BizTimes Milwaukee | June 21, 2021

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JUN 21 - JUL 18, 2021 » $5.00

Locally Owned Since 1995


Family Value







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Tuesday, June 29, 2021 2:00-2:30pm – Registration | 2:30-6:30pm – Program followed by cocktails & hors d’oeuvres Brookfield Conference Center

Building Value and (Re)Creating Culture Join BizTimes Media and a distinguished group of family business owners and leaders for idea sharing and hands-on learning to help you as you look past the pandemic to what’s next. Learn and network in person with others who are on the same journey as they navigate their way through recreating their culture post pandemic, grow through innovation, transition to a new generation and more. The program begins with a keynote conversation, followed by a panel discussion, concurrent breakout sessions and a cocktail reception.


Keynote Speaker: - Carl Rick, Training Manager/Third Generation Spokesperson, Kwik Trip (1)

Panelists: - Ollie Ellsworth, President, GDI Adhesives (2) - Martin Gallun, Chairman/Owner, Metalcraft of - Mayville, Inc. (3) - Lacey Sadoff, President, Badger Liquor (4) - Andrew Steinhafel, President, Steinhafels (5)





Breakout Sessions: Living Through the Sale of Your Business Nick Fricano, Founder & CEO of Healthfuse will talk about living through the sale of his business in 2020 to a private equity firm: pre-sale, transition, and post-sale where Nick currently serves as Healthfuse CEO.

Master Your Growth Goals Meeting your goals requires planning. This interactive session will discuss the how and why of establishing breakeven points by department, service, product, and/or location – bring your questions.

Proposed Wealth Tax Changes Under the Biden Administration This session will provide a summary of the current wealth tax system, the proposed changes, and steps to consider now or in the near future to minimize such taxes.

Register Today! Sponsors:





BizTimes Milwaukee (ISSN 1095-936X & USPS # 017813) Volume 27, Number 6, June 21, 2021 – July 18, 2021. BizTimes Milwaukee is published bi-weekly, except monthly in January, February, July, August and December by BizTimes Media LLC at 126 N. Jefferson St., Suite 403, Milwaukee, WI 53202-6120, USA. Basic annual subscription rate is $96. Single copy price is $5. Back issues are $8 each. Periodicals postage paid at Milwaukee, WI and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS. NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: Send address corrections to BizTimes Milwaukee, 126 N. Jefferson St., Suite 403, Milwaukee, WI 53202-6120. Entire contents copyright 2021 by BizTimes Media LLC. All rights reserved.


Family Value

Leaning on legacy and longevity


14 Real Estate 31 Notable Women on Corporate Boards 38 Strategies 38 FAMILY BUSINESS David Borst


Special Report


39 OWNERSHIP Dan Steininger 40 TECHNOLOGY Jim Lindell


28 Startups and biotech

Coverage includes a look at two Wisconsin companies, SHINE Medical Technologies and NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, that are positioned to become critical parts of the medical isotope supply chain in the United States.

Partner with Wisconsin’s Bank for Business®

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Leading Edge

BIZTIMES DAILY – The day’s most significant news →


A dinosaur diorama at the Milwaukee Public Museum.

JFC backs $40 million for MPM, denies funding for state office building in Milwaukee By Andrew Weiland, staff writer The state Legislature’s powerful budget committee has approved an allocation of $40 million for a proposed new Milwaukee Public Museum and rejected a request from Gov. Tony Evers to provide $164 million for a new state office building in Milwaukee. The Republican-controlled

Joint Finance Committee’s funding endorsement is a significant step toward MPM receiving state funds for its project. MPM president and chief executive officer Ellen Censky said the committee’s budget approval is “the necessary funding catalyst” for the $240 million project, which


Roundy’s says it wants to hire more than people to work at its 94 Pick ‘n Save and 12 Metro Market grocery stores in Wisconsin.


4 / BizTimes Milwaukee JUN 21, 2021

includes building a new museum, moving collections from the current location and growing the organization’s endowment. “The state’s investment in this project enables us to proceed with design and development plans and provides the necessary foundation for private investment, which will fund the majority of the project’s cost,” Censky said. Censky has said the museum will seek about $150 million in private donations to fund the project, but it has not yet gone public with a fundraising campaign. The museum would need another $50 million in public dollars to make up the gap. Censky has said it is seeking additional federal and county funding. The new museum is planned as a 230,000-square-foot development at the northeast corner of North Sixth Street and McKinley Avenue in downtown Milwaukee. It would replace MPM’s current 400,000-square-foot, county-owned facility at 800 W. Wells St., where the museum’s accreditation status is in jeopardy due to its deteriorating condition. The new facility would also be the new home to Betty Brinn Children’s Museum. Meanwhile, after state lawmakers declined to put money toward a proposed new state office building on Milwaukee’s Near West Side, a group championing

the project says it still backs the proposal. State officials have long eyed a replacement to the existing downtown Milwaukee office building at 819 N. Sixth St. A new office building, proposed for the southwest corner of 27th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, would also consolidate other offices in the area. The project had the strong backing of the business community. Advocacy efforts were led by Near West Side Partners Inc., a nonprofit group that aims to revitalize the Milwaukee neighborhood. NWSP previously said the office building would “serve as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization.” Keith Stanley, executive director of NWSP, said his group remains committed to the project. “The state has been, and will continue to be, a catalytic partner in the Near West Side,” he said. “We look forward to working with the state on their investment in the land at 27th and Wisconsin, and remain committed to bringing a new state office building to that site in the future. The Milwaukee State Office Building will be a significant milestone in the catalytic development occurring in the Near West Side, presenting the opportunity to bring jobs, continued investment and further economic development to our community.” n


Join Jon Gordon as he hosts this monthly webcast featuring America’s top business minds and thought leaders.


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The Novel Economy: Thriving in a Digital Environment BRIAN SOLIS

This eight-time bestselling author and international keynote speaker is a world-renowned digital anthropologist and futurist who serves as the Global Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce. Forbes described him as “one of the more creative and brilliant business minds of our time.” ZDNet labeled him “one of the 21st century business world’s leading thinkers” and he was recently named a “Top Futurist Speaker” by Read/Write.


Leading Edge




BMO HARRIS OFFICES IN BMO TOWER DE V E LOPE R : Irgens Partners LLC A RC H I T E C T: Stantec C ON T R AC TOR : Pepper Construction C O S T S : Undisclosed Y E A R C OM PL E T E D : June 2020

6 / BizTimes Milwaukee JUN 21, 2021

BMO HARRIS moved into its new offices in the BMO Tower last summer. The bank could not have predicted it would be moving into its new digs amid a global pandemic, which has caused the office to be at below capacity ever since. However, BMO leaders have a plan in place to bring back workers. Jud Snyder, BMO’s senior executive for southeastern Wisconsin, said the company has loosened a lot of its restrictions and is seeing more employees come into the office as time goes on. Each area of the business has its own plan, but most workers should be back by the fall. BMO couldn’t ask for a better environment to entice workers to

the office. Each floor has a large cafeteria space, along with places to collaborate or make private phone calls. There is also artwork made by local artists throughout the facility. “When you look at the structure of the new office, there’s a ‘right to light’ concept, meaning all of the offices are in the interior, and all of our employees’ spaces are exterior near the floor-to-ceiling windows,” Snyder said. “Then there’s all of these collaborative spaces where people can go into a two-person huddle room, an eight-person conference room, a video (conferencing) room, (and) there’s all of this new technology that will help people work together.” n


2020 Edition

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION DOING THE RIGHT THING IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS. Study after study shows that diverse workplaces and work teams are more innovative, more creative, and better for the bottom line. We invite your company to reserve your place on the f ront lines of progress by placing your logo on the f ront cover of BizTimes Media for only $850. Your support of the cover will go towards a full month of exposure for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion in print, online, and in the BizTimes newsletters.




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CRAFT BEVERAGE WAREHOUSE LLC L O C AT I O N : 3945 N. 31st St., Milwaukee


Leading Edge

F O U N D E R S: Kyle Stephens and Michael DeGrave P R O D U C T: Craft beer materials distributor WEBSITE: E M P L OY E E S: 2 GOAL: Expand team, develop relationships with customers and shippers. EXPERIENCE: Stephens was previously Milwaukee-based Good City Brewing’s chief financial officer. DeGrave has co-founded and owned multiple businesses including real estate firm Cream City Capital and Routine Baseball, a clothing brand and digital magazine.

Craft Beverage Warehouse provides a lifeline for small craft beverage makers By Brandon Anderegg, staff writer

8 / BizTimes Milwaukee JUN 21, 2021

Kyle Stephens and Michael DeGrave

BY MAY 2020, Craft Beverage Warehouse co-founder Kyle Stephens knew that an aluminum can shortage was imminent and that small breweries would bear the brunt of the crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic forced beverage makers to quickly shift from draft and fountain to bottles and cans, driving up demand for those materials and prices for small to midsized brewers. So, in a mix of intuition, experience and timing, Stephens and his business partner Michael DeGrave launched CBW, a beverage-packaging materials distributor for small craft breweries, cideries, wineries and seltzer makers. Stephens, Good City Brewing Co.’s former CFO, knew that many small craft beverage makers didn’t have strong relationships with can manufacturers and that, without an option to buy cans in smaller quantities, it would be difficult for them to survive. “Just being in the industry, I saw it coming, and I saw the smallest of the small breweries and beverage manufacturers being the ones that were going to be left out,” Stephens said. “I was like, ‘if I don’t do this, nobody’s going to service this customer base.’” Small craft beverage makers were challenged to find cans and when they did find supply, they ordered by the half-truck load at a

higher price rather than by a sufficient one to two pallets, Stephens said. By April of last year, Stephens had already placed orders for cans, allowing CBW to have available supply when other distributors were without product. Now the one-year-old company’s market covers 49 states including Alaska. Will CBW’s niche wholesale business still have a place in the market as supply levels return to normal post-pandemic? Stephens says “yes,” based on demand so far. But it’s also CBW’s ability to make large purchase orders and the storage space it can provide to customers that give the company staying power, Stephens said. “We think we’ve positioned ourselves well with our online platform and with the fact that we’ll pretty much throw stuff on a truck next day or sometimes even the same day as our customers call, which a lot of places don’t do,” Stephens said. Now CBW is exploring ways to customize beverage carriers for its customers, including six-pack carriers with printed designs or logos and customizable case trays sent to liquor stores. “With these other operational changes, we could pull in Michael’s background and do merchandising for breweries too,” Stephens said. n

presents the 14th annual:

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

2:00-2:30pm – Registration | 2:30-6:30pm – Program followed by cocktails & hors d’oeuvres In Person - Brookfield Conference Center

The M&A Market is White Hot – Are you a Seller or a Buyer? Join us (in person) along with many of the region’s business buyers and sellers, for BizTimes’ annual M&A Forum and learn about best practices and the latest in what’s trending as it relates to mergers and acquisitions. For business owners who weathered the last twelve months, now is the perfect time to buy or sell. You’ll hear from a buy-side panel and a sell-side panel filled with local executives who have just gone through the merger or acquisition process and walk away with insightful and actionable information to guiding future financial decisions. Panel Discussion: Selling Your Business From Strategy to Execution - You’ll hear from company owners who have gone through the sale process and learn what advice they have if you’re considering selling. • Dan Cahalane, President, American Roller and Plasma Coatings (1) • Rob Dillon, Executive Vice President, OwnersEdge (2) • Michael Malatesta, Leader, ERC Midwest, LLC (3) Moderator: Ann Hanna, Managing Director & Owner, Taureau Group (4) Panel Discussion: Bringing it All Together Integration and Value Creation Post-Deal - This session will focus on finding the right acquisition target, managing the transition, aligning cultures and leveraging synergies needed to achieve sustainable growth and post-deal value creation. • Sequoya Borgman, Managing Director, Borgman Capital (5) • Karen Hung, CEO, Silver Rock Consulting (6) • Al Orr, CEO & Shareholder, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c. (7) • Terry Schneider, President, Welcome Dairy Holdings, LLC/Gamay Food Ingredients, LLC (8) Moderator: Inge Plautz, Senior Vice President, Old National Bank (9)









Stay for concurrent breakout sessions followed by networking and a cocktail reception. Breakout session Topics: • Key Factors Driving Company Value - Understanding what impacts purchase price is essential to maximize your company’s value - You’ll gain insight into the levers you can pull to drive value in your business before you start the sale process. • Funding Your Transaction – A Candid Conversation on the Capital Stack - This session will dive into the nuances of financing a transaction. • “Tax & Deal Structure Insights” - This session will provide an overview of tax and deal structuring considerations that should be analyzed in all transactions, including the tax structure of the transaction.


