Stellar CEO panel headlines Economic Trends breakfast

The chief executive officers of Fiserv Inc., Charter Manufacturing Co. Inc. and Jason Inc. will be the keynote speakers at the 2008 Northern Trust Economic Trends Breakfast presented by Small Business Times.

The conference will take place on Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Italian Community Center in downtown Milwaukee.

The annual event is held to provide business owners and managers an outlook about the challenges and opportunities that await them in the year ahead.

The featured CEOs at the 2008 breakfast will be:

Jeffery Yabuki, president and CEO of Brookfield-based Fiserv Inc., a Fortune 500 company that is the world’s largest service provider of integrated technology and service solutions to banks, credit unions, lending institutions and investment advisors. Fiserv also provides solutions for insurance companies and agents and is building a growing presence in health plan administration. Fiserv has made more than 147 acquisitions since it was founded in 1984 and has grown to post revenue of more than $4.5 billion in 2006. The publicly traded company has more than 23,000 employees and 18,000 clients worldwide. Yabuki has 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining Fiserv, he was executive vice president and chief operating officer at H&R Block and spent 12 years with American Express, most recently as president and chief executive officer of American Express Tax and Business services. At the conference, Yabuki will provide insights about the outlooks for the financial services, insurance and health care industries, as well as share his knowledge about how technology is changing the way companies interact with their customers.

John Mellowes, chairman and chief executive officer of Charter Manufacturing Co. Inc., a diversified Mequon-based firm that is one of the largest closely held companies in the state. Charter’s family of companies, which include Charter Steel, Charter Specialty Steel, Charter Wire and Milwaukee Wire Products, manufacture steel and wire components for a variety of industrial applications, including the automotive industry. Charter Manufacturing’s sales grew to $719.6 million in 2006. Charter has been named a General Motors Co. Supplier of the Year and has received awards in the DaimlerChrysler Gold Pentastar and the Ford Motor Co. Q-1 programs. Mellowes is the third generation of his family to lead Charter, which was founded after James Mellowes emigrated from England in 1880. Mellowes will provide his insights about the outlooks for the automotive and steel industries.

David Westgate, president and CEO of Jason Inc., a Milwaukee-based diversified manufacturer that operates nine subsidiaries across the globe: Milsco Manufacturing Co.; Janesville Acoustics; JacksonLea; Assembled Products; Advance Wire Products; Metalex; Osborn International; Sealeze; and Atlanta Brush. Jason’s motor vehicle businesses are the largest U.S. manufacturers of non-woven fiber insulation for the automotive industry and of seating products for motorcycles, boats and a broad array of off-road mobile equipment. Jason’s industrial businesses are among the largest U.S. manufacturers of finishing products for industrial applications and of precision components for original equipment manufacturers throughout the world. Jason was established in 1985 and was a publicly owned company from until 2000, when it became a private company through a management-led buyout. Westgate will provide a glimpse of the industrial equipment of the future and will discuss strategies for competing in a global marketplace.

The opening remarks at the Northern Trust Economic Trends Breakfast will again be provided by Michael Knetter, dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business. Knetter, a former economic advisor to Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, annually provides his macroeconomic outlook at the conference.

Political insight at the event will be provided by state Rep. Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa).

More than 500 people attend the Northern Trust Economic Trends Breakfast every year.

Business executives interested in getting a jumpstart on 2008 are invited to attend the event. The individual admission fee is $50, and corporate tables for 10 are available for $500. For additional information, contact Sarah Wilson at (414) 277-8181, ext. 129.

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