‘Just do the right thing:’ How the Culver brothers became effective CEOs
September 2, 2014 11:55 AM
The CEO of Milwaukee-based MGIC and the CEO of Prairie du Sac-based Culver's both give their employees a simple but powerful guideline: “Just do the right thing.” That could be because they're brothers.

Two boys from Prairie du Sac, Wis., grew up to lead major national companies based in Wisconsin. Their parents must have done something right.

Read more in the cover story of the new issue of BizTimes Milwaukee.

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Dynamic Tool & Design expands plant
September 2, 2014 11:57 AM
Dynamic Tool & Design Inc. announced the completion of a new technology center at its plant in Menomonee Falls.

The 17,000-square-foot addition increases total square footage to 51,000 square feet and provides space for in-house sampling and training.

Dynamic Tool & Design, Inc. manufactures molds for the packaging, personal care and medical markets.

The expansion accommodated the creation of four jobs, and additional hires are expected, according to a company spokeswoman.

"Customers rely on Dynamic to help them develop new and improved products, and the Technology Center has expanded that capability. High quality prototyping is our forte, so with mold making and molding facilities under one roof, part changes happen quickly and efficiently," said Dave Miller, president of Dynamic Tool & Design.

The technology center houses five molding machines ranging from 80 tons to 650 tons (two are multi-shot capable), which allow for in-house sampling and mold qualification. The technology center also enhances in-house training for mold operation and mold maintenance.

Floor space and other resources have been set aside to provide for turnkey projects.

"A customer can have a press shipped to Dynamic and we will build and install a mold in that press, sample, debug and qualify the entire project. We then ship it to the customer ready for production. This is especially valuable to customers since they need not expend their manpower and machine time with these processes," said Tom Andrews, operations manager.

Dynamic Tool & Design is an employee-owned company.

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First phase of rebuilt airport baggage claim area opens Wednesday
September 2, 2014 12:19 PM
The first phase of the $45 million Mitchell International Airport baggage claim area renovation project will open to the public on Wednesday.

“This is a complete overhaul of the baggage claim area, which features a dramatically improved experience for passengers arriving in Milwaukee,” said airport spokesman Harold Mester.

The entire project is expected to be complete in the summer of 2015. It is entirely funded by airport user fees.

Once complete, the interior and exterior of the baggage claim area will be completely rebuilt, including the addition of a new glass canopy extending over the baggage claim roadway. A new skylight will span the entire length of the building.

“There is so much more glass,” said Mester. “There is a lot of light coming in here.”

The project also includes new baggage carousels, new display signs, new furniture and seating, new flooring, carpeting, interior wall panels and new airline baggage claim area offices.

The original baggage claim area dates back to the 1950s and was last remodeled in the mid-1980s.

The architect for the baggage claim area renovation project is Engberg Anderson Inc. The construction manager is Mortenson Construction and the general contractor is CD Smith Construction Inc.

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Franklin commercial building sold for $5.1 million
September 2, 2014 12:00 PM
A 15,459-square-foot commercial building in Franklin, anchored by BMO Harris Bank, was sold recently to an affiliate of York, Pa.-based Bank Realty LP for $5.1 million, according to state records.

The building is located on a 3.2-acre site at 7000 S. 76th St. It was sold by 7000 LLC, a Milwaukee-based investors group led by J. Michael Bartels.

The property has an assessed value of $2.868 million, according to Milwaukee County records.

Other tenants in the building, including Krsko Chiropractic Clinic and Stark, Diller & Yager Ltd., are subleasing space from BMO Harris Bank, according to

The building was constructed in 1986, according to

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Developer buys Pleasant Prairie site for $4.2 million
September 2, 2014 12:03 PM
An affiliate of Rosemont, Ill.-based Venture One Real Estate LLC recently purchased a 248.4-acre site in Pleasant Prairie for $4.2 million, according to state records.

