Southeastern Wisconsin business people make it happen.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Business, civic leaders unite to redevelop Milwaukee’s Near West Side
January 15, 2015 11:08 AM
A cross sector of Milwaukee leaders have banned together with a collective vision to revitalize the city’s Near West Side and transform it into a viable business and residential corridor.

Together, leaders among some of Milwaukee’s largest business, education and nonprofit entities have formed Near West Side Partners, Inc., a nonprofit organization that will propel revitalization efforts forward in order to stimulate economic development in the area as well as improve the housing, safety and overall brand of the neighborhood.

Rana Altenburg, vice president of public affairs at Marquette University, will serve as president of the NWSP board of directors.

“On behalf of all participating organizations, we are excited to announce the formation of the Near West Side Partners organization,” Altenburg said in a statement. “By collaborating across our organizations, we are confident we can make a positive impact on the Near West Side neighborhood and create an even more vibrant place in which to work, live and play.”

Those organizations involved include Aurora Health Care, Avenues West Association, Harley-Davidson, Marquette University, MillerCoors, Potawatomi Business Development Corp., and Wiegand Enterprises.

The birth of NWSP stems from the Near West Side CEO Symposium, an October 2014 meeting hosted by Harley-Davidson CEO Keith Wandell and convened by Marquette president Michael Lovell, Ph.D. That meeting united several of the city’s top executives around the issue of the Near West Side’s future.

Lovell also announced his partnership with Wandell during his presidential inauguration last September.

As NWSP gains momentum, it will activate four working teams in safety, housing, neighborhood identity and branding, and commercial development. The geographical scope of the organization’s focus centers on an area bounded by I-43 to the east, I-94 to the south, Highway 41 to the west and on the north, Vliet Street west of 27th Street and the north side of Highland Avenue east of 27th Street.

The organization hopes to announce new neighborhood development initiatives in the coming months. In preparation, the NWSP steering committee is assessing best practices for neighborhood improvement by looking at examples in Milwaukee, such as the Menomonee Valley, as well as in other cities. Steering committee members will visit four target cities in February and March to see successful revitalization efforts firsthand.

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FUEL jumpstarting year with professional development bootcamp
January 15, 2015 11:12 AM
FUEL Milwaukee, a professional networking group and extension of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, will roll out the new year with a first-of-its-kind professional development “bootcamp” to cultivate the leadership and management skills of the city's talent base.

The five-day event, scheduled to run Jan. 26 through Jan. 30, will feature multiple series of workshops targeting young professionals who are looking to jumpstart their year and take their career to the next level.

“Our goal is to really, number one, encourage professionals to invest in themselves and just take time to develop on an ongoing basis,” said Corry Joe Biddle, executive director of FUEL Milwaukee.

The bootcamp, which FUEL anticipates presenting annually, will feature 15 hour-long workshops containing “bite-sized chunks of knowledge” on career and leadership development, according to Biddle. Those workshops include “Mentorship Mornings,” luncheon workshops and evening workshops, all to be headlined by some of Milwaukee’s top business and civic leaders.

While Mentorship Mornings, free and open to the public, will allow attendees to tap into the insight of some of the city’s most successful executives, luncheon workshops will feature “lunch-n-learn” sessions with presentations on specific career lessons.

The week’s evening workshops will be grounded by after-hours social events that include additional advice-oriented presentations.

Luncheon and dinner workshops are free for FUEL members and cost $10 for non-members.

Bootcamp speakers include Ricardo Diaz of the United Community Center, Cecelia Gore of the Brewers Community Foundation and Tim Sheehy of the MMAC as well as several professional development coaches from southeastern Wisconsin.

Workshops will run at business venues across the city, including Hudson Business Lounge and Café, Milwaukee Public Library, Teach For America, Foley & Lardner LLP.

While the week will cater primarily to the city’s demographic of young professionals, Biddle said the public is invited to attend all events.

“We actually exist to help make Milwaukee stickier for young professionals, but our programming is so diverse and interesting that we don’t exclude anyone from coming,” she said.

For a complete lineup of FUEL’s bootcamp events, click here.

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CUW announces dual interim deans to lead School of Business Administration
January 15, 2015 11:15 AM
Concordia University Wisconsin has appointed Suzanne Siegle, Ed.D.., and Jane Bishop, Ph.D. interim deans of its School of Business Administration following the leave of dean David Borst, Ed.D.

Earlier this week Borst made public his move to lead the Family Business Legacy Institute, which CUW’s School of Business Administration will play an active role in developing and facilitating.

Meanwhile, CUW, which is a Lutheran-affiliated school in Mequon, plans to begin a nationwide search for a new permanent business dean early this year. University officials have been preparing for the search since early last fall.

