assistant of Advancement
402-643-7408 | Weller Hall 206
“Every aspect, from the campus, the students, the institution as a whole, to the work that’s done here-our faculty and staff have so much passion for them all.”
Debbie Brutlag is the administrative assistant for the advancement office and secretary for Concordia Foundation Nebraska. She manages foundation communications and handles arrangements for quarterly meetings and events. In addition to normal day-to-day office tasks, much of her time is spent on a variety of on- and off-campus events for alumni, friends, and donors, including music tour events, class reunions, homecoming, and the Annual Donor Appreciation event.
Debbie is a Concordia alum, graduating in 2007 with a bachelor of fine arts in studio art. She loves board games, and participates in “game nights” on campus, which primarily feature Eurogames like Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, and Puerto Rico. She also enjoys reading, cycling, and leading worship music with small ensembles at church.
What do you enjoy about your job at Concordia? First and foremost, I enjoy the people. I love working in a Christian environment with such dedicated and passionate people. I also enjoy the energy of a college campus and how my job continuously challenges me to learn and grow.
What does it mean to you to support the university you attended? It means that I get to help provide opportunities for others to have the same kind of quality, Christ-centered education I was blessed to receive. Whether it’s through financial gifts, volunteering time or simply striving for excellence at work, I love being a part of their Concordia experience.
Director of Alumni & University Relations
402-643-7341 | Weller Hall 206
“Concordia has great value within the Church by educating students who become leaders and witnesses to Christ and at the same time value to many professions through the well-qualified graduates.”
Adam Hengeveld is the community manager for Concordia. He conducts alumni and donor engagement through digital communication tools, social media, and email newsletter. He is also in charge of “Share the Dream,” an initiative to engage recent alumni from 1998-2012 to consider supporting current and future students’ dreams of a Concordia Experience like their own.
Adam is a new father to daughter Charlotte, born Oct. 2012. All his free time has been taken over with playing and drooling. He also enjoys watching funny movies with his wife and learning new skills. Adam plays guitar and is addicted to reading historical fiction.
What do you wish other people knew about Concordia? I wish other people knew that what we say about Concordia University, Nebraska is completely true. It isn’t a marketing agency telling us what sounds good or what “resonates with consumers;” it is what students, alumni, faculty and staff in our community have really experienced at Concordia.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about supporting Concordia with a gift? I would want to tell someone that Concordia has great value within the Church by educating students who become leaders and witnesses to Christ and at the same time value to many professions through the well-qualified graduates.
Gift & Data Integrity Specialist
402-643-7456 | Weller Hall 206
“It is nice to know that I am part of helping students to become who they want to be through Christ.”
Amanda Jackson has worked for Concordia since July 2012. She is responsible for updating alumni databases, ensuring data integrity and processing gifts.
Amanda and her husband Clark have three children, two boys and one girl. Amanda’s family enjoys tractor pulling with Clark’s family’s antique tractors. They also enjoy walking, biking and playing at the park.
What is your favorite memory at Concordia? I have not been at Concordia long, but I do remember as a child attending many basketball games with my parents. I enjoyed that very much and now I am excited to take my children to the games so they can start learning about how wonderful Concordia University, Nebraska is.
What is it like to serve at Concordia? Concordia is an awesome place! I enjoy working with great people who help make Concordia a wonderful school. I am so proud that I am part of this university.
What do you enjoy about your job at Concordia? I enjoy the Christian atmosphere filled with a love for Christ. I enjoy all the wonderful people I get to work with around campus. It is nice to know that I am part of helping students to become who they want to be through Christ.
Major Gifts Officer
402-643-7391 | Weller Hall 206
“I am humbled by the many ways people support Concordia!”
Pete Kenow works with alumni and friends of the university who support Concordia through gifts, primarily major gifts, pledges, and deferred gifts. He has worked for Concordia for 18 years, but he is also an alumus. He got his BS in Elementary Ed and DCE certificate in 1988, and married Beth, another Concordia graduate. They have four children: Molly and Victoria, both of whom attend Concordia, and Terry and Erich.
Pete enjoys swimming, camping with his sons and home renovation projects, when he’s not performing his duties as self-proclaimed president of the Ad Hoc 3rd Street Neighborhood Watch Association.
What do you enjoy about your job at Concordia? I enjoy traveling across the country meeting friends and alumni who have the same passion for Concordia University, Nebraska as I do. I am humbled by the many ways people support Concordia!
What does it mean to you to support the university you attended? Concordia was the right place for me at the right time of my life, and confirmed and fortified the Christian values and foundation for who I am today. It is exciting to be able to support a similar experience taking place for students today and knowing that it will be here for generations to come.
What is your favorite memory at Concordia? My favorite memories center on University A Cappella choir tours. I especially remember the Pacific Southwest tour on which I met my wife, Beth.
Administrative Assistant for Major Gifts and Campaign Support
402-643-7467 | Weller Hall 206
“It is a great experience to serve at Concordia and to see that what we do in our office directly impacts the lives of our students on campus and beyond.”
Lisa Krings worked at St. John Lutheran School in Seward for nearly 14 years before coming to CUNE in September 2009. She is the administrative assistant for major gifts and campaign support, providing clerical aid and making travel plans for the Major Gift Officers. Lisa also does prospect research.
Lisa is married with two sons, both of whom are students at Concordia. She enjoys reading, camping, hiking, and travel.
What is it like to serve at Concordia? It is a great experience to serve at Concordia and to see that what we do in our office directly impacts the lives of our students on campus and beyond.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about supporting Concordia with a gift? I would tell them how their gift will make a difference in the lives of students by making a Christ-centered education more affordable and how Concordia prepares students who will go out into all walks of life and be Christian leaders.
