What Wisconsin CEOs Drive

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:42 pm

Todd Barden
President, Great Lakes Retirement Advisors LLC

 

What was your first car?
"It was a ’75 Pontiac Trans Am. White, keystone chrome rims, black interior, 400 hp, blue eagle decal on hood, gave me my need for speed! I owned it for three years and loved it!"

What was the coolest car you’ve owned, and why was it so special?
"It was an ’87 Porsche Carrera Targa. Red, black interior with black top, five speed with the whale tail. I dreamed of owning this car while I was a poor student, and the pleasure of the car was fantastic!"

What are you driving now?
"An  ’05 BMW X5  4.4 grey with black leather, sunroof, all the toys…an ’01 Porsche Boxster S red with tan leather,18-inch chrome wheels, black convertible top. Best of both worlds for our seasons!"

Do you own or lease?
"Sports cars I always buy, but the others I lease through my business."

What will be your next car or SUV?
"Aston Martin V8 Vantage .Great new design packed with awesome power!"

 


 


 

Christopher Carter
President & CEO CCI

 

What was your first car?
"The first car I ever personally owned was a 1972 Volkswagen beetle. Bright rust and yellow, the front quarter panels were missing and the headlights were attached to the frame because of it. I loved that car. It gave me freedom to go where I wanted when I wanted and to fly into class seconds before they started in high school."

What was the coolest car you’ve owned, and why was it so special?
"A Porsche Boxster. It is a convertible, so what little hair I have can blow in the wind at 90 mph on the Milwaukee highways (Just kidding Sherriff Clark!).

What are you driving now?
"I have two vehicles currently, A 2005 Chevy Suburban. Need to pull the boat and haul the girls to every event you can think of for girls. And the Porsche Boxster described above."

Do you own or lease?
"I own all my vehicles outright. I pay cash and tend to keep them for a good period of time so the benefits of owning are higher for me personally."

What will be your next car or SUV?
"I am looking at a Mercedes S600 class sedan. Fuel efficient and comfortable for a 6-foot, 3-inch frame. A little pricy, but it is well worth the drive."

 


 


 

Bob Chernow
RBC Dain Rauscher

 

What was your first car?
"My 1st car was a 1956 convertible Rambler. The canvass roof leaked, but it was baby blue and I thought very cool."

What was the coolest car you’ve owned, and why was it so special? 
"I had a series of lemons that were horrid. One where the rear windows both collapsed when I first opened them. The bolts had never been put in (this was a new car). With another, I had to replace 38 light bulbs. With a third, the manufacturer put an eight-cylinder motor on a six-cylinder mounting!"

What are you driving now?
"But my favorite was a car that I bought verrrrrrrrrrrry cheap. $300. I was in Philly and needed to drive to Ft Bragg NC. I had the radiator cleaned up, the hoses replaced, a new oil and grease job. I picked up my new bride, and we drove. She said, ‘It is cold. Turn the heat on!’ I did, and the car stalled. My wife looked at me and started laughing with great glee. There was white foam all over my shoes and pants. Evidently the garage guys switched the hoses when they replaced them and I was getting detergent bubbles all over me. I can still (40 years later) remember my wife’s laughter. Current car is a VW Passault. My wife has a similar version."

 


 


 

George Dalton
CEO, NOVO 1 Inc.

 

What was your first car?
"A 1934 Buick with side-mount tires. I bought it when I was 19 and took it completely apart and surprisingly put it back together and it all worked!"

What was the coolest car you’ve owned, and why was it so special?
"A 1962 Austin Healy 3000. It was and is a beautiful little throaty machine."

What are you driving now? (And tell us about it)
"An old man’s car – a Caddie STS that does 0 to 60 in about 4.9 seconds and handles like an open wheel racecar."

Do you own or lease?
"Own, I don’t like debt."

What will be your next car or SUV?
"BMW 760 or another Caddie. I have 34 other cars, and one of my favorites is a 1994 GMC Cyclone little black AWD truck that does 0 to 60 in 4.3 seconds!"

 


 


 

Shawn Doyle
Catral Doyle Creative Co.

