Fallucca joins Bucks’ ownership team
October 24, 2014 09:11 AM
The Milwaukee Bucks announced the addition of Giacomo Fallucca, chief executive officer of Palermo Villa Inc., to the Bucks’ ownership team.

“We’re proud to add Milwaukee native and longtime Bucks partner Giacomo Fallucca to the amazing group of leaders that have joined the Bucks ownership team,” said Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry. “With his strong roots in Milwaukee and his active commitment to the community, we’re grateful to have him involved in our effort to build the Bucks into the best franchise in the NBA and a catalyst for growth in Wisconsin.”

Fallucca’s parents immigrated to Milwaukee and opened Palermo Villa restaurant in the east side neighborhood in 1964. What began as a community bakery offering authentic Italian pizza has grown into one of the leading names in the frozen pizza industry. The Milwaukee-based company has expanded over the decades and now employs more than 600 workers. Palermo’s currently sponsors the Palermo’s Courtside Club in the BMO Harris Bradley Center, which offers Bucks fans pregame, in-game and postgame food and beverage service.

“Milwaukee is a great city, and the Bucks are an important part of what makes our community so special. Being home to an NBA franchise not only makes Milwaukee exciting for fans, it helps drive economic growth and strengthens our community,” Fallucca said.  “I’m proud to join Marc, Wes (Edens) and the many other terrific community leaders to help usher in a new era of Bucks basketball.”

The Milwaukee Bucks last week announced that the team has added seven additional local investors to its ownership group, and for the first time acknowledged that New York hedge fund manager Jamie Dinan is a “substantial” owner of the team.

The new members of the ownership group include Gale Klappa, CEO of Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Energy Corp. and Jon Hammes, managing partner of Brookfield-based Hammes Company. The Bucks also announced that its ownership group now also includes the Partners for Community Impact LLC, a group of Milwaukee area African-American business leaders, which includes: Michael Barber chief operating officer of GE Healthcare; Valerie Daniels-Carter co-founder, president and CEO of V&J Holding Companies; former Miller Brewing Company executive vice president Virgis Colbert; Charles Harvey, chief diversity officer and president of the Johnson Controls Foundation, and Generation Growth Capital founder and managing director Cory Nettles.

The new owners join other local owners that the team announced in July including: Ted Kellner, founder and executive chairman of Milwaukee-based Fiduciary Management; Jim Kacmarcik, president of Grafton-based Kapco Inc.; Craig Karmazin, founder and CEO of Beaver Dam-based Good Karma Brands; Michael Kocourek, president of Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based Mid Oaks Investments; Keith Mardak, chairman and CEO of Milwaukee-based Hal Leonard Corp.; and Teddy Werner, senior director of business operations for the Milwaukee Brewers.

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Mount Mary alumna bequeaths $1.4 million to university
October 24, 2014 12:06 PM
Mount Mary University has received a legacy gift of $1.4 million from alumna Joan Hetzel Iraneta, who graduated from the school in 1956 with degrees in English and art.

Hetzel Iraneta previously earmarked $2 million in her estate plan to create the August and Adella Hetzel endowed scholarship fund for Mount Mary students demonstrating financial need. The fund is named after her parents.

Hetzel Iraneta died in February 2013. While studying at Mount Mary, she explored her interest in poetry and writing, serving as an editor and contributor to the “Quarterly,” a literary publication of creative writing clips submitted by faculty and students.

“The Hetzel endowed scholarship will provide ongoing educational opportunities so important to Mount Mary’s mission,” said university president Eileen Schwalbach, Ph.D. “With over 90 percent of all freshman receiving financial support through scholarships, this legacy gift will serve students for years to come.”

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ProHealth Care joining Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Blue Priority network
October 24, 2014 09:59 AM
Waukesha-based ProHealth Care will join Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Blue Priority network on Dec. 1, making all of ProHealth’s professionals, services and facilities available to network members.

Blue Priority is Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s high-value network in Wisconsin. It’s the network used by all Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Individual health plans sold through the state’s federally-facilitated health insurance exchange, and it is available to employers through fully-insured and self-funded health benefits arrangements.

“We are pleased to join Blue Priority,” said Susan Edwards, chief executive officer of ProHealth Care. “Collaboration with the progressive, value-focused health care providers in the Anthem network will allow us to further enhance the quality of care we provide and the health of the communities we serve.”

The Blue Priority network offers access to quality care at a market-leading value in 45 Wisconsin counties, where more than three-quarters of the state’s residents reside. The network includes all seven members of the newly established statewide provider partnership, as well as the Children’s Hospital System in Milwaukee, Meriter Health Services in Madison and select clinics and physicians to ensure access across the entire geography covered by the network.

