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Thursday, October 2, 2014
Sports talk radio station jumps into FM
October 2, 2014 11:14 AM
The growth of sports talk radio in the Milwaukee market continued this week with Entercom Communications' announcement that its all-sports talk outlet, 1250 WSSP-AM, is expanding onto the FM dial on 105.7, with an H.D. frequency at 103.7-2.
Listeners who still manually search for stations may have stumbled across the simulcast on the FM signal over the summer, but this week’s announcement marks the formal rollout of the new look behind the frequency as SportsRadio 105-7 The Fan.

Going forward, all of the local air talent and shows heard on 1250-AM will be heard on 105.7-FM in full simulcast. There will be a new website too, at

The 1250 logo will be "retired."

The radio stations’ on-air talent includes Steve “Sparky” Fifer, Tim Allen, Ramie Makhlourf, Bill Michaels, Chuck Friedmund, Mike Wickett and Mike McGivern, as well as former Green Bay Packers Leroy Butler and Gary Ellerson.

For additional information, visit BizTimes media partner

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Marquette’s PR + Social Media Summit to highlight industry best practices
October 2, 2014 11:16 AM
Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication will facilitate a full day of discussions on best practices for public relations and social media professionals during the sixth annual PR + Social Media Summit on Tuesday, Oct. 7.
The event, designed for industry professionals at all levels, will put the spotlight on thought leaders in PR and social media as they expand on strategies and practices they have found useful while in the office and working with clients.

Among the topics explored during the summit will be social media for nonprofit organizations, open source and hacking communities, producing effective social content and driving results with LinkedIn.

The day will be grounded by two keynote addresses from Victoria Taylor, director of Communications at reddit, and Augie Ray, director of voice of customer strategy at American Express. Taylor will speak on “the changing social media landscape” from her observations and experiences at reddit while Ray will focus on how social media initiatives should align with broader marketing efforts.

Additional speakers throughout the day will include Lori Bergen, Ph.D., of the Diederich College of Communication; Michelle D’Atillio of sosh; Abi Gilman of Bon-Ton; Genevieve Grdina of Facebook; Yumi Wilson of LinkedIn; Phil Gomes of Edelman; Adan Snyder of Burson-Marsteller; and Caitlin Moyer of the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club.

An “unconference,” or open discussion, will wrap up the day’s presentations with James Carlson of Bucketworks leading the dialogue, and a networking reception will follow.

The summit, which falls under the Diederich College’s Insight Summit Series, will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Marquette University’s campus in Milwaukee. Cost is $149 for professionals, $35 for Marquette faculty and staff and $25 for students.

Additionally, a roundup of pre-summit workshops will be held on Monday, Oct. 6. The workshops, which will each accommodate 20 participants, will cover “Social Analytics Measurement and Management,” “Crisis Communications Management” and “Leveraging LinkedIn.”

Each workshop costs $50 and will be held in the Diederich College of Communication at Johnston Hall, located at 1131 W. Wisconsin Ave. in Milwaukee.

For more information on the 2014 summit or to secure a spot, visit

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Vollrath Associates toasts 35 years
October 2, 2014 11:18 AM
Vollrath Associates Inc., a Milwaukee-based public relations and investor relations agency, saluted its 35th anniversary last month with a celebration at Mason Street Grill.
The agency, established on Sept. 22, 1979, in Cedarburg with one client, specializes in a host of public relations and marketing services and has diversified its services to include investor relations.

The agency was launched by husband-wife team Phil and Marilyn Vollrath and today includes their daughter Jessica Vollrath Huebner, vice president, as well as account executive Julie Caan, account coordinator Amanda Schlesner and public relations intern Michelle Romano.

“A big part of our longevity is due to our associates,” Phil said. “Teamwork and the sharing of ideas is an integral part of our success, and you need to have strong relationships with your associates in order to grow and adapt to the changing communications landscape. Public relations has come a long way with new technologies, social media and digital marketing, and we are always trying to find new ways to tell our clients’ stories.”

Among Vollrath Associates’ clients are The Marcus Corporation, Marcus Hotels & Resorts, Badger Meter, Roadrunner Transportation Systems, Festa Italiana, and the Milwaukee Air & Water Show.

“We are honored to celebrate 35 years in business with our clients, friends and associates,” Marilyn said. “We owe the success of our business to the long-term relationships we have developed with many of our clients throughout the years. In the public relations business, it’s very common for companies to change agencies every few years, yet we’ve maintained some clients for 15, 20 or more years. We consider our clients not only great companies to work for but great people who we sincerely enjoy working with.”

