Southeastern Wisconsin business people make it happen.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
MVP announces leadership change as Bray heads to helm of BioForward
September 18, 2014 11:03 AM
Corey Zetts has been named acting executive director of Menomonee Valley Partners, following the appointment of former executive director Laura Bray to CEO of Madison-based BioForward, Inc.
Both leadership changes were announced on Wednesday.

Zetts will take over the helm of MVP immediately as Bray transitions into an advisory role until mid-November, when she makes her move to BioForward. The Wisconsin trade association focuses on strengthening the state’s position as a quality life science community.

Bray has led MVP, a nonprofit fueling revitalization in the Menomonee Valley, for the past 10 years.

Zetts joined MVP in 2005 and most recently served the organization as associate director. In that capacity, she spearheaded projects covering real estate development and business recruitment, infrastructure and sustainable design planning, habitat restoration, public art and community engagement. She has been a significant force in the establishment of new businesses in the Menomonee Valley region as well as the development of Three Bridges Park, the Hank Aaron State Trail and the Urban Ecology Center’s Menomonee Valley site.

Within the last 15 years, MVP’s work and its partnerships with public and private stakeholders have stimulated the relocation or expansion of 40 companies and the creation of 5,000 jobs in the area. Miles of riverbank stretching along the Menomonee River have also been restored, and 45 acres of park grounds have been transformed, according to the organization.

“The Valley has been an incredible success to date, but there is much work ahead,” Zetts said. “Throughout the Valley, there are 70 acres poised for redevelopment in the heart of the city, and this means significant potential for further job creation, environmental restoration and improved connections to surrounding neighborhoods.”

Looking ahead, MVP will direct much of its attention to the completion of Valley 2.0, a market study and land use plan driven by both the organization and the City of Milwaukee. That study, wrapping up within the next six months, aims to plot out the next decade of area revitalization and to clarify what investments are needed to advance the region’s private sector growth.

MVP is also set on finalizing an organizational strategic planning process in the next six months and subsequently establishing a long-term staffing plan.

“The Valley’s success is the result of bold vision, strong planning and collaboration across public and private sectors,” said Mick Hatch, MVP board president. “Our board, staff and many collaborators are dedicated to continuing the Valley’s transformation under Corey’s leadership."

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COSBE launches 'Spark' campaign with first workplace tour
September 18, 2014 11:25 AM
The Council of Small Business Executives lit the fire under its “Be the Spark” campaign on Tuesday with the first of 25 school tours at businesses throughout the region.
COSBE, an initiative of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, announced its “Spark” campaign in June as an extension of its commitment to educating the next-generation workforce.

One of the most critical elements of the “Spark” program is a series of tours that COSBE members will conduct at their workplaces for seventh graders enrolled in Milwaukee Public Schools. The tours will unravel throughout the 2014-15 school year and will usher about 650 students from 25 MPS schools into the work sites of COSBE members across a range of industries.

During Tuesday’s kick-off tour, more than two dozen students from MPS’ Victory K-8 School took a fieldtrip to General Mitchell International Airport for an inside look at Southwest Airlines’ business operations and career pathways.

Students had a chance to interact with airline personnel, including customer service representatives and mechanics, to learn about the gamut of positions that the company relies on to facilitate a successful operation.

“Having seventh graders tour our operations is what opens their eyes and minds to a career in aviation,” said Ana Schwager, Southwest Airlines community affairs and grassroots regional leader. “There are so many different career fields within an airline that it’s important to showcase what they are, how they work, and why they’re so important to running a smooth operation.”

Through each COSBE tour, students will be able to learn about the kind of positions that factor into a business, the skillsets needed to fill those positions, and how their classroom work aligns with those skills, according to Jeff Clark, Waukesha Metal Products president and chief executive officer and chair of COSBE's education committee.
The tours are an important step in dialing the business community directly into the school system to help fill the talent pipeline long term, Clark said.

“My passion is about tying our education system to the real world career opportunities that are going to be out there for our kids, and really for me it is filling that pipeline of talented potential or prospective employees for the region, for the city, for the state and for the country,” he said.

As part of its contribution to the “Spark” program, Southwest Airlines donated a $5,000 grant to COSBE’s Education Fund, a pool of dollars the organization will allocate to education initiatives with missions that parallel the MMAC’s Blueprint goals.

The “Spark” campaign’s tours will continue in October. Participating businesses include: Advanced Waste Services, Inc.; Busch Precision, Inc.; Clearwing Productions, Inc.; DCI Marketing Group; Derse, Inc.; Diamond Discs International; Eppstein Uhen Architects, Inc.; First Edge Solutions, Inc.; GenMet; HellermannTyton Corporation; Heritage Printing; HGA Architects and Engineers; House of Harley-Davidson, Inc.; Korb Tredo Architects; Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club; Milwaukee Bucks; Milwaukee Composites, Inc.; Mortara Instrument, Inc.; Poblocki Sign Company LLC; Southwest Airlines Co.; Super Steel LLC; Veolia Water Milwaukee LLC; Weyco Group, Inc.; and Wixon, Inc.