“We launched Blue Priority two years ago with the expectation that it would spark innovation and competition around the critical issues of cost, quality and efficiency,” said Larry Schreiber, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin. “It has done all that and more, and we’re excited to continue adding to the network health systems that share our passion for high value, patient-centered care. ProHealth Care is a leader in those efforts, and we look forward to having them join the network in December.”

Blue Priority works to improve health by combining the clinical expertise of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and its participating health systems. The organizations work together to unlock the power of clinical data and claims records to produce personalized, patient-centered care that improves the overall health of the Blue Priority patient population.

Health care organizations in the Blue Priority network, among other things, use electronic medical records to actively manage patient cases; exchange data electronically between the health care organization and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield; and reward doctors for value and outcomes versus the volume of services provided.

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Sensient earnings fall
October 24, 2014 12:09 PM
Milwaukee-based Sensient Technologies Corp. has reported third quarter net earnings of $21.3 million, or 44 cents per share, down from $31.5 million, or 63 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2013.

Revenue at the flavor and color manufacturer was $364.5 million, down from $370.5 million in the same period a year ago.

The Color Group reported revenue of $127.8 million in the quarter, up from $124.1 million in the third quarter last year. The Flavors & Fragrance Group had revenue of $215.5 million, down from $225 million a year ago. And the Corporate & Other segment reported flat revenue at $36.2 million.

Some of the decline was attributed to restructuring costs.

“Sensient’s strong third quarter results were in line with our expectations,” said Paul Manning, president and CEO of Sensient Technologies. “The Color Group continues to deliver consistent growth and sustainable profit margins. The Flavors & Fragrances Group is on track to deliver operating margins in the high teens within the next few years. We remain optimistic about growth opportunities for both groups.”

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Strattec reports record quarter
October 24, 2014 12:13 PM
Milwaukee-based Strattec Security Corp. reported fiscal 2015 first quarter net income of $10.3 million, or $2.55 per share, up from $3.9 million, or 91 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2014.

Revenue was $122.2 million, up from $79.6 million in the same period last year.

The company’s net sales to Chrysler Group LLC were $32 million, up from $26.6 million in the first quarter of 2014. General Motor Co. sales brought in $44.9 million, up from $15 million a year ago. Sales to Ford Motor Co. totaled $11.8 million, up from $11.4 million in the first quarter of 2014.

Strattec, which designs, develops, manufactures and markets automotive access control products, attributed the increase to higher vehicle production volumes and more of its products being used in vehicles it supplies.

"On behalf of all STRATTEC associates, it is a great pleasure for us to announce the results of an outstanding three months,” said Frank Krejci, president and CEO. “In our core business, we experienced the combination of a strong automotive market and benefits from our strategic initiatives which resulted in an 18 percent increase in sales versus last year.  For a limited period of time, unpredictable market circumstances in our service business added another 35 percent to our revenues. Extraordinary efforts by our hourly and salary associates to respond to unusual customer demands and higher utilization of assets combined to generate significant incremental margin. It resulted in an unusually good quarter in which sales and profit broke our previous records.”

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Smart Choice MRI targets savings for self-insured employers
October 24, 2014 09:34 AM
Smart Choice MRI is now offering self-insured businesses a preferred provider program that saves as much as 80 percent of typical magnetic resonance images costs.

“The Preferred Provider program is just another way we are shoring up our commitment to redefining value, lowering costs and increasing transparency in today’s healthcare marketplace—all while providing the highest quality care,” said Rick Anderson, Smart Choice MRI chief executive officerEO, who joined the company earlier this year.

Smart Choice MRI uses GE MRI technology and charges an all-inclusive flat $600 fee, regardless of insurance or self-pay.

Employers who self-insure pay for each employee claim instead of a fixed premium to an insurance carrier. With a typical MRI costing between $1,500 to $3,000, the Smart Choice MRI savings created by the flat-rate $600 fee is so significant that employers often incentivize their employees with gift cards or payroll reimbursements. Other preferred provider benefits include priority scheduling and greater access to preferred lunchtime and evening appointments.

“When 10 percent of an employee population can anticipate MRI use in any given year, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, the savings are significant,” Anderson said. “This is clearly a win-win for employer and employees —an innovative way to create better health outcomes and manage costs.”
Anderson also recently named Christine Herbst to the newly created position of vice president of operations. In this role, Herbst will help execute the brand’s management strategies to drive continued growth. Herbst has more than 14 years of experience in health care management.

