Bubbler executive appointments and awards

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Fireside Theater founder earns tourism award
The Wisconsin Department of Tourism recently honored Dick Klopcic, founder of the Fireside Dinner Theater with its Legacy Award for his ingenuity, creativity and hospitality that turned The Fireside into one of Wisconsin’s top desitnations. Klopcic passed away in September of 2010, the award was accepted on his behalf were Rick and Jane Klopcic and his grandson Ryan Klopcic.
Dick Klopcic built The Fireside theater in Fort Atkinson in 1964.
“Since Fort Atkinson was then a town of less than 8,000 his friends and colleagues were skeptical,” said Rick Klopcic, Dick’s son and president of The Fireside Theatre. “Yet, my father believed and persevered, and in 1964 built and opened The Fireside Restaurant in what had been corn fields on the city’s south side.”
Over the course of the next ten years the restaurant was expanded four times to meet increasing demand. In 1978 The Klopcic family transformed the restaurant into a professional theater-in-the-round. The Fireside became one of the top tourism destinations in the state.
“My father understood that you had to first sell someone on visiting Wisconsin, then the region, and then offer them an interesting itinerary filled with quality tourism partners in order to get his own piece of the business,” said Rick Klopcic. “He was a master marketer and worked continually to improve The Fireside Experience through both the actual product and the customer service.  While his sales staff may have been the ones out on the road and on the phones, Dick Klopcic was the one that was there to welcome each guest and see that they were well cared for. He truly believed and instilled in every member of his staff that people will come to where they have been invited and will return to where they have been made to feel welcome.”

Bauer will take helm at WMC
Kurt Bauer has been named to succeed James Haney as the president and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC).
Bauer has worked for banking trade associations for 18 years, including the last seven as the president and CEO of the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA). Prior to that, Bauer led the Phoenix-based Arizona Bankers Association, and he also served as WBA’s chief lobbyist.
He will succeed Haney, who has led WMC for 27 years.
Thomas Howatt, president and CEO of Wausau Paper Corp., Mosinee, and chairman of the WMC board of directors, announced the election of Bauer today.
"We are very pleased to have Kurt Bauer join WMC as our next president and CEO,” Howatt said. “”Kurt’s trade association experience and strong track record of success makes him the ideal candidate for this important position, We look forward to him continuing WMC’s tradition as the leading and most effective voice of business in Wisconsin."
“It is a great honor to be selected as the new president and chief executive officer of WMC.” Bauer said. “I look forward to working with the many stakeholders who share the collective goal of making Wisconsin the best place for employers and employees alike.”
Bauer, a Beloit native, said making Wisconsin more competitive will help speed the economic recovery, grow jobs and resolve the state’s chronic budgetary issues.
“The best way to improve the quality of life for everyone is to expand private sector businesses by pursuing policies that encourage business expansion and relocation in Wisconsin,” Bauer said.
Bauer will officially join the WMC in April.

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