Southeastern Wisconsin business people make it happen.
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Storytelling agency launches at BizExpo
May 28, 2015 11:16 AM
As more than 2,000 Milwaukee professionals congregated at BizTimes Media’s 11th annual BizExpo last week, one pair of entrepreneurs used the day as a platform to launch a new business.

Brian and Anna Mayer, a husband-wife team who have been working together for 12 years, introduced Little Studio Creative, a Milwaukee-based agency specializing in design, branding and storytelling.

“We’re about branding and storytelling and about how all the different pieces of it relate,” said Brian, principal and creative director.

Little Studio Creative will primarily focus on helping companies better communicate their brand and their stories, advising executives who know the direction they want to take their business but need guidance along the way.

The company’s main competencies cover photography, video and strategy, according to Brian, who said he wants to make the luxury of video and photo media available to small and mid-sized companies in the region, particularly those experiencing growth or transition.

Little Studio Creative operates with the tagline “Release the Superhero Within” as it works to make its clients look as good as possible.

“We’re there to be Robin, making Batman look good,” said Brian, who concentrates on web development and business operations while Anna handles the photography and videography services.

Examples of the couple’s work include the development of a corporate website for medical device company DFINE, Inc. and the creation of a video for Poppy Blue Photography to help the owner convey her passion for pet photography through her struggle with Parkinson’s disease.

Prior to launching Little Studio Creative, Brian and Anna ran separate photography and web development businesses out of their Glendale home, where they are raising four children.

They moved their family to Milwaukee from San Jose, Calif., six years ago as they sought a more affordable city along with Midwestern values and work ethic.

Now, as they consolidate their services under one business, they are preparing to move into a 600-square-foot office at 225 E. St. Paul Ave. in Milwaukee’s Third Ward. That space will allow them to neighbor prospective clients and be surrounded by other agencies they may be able to collaborate with in the future.

The business partners, who are the only full-time employees at Little Studio Creative, also rely on a steady stream of freelancers to accommodate the nuances of their projects.

Looking at growth potential, Brian and Anna hope to build an agency of 10 to 15 employees, according to Brian.

The immediate priority, however, centers on building a strong base of local clients, he said, and helping people through the power of creativity.

“We’re really driven by the purpose of being creators,” Brian said.

“For us to be successful, we just want to help other people be successful,” he added.

For more information on Little Studio Creative and its menu of storytelling services, visit

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Brewers, Packers athletes compete in local ping pong tournament
May 28, 2015 11:17 AM
A ping pong tournament held Wednesday to benefit Children's Hospital of Wisconsin featured a lineup of top Wisconsin athletes, including Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers and Green Bay Packers player Eddie Lacy.

The second annual Ping Pong Challenge for Charity, hosted by SURG on the Water, raised funds for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s Critical Care Unit.

Braun won the ping pong challenge against defending champion Randall Cobb, of the Green Bay Packers, in the final round. For his victory, he took home a special championship belt.

Additional tournament contenders were Davante Adams and Ahman Green, of the Packers, and Brewers players Kyle Lohse, Mike Fiers, Matt Garza, Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith.

The challenge was presented by Associated Bank with support from several other area companies, including Kohl’s, Ernst & Young LLP, Gruber Law Offices, the Orthopedic Institute of Wisconsin, Miller Lite, Lammi Sports Management, and host SURG Restaurant Group.

“SURG Restaurant Group is honored to support Children’s Hospital and their Critical Care team,” Omar Shaikh, co-owner and president of SURG Restaurant Group, said in a press release. “I would also like to thank Associated Bank and the rest of our partners, along with all the athletes that came out and supported this event. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind event here in Milwaukee, and we look forward to hosting it for years to come.”

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Wauwatosa wins Well Workplace Award
May 28, 2015 11:20 AM
The Wellness Council of America, with local affiliate Wellness Council of Wisconsin, recently presented the Gold Well Workplace Award to the city of Wauwatosa. The Gold Well Workplace Award recognizes an organization for its commitment to the health and well-being of their employees.