 

What was your first car?
"At the age of 18, my twin brother and I were given a beater of our very own. It was a 1975 green, four-door Toyota Corolla. It was known amongst family and friends as ‘Tilly,’ which we owe to my 3-year-old brother’s inability to pronounce Toyota. Ah, this makes me think back to the days of no money and no care in the world. What mattered to us was that we had something to get us around. The great gas mileage almost made up for the rusted out hole in the floor board. When we went over a puddle, water would shoot up into the cabin unless you had your foot securely on the cardboard we had covering the hole. Toward the end of Tilly’s days, we would always have to park on an incline, because most of the time we had to push start it."

What was the coolest car you’ve owned, and why was it so special?
"The 1964 Chevy II Nova Station Wagon, 400 series hot rod I own right now. The passion for this vehicle – and hot rods in general – runs in my family. I have put a lot of time and energy into restoring this car, which originally came from Texas (in fact, I had to scrape off a Dallas Cowboys sticker from the rear window and replace it with a Packer one). "

What are you driving now?
"A Jeep Grand Cherokee is my everyday vehicle. My wife and I enjoy camping and boating with the kids, so we always need one vehicle that can accommodate everyone and everything we need for camping. The smaller, more comfortable sedan is left for my wife."

Do you own or lease?
"Own. My vehicles always take the brunt of the wear and tear, so that is one of many reasons we do not consider leasing. I would prefer last year’s model or something slightly older and pay outright rather than be concerned with loans or leasing my everyday vehicle.

What will be your next car or SUV?
"We are soon going to replace the Jeep with an SUV or four-door pickup truck. The exact make and model is still up in the air. Again, our decision is going to be based our need for a vehicle that fits our lifestyle and hobbies. Innovative features and amenities are icing on the cake."

 


 


 

Patti Genko
Patti Genko Communications

 

What was your first car?
"My first car was a graduation gift from my parents – a 1979 white chevy vega hatchback with red pinstripes and red and black and white plaid cloths seats with red vinyl interior. Not exactly something I picked out, but my parents were very sweet and generous to get me a car for college and put alot of thought into making it look sporty. It was really touching, as we were not rich people and for them to get me a new car of any kind was extravagant and appreciated."

What was the coolest car you’ve owned, and why was it so special? 
"I had a red Mitsubishi Eclipse with all the bells and whistles. I bought
it when I turned 40. It was my mid-life crisis car. It was a stick, and it just felt like a cool race car to me. I couldn’t afford what I really wanted – a Porsche Boxster or Jag, so this was the next-best thing to pretending I had one."

What are you driving now?
"I am driving my second Jeep Liberty limited edition with leather heated seats and sun roof, and most importantly four-wheel drive for winter! I love having a Jeep, and this one is silvery with dove grey leather interior and lots of space to live out of my car and take the business on the road. I like sitting up higher in the SUV’s. Very comfortable to drive all day and long distances and has great pick up, as it is a six-cylinder. Just love the whole Jeep experience."

Do you own or lease?
"I lease this vehicle and have owned and leased vehicles in the past. I just like the idea of getting rid of it after three or four years. As much as I drive, I am ready for a new vehicle by that time, and the last Jeep I owned, I was tired of putting money into it at 80,000 miles – new tires, new battery, etc. So, this is a good way to have reliable transportation for me at this time in my life."

What will be your next car or SUV?
"What I’ll get and what I can afford are two different things! I’d like a second car, a little convertible of some sort would be fun. I like the Saab 9-3. Test drove a silver one with black roof; just a blast. If I could have any sports car I wanted right now, I am into the Lexus SC430 – really sweet! I’d like it in indigo ink pearl (dark blue) with the camel leather please, only $65,000. Are you buying?"

 


 


 

Catherine Johnson
President, Sanborn Tube Sales Inc.

 

What was your first car?
"My first vehicle that I purchased was a 1976 AMC Pacer. It was between that and a Toyota Corolla. Why didn’t I pick the Toyota? It would have still been running, where as the Pacer we can be pretty sure is not alive or well. The car didn’t have air conditioning, which was a necessity since the car was all glass. It didn’t have power steering, which was a necessity, as it was very difficult for one person to get out of a parking place, and if I had a passenger, they would get to help me! Also, don’t ask me why I popped for radial tires, but I did, and the car was terminally out of alignment and shook to the point where I would find screws from the dash board on the floor mats."

What was the coolest car you’ve owned, and why was it so special?
"Now on to happier times. Coolest car is the car I am driving now and have been for the past four vehicles. I drive an Audi A8L. The reason I love the car is the safety features and the engineering of the performance. The vehicle is large enough to be comfortable but fast enough to feel sporty

Do you own or lease?"I have leased the last four vehicles through the business. I lease, as it is not as large of a cash drain as purchasing would be. I like leasing, as when the lease is up I get a new vehicle and avoid all maintenance aspects of owing a car."