The site is located at 11423 110th St., just southeast of the Pleasant Prairie Prime Outlets shopping center. The property was sold by James Hart of Wadsworth, Ill.

Venture One plans to develop a business park on the site.

Venture One is also a co-developer, along with Chicago-based Clayco, for the Stella & Chewy’s headquarters project, a 164,000-square-foot facility under construction in Oak Creek.

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Zimmerman to own minor league baseball team in Indiana
September 2, 2014 12:30 PM
Mike Zimmerman, the developer of The Rock Sports Complex in Franklin and the owner of the Milwaukee Wave, will be the owner of a new minor league baseball team in Kokomo, Indiana.

Zimmerman is also the founder of chief executive officer of MKE Sports & Entertainment, which today announced that he will own a team in Kokomo that will play in the Prospect League beginning in 2015.

“The Prospect League’s decision to bring a team to Kokomo is more than a baseball announcement,” said Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight. “This is about bringing family entertainment to the heart of our city and creating pedestrian activity in the afternoon and evening around a new baseball stadium.”

The Prospect League features twelve teams competing in a six state region.

Construction is currently underway on the new, 4,000-seat, Kokomo Municipal Stadium that will host all of the team’s home games. The Kokomo team will lease the stadium from the city and share responsibility for maintenance of the facility and grounds.

"I have been all over the Midwest in the past six months looking for the right opportunity for minor league baseball,” said Zimmerman. “After spending the day with Mayor Goodnight and city staff, as well as attending a local youth baseball game, I was hooked on Kokomo. The energy of the community with their love for sports and the revitalization projects currently underway is the perfect storm. It’s a real recipe for success. I am truly humbled and grateful that the city has chosen my group to represent the great city of Kokomo."

Zimmerman has also been working on plans to build a ballpark in the Milwaukee area for an independent minor league team.

He wanted to build a $10.5 million minor league ballpark at The Rock and secured a franchise for a team from the independent Frontier League. Zimmerman sought a public-private partnership with the City of Franklin to finance the ballpark. His last proposal included plans to develop a mixed-use downtown district near The Rock, and to use tax incremental financing from that development to pay for the cost of the ballpark. But the Franklin Common Council rejected those plans.

More recently, Zimmerman has been in talks with Oak Creek officials about building a minor league ballpark in that community.

Also this year, Zimmerman signed a management contract to run the Rockford (Ill.) Aviators, which is in the Frontier League.

Zimmerman is also the owner of Greenfield-based Zimmerman Ventures, LLC, which operates five health care companies.

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Megabus stop moved to Intermodal Station
September 2, 2014 12:09 PM
A new agreement will allow passengers to board Megabus/Wisconsin Coach Lines buses at the downtown Milwaukee Intermodal Station beginning Wednesday.

The station currently hosts Greyhound bus service and Amtrak rail service. Megabus passengers previously boarded and departed across the street at the Megabus stop near North 4th Street and West St. Paul Avenue.

“The addition of Megabus will provide additional options and service to customers who use the downtown Intermodal Station, and it also allows Megabus travelers to enjoy the warmth and amenities of the station during the colder and wetter months,” said Milwaukee Alderman Robert Bauman in a statement.

More than 1.3 million passengers use the Intermodal Station each year as they travel on Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service and Empire Builder, Greyhound and other regional and local bus services.

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BizTimes Media to profile region’s top corporate philanthropists
September 2, 2014 12:12 PM
As BizTimes Media pulls together its fifth annual Giving Guide, its editorial team is seeking story ideas on corporate leaders and employees who make significant community contributions through their time, talent and treasure.

The Giving Guide is a supplementary publication focused on southeastern Wisconsin’s nonprofit community and the philanthropic initiatives making a lasting impact on greater Milwaukee.

Through the Giving Guide, to be released on Nov. 10, BizTimes readers can connect with area nonprofit organizations to learn how to become involved with their missions. The guide features advertisements with the missions, volunteer opportunities and giving opportunities of more than 50 regional nonprofits grounded in a variety of focus areas.