“Good companies know that their employees are their most valuable asset,” said WELCOA president Ryan Picarella. “Great companies adopt policies that support employees’ efforts to reduce health risks and are bold about motivating them through bold strategies, programs and tactics. Great companies know that by improving their employees’ health, they can reduce health care costs.”

“We have come to recognize that a key component in our ability to successfully achieve our mission, values and goals is the health and well-being of our employees.  In that spirit, the city of Wauwatosa is committed to providing a comprehensive wellness program for its employees,” said Wauwatosa human resources director Beth Aldana. “The city’s  Invest in Wellness program is designed to provide employees with a snapshot of their overall health, help keep employees up to date with age appropriate cancer screening and give them access to wellness coaches who can assist them in understanding their lab results and help with setting of wellness goals. In addition, the Invest in Wellness program offers a wide variety of wellness resources to assist employees on their wellness journey. One of the key components of the Invest in Wellness program is to create a supportive environment for employees and to encourage healthy lifestyles through a variety of programs and resources that focus on awareness, improved health, reduced health related costs and enhanced personal well-being.”

The Well Workplace Awards initiative is driven by criteria outlined in WELCOA’s seven benchmarks to a result-oriented Well Workplace.  Since its inception in 1991, over a thousand organizations, ranging from educational institutions to nonprofit and profit sectors have joined the list of “America’s Healthiest Companies” by receiving the Well Workplace Award.  

“The city of Wauwatosa worked hard to successfully meet the rigorous standards set by the Well Workplace process.  It is our pleasure to recognize them as the newest Wisconsin employer to achieve Well Workplace status,” said Wellness Council of Wisconsin’s executive director Jessica Raddemann.

The Wellness Council of Wisconsin was founded in 1985 by nine employers from the Wisconsin business community.  WELCOA has more than 6,000 member organizations located throughout North America.

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Fondy Food Center launches pop-up farmers market at Schlitz Park
May 28, 2015 11:21 AM
Fondy Food Center, a nonprofit that aims to increase access to fresh, local food in Milwaukee neighborhoods, will host its first pop-up farmers market at Schlitz Park.

The pop-up market will be held each Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., beginning on June 25 and running through the end of October. The market will be located on North Second St., in front of Brewhouse Square.

A rotating group of three or four farmers from Fondy’s Fond du Lac Avenue market will sell mostly produce at the pop-up farmers market. Shoppers can pay with cash, debit or credit for purchases.

“The Fondy Farmers Market has been a true intersection of food and community, health and heritage, and cultural diversity,” said Young Kim, Fondy’s executive director. “Against a backdrop of greenspace and historic architecture, the new Schlitz Park market adds another gathering place where shoppers can meet the farmers that have grown their produce and tenants can meet each other.”

The farmers market is another of the health and wellness initiatives Schlitz Park has implemented for its tenants at the 46-acre riverfront office complex. It hosts three fitness centers, onsite wellness coaches, daily bike rentals, and other wellness activities.

“We embrace the Fondy mission and share the motivation of the market’s original benefactor,” said Suzy Pitzo, Schlitz Park tenant relations director. “We want to provide our tenants with the opportunity to shop at work for fresh, locally grown and affordable produce. Partnering with Fondy brings added convenience to Schlitz Park tenants and neighbors with a unique amenity that reinforces our commitment to health and wellbeing.”

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New business accelerator program will be FaB
May 28, 2015 11:23 AM
FaB (Food and Beverage) Wisconsin has worked in collaboration with the Food Finance Institute at the University of Wisconsin Extension and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to create FaBcap, an accelerator grant program.

FaB, working with its 135 member companies in collaboration with the Institute, had identified a need in the burgeoning food and beverage manufacturing space for those companies ready to scale-up and increase production to expand their market reach and potential.   

The selected businesses must be Wisconsin-based and generating revenue in food, beverage, ingredients, equipment manufacturing or technologies to participate in the one-year program, which provides: a Certified Financial Coach, access to FaB Member Mentors; monthly cohort meetings at area food companies — all culminating in a $10,000 FaBcap Cash Award; and a pitch to investors/funders in the program’s closing ceremony.  

The WEDC is supporting the program with a $115,000 grant through its Seed Accelerator Program, with additional support coming from Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Milwaukee 7 and corporate sponsors, including Chortek LLP and Reinhardt Boerner Van Deuren s.c.