Smart Choice MRI is scheduled to open a fourth clinic this December in Waukesha. At least four additional locations in select Midwest markets are anticipated for 2015. Smart Choice currently has locations in Milwaukee, Sheboygan and Richfield.

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Timm champions integrity in the workplace
October 24, 2014 12:15 PM
Laura Timm, vice president of corporate communications and public affairs at Briggs & Stratton Corp., tells young professionals to follow five guiding words: Integrity, balance, passion, voice and presentation.

Timm explained why those words resonate with her at the 2014 BizTimes Get Smarter Talent Development Conference.

“Do everything in life with integrity. Be proud of what you do,” Timm said.

She was one of 10 local business leaders who each shared five tips with millennials at the event last week. A video of one leader’s speech will be released each day.

View a video of Timm’s comments here.

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Milwaukee Biz Blog: Governor should plug Wisconsin's brain drain
October 24, 2014 12:20 PM
You would hardly know it from the campaign for governor, but Wisconsin has more than a brain drain; it has a brain hemorrhage.

Read more in today’s Milwaukee Biz Blog by John Torinus of Serigraph Inc.

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Weekend preview
October 24, 2014 12:22 PM
Too busy working to plan your weekend? We've got you covered with the Weekend Preview.

Click here for activity suggestions on this spooky fall weekend. is a media partner of BizTimes Media.

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Morning Headlines: Expera Specialty Solutions plans Kaukauna HQ
October 24, 2014 12:24 PM
Expera Specialty Solutions, a manufacturer of specialty paper products, announced Thursday that it is establishing its corporate headquarters in Kaukauna.

Read more in today’s Wisconsin Morning Headlines.

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Nonprofit Weekly: Nonprofit Excellence Awards to explore health of regional nonprofits
October 24, 2014 12:25 PM
BizTimes Media’s inaugural Nonprofit Excellence Awards program, scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 4, will tap into the expertise of area nonprofit executives and philanthropists with a panel discussion on the state of southeastern Wisconsin’s nonprofit community.

Read more in today’s Nonprofit Weekly.

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Local group fails in bid to buy Shops of Grand Avenue
October 23, 2014 06:14 PM
A local group of Milwaukee civic and business leaders failed in their bid to purchase the Shops of Grand Avenue in an online auction that was completed today.

“We did not get it,” said Stephen Chernof, the leader of the local group known as WAM DC LLC, and a shareholder and member of the Real Estate Practic Group of Godfrey & Kahn. “We were in it to the end of the bidding.”

The mall was offered for sale on, which is handling the sale along with Rockwood Real Estate Advisors.

The identity of the winning bidder, which placed a final bid of $16.5 million, was not immediately disclosed.

The buyer of the mall is from out of state, according to Chernof and other sources who were unable to identify the buyer.

WAM DC LLC had hoped to redevelop the troubled downtown Milwaukee mall by maintaining retail space in the western half but converting the eastern half, located in the historic and largely vacant Plankinton Building, into educational facilities that would have been shared by local colleges and universities.

The group determined that the final bid price was too high to be able to cover the carrying costs necessary to run the property until it could be redeveloped, Chernof said.

“Our financial modeling showed it was tenuous,” he said. “With our financial model, we felt we were already stretching. We felt we were at the limit of what our financial modeling was for the next several years.”

The starting bid in the auction sale of the mall was $4.75 million.

The property that is being sold is a four-building complex at 275 W. Wisconsin Ave. with 298,109 square feet of space, and an adjacent 1,748-space parking structure.

The auction sale did not include the Boston Store building at 331 W. Wisconsin Ave., which is separately owned by Wispark LLC.

The mall’s parking structure is profitable and on its own is worth about $14 million to $15 million, according to one source. However, the retail space at the mall has negative value because its revenue fails to cover operating expenses for the buildings, according to the source.

Community leaders that hope to see the Shops of Grand Avenue redeveloped now have to wait to see who the winning bidder is and what their plans are for the property, assuming that the sale is finalized.

“We have to keep in mind the goal here, which is to revitalize West Wisconsin Avenue,” Chernof said. “The other group hopefully understands what they are doing and has a solid plan that will benefit the community. I just hope they have a good purpose, the capital and the right intentions.”

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Top bidder pledges $16.5 million to buy Shops of Grand Avenue
October 23, 2014 02:01 PM
The top bidder in the online auction sale of the Shops of Grand Avenue pledged $16.5 million to buy the troubled mall in downtown Milwaukee. The auction closed moments ago.

