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Staff Profiles

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William Sustachek – Appraiser/Owner, 2nd Generation

As a young boy, Bill collected and categorized an extensive rock collection.  As a college student he received 100% in all of his chemical labs where he had to identify “unknowns”.  As a young married man he gave up a sales career to go to school in California to become a Graduate Gemologist.  Combining his childhood pleasures with his abilities in the sciences Bill embarked on a new road with new dreams.

Bill’s dream was to own the finest jewelry store in Southeast Wisconsin.  To achieve this dream he prepared himself by becoming completely educated.  He graduated from the Gemological Institute of America and joined the prestigious American Gem Society.  As a member of the American Gem Society he continued in classes to become a Registered Jeweler, and a Certified Gemologist.  Bill also became a Certified Gemologist Appraiser; a title that is very difficult to achieve and is only shared by approximately 400 jewelers world wide.

In 1977 Bill’s father Calvin, a Certified Master Watchmaker, was approached by Frank Rasmussen to buy his store. Calvin and his wife, Marilyn, purchased the store and Bill became the Manager.  In 1988 Bill and his wife Kathy bought the store from his parents.

A lifelong passion and dream had come true.  Bill continues in his passion of this industry and has served in a variety of ways for this industry and for the city of Racine.  He serves as the Head Appraiser for Rasmussen Diamonds.  On nicer days you’re sure to find him on the golf course!

Some of the ways he has helped is as follows:

  • Wisconsin Jewelers Association – Board of Directors – Past President
  • Chairman of the Conclave Committee – American Gem Society
  • Chairman of the Education Committee – American Gem Society
  • Board of Governors – Jewelers Education Foundation of the American Gem Society
  • Member and speaker for the Jewelers Education Foundation
  • Member of the Racine Founders Rotary Club – Past President

Bill also makes sure that Rasmussen Diamonds gives back to the community it serves.  Rasmussen Diamonds has donated merchandise or gift certificates that value in excess of $1 million dollars since 1977.

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Kathy Sustachek –Sales/Owner, 2nd Generation

Kathy’s heart is anchored in family and harmony.  Kathy began in this business in the background, assisting in part time bookkeeping and secretarial work while raising 5 children.  When she became more involved, she found she loved the customers and enjoyed helping them to celebrate special moments with gifts of jewelry.  In order to gain a better knowledge of the jewelry industry and to properly serve the customer, she became a Registered Jeweler with the American Gem Society.

Kathy’s passion still is in marriage and family and she enjoys sharing those special moments not only with her own family but with the Rasmussen Diamonds family as well.  Kathy is excited to stay on in a sales/support role because she still enjoys spending time, and building relationships with the friends and guests she has had the privilege to know since starting at Rasmussen’s in 1977.

Past Boards served on:

  • “Every Member” Campaign co-chair: American Gem Society
  • Racine Chapter American Heart Association, Board of Directors, Past President
  • Able Toastmaster – Bronze, President – Toastmasters, Racine Sunburst Club, Past President
  • Family Service of Racine, Board of Directors, Past Vice-President

Cal Sustachek – Watchmaker/Past Owner, 1st Generation

April 1, 1977 was a day that changed the lives of the Calvin and Marilyn Sustachek Family.  That was the day they purchased the Rasmussen Jewelry store founded in 1900 from then owner, Frank Rasmussen.

Calvin has been a Certified Master Watchmaker since 1951 and had been sub contracting watch repair work for Frank Rasmussen as well as numerous other jewelers in Southeast Wisconsin.  Frank knew of Calvin’s integrity and his penchant for perfection in his craft.  It was time for Frank to retire and with no heir apparent, Frank approached Calvin to buy his store.  Frank did not want the fine reputation of Rasmussen Jewelry to be cast to any buyer and decided Calvin would be a wonderful choice for his store.

Frank also knew Calvin’s son, William was managing a jewelry store in the Milwaukee area and felt the combination of the father and son team would be the right combination to continue this turn of the century carriage trade jewelry store.

Calvin purchased the store on April 1, 1977 and hired William to manage it.  Calvin’s reputation as a watchmaker was wide spread and well respected.  Calvin left Rasmussen Jewelry in the care of his son while he traveled the Western United States as a Field Trainer for the Bulova Watch Company.  He was teaching other watchmakers how to repair the “new” Bulova Accutron watch.

