New VPs Have Longtime Connections To Team

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Like most natives of northeast Wisconsin, the Green Bay Packers' two newest vice presidents have connections with the team that date back to their formative years.

Vicki Vannieuwenhoven, the new vice president of finance, is a native of Crivitz, Wis., who attended nearby St. Norbert College in the mid-1980s. On Sunday, Dec. 1, 1985, coming back to Green Bay after a weekend at home, Vannieuwenhoven and a friend got hold of tickets for what turned out to be the famous "Snow Bowl" against Tampa Bay.

"We did have a near-accident on the way but made it through," Vannieuwenhoven said of traveling through the blizzard. "We were able to sit in the first row because most people couldn't make it to the game."

Meanwhile Jason Wied, the new vice president of administration, grew up within walking distance from Lambeau Field and attended grade school just blocks from the stadium. Wied was one of countless young fans participating in the summer tradition of loaning their bikes to the players to get from the locker room to the practice field during training camp.

"I had Ezra Johnson ride my bike several times," Wied said, referring to the team's prominent sack master from 1977 through 1987. "I love watching the kids having that same experience with our players today. It's what sets this team and this community apart."

Both individuals were named to their new positions on Tuesday by Packers President/COO John Jones, a reflection of the growth and development of the organization's leadership structure as it continues the transition to Jones as CEO.

The new positions are natural promotions for both. Vannieuwenhoven has been with the Packers for 12 years, the last eight as director of finance, working with Jones and other Leadership Team members on both team and league economic issues. Wied moves into his new role after nearly seven years as corporate counsel, developing relationships with community leaders and assisting Jones and retiring CEO Bob Harlan with strategic planning, including work on the stadium renovation.

{sportsad300}Vannieuwenhoven, 40, becomes the first female vice president in the 89-year history of the organization, a designation Jones believes fits both her service and the current needs of the franchise.

"It's so well-deserved and such a tribute to the way Vicki carries herself, always working very hard to help others attain success," Jones said. "We look at it as being a Packer and don't look at it so much in gender terms, but this being the first female vice president, I'm very proud of the fact that Vicki is the standard-bearer."

Meanwhile Wied, at 35, becomes one of the youngest in the organization's history to rise to the level of vice president. But, like Vannieuwenhoven, Wied has established productive working relationships with his counterparts at other teams and the league office that are and will continue to be a valuable asset to the organization.

"My decision really wasn't about age," Jones said. "Jason and I have worked on high-level issues together for seven years. It was about experience and the ability to help me move the organization forward. I think it's an added bonus that Jason is the age that he is, but his experience and his maturity certainly belie his age."

As natives of northeast Wisconsin, Vannieuwenhoven and Wied always have appreciated the fans' viewpoint and brought that to their jobs with the Packers. Having both witnessed and worked through the changing economic climate within the league and the team, their memories of the "Snow Bowl" and bike rides with players will serve them and the Packers well as organizational leaders.

"From the continuity of the organization and where we are headed, these are essential decisions that need to be made for the ongoing success of the Packers, for us to be able to continue to be the franchise and the team our fans expect," Jones said.

"Leadership is at the heart of it. We all know how critical Bob Harlan's leadership was to the organization in prior years and that's my goal, to maintain that leadership style and that leadership integrity by having vice presidents like Vicki and Jason playing an important role in my plan for our future."

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