John Kissinger earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1979 and his Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1983.He joined GRAEF in 1984 as a structural engineer in the firm’s Milwaukee office. John is a licensed Professional Engineer, Structural Engineer and a LEED Accredited Professional.
In January 2012, John was named President and CEO of GRAEF. He has also served on the GRAEF Board of Directors since 2002.
Among many notable projects on John’s resume is the Milwaukee Art Museum addition, on which he served as engineering project manager. For his work on that facility, Kissinger was named one of the “Top 25 Newsmakers for 2001” by Engineering News-Record Magazine. Other notable projects include The Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee, the McCormick Place West Expansion in Chicago, and the Lambeau Field renovation in Green Bay.
Kissinger is active in the local community. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of Employ Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Area Workforce Development Board, where he was Chairman from 2010-2015. He has also served as co-chair of the City of Milwaukee “Earn and Learn” youth employment program. He is a current member of the Wauwatosa Economic Development Advisory Committee.
In the private sector, John is a member of the Board of Directors of The Zoological Society of Milwaukee, the UW-Milwaukee Foundation, and the American Council of Engineering Companies Wisconsin. He is a member of the Board of Directors and the current Board President of MetroGO!, and Vice Chairman of the Regional Transit Leadership Council.. He also serves on the Campaign Cabinet of United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, and of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF). He is the chairman of the Dean’s Cabinet of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at UW-Milwaukee, and he is also an active member of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, serving on its Future Workforce Committee, and MiKE Council.
John resides in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin with his wife Debbie. Together, they have three children: Courtney, Derek and Dylan.
GRAEF is an ENR Top 500 Engineering, Planning and Design firm headquartered in Milwaukee with multiple offices in Wisconsin, Illinois and Florida. The firm’s mission is to improve the physical environment for the benefit of society in a sustainable manner.
As an architect, founder and partner at RINKA, Matt’s passion is to meaningfully enhance the built environments of our local and regional communities. Since founding the company in 2006 with a vision “to inspire through thoughtful design”, the firm has designed many high-profile projects in the Milwaukee area, including The Moderne, The Couture, Lakefront Gateway Plaza, Milwaukee Bucks Entertainment District, Pabst Professional Center, Drexel Town Square, The Lowlands Group restaurants (Hollanders, Benelux and Café Centraal), and the new Pizza Man restaurants. Over the past decade, Rinka Chung has been one of the most awarded design firms in Wisconsin having received over 40 industry awards including the 2012 Architect of the Year from The Daily Reporter, one of Milwaukee’s Best Places to work from the Business Journal, several AIA Wisconsin Design Awards, multiple Project of the Year awards, 8 Mayor’s Urban Design Awards, the 2012 Wisconsin Minority Business Award, and recognition as a Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. Matt is a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee graduate, receiving his Bachelor of Architecture in 1997.
Lisa Van Landeghem
Chair, Finance Committee
Executive Director, Assurance Services
Ernst & Young LLP
Lisa is an executive director with over 20 years of experience in public accounting in the Milwaukee office of Ernst & Young LLP. She has extensive experience servicing both public and privately-held companies. She has worked in the consumer products, retail and manufacturing industries throughout her career. Lisa is a lead executive on numerous audit engagements. She is also the engagement quality reviewer for a number of clients and has a role in the EY Central Region quality team.
Lisa is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting. She is a Certified Public Accountant and member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants (WICPA).
Lisa is passionate about education and currently serves on the Board of Directors as Treasurer for Penfield Montessori Academy and is a member of the Audit Committee of Penfield Children’s Center.
Christina H. Fiasca (Retired) was appointed Northwestern Mutual Investment Services President and Vice President Product Finance at Northwestern Mutual, Milwaukee, WI on November 1, 2012. In this position, she was responsible for product line profitability, business reporting and analytics and ensuring governance of the broker dealer. Prior to this role, she headed up the Agency function where she set the overall direction, development, and compensation of Northwestern Mutual’s field force. Fiasca joined Northwestern Mutual as assistant controller on February 2, 1987.
Fiasca received a B.B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee, with majors in accounting and management information systems.
Mike Aldana is the managing partner of Quarles & Brady and a partner in the firm’s Labor & Employment Group. He represents a broad range of employers in all facets of labor and employment law. Mike has substantial experience in defending employers in employment discrimination cases, wrongful discharge lawsuits, wage and hour claims, and union litigation in federal and state courts and before federal and state agencies. He also negotiates, on an ongoing basis, numerous collective bargaining agreements and assists employers in contract administration and arbitrations. He regularly counsels employers on day-to-day human resources issues and assists employers in reductions in forces and employment-related issues related to acquisitions and mergers. Mike is a frequent lecturer, both statewide and nationally, on employment, civil rights, education law, and constitutional topics.
Recent counseling and litigation experiences:
Representation of numerous clients in reductions in force in several states.
Representation of clients in developing background screening procedures, to ensure FCRA, EEOC and state law compliance and in litigation regarding these issues.
Successful defense of employers in nationwide class actions wage and hour cases.