“FaBcap is designed to build the capacity and capitalization of 10 pre-screened and scaling food or beverage business through a one-year program on how to grow and fund a sustainable food or beverage enterprise,” said Shelley Jurewicz, executive director of FaB Wisconsin.

“Wisconsin is home to more than 1,000 food, beverage and ingredient manufacturers. Nearly two-thirds have fewer than 10 employees. We have a great opportunity to grow these companies and innovate the industry with the support being offered through FaBcap,” said Reed Hall, secretary and chief executive officer of the WEDC. “Supporting those with ambitions to grow and helping them succeed will strengthen our industry’s innovative core.”

“We’ve learned that food businesses make money, and don’t, in predictable ways. Those that succeed use the right kind of financing at the right time as their business evolves,” said Tera Johnson, founding director of the UW Extension Food Finance Institute.

FaB plans to announce the call for accelerator program applicants in late June, and will select the final 10 in July, with the program slated to kick off in late August. Interested applicants can visit

FaB Wisconsin is a statewide cluster network supporting food and beverage industry growth and awareness.

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Bader Rutter receives Best of Show at Paragon Awards
May 28, 2015 11:25 AM
Bader Rutter of Brookfield received the Best of Show Award at the Public Relations Society of America Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter Paragon Awards ceremony last week.

The awards program for high-level work in public relations was held at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee on May 21.

