Southeastern Wisconsin business people make it happen.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
MPS reaps more than $9 million in federal grants
November 20, 2014 10:43 AM
More than $9 million in federally-funded grants will boost Milwaukee Public Schools’ efforts to better address the academic, behavioral and mental health needs of students.
The competitive grants, announced earlier this month, total approximately $9.1 million and are intended to touch a range of district programs and services, including arts education, literacy, counseling services and school safety initiatives.

“These grants support and complement the important work taking place in schools every day to prepare students for college and careers and to ensure a strong safety net is in place for our students,” MPS superintendent Darienne Driver said in an announcement.

The grants encompass:

*A two-year grant of $744,000 that will support the district’s Focus on Literacy Foundations program at Carver Academy, Forest Home Elementary School, Jackson Early Childhood and Elementary School, and Rogers Street Academy. The grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, is aimed at helping K4-3rd grade students at what MPS calls “high need” schools improve literacy skills. Along with supporting the use of technology throughout literacy curriculum, the grant will back collaborative efforts among educators as well as book distributions to ramp up reading at home.

*A four-year $1.2 million grant, also from the U.S. Department of Education, will add to the district’s arts education programming by connecting students with area museums and arts groups. Educators and artists will team up to develop project-based lessons for students according to exhibits they encounter at museums. The district expects the grant to impact about 70 art teachers and 6,300 students.

*A five-year $3.6 million grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, will target MPS’ Resilient Kids program to ensure students facing trauma, anxiety and other mental health issues can tap into school-based counseling. The grant will help the district better identify students in need of mental health resources, support students in understanding and confronting their emotions and develop “on-site collaborations between school-based and community-based mental health systems,” according to MPS. Schools to benefit from the grant include Bethune Academy, Forest Home, Kagel Elementary School, Keefe Avenue School, Dr. King Jr. School, Pierce Elementary School, Sherman Multicultural Arts School, and Westside Academy.

*A $3.5 million grant factoring into a larger grant given to the state, will be directed toward the Wisconsin AWARE Project, focused on creating safe environments in schools and ensuring students with mental health issues have access to support. The grant is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

*A two-year $100,000 grant, also from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, will train more than 400 professionals to identify and address mental health issues in students of MPS middle schools and high schools. Training, to be conducted through the Milwaukee Project AWARE program, will touch MPS, the Milwaukee Police Department, Rogers Behavioral health System, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, and United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee.

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Energy Innovation Center begins construction, announces new tenant
November 20, 2014 10:51 AM
Phase one of construction for the Energy Innovation Center began on Monday with a focus on creating office space for a segment of the business startups and business service providers that will call the center home.
The EIC, announced by the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium in August, will provide a central facility for companies, startups, institutions and government entities to conduct research and advance innovation in the energy, power and control industry.

Coinciding with the kickoff of construction, the EIC has secured its third tenant, Edison DC Systems. The company, which joins tenants Alliance Federated Energy and the Manufacturing Diversity Institute, is in the midst of developing a power conversion system for data centers. The system converts alternating current into direct current more efficiently, leading to significant savings for energy consumers. The company’s system “creates a unique, clean, uninterruptible power supply,” according to an announcement from M-WERC, which is leading the development of the EIC.

“We are excited about the market for companies looking to incorporate this type of technology, said Edison DC Systems co-founder John Meinecke. “We’re designing a product that just hasn’t been available until now. The technology partners and resources available at the EIC make it a great fit. The availability of power, research labs and expertise allows us to do the type of load testing necessary to bring our products to market.”

The $9.6 million innovation center will occupy 65,000 square feet in the Century City Tower, formerly the Eaton Corp. research building, with room for 60 tenants total. About 22 of those tenants will be business startups, who will work within a startup incubator model with access to in-house mentors and business service providers, including legal, marketing and engineering professionals. Those providers will be announced in December, according to Jeff Anthony, executive director of the EIC.

Additional tenants will be comprised of corporate, academic and government entities with a vested interest in the energy sector.

M-WERC is continuing to screen inquiries from prospective tenants as well as reach out to tenants it believes would be served well by the center, Anthony said. The center will also launch an application and solicitation process for startup tenants in early 2015.

Within phase one of construction, office space for nine business startups and office space for business service providers will likely be completed on the center’s seventh floor by the end of the year, according to Anthony. After the start of 2015, construction efforts will revamp the second floor to create office space for additional business startups as well as lab space for all startups located in the center.

Phase one of construction will also address the third floor, which will be outfitted to meet the needs of corporate and academic tenants once those tenants have been identified, according to Anthony.

The EIC plans to host a grand opening following the completion of phase one next September. Phase two will likely run from September through October 2016, when the center hopes to have all construction completed and full occupation, Anthony said.

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Retailers to host holiday shopping events
November 20, 2014 10:53 AM
Several area business groups will host holiday shopping events to encourage residents to buy their gifts locally.
The Historic Third Ward will be participating in Small Business Saturday on Saturday, Nov. 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Retailers will offer special deals for shoppers during the event, and free parking will be available in the structure at 212 N. Milwaukee Street.

For more information and a list of participating stores and their deals, visit

The Vliet Street Business Association will host its annual West Side Holiday Happenings event at several retailers on Vliet Street and North Avenue in Milwaukee on Friday, Nov. 21, from 4 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The event will include holiday-themed open houses, crafts and activities. On Saturday, Santa will be visiting stores participating in the event. Stamps will be given at each business visited, with a gift basket raffle entry for each stamp on attendees’ “tool belts.” Restaurants will also feature seasonal menus.