The publication also features an editorial section titled “Profiles in Philanthropy” that highlights effective partnerships between southeastern Wisconsin’s business community and nonprofit community. Additionally, the section spotlights several individuals in the region committed to supporting organizations and causes with their personal time and resources.

To pitch an idea for a profile of an individual philanthropist, email BizTimes reporter Erica Breunlin at

For more information on how to run an advertisement for an area nonprofit organization in the publication, email BizTimes’ director of sales, Linda Crawford, at

Each sponsorship package includes a paid two-page profile for the nonprofit, 10,000 run-of-site impressions, and a 1/8-page four-color advertisement in a 2015 BizTimes publication for promotion of the nonprofit’s mission and events.

Nonprofit organizations that participate in the 2015 Giving Guide will also be granted table display space at the Nonprofit Excellence Awards event on Nov. 4 at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. The guide will be distributed at the Nonprofit Excellence Awards program as well as at the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 2014 National Philanthropy Day Awards lunch on Nov. 11 at The Pfister Hotel.

Requests for advertising space in the Giving Guide must be submitted by Oct. 3.

To view BizTimes’ 2014 Giving Guide, visit

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Milwaukee Biz Blog: Back to school 2014
September 2, 2014 12:15 PM
With just how admired teachers are across all communities you wouldn't think a gift box for teachers is needed, but it really is. We live in pretty goofy times. There really are millions being spent every year in a coordinated political attack to undermine the position of respect teachers have earned in our communities.

Read more in today’s Milwaukee Biz Blog by Bill Penzey, owner of Brookfield-based Penzeys Spices.

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Gitomer: The overlooked power that may be your sales kryptonite
September 2, 2014 12:16 PM
I see, therefore I learn. I see, therefore I think. I learn and I think, therefore I reason and respond. THE POWER: That is the power of observation.

How are you taking advantage of that power?
How would you rate your power of observation?

Read more in today’s Small Biz Strategies by Jeffrey Gitomer.

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Morning Headlines: Obama renews call for minimum wage hike during Milwaukee Labor Day visit
September 2, 2014 12:17 PM
President Barack Obama renewed his push for Congress to raise the minimum wage Monday in a buoyant accounting of the economy’s “revving” performance, delivered on behalf of Democrats opening their fall campaigns for the midterm congressional elections.

Read more in today’s Wisconsin Morning Headlines.

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Money Weekly: Briggs & Stratton completes acquisition of Allmand Bros.
September 2, 2014 12:18 PM
Wauwatosa-based Briggs & Stratton Corp. has completed its acquisition of Holdrege, Neb.-based Allmand Bros Inc. for about $62 million in cash for all outstanding shares, net of acquired cash. Briggs & Stratton financed the transaction from cash on hand.

Read more in today’s Money Weekly.

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Manufacturing activity remains strong
August 29, 2014 10:26 AM
Milwaukee-area manufacturing activity continued to grow at a strong, though slightly slower, pace in August.

The Marquette-ISM Report on Manufacturing showed the seasonally adjusted Purchasing Managers Index was at 59.6 in August, down from 63.9 in July.

Any number above 50 indicates growth, while below 50 signals contraction. The PMI has measured above 50 for 10 of the past 12 months.

Respondents in the August survey said:
  • “High beef and pork prices.”
  • “Longer lead time on custom materials.”
  • “Lead time expectations too short.”
  • “Local business conditions, price changes.”
  • “On track to end the year 3 to 4 percent above last year if business continues as it has for the rest of the year.”
New orders, production and employment were all growing on a seasonally adjusted basis, while supplier deliveries were growing more slowly and inventories were declining. On an unadjusted basis, customers’ inventories were declining, while prices, backlog of orders, exports and imports were growing in August.