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Leading Edge

B I Z T R AV E L E R :

NA PA A N D S O N O M A W I N E C O U N T RY C A SE Y S TRINGER Chief winemaker, Stringer Cellars

In 2011, the Stringer family began making wine in their garage in Mequon. The passion project grew into a business – still based in the Milwaukee area today – and production was relocated to California in 2017. Prior to permanently moving there two years later, Casey Stringer would voyage out to wine country once, sometimes twice, a month from Milwaukee. He offers these suggestions when making the trek. n

T R A N S P O R TAT I O N : “I always found it easiest to fly into Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport instead of San Francisco. It is a small airport that is right in the heart of Sonoma wine country. Plus, you avoid the potential for horrible San Francisco traffic, and it’s only a half-hour drive over the mountain into Napa Valley.”



“Where to even start? Napa/Sonoma is arguably the food and hospitality capital of America, so you really can’t go too wrong. My favorite town to make my home base for a trip is Calistoga, at the very north end of Napa Valley. You can easily get over to Sonoma from there and explore all of the Napa Valley to the south. I recommend staying at the Indian Springs Resort, grabbing one of the provided bikes for the day and exploring the countless wineries right around town. I would then hit the pool before eating dinner at Sol Bar, my favorite restaurant in the whole valley.”

“You’re coming for wine, right? I recommend hiring a driver for a few days to take you around to your winery visits. Not only does a driver get you around safely, but they have ins at smaller, off-the-beaten-path wineries that others don’t even know about. Keep in mind that Sonoma wineries often have more varied wines, including Pinot Noir and Zinfandel – and in Napa, Cabernet is king! I would also recommend taking an afternoon off wine to check out the Sonoma Coast.”

T R AV E L T I P : “Don’t try to pack too many things into one day. It is a really big area and often the distances between wineries and restaurants are a bit of a drive. I would also recommend visiting in March or April. It’s a quiet time around here, so reservations are easier to come by and I think it’s the most beautiful.”

10 / BizTimes Milwaukee JUN 21, 2021

Keep up with BizTimes’ 2021 roundup of the leaders making a difference throughout southeast Wisconsin. At companies across southeast Wisconsin, notable executives are running businesses, navigating company restructurings, serving on boards, running marketing departments, and investing in growth throughout the region. The notable individuals profiled in these categories are nominated by their peers at work and in the community.


MARKETING EXECUTIVES Notable Marketing Executives Profiling accomplished women steering the marketing functions of their companies and nonprofits, while serving as leaders and role models in their workplaces and community. Nomination deadline: July 2, 2021 | Issue date: August 16, 2021

NEW! Rising Stars in Banking & Finance BizTimes’ inaugural Rising Stars in banking & finance are young, talented, individuals who are changing their firms, industries and communities with their dedication. Nomination deadline: July 30, 2021 Issue date: September 13, 2021


in finance & accounting

Notable Women in Insurance The executives on this list are shaping their own organizations as well as the path forward for other women in the industry. Nomination deadline: September 10, 2021 | Issue date: October 25, 2021 Notable Commercial Real Estate Leaders The brokers, directors, investors, developers and finance professionals on this list are among those shaping high-profile commercial real estate in Chicago. Many have brokered deals for and developed the city’s most recognizable properties. Others are helping to steer industry groups that are fostering the next generation of leadership in commercial real estate. Nomination deadline: September 24, 2021 | Issue date: November 8, 2021 Notable Food & Beverage Executives The executives on this list are shaping their own organizations as well as the path forward for others in the food and beverage manufacturing industry, while mentoring the next wave of professionals and finding ways to give back to their communities. Nomination deadline: October 29, 2021 | Issue date: December 13, 2021

To view this year’s winners and nominate, visit and

Leading Edge



I love my MMAC Roundtable. It has provided so much insight I wouldn’t have otherwise had. I get to speak to other business owners who are going through similar challenges - it makes you feel much less on an island! - Morgan Schnabl Founder and Owner

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MY FAVORITE TECH JASON LIU CEO, Zywave As chief executive officer of fast-growing Wauwatosa-based insurance technology provider Zywave, Jason Liu relies on several tech tools to keep him productive and organized. Here are a few of his favorites:


July 15, 5-8 pm

Sherman Phoenix

3536 W Fond Du Lac Ave, Milwaukee Get ready for Unwrapped, an evening of community, creativity and food! Join the party: this outdoor event features top area chefs preparing delicious dishes using McDonald’s ingredients. Enjoy your meal in-person, pick up your food to-go or donate it to The Tandem restaurant to provide free community meals. This is a wonderful opportunity to support local entrepreneurs and Sherman Park!

“This is an app for your phone that offers an almost laptop-like experience to do video conferencing and collaboration. It’s very seamless and fully integrated into Microsoft Outlook and Calendar. I realize that many are still using Zoom, but Teams has really caught up and has advantages by tying into Outlook and the Microsoft product suite.”

APPLE WATCH “For me, my Apple Watch is necessary for long runs before work or for business trips so I can run and still have access to email, text and phone. I like that I don’t have to carry my phone on a run. I also use it to listen to podcasts while traveling on business.”

TINY SCANNER “This is a free app that enables you to use your phone as a scanner so you don’t have to buy or maintain a digital scanner. I use it for any paper docs I have to sign and scan. It’s so much more convenient than the traditional scanner.”

SAP CONCUR “This is a game-changer for those who remember the old days of copying receipts on a copier or fax. It offers the ability to auto scan in receipts and attach them to expenses, which is critical for those who travel a lot for business.” n

12 / BizTimes Milwaukee JUN 21, 2021


Who’s on the Board?

A recent survey of readers.

Is your company having trouble finding people to fill open positions? YES:




Share your opinion! Visit to cast your vote in the next Biz Poll.


• Thomas W. Florsheim, chairman emeritus of Weyco Group • Thomas W. Florsheim Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Weyco Group • John W. Florsheim, president, chief operating officer and assistant secretary of Weyco Group • Frederick P. Stratton Jr., chairman

emeritus and former chairman and CEO of Briggs & Stratton • Robert Feitler, former president and chief operating officer of Weyco Group • Cory L. Nettles, managing director of Generation Growth Capital, Inc. • Tina Chang, CEO of SysLogic Inc.

Hunger Task Force needed to meet greater food assistance demands during the pandemic. We, at First Midwest Bank, helped them close on a 120,000 square foot facility to continue feeding Milwaukee. If you have plans to grow your business, we have ideas to help backed by over 100 years of commitment to the Milwaukee community. Contact us today. Dave Werner Market President 414.270.3231


® / 13

Real Estate

REAL ESTATE WEEKLY – The week’s most significant real estate news →

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1400 S. Union St. Owner: Union Street Holdings LLC Tenant: Pete’s Fruit Market

5 1304-1306 S. Cesar E. Chavez Drive Owner: Maria Torrijos Retail tenant: Taqueria Los Comales

14 / BizTimes Milwaukee JUN 21, 2021

2 1337 S. Cesar E. Chavez Drive Owner: Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers Tenants: Chase Bank, Sixteenth Street

6 1308 S. Cesar E. Chavez Drive Owner: Prieto Property Holding I LLC Tenants: Iglesia Jesus Pan De Vida, The AllStaff Group, Zsophi’s Esthetics

3 1243-1247 S. Cesar E. Chavez Drive Owner: E. Villarreal Properties LLC Tenants: U.S. Cellular, Sixteenth Street Community Prevention Center

7 1322-1338 S. Cesar E. Chavez Drive Owner: Maribel Estrada Tenants: Duranni Law Firm, Just Eyebrows, Liberty Tax

4 1232-1234 S. Cesar E. Chavez Drive Owner: Miguel and Norma Herrera Retail tenant: Beto’s Pizza

8 1577 W. Greenfield Ave. Owners: Sulieman Mohammad, Taisir Suliman, Mowafaq Abuawwad Tenants: Enzo, Icon






This building, located at the southeast corner of Second and Walker streets in Walker’s Point, is so underwhelming that it’s officially described as a parking lot by the city. It was purchased this spring for $265,000 by an investors group registered to Matthew Strong. He was represented in the deal by Marnie Noel of Noel Real Estate Advisors. Noel said in an email the new owner will improve the property for his personal use. It will not be redeveloped for any type of public use or venue. It’s still unclear what Strong has in mind for the property. As of early June, no building permits had been pulled for the structure in recent months, according to city records.



FILER & STOWELL REDEVELOPMENT SITE IN BAY VIEW Right now, they’re a collection of tired warehouse buildings, mostly used for boat storage. But in a few years, they could provide housing for hundreds of people. Kenosha-based Bear Development plans to begin construction next year for the Filer & Stowell redevelopment project. The name references the historic Filer & Stowell woodworking shop on the 10-acre site. The roughly $100 million project will convert the buildings, located southeast of East Becher and South First streets in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood, into 300 units of mostly affordable housing. The developer applied for affordable housing tax credits this year to help finance the project but did not receive them. Instead, it plans to use non-competitive housing tax credits, historic tax credits through the National Park Service and an affordable housing program grant through the Federal Home Loan Banks.

Welcome Pat & Al Trusted Leaders Worth Knowing Together, they bring over five decades of financial experience and a commitment to serving the evolving needs of our clients. Along with their banking and wealth leadership, they are dedicated volunteers in the communities where they live and work. As Wisconsin’s largest family-owned financial services company, we’ve served families and businesses with banking, wealth and insurance solutions for over 50 years.

AL ARAQUE Products and services offered by these Johnson Financial Group companies: Johnson Bank, Johnson Wealth Inc. and Johnson Insurance Services, LLC.


Senior Vice President Director of Consumer & Private Banking

Senior Vice President Director of Wealth Services / 15


RECRUIT TOMORROW’S WORKFORCE Changing the image of careers in manufacturing and the skilled trades in Wisconsin. A GU I DE TO



COOL STUFF page 20


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STUFF BLOWN UP page 14 Featuring the new Komatsu Mining headquarters

COST OF LIVING page 38 Personal budgets and finding a salary that works for you

could I make a career out of it?




01-09 STUFF SE WI 2020 Front of Book.indd 1

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Thank you to our 2020/2021 STUFF partners! STATE OF WISCONSIN







r To




Tuesday, June 29, 2021

2:00-2:30pm – Registration | 2:30-6:30pm – Program followed by cocktails & hors d’oeuvres Brookfield Conference Center SPONSOR MESSAGES:

Talent shortages. Rising wage costs. Interrupted supply chains. Frustrated customers. Today’s business environment is under unrelenting strain. Davis|Kuelthau’s business continuity team is committed to helping family and closely-held businesses navigate the turbulent water. From timely guidance addressing workforce hurdles, contract risks, and tax relief to live Q&A webinars and one-on-one business consultation, D|K is here for you. As a leading business law firm, we advise a wide array of companies including specialty manufacturers, distributors, real estate and construction firms, food and beverage producers and retailers, and B2B service providers. Our team of corporate, employment and risk management attorneys bring real-world experience, understanding, and a results-oriented mindset to help businesses through the highs, the lows and everything in between so they can remain focused on what they do best. When the time is right, we would be delighted to speak with you about your legal needs. Visit us at: Joseph E. Tierney IV President | Corporate and Real Estate Attorney Davis|Kuelthau, s.c.