Bader Rutter was honored for its work with Zoetis on the Hoof-Tec New Product Introduction. The creative “Too Much Metal” campaign introduced a new footbath product to dairy farmers and veterinarians used for bathing cow hooves. Results included an increased awareness of 50 percent in just nine months after the campaign and increased product sales. Print and online placements attracted nearly 1.5 million impressions. The launch news release received 447,848 impressions, and it was the most-clicked story of the March Inside Dairy Wellness e-newsletter.
Other Best of Show finalists included Bader Rutter for its work for Sauder, BVK for its work with Weddings by Funjet and Hawai’i Health Connector, and Celtic Inc. for its work with Edvest.
This year’s entries were judged by the Greater Kansas PRSA Chapter and were evaluated based on five criteria: objectives, research and planning, execution, budgets and results.
“It’s wonderful to see the volume of great public relations work produced right here in Southeastern Wisconsin,” said Bill Bussler, Wisconsin Chapter president. “Our members are creative, resourceful and savvy. The work featured at the Paragon Awards gets better each year, and we look forward to continuing to see the outstanding work our members produce.”
The events also recognized two established professionals for their work in the local community. The Communicator of the Year Award was presented to Stephanie Klett, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. Under her leadership, the Department of Tourism has earned an unprecedented 65 regional, national and international awards. The Dorothy Thomas Black Award was presented to Carol Seeger Weber, APR, director of communications and marketing at the Wisconsin Dental Association.
Other Paragon Award winners included:
* Merit Awards for Ongoing Social Media Campaigns: BVK – Alex Boeder and Lauren Wagner for Guitars for Vets’ Social Media Campaign;  BVK – Alex Boeder and Jackie Hribar for Foresters’ Tech Timeout Challenge Social Media Campaign;  BVK – Lisa Lach and AJ Trela for The Funjet Insider Social Media Campaign; and  BVK – Rob Ebert for Mystik Lubricants’ Lubrication Domination Social Media Campaign.
* Awards of Excellence for Social Media Campaigns: Bader Rutter – Liesel Olson, Megan Price, Katie Shafer and Olivia Johnson for Sauder’s Social Media Campaign;  BVK – Bruce Dierbeck and Alex Boeder for the Hawai’i Health Connector Social Media Campaign;  BVK – Lisa Lach and AJ Trela for the Weddings by Funjet Launch Social Media Campaign; and  BVK – Rob Ebert and AJ Trela for the CITGO Fueling Good Road Trip Social Media Campaign.
* Merit Award for Community Relations Programs: State Farm – Kelly Savage for Neighborhood Assist Community Relations Program.
* Merit Award for Public Service Program: State Farm – Kelly Savage for Celebrate My Drive Public Service Program.
* Merit Awards for Integrated Communications Programs – Business or Industry:  Wisconsin Dental Association and Group One Marketing for the “Own Your Smile” Oral Health Literacy, Public Awareness Campaign; and American Transmission Co. – Anne Spaltholz and Alissa Braatz for the American Transmission Co. Helps Landowners to Grow Smart Campaign.
* Award of Excellence for Integrated Communications Programs – Business or Industry: Bader Rutter – Cheryl O’Brien for the 2014 Honoring Caregivers Program; Celtic Inc. for Edvest’s Big Apple Giveaway; Bader Rutter – Kristina Hopkins, Mandy Witt and Jared Bramer for the Hoof-Tec New Product Introduction.
* Merit Award for Integrated Communications Programs – Government or Nonprofit: Lisa Todd of Laughlin Constable and Lisa Marshall of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism for the 2014 Wisconsin Department of Tourism Campaign.
* Award of Excellence for Integrated Communications Programs – Government or Nonprofit: Bethesda for the Peoria Community Engagement Campaign.
* Award of Excellence for PR Tactics: Media Relations Tactic – Press Kit, Product: Cramer-Krasselt – John Mose, Heather Gaedtke and Tanya Pinsoneault for the Alpha Free Multimedia News Release.
* Merit Award for PR Tactics: Media Relations Tactic – Press Kit, Services/Events/Other: Lisa Todd from Laughlin Constable and Danielle Johns from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism for the Wisconsin Tourism 2014 Press Kit.
* Merit Awards Media Relations Tactic – Press Release or Other Tactic: Brian Knox and the Laughlin Constable team for the School Nurses Vaccination Effort – “No Shots, No School!”; and Bader Rutter – Bruce Herz, Claire Haupt and Nina Lewis for the Case IH Media Event and Farm Progress Show.
* Award of Excellence for Media Relations Tactic – Press Release or Other Tactic: Kohler Engines – Anne Smith and Bill Bussler for Kohler Engines’ Trade Editors’ Conference.
* Merit Award for Posters: Cramer-Krasselt – John Mose, Julie Ferris, Dave Racine, JC Maldonado, Tim Halverson and Heather Gaedtke for The Power to Choose Evinrude.
* Merit Award for Special Events: Cramer-Krasselt – John Mose, Julie Ferris, Dave Racine, JC Maldonado, Tim Halverson and Heather Gaedtke for Club Evinrude.
* Award of Excellence for Brochures: Carroll University for its Admission General Brochure.
* Merit Award for Social Media Tactic: Cramer-Krasselt – Marlaina Quintana and Maureen Falkner for their TIKI Brand Outdoor Entertaining Blogger Program.
* Award of Excellence for Online Tactics – Website: Bader Rutter for the National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Council’s
* Award of Excellence for Online Tactics – E-Newsletters: Brenna Sadler and the Laughlin Constable team for the Spreading the Word: Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association’s E-Newsletter.

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Bubbler Quote of the Week
May 28, 2015 11:28 AM

“The key to growing your business in the next 12 months is not about your marketing campaign. It isn't about how you craft your sales pitch. It isn't even about the periodic price discounts you offer.
“The key to growing your business is listening to the stories of your customers. The real business that needs to take place today for long-term sustainability is about relational selling and not transactional selling.”
-Ben Merens, a content marketing director at Vistelar and a corporate storytelling consultant in Milwaukee.
Read Wednesday’s Milwaukee Biz Blog by Merens: Listening is more profitable than selling.

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Bubbler Calendar
May 28, 2015 11:29 AM

*Thursday, May 28, FUEL Milwaukee will present a “Purely Social” event on the rooftop patio of La Perla, located at 734 S. 5th Street in Milwaukee. The event, part of a monthly series, will offer attendees the chance to network with their professional peers, sample complimentary appetizers, and take advantage of drink specials. The event is free and open to the public and will run from 6 to 9 p.m. Attendees should plan to register at

*Friday, May 29, through Sunday, May 31, the Milwaukee Brewers will challenge the Arizona Diamondbacks at Miller Park, 1 Brewers Way in Milwaukee. Friday’s game will kick off at 7:10 p.m., Saturday’s game will start at 1:10 p.m. and Sunday’s game will begin at 1:10 p.m. For more information on the Brewers’ schedule or to purchase game tickets, click here.