“Identifying a skilled and forward-thinking leader with an equal passion for Concordia’s distinctive Christian identity remains the objective of the search term,” Michael Uden, dean of the School of Education and chair of the search committee, said in a statement. “Engaging a search firm and expanding the process nationally ensures that the work of the team is comprehensive and complete.”

Interim dean Siegle is also the campus dean of Concordia University Ann Arbor in Michigan. CUW acquired that campus in May 2012. CUW belongs to a national network of higher education institutions known as the Concordia University System.

Interim dean Bishop has served CUW as a professor for three years.

According to CUW, the School of Business Administration is the largest of its six schools.

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Betzig to move from interim to permanent president at WCTC
January 15, 2015 11:18 AM
Waukesha County Technical College’s interim president, Kaylen Betzig, has been appointed permanent president of the Pewaukee-based school, according to an announcement WCTC’s district board made on Wednesday.

Betzig has led the school in an interim capacity since the start of last August, having taken over for president Barbara Prindiville, Ph.D. following her retirement.

WCTC’s district board, which had been conducting a formal search for a new leader, made the decision to extend Betzig’s tenure at a board meeting held Tuesday night. During the board’s annual meeting on Jan. 10, members discussed her qualifications in closed session.

“Kaylen is the right leader at the right time for WCTC,” district board chairperson Pauline Jaske said in a statement. “She has 27 years of experience in every area of technical college operations and has overseen almost all functions of a technical college. Those functions include human resources, student services, instruction, information technology, facilities, strategic planning, grants, research, quality improvement and program evaluation.”

Betzig has ascended the ranks of WCTC since her start as vice president of administration services in 2008. In 2010, she was promoted to executive vice president of the technical college. She previously spent 19 years in leadership roles at Blackhawk Technical College.

Betzig holds a master’s degree in educational administration from UW-Madison and has made significant progress toward a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis at UW-Madison.

“I am honored by the district board’s decision and look forward to moving WCTC forward,” she said. “We’ve done some great things at the college in recent years, from starting our Dual Enrollment Academy to building a firing range and meeting our campaign goal for the Integrated Manufacturing Center.”

Betzig also said that as she moves forward in her presidential role, she wants WCTC to “deliver as the engine for economic growth in Waukesha County and beyond.”

WCTC’s district board has yet to establish the new president’s contract and compensation.

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Eight local health providers, UWM respond to gun violence at schools
January 15, 2015 11:20 AM
Through a federal grant created to help communities respond to gun violence at schools, eight regional behavioral health providers and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are working to strengthen trauma and substance abuse counseling services for youth.

UWM’s Helen Bader School of Social Welfare recently received a three-year, $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration to train social work master’s degree students in trauma-informed care and substance abuse counseling for children, adolescents and young adults.

Milwaukee-area behavioral health providers who are partnering with UWM are: Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers, Rogers Behavioral Health System, Columbia St. Mary’s Behavioral Medicine Services, Aurora Behavioral Health Services, Norris Adolescent Center, Benedict Center, Outreach Community Health Centers, and Rosecrance.

The bulk of the federal funds for this program–the Youth Oriented Substance Abuse and Trauma Counseling Program–will be used over the next three years to provide stipends for 95 social work graduate students. Each student who qualifies will earn up to $10,000 for two semesters’ work in the field with a partner agency.

Only a small percentage of trauma survivors receive professional treatment for post-traumatic stress, and according to the federal government 10 percent of those with substance abuse problems receive treatment at a specialty facility.

The grant award is the second for federal training that UWM’s Helen Bader School of Social Welfare received in 2014. The school was one of 15 sites nationwide to receive a federal training grant aimed at enhancing how social work students, medical residents and student nurse practitioners work with patients who are at risk for or experiencing substance abuse problems.

This three-year grant of $777,412 was received from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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Sales and traffic rose at the Milwaukee Public Market in 2014
January 15, 2015 11:22 AM
The Milwaukee Public Market announced that gross vendor sales increased from $11.7 million in 2013 to $12.0 million in in 2014.

In addition, the number of customer visits to the market increased slightly from 1,251,037 to 1,254,233.

The public market is operated by staff from the Historic Third Ward Association under contract with the Business Improvement District #2 (BID), which owns the market building. Ron San Felippo, chair of the BID, said 2014 figures were impressive considering the first phase of the I-794 freeway reconstruction project required the market to close off its main entry point to the parking lot for most of the year.

Paul Schwartz, operation and communications manager for the market, said the market began pre-construction planning a year prior to the start of the freeway project.

“At the beginning of 2014, we were not only dealing with the start of freeway construction, but we also had the St. Paul Avenue bridge closed,” Schwartz said. “The bridge has reopened, as well as the main doorway adjacent to our parking lot. I think the 2014 figures are a good indication that the market brand is strong and construction has not had anywhere near the impact that some people feared it would.”