The Riverwood Wealth Management Group at Morgan Stanley is pleased to once again sponsor the BizTimes Family & Closely Held Business Summit. Our team focuses on helping families compliment the complexities of ownership transition to the next generation, employees and/or third parties with their personal private wealth management financial plans and investment strategies. While every family’s situation presents its own unique challenges, we focus on guiding our clients through advanced tax, estate and trust planning, tax minimization strategies, family governance and ownership dynamics, philanthropic giving, investment management and borrowing solutions to help them achieve their goals. Our mission is to ensure the wealth created through generations of hard work is utilized to enrich the lives of our clients, their children and the communities and organizations they care about. Jeffrey J. Krause, CPWA®, CFP® The Riverwood Wealth Management Group First Vice President Financial Advisor Morgan Stanley

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e u l a V y l i m



ity v e g n o l cy and

a g e l n o g Leanin

BY MAREDITHE MEYER, staff writer

IN TODAY’S ERA OF BIG BUSINESS AND GLOBALIZATION, it’s easy for some to forget that the majority of businesses in the U.S. are owned or controlled by families.


18 / BizTimes Milwaukee JUN 21, 2021

While many family-owned businesses fit the “mom and pop” archetype that may come to mind, those two identities are far from synonymous. In fact, some of the country’s largest publicly traded corporations are, at least partly, owned by family: Wal-Mart Inc., Ford Motor Company, Dell Technologies, Tyson Foods Inc. and Nike Inc. among them.

Wisconsin has long been home to many family businesses, with experts tracing the trend back to mass immigration from Germany and other parts of Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as the state’s geographic positioning along the Great Lakes. The influence of those cultures and the opportunity of inland waterways gave rise to industry, agriculture and trade. “If you go back in time, what occurred (in Germany), in the trades primarily, was that groups would get together, and they would form a club or a guild. Families would be part of that, and it was traditional that people would pass along not only their name but also their family enterprise. … There was a strong connectivity between your name and who you (were),” said David Borst, executive director and chief operating officer of Family Business Leadership Partners. Many businesses now in their fourth or fifth generations were originally built on the promise and pursuit of the American Dream, and some were born out of pure necessity to provide. While the structure and perhaps meaning of “family-owned” has had to adapt to the fast-paced business landscape of the 21st century, many of the values woven into the fabric of these organizations have stood the test of time and remain central to their culture and operation. It’s these values, such as longevity, flexibility, commitment to quality and care for employees, that set many family-owned businesses apart from their competitors – in the eyes of both customers and employees.

Standing on yesterday, investing in tomorrow For Pewaukee-based Steinhafels, Inc., building a business over four generations means it’s had time to establish trust with customers. “I think consumers today are a little distrustful of new brands because there’s a new brand popping up every two seconds trying to tell you that they have the best new product,” said president Andrew Steinhafel. “You start a business to make money, but because we’ve been in business for 88 years in Milwaukee, people know that we’re not here to just make a quick buck.” Steinhafel represents the fourth generation of his family to lead the business, recently taking over the president role from his uncle Gary Steinhafel. In May, the Steinhafel family sold all of its stock in the company to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), which makes the company 100% employee-owned but family-led. The company’s value proposition covers the full lifecycle of the consumer’s furniture shopping experience, said Andrew Steinhafel, from first interactions with sales associates to product servicing down the road. “Things happen, and if there’s an issue with the piece of furniture after you purchase it and after it’s

in your home, we are here and still in business to take care of it,” he said. But amid mounting competitive pressure and shifts in consumer expectations, reputation can only take the company so far. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly accelerated the industry’s shift toward digital, and giants like Amazon continue to set the pace. “We have a brand that people hopefully trust and they will give us the benefit of the doubt, but when you can’t meet the consumers’ expectations in these different channels or different models, that’s when you start losing people and that’s where you start losing that competitive advantage,” said Steinhafel. A primarily brick-and-mortar business prior to the pandemic, Steinhafels has had to invest heavily in digital marketing and its e-commerce capabilities, not as a replacement but as a complement to the in-store experience. The retailer is gearing up to launch a new website later this summer that will speed up and improve the process of getting products in front of the consumer. “When a family business wants to make an investment .... they know that they’re in business for the long haul,” said Dean Fowler, a family business advisor and managing partner of Dean Fowler Consulting, LLC. “Globally, family businesses out-perform publicly traded companies, and that’s one of / 19





1. Ellen Steinhafel-Lappe (CFO), Mark Steinhafel (COO), Gary Steinhafel and Andrew Steinhafel. 2. MuellerSteinhafel Furniture’s original location on North Teutonia Avenue in Milwaukee. 3. Employees of Mueller-Steinhafel Furniture, which would later become Steinhafels. 4. Historic Steinhafel’s store.


the reasons: They make long-term investments.” In contrast, publicly traded firms that aren’t family-owned typically make decisions based on quarterly shareholder objectives, which often prioritize short-term gains over long-term growth opportunities. Family-owned businesses also have a better understanding of their niche market and therefore the flexibility to better meet the ever-evolving needs of customers, said Fowler. Shifts in grocery shopping patterns are the fuel behind family-owned Kwik Trip Inc.’s rapid growth. The La Crosse-based gas station and convenience store chain, now with 772 store locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois, opened about 100 stores over the past two years. This year, the company is building 40 new locations and rebuilding 10 of its existing locations. Kwik Trip distributes and produces about 80% of the products it sells at stores, and with retail growth in high gear, the rest of the business must keep up. As part of ongoing investments in its food production and support campus, the company recently broke ground on a $50 million expansion of its dairy facility. Carl Rick, training manager and third-generation spokesperson, said internal growth decisions rest on a key question: What’s going to bring a customer through the door 10, 15 or 20 years from now? “You look at convenience stores in general 50 years ago, it was Cokes and smokes. That’s not what our guests are buying anymore. They’re stopping in for in-between grocery trips,” he said. “We’re going to keep growing because we know people need a place where they can pop-in in three minutes, grab bread, milk and eggs and be on their way.” The goal is to keep serving customers, even as cars becomes more fuel efficient and the need to stop for gas become less frequent or altogether unnecessary. That puts Kwik Trip in competition with everything from big-box retailers to quick-service restaurant franchises, some of which are themselves family-owned.

Culture of care


3 4 20 / BizTimes Milwaukee JUN 21, 2021

Rick, himself, worked in retail at Kwik Trip during college, prior to marrying his high school sweetheart Emily Rick, who is the granddaughter of Kwik Trip first-generation founder and CEO Don Zietlow. Carl Rick joined the corporate side of the company about six years ago after Zietlow persuaded him to make the switch from education. As the company has grown to nearly 30,000 employees, or “co-workers,” Kwik Trip hasn’t lost sight of the culture that has successfully attracted talent in the first place. Prior to the pandemic, 100,000 applicants would apply for roughly 10,000 positions annually, said Rick. Sitting at the helm for the past 56 years, Zietlow sets the tone for the rest of the company. At 86 years old, he comes in to work five to six days a week and personally attends the ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of every new store. “He drives down through vice presidents, out

Kwik Trip founder and CEO Don Zietlow pictured with employees at the celebration of a store opening. through directors and managers that this is the culture we want: a warm, caring culture where, essentially, as ownership, if we take care of co-workers, they’ll take care of their guests,” said Rick. As part of its competitive benefits package, Kwik Trip shares 40% of its annual pre-tax profits across its entire base. The cash bonus ranges from 5% to 9% of each employees’ annual income. Another perk is the “Families Helping Families” program, an employee-funded charity that provides financial assistance to other employees in times of need. Providing employees a piece of the pie through a profit-sharing plan – or through an ESOP like Steinhafels has – is one way family-owned businesses can mitigate hiring and retention issues specific to family-owned businesses, said Borst. “There are some people who are attracted to a family business because their hope is that the business will treat them like family, and then there are some who are concerned that the family will always come first, so the availability for promotability and for job continuance is not as strong,” he said. “It depends on the culture you build.” Concerns of family members standing in the way of non-family employees assumes that there are family members willing to fill those spots. That’s not always the case. For many businesses, the next generation lacks the qualifications or interest to carry on the family enterprise. “Statistically, only 30% of family-owned companies make the transition with family ownership from one generation to the next,” said Fowler. If the owner’s intention is to keep the business in the family, Borst said, it’s important to begin planning for it early on. He suggests exposing the next generation to portions of the business while they’re young by bringing them to work or involving them in menial tasks. Ollie Ellsworth was an infant when his parents Paul and Patsy Ellsworth launched Germantown-based Ellsworth Corp. in 1974, in the basement of Paul Ellsworth Sr.’s home. By age 10, he was

helping out in the warehouse, labeling adhesives. Now in its second generation of family ownership, the distributor and manufacturer of industrial adhesives and specialty chemicals has operations in five continents with 1,100 employees globally. Ollie serves as president of GDI Adhesives and Glue Dots International, two brands under the Ellsworth name, and Paul and Patsy continue to head the company as president/CEO and director of HR, respectively. Family business culture has taken on deeper meaning for the Ellsworths as their company has grown into international markets. Uniting employees of various geographical and ethnic backgrounds under one company culture and vision is complicated, said Ollie, but it’s all part of a greater purpose to create family-supporting jobs. “Realistically speaking, the majority of foreign employees view working for a capitalistic American company as the ultimate hope for a more prosperous future for their families,” he said. The company’s first-generation leaders have made an effort to personally bridge cultural gaps and bring their international workforce into the fold in a way that perhaps a public company could not. And it goes both ways. Ollie Ellsworth points to the example of the company’s 2019 sales meeting in India. Paul and Patsy were there to greet employees and spread the message of “one big family.” In return, they were invited to participate in a dance ritual as part of India’s Holi festival taking place at the time. That’s what extending internal culture globally is all about, said Ollie.

Flexible response On the customer-facing side, one main reason Ellsworth Corp. and other family-owned manufacturers in the region can compete on a global scale is their ability to customize, said Fowler. “Dow Chemical might make adhesives that work in large applications that aren’t modified, but Ellsworth Adhesives has the ability to blend and

mix those adhesives to meet unique needs of other companies,” said Fowler. In that way, doing businesses at a smaller scale puts family-owned companies at an advantage from their big-business competitors, even in an era of mass production. “Rather than trying to be a global solution across a mega platform with billions in sales, you’re looking for a few million in sales, where a specialty product or a specialty service is going to bring you revenue for the next 10 or 15 years,” said Martin Gallun, chairman and owner of Mayville-based Metalcraft of Mayville. Over the past 12 years, Gallun led the metal fabricator’s growth from a $100 million business to a $500 million business, using some of the philosophies he learned from his father, the late Edwin “Ned” Gallun, Jr. Ned purchased Metalcraft in 1973 and served as CEO until 2008, when he passed ownership down to the second generation of his family. The company was originally founded in 1920. Ned’s philosophies included listening to the voice of the customer and empowering employees to make the necessary changes, said Martin Gallun. “Rather than a top-down approach, it’s more of a bottom-up approach, getting the people involved and taking ownership, and then taking pride in our successes,” he said.

Building a team In January, Gallun stepped down as CEO and promoted then-president Randy Gloede to the dual role. The transition away from the business’s day-to-day operations allows Gallun to focus on top-line growth opportunities, such as strategic acquisitions. Joining the company in 2010, Gloede had proved himself early on as an ambitious leader and effective outside board director, holding leadership accountable to take smart steps rather than “big, bold, foolish steps,” said Gallun. “As you get bigger, it’s about bringing along the / 21






right people,” he said. “If you think you know it all and think you can do it all, then you wind up doing it all. I learned very quickly that there’s a lot I don’t know, and I don’t need to know it as long as I hire the people that know what I don’t know.” Today, Gallun controls 60% of the shares of the company and owns about 25%. Other shareholders include his two sisters, current and former employees, and several nonprofit benefactors.

