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Thursday, December 11, 2014
LISC announces MANDI finalists
December 11, 2014 09:54 AM
Local Initiatives Support Corporation's Milwaukee extension on Wednesday announced finalists for the 2015 MANDI Awards, which praise individuals, organizations and community projects revitalizing central city neighborhoods.
The 16-year-old program, currently sponsored by U.S. Bank, is known as the Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation (MANDI).

“We started this program mainly to elevate the individuals and the groups that are doing this work,” said Leo Ries, executive director of LISC Milwaukee. “A lot of these groups – they work so hard and they’re very tenacious but…they don’t get up to celebrate their victories. And so this was a way for us to acknowledge them and thank the groups and the individuals for all their work.”

Finalists for five MANDI award categories were announced during a program held at Botana’s Restaurant and attended by about 100 community leaders.

Each finalist was selected from a pool of public nominations vetted by a volunteer committee. Winners will be named and celebrated during a gala on April 15 at Potawatomi Hotel and Casino.

Finalists are:

*Holton Bridge Swing Park, HOME GR/OWN’s Ezekiel Gillespie Park and The ARTery for the Brewers Community Foundation Public Space Award, which calls out a public space that re-energizes a neighborhood.

*Rotary Club of Milwaukee, Express Yourself Milwaukee and the Pan-African Community Association for the BMO Harris Cornerstone Award, which highlights an organization effectively impacting the city.

*La’Ketta Caldwell of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Venice Williams of Alice’s Garden and Todd Hutchison of Impact Seven for the Northern Trust Navigator Award, which salutes an individual for excellence in leadership and collaboration.

*Cream City Gardens and Rain Harvesting Project, Guest House of Milwaukee; Sisters Diversion Project, Benedict Center; and Mobile Bike Hub, Layton Boulevard West Neighbors for the PNC Bank Trail Blazer Award, which recognizes an innovative strategy to a community issue.

*ICAN2 LABS, Veterans Administration Community Resource and Referral Center and the Zilber School of Public Health for the State Farm Building Blocks Award, which praises a real estate project that adds value to the community.

LISC Milwaukee has also added another award to the 2015 program. The Wells Fargo People's Choice Award will be given to one finalist from the pool of finalists selected by the independent committee. The award winner will be determined through a community voting process facilitated by a social media campaign.

Additionally, LISC’s local advisory board has named Wells Fargo winner of the Vision Award, which recognizes sustainable financial investment in central city neighborhoods.

Along with calling attention to change agents in Milwaukee’s central city neighborhoods, the MANDIs also serve to inspire “optimism” within the broader community, Ries said.

“It’s also to send a message of optimism and hope to the rest of the community that, yes, our neighborhoods have challenges but you can’t help but be inspired by the people who are working so hard to turn things around,” Ries said. “And that’s fundamentally what we’re trying to accomplish.”

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GPS Education Partners celebrates ribbon cutting at Milwaukee center
December 11, 2014 09:57 AM
GPS Education Partners is holding a ribbon cutting ceremony today to mark the opening of its Central Milwaukee Education Center located at Capitol Stampings Corp. in Milwaukee.
The Butler-based nonprofit organization offers high school juniors and seniors a nontraditional education path that prepares them for manufacturing and technical careers through both classroom instruction and industry experience. Students attend academic classes at area manufacturing companies and spend a portion of each day working under mentors in a manufacturing setting. Each student typically has an opportunity to rotate among GPS’ business partners to gain exposure to a diversity of career options.

The Central Milwaukee Education Center, housed right at Capitol Stampings Corp.’s workspace, has been in operation since September. The program launched with a cohort of nine students, mostly juniors, who are associated with NOVA Tech, a Milwaukee Public Schools charter school that also opened in September. The school, located at 2433 W. Roosevelt Drive, is overseen by Milwaukee’s TransCenter for Youth, Inc.  

According to Andy Hepburn, program director at GPS Education Partners, the nonprofit sought a business site that would geographically complement NOVA Tech so that its students could explore manufacturing and technical trades. No other GPS center exists in the area.

Capitol Stampings Corp. is located at 2700 W. North Ave.

The Central Milwaukee Education Center’s inaugural cohort will continue their studies next year and will be joined by a second cohort of high school students.

GPS Education Partners now operates 16 sites across Wisconsin and serves more than 200 students.

Hepburn said the organization feels there are more opportunities to plant additional centers in the greater Milwaukee region, particularly in cities like Racine and Kenosha. However, no specific plans are in the works, he said.

“We’re always looking for new opportunities,” he said.

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Press Club announces contest for City Birthday Party
December 11, 2014 10:00 AM
The Milwaukee Press Club has crafted a contest in preparation for 2015 City Birthday Party, scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 29.
The event, which marks the city’s 169th birthday party, will follow the theme “Milwaukee Made” in celebration of “the products, people and places” that make up the fabric of Milwaukee, according to the Press Club.