Regarding the indices, respondents said:
  • “Lower orders from markets.”
  • “Supplier performance measurement and improvement.”
  • “The greatest impact at this time is on-time deliveries from a couple of suppliers. I believe this is a short-term problem.”
  • “The greatest issue today is supplier lead times complicated by transportation and issues at the port.”
  • “We just started marketing more export business.”
  • “I look at the trends and make projections on inventory.”
Blue collar employment was growing on a seasonally adjusted basis, at 60.4, compared to 56.7 in July. And white collar employment was growing more slowly, at 53.7, down from 53.9 in July.

About employment, those surveyed said:
  • “Having a problem finding good quality workers.”
  • “Customer service a problem as well.”
In the six-month outlook on business conditions, 45 percent expected positive conditions for the next six months, 50 percent expect the same conditions and 5 percent expect worse conditions. It’s a more positive reading than in July.

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Zepnick calls on Bucks owners to meet with legislators
August 29, 2014 10:04 AM
State Rep. Josh Zepnick (D-Milwaukee) has written an open letter to Milwaukee Bucks owners Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens, and Marc Marotta, chairman of the BMO Harris Bradley Center board of directors, requesting they meet with state legislators regarding the public options for financing a new arena in downtown Milwaukee.

Zepnick asked that the three meet with state legislators on both sides who represent the Milwaukee County area, since almost every public financing option that has been proposed would require Legislature approval, and suggested the meeting be open to the press and maybe the public.

“The purpose of the meeting would be to debrief lawmakers on the various discussions and proposals being floated over the construction of a new arena and the use of public financing as part of the package,” Zepnick said in his letter. “When the Milwaukee area went through this exercise during the building of Miller Park, it became a rushed and politically toxic process which often marginalized public input.”

He urged Lasry, Edens and Marotta to meet with legislators within the next 60 days, before the November gubernatorial election.

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Public Service Commission releases streetcar decision
August 29, 2014 10:08 AM
The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has ruled that utilities companies and their ratepayers cannot be held responsible for the costs of utilities relocation for the Milwaukee streetcar project.

The PSC’s final decision, released this morning, says the City of Milwaukee cannot pass the costs of underground utility relocation on to the following utility companies involved in the dispute: Wisconsin Electric Power Co., Wisconsin Gas LLC, American Transmission Co. LLC, Wisconsin Bell Inc., Time Warner Cable LLC, the Wisconsin Cable Communications Association, TW Telecom of Wisconsin l.p., Paetec Communications Inc., McLeodUSA Telecommunications Services LLC or Norlight Telecommunications Inc.

The 2.1-mile streetcar line is expected to cost about $64.6 million, before utilities relocation costs. About $54.9 million in federal grant funds and $9.7 million in TIF district funds would cover the cost.

Some underground utility lines and utility facilities may need to be reinforced or relocated along the streetcar line. The utility companies involved estimated it would cost more than $83 million to move the utilities along the original route.

“The commission concludes that there is no independent basis upon which the city can require the utilities relocate their facilities other than through a municipal regulation as that term is broadly defined,” the decision says. “Any municipal action that would require the (utilities) to pay any part of the relocation costs to accommodate the Streetcar Project is unreasonable.”

But the city recently received federal approval to shift the route, which runs from the Intermodal Station to the lower East Side, to Broadway between St. Paul Avenue and Wells Street to reduce utility relocation costs by $10 million.

And Commissioner Eric Callisto dissented from the final decision because he feels the PSC should not closed its case after the passage of Wisconsin Act 20 in 2013, which essentially made the same decision about utility cost allocation.

In his dissent, he says: “The commission’s action in this proceeding is unnecessary and superfluous to what the Legislature and governor have already accomplished through 2013 Wisconsin Act 20. That law expressly provides that municipal regulations which require utilities to pay the relocation costs associated with urban rail transit projects are unreasonable and voice, by statute.”

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