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Workforce Investment Board forms transition committee
September 18, 2014 11:05 AM
As the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board steers forward with its new president and CEO, Earl Buford, the organization has created a transition committee of community and business representatives.
The committee will focus on growing relationships with the business sector, streamlining the organization and expanding the pool of skilled, trained workers, and devising a strategic plan for 2015.

“As I transitioned into this new role, I thought it was a critical time to bring key stakeholders to the table to evaluate how best we can serve the community,” said Buford, who succeeded former leader Donald Sykes earlier this year following his retirement. “The transition committee will bring together a diverse group of community and business leaders to ensure that MAWIB is effectively and efficiently meeting the needs of the Milwaukee area’s workforce and employers.”

Committee members are: Buford; Dorothy Buckhanan-Wilson of Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin; Sheila Cochran of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council; Michael Cockroft of Felmer’s Chaney Correctional Center; Preston Cole of the Department of Public Works; Ricardo Diaz of United Community Center; Michael Fabishak of Associated General Contractors of Greater Milwaukee; Scott Jansen of the Department of Workforce Development, Division of Employment and Training; Mark Kessenich of WRTP/BIG STEP; John Kissinger of Graef; Donald Layden, Jr. of Baird Venture Partners; David Mitchell of Monarch Corporation; Darryl Morin of Advanced Wireless, Inc.; Jerry Roberts of the Helen Bader Foundation; Maria Roloff of Northwestern Mutual; Karen Spindler of Spindler Consulting; Thelma Sias of We Energies; Teig Whaley-Smith of Milwaukee County; and Wallace White of W2Excel, LLC.

MAWIB is the largest of 11 workforce boards in Wisconsin. Workforce Investment Boards were created through federal legislation and are appointed bodies, certified by law, and given the ability to set policy, guide implementation and provide oversight to the local workforce development system.

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BizTimes expands team
September 18, 2014 11:07 AM
BizTimes Media has added three new employees to its staff.
Hilary Dickinson has joined the editorial team as a reporter. Dickinson most recently served as the college's news writer/editor at Beloit College, where she wrote and edited content for Beloit College Magazine, as well as the college's e-newsletters, news releases and marketing materials. She has previous experience as a reporter at the Beloit Daily News and has written two books.

A native of Waukesha, Dickinson holds a bachelor's in journalism and mass communication from the University of Minnesota. At BizTimes, she will cover the manufacturing and health care beats for BizTimes Milwaukee magazine and Dickinson joins reporter Erica Breunlin, associate editor Molly Dill, managing editor Andrew Weiland and executive editor Steve Jagler in the editorial department.

Kristin Jackson has joined the BizTimes sales team as an account executive. Jackson has 16 years of sales experience, primarily in print and digital media. Most recently, she was with Lake Country Publications, a division of Journal Communications, focusing on media sales for 11 publications in northern Waukesha County.

Jackson has two teenage sons and lives in Waukesha. She holds a bachelor's in communication from Alverno College. At BizTimes, Jackson will sell advertising and sponsorships for BizTimes Milwaukee, and a calendar of live events catering to the business community of southeastern Wisconsin. Jackson joins business development executive Maribeth Lynch, senior account executive Jon Armstrong, senior account executive Amber Stancer, manager of strategic initiatives Robert Bahillo and director of sales Linda Crawford in the sales department.

Alex Schneider has joined the production and design team as a graphic designer. Schneider is a recent graduate of Carroll University, where he earned a bachelor's in graphic communications with an emphasis in graphic design, as well as a minor in marketing. He gained graphic design experience through his coursework and at internships at The Frank Zeidler Center for Public Discussion and at Carroll University's Scholars Center program.

Schneider recently moved to Milwaukee. At BizTimes, he will design marketing and promotional collateral and assist with the layout of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joins art director Shelly Tabor and creative coordinator Matt Cisz in the production and design department.

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Kohl’s to up holiday hiring to 67,000
September 18, 2014 11:10 AM
Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s Department Stores on Wednesday announced it will hire about 67,000 employees around the country for the holiday season.
That averages out to about 50 additional employees at each of the company’s 1,163 retail stores in 49 states, plus 9,300 seasonal workers at its distribution centers and about 670 seasonal credit operations employees.

It’s a significant bump from the 50,000 employees Kohl’s hired for last year’s holiday season. Most of the additional hires are in the distribution centers, where only 6,400 seasonal employees were hired last year. During the 2013 holiday shopping season, Kohl’s said it would pay the full price for items not delivered in time for Christmas after some deliveries were delayed by higher-than-expected demand.