The organization’s contest is calling for nominations in three categories: Who, what and which places define Milwaukee?

Nominations can be made online through Friday, Jan. 2. The press club will feature finalists on the City Birthday Party’s Facebook page, where the general public is invited to vote for winner. That voting period will extend between Monday, Jan. 5 and Friday, Jan. 16.

The Press Club plans to announce contest winner on Monday, Jan. 19, and honor them at the birthday party.

The party will be held at the Grain Exchange, located at 225 E. Michigan St. in Milwaukee, and will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tickets cost $35. For more information, click here.

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Register for Health Care Heroes
December 11, 2014 10:02 AM
BizTimes Media will honor the impact of top health care professionals, organizations and volunteers during the 2014 Health Care Heroes breakfast on Friday, Dec. 19. The deadline to register is Wednesday, Dec. 17.
The awards program features a range of award categories, including advancements in health care, corporate achievement in health care, community service, executive leadership and health care staff. Award recipients, selected from a pool of nominations, were announced last month.

The event, sponsored by Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling, will run from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, 1721 W. Canal St. in Milwaukee. Cost is $50 for individuals and $400 for a corporate table of eight. For more information or to register, visit

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Lakeland College forms partnership with resorts
December 11, 2014 10:04 AM
Lakeland College, Blue Harbor Resort & Spa, The Osthoff Resort and Destination Kohler have formed a partnership to provide industry experience for Lakeland students and a pipeline of talent for the resorts.
Under the agreement, Blue Harbor, The Osthoff and Destination Kohler will make several entry level positions and/or internships available to Lakeland hospitality management students. The students would still have to interview for the jobs, which are not guaranteed, and the length of employment would depend on job performance.

As part of the program, Lakeland will allow students to live on campus during breaks and summers while working at the resorts, which affords the employers a dependable employment pool during the holidays and in the summer.

“If you ask area executives across all industry sectors what their biggest challenge for the future is, they are likely to respond that the availability of a viable workforce is that challenge,” said David Sanderson, vice president and general manager of Blue Harbor Resort & Spa, located in Sheboygan. “Tourism is no different. With this partnership, we have an opportunity to overcome that challenge, while providing a real-world practical laboratory for students to augment their academic requirements. The potential benefit for students to lower their need for student loans and thus reduce their debt load after graduation is important also.”

 Students can earn up to $8,000 per year through the partnership.

“Through this partnership, Lakeland will have the ability to provide professional experiences for students studying hospitality management, and The Osthoff will have access to a new labor distribution channel that’s very industry focused,” said Lola Roeh, general manager at The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake. “We have always had access to Lakeland’s student body, but now Lakeland will be promoting The Osthoff and the other partners as an opportunity for gaining experience in the field.”

The employers will work with Lakeland to establish mutually beneficial work and class schedules for participants in the program.

“Destination Kohler is pleased to collaborate with neighboring Lakeland College to showcase our world-class American Club Hotel and other resort facilities as a classroom of sorts in both accommodations and guest services to a group of engaged, hospitality-focused students eager to explore career opportunities,” said Michael Belot, general manager at Destination Kohler. “We are pleased to have these students learn directly from our talented associates, who excel each day at providing five-star services for our guests.”

Lakeland may, in some cases, hold certain courses on site at the resorts.

“Students and parents want to be sure that their investment will end in a job with good pay and benefits that would not be available without earning a college degree,” said Lakeland President Dan Eck. “This partnership could significantly reduce a hard-working student’s debt load, and, in some cases, even completely eliminate student loan debt—a remarkable achievement that will set those students on a road to financial well-being immediately after graduation.”

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Tempo Racine announces board of directors
December 11, 2014 10:06 AM
Sarah Fuerstenau, senior director of quality assessment initiative for Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast, will head Tempo Racine's 2014-15 board of directors as president, the organization announced on Tuesday.
The leadership and networking group caters to professional women in Racine.
Additional board leaders include:

* Vice president: Mary Beth Mikrut, philanthropy consultant
* Treasurer: Andrea Kiemen-Rognsvoog, assistant vice president, personal insurance service manager for Johnson Insurance
* Secretary: Susan Richardson, human resources consultant for HR Results by Richardson LLC
* Past president: Jennifer Eastman, president of Merchants Moving & Storage Company

Committee chairs for 2014-15 are:
* Nancy Dokter, principal for Nancy Dokter Public Relations & Marketing, LLC, who will chair the Communications Committee
* Kimberly Kane, president of Kane Communications Group, who will manage the Program Committee
* Tammy Myers, president of Mrs. Myers’ Reading Room, who will head the Membership Committee

Shirah Swanson, account manager at David Insurance, will serve as a board member at large.