Early last year, the BID, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT), instituted a shuttle operation from a remote parking lot on Second Street and Clybourn Street throughout the neighborhood to help ease any parking issues caused by the project.

“The great news is that we see less people worrying about parking in the Third Ward,” Schwartz said. “The neighborhood was bustling throughout the warm weather months, in large part to the planning and constant communication by the Third Ward Association and the DOT.”

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MECCA basketball floor is for sale
January 15, 2015 11:25 AM
The iconic, colorful and historic MECCA basketball floor of the old Milwaukee Arena is for sale.

Owner Ben Koller is looking for a buyer to purchase the floor, according to

Koller issued the following statement to OMC:

"Since the day my father purchased the MECCA Floor he was set upon the idea that I was the perfect person to lead the charge. On a surface level it made sense. I was a basketball fanatic throughout my scholastic years and then became enamored with the art of creativity in my twenties. Yet I couldn’t quite figure out why he was so adamant about me leading this endeavor, especially during the most turbulent time of my life. The last time we spent together, the day before he died, my father gave me a key insight as to why he was choosing me. It was bigger than just finding a permanent home for the MECCA Floor, it was about finding a purpose for my life. I know that sounds a bit esoteric. At the time I felt the same way, but now as I write these words I sit in awe at the wisdom of a man seeking the best for his son and offering him a path to create his own clarity in life.

"Over the past three and a half years I’ve dedicated my life to honoring my father’s request. I’ve literally bled, sweat and tear’d along this quest. Like a lump of coal is transformed into a diamond under immense pressure, the MECCA Floor molded and shaped me into the man my father always knew I could become. Because of this process alone I can move forward with my life knowing that I honored the gift that my father offered me.

"The MECCA Project has reached a point where I feel that in order for it to move forward Ben Koller must step aside. The MECCA Floor requires a permanent home and I can no longer allow the floor to sit idle and waste away in a warehouse because I’m the sole decider of what happens with it. The MECCA Floor is a historical artifact that I would like to see displayed during Robert Indiana’s lifetime, and in order to do this I will be seeking new ownership for the floor.

"My intention is to find a new owner committed to permanently and publicly displaying the floor intact in a way that as many people as possible can experience its beauty and magnificent history. I’m open to all possibilities and will be seeking various opportunities throughout the world, with a preference to keep it in Milwaukee. The time has come for the MECCA Floor and Ben Koller to part ways in order that we both may fulfill our unique purposes. I’m extremely confident that this transition will unfold as it’s meant to and I will be able to look back with appreciation and reverence for the adventurous journey that is the MECCA Floor." is a media partner of BizTimes.

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Bubbler Quote of the Week
January 15, 2015 11:27 AM

“When you get to be 70, people think you shouldn’t be doing anything anymore. But I don’t take no for an answer. People fault me for this because they say I should rely more on other people, but this is my motto: If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.”
~Paula Ott, a Traditional who works as an InPro sales analyst researcher
Read the entire BizTimes Milwaukee cover story by Hilary Dickinson: Maximizing the 4-Generation Workforce.

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BizTimes Bubbler Executive of the Week: Nahid Afsari
January 15, 2015 11:28 AM

Nahid Afsari, vice president, Wisconsin Group, Cotter Consulting, Inc.
Company address: 735 N. Water St. #1101, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Industry: Construction management; program/project management
Number of employees: 16 employees in Wisconsin; 98 company-wide
Family: Two children: 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son

What was the smartest thing Cotter Consulting’s Wisconsin office did in the past year?
“Supporting team growth. We have promoted key personnel into leadership positions and made several strategic hires. This year, we equipped all field staff with tablets to increase quality and efficiency on project sites.”

What’s new at your company?
“There are three major new initiatives. First, our internal leadership development program, called Cotter Academy. Second, we are growing project controls staff on existing projects, and third, we are expanding services for building projects to the southeastern Wisconsin and Madison markets.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
“Absolutely. We plan to make strategic hires for building and vertical construction projects.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
“Breaking into the market for vertical construction, but we are excited about the opportunities because of the dynamic growth in southeastern Wisconsin, especially the potential of a new Buck’s stadium and the development in surrounding areas.”

What drew you into engineering?  
“I have always loved math and science. I love building things and figuring out how they work and enjoy being involved in process development and implementation. My father is a civil engineer, so he got me excited about the profession at a young age by exposing me to his projects around Milwaukee.”

What are the most significant engineering projects you personally have worked on?
“The Marquette Interchange. I was a part of both the design team as a young structural engineer and part of the construction phase as I moved into the role of project controls. The project provided enormous opportunity for professional growth, relationship building, development and understanding of processes.