*Wednesday, June 3, the Greater Brookfield Chamber of Commerce will hold a seminar featuring “Social Media tools for Business.” The workshop will guide attendees through the differences between social media outlets, help them determine which ones will best serve their business and offer basic tips for getting social media accounts up and running. The workshop will run from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Greater Brookfield Chamber of Commerce, located at 17100 W. Bluemound Road, Suite 202, in Brookfield. Cost is $29 for chamber members and $49 for non-members. For more information or to register, click here.

*Thursday, June 4, BizTimes Media will present the “Family & Closely Held Business Summit” with a focus on helping family businesses learn how to address many of the complex issues related to growing their ventures successfully. The summit will feature a keynote address by David Ransburg, of Family Business Consulting Group, Inc., and three consecutive interactive panel discussions and CEO presentations. Networking and breakfast will also be included. The event will run from 7 to 11:30 a.m. at the Italian Community Center, located at 631 E. Chicago Street in Milwaukee. Cost is $50 for individuals and $450 for a corporate table of 10. For more information or to register, click here.

*Thursday, June 4, the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation will facilitate a course on “Developing Your Leadership Skills.” The free class will offer participants tips and best practices related to effective business leadership. The class will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Northside Kenosha Library, located at 1500 27th Avenue in Kenosha. For more information or to register, click here.

*Saturday, June 6, the Milwaukee Bucks will hold the “Bucks Summer Block Party” on the Schlitz Park campus. The inaugural summer event will take place in front of the Stock-House building on North Second Street, from West Cherry Street to West Galena Street. The event will run from noon to 5 p.m. with the unveiling the of the Bucks’ new uniforms scheduled for 2 p.m. The day will also include appearances by Bucks players, live music, food, beverages, prizes and more. For more information on the block party, visit

*Wednesday, June 17, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Continuing Education will hold a seminar on “First Steps to Starting a Business.” The course will help students learn how feasible their business idea is and will also educate them about startup costs, financial resources, risks and rewards of starting a business, legal issues and more. The course will run from 6 to 9 p.m. at the UWM School of Continuing Education, located at 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., #6000, in Milwaukee. Cost is $29. For more information or to register, click here.

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BizTimes Around Town
May 28, 2015 11:32 AM
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-Wisconsin Chapter celebrated the conclusion of its 2015 "Milwaukee's Finest" campaign during a reception on May 21. Nine honorees who were nominated to take part in the campaign collectively raised $55,000 for the organization. The campaign reception, held at the InterContinental Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, included networking, a recognition program, a raffle and live entertainment. BizTimes Media served as a sponsor of "Milwaukee's Finest."

Check out event photos in BizTimes Media’s Around Town gallery.

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Erica Breunlin BizTimes Bubbler Weekly is compiled by BizTimes Milwaukee reporter Erica Breunlin. This bulletin is published every Thursday morning. Send news tips to or call her at (414) 336-7121.

Bubbler Networking Resources

» African American Chamber of Commerce Milwaukee
» American Marketing Association-Milwaukee Chapter
» Association of Management Professionals LLC
» Business Marketing Association-Milwaukee
» Conservative Young Professionals of Milwaukee
» Creative Alliance of Greater Milwaukee
» Executive Women International-Milwaukee Chapter
» Executive Women's Golf Association-Milwaukee Chapter
» FUEL Milwaukee
» Grandville-Brown Deer Chamber of Commerce
» Greater Brookfield Chamber of Commerce
» Mequon-Thiensville Chamber of Commerce
» Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC)
» National Association of Women Business Owners
» Professional Dimensions
» Public Relations Society of America - Wisconsin Chapter,
» South Suburban Chamber of Commerce
» Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce
» Summit Young Professionals
» Tempo Waukesha
» Tempo Milwaukee
» Tempo Washington County
» The Gateway to Milwaukee
» Waukesha County Business Alliance
» West Allis/West Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce
» Wisconsin Better Business Bureau
» Women's FOCUS
» Young Professionals of Waukesha County
» YP Impact

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