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Marcus to renovate area movie theaters
December 11, 2014 10:08 AM
Marcus Theatres, a division of Milwaukee-based Marcus Corp., has announced that it plans to make major renovations to several of its cinemas, including some in the Milwaukee area.
The renovations will add DreamLounger recliner seating to all of the auditoriums at the South Shore Cinema in Oak Creek and the Menomonee Falls Cinema.

A Take Five Lounge and a Zaffiro’s Express outlet will also be added at the South Shore Cinema. Take Five Lounges have casual dining, appetizer and beverage options. Zaffiro’s Express menu options include appetizers, sandwiches, salads, desserts and pizza.

Additional renovations are planned for the Southgate Cinema in Milwaukee and the Majestic Cinema in Brookfield. A new lobby, concessions area and updated seating will be added in all auditoriums at Southgage Cinema. The Take Five Lounge at the Majestic Cinema will be relocated and expanded and additional food and beverage options will be added.

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Kohl’s to keep stores open 24 hours leading up to Christmas
December 11, 2014 10:10 AM
Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s Corp. plans to keep its department stores open for more than 100 hours straight to serve last-minute shoppers as Christmas approaches.
The extended store hours (which may vary by location) will begin at 6 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 19, and last through 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

Kohl’s also kept its doors open for more than 100 straight hours during the holiday shopping season last year, which was the first time it had done so.

“Customers can rely on us around the clock for their last-minute gift giving solutions, and we are providing 24-hour access to Kohl’s stores right up to Christmas Eve,” said Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief customer officer. “Kohl’s offers a deep assortment of national and exclusive brands to make gift giving easy and exciting this holiday. From popular gifts like toys, electronics and jewelry to great giftables such as men’s novelty items and beauty gift sets, customers will be inspired to select the perfect gift for everyone on their list and shop whenever it is most convenient for them.”

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‘Ignite’ speakers to target business leaders
December 11, 2014 10:12 AM
Full-service interiors company Schroeder Solutions has announced the company will host a free lecture series, called “Ignite,” to provide enriching programming to professionals in Milwaukee at the Hudson Business Lounge and at Schroeder Solutions’ New Berlin headquarters, 1920 S. Calhoun Road.
The programming series will focus on a range of topics that are geared toward professional development and personal growth.

Scott Gierhahn, chief executive officer of Schroeder Solutions, said, “The Ignite Power Lecture Series is an extension of Schroeder Solutions commitment to continually educate our employees, clients and the community. It also aligns with our goal to help those we serve and partner with achieve a better quality of life in the workplace. We decided to take it a step further and offer presentations that focus on personal wellness, too, believing that people are happier and more productive at work if they are prospering outside the office.”

The following is the Ignite Power Lecture Series Schedule:

Dec. 11 - Mobilizing Your Workforce Through Technology - (Presented by Adam Bartos, director of marketing, MSI) at Schroeder Solutions, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Jan. 15 – Shining a Light on Philanthropy: A Panel Discussion on Why it’s Good for Business – (Panelists: Rob Cowen, president of Badger Alloys; Raejean Kanter, executive vice president and director of The Falk Group) at Schroeder Solutions, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Jan. 28 – How to Recruit and Work with Millennials – (Presented by Ian Abston, President of Newaukee) at Hudson Business Lounge, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 12 – A Culinary Compendium: An Update on Milwaukee’s Food & Beverage Industry – (Presented by Kyle Cherek, host of Wisconsin Foodie) at Hudson Business Lounge, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 26 – Spring Training: A Sneak Preview of the Brewers’ 2015 Season – (Presented by Drew Olson, host ESPN Milwaukee) at Hudson Business Lounge, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

March 12 – Estate Planning – The Basics; How to Get Started and Things to Consider – (Presented by Pam Evason, co-owner and managing director, Windermere Wealth Advisors) at Schroeder Solutions, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

March 26 – The Reasons We Feel so Discontent – (Presented by Bob Chernow, former vice chair of the World Future Society) at Hudson Business Lounge, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

April 9 -  How to Talk to the Media – Interview Tips and Tricks, a Panel Discussion – (Panelists: Kyle Cherek, Wisconsin Foodie; Drew Olson, ESPN; Susie Falk, The Falk Group Public Relations) at Hudson Business Lounge, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

For additional information and to RSVP visit

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Bubbler Quote of the Week
December 11, 2014 10:15 AM

“Badger Meter has a long history of involved and outspoken CEOs, and I have been proud to continue that legacy. I believe that I have a responsibility to not only support my community through my involvement in many nonprofit organizations, but also to share my vision and opinions publicly. If my involvement and leadership can improve Milwaukee in any way, it can benefit Badger Meter as a local company, our employees who live in this community and the community as a whole.”
~Rich Meeusen, CEO of Badger Meter Inc.
Read the entire BizTimes Milwaukee cover story by Steve Jagler: Accessible leadership: Enlightened executives respond to their stakeholders.