Glue Dots International’s headquarters in Germantown.

Gina Perez, an employee of Glue Dots International.

Gallun’s two sons will work at Metalcraft this summer while they’re home from college, but time will tell if they ultimately have the desire and capability to take over someday. One is working toward degrees in computer science, astrophysics and computer engineering and the other in biomedical engineering. “So, they’ve mentioned it might be a plan B for them,” he said. Bringing on non-family professional management is critical to the momentum of a family-owned company, Fowler said, noting it allows the business to keep growing regardless of the

interest or competency of the next generation. “Family members can be outstanding leaders, but it doesn’t mean that all family members by virtue of being members of the family are necessarily good leaders,” Fowler said. Good talent also makes a family business more attractive to outside investors, either through an IPO or venture capital, and increases the value if the goal is to sell. “Most businesses are transferred not to an outside third-party buyer; they’re instead sold to management, which is often family,” said John Emory, president of Milwaukee-based Emory & Co. LLC.

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The investment banking firm is hired by middle-market companies to broker the sale of those businesses through private auction. With many of its clients being family-owned businesses, Emory has found that family business owners generally approach the sale process with a particular set of considerations that differ from those of entity-owned sellers. For example, family business owners are often willing to forgo a higher purchase price in exchange for a buyer that would better fit the company’s culture. They’re interested in a “good steward” of the business, someone who will take care of employees and keep the physical facility in its current location, rather than shutting down or relocating operations, said Emory. In some cases, owners are looking for a buyer who is willing to invest in the company’s future growth. “A lot of times the family business owner realizes that there’s a big capital-expenditures need to either protect what they’ve built or grow to the next level, but they are nearing retirement age and they don’t want to put a lot of their own capital at risk,” he said. The need for major capital investment is a com-

mon reason family business owners end up pursing a sale of the business. Another major catalyst for family business sales lately is the fear owners have of increased taxes, said Emory. And sometimes, selling the business is the best way to avoid managing potential conflicts between next-generation rivals. Whatever the case may be, most buyers see value in having a management team in place and usually for those leaders – family members or not – to continue in their roles.

Legacy of impact “In the heart and soul of most businesspeople, there is a desire to leave a legacy after a person is gone,” said Borst. Building a strong business and selling that business to transition or spread your wealth is one way. The other, more sustainable way, he said, is to pass down the business entity and name through the generations. As the first female family member to be involved in family-owned Badger Liquor and the first woman to hold a management position with the company, Lacey Sadoff has carried on the torch while also paving the way for other women to build careers in a male-dominated industry. Badger Liquor was founded by Sadoff’s

It’s not just business. It’s...

Hear more from Carl Rick of Kwik Trip, Lacey Sadoff of Badger Liquor, Andrew Steinhafel of Steinhafels, Ollie Ellsworth of GDI Adhesives, and Martin Gallun of Metalcraft of Mayville during the BizTimes Family & Closely Held Business Summit on June 29. The summit will run from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Brookfield Conference Center and also features breakout sessions on mastering growth goals, living through the sale of your business and navigating proposed tax changes. The event is sponsored by Davis|Kuelthau, The Riverwood Wealth Management Group at Morgan Stanley, National Exchange Bank & Trust, SVA Certified Public Accountants, supporting sponsor Vistage and event partners Family Business Leadership Partners and the University of Wisconsin School of Business Family Business Center. Visit for more information and to register.


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great-grandfather shortly after prohibition was repealed. Eighty-six years later, the Fond du Lacbased company is the state’s largest wholesale wine and liquor distributor, with father-daughter duo Gary and Lacey Sadoff as third- and fourth-generation owners. Beginning her career at Badger Liquor in 2008, Lacey noticed there were virtually no female role models or mentors in her line of work. She got connected with other family-owned distrib-

Fourth-generation Badger Liquor owner Lacey Sadoff (second from right) pictured with the founding members of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America Women’s Leadership Council.

Father-daughter duo Gary and Lacey Sadoff, the thirdand fourth-generation owners of Badger Liquor.

utors across the U.S. at conferences put on by Washington D.C. lobbyist group Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, and eventually, she noticed more women in the room. In 2016, Sadoff and a handful of her peers formed WSWA’s Women’s Leadership Council, which aims to attract and support women in the industry with networking opportunities and other professional resources. She’s also worked to increase female representation within her own company, which

now has more women in executive and management leadership positions than ever before. Being family-led means having the ability to influence that kind of change in company culture, without having to fight the red tape of a more corporate setting, she said. “Part of the power of family business, especially in Wisconsin where people want to know and trust that things are being done for the right reasons,” she said. “You have all the power in the world to do the right thing and manifest change.” n

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Clockwise from top left: Founder William Lemberg taken April 1, 1939; ESOP Members; Lemberg’s current location on 128th Street in Brookfield; Lemberg’s historic building on State Street

FAMILY VALUES TRANSCEND TIME, CHANGE, AND THE LEMBERG NAME Lemberg began in 1928 as a family-owned electrical service company in Milwaukee. The Lemberg family sold the company to its employees in 1992 under the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Since then it has grown to be one of the region’s largest employee-owned companies, offering five service areas including electrical construction, service, data communications, business signs and energy technologies. WHAT VALUES OR PRINCIPLES GUIDE YOUR BUSINESS? Despite our growth, Lemberg is still guided by the values established by the Lemberg family years ago. Some of those include accountability, community, customer service, leadership, safety, and teamwork.

personal service and quality that has kept the company in business for nearly 100 years.We do this through continuous improvement, real-time evaluation of project delivery, and actively seeking feedback from customers.

WHAT FAMILY MEMBERS ARE CURRENTLY INVOLVED IN THE BUSINESS? Though none of the Lemberg family members are active in the company today, we have several founding ESOP family members – and some of their children – still with the company. As ESOP members, we are motivated to carry out the mission of the company, be accountable to one another, and employ the entrepreneurial spirit to all aspects of our business.

HOW HAS YOUR MISSION CHANGED THROUGHOUT THE YEARS? Our mission to serve the customer hasn’t changed, but how we serve them has. Our goal is to be forwardthinking, helping customers find the most effective, future-proof solutions for today and tomorrow.


WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO SUCCESSFULLY TRANSITION THE LEADERSHIP FROM ONE GENERATION TO THE NEXT? Lemberg is currently adapting to a change in leadership. Long-time President and CEO David Washebek has stepped into regional and national roles with the National Electrical Contractors Association.

Lemberg hired industry leader Mark Chappel as President. Tim Scheid, formerly Lemberg’s COO and Executive Vice President, has moved into the CEO position to provide a smooth transition for Mark and the rest of the employees. This combination provides stability while ushering in new ideas and a fresh perspective.

4085 N. 128th Street • Brookfield, WI 53005 (262) 781-1500 •


Wisconsin companies to become critical piece of medical isotope supply chain in U.S. BY BRANDON ANDEREGG, staff writer MORE THAN 40,000 medical procedures conducted in the U.S. each day rely on a medical isotope called Molybdenum-99, yet this isotope is largely manufactured outside of the country. And despite producing almost none, the U.S. uses nearly half of the world’s supply of Molybdeum-99 (Mo-99), which decays into an imaging agent used in medical diagnostic procedures for heart disease and cancer. Two Wisconsin biotech companies are now on pace to become a critical part of the country’s Mo99 supply network. Prior to 2018, the U.S. hadn’t produced this isotope domestically for 30 years. Janesville-based SHINE Medical Technologies and Beloit-based NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes have each established unique methods to produce Mo-99 that they say are safer, cleaner and more reliable. In fact, neither method relies on a nuclear reactor nor highly enriched uranium (HEU),

a factor that garnered each company millions in federal funding. Since 2009, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration has been working with commercial partners to establish a domestic Mo-99 supply network. Part of the NNSA’s mission is to minimize the use of HEU in civilian applications. Currently, the U.S. ships uranium to its suppliers outside the country. These nuclear reactor plants extract Mo-99 and then ship it back to the United States where pharmacies process Mo-99 into the imaging agent. From there, the isotope is delivered to hospitals around the country. HEU is considered to be a proliferation-sensitive material that if diverted or stolen could be used as a component in nuclear weapons, according to the NNSA. Furthermore, Mo-99 decays at a rate of approximately 1% per hour, which means it

can’t be stockpiled. The proliferation risk is driving the NNSA to establish a domestic Mo-99 supply chain. However, the U.S. medical community’s reliance on foreign nuclear reactors for Mo-99 is another major factor, said Senglaub Todd Senglaub, radiation safety officer at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He says these reactors are aging and will go offline on occasion, which can lead to Mo-99 shortages. “This shortage issue and the reliance, it’s not just a Wisconsin problem or even a United States problem; it’s an international problem,” Senglaub said. “It just gets amplified here because we do so many more procedures.” A Mo-99 production facility in the country could also curb any disruption in transportation, which Senglaub says U.S. isotope distributors likely experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. “This is going to dramatically help the molybdenum supply chain within the United States,” Senglaub said. “We could turn into a distributor for other places in the world then.”


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In addition to SHINE and NorthStar, the NNSA has one other cooperative agreement with a Michigan-based company to produce Mo-99 using low-enriched uranium (LEU). However, NorthStar became the first domestic producer of non-uranium-based Mo-99 and has already begun supplying customers. NorthStar’s technology uses a chemical processing technique to create a radioactive solution containing Mo-99. That solution is then shipped to radiopharmacies across the U.S., which use NorthStar’s onsite equipment to extract the imaging agent used in medical diagnostic procedures. Meanwhile, SHINE finished exterior construction of its 46,000-square-foot medical isotope production facility in Janesville earlier this year and will start producing Mo-99 using LEU in late 2022. SHINE currently has 329 employees and is looking to hire 36 more. The company expects to have 150 employees working at its new Mo-99 production facility in Janesville. SHINE also plans to construct a second facility in Veendam, a municipality within the Netherlands’ Groningen province. Between both facilities, SHINE says it will have the capacity to produce double the European patient need for Mo-99, and

Tracy Radel, SHINE’s vice president of engineering, conducts a tour of the company’s medical isotope production facility in Janesville, with Greg Piefer, chief executive officer, at right.

70% of the global patient need for this particular medical isotope by 2025. Using steady-state neutron generators, SHINE smashes hydrogen isotopes together to create

neutrons that split uranium atoms apart, which creates Mo-99. SHINE’s fusion technology can also be used to produce a myriad of isotopes used in nuclear medicine.

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Special Report STARTUPS & BIOTECH One of its Janesville facilities already produces Lutetium-177 or Lu-177, a medical isotope used in cancer treatment. Its Netherlands facility will eventually produce a broad range of medical isotopes. While the technology Johnson these companies are producing have much broader implications for the world, their presence in Wisconsin has and will continue to have a local impact, said Lisa Johnson, chief executive officer of BioForward, an advocacy group and resource network for Wisconsin’s biohealth companies. It’s estimated that Wisconsin’s biohealth industry generates $17.6 billion in direct annual economic output and more than $28.8 billion in overall economic impact (output) from direct, indirect and induced sources, according to BioForward’s 2020 report. Employment in the industry has grown by 8%, outpacing overall job growth in Wisconsin (3%) since 2015. The industry contributes to 118,605 jobs

in the state with an annual wage of about $87,000, according to the report. “You have these very strong technology-oriented companies with high wages attracting more high wages into the state as these companies grow,” Piefer Johnson said. SHINE, for example, relies on Wisconsin’s supply chain, and advanced manufacturing companies to build its technologies, said Greg Piefer, SHINE founder and CEO. In fact, Piefer thinks SHINE’s work could attract additional companies to Janesville in particular and Wisconsin in general. “We’re going to be a highly technical company, so as we look towards building more complex and better technologies, anything that’s hard tech is going to like the skillset and ecosystem we’re building up here,” Piefer said. It’s also possible that SHINE could attract companies to the state in the R&D pharmaceutical space, Senglaub said, adding that he expects SHINE will produce a variety of isotopes in the future.

