All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
That’s why, as part of the questionnaire sent to each individual selected for the Wisconsin 275, BizTimes Milwaukee asked the state’s most influential business leaders to share their hobbies and passions outside of the office.
From collecting rye whiskey to studying Harry Houdini, below is a sampling of what the Wisconsin 275 do for fun.
Sports and the outdoors
Golf is one of the most popular pastimes for the Wisconsin 275, with 17 mentions, followed by running and biking. While some have participated in teams or even turned their sport of choice into a business, many are simply passionate about athletics.
Khalif El-Amin, co-founder and chief operating officer, Young Enterprising Society
“My first love/hobby/passion was basketball. As a young boy I always had a ball with me everywhere I went. Through my hard work and dedication, I was co-captain of my high school team which won back-to-back state championships in 2003 and 2004 and later went on to become an all-conference performer at UW-Stevens Point.”
Craig Dickman, managing director, TitletownTech
“Baseball. I played it when I was young, coached it as my kids were growing up and love visiting ballparks around the country. It led me to acquire two baseball teams – the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the class High-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders.”
John Hunzinger, president and CEO, Hunzinger Construction Company
“I enjoy hunting and fishing with family and friends and training our yellow Labrador retriever, Judge, to be the best hunter in the family.”
Alan Kaplan, CEO, UW Health
“I am a conservation farmer, which is a method of farming that promotes minimal soil disturbance and planting diversity.”
Emily Gruenewald, chief development and communications officer, Overture Center for the Arts
“While I like racing, I've come to realize I like the methodic work of a training plan – starting out my day doing something for myself that will make me incrementally better than the day before. It's the best therapy, a way to fall in love with all seasons, and a good reminder that everything is temporary. Some runs are good, and some aren't and that's okay.”
David Lubar, president and CEO, Lubar & Co.
“I love to hike in the mountains with my wife and family. We enjoy the beautiful views, being out in nature and the sense of accomplishment after a long day.”
Tina Chang, chairman, CEO and owner, SysLogic
“Tournament fishing – both peaceful and an adrenaline rush in one.”
For Jason Fields, president and CEO of the Madison Region Economic Partnership, staying athletic is his hobby – but his passion is “hanging out on the couch” with his wife.
He’s not alone: 20 leaders mentioned family and friends in their answers.
Arts and cultureTom Boldt, CEO, The Boldt Company
“Harry Houdini, anything with France, movies.”
Aaron Jagdfeld, president and CEO, Generac
“I'm a nerdy AFOL which stands for Adult Fan of Lego. I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s putting together Lego sets and building just about anything I could think of. Today, I still enjoy building – I use it more as a way to relax now, but I still really enjoy taking an idea and trying to make it come to life with those magical little bits of plastic.”
Zach Brandon, president, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce
“Bourbon/rye whiskey collecting.”
Joel Quadracci, chairman, president and CEO, Quad/Graphics
“I race cars, and I am a pilot. In fact, this summer I was at what’s known as The Greatest Aviation Celebration in the World, right here in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.”
Andy Nunemaker, CEO, Groupware Technologies
“I love photography and wish I spent more time pursuing it. In years past, I would walk 4 miles just to take the perfect photo.”
Jim Popp, CEO, Johnson Financial Group
I'm a bit of a serial tinkerer. If I wasn't a banker, I think I would enjoy being a builder of some sort.”
Peter Feigin, president, Milwaukee Bucks and Fiserv Forum
“The New York Times Crosswords.”
John Swallow, president and CEO, Carthage College
“Ensemble singing. Classical repertoire, barbershop, folk, and more.”
Joshua Jeffers, founder and CEO, J. Jeffers Co.
“I love history in all its forms. Local history. Art and architectural history. Medieval history. Anglo Saxon history. European, Roman, Middle Eastern, Asian history; geological/earth history, etc. I'm intrigued by the parallels between past cultures & leaders and our modern world. I also love collecting things, especially things of historical value, whether its coins, books, artwork, or even buildings.”
Michelle Schuler, manager, TechSpark Wisconsin (Microsoft)
“Food and comradery. There is nothing like cooking, laughing, and cheers to bring the smiles out in people.”
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