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BizTimes Bubbler Executive of the Week: Brett Yutka
December 11, 2014 10:16 AM

Brett Yutka, president of Yutka Fence Inc.
Address: 11880 12th St., Kenosha
Industry: Fence and railing installation
Employees: 11, plus eight people on crews
Family: Wife, Laurie; Sons, Rocco (4) & Bo (3); Mother, Trudy; Father, Paul; Brother, Chad

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?  
“With the help of a trusted consultant, we took an in-depth look at our true costs for each of our product lines. We made some significant changes regarding the types of projects we would pursue and those we would pass on. It was a huge eye opener for us and has made a significant difference for us this year. We have a much clearer understanding now of who our ideal customers are and why.”

What’s new at your company?  
“We have made some key hires at our company over the last year that will position us to have a great 2015. We have also implemented some changes to our installation methods that include driving steel posts for every type of fence we install instead of only offering the standard concreted post method. It offers several benefits to our customers that are in line with the type of value we want to provide.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?  
“One to two sales people, one to two installers, and one to two office administrators.”  

What has fueled your company’s growth?  
“We have focused on commercial projects more than we have in the past. That, combined with the purchase of our new location on I-94 and Highway E in Somers, has increased our visibility, allowing us to reach more potential customers than we were able to in the past.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
“We are considering adding some complementary product lines outside of fencing that we don’t have experience with. It will be a challenge to transition into those new products during the busy season without being overwhelmed in the office. We are up for the challenge, though.”

What compelled you to join your family’s business? How do you maintain a positive dynamic in a family business setting?
“My dad brought my brother and I to work with him when we were little kids and tricked us into thinking we were playing. That eventually turned into us working full time in the summers during school.  

“We both went to college to make sure we had some choices outside of fencing, but after working at a few corporations I became disillusioned with that atmosphere. I decided to come back and team up with my dad to grow Yutka Fence into a different company than it had traditionally been.”

Do you have a business mantra?  
“Not yet, but I have a primary aim, which is ‘Health, Balance, Presence.’ These are the things I focus on when making decisions. It has been a big help.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“I look up to my dad. He has never gotten deep into the finances of a business, but he is exceptional in most other aspects that I think make a business successful in the long run. He is compassionate, fair, honest, trustworthy, the hardest worker I have ever seen, and has built a reputation for our company over the past 45 years that makes me proud.”  

What was the best advice you ever received?
“Be who you are and not who you think you are supposed to be.”

What do you like to do in your free time?
“Soccer, racquetball, running, weightlifting, water skiing, swimming, boating, reading and spending time with my family.”

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Hot Bubbler Books
December 11, 2014 10:18 AM
Five bestselling business books you should read:
1. “For Love of Country,” by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran
2. “A Path Appears,” by Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof
3. “Hooked,” by Nir Eyal
4. “Rookie Smarts,” by Liz Wiseman
5. “Essentialism,” by Greg McKeown

Courtesy of

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Bubbler Calendar
December 11, 2014 10:19 AM

*Thursday, Dec. 11, the Greater Brookfield Chamber of Commerce will hold a “Business After 5” networking event at Sunset Playhouse, located at 800 Elm Grove Rd. in Elm Grove. The event will run from 5 to 7 p.m. Cost is $10 for chamber members who pre-register and $15 at the door. Cost is $15 for first-time attendees and $40 for non-members who have attended previous series events. For more information or to register, click here.

*Saturday, Dec. 13, the Milwaukee Children’s Choir and the Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble will present “An Evening of Readings & Carols.” The performance will feature a variety of holiday songs and readings. The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Cathedral Church of All Saints, located at 818 E. Juneau Ave. in Milwaukee. Premium tickets cost $20, and general admission costs $15. Tickets will be available at the door. Tickets are also available by calling 414-221-7040.

*Saturday, Dec. 13, and Sunday, Dec. 14, the Milwaukee Ballet will launch its annual holiday productions of “The Nutcracker” at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, located at 929 N. Water St. in Milwaukee. The family-friendly performances of the famous ballet run two hours. Performances are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. Additional performances are scheduled to run throughout the month. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

*Tuesday, Dec. 16, the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation will hold an information session on “What Can WWBIC Do For You?” The free event will acquaint attendees with the organization’s resources and services for small businesses, such as business and financial education classes and access to capital for business growth. The event will run from 6 to 7 p.m. at WWBIC, located at 1533 N. RiverCenter Drive in Milwaukee. For more information, visit To register, call 414-263-5450.

*Friday, Dec. 19, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce will hold a breakfast roundtable event with Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. The free event will focus on exporting the state’s goods and services. The roundtable will run from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the MMAC’s offices, located at 756 N. Milwaukee St. Suite 400 in downtown Milwaukee. For more information or to register, click 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.

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

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