The mall was offered for sale on, which is handling the sale along with Rockwood Real Estate Advisors. The identity of the winning bidder was not immediately disclosed.

The starting bid in the auction sale of the mall was $4.75 million.

The property that is being sold is a four-building complex at 275 W. Wisconsin Ave. with 298,109 square feet of space, and an adjacent 1,748-space parking structure.

The auction will not include the Boston Store building at 331 W. Wisconsin Ave., which is separately owned by Wispark LLC.

The value of the Shops of Grand Avenue, built in 1982, has fallen dramatically over the years as the mall has struggled with high amounts of vacant retail space. An investment group formed by New York-based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. bought the property in 2005 for $31.7 million. In 2012 it was sold in a foreclosure auction for $8.5 million to a subsidiary of the mall's lender, a group of Bank of America investors.

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Community Bank & Trust to merge with Wisconsin Bank & Trust
October 23, 2014 10:28 AM
Dubuque, Iowa-based Heartland Financial USA Inc. has agreed to acquire Community Banc-Corp of Sheboygan Inc., the parent company of Sheboygan-based Community Bank & Trust, for about $52 million or 155 percent of the tangible equity of Community Banc-Corp at closing.

Heartland also owns Madison-based Wisconsin Bank & Trust, which will be merged with Community Bank & Trust. Community Banc-Corp shares will be converted into Heartland common stock.

Community Bank & Trust has assets of about $525 million, loans of $410 million and deposits of $429 million as of Sept. 30. It has a main office and three branches in Sheboygan, as well as branches in Sheboygan Falls, Plymouth, Elkhart Lake, Chilton, Glendale and Greenfield.

"Our board views this merger as an excellent move for the customers of Community Bank & Trust,” said Anthony Jovanovich, chairman and chief executive officer of Community Banc-Corp. “As we considered our strategic direction, including the importance of identifying a potential quality merger partner, Wisconsin Bank & Trust, backed by the deep resources of Heartland, stood out as an excellent fit. We are very pleased to partner with a strong company that operates under a proven business model and is well-known as a forward-thinking organization.”

“We are excited to expand the Heartland community banking business model further into Wisconsin,” said Kevin Tenpas, president and CEO of Wisconsin Bank & Trust. “We are impressed with the quality of Community Bank & Trust’s markets and the opportunity to serve more of the attractive Sheboygan area. We are also pleased to add a talented team of experienced commercial and personal banking professionals with an excellent knowledge of the communities and the clients they serve.”

According to Heartland, the acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015 and opens the Milwaukee area to future expansion.

Following the transaction, Heartland will have $6.4 billion in assets and 87 branches in 10 states. Wisconsin Bank & Trust will have assets of more than $1.1 billion, and 19 branches in Wisconsin.

“We are excited about the prospect of expanding further in Wisconsin,” said Lynn Fuller, president and CEO of Heartland. “Community Bank & Trust is an excellent fit for our community banking business model, and its locations match our desire to ‘fill-in’ attractive areas in or close to our existing geographies. Community Bank & Trust is a profitable and financially sound bank that presents an excellent opportunity to build on its solid market share with business and retail customers.”

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Point Loomis shopping center sold for $10.35 million
October 23, 2014 12:10 PM
An affiliate of Cincinnati, Ohio-based Phillips Edison & Company recently purchased the 160,533-square-foot Point Loomis shopping center on the south side of Milwaukee from an affiliate of Beachwood, Ohio-based DDR Corp. for $10.35 million, according to state records.

Point Loomis is located on a 14-acre site at the southwest corner of South 27th Street and Loomis Road. It has a 80,731-square-foot Kohl’s store, a 76,129-square-foot Pick ‘n Save store and a 3,673-square-foot Chase Bank branch building on an outlot. The shopping center has no vacant space. The property also has a surface parking area with 883 spaces.

The shopping center sale was marketed for DDR by Ben Wineman, Joe Girardi and Dan Rosenfeld of Mid-American Real Estate, according to a marketing flyer. Rosenfeld declined to comment on the deal.

Kohl’s has been a tenant at Point Loomis since 1981, Pick ‘n Save has been there since 1989 and the Chase Bank has been there since 1991. The tenants pay “well-below market rents,” with Kohl’s paying $4.34 per square foot, Pick ‘n Save paying $4.53 per square foot and Chase Bank paying $75,000 a year for a ground lease, according to the marketing materials for the shopping center.

The shopping center has pro forma net operating income of $759,025, according to the marketing materials.

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