What will be your next car or SUV?
"My next vehicle will be in the same classification – mid-size luxury car with an emphasis on safety and performance."

 


 


 

Thomas Klug
Senior vice president-wealth management, Citigroup SmithBarney

 

What was your first car?
"A 1967 Chevrolet station wagon. Somewhat embarrassing, but needed it to haul band equipment in the early days of my music career."

What was the coolest car you’ve owned, and why was it so special?
"It was the first new car I purchased – a 1975 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442. Dark green with gold metal flaking, dual white racing stripes, white leather interior with bucket seats that swiveled 90 degrees for getting in and out … loaded with basically every option there was. It’s the one vehicle to this day that I think about often and wish I had."

What are you driving now?
"A 1995 Pontiac Grand Prix GT. Pretty much fully loaded with the available options. Wanted to stay with an American car and didn’t want to go too luxurious or extravagant due to the sheer number of miles I put on each year." 

Do you own or lease?
"I own it. Basically because of the mileage involved."

What will be your next car or SUV?
"Haven’t really given it much thought but I know it will be a car (already had an SUV) and may have to finally look at some of the foreign manufacturers since it’s basically all built and manufactured in the USA nowadays."

 


 


 

Lupe Martinez
President and CEO, UMOS Inc.

What was your first car?
"Renault. My Dad bought it for me when I was about 17 years old. Not sure what year it was … 1950’s? Standard shift. The bearings on the stick shift were broke. I loved it because it was my first car. Because it was a foreign car, it was not easy to repair."

What was the coolest car you’ve owned, and why was it so special?
"Chevy Super Sport. It had a four-barrel Holley carburetor and a V-8 engine."

What are you driving now?
"A Buick LeSabre – a grandpa car. Comfortable and a quiet ride."

Do you own or lease?
"I always have owned my cars."

What will be your next car or SUV?
"My next car will be another grandpa car. Once I retire, I plan on going for long drives. I will need another comfortable and quiet car … with a large trunk for suitcases."

 


 


 

Mark Nemschoff
President and CEO, Nemschoff Inc.

What was your first car?
"My parents bought me a 1929 Model A Ford when I was 14. I drove it many miles back and forth on our driveway, learning to clutch etc., and by the time I was 16, I was quite good and had not added any mileage to the odometer.  When I was 18, I dismantled this car completely and built it into a hot rod. Really too bad, as it was a fine car, but not what I wanted at the time."

What was the coolest car you’ve owned, and why was it so special?
"I have been into car racing most of my life, and recently retired from a 10-year career in offshore power boat racing. I am a gear head and appreciate performance vehicles. Therefore, my coolest car was a 1967 Corvette coupe that had all the trick parts from our racing versions that we ran in 1969-70. It was street legal but exceptionally fast and exciting."

What are you driving now?
Now I drive an Audi RS6 as my everyday street car. Very subtle but fast and four-wheel drive for our winters, too. I also have a 1983 Ferrari 308 GTS QV Euro version, a 1983 Ferrari 512BBi and a 2006 ZO6 Corvette. You may find me driving any of them on nice days."

Do you own or lease?
"Own, since I never know how long I will want to keep the car."

What will be your next car or SUV?
"Probably another Audi performance sedan."

 


 


 

Beth Nicols
Executive Director, Milwaukee Downtown

 

What was your first car?
"Blue 1980 Ford Escort. I loved it! It was my boss’s daughter’s car, and he let me finance it. Learning how to drive on stick shift was quite the interesting experience!"  

What was the coolest car you’ve owned, and why was it so special?
"The car I own now. It’s a 2003 Lexus ES 300, and I love the look, feel and gas mileage."

Do you own or lease?
"Own – such a great deal – bought it used and I assumed the warranty – love Lexus!

What will be your next car or SUV?
"I hope to drive this one for the next five-plus years. Probably another Lexus!"

 


 


 

Ulice Payne Jr.
President, Addison-Clifton LLC

 

What was your first car?
"A 1967 Ford Torino – green with a hole in the driver’s side floor board."

What was the coolest car you’ve owned, and why was it so special?
"My 1994 Chevy Tahoe. It fits me and I feel I can go anywhere I want to go."