“Maybe an R&D company wants to think outside of the box and use (a different isotope) as part of their research and development,” Senglaub said. “SHINE might be able to manufacture that for them, and they might be able to make it in small batches.” But with a company like SHINE, it’s not just technology or high wages that will pull employees to Wisconsin; it’s the company’s long-term vision to use nuclear fusion to produce clean energy that will attract young talent, Johnson said. The company is now on the second step of a four-phase plan to build additional capacity, capability and deepen its scientific understanding of fusion technology. However, it’s third phase, if achieved, will allow SHINE to recycle nuclear waste while its fourth phase would bring SHINE the capability to produce energy through fusion (the same process that powers the sun), which is cleaner and produces significantly more energy than coal, oil or gas. “I consider that phase, if we achieve it, a level up moment for humanity,” Piefer said. “One of those key pivotal technologies that will drive human evolution for thousands of years going forward, if not longer.” n


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Wagner, Inc., joined president of R&B and Micheal Dover, seen Reardon’s positive of OwnersEdge Inc. Dover says he has Lisa Reardon, CEO year of each other. board within one the R&B Wagner to R&B Wagner in many areas. valuable guidance influence on the board Lisa has provided me to the ESOP ESOP company, OwnersEdge, itself,” Dover said. “She introduced team to “As the CEO of an company relatively new ESOP internal ESOP communication on its journey as a helped shape our organizations and lders.” employee/shareho regional and national and mentoand messaging to expand our understanding to expand its communication the ESOP Association gives her time to Reardon regularly along with corpogrowth culture, career ring programs. Dover said. development, work planning to our board,” a passion for human R&B planning, and product “Lisa has brought in plan designs for incentive plans, strategic been instrumental rate governance, Committee and has Compensation our on “She serves Center for the Kesslers Diamond Wagner’s executives.” board member for has been an invaluable Joe Gehrke. In addition, Reardon to Kesslers president transition from a that according in us years, helped past eight business really Gehrke said. as a CEO in an ESOP-owned by 100+ employees,” “Lisa’s experience to one that is owned privately held company




021 : JUNE 21, 2


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Awards, cover stories, special reports, advertisements, feature stories, whatever your interests may be. We’ll provide reprints of any published material.

The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.


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Visit or email today for more information.


BizTimes Milwaukee presents its

Dr. Phyllis King, vice provost for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, works tirelessly to promote equity and diversity, according to Anne Norman, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of UW Credit Union.

inaugural showcase of Milwaukeearea Notable Women on Corporate Boards, spotlighting the valuable contributions and insights that they

“Her efforts to close equity gaps don’t stop on campus but extend to the Milwaukee community and corporate leaders. As a member of the UW Credit Union board, King’s Milwaukee market insight has bolstered the organization’s community giving approach and branching strategy, lending an invaluable DEI lens,” Norman said.

provide to the businesses whose boards they sit on and the additional contributions that they make to the

As Nominating Committee chair, King connects UWM, the UW System and greater Wisconsin from an economic growth standpoint while also guiding diversity efforts.

community. The leaders spotlighted on the following pages were nominated by their peers and showcase the diversity

Under her leadership, UW Credit Union has recruited more diverse senior talent.

of company leaders and corporate board membership in our market. Their leadership is setting an example to shape a better future for our region.

METHODOLOGY: The honorees did not pay to be included. Their profiles were drawn from nomination materials. This list features only individuals for whom nominations were submitted and accepted after a review by our editorial team. To qualify for the list, nominees must be based in southeastern Wisconsin. Criteria considered for inclusion includes membership of a board for a private sector business in southeastern Wisconsin.

King promotes lifelong learning through several campus, corporate and community boards (e.g., Penfield Children’s Center, Red Cross of Southeastern Wisconsin, STEM Forward and the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute), bridging that with her commitment to serving a diverse population in an urban setting, according to Norman. King’s leadership impact extends to a number of other efforts, including M3, a Milwaukee public education network comprised of MPS, MATC and UWM, designed to increase the retention, graduation, and career success rates of all students, and Moon Shot for Equity for UWM, which is designed to close equity gaps in higher education by 2030.

Congratulations To Dr. Phyllis King. Named one of this year’s BizTimes’ 10 Notable Women on Corporate Boards.

UW Credit Union is proud to congratulate Director Dr. Phyllis King for being named one of BizTimes’ 10 Notable Women on Corporate Boards for 2021! Thank you for your tireless work ethic, and your compassionate drive to promote equity and diversity in education and leadership.

Here For Every You. / 31




She is a past president of Tempo Milwaukee and is a passionate, strategic and engaged leader. Her hundreds of meetings with boards in these roles inspired her to pursue opportunities supporting boards or as a board member in the next stage of her career, according to Jackie Mortenson, director of services for Milwaukee Women inc. Stortz became the first chief audit executive of the UW System in 2014. In the last year, she has led a team of 18 audit professionals and delivered audits dealing with cybersecurity, foreign influence and procurement. She has served on the corporate board of Commerce State Bank since September 2019. Her financial expertise and audit and compliance background have helped the board and management navigate the unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Stortz joined the board of Badger Mutual Insurance Company in October 2020 and has already made a difference with her engagement and experience, Mortenson said.



UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN SYSTEM Lori L. Stortz, CPA, chief audit executive for the University of Wisconsin System, spent the first 30 years of her career as a financial statement audit staff, manager and partner in the public accounting industry in Milwaukee.


A.O. SMITH Patricia Ackerman, senior vice president of investor relations, corporate responsibility and sustainability and treasurer for A.O. Smith, is a leader on the company’s executive team, with more than 30 years of experience in corporate finance. She has demonstrated tremendous value to the company’s board and shareholders through her excellent business acumen, foresight, and execution, according to Jackie Mortenson, director of services for Milwaukee Women inc. “Pat currently plays a key role with the company’s board of directors as a management representative on the Investment Policy Committee and Disclosure Committee and previously as management representative on the Audit Committee,” Mortenson said. “She is an exceptional leader. In her role at her company, she needs to be strategic, inclusive, visionary, thoughtful, collaborative, confident, knowledgeable and organized. She applies these skills and experience as chairwoman of MWi, engaging members and corporate leaders in MWi’s vision.” Ackerman also has served on the advisory board of Spaulding Medical since 2018. As an advisor to the startup family business, the advisory board has been tapped to provide expertise and insight in many facets of the medical device and software company.

Lori Stortz is a Notable Winner! 2021 Notable Women on Corporate Boards

Lori is: • Respected • Insightful • Engaging

SILVER ROCK CONSULTING Karen Hung is founder and CEO of Silver Rock Consulting and focuses on enterprise and business transformation. Her business experience extends across multiple industries, including health care, financial services, retail, and branded apparel. She has held c-suite and other executive positions in general management, strategy, marketing, and innovation and has been an adjunct business professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Lubar School of Business. Hung serves as a corporate board director on several boards including: KeHE, Florence Eiseman LLC and Ascension Wisconsin. Hung’s board impact includes enterprise strategic direction, board effectiveness, governance, board structure and design, board recruitment, senior executive mentoring, CEO succession and leadership development, decision advice, strategy, marketing, and innovation knowledge, according to Jackie Mortenson, director of services, Milwaukee Women inc. Hung also serves on the board executive committees of Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, Rotary Club of Milwaukee as president-elect, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and Harvard Business School Club of Wisconsin (immediate past president). She has served on the board of Milwaukee Women inc. for two years. She provides additional board leadership as committee chair in strategy, governance, marketing and advocacy across a number of boards.

CONGRATULATIONS! leader, mentor and one of Milwaukee’s Notable Women on Corporate Boards

Congratulations and thank you from

32 / BizTimes Milwaukee JUNE 21, 2021

Congratulations KAREN HUNG

on being recognized as Notable Women on Corporate Boards





Congratulations Karen Hung 2021 BizTimes Notable Women on Corporate Boards

Working with ambitious clients on growth and transformation strategies that catalyze market momentum. Discover your New Next. / 33



PRESIDENT AND CEO INTERSTATE SEALANT & CONCRETE, INC. Ask Cheryl Sment, president and CEO of Interstate Sealant & Concrete, Inc., what has guided her throughout her career, and she will tell you it’s been putting people first and gaining their trust, according to Stefanie Bonesteel, senior vice president – marketing of Citizens Bank. With a degree in nursing, Sment spent 17 years focusing on emergency care and critical care transport before leaving the medical field to follow her entrepreneurial spirit. She embarked on several business ventures, including subdivision development, home building, and co-ownership of a retail franchise, before becoming CEO and majority owner of Interstate Sealant in 1999. Her tenacity and caring nature have persevered over the last year as she led her company through the restructuring of its management team, Bonesteel said. With experience that spans several different industries, Sment has offered much insight to Citizens Bank, where she has served on the board of directors since 2014. Sment also serves on the board of directors for MRA, a nonprofit employer association, and volunteers at LifeStriders in Waukesha. She is a past board member for ABC (Associated Builders and Contractors) of Wisconsin and has been involved in Vistage since 2005, where she gives credit for much of the growth and development in her executive experiences.

PRESIDENT D INNOVARE CONSULTING Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson, president of D Innovare Consulting, serves on the board of directors of MyPath, a provider of specialized education, therapeutic and community support services for high-need individuals. She is an accomplished executive who is known nationally as a skilled leader, speaker, and trainer, according to Terry Leahy, MyPath’s president and CEO. “MyPath has benefited tremendously from Dorothy’s industry know-how and business acumen. Since joining the board of MyPath, she has played a critical role in assisting the company accelerate its efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion,” Leahy said. “Dorothy serves as a mentor to the Pathfinders Work Groups, employee-led initiatives that focus on race and ethnicity and LGBTQ+ issues. This has led to the creation of a new position at MyPath, the director of diversity, equity and inclusion,” Leahy said. Wilson is also the president and CEO of the You Can Lead Institute. Previously, she served as international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the oldest Greek-letter organization established by African American college women, with nearly 300,000 members and 1,000 chapters around the world.

Our congratulations to

Cheryl Sment Director, Citizens Bank We admire you & all 2021 Notable Women on Corporate Boards!

262-363-6500 / Follow | Like | Review Citizens Bank – WI

Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender 34 / BizTimes Milwaukee JUNE 21, 2021


CONGRATULATIONS TO Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson Your leadership and creative thinking support MyPath co-owners as they focus on their work each day: to transform the lives of individuals with disabilities or mental health challenges. At MyPath, we are part of something bigger. Learn more about career opportunities at our growing, 100% employee-owned human services company at

THE CASE FOR MORE WOMEN ON BOARDS When Milwaukee Women inc, which advocates for gender diversity on the boards of Wisconsin companies, started in the early 2000s, just 9% of board seats at Wisconsin’s 50 largest public companies were held by women. By the early 2010s, the figure had increased to around 14%. In recent years, it has continued to climb, reaching nearly 17% in 2016, nearly 19% in 2018 and 21.1% in 2020. “While there is still much work to be done, we are making slow, but steady, progress towards our goal of 25% by 2025,” said Pat Ackerman, chair of Milwaukee Women inc (MWi) and senior vice president at A.O. Smith Corp. Research suggests companies with three or more women on their board of directors perform better financially than those with zero women on their board, including better stock performance, higher return on equity, higher value multiples and better average growth, according to MWi. For companies, MWi recommends requiring a diverse candidate slate for board positions, expanding networks to reach diverse candidates, developing a formal succession plan that includes diversity and cultivating long-term relationships with potential candidates as some strategies for improving board diversity. For women interested in board service, MWi recommends not waiting for the perfect time, but instead considering how your skills could benefit a company, highlighting those skills on your resume and actively pursuing opportunities to meet CEOs, board members and industry leaders who could support your efforts.