“It is always very rewarding to be a part of a project that improves quality of life by enhancing environments. I love being able to give back to my community.”

What does your recent designation by Engineering News-Record Midwest as one of the “Top 20 under 40” design and construction professionals mean to you and your office?
“While regional recognition is nice, I strive to strengthen my staff and resources through experience, training, education, and potential new hires. Our efforts are focused on exceeding expectations for existing clients and building relationships locally to develop new clients and opportunities.”

Do you have a business mantra?
“LEAD – Listen, Engage, Advise, Deliver.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“I resonate with individuals who lead by example, empower, are trustworthy and conduct business in a professional manner while taking calculated risks. I have several mentors who I turn to for advice, and I translate their advice into a solution I can be proud of and own.”

What was the best advice you ever received?  
“Be a positive agent of change.”

What do you like to do in your free time?  
“I enjoy knitting and volunteering at my children’s elementary school. I also coach youth soccer and serve on the board for the YWCA and Construction Management Association of America (CMAA).”

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Hot Bubbler Books
January 15, 2015 11:31 AM
Five bestselling business books you should read:

1. “How We Got to Now,” by Steven Johnson
2. “You Only Have to Be Right Once,” by Randall Lane
3. “The Promise of a Pencil,” by Adam Braun
4. “A Path Appears,” by Sheryl Wu Dunn and Nicholas Kristof
5. “Code Halos,” by Malcolm Frank, Paul Roehrig and Ben Pring

Courtesy of

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Bubbler Calendar
January 15, 2015 11:32 AM

*Wednesday, Jan. 21, UW-Milwaukee’s School of Continuing Education will hold a seminar on “First Steps to Starting a Business.” Attendees will have a chance to examine the feasibility of their business idea, look at the risks and rewards of starting a business, use tools to calculate startup costs, discuss critical marketing strategies, learn about the legalities of launching a business and more. The seminar will run from 6 to 9 p.m. at the School of Continuing Education, located at 161 W. Wisconsin Ave. in downtown Milwaukee. Cost is $29, and seating is limited. For more information or to register, click here.

*Thursday, Jan. 22, the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation will facilitate an online business class on “Budgeting: Making Every Penny Count.” The free course will simplify budgeting for participants and will also help them learn how to manage spending. The course will run from noon to 1 p.m. For more information or to register, click here.

*Thursday, Jan. 22, the Greater Brookfield Chamber of Commerce will hold a “Business After 5” networking event at Healthworks Wellness Center, located at 19035 W. Capitol Drive, Suite 100, in Brookfield. The event will run from 5 to 7 p.m. Cost is $10 for chamber members who pre-register and $15 at the door. First-time networking event guests can also attend for $15. For more information or to register, click here.

*Thursday, Jan. 29, BizTimes Media will hold the 2015 Northern Trust Economic Trends Breakfast to give business leaders insight on expectations for business in the year ahead. The event, in its 14th year, will feature a macro-economic outlook by Michael Knetter, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin Foundation as well as industry outlooks by Tina Chang of SysLogic Inc., Tom Still of the Wisconsin Technology Council, Keith Rozolis of ABC Supply Co. Inc., and Todd Teske of Briggs & Stratton Corp. The event will also include breakout sessions for business leaders. The breakfast event will run from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Italian Conference Center, located at 631 E. Chicago St. in Milwaukee. Cost is $60 for individuals and $600 for a corporate table of 10. For more information or to register, visit

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Bubbler Networking Resources

» African American Chamber of Commerce Milwaukee
» American Marketing Association-Milwaukee Chapter
» Association of Management Professionals LLC
» Business Marketing Association-Milwaukee
» Conservative Young Professionals of Milwaukee
» Creative Alliance of Greater Milwaukee
» Executive Women International-Milwaukee Chapter
» Executive Women's Golf Association-Milwaukee Chapter
» FUEL Milwaukee
» Grandville-Brown Deer Chamber of Commerce
» Greater Brookfield Chamber of Commerce
» Mequon-Thiensville Chamber of Commerce
» Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC)
» National Association of Women Business Owners
» Professional Dimensions
» Public Relations Society of America - Wisconsin Chapter,
» South Suburban Chamber of Commerce
» Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce
» Summit Young Professionals
» Tempo Waukesha
» Tempo Milwaukee » Tempo Washington County
» The Gateway to Milwaukee
» Waukesha County Business Alliance
» West Allis/West Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce
» Wisconsin Better Business Bureau
» Women's FOCUS
» Young Professionals of Waukesha County
» YP Impact

Erica Breunlin BizTimes Bubbler Weekly is compiled by BizTimes Milwaukee reporter Erica Breunlin. This bulletin is published every Thursday morning. Send news tips to or call her at (414) 336-7121.
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