What are you driving now?
"A 2007 Chevy Tahoe."

Do you own or lease?
"I own the 1994, and I lease the 2007."

 


 


 

Andy Tarnoff
Co-founder of OnMilwaukee.com

What was your first car?
"I leased a 1996 Toyota Tercel the week I graduated from college. It was tiny, but it had air conditioning.  Along with a friend, I packed it so full I could barely fit inside – then drove 800 miles from Washington to Milwaukee to start my life as an adult. It was far from fancy, but it served me well."

What was the coolest car you’ve owned, and why was it so special?
"My 1975 MGB convertible that I bought in 2001. Every time I sit in it, it puts a smile on my face. I obviously don’t drive it in the winter, though as spring approaches each year, I find myself daydreaming about cruising with the top down.  It’s the first car I’ve ever owned that has a soul."

What are you driving now?
"A 2005 Toyota Prius (the practical car). A 2005 Saab 9-3 (the professional car). A 1975 MGB (the fun car). A 2003 Aprilia Scarabeo scooter (the bike to take to Summerfest that gets 75 mpg)."

Do you own or lease?
"We lease the Saab, but own the rest. Considering how often I buy/sell cars, it seemed like the right choice to avoid a long-term commitment." 

What will be your next car or SUV?
"I’d like to try another hybrid, but the perfect one might not be out there when my Saab’s lease expires next spring. This is my second Saab, and I’m strongly considering the refreshed model year 2008 if it performs as well as my current 9-3."

 


 


 

Greg Theiss
President, Theiss Interior Design Ltd.

What was your first car?
"Ah yes … The ‘Banana Wagon.’ My first car was given to me in 1964 by my Aunt Libby when I was just turning 16, and I was totally thrilled. Since she was in her 80s and didn’t drive and had been living with us a few years, while this four-wheeled ‘rocket to freedom’ sat dormant in our garage for a couple of years,  I knew in advance it would be mine when I turned 16. Of course, being a car enthusiast my whole life, building model cars and airplanes, and driving my uncle’s beer trucks when ever I got the chance, I couldn’t resist sneaking this beauty out of the garage now and then, to wash it, then out for a little romp around Appleton just to get the cob webs out, but mostly to show it off to my friends."

What was the coolest car you’ve owned, and why was it so special?
"Coolest car I ever owned was a car I had I dreamed of racing at Elkhart Lake Motor Speedway. Upon graduation from high school, while working for the railroad supposedly saving my money for college, I needed a car.  I found a 5-year-old 1961, Austin Healey ‘Bug Eye’ Sprite. The car was a thrill to drive, and although I couldn’t afford to race it, legally, and had to sell it within a year of owning it due to being drafted, (this was the Vietnam era), after some time in the Air Force I would occasionally see one going down the road. And although it would only be a ‘street version,’ I would find my self visualizing crossing the finish line in the June Sprints."

What are you driving now?
"I drive a 1987 red, Porsche 911 Targa Carrera. It’s in great condition and fun to drive although completely stock except for some enhancements to the wheels."

Do you own or lease?
"Own. I just like owning my cars. When I find cars I like, I take good care of them and drive them a long time. My Mercedes is a 1993 500SEL and has over 150,000 miles on it, but it is a beautiful and rather unique car. and I’ll probably keep it another six or seven more years. I also don’t like car payments, so once they’re paid for, I’m way ahead of the game."

What will be your next car or SUV?
"I’ll probably never own a sports utility vehicle. I don’t like them for the purposes most people use them for. If someone truly goes off road or one lives out in the boon docks or mountains, they’re great, but for tooling around town, they don’t impress me. Ninety percent of the people who have them only have them because of image. I think, pound for pound, if someone only has one vehicle, a van is the most practical and comfortable vehicle out there."

 


 


 

Susan Wehrley
Consultant

 

What was your first car?
"A green Firebird with a T-top."

What was the coolest car you’ve owned, and why was it so special?
"Loved my black Porche Boxster. Thought it was so fun to ride around town with the top down with one of my teenage girls."

What are you driving now?
"I am driving a black Saab convertible. I love the convertible and the practicality of being able to get four people in the car. Always seemed like I needed that extra seat when I had the Porche." 

Do you own or lease?
"Lease – I like to change cars every three years, so my accountant said that made good business sense to lease and write it off through the business."

What will be your next car or SUV?
"I love the Lexus convertible and am considering that."

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