Congratulations to Notable Women on Corporate Boards honoree,

Joan Prince, PhD

DR. JOAN M. PRINCE PRESIDENT AND CEO EXECUTIVE STRATEGIES ELITE Dr. Joan M. Prince, president and CEO of Executive Strategies Elite and vice chancellor emerita of University of WisconsinMilwaukee, is a seasoned board leader and serves at the national, regional and local levels. She currently serves as a corporate board member of the Ascendium Education Group, the parent company that supports national initiatives focused on student success, with several initiatives funded in southeastern Wisconsin annually. As a member of that board, Prince has served as a vocal advocate for equity and inclusion in the granting processes. In addition, Prince is a corporate board member of MHS Health-Wisconsin, a subsidiary of the Centene Corp., a position she has held for the last 15 years. Her voice on that board is one that promotes and advances equity in health care and a diverse work pipeline, according to Jackie Mortenson, director of services of Milwaukee Women inc. Prince also continues to serve on the Froedtert Health board of directors, where she serves as governance chair. She also serves in community volunteer leadership positions with local organizations such as United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County (2021 campaign co-chair) and Siebert Lutheran Foundation (vice chair of the board).


Dr. Joan Prince MHS Health Wisconsin is honored to have Dr. Joan Prince as a member of its Board of Directors for the past 15 years. We are inspired by her bold leadership and passion for ensuring the most vulnerable in our community have access to quality health care.

Your thoughtful leadership and direction provide great value as we advance the health of people of the diverse communities that we serve.

“At the end of the day, be a good human being who cares about the individual next to you, whether you know them or not.” ~ Dr. Joan Prince / 35









WISCONSIN WOMEN’S BUSINESS INITIATIVE CORP. Wendy Baumann, president and chief visionary officer of the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. (WWBIC), currently serves on the Associated Bank Community Action Advisory Board, Northern Trust New Markets Tax Credit Board, Herzing University Board of Directors, Johnson Bank New Market Tax Credit Advisory Board, Self-Help Credit Union Advisory Board, U.S. Kiva Board, and WWBIC Board. Her work on the Herzing board includes her overall support of Herzing University and strategy as well as support in required accreditations. Baumann serves as the board secretary. Baumann was appointed to the national Kiva board in late 2020. Her long history in advancing Kiva in Wisconsin and growing its reach will assist Kiva in supporting its growing national footprint, according to Jackie Mortenson, director of services for Milwaukee Women inc. At the helm of WWBIC since 1994, Baumann is an internationally recognized leader in microenterprise, small business development, financial capability, and social enterprise, Mortenson said. “Under Wendy’s leadership and vision, WWBIC has grown from a $200,000 budget with a staff of two, to a $7.3 million organization with more than 50 staff, five regional offices, and rural satellite offices,” she said.

Linda Mertz’s middle-market merger and acquisition and broad general business knowledge brings unique insights to the corporate boards she serves on, according to Lisa Reardon, CEO and chairman of OwnersEdge. OwnersEdge Inc. was established in 2014 specifically to acquire and build healthy, well-rounded businesses. “We wanted Linda on our board not only because of her more than 30 years of experience in buying and selling businesses, but also because of her business acumen,” Reardon said. “Having served on seven corporate boards and multiple nonprofit boards, she understands how a healthy board works collaboratively and how it can collectively deliver real value. She asks excellent questions, which by themselves offers insights. Linda is a forward thinker and does so with passion. Because of her connections and thirst for knowledge, we were ahead of the curve on what was coming down the pike with COVID.” Throughout the last 12-18 months Mertz was unrelenting in gathering perspectives of how the business world might unfold, given the significant changes underfoot. She offers up ideas for consideration, frequently with a sense of humor, Reardon said. “As we continue to evaluate companies to acquire, we always look forward to hearing what thoughts Linda may have,” Reardon said.

many areas.

Lisa Reardon, CEO of OwnersEdge Inc., and Micheal Dover, president of R&B Wagner, Inc., joined the R&B Wagner board within one year of each other. Dover says he has seen Reardon’s positive influence on the board in

“As the CEO of an ESOP company, OwnersEdge, Lisa has provided valuable guidance to R&B Wagner on its journey as a relatively new ESOP company itself,” Dover said. “She introduced me to the ESOP regional and national organizations and helped shape our internal ESOP communication team to expand our understanding and messaging to employee/shareholders.” Reardon regularly gives her time to the ESOP Association to expand its communication and mentoring programs. “Lisa has brought a passion for human development, work culture, career growth along with corporate governance, incentive plans, strategic planning, and product planning to our board,” Dover said. “She serves on our Compensation Committee and has been instrumental in plan designs for R&B Wagner’s executives.” In addition, Reardon has been an invaluable board member for Kesslers Diamond Center for the past eight years, according to Kesslers president Joe Gehrke. “Lisa’s experience as a CEO in an ESOP-owned business really helped us in that transition from a privately held company to one that is owned by 100+ employees,” Gehrke said.




A.O. Smith Corporation WENDY BAUMANN

Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation KAREN HUNG

Silver Rock Consulting


36 / BizTimes Milwaukee JUNE 21, 2021


University of WisconsinMilwaukee DR. JOAN PRINCE

Executive Strategies Elite LORI STORTZ

University of Wisconsin System

CONGRATULATIONS, LISA! Wagner congratulates Lisa Reardon for being named a Notable Woman on a Corporate Board! Your leadership guides Wagner to become a greater ESOP organization and railing supplier.

Employee Owned

@wagnercompanies © 2021 R&B Wanger, Inc.



STORIES OF CHANGE Join us (in person) on August 19th at BizTimes Media’s Women In Business Symposium. Whether you’re driving the future of your organization or reevaluating your own priorities, change is a constant in life. The Women in Business Symposium will explore stories of change in leadership, company culture, mental health, entrepreneurship and more from women in southeastern Wisconsin’s business community. Attendees will meet this year’s Woman Executive of the Year - Kathy Koshgarian President & COO, The Dohmen Company Foundation. It won’t stop there. In addition to the panel and the awards presentation, the Women in Business Symposium is expanded from a panel discussion to a half-day symposium with multiple breakout sessions for deeper discussions on topics like managing up and down, how fearless women lead, turning your side hustle into a full-time gig, mentorship, sponsorship and everything in between, crucial conversations and emotional wellness. Attendees will walk away with fresh insights into how they can make change in their own life and company.

Panelists: » » » »

Peggy Williams Smith, President & CEO, Visit Milwaukee (1) Kendra Whitlock Ingram, President & CEO, Marcus Performing Arts Center (2) Leana Nakielski, Strategic Partnerships Director, American Family Insurance (3) Syneathia LaGrant, Vice President, Global Learning and Development, ManpowerGroup (4)





Woman Executive of the Year: Kathy Koshgarian President & COO, The Dohmen Company Foundation




Rewards bigger than riches The ultimate ‘pot of gold’ to be found by a family business

“The real treasure to be won in a family business is the esprit de corps, the love of family whether successful or not and the trust of one to the other.“

38 / BizTimes Milwaukee JUN 21, 2021

AS A YOUNG CHILD, many of us dreamed of uncovering a pirate chest of gold while digging in the backyard sandbox. Today, young people realize this dream by staying inside and playing video games where their dreams are fulfilled, which isn’t the same thing ... but I digress. As an adult, those dreams fade a bit, although I cling to my baseball card collection with a similar zeal and misguided belief of striking it rich. Each week, while watching the History channel, I get to relive dreams of plunder past while watching “The Curse of Oak Island.” For the uninitiated, this is a story of a close-knit family named the Laginas. Rick and Marty are brothers who, along with their nephews (Peter and David Fornetti) and business partner Craig Tester, search an island in Nova Scotia called Oak Island for treasure. There is at least one local tie in that Peter Fornetti is a graduate of Marquette University. The family lives in Traverse City, Michigan and owns a winery there called Mari Vineyards, but it is merely a sidenote to the exploration of Oak Island and the pursuit of gold. The family enterprise owns a significant portion of the Canadian island, and has sunk untold millions into the attempt at finding the supposed treasure. Through the discovery attempts, history is being rewritten as evidence exists of visitors to the island long before the recorded history that we know, including ties to the Knights Templar and even a buried man from the Middle East. The island has long been rumored to hold the treasure from the Ark of the Covenant, although found treasures date back to the 1600s and are more likely pirate plunder than religious relics of old. In the eight years of running on television, the family’s net worth has increased exponentially. Rick, who started off as a mail carrier (retired), had his net worth quadruple during the run of the show and it wasn’t from the spoils found in the money pit. Jack Begley, the show’s producer and son of Craig Tester, has parlayed the family pursuit for riches into a television empire with several show offshoots including “The Search for Civil War Gold.” But this newfound family wealth has also come at a cost. Craig’s other son Drake, who ap-

peared in earlier shows, died at age 16 in 2017 from a seizure disorder. The show spared the viewer none of the grief and anguish exploring the father’s despair and ultimately dedicating one of the holes from the “fellowship of the dig” to Drake. For aficionados of family businesses, this is an interesting diversion and deep dive into family unity in spite of great odds. For the viewer, the history is interesting if not the treasure that seems so close but yet so far. For a man-child reliving dreams of treasure hunts in the backyard, the show is must-see television. Ultimately it shows the real treasure to be won in a family business is the esprit de corps, the love of family whether successful or not and the trust of one to the other. While I keep expecting a pot of gold to be found with that next shovel load, I will continue to faithfully watch if for nothing else than the history revealed and the humanity shown in a real “family” show. n

DR. DAVID BORST Dr. David Borst is executive director and chief operating officer of Family Business Leadership Partners, a regional resource hub for family business. He can be reached at


The ESOP option Can be beneficial for owners, employees and the business

UNLESS YOU HAVE the genetic makeup of Steve Jobs or Elon Musk as a business leader, you need to rely on your employees to generate many creative and innovative ways to grow revenue and improve operations. There is sound management theory to support this concept. Douglas McGregor, professor at MIT and Harvard, as early as the 1950s argued for a management approach called Theory Y, which emphasized participatory management. Recognizing the importance of workers taking ownership and pride in their work, he argued that it will lead to more creative and innovative solutions to any company’s problems. This was echoed by the famous Dr. Edwards Deming, the American statistician who taught the Japanese how to empower employees to be innovative. We have paid the price and loss of leadership to them in electronics and the automotive industry. Locally, Lisa Reardon, CEO of OwnersEdge, came into an ESOP company when she was hired in 2005 by CC&N, a local wired and wireless infrastructure company. At that time, CC&N was having a hard time growing beyond $25 million. In order to grow the ESOP and increase share value, OwnersEdge was created in 2014 as an ESOP holding company. The holding company currently has four diversified businesses in its portfolio that allow for continued share value growth and protection in times of industry downturns.

