JUSTIN J. WATT
Dream Big Work Hard. Those four simple words have helped to transform Pewaukee native JJ Watt from small-town Wisconsin boy to NFL Defensive Player of the Year. The journey from backyard football to the big stage of the NFL was not always smooth, never easy and filled with adversity, but with unbelievable support from his friends and family, JJ turned his childhood dreams into reality.
Growing up a multi-sport athlete, JJ excelled not only on the football field, but also on the ice, the baseball diamond, the basketball court and in the shot put circle. After completing his career at Pewaukee High School, JJ started at tight end for the MAC Champion Central Michigan Chippewas before transferring to Wisconsin to play defensive end for his home-state Badgers and eventually being drafted #11 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans.
After finishing his career at Wisconsin as an All-American, it didn’t take long for JJ to take his game to the next level in the NFL. In only his second season, JJ led the NFL in sacks, batted balls and tackles for loss and as a result, he was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year and Unanimous 1st Team All-Pro. Along the way, he became the only player in NFL history to have over 15 sacks (20.5) and 15 batted balls (16) in the same season.
CONNIE L. WATT
Connie Watt is the proud mother of JJ Watt, defensive end for the Houston Texans and 3-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year; Derek Watt, fullback for the Los Angeles Chargers; and TJ Watt, outside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers. In addition to raising three successful student athletes with her husband, Watt had worked for Independent Inspections, Ltd. (IIL) for 23 years as both Vice President and Human Resource Manager. During that time, she managed the budget, daily operations, business and health insurance decisions and administration of both office and field staff.
As one of the founders and Vice President of the Justin J. Watt Foundation, Watt handles the organization’s day-to-day operations with the help of a dedicated group of volunteers. In 2012, she decided to focus her efforts full-time on the Foundation. Under Connie’s leadership, the Justin J. Watt Foundation launched its first-ever event in Texas, the JJ Watt Charity Classic in 2013 which has since become our largest annual fundraiser.
Funds raised from events, merchandise sales and other donations directly support the foundation’s mission to provide after-school opportunities for children in the community to become involved in athletics, so that they may learn the basic character traits of accountability, teamwork, leadership, work ethic and perseverance while in a safe and supervised environment with their peers.
Above all else, Watt is proud to be the mother of a tight-knit family. She gives tirelessly of herself and is a living example of the Foundation’s “Dream Big Work Hard” tagline.
JONATHAN W. SINGER, DBA
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Jonathan is an operational excellence professional with a background inclusive of manufacturing operations, continuous improvement, and supply chain management. Jonathan has earned certifications in Lean Six Sigma, Kepner Tregoe, and CPSM. Most recently, Jonathan completed his Doctorate in Business Administration and also works as an Adjunct Professor of Business at Waukesha County Technical College.
Jon has been with the organization since inception in 2010. While earning his Bachelor of Science in Education at Carroll University Jonathan enjoyed volunteering with the Big Brothers of Metro Milwaukee, along with various works in grades 1-8 in settings such as Racine Unified Schools, Waukesha STEM Academy and Milwaukee Public Schools. With Jon’s background in business and passion for education and athletics he is a natural fit to review applications and research the schools and programs that request funding.
RICHELLE MARTIN, JD
Richelle Martin is the Managing Director of the Winnow Fund, an early-stage focused venture capital fund based in Madison, Wisconsin. Prior to the Winnow Fund, Richelle spent six years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison negotiating research contracts for the Office of Industrial Partnerships. A native of Franklin, Wisconsin, Richelle obtained her B.A. in Art History, Political Science, and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School.
Richelle has been involved with the Foundation since 2010, when as a student attorney in UW’s Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic she helped the Foundation establish as a legal entity and obtain 501(c)(3) status. Richelle continues to work with the Foundation as a Board Member providing legal advice on issues such as trademark protection and review and preparation of documents, and as a volunteer at fundraising events, such as the annual JJ Watt Charity Classic.
Richelle enjoys engaging in volunteer activities in her community. In addition to participating in various fundraising events, she is a member of the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s young professionals organization, Young Wishmakers of Wisconsin, and actively volunteers with Jazz at Five, a Madison-area arts non-profit that provides free outdoor concerts in downtown Madison.