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Sensia Wellness to offer seminar on health care in the workplace
October 2, 2014 11:20 AM
As part of the BizTimes Fittest Execs program, event sponsor Sensia Wellness will host a seminar on health care in the workplace called “A Wake Up Call: Are You Really in Control of Your Corporate Healthcare Costs?”
At the event, scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 9, from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Wisconsin Athletic Club, 411 E. Wisconsin Ave., participants will learn how to implement a cost-effective wellness and healthcare program.

RSVP to Hannah Fuller at The first 40 to register will be guaranteed a spot.

The Fittest Execs program is presented by BizTimes Media in partnership with the Wisconsin Athletic Club. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is a sponsor along with Sensia Wellness, and TEC is a support sponsor.

Visit for more information on Fittest Execs 2014.

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Driver to lead MPS as permanent superintendent
October 2, 2014 11:22 AM
Milwaukee Public Schools has appointed Darienne Driver, Ph.D., the district’s permanent superintendent following her three-month stretch in an interim leadership capacity.
Driver, whose appointment was effective Wednesday, is MPS’ first permanent female superintendent. She has replaced Gregory Thornton, Ph.D., who left MPS to serve as chief executive officer of Baltimore City Public Schools at the start of July.

Thornton had been at the helm of MPS since July 2010.

MPS board president Michael Bonds, Ph.D., said in a statement that Driver is “the best candidate” for the job. The board plans to terminate its superintendent search contract as Driver transitions from acting superintendent into the district’s long-term leader.

“Dr. Driver is a visionary, highly-qualified and energetic educator,” Bonds said. “We are thrilled to have her lead us through this next chapter of MPS. The board has every confidence that Dr. Driver will continue to lead the district in a positive direction and continue our efforts and commitment to improve outcomes for children of the Milwaukee Public Schools.”

Driver has been with MPS since July 2012, when she was named the district’s first chief innovation officer. In that role, she juggled several priorities including working to improve outcomes at struggling schools and guiding the rollout of the Wisconsin Common Core State Standards in literacy and mathematics with help from community and district stakeholders. Driver also developed partnerships with educational organizations to assist in strengthening student achievement. Additionally, she maintained oversight of MPS’ contracted school services, which encompass alternative programming for at-risk students and non-instrumentality charter schools and turnaround models, according to the district.

“I am deeply appreciative of the board’s confidence,” Driver said in an announcement about her new role at MPS. “Working together with the board, administration, schools, students, staff, parents and the community, I truly believe anything is possible. If we stay focused on our core mission of teaching and learning and putting our students’ needs first, we will change the face of Milwaukee and the lives of our students and their families.”

Driver, who holds a doctorate in urban superintendency from Harvard University, previously served as deputy chief of empowerment schools for the School District of Philadelphia, where her focus largely centered on boosting achievement rates among underperforming students.

Her career in education has also included a position as coordinator of strategic management and accountability and special assistant to the superintendent in Clayton County Public Schools in Georgia.

She launched her career in Detroit Public Schools, where she served as an elementary school teacher.

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Bradley Center will not operate Turner Hall Restaurant this season
October 2, 2014 11:23 AM
The restaurant at Turner Hall, a historic building at 1034 N. 4th St. in downtown Milwaukee located across the street from the BMO Harris Bradley Center, will not open for the upcoming winter sports season, BMO Harris Bradley Center president Steve Costello announced Tuesday.
“We have jointly agreed with the Turner Ballroom Preservation Trust that we will not reopen Turner Hall Restaurant for the coming season,” Costello said. “We are turning our full focus to working with the new Milwaukee Bucks ownership and our other tenants to enhance the fan experience inside our building.”

New Bucks owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens are working on plans for new arena that the NBA says is necessary for Milwaukee to keep an NBA franchise long term. Plans for a new arena put the future of the BMO Harris Bradley Center, built in 1988, in doubt.

“While we have had success in helping re-establish Turner Hall as a great place to gather for food and fun before BMO Harris Bradley Center events, our future focus must remain on the BMO Harris Bradley Center,” Costello said. “Our building’s challenges are well-known. At this point in the life of the Center, and with new Bucks ownership in place, it makes more sense to devote our energy and resources to working with them to draw fans back to the stands and recapture the building’s energy. There’s a lot of excitement about the upcoming season, and we look forward to doing everything we can within our walls to provide the very best live entertainment experience possible."