Successful representation of client in disability class action lawsuit, resulting in complete dismissal of claims upon appeal to Seventh Circuit and recoupment of attorneys fees.
Labor & Employment
Class Action Defense
Financial Institutions Litigation
Education and Honors
Harvard Law School Executive Education (Leadership in Law Firms Program, 2016)
University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business (Certificate of Executive Management, 2013)
University of Michigan Law School (J.D., 1990)
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (B.A., 1987)
S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit
S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit
S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin
S. District Court, District of Illinois
S. District Court, District of Indiana
S. District Court, District of Maryland
Professional and Civic Activities
Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (Board of Directors)
Seeds of Health (Vice President)
Children’s Outing Association (Board of Directors)
Milwaukee Bar Association (Member)
American Bar Association (Member, Labor and Employment Section)
Federal Labor Standards Committee (Contributing Editor)
Wisconsin School Attorneys Association (President, 2004–2005)
National Association of College and University Attorneys (Member)
State Bar of Wisconsin (Fellow)
Listed in The Best Lawyers in America®(2007–present: Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management, Litigation – Labor & Employment)
Selected for inclusion in the 2011-17 Wisconsin Super Lawyers® lists (Employment & Labor, Schools & Education)
Recognized as Best Lawyers® 2020 Milwaukee Labor Law – Management “Lawyer of the Year”
David Barnett is an artist, collector, appraiser, and gallery owner in Milwaukee. The David Barnett Gallery is the oldest gallery in Wisconsin, in business for over fifty-five years, and has flourished to become Wisconsin’s premier gallery. The gallery established its international reputation early on by dealing extensive collections of Picasso ceramics and Milton Avery oil paintings. Today it has the most diverse range of art available in any Wisconsin gallery, including over six thousand works of art representing over eight hundred artists. The David Barnett Gallery specializes in European and American masters, regional and nationally recognized artists, and “emerging” Wisconsin artists. Modern and contemporary artworks Latin American, Asian, African, and African American artists also adorn the gallery, along with historic arts of Africa, Indonesia, and Oceania.
In a 2013 article composed by ArtPlace and the National Endowment for the Arts, the David Barnett Gallery was the only gallery mentioned by name when reviewing why Milwaukee was considered one of twelve cities considered “America’s Top ArtPlaces”. In 2019, his gallery was included in Michelle Madden’s book 111 Places in Milwaukee That You Must Not Miss.
David’s passion for art started at the mere age of five, and at the age of nineteen he pursued a career in the field. He started his gallery in 1966 while he was a fine art and art history student at UW-Milwaukee. The gallery was first located in a converted basement apartment at 21st Street and Wisconsin Avenue. He inaugurated this space with an exhibition of the work of graduate students from local universities and colleges. In 1985, David moved his gallery from Wisconsin Avenue into the historic Button Mansion on State Street has been active ever since. David’s talents for recognizing undervalued artists and for meeting the needs of art lovers, art collectors and artists have created a vibrant, flourishing gallery and collection of over six thousand works of art.
David was born and raised in Wisconsin. His hometown is dear to him and so he has made it part of his career to give back to the art and culture scene of Milwaukee. He has donated more than one million dollars in artwork locally and throughout Wisconsin and has hosted numerous non-profit organization fundraisers at his gallery. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Artist Series Pabst and was Vice President of the Mayor’s Art Commission. In 1985, David started an internship program to train college-level fine art and art history students in the business of art, which has now benefited dozens of young professionals.
The David Barnett Gallery provides custom archival framing, fine art appraisals, installation services, consulting services and fine art conservation. David also operates VanGo Frame and Art, the country’s first mobile art service, established in 1984. David Barnett has been appraising art as an accredited member of the Appraisers Association of America since 1975 and he is one of approximately only two thousand personal property appraisers in the United States with the Uniformed Standards of Professional Appraiser Practice Certification.
Dr. Brian J. Bear, M.D. (’81)
Assistant Clinical Professor, Medical College
Clinical Professor, Marquette University
Dr. Brian J. Bear graduated with both a BS from the UWM College of Health Sciences (Health Information Administration), and a BS from the College of Letters & Science (Medical Science) in 1981. He received his MD from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1984. He maintained a very busy practice in Obstetrics and Gynecology, most recently with Aurora Advanced Healthcare, delivering over 10,000 babies until his retirement in 2014. He still serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as an Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy both at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and as a Clinical Professor at Marquette University. He has been named a “Top Doc” by Milwaukee Magazine over two decades, an honor bestowed by fellow physicians. He was also awarded the Citizenship Award in 2011 by the UWM Alumni Association. He has served on the Executive Committee of the UWM Alumni Association, and has made a Chancellor’s Society level gift supporting the ZSPH Dean’s Impact Fund. He currently serves on the UWM Foundation Board, The UWM Finance Committee, and the UWM Development Committee.
Dr. Brian Bear is married to Dr. Laurel Bear, who also received her BS from the UWM College of Letters & Science (Medical Science) in 1981, and her MD from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1984. Dr. Bear serves as an Associate Professor of pediatrics at MCW. Dr. Laurel Bear received the 2012 UWM Alumni Association Distinguished Alumnus Award, was named one of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Women of Influence in 2013, and received the Medical College of Wisconsin Humanitarian Award in 2014.