Kohl’s is in the process of hiring for the retail jobs, which will mostly be filled by mid-November. Distribution center hiring began in August, and is ongoing. Those employees will help ship products to retail stores and customers. Credit operations employees will help with a variety of tasks, including helping customers with orders.

“Kohl’s is building a winning team by hiring more than 67,000 seasonal associates across the country to ensure we sustain the great service our customers know and have come to expect,” said Richard Schepp, Kohl’s senior executive vice president, human resources and general counsel. “By adding these associates, Kohl’s will continue to deliver an enjoyable and convenient shopping experience to all our valued customers, whether they choose to shop in store or online at this holiday season.”

More information about the positions is available at

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UWM opens new School of Freshwater Sciences
September 18, 2014 11:11 AM
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee opened its state-of-the-art School of Freshwater Sciences building last week with a dedication and celebration on Friday that drew more than 600 people.
The new building, which has been under construction for about two years, is now home to the school’s multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research initiatives surrounding freshwater.

“The new (building) will enable us to use the best equipment in the best environment,” David Garman, Ph.D., dean of the School of Freshwater Sciences, told Biztimes in an interview last month.

According to Garman, the school’s old complex, a 40-year-old facility that previously housed the Great Lakes Water Institute, was “unsuitable” for the school’s state-of-the-art research – void of adequate resources, space, clean labs and proper exhaust fumes.

While the school’s faculty have been spearheading quality research, Garman compared their efforts working “with one hand tied behind your back.”

Still, the old facility, adjacent to the new building, will continue to be used with square footage for research labs, boat operations, and aquaculture research and training, among other workspace.

The new site and its updated amenities will “enable us to take our research to the next stage,” Garman said.

Among the new facility’s most innovative features is its top-flight research equipment, including next-generation sequencing machines for the genomic laboratory, new trace and ultra-trace analytic devices for metals and organic compounds, and new high-security biological examination laboratories. The site also contains innovative student laboratories and teaching laboratories – the first of their kind for the school.

Garman said another significant advantage of the new space is the collaborative nature of its infrastructure.

“And I suppose the greatest benefit that we are actually going to get out of this is that we’ll have all the researchers in areas so that they can interact, be truly multidisciplinary, and create a culture of innovation and cutting edge research, which was very difficult in the old building,” he said.

“So the people aspect is almost just as important as the equipment aspect,” Garman said.

Along with celebrating its opening on Friday night, the school welcomed about 1,000 community members on Saturday for public tours and science demonstrations.

To view a photo gallery of the new facility, check out BizTimes’ Around Town gallery.

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United Way campaign aims to reduce infant mortality
September 18, 2014 11:13 AM
A new advertising and social media campaign is setting out to spark greater public support around the critical need to reduce Milwaukee’s infant mortality rate.
The campaign, announced Monday at a press conference at United Way of Greater Milwaukee, combines the missions and talents of the Milwaukee Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families – an effort led by United Way – and Milwaukee-based Serve Marketing.

Through the grassroots campaign, the Milwaukee LIHF Collaborative and Serve Marketing are reimagining the popular “Strong Baby” advertisements, which premiered in September 2010.

“Too many Milwaukee babies continue to be born too small and too soon,” said Mayor Tom Barrett, co-chair of the Milwaukee LIHF Collaborative. “We have to change the conversation to ensure more babies make it to their first birthday. In order to have strong babies, we must have strong mothers, strong fathers, strong families, and a strong, supportive community.”

In addition to redesigning the “Strong Baby” ads, the campaign will rely heavily on social media to further draw the public into the conversation on curbing infant mortality.

“We need to build a long-term dialogue in the places where our audience likes to have conversations – on their phones, online and using social media,” said Gary Mueller, founder and volunteer creative director for Serve Marketing. “So for the next year, we’re placing a heavy emphasis on building a strong social community to help us spread the word about what it takes to have a strong baby.”

Serve Marketing, an all-volunteer, nonprofit advertising agency, devised the original “Strong Baby” campaign in 2010. One of the original Strong Babies, Savannah, appears on bus shelter ads that will debut this week in targeted zip codes. Along with Savannah, who is now a healthy 4 year old, the ads display the message, “It’s time more babies became strong babies.”

Community residents can add to the conversation generated by the campaign at Public information and a dialogue will also be featured on the “Strong Baby” campaign’s revamped Facebook page.

“This campaign allows us to communicate with young moms and dads, parents-to-be, and the broader community about the importance of understanding the kind of individual and community change that will lead to a lower risk of prematurity,” said LaShawndra Vernon, program director for the Milwaukee LIHF Collaborative. “We know we will not move the needle on this issue until we change the conditions that lead to poor birth outcomes.”

