Staff Spotlight: Carrie Mainquist

UW Health Fitness Center Staff Member Carrie MainquistQuick! Who coached the Packers after Vince Lombardi? Who led Microsoft after Bill Gates? Who counted down the forty hottest hits in the land after Casey Kasum? I think you get the point. It’s hard to follow in the footsteps of a legend.


After Carol Nielsen’s retirement July 1, we found the smiling face and fun attitude of Carrie Mainquist right here within the Research Park Clinic.


Carrie is the new permanent daytime (7am–3:30pm) front desk staff. She used to work at the second floor Information Desk for a year as a Department Assistant to Sports Medicine and Spine Clinics. She then spent four years as the Research Park Float Scheduler. If her face looks familiar, you may have seen her filling in all around the Research Park building or at the Fitness Center and Integrative Health desk for Jan or Carol.


We’re delighted to welcome Carrie to our team full time and we’re confident that our participants will quickly get to know her and experience her outstanding customer service and vibrant personality. Spend a few minutes talking to Carrie and you may be surprised by what you discover!


Carrie was born in Buffalo, MN and did her elementary schooling there. Then relocated to Oregon, WI for middle and junior high school with her mother and older sister. Carrie also developed her "right brain" playing the cello in the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra. Five years later, following a move to Monona, WI, Carrie completed high school and played Varsity soccer, tennis, and softball.


Carrie got her first motorcycle at age 16. Her love of riding has directed her down the winding - sometimes crazy, but never boring - path for the past 30 years. Carrie’s passion for riding her motorcycles has taken her down many unique roads (pun intended). From working at two different Harley-Davidson dealerships to attending rallies, she has playfully enjoyed life on the open road.


Although she still enjoys riding her Harley as frequently as she can, Carrie has expanded her two-wheeled adventure options to include electric bicycles (or e-bikes). E-bikes have assistive electric motors helping cyclists through more challenging segments of their rides. After researching e-bikes for her Eco-Economy class she purchased a matte black iZip Metro from (formerly) “Crazy TV Lenny”. It’s got a motor, it’s got two wheels, it’s a blast!


Carrie has an Associate’s Degree in Supervisory Management from Madison College and has recently graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Upper Iowa University.

In addition to working here, Carrie is a volunteer for the UW Health’s Patient and Family Advisor program. Every month, the Adult PFAC committee (consisting of former patients, care providers, retired nurses, etc.) meets to provide feedback on processes that departments bring in. Carrie finds it is a positive way to give back, from both a patient and staff perspective.


We know that you’ll get a kick out of getting to know Carrie. We’re pretty certain you’ll agree that Carrie’s stories are best told by herself. So, let’s have Carrie fill you in with a little bit more:


A Q&A with Carrie


How Did You End Up Working Here?

I started out working for six months as a custodian in Environmental Services at the University Hospital November of 2011. This was the hardest job I’ve ever had, working in some of the most challenging areas – the Emergency Room, the Burn Unit, the Trauma Center (TLC) and all the Inpatient Operating Rooms. This experience was very humbling but a great way to get to know my way around the hospital! When I was working at a Harley-Davidson dealership in 2005, I was a passenger in a motorcycle sidecar that flipped over. As an accident trauma survivor, I seriously never thought I would end up working for a hospital or clinic. The UW has literally saved my life so I have a huge dose of empathy for patients recovering, trying to get better. As the saying goes: “Been there.”


What Do You Like About Working Here?


I really wanted to work at the Research Park clinic location. Back in 2005, I was getting acupuncture here while recovering from my motorcycle accident. I feel it’s just a really healthy environment with the Fitness Center, the therapies and Integrative Health. I have participated in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class with Tai Chi and look forward to attending the meditation drop-in sessions, mindfulness classes and retreats. I have taken Yoga basics, Alignment Yoga, Svaroopa Yoga, Spine Ball Core Combo, Holiday Cycling Boot Camp, Aqua Aerobics, Swim 101, and Aqua Deep classes. I look forward to taking even more classes this fall so I can advise potential class participants first-hand what the classes are like. Besides, we get free parking!