The government recognized the advantages of employee ownership when it took action to create ERISA, which provides major tax advantages to owners who sell their companies to their employees. You do not have to be a raging capitalist to know that ownership leads to more motivated decision-making and pride in workmanship. There are other champions of ESOPs, and that includes highly successful business leaders such as Bob Hillis of Direct Supply, who said, “I once owned a large part of a small company, and I now own a small part of a very large company.” The growth of his company exploded after conversion to an ESOP. If you are a business owner contemplating a sale to a private equity firm, you might want to think about the alternative of selling to your employees both for the tax advantages and for the potential to continue to guide your legacy company. Reardon listed many of the advantages of moving forward with an ESOP aside from the obvious tax advantage: 1. The owner or owners receive a competitive pay day for selling their shares. There is no evidence that the valuation for an ESOP conversion is less than what a private equity firm or a strategic buyer would pay for the firm. 2. The owners can stay involved to ensure their long-term vision is implemented because of the continuing involvement. 3. It is not turning over the company’s leadership to employees. That’s only a myth. There is no evidence of that ever happening. Employees are vested in having management succeed and not overthrowing it. 4. ESOPs offer tax advantages, which translate into a competitive advantage when it comes to pricing products and services, and having more cash available to compete head-on in their industries. 5. There have been examples of spectacular failures such as United Airlines’ conversion to an ESOP, but those can be mitigated by good strategic planning. Clearly, this is worth a serious look if an owner is at the point of wanting to sell the company.

Reardon listed several critical stepping blocks to make sure the conversion was thought through and would achieve success. Begin by hiring a lawyer with experience in doing ESOPs who can lay out a step-by-step process. That should include an accountant skilled in the process as well. Obviously, the owners will want to be assured they get a fair valuation of the stock, and therefore selecting an outside valuation firm is critical. There are other ways of financing this than traditional bank financing. That could include a seller’s note, which provides the owners with a higher rate of interest and another way to leverage continued family involvement in the business after the sale to the employees. Lastly, a trustee will be appointed to represent the employee-owners. They have a fiduciary duty to those employees to make sure the business functions in their best interest. Reardon’s advice is to make sure that the trustee has a background as a successful business leader who understands the complexities and challenges of your business. As an owner, you have an opportunity to help your organization continue to thrive and grow long after the sale and drive innovative solutions to your company’s challenges. It’s certainly worth a look. n

DAN STEININGER Dan Steininger is an author, national and international speaker, and business advisor. He is president of Steininger & Associates LLC, which helps companies drive innovation. He can be reached at / 39


Here come the robots Be aware of technological advancements and stay ahead of the curve I’M INTRIGUED BY the rapid change in technology and the potential impact on business and society in general. Late last year, Boston Dynamics created a video that showed its humanoid robots and a canine robot dancing to the 1962 hit “Do You Love Me?” It’s impressive to see the robots mimic human movements. One challenge is speculating how these advances could affect our business processes and labor forces. Many physical workplaces appear to be vulnerable to robotic automation. As robots automate more jobs, employees who perform more manual and routine tasks will lose their jobs. The results also suggest that robots are likely to spread to highly skilled occupations such as health, education, social services, manufacturing and certain types of services. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that overall civilian employment will grow to 169 million workers by 2029, about a 6 million increase over current levels. One-fourth of the growth is anticipated in low-paying jobs for home health and personal care aides and cooks and wait staff in restaurants.

WHERE TO FIND ROBOTS When I speak to CPAs across the country, I will ask them which is more difficult: to make a robot dance like Boston Dynamics does in the videos, or 40 / BizTimes Milwaukee JUN 21, 2021

to fully automate an accounting transaction from purchase order through multiple allocations to the financial statements? Making the robot dance is so much harder. Accountants have been lucky because automation has first focused on manufacturing areas. It isn’t that the accounting process is unimportant; it’s just that the manufacturing process could see more significant gains. However, these same technological advances are progressing through other areas within companies. We will see humanoid robots designed to reduce the need for human interaction. In what areas can we see robotics now? » Driverless trucks represent massive robotics combined with artificial intelligence. » Michael Jordan wants to use drones to deliver beer on his golf courses. » Amazon is looking to drones to expand delivery services. » Any job that’s routine or rote, dangerous or dull is a candidate for robotic applications.

ers lose their jobs because of automation and then find new jobs, they face a pay cut of up to 30%. This isn’t meant to scare anyone. It’s to raise awareness and try to be ahead of the curve.

HOW IT CAN AFFECT YOUR BUSINESS To track these changes and the potential impact on your business, buy a mind-mapping software program, or always have a blank piece of paper and pen on your desk. Mind-mapping is a free-flowing way to visualize and organize ideas and information. It can help you during strategic planning when you’re preparing analyses for SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and PESTLE (political, economic, sociological, technological, legal and environmental). Every time you read about a technology advancement, jot it down and bring it back to your management team for discussion. Over time, you’ll raise your team’s awareness to be looking for advancements even beyond technology. n

Also, consider the potential for changes to the labor force. I’m not advocating this, but someone will scrutinize routine, repetitive jobs for automation. Society must be prepared to retrain workers as current jobs are lost and new technical robotic job opportunities arise.

THE DARK SIDE OF ROBOTICS MSCHF, the prankster art/marketing group, bought a Spot robo-dog robot from Boston Dynamics for $74,500 and used it in a scary way in February. They attached a paintball gun to the robot and allowed people worldwide to control the robot for two minutes via the internet. The robot was in a small room that mimicked an art gallery. It shot the paintballs at art objects. Boston Dynamics condemned the prank. While something extreme like a dystopian robot takeover is doubtful, more automation could lead to job losses and poverty. Low-wage workers are hit hardest due to plant closures and account for the largest percentage of total job losses in the United States. Statistics show that if low-wage earners and middle-income work-

JIM LINDELL Jim Lindell is president of Thorsten Consulting Group, providing strategic and financial consulting, professional speaking, training and executive coaching. He is a Vistage chair and responsible for two CEO groups in the Milwaukee area. He can be reached at (262) 392-3166 or

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Advertising Section: New Hires, Promotions, Accolades and Board Appointments


BANKING FACC Welcomes New Development Services Manager

The First American Capital Corporation, Inc. (FACC) is pleased to announce that Christopher Cote joined the FACC team in April 2021 as the FACC Development Services Manager.


Jasper D. Vaccaro Joins Prairie Trust as Madison Market Director

Prairie Trust®, a division of Waukesha State Bank, is proud to announce the hire of Jasper D. Vaccaro as Senior Vice President – Madison Market Director. Jasper will be responsible for establishing a Madison location for Prairie Trust.


Regal Ware Appoints Katrina Gongola Director Human Resources. Katrina Gongola joins Regal Ware as Director Human Resources. In this role, Katrina will oversee talent development, management, and acquisition, benefits and compensation administration, organizational development, and the employee experience.


Waukesha State Bank Hires Spencer Mather

Waukesha State Bank has hired Spencer Mather as vice president - commercial banking officer. Spencer has over 20 years of financial experience and will be responsible for prospecting, developing and managing commercial loan portfolios.


Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP Welcomes Attorney Jorge Fragoso to the Firm. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin based trial and litigation law firm of Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown LLP (GRGB) is pleased to announce the addition of Attorney Jorge R. Fragoso to the firm’s Criminal Defense, Appellate and Civil Litigation teams.


Bradley Corp. Names VP of Marketing & Corporate Communication. Bradley Corp. announces the appointment of Jon Dommisse to Vice President of Marketing & Corporate Communication for the Menomonee Falls-based manufacturer. Dommisse will focus on expanding Bradley’s global brand, strategic planning and partnerships.

ANNOUNCEMENTS TEMPO elects new board chair

TEMPO members have elected DeVona Wright Cottrell, chief legal officer and general counsel at GMR Marketing, as board chair of the organization effective May 1, 2021. Wright Cottrell has been an active TEMPO member since 2016.



o place your listing, or for more T information, please visit

MSOE promotes Dr. Stephen Williams to VP of Campus Infrastructure.

Dr. Stephen Williams, P.E. will set the direction for implementing next generation technology to support MSOE’s educational methods and ensure the university’s physical spaces are designed to capture the power and flexibility of modern digital tools.

Clare M. Urbanski has joined Andrus Intellectual Property Law as a patent engineer. Clare assists the attorneys in the preparation and prosecution of patent applications, and in conducting prior art searches in support of opinions regarding patentability, non-infringement, and freedom to operate. Clare received a Bachelor of Science in both Physics and Philosophy from Marquette University, graduating magna cum laude within the Honors College.


Clare M. Urbanski Joins Andrus Intellectual Property Law as a Patent Engineer

Meissner Tierney Welcomes Jacob A. Sosnay as an Attorney

Meissner Tierney Fisher & Nichols S.C. (MTFN) is pleased to welcome Jacob A. Sosnay to its litigation team. At MTFN, Jacob’s practice will include a focus on civil rights litigation in federal court.



Bradley Corp. Names VP of Products & Engineering. Bradley Corp. announces the appointment of Nate Kogler to Vice President of Products & Engineering for the Menomonee Falls-based manufacturer. Kogler, a 20-year Bradley employee, is focusing on driving new product development and product strategy.

Bradley Corp. Names Chief Financial Officer. Bradley Corp., announces the appointment of Mark Umhoefer to Chief Financial Officer for the Menomonee Falls-based manufacturer. Umhoefer has held progressive management, director and executive leadership roles at Bradley since 1993.

New Hire? Share the news with the business community! Announce new hires, promotions, accolades, and board appointments with BizPeople.

Visit to submit your news! / 43

BizConnections VOLUME 27, NUMBER 6 | JUN 21, 2021


126 N. Jefferson St., Suite 403, Milwaukee, WI 53202-6120 PHONE: 414-277-8181 FAX: 414-277-8191 WEBSITE: CIRCULATION: 414-336-7100 | ADVERTISING: 414-336-7112 | EDITORIAL: 414-336-7120 | REPRINTS: 414-336-7100 | PUBLISHER / OWNER Dan Meyer



EDITORIAL EDITOR Andrew Weiland ASSOCIATE EDITOR Lauren Anderson ASSOCIATE EDITOR Arthur Thomas REPORTER Brandon Anderegg REPORTER Maredithe Meyer

North Sixth Street in 1929 This May 16, 1929 photo by William Bub of A.J. Breitwish Commercial Photography shows Tessner Motor Sales Co. on Sixth Street in Milwaukee. The property’s current address is 832 N. Sixth St., which is now part of the Wisconsin Center property. — Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Public Library/Historic Photo Collection.


Time to end extra unemployment benefit THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC is a public health crisis the world hasn’t faced since the 1918 Spanish flu. Worldwide, 3.75 million people have died, including more than 600,000 Americans. Extraordinary measures were taken as a result. Mask mandates and social distancing recommendations. Restrictions placed on “nonessential businesses” shut down a large portion of the economy. So, the health crisis led to an economic crisis. The U.S. unemployment rate jumped from 3.5% in February of 2020 to 14.8% in April of 2020. U.S. GDP fell by an extraordinary 31.4% in the second quarter of 2020. To help struggling Americans, the federal government enacted several stimulus measures, including a $300 a week boost in unemployment benefits. It’s clear that the extraordinary measures taken to fight COVID-19 were necessary, but those measures are supposed to be temporary. We certainly couldn’t shut the economy down 44 / BizTimes Milwaukee JUN 21, 2021

indefinitely, and the government can’t pay out stimulus and enhanced unemployment benefits for an excessive period of time without unintended consequences. The COVID-19 vaccines are providing a path out of the pandemic. Vaccine hesitancy remains a problem, about half of Wisconsinites have received at least one dose and the result has been a dramatic decrease in COVID-19 cases in the state. That has enabled most COVID-related restrictions to be dropped on businesses and individuals. As a result, the economy is showing signs of significant improvement. The U.S. unemployment rate was down to 5.8% in May. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate was down to 3.9% in April. The state’s labor force participation rate was 65.9%, much higher than the national rate of 61.7%. That data shows the economy has improved enough that the extra unemployment benefit is no longer needed. In addition, numerous businesses have reported difficulty finding workers to fill open positions and many are blaming the $300 in additional unemployment benefits. Several states have dropped the benefit, but Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers wants to keep it in place and says he has seen no “proof” the additional unemployment benefit is providing a disincen-