Participating businesses and more information are available at

“West Side Holiday Happenings is an opportunity for folks to come out and explore all the shops, restaurants and galleries that make the west side such a special part of Milwaukee’s culture,” said Lynita Wolf, board member of the Vliet Street Business Association and owner of Barcelona – Artful Living. “We’re looking forward to what will surely be another fun-filled weekend ringing in the holiday season with our small and local businesses on Milwaukee’s west side.”

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Baird creates college curriculum to address talent gap
November 20, 2014 10:55 AM
Milwaukee-based wealth management firm Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. has partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Wisconsin School of Business to fill an expected talent gap in its industry.
Since the demand for wealth managers is expected to increase and the average age of financial advisors is 50.9, Baird has created a course to help prepare business graduates to fill the demand as advisors retire.

"By collaborating with an industry leader like Baird, we are bringing an innovative applied learning experience for our students that will inspire and develop future wealth managers and answer this business need," said François Ortalo-Magné, WSB dean. "This type of partnership reflects our approach in addressing industry challenges."

Mike Schroeder, president of Baird’s wealth management group, and Mark Fedenia, associate professor of finance at WSB, have developed a sequence of courses for finance majors, capped by Wealth Management I, which will prepare students to take the CFP Certification Examination to become a certified financial planner.

"Baird is thrilled to be partnering with the Wisconsin School of Business to introduce a formal wealth management and financial planning track for finance majors," Schroeder said. "Attracting young, highly trained talent to careers in wealth management is vitally important to Baird and to the future of the financial services industry. I couldn't be more proud of my alma mater for embracing this opportunity and inviting Baird to be a strong partner in preparing the next generation of wealth management professionals."

The curriculum was developed and will be taught by Baird financial experts.

"This new curriculum brings the latest research with practical, hands-on learning from industry leaders to give our students the specialized knowledge to be career-ready in the wealth management and financial planning field," Fedenia said. "My goal is to train students to have the breadth and business background of an MBA at the undergraduate level."

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March Madness will return to Milwaukee in 2017
November 20, 2014 10:57 AM
The BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee will be the site of first and second round games of the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The NCAA on Monday announced sites for the tournament in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Marquette University will be the host institution for NCAA Tournament games that will be played at the Bradley Center on March 16 and 18, 2017.

The 2017 tournament will be the seventh time that the Bradley Center has hosted NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament games. The Bradley Center hosted the tournament in March of this year and also hosted the tournament in 2010, 2004, 1999, 1996 and 1992.

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Bubbler Quote of the Week
November 20, 2014 11:02 AM

“Here's something else to think about: If every Milwaukeean shifted an additional 10 percent of their year-round shopping and dining from national chains to local businesses, we would create $311 million in new economic activity annually in Greater Milwaukee. This is because independent retailers re-spend two to three times more of each sales dollar locally than their big chain competitors. That's a pretty staggering statistic.”
~Jim Sajdak, owner of Stan's Fit For Your Feet and New Balance Milwaukee
Read Tuesday’s Milwaukee Biz Blog by Sajdak: ‘Shop local this holiday season.’

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Bubbler Calendar
November 20, 2014 11:03 AM

*Saturday, Nov. 22, the City of Glendale and Bayshore Town Center will celebrate the ninth annual holiday tree lighting ceremony. The event, free and open to the public, will feature the lighting of a live 40-foot Balsam tree in Bayshore’s Town Square at 6 p.m. Attendees will also be able to enjoy live music, dance performances, storytelling, a visit from Santa Claus, horse-drawn carriage rides, and special giveaways from area businesses. The celebration will run from 5 to 9 p.m. Bayshore Town Center is located at 5800 N. Bayshore Drive in Glendale. For more information, visit

*Tuesday, Dec. 2, the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation will hold an orientation focused on “What Can WWBIC Do for You?” The event will expand on the kind of support and resources WWBIC offers new businesses and those looking to grow. The free orientation will run from noon to 1 p.m. at the WWBIC Racine Training Room, located at 245 Main St. in Racine. For more information or to register, click here.

*Thursday, Dec. 4, the Milwaukee Press Club will hold its annual “Meet the Media” event as it celebrates its 129th anniversary. The event gives the public a chance to interact one on one with media personnel from outlets across the region. Attendees will also be entertained by more than 40 “celebrity bartenders,” including media professionals and several community and business leaders. The event will run from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Newsroom Pub, home to the Milwaukee Press Club, at 137 E. Wells St. in downtown Milwaukee. The event is free and open to the public but requires advanced registration at

*Tuesday, Dec. 9, FUEL Milwaukee will conclude its 2014 networking series with a “Purely Social @ Surg on the Water.” Purely Social events, which are free and open to both FUEL members and non-members, give attendees a chance to explore a variety of Milwaukee bars, restaurants and venues as well as enjoy appetizers and drink specials. Attendees are also able to connect with other young professionals and become acquainted with the missions of area nonprofits. The December event will highlight the work of Our Next Generation, Inc., and will sponsor a toy drive for the organization. Additionally, the event will feature a live jazz performance, thanks to the United Performing Arts Fund. Festivities will run from 6 to 9 p.m. Surg on the Water is located at 102 N. Water St. in Milwaukee. For more information or to register, visit

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BizTimes Around Town: Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C.'s Board Appreciation reception
November 20, 2014 11:05 AM
Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C. recognized area nonprofit organizations and firm staff members who serve them during a special board appreciation event held Nov. 12 at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The reception, which supported the firm's spirit of philanthropy, also gave nonprofits and nonprofit board members an opportunity to network. More than 200 representatives from southeastern Wisconsin's nonprofit and for-profit communities attended the event.
Check out BizTimes’ Around Town gallery of the event here.

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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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