What is your favorite memory at Concordia? My favorite memory is seeing my older son graduate from Concordia in May 2012. I will have another son graduate in 2014. Both of my sons have truly been blessed by their time at Concordia University, Nebraska.
402-643-7240 | Weller Hall 206
“I love that those who work here are invested in the betterment of the university and consider their work as service in a ministry instead of a job.”
Leigh Lewis is in charge of prospect research and strategy, identifying new donor prospects and researching potential donors. She has been working at Concordia since August 2012, and enjoys working with the advancement team to find innovative ways for engaging new and existing donors to be part of the university’s future.
Leigh has been married to her husband, Ben, for 17 years. They have four children, Nathan, Avery, Henry, and Finley. Leigh’s hobbies include, reading, swimming, kayaking, and bike riding, though her kids think her hobbies are laundry, dishes, cooking, dusting, and vacuuming.
What has surprised you most about working at Concordia? I think it is interesting how connected everyone is at Concordia. Many of the people that work here also went to school here or have a spouse that graduated from here. It is a great testament to Concordia University, Nebraska that shows how much people love this university!
What is it like to serve at Concordia? Concordia’s campus community has a family feel to it. I love that those who work here are invested in the betterment of the university and consider their work as service in a ministry instead of a job.
Director of Mission Partnerships & Church Relations
402-643-7393 | Weller Hall 206
“Concordia graduates understand mission and ministry and their stations in God's kingdom as His servants, no matter whether they are working in business, medicine, churches, or schools.”
John Mehl works to build new mission partnerships and strengthen existing ones between Concordia and congregations, districts, institutions and mission agencies both domestic and international. He develops opportunities for students to gain skills in mission work by teaching classes and raising funds that will help in the expansion of God's kingdom. John began working as director of mission partnerships and church relations in 2014.
Before working at Concordia, John served at a rural parish in Kansas, then as a church planter in Moscow, Russia, before becoming regional director for LCMS mission work in Eurasia, and finally regional director for Asia. He and his family lived for eleven years in Moscow, two in Germany, and seven in Hong Kong. He is married to Susan and they have three children, two of whom are currently students at Concordia. John enjoys photography and ham radio.
What do you enjoy about your job at Concordia? This is a Christian community of very competent servant leaders who understand the importance of Concordia's place in God's mission.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about supporting Concordia with a gift? It is good stewardship to partner with Concordia financially because any gift will deliver exponentially as Concordia graduates will find themselves in leadership positions where they will engage the world with Christ.
Major Gifts Officer
402-643-7252 | Weller Hall 206
“I want others to know that Concordia is much more than just a school. Concordia is a community.”
Mike Mettenbrink is one of the major gifts officers at Concordia. He works to secure donations and work with donors to find the most efficient way of using their stewardship to benefit the university. Mike earned his B.A. in Business from Concordia in 1987.
Mike is married with three children. His children are all involved in sports, including baseball, softball, soccer and cross country. Mike also enjoys watching Bulldog athletics and Nebraska football.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about supporting Concordia with a gift? With most of our students receiving some type of financial assistance, a gift is utilized to the fullest extent so that tomorrow’s leaders, in our church and world, are able to learn in an encouraging and nurturing university environment.
What does it mean to you to support the university you attended? It means our current and future students will have more than an education, a diploma or a career when they graduate. They will have a calling, life-long friends and a special place they can come home to for years.
402-643-7221 | Weller Hall 206
“To work at Concordia University, Nebraska is like having another family. We are there for each other, for help and for prayers.”
Joan Payzant is responsible for recording donors’ gifts and pledges.
Some of Joan’s favorite things are golfing, baking, word games, and spending time with her family. She and her husband have a 1978 Kombi Volkswagen van that they use for camping and travel. Joan has two sons, Phil and Marc, and three grandchildren, Ben, Sam and Josi.
What is your favorite memory at Concordia? Every morning we have the opportunity to attend chapel. Thursday and Friday are contemporary services with student-led bands. I enjoy listening to and watching the students share the Gospel through their musical talents.
What do you enjoy about your job at Concordia? I enjoy all of the people that I have met and gotten to know here. We really have some awesome individuals who work at Concordia University, Nebraska. Also, getting to know the students has been a definite positive. Our students are so inspiring and such hard workers. The actual job is very interesting and requires an eye for detail, which always keeps me on my toes.
Coordinator of Resource Development Operations
402-643-7290 | Weller Hall 206
“The Advancement Office is dedicated to supporting the University. We look for those individuals who are interested in helping Concordia University succeed in its mission of providing a quality Christ-centered education for students so they may lead lives of service, learning and leadership.”
Jan Tonjes has been the Coordinator of Resource Development Operations at Concordia for seven years. She is the database manager for the Advancement Office, as well as maintaining statistics for campaigns and donations, creating invitation lists for events and activities, compiling annual endowment status reports and advancement materials and coordinating thank you letters, gift entry and endowment gifts.
Jan graduated from Concordia in 1974 with a degree in math. Before working for Concordia, she was a math teacher at Los Angeles Lutheran High School, a Business Service Engineer for AT&T and an accounts manager for Lutheran High School of St. Charles County, Mo. Jan is married with two children. She loves puzzles, the word and number kind, not the jigsaw kind.
What has surprised you most about working at Concordia? As an alumna I always knew that we had a good bunch of students on campus but I am amazed at how truly talented they are. Whether it’s performing on stage or in a music group, or taking a project like the Phonathon or supporting the Lutheran Malaria Initiative, they make us proud.
What do you enjoy about your job at Concordia? I think it is great to be part of a mission! I feel it is a privilege to be part of something that can affect so many, and not just my local community. The knowledge and experiences that our students receive at Concordia are passed on to others as our students travel life’s journey to wherever it may take them.