Southeastern Wisconsin financial service industry news
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Partnership Bank expands branch network
September 16, 2014 10:32 AM
Cedarburg-based Partnership Community Bancshares Inc. has acquired two of its affiliate banks—First Bank Tomah and Town and Country Bank in Watertown—and will integrate them into the Partnership Bank branch system.

Partnership took majority ownership of the Tomah and Watertown banks in 2007, but is now buying out the minority shares. The operations and employment will not change at either location, said Dave Braaten, chief executive officer of Partnership Bank.

“To purchase the minority shares…if those shareholders choose to sell their stock, they will be purchased at a premium to book value,” Braaten said.

Bringing the branches into the Partnership network will allow them to have a higher lending limit, up to about $5 million. Total assets will now be $220 million, and total employment will be 68.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015, pending regulatory approval, Braaten said.

Partnership also on Monday opened a new branch at 11740 N. Port Washington Road in Mequon. The 2,000-square-foot branch will serve the Mequon and Thiensville areas, with both drive-up and lobby banking options.

The changes have expanded Partnership’s branch network to five locations: Cedarburg, Grafton, Mequon, Watertown and Tomah. And it may keep growing to new branches, Braaten said.

“As we continue to do a good job, if there’s demand, we’ll be studying it,” he said.

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ISM Milwaukee to host Ahman Green
September 16, 2014 10:40 AM
The Institute for Supply Chain Management Milwaukee will host the Green Bay Packers' all-time leading rusher, Ahman Green, at its monthly educational dinner meeting on October 14.

The meeting will be held in the Alumni Memorial Union at Marquette University beginning at 6:30 p.m. Green, who appeared in the Pro Bowl four times and recorded six seasons totaling more than 1,000 yards, will discuss his experiences overcoming obstacles when he started with the Packers in 2000.

“The October meeting is unique in that we invite members of other local nonprofits to attend, including APICS, ASQ, and the Association of Women in Metals Industries,” said Craig Meyer, affiliate program chair. “It is also the only event where suppliers are allowed to set up booths to directly interact with member supply chain professionals.”

ISM Milwaukee has more than 400 members and serves as an education and networking resource for supply chain, purchasing and procurement professionals in the greater Milwaukee area.

The event is free for members and $50 for non-members. The event also includes a supplier showcase from 5 to 6:30 p.m. For more information or to register for the event, visit

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Couri and Behrens elected to IIAW board
September 16, 2014 10:36 AM
Jerry Couri, president and chief executive officer of Waukesha-based Couri Insurance Agency, and Mark Behrens, president of Racine-based Johnson Insurance, have been named to three-year terms on the board of directors for the Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin.

Couri is active on the IIAW government affairs committee, while Behrens serves on the industry relations, government affairs and agency operations committees.

The IIAW has 5,000 independent insurance agent members across the state.

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The Marek Group acquires CPI Promotions
September 16, 2014 10:48 AM
The Marek Group, a Waukesha-based sales enablement and marketing communications firm, announced it has acquired CPI Promotions, a promotional product distributor and manufacturer located in Pewaukee.

The Marek Group provides turn-key solutions for Fortune 1000 companies to support their distributed sales channels with sales and marketing content in all forms of media, via a cloud-based marketing-on-demand storefront. Marek designs and implements the solutions and supports the content distribution with its own direct marketing agency, commercial printing operations, fulfillment services and distribution centers.

“The addition of CPI to The Marek Group family of companies allows us to provide all of what our clients need to arm their sales and distribution partners for success,” said Tami Marek-Loper, president of The Marek Group. “We found an exceptional partner who brings substantial promotional products expertise to our company, along with a manufacturing and distribution platform that is entirely consistent with our business model.”

Cary Caliendo, founder and president of CPI Promotions, said, “We are very happy to be joining The Marek Group as we see great synergy between the two companies. Knowing we can provide our customers with turn-key solutions that are supported by real-time data analytics to operate more effective marketing programs is very exciting for us.”

Caliendo will remain with the company as divisional president in the promotional products division.

Marek Group CEO Fuzzy Marek said the acquisition is a strategic move.

“Our goal as an organization is to help our clients with distributed sales channels to optimize their entire marketing supply chain. Our unique ability to get the right content, to the right sales channel, at the right time, and in the medium that will help them close deals faster is what truly sets us apart. Promotional products are a big part of our customer’s marketing content strategy and this acquisition will help us better deliver this form of media to the field,” Marek said.

The CPI Promotions name will be retained, with CPI operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of The Marek Group. The entire CPI management team and staff will remain in place.

The CPI office and production team will be moved to The Marek Group’s headquarters in Waukesha, while its warehouse and fulfillment operations be moved to The Marek Group’s Fulfillment Center in West Allis.

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Brady narrows loss, names new CFO
September 16, 2014 10:53 AM
Milwaukee-based Brady Corp. reported a fiscal 2014 net loss of $110.4 million, compared to a loss of $177.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Revenue at the identification solution manufacturer was $316.7 million, up from $310.6 million in the same period a year ago.

Brady recorded a $148.6 million impairment charge due to the write down of intangible assets in the PeopleID reporting unit that resulted from the slow growth of December 2012 acquisition Precision Dynamics Corp. In the fourth quarter of 2013, Brady had a $204.4 million impairment charge for its North American Workplace Safety unit and its Asia reporting unit.