Turner Hall, built in 1883, is also used for concerts, gymnastics, rock climbing and community forums.

The restaurant at Turner Hall closed in 2010 after it had been operated by R.C. Schmidt. Then in 2012 it was reopened by the BMO Harris Bradley Center under an agreement to lease the space from the Milwaukee Turners and the Turner Ballroom Preservation Trust.

The restaurant was closed during the summer, except for private events, and opened during the winter sports season to serve patrons attending events at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

“We have enjoyed our two-year relationship with Turner Hall Restaurant and we wish the Trust all the best in the future,” Costello said. “Turner Hall is a beautiful building and an important part of our city’s rich heritage. It holds solid potential for the right operator.”

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Dorner named Milwaukee Downtown economic development director
October 2, 2014 11:25 AM
Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, has hired Matt Dorner to serve as its economic development director.
Dorner has more than 10 years of urban planning, community and economic development experience, most recently as assistant director/economic development specialist for the Village of Menomonee Falls Community Development Department. There, he was responsible for economic and community development projects including the creation of Tax Incremental District No. 12, and a downtown matching grant program that boosted more than $700,000 in private sector investment.

At Milwaukee Downtown, Dorner will lead the deployment of economic development initiatives laid out in the Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 strategic plan. He will also work to retain, grow and attract both retail and office tenants to the central business district.

“From concept to fruition, Matt brings efficiency and tenacity to all stages of a project,” said Beth Weirick, chief executive officer of Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21. “His track record for developing incentive packages, implementing creative placemaking and luring new development to underutilized areas, makes him a strong asset to our organization. We’re thrilled to add his talents to our team.”

Milwaukee Downtown’s five-year plan included the creation of the economic development director position in 2012. It was previously held by Steven Looft.

Dorner will be responsible for updating the CEO call program; building a rapport with national site selectors; analyzing and maintaining current market data; identifying existing incentives and opportunities for new incentives at the state, city and county level; and serving as a conduit for information, options and referrals among building owners, real estate representatives and prospective tenants, according to Milwaukee Downtown.

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‘Milwaukee’s Finest’ seeking nominations for 2015 campaign
October 2, 2014 11:27 AM
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-Wisconsin Chapter is eying a $60,000 fundraising goal as it enters the fourth year of its Milwaukee’s Finest Campaign.
The nonprofit organization has opened up the nomination process for the 2015 campaign and is encouraging southeastern Wisconsin’s business community to nominate young professionals deemed promising future leaders.

Through the Milwaukee’s Finest Campaign, a lineup of the region’s most accomplished young professionals compete to raise as much money as possible for CFF in whatever ways they find most effective.

Funds collected benefit the organization’s mission to raise awareness of cystic fibrosis and raise money toward a cure of the chronic disease, which causes mucus to accumulate in the lungs and digestive tract among other areas in the body.

Along with fundraising for 10 weeks, honorees are paired with a family impacted by cystic fibrosis so that they can learn about the effects of the disease firsthand. Honorees also get an opportunity to tour the cystic fibrosis care center and research lab at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and attend professional coaching sessions to gain insight on viable fundraising strategies.

At the end of the 10-week stretch, from March through May, the honoree who has raised the most money will be named “Milwaukee’s Finest” and will receive the “Breath of Life” award.

The campaign is “a great entry for emerging leaders in the Milwaukee area” to become part of a large-scale philanthropic effort, said Jon Donahue, vice president, private banking, at Johnson Bank and a member of the Milwaukee’s Finest committee.

While the fundraising initiative collects proceeds for CFF, it also engages greater Milwaukee’s young professionals in the community and opens up a new networking outlet.

“You will walk away from the experience as I have…feeling good about yourself, feeling good about you’re doing something for somebody else, and you’re going to meet some great people along the way who will be, as I’ve found in my own personal life, great friends who will be with you for a long time,” Stew Brase told perspective honorees at a kick-off event CFF hosted at Evolution Milwaukee last week.

Brase is a director at Ernst & Young and also serves as a corporate recruitment chairperson for the campaign.

On the corporate side, the campaign benefits participating companies with “visibility” and “recognition,” as it reinforces corporate responsibility, Brase said.

“And there’s a corporate responsibility that goes along with being part of the community, which is ‘you should want your people to want to make the environment around them better,’” he said.