Independent & Locally Owned | Founded 1995

tive for people to work. That position defies common sense and makes Evers appear out of touch with the state’s businesses. The labor shortage problem is indeed more complicated and won’t simply be solved by eliminating the $300 weekly unemployment benefit. Even before the pandemic the state had a major problem with brain drain and a labor shortage. Retiring baby boomers and a lack of population growth are longstanding issues. Wisconsin needs to do a better job of attracting talent and blue-collar workers. Some argue employers simply need to pay more to fill open positions. In some cases, that’s true. But for businesses that are operating on narrow profit margins, it’s not realistic. Wages are best determined by supply and demand, and the lack of labor means employers will indeed need to increase wages. But businesses shouldn’t have to compete with enhanced unemployment benefits that were supposed to be temporary and are no longer necessary. n


P / 414-336-7120 E / T / @AndrewWeiland

NONPROFIT FROEDTERT TRUST FUNDS TO ESTABLISH SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM FOR MATC, UWM STUDENTS Froedtert Hospital said it will establish an $11.5 million scholarship program using funds from the Kurtis Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital Trust to benefit Milwaukee Area Technical College and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students. Each school will receive $5.75 million over 20 years to fund scholarships for students in health-related fields. It is the largest-ever donation to the MATC Foundation, according to the college’s president Vicki Martin. The Kurtis Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital Trust was established by the Last Will and Testament of Kurtis Froedtert,

the late leader of the Froedtert Malting Co., in 1951 to fund construction of the hospital. Prior to her death last year, Kurtis’s daughter Mazie Willms was involved in a years-long legal battle over her father’s wishes for the $100 million trust, arguing it wasn’t being directed to his other charitable interests. The new scholarship program is the result of a settlement agreement reached by the trustees of the trust, state attorney general Josh Kaul and Froedtert Hospital. The agreement is subject to approval by the Milwaukee County Circuit Court. — Lauren Anderson, staff writer

c alendar Marcus Performing Arts Center will host its 16th annual BASH on

Friday, June 25 to raise funds for its education and community engagement programs. The in-person event will include a preshow dinner hosted outside on the center’s updated grounds, followed by the auction, program and performance from Norm Lewis in the newly renovated Uihlein Hall in downtown Milwaukee. More information is available at Special Olympics Wisconsin will host its Sun Run & Soar Plunge on

Saturday, June 26 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis. Participants can run or walk the Milwaukee Mile Speedway and take a plunge after the race. More information is available at The MACC Fund will host its fifth annual golf outing on Monday, July 12 at 12 p.m. at The Bog Golf Course, 3121 County Road I in Saukville. More information is available at

D O N AT I O N R O U N D U P Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee Area Technical College and the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee recently received a $98,000 grant from the National College Attainment Network to support their M-Cubed initiative. | The Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation recently gave a $62,500 grant to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Foundation to continue funding its CAR-T research program. | UScellular gave $55,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee to support STEM and academic enrichment programs for its members. | Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. recently awarded seven nonprofits in Milwaukee, the greater Chicago area, Nashville and Louisville with grants totaling $700,000 in honor of late chairman Paul Purcell. The two Milwaukee-area recipients were Cristo Rey Jesuit High School and Teach for America – Milwaukee.



WA U K E S H A C O U N T Y C O M M U N I T Y F O U N D AT I O N 2727 N. Grandview Blvd., Waukesha (262) 513-1861 | Facebook:

Year founded: 1999 Mission statement: The Waukesha County Community Foundation is a pool of permanent endowment and project funds created primarily by and for the people of Waukesha County to provide grant support to charitable organizations. The intent of the foundation is to serve a broad spectrum of community needs. Primary focus of your nonprofit organization: The intent of the foundation is to continually strengthen the community and improve the quality of life for people in Waukesha County. Number of employees at this location: 4 Key donors: We receive charitable gifts, work with families, individuals, attorneys, and estate and financial planners to devise plans that fit every economic situation, ensuring that donors’ charitable contributions are used to the fullest extent and for maximum benefit. Executive leadership: Shelli Marquardt Board of directors: Karin Kultgen, M. D., Curt Brewer, Dave Provancher, Tim Beine, Jim Walden, Stacy Andritsch, Pat Boelter, Marybeth Budisch, Mervyn Byrd, Coreen Discus-Johnson, Jerry Flood, John Matter, Ann Bartos Merkow, M. D.,

Stephanie Riesch-Knapp, Victor Schultz, Fred Stier, Jane Stromwell, Judie Taylor, Ann Tesmer, Jan Wade and Dave Frank Is your organization actively seeking board members for the upcoming term? The organization is currently undergoing strategic planning. The leadership team is actively seeking board members to lead in financial/treasurer and public relations roles. Ways the business community can help your nonprofit: Individuals can support the Waukesha County Community

Foundation in several ways: • Establish a fund within the foundation to fulfill your charitable passion. • Attend an event such as Giving Forward, an annual community breakfast that showcases the efforts of area nonprofits. • Donate to an established fund. • Name the foundation as a beneficiary of your will or retirement plan. • Volunteer for board or committee service. • Stay informed by visiting our website and liking us on Facebook. Key fundraising events: Giving Forward breakfast on Thursday, Oct. 28 at the Brookfield Conference Center. / 45





President and chief executive officer, Regal Ware IN THE SPRING, Ryan Reigle took the reins of Kewaskum-based cookware maker Regal Ware Inc. as its president and chief executive officer. A fourth-generation descendent of founder J.O. Reigle, Ryan succeeds his father, Jeffrey Reigle, at the company’s helm. Regal Ware has grown from solely being a manufacturer to now marketing a variety of food and beverage products with a portfolio including Saladmaster, Lifetime, American Kitchen and ESPRO. BizTimes associate editor Lauren Anderson recently caught up with Reigle to discuss taking over the family business and its growth strategy. HOW’S THE TRANSITION GOING? “We’ve been in discussion about the transition for about a year and a half, so … it made it to the point where when the official day came, it was kind of a non-event for Jeff and I, as well as the organization. … The perception when a new leader comes into place is ‘what’s new, what’s going to change, what’s the new direction?’ We wanted to be cautious and avoid that because that’s not healthy for the organization. …. While there was a transition of responsibility, it’s the same team, the same strategy we’ve now been talking about for 12 to 18 months.” 46 / BizTimes Milwaukee JUN 21, 2021

FAMILY BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY “It is family in business, but you’ve got to be able to separate the two. Having healthy family relationships outside of the business is partially what has led to our success to be here for 76 years now. As a younger man, my grandfather was president and chairman and my father was after that. My uncle is still involved in the business, and my cousin is in it and my older brother as well. The one thing the family has always done so well, and I reflect back on that now, is really separating the two. Family time is family time, and the business is the business, and we don’t mix the two.” GROWTH PLANS “We are in a growth mode. We had great growth this year even throughout 2020, even through COVID. … Now we’re here sitting in a strong place with a strong balance sheet. We’re looking at product development, we’ll be stepping into (that) and how consumers are looking to interact with product. We’re looking at potential additions and acquisitions to our portfolio to support existing brands and customers. Regal Ware in 12 to 15 months is going to look different.” PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE “(Being a family business) allows us to make strategic or financial decisions that we know will take time to pay off but are in the best interest of customers and employees. That’s one of the greatest benefits of the organization. … The reality is we have people who are working in our West Bend facility that are fourth- and fifth-generation (employees). We’re not here to be the leader and the head honcho forever, but to hand it off to the next generation and make it better in the process.” n






Su p p ort in g Th ose W h o Su p p ort Ot h ers

M I S SI ON To solve hunger.

1700 West Fond du Lac Avenue Milwaukee, WI 53222 (414) 931-7400







S E P T E MB E R 2 9, 2 02 1 FeedingAmericaEasternWisconsin @FeedAmericaWI TOTAL EMPLOYEES: ANNUAL REVENUE:

59 $59,608,724 1982

Your involvement in this annual publication includes an in-depth profile, plus


SE RV I C E AREA Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin is the largest local food bank in the state, partnering with 400+ hunger-relief programs to distribute 36,000,000 pounds of food to 538,000 people in 35 counties.


n Donated Food .......................................................... 69% n Contributions and Grants ..................................... 15% n Shared Maintenance ................................................. 1% n Other ...............................................................................2% n Federal Commodities and Related Funding .. 13%




Driven by our mission to solve hunger and our vision of a hunger-free Wisconsin, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin is finding innovative solutions to address the root cause of hunger and ensuring everyone has access to healthy and nutritious food. Food insecurity has a huge impact on the overall health of the individual. We don’t want to just provide food, we want to provide fresh, healthy food that makes members of our communities healthier and stronger.

Whether you’re a foodie, a runner, a beer (or root beer) drinker, a music fan, an art lover or just looking to meet people while supporting a good cause, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin and our partners host many unique in person and virtual fundraising events for you to help solve hunger while having a great time.



Volunteers are the fuel that makes the Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin engine go. Last year, 12,088 volunteers donated more than 60,000 hours at our two Wisconsin food banks to ensure food is sorted, checked for quality and distributed to our members in a timely manner. All volunteer activities respect social distancing, with masks and gloves are required to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Individuals, groups and return volunteers are welcome.

All donations made to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin stay 100% local. $1 donated to our food bank is the equivalent of $10 spent at the grocery store by an individual. We accept monetary donations, gifts of stock and can assist you if you’d like to include us in your estate plan to feed generations to come. We can also help plan a workplace giving and cause marketing campaigns.



Arvind Gopalratnam

Retired, BMO Harris Bank

Milwaukee Bucks Foundation

Sally Piefer (Vice Chair) H Lindner & Marsack, S.C.

West Bend Mutual Insurance

Barclay Ferguson (Treasurer) H Medical College of Wisconsin

Hansen Reynolds, LLC

Patti Habeck (President and CEO) H Patti Habeck

President and CEO

Ralph Beck


Mark C. Behrens

Johnson Financial Group

Robert Jacques

Andrew A. Jones Scott Kolsky Kohl’s

Adam Landsverk

Fox Communities Credit Union

Cindy Moon-Mogush

Bethesda Lutheran Communities


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Michael M. Fordney (Chairman) H


several advertising elements in BizTimes Milwaukee magazine, BizTimes

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David Nelson

Medical College of Wisconsin

Alan Petelinsek Power Test, Inc.

Joan Phillips Deloitte

Thomas Putzer

SC Johnson & Son, Inc.

Tammy Roou

Northwestern Mutual

Andy Schlesinger

Andrew Automotive Group

Franco Spraggins Eversana

Mike Sprang

Foth & Van Dyke, LLC

Len Stecklein

Retired, Community Volunteer

Nonprofit Weekly Enewsletter, and the #Givingtuesday eblasts. Pow er Test Test isisaaProud Prou dSupporter of Power Feeding America Su p p ort er of FeedEastern in g AmWisconsin erica Pow er Test , In c. is an in d u st ry lead er in t h e d esig n , m an u fact u re an d sale of h eavy eq u ip m en t t est syst em s, d yn am om et ers, an d cu st om en g in eered p rod u ct s. W e w ork vig orou sly in t h e com m u n it y arou n d u s t o im p rove it in m an y w ays, b ot h larg e an d sm all. At Pow er Test , w e are com m it t ed t o M ak in g It Bet t er for all.

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A BANKING PHILOSOPHY BUILT BY A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSMAN. Unlike any other bank in the Milwaukee area, Ixonia Bank operates based on the philosophy of Professional Ownership® developed by Sheldon Lubar, our majority owner. His patient approach to business growth and building relationships, not transactions, is woven into our day-to-day operations. And you can tap into the approach of a business bank run by business experts to build your company. We believe that the greatest returns result from mutual respect and trust. For proof, talk to our bankers in the downtown Milwaukee office of Ixonia Bank. To talk business, call Patrick Lubar at 414.763. 2428


The Business Bank Run By Business People 611 E Wisconsin Ave Suite 101, Milwaukee, WI 53202 • 414.763.2428 •