Dave Vetta, president & CEO of First Business Bank – Milwaukee

Dave Vetta
President & CEO
First Business Bank – Milwaukee
18500 W. Corporate Drive, Brookfield
Financial services
Employees: First Business Financial Services: 162; First Business Bank-Milwaukee: 25
Family: Spouse, Katy; three daughters

What was the smartest thing First Business Bank – Milwaukee did in the past year?

“Investing in our team. We have added resources to bring more definition and commitment to professional development for our existing team. We’ve been successful in attracting and retaining some of the best talent in the industry, thereby having some very successful and dynamic businesses and individuals as clients.”

What’s new at your company?

“At First Business Bank – Milwaukee, we are responsible for southeastern Wisconsin and have added a great team in Kenosha to complement our coverage of the seven-county region. As part of the First Business Financial Services Inc. holding company, we have made our first bank acquisition to complement our organic growth.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

“We have hired five new associates in the last several months, and we have made investments in strategic alliances. We don’t have big advertising budgets, so our people get very involved in leadership roles in industry and community organizations and initiatives. We’re engaged in over 40 local groups and causes.”

What will be First Business Bank – Milwaukee’s main challenges in the next year?

“Our main challenges for 2015 include: Onboarding our new team members and learning from what they bring, continuing to build a successful culture, and ensuring we are making services and value-added resources available to our valued clients.”

How would you describe First Business’ culture?

“We are a business that happens to be a bank. We operate under the principles of 28 statements of beliefs written by one of our founders, who is the current holding company chairman, Jerry Smith. We conduct annual employee and client engagement surveys, utilize performance scorecards, and are always working on improving the client experience. We believe in collaboration, are client-focused, and specialize in team-based delivery packaged in creative and responsive solutions.”

How does your bank differentiate itself from competitors?

“One of our primary areas of focus is business. It’s what we do, it’s in our name and how we are organized, and hopefully a part of each client experience in every stage of our clients’ growth.”

Do you have a business mantra?

“Our mantra is: Your success comes first. Our clients define success and we are committed to working with our clients to accomplish it. Our clients tell us they want access to expertise, access to capital and introductions to prospects for their business. That is our true north.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

“I look for continuous learning, values and leadership. Those instrumental in my success have been my folks, one of my former bosses, and the leadership team I work with at First Business today. I also find Covey principles to be good beacons.”

What was the best advice you ever received?

“The best advice I ever got was: ‘Don’t screw it up.’ This is followed by: ‘Try to focus on behaviors and actions versus simply words, and model the behaviors of those you respect.’”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?

“Once I was covering for a CEO on vacation. I was called to an emergency critical meeting at a fancy club requiring a coat. Dressed casually, I was told all they had was a plaid 46 long. I normally wear a 40 regular, so needless to say I lightened the mood of our meeting!”

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