Last year’s fundraiser, which BizTimes Media sponsored, generated $48,000 among 11 honorees, surpassing the campaign’s $45,000 goal. Honorees included employees from OS Inc., Robert W. Baird & Co., Rockwell Automation, Johnson Bank, Johnson Controls, and Ernst & Young.

Nominations from companies of all sizes and industries are encouraged for the 2015 initiative. Nominations are submitted through a form and are typically authored by supervisors or peers of young professionals. The campaign will also accept applications from young professionals who have not been nominated by a colleague or employer.

Nomination forms are due Thursday, Feb. 5. Individuals nominated are then required to send CFF an application detailing their professional and civic achievements by Thursday, Feb. 12.

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Bubbler Quote of the Week
October 2, 2014 11:30 AM

“Any time you can attract an iconic American company to locate in your region, that draws attention to your region, which is a good thing.”
~Jerry Franke, president of Wispark LLC.
Read the entire BizTimes Milwaukee cover story by Andrew Weiland: The Amazon Effect: Distribution center will give Kenosha a national brand.

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Hot Bubbler Books
October 2, 2014 11:33 AM
Five bestselling business books you should read:
1. “Zero to One,” by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters
2. “Education of a Value Investor,” by Guy Spier
3. “Innovating Women,” by Vivek Wadhwa and Farai Chideya
4. “Small Business Online Marketing Handbook,” by Annie Tsai
5. “Smartcuts,” by Shane Snow

Courtesy of 800 CEO Read.

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BizTimes Bubbler Executive of the Week: Tim Starr
October 2, 2014 11:32 AM

Tim Starr, president and CEO of The Starr Group
Address: 5005 Loomis Road, Greenfield
Industry: Insurance and risk solutions
Employees: 34
Family: Wife, Mary, executive vice president of The Starr Group; three children (one in sales with The Starr Group)

What was the smartest thing The Starr Group did in the past year?
“The addition of sought-out talent in group benefits allowed us to complete the design and implementation of ‘Engage Café,’ a unique product allowing paternal businesses to control and reduce their health care costs.”

What’s new at your agency?  
“1. The further refinement of Engage Café. 2. Bringing definition to ‘why’ we exist: To improve the total risk wellness of those we partner with.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your agency in the next year?  
“We are always looking for good athletes to add to the team. In addition, we are seeking to fill positions in our growing group benefits department.”

What will be your agency’s main challenges in the next year?
“The main challenges in the upcoming year will be properly allocating dollars between adding human capital versus marketing initiatives.”

What competitive edge does The Starr Group have over other agencies in the market?
“We desire to work in complicated arenas, whether in group benefits or commercial insurance. As an example, in commercial insurance we have recently started providing continuing legal education to attorneys in a complicated arena that helps them balance provisions in leases to insurance policies. In addition, the group benefits product of Engage Café provides unique data analytics that allow businesses to make better decisions in health care, thereby reducing costs.”    

How do you promote workplace wellness at your agency? How did you manage to capture 12th place on Healthiest Employers LLC’s 2014 list of the Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America (among your other wellness accolades)?
“Wellness is hardwired into the overall fabric of The Starr Group by being incorporated into our core values, vision and strategic business planning. At the time that we began to roll out our initial wellness programming, we also placed a great deal of focus on rebuilding and redefining our culture. We were intent on building a culture by design and not by default. Our current culture is built on trust and provides a clear and shared vision. This culture of wellness is intent on providing an environment where healthy choices are the easy choices. We provide an extremely robust wellness program that uses WELCOA’s seven benchmarks as our guide for best practices. Our employees are our competitive differentiators, and by investing in their health and well-being, we realize that we are creating a stronger organization overall.”

Do you have a business mantra?
“Indeed two:
1. Despise mediocrity. In our striving for excellence, The Starr Group ONLY has three pillars on which we focus: Commercial insurance, group benefits and auto/home insurance. We have demanding educational requirements of our teammates.
2. Preference leads to compromise; conviction leads to conformity!”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“From a business standpoint, I admire anyone who has excelled via the self-initiative of learning and education. My father, Robert Starr, who founded the company in 1956, was an incredible example of this, thereby promoting differentiation in the marketplace.”

What was the best advice you ever received?
“There is never ‘better’ when comparing people or businesses. Rather, there is only different. This mindset is helpful to and respectful of others, and that differentiates us in the marketplace.”

What do you like to do in your free time?  
“In my free time, I like to advance myself via reading and spending time with family. I enjoy playing the piano and participating in physical activities, such as volleyball, kickball, golfing, running and lifting weights.”

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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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