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Bubbler Quote of the Week
September 18, 2014 11:15 AM

“It's no different here at ASQ or elsewhere in civilian life – the sense of teamwork is really important, and the ability to build teams is something that I think is very applicable, as applicable in civilian life as it is in the military.”
~Bill Troy, new CEO of Milwaukee-based ASQ.
Read the entire BizTimes Milwaukee cover story by Erica Breunlin: Meet the general: Troy applies military lessons at ASQ.

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BizTimes Bubbler Executive of the Week: Jill Brzeski
September 18, 2014 11:16 AM

Jill Brzeski, president & CEO of Boelter + Lincoln Marketing
Address: 222 E. Erie Street, Suite 400, Milwaukee
Industry: Advertising & PR
Employees: 25
Family: Husband of 24 years, Dave; Two children: Austin, 21, and Jenna, 18

What was the smartest thing Boelter + Lincoln did in the past year?
“We brought back our Digital Marketing Summit. The DMS is a professional development opportunity for our clients, staff and business associates. We invite experts from the digital marketing field (Centro, TubeMogul, Pandora, Facebook, etc.) to share their knowledge, tools and inspiration to give all of our businesses a boost of digital marketing momentum. The summit was well attended and we have already been asked when the next DMS will happen.”

What’s new at your agency?
“After creating digital content for years, we have finally packaged our content marketing services and now offer these capabilities to our clients in a comprehensive, cost-efficient ‘tool box.’ We have added in-house photography capabilities and enhanced our in-house videography and video editing services. In conjunction with the copywriting, editorial writing and social media experience we have, this allows us to offer clients a wide variety of relevant and robust online content—something almost all of them are looking for.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your agency in the next year?  
“As we add more capabilities and services to offer our clients, we need to add staff with specific skill sets. We are always seeking excellence and welcome new team members who expand and enhance our services as well as fit within our culture. As for capital investments, we are always investing in technology – Creative Cloud, other software, hardware, edit suite upgrades, etc.”

What will Boelter + Lincoln’s main challenges be in the next year?  
“Technology is transforming marketing strategy. The result is a movement from creating messages to creating experiences, from focusing on rational benefits to a focus on the ‘passion economy,’ and shifting from strategic planning to adaptive strategy. Because of technology, we have to think differently and sometimes change what we do and how we do it. The challenge is to stay ahead!”

What sets Boelter + Lincoln apart from other advertising agencies in the market?
“One of the unique features of Boelter + Lincoln is our longstanding relationships. We truly believe that it is important to build relationships in all directions. Externally, we have some clients that have been working with us for more than 30 years. Our average client tenure is seven years – much longer than the national average. Internally, our turnover rate is very low. Nearly half of our employees have been with us more than five years. Just as we believe it is important for our clients to build relationships with their customers, we feel it is important for us to build relationships with our clients and our employees.”

What drove you to lead an advertising agency?  
“I started at Boelter + Lincoln nearly 30 years ago, leaving a full-time job to work here as a temp because I wanted to follow my passion. It was a good decision. Since then, I’ve left the agency three times – and come back three times. Most of our clients are in the business-to-consumer category so, as a consumer, I get to experience most of the work we do every day. It is rewarding to see our work, to see it have an impact on the consumer and to see it produce results for our clients.”  

Do you have a business mantra?
“We keep our feet on the ground, our sleeves rolled up, and our eyes on what’s next.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“As a member of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, I belong to a network of successful advertising agency owners from across the country. We share best practices and discuss our challenges. I appreciate their frankness, their willingness to share knowledge and their friendship. They have provided guidance and valuable insight for all aspects of our business.”

What was the best advice you ever received?  
“The keys to leadership are ‘head, heart and hands’…meaning that good business judgment must be paired with passion, and that a leader must not be afraid to get her hands dirty with her team.”

What do you like to do in your free time?  
“I love to travel. Since many of our clients are in the tourism industry, I get to spend a lot of time in their destinations and at their resorts. For many years I was an avid sports parent, watching my kids participate in a variety of sports. This year, I’ll be able to continue watching my daughter play soccer in college. I’ll also continue to play the occasional round of golf with my son and husband – even though I’m not quite as good as they are!”

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Hot Bubbler Books
September 18, 2014 11:19 AM
Five bestselling business books you should read:
1. “The Lenovo Way,” by Gina Qiao and Yolanda Conyers
2. “Resource Revolution,” by Stefan Heck and Matt Rogers
3. “Together Teacher,” by Maia Heyck Merlin
4. “Think Like a Freak,” by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
5. “Shift Your Brilliance,” by Simon Bailey

Courtesy of 800 CEO Read.

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BizTimes Poll Question
September 18, 2014 11:20 AM
Should Roger Goodell be fired as commissioner of the NFL?
Tell us what you think by responding to the BizTimes Poll Question today.

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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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