Calvin’s titles and education include:

  • Elgin Watch College 1950 – 1951
  • Licensed Wisconsin Watchmaker 1954
  • Certified Master Watchmaker with American Watchmaker Institute (SWI)
  • AWI quartz watch instructor
  • Certified Bulova Watch (Quartz) instructor 1978-1985

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Kristi Widmar – Store Manager

Kristi is part of the Sustachek Family, the middle child, and has grown up in the jewelry business.  She has worked at Rasmussen Diamonds since 1990 and has been involved in almost every aspect of the business.  From 1999 to 2004, Kristin worked for Molina Fine Jewelers in Phoenix, AZ.  She was the administrative manager of the Molina Design Studio that has created multi-million dollar diamond and colored stone jewelry. Her greatest accomplishments in the business include assisting in the creation of the Fiesta Bowl Championship trophy, and cataloging and assisting with the appraisal of the jewelry items found on the Titanic.  Kristin is married to Daniel Widmar, a Racine Firefighter, and they have 4 children: Mara, Logan, Jillian, and Kassidy.

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Dave Rupp – Office Manager

Dave started with Rasmussen Diamonds in 1999.  He handles all the accounting and financial aspects of the store and helps support the sales associates.  Outside of the store Dave enjoys bowling and helping out with Special Olympics.

                            

Tyler Albright – Sales Floor Manager

Tyler joined Rasmussen Diamonds in June of 2012, Prior to that he spent many years managing and working in restaurants in Southeastern Wisconsin.  Even though he still holds cooking and food close to his heart, Tyler is very passionate about helping couples find just the right gift for that special occasion. Tyler has earned the title of Accredited Jewelry Professional with a goal of earning the title of Graduate Gemologist.  Outside of work you can find him, riding motorcycles, playing volleyball or golf, grilling out and spending time with friends and family.

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Lizzie Spankowski – Goldsmith

Lizzie joined the Rasmussen Diamonds family in July of 2015.  She graduated from UW-Milwaukee in 2011 with her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Metalsmithing and studied stone setting under Blaine Lewis.  Since joining the Rasmussen team she has created numerous exclusive designs favored by discerning collectors. Stop in to see her latest creations!

                           

Katrina Sustachek grew up in the Rasmussen Diamonds family and began her jewelry career while still in high school.  After high school, she attained an associates degree in Jewelry Design and Fabrication from the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay WI.  In 2000, while completing her Graduate Gemologist she was offered a job teaching for the Gemological Institute of America. Her love of Gemology kept her traveling and teaching classes all over the globe for GIA. One trip took her to South Africa where she received a private tour of the Premier Diamond mine, and yet another trip found her in the gem vaults of the Smithsonian Institute.  After traveling with GIA for 5 years Katrina joined Hearts On Fire out of Boston, MA.  She trained there for a number of years before moving on to Unique Settings of New York to become Director of Training.   Katrina returned home to be closer to her family in 2010, and shortly thereafter went back to school at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and received a Bachelor's degree in Art History and a BFA in Sculpture.  Currently, she has postponed future degrees to finish building Rasmussen Diamonds University and to plan the celebrations for Rasmussen Diamond’s 120th year in 2020.


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Sarah Shingledecker – Administrative Assistant

Sarah started with Rasmussen Diamonds as our resident specialist for both the Pandora and “Alex and Ani” jewelry lines.  Sarah has transitioned to a support role with the company where she helps keep repair jobs and inventory moving smoothly as well as the store's social media postings. She joined the Rasmussen team in 2015.  Sarah has so much fun picking out new and trendy styles for the store, as well as advertising through our social media pages. As a new mom she hopes to infuse her love and knowledge of jewelry to her precious daughter Emily. 


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Jenna Westergaard - Sales Professional

Jenna has been with Rasmussen Diamonds just over 2 yeasrs now.  She is the star of the Jewelry Talks with Jenna which can be seen on Rasmussen Diamonds' Facebook page on Thursdays.  Jenna is enrolled in Gemological Institute of America and will soon have completed the Applied Jewelry Professional program.  Jenna enjoys helping our guests discover the latest jewelry trends.  Jenna is a huge animal lover & finds joy in her free time cheering on the Packers with family and friends, and spoiling her three "fur babies" at home, Cosmo, Binks, and Zy.


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Tracy Black - Sales Professional

Tracy joined the team in April of this year.  Rasmussen Diamonds prides itself on having the most educated staff in the industry.  Tracy has enrolled in G.I.A. classes and is hungry for more gemological knowledge - making her a great fit. 

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