“We were encouraged by our revenue growth in the fourth quarter, which marks the second consecutive quarter of organic sales growth,” said J. Michael Nauman, Brady president and chief executive officer. “This marks the first quarter of growth in our Workplace Safety business since fiscal 2012 as we continue to add new customers, increase revenues over the internet and realize returns from increased catalog advertising.”

For the full year, Brady reported a net loss of $46 million, compared to a net loss of $154.5 million in 2013.

Fiscal 2014 revenue was $1.2 billion, flat from 2013.

Organic sales were up 2.9 percent in Identification Solutions and down 4.6 percent in Workplace Safety.

The company expects to continue manufacturing facility consolidation plans through the end of fiscal 2015, Nauman said.

“Although we had organic sales growth, we were not pleased with our profitability performance as we continued to incur costs related to the consolidation of our facilities and have been experiencing challenges in terms of sales mix and pricing,” Nauman said. “Our overall facility consolidation efforts have been scaled back, and we will continue to execute the facility consolidation activities in a manner that will allow us to maintain the highest service levels and least disruptions to our customers while still achieving efficiency gains over the long run. We are focused on executing business fundamentals to drive organic sales growth while deemphasizing acquisitions at this time. We are increasing our investments in R&D to create sustainable processes for developing new innovative products that generate significant value for our customers. We will also focus on penetrating specific vertical markets in our Identification Solutions business in order to drive sales growth within our current industries including healthcare; food and beverage; chemical, oil and gas; and aerospace and mass transit, as well as expand our presence and product offering in selected markets in Asia. This accelerated investment in Identification Solutions will be evident in our fiscal 2015 financial results and is included in our guidance for next year.”

Brady also announced that Thomas Felmer has been named senior vice president and president-Workplace Safety. Felmer previously served as senior vice president and chief financial officer and has been at Brady since 1989.

Aaron Pearce will replace Felmer as senior vice president and CFO. Pearce joined Brady in 2004 and most recently served as vice president of finance.

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R&R insurance acquires Snyder Insurance
September 16, 2014 10:56 AM
Waukesha-based R&R Insurance Services Inc. has acquired Oconomowoc-based Snyder Insurance Agency, effective Sept. 1.

Snyder Insurance will become a division of R&R Insurance. The merger will offer Snyder clients additional services and solutions.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for all involved and we at R&R are lucky to be in this great position.  It reinforces our commitment to do business in southeastern Wisconsin,” said Ken Riesch, president and owner of R&R Insurance.  

R&R, which was founded in 1975, has been named one of the top 100 Property & Casualty insurance agencies by Insurance Journal and has been recognized by the Independent Insurance Agents of America for its high standards and industry best practices.

“We anticipate a seamless transition and are excited to work with a great partner like R&R Insurance,” said John Synder III, owner and president of Snyder Insurance Agency. “Their reputable business practices and vast resources assure us that our clients are in good hands.”

The staff and service at Snyder will not change, Snyder said in a note to clients. Snyder has 16 employees, who will join R&R's 160 employees.The Snyder division will continue working out of its Oconomowoc office. R&R also has branches in Waukesha, West Bend, Menomonee Falls and Beaver Dam.

“Snyder Insurance is grateful for the relationship we have built together over the last 54 years and the trust you have placed in our care,” Snyder said. “We are pleased to be able to carefully place that relationship into the care of another family – the Riesch Family, of R&R Insurance Services. R&R is a family business with similar values, passion and vision as we have had over the years.”

Since the insurance companies represent most of the same insurance companies, there will be no impact on clients’ existing policies, coverages or premium costs.

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MahlerClean acquires competitor's long-term clients
September 16, 2014 11:03 AM
Mahler Enterprises, a privately held Milwaukee corporation operating as MahlerClean, recently reached an agreement to acquire a significant segment of Metro-Clean Corp.'s long-term clients.

Through the acquisition, MahlerClean has increased the size of its client base by 15 percent. Metro-Clean, also a Milwaukee-owned family business, operated for more than 90 years throughout Wisconsin.  

“Our strategic objectives have always been to provide exemplary service and quality excellence in our cleaning and special services operations,” said Peter Mahler, chief executive officer of Mahler Enterprises. “We are thrilled to welcome Metro Clean’s clients to our roster of long-standing clients who have benefited from our service and expertise.  We are confident that they too will find MahlerClean to be a trusted and reliable service partner that provides a high level of service at an exceptional value.”

MahlerClean, a division of Mahler Enterprises, Inc., was founded in 1989 by Peter Mahler. The cleaning division is led by Patrick Sullivan who has been with the company since 1999 and was promoted to president in 2012.  More than 500 Mahler employees currently maintain more than 8 million square feet of office, industrial, medical and institutional space per day in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Florida.

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Molly Dill This exclusive news bulletin is compiled by BizTimes Milwaukee reporter Molly Dill. This bulletin is published every Tuesday morning. Send financial services industry news and tips to or call her at (414) 336-7144.

Additional Resources

» Wisconsin Association of Accountants
» Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants
» Wisconsin Association for Financial Professionals

Financial Institutions

» Wisconsin Bankers Association
» The Wisconsin Credit Union League
» Community Bankers of Wisconsin
» Wisconsin Mortgage Bankers Association

Financial Planning

» Financial Planning Association of Southern Wisconsin
» National Association of Personal Financial Advisors


» Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin
» Wisconsin Association of Mutual Insurance Companies

Mergers & Acquisitions

» Midwest Business Brokers and Intermediaries
» Association for Corporate Growth - Wisconsin
» Turnaround Management Association - Chicago/Midwest

Other Resources

» Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
» Wisconsin Government Finance Officers Association

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