Hometown: Buffalo, MN


Current residence: Monona, WI


Birthday: January 4, 1969 - a Capricorn from Generation X


FamilyMom is in Monona, one older sister, Sara in Houston, my Dad and Stepmom are on the farm in Buffalo, MN.


PetsMiniature Schnauzer name Shiloh. She is a rescue, adopted from Shelter from the Storm about eight years old. She’s my fur baby – I don’t have any kids. So my mom calls her the “Grand-dog.”


Favorite MusicI am really all over the place on music: Reverend Horton Heat, Dwight Yoakum, Southern Culture on the Skids, Allman Brothers, AC/DC, Johnny Cash, Hank 3, Waylon, The Hillbilly Casino, James Brown (I have one of his box sets and really dig his music). I use Pandora a lot and have all different channels of music.


Favorite ColorGrey – which really isn’t a color but it’s my favorite.


Favorite TV ShowJust about anything on Public Television, Masterpiece Mystery, Doc Martin, Luther, The Tunnel, Whitechapel, The Fixer, Spy, many, many other public television shows, like Frontline, POV, NOVA and American Experience. I like mostly British murder mysteries or British comedy, and at the opposite end of the spectrum is South Park.


Favorite MoviesThe Blues Brothers, Rebel without a Cause, As Good as it Gets - I am a James Dean and Jack Nicolson fan.


HobbiesRiding my Harley – 2006 Street Glide, camping, hiking, waterfalls, the Great Lakes and Wisconsin State Parks, riding my electric bicycle, and Wisconsin craft beers


Favorite FoodsGarlic cheese bread, David’s Jamaican, New Orleans Take Out, Sunday morning prime rib and eggs


Favorite Vacation Spots (thus far)Up North, anywhere along Lake Superior – Minnesota North Shore, ‘Da UP, Ontario and Northern Wisconsin. Anywhere there is no cell signal works for me! Woods, water, wilderness, waterfalls. The Blue Ridge Mountains are also a beautiful place to ride. Would love to spend more time in the Smokey Mountains.


Favorite AthleteI don’t really have a favorite. Although I am originally from Minnesota, but I am a Packers fan. Makes for good conversation between my Dad and me.  I think the Williams sisters are incredible tennis athletes.


Nickname: Spike – ever since 8th grade when I had punk rock short hair, it’s stuck ever since then; I even have a personalized license plate on my Harley that says Spike. I’ve had that since I first started riding motorcycles back in 1985. I still have friends that call me Spike to this day. 


Still On My Bucket List


1. Ride up the West Coast from Southern California to Vancouver, British Columbia on to Banff, Alberta – just take off for a couple months and ride around the U.S. Just pack up and leave on my Harley and take off!

2. Fly and ride to Europe, rent a BMW and ride through the Alps. They have tours you can do with bed & breakfast stops, just jump on a jet, bring your leather jacket and they supply the rest.

3. Hot air balloon ride – just always wanted to do this, champagne mandatory!

4. Go skydiving (again) only this time tandem, so I can go higher up with more free fall.


Something Very Few People Know About Me That I'm Willing to Divulge Here


1. When I was a kid I wanted to grow up and be a semi-truck driver.

2. One of my very first jobs was being a car hop at the old A&W Root Beer Drive-in in Monona.

3. I also had a part-time job running the Carousel at Ella’s Deli one summer.

4. I am totally addicted to WPR and NPR and have to listen to the news every morning and every day driving to and from work.

6. In 2002, I was in a different motorcycle accident where I struck and killed a wolf. I ended up getting married to the Canadian motorcycle mechanic who checked over my bike. Totally bit off more adventure than I had planned (...on so many levels).


Favorite Sayings:

1. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best (speaking from experience).

2. It’s All Good.

3. Treat every day like it could be your last because you just never know!

4. Practice gratitude often because there is always someone somewhere else that has it worse than you.