James Blinka (’85)
Tax Professor, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
Retired, Regional Managing Partner
BDO USA LLP
Regional Managing Partner for the Central Region Tax practice- BDO USA LLP from 2004 until retirement
Regional Managing Partner for the Atlantic Region Tax Practice- BDO USA LLP from 2012 until 2016
Member- BDO USA LLP Board of Partners from 2004 through 2010
Seasoned Tax Professional with significant experience and skills
Corporate tax including issues in corporate formation, operational results, raising capital, restructuring, bankruptcy, and liquidations
Tax issues related to taxable and tax-free acquisitions of businesses
Tax issues involved in preparing a business for a liquidity event including a sale of stock, sale of assets, and Initial Public Offerings
Consulting with closely held family businesses on issues such as succession planning, the transfer of the business to the next generation of ownership, and the possible use of ESOPS to accomplish transition
Consulting on a variety of issues involved with the compensation of business executives, including stock options, bonus arrangements, compensation studies, and qualified plans such as common 401(k) plans
Tax issues associated with the partnership form of business operations
Tax issues associated with operating as an S-Corporation
Tax and financial planning advice to high-net-worth individual taxpayers
BBA Accounting: UW-Milwaukee, May 1982
MS Taxation: UW-Milwaukee, May 1985
Arthur Andersen, January 1984 – December 1989, Tax Manager
BDO USA LLP, January 1990 – December 2003, Tax Partner
BDO USA LLP, January 2004 – December 2018: Regional Managing Partner-Tax Services
UW-Milwaukee Lubar School of Business, January 2019 – Present, Lecturer
Awards and Acknowledgements:
CPA – Wisconsin 1998 – Present
Treasurer- UW Milwaukee Foundation: 2006- 2012
Member- Milwaukee Tax Club: 1990- Present
BDO USA LLP: Board of Partners- 2004 through 2010
Member MMAC Advisory Committee on Business: 2004-2018
Chair, Investment Committee
Managing Partner and Investor Advocate
Alpha Investment Consulting Group, LLC
Robert Bukowski is the Managing Director and founder of Alpha Investment Consulting Group, LLC. Alpha was founded in 1989 and provides fee based investment consulting services to institutional clients. Mr. Bukowski has been actively involved in the financial services business for over thirty years acting as an expert witness, technical expert, business manager, business owner and fiduciary.
Bob graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from UW Madison. He is a member of the CFA Society of Milwaukee, GMEBC, and WRPPL, and currently serves on several boards, including the Milwaukee County Council Boy Scouts of America Endowment Fund and the UWM Foundation. He is also heavily involved with SecureFutures – Wisconsin, a non-profit organization that provides financial literacy education to high school seniors throughout Wisconsin. He currently serves on the Board and is a former President.
A Cedarburg, Wisconsin native, Dr. Ellen J. Censky earned her Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee in 1979 and her doctorate in biological sciences from the University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Censky spent 20 years at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh conducting research on amphibians and reptiles in the Caribbean, Central and South America and the United States. She has published 3 books and more than 50 scientific papers. She went on to serve in leadership capacities nationally, including at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, where she received national recognition for her work in founding and developing the BioBlitz program, which is now a staple community outreach program at institutions in every U.S. state and in countries around the world.
Dr. Censky continued to expand her leadership skills as the Director of the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and Director and CEO of the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History at the University of Oklahoma, guiding both institutions through significant expansions and seven-figure capital campaigns. Following successful tenures of leadership across the country, Dr. Censky returned to the Milwaukee Public Museum in 2008 to serve as Senior Vice President and Academic Dean. Today, Dr. Censky is responsible for leading the Milwaukee Public Museum as it envisions a future in a new home.
Stephanie Chedid is President & CEO of Luther Manor, A Life Plan Community in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin offering a full spectrum of senior services from independent living to hospice care. Stephanie is the third CEO in the organization’s history and its first female leader. In her role, she guides an exceptional team of professionals who are responsible for nearly 320 residents, 375 employees and hundreds of volunteers. Luther Manor is among the largest Life Plan Communities in the State of Wisconsin and provides more than $5M in charity care a year made possible in part through grants from the Luther Manor Foundation; of which Stephanie is President.
Prior to her role with Luther Manor, she spent 20 years in the investment industry. A shift to the health care industry came when she was President of Cleary Gull Advisors, a start-up division serving both hospital and senior care providers offered a unique opportunity to influence the evolving health care delivery model. Today, she leverages the financial acumen from her time as a business leader and investment advisor with her mission driven community work to bring new life to a mature health care organization on Milwaukee’s northwest side. Stephanie received a BA in International Relations along with a minor in Economics from UWM in 1994. In addition, she has completed advanced course work at Harvard Business School and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Today, she is an active alumna and a guest speaker for the UWM College of Health Sciences in addition to pursuing an MBA though the UWM Lubar School of Business.
Core to the Luther Manor culture is a commitment to serve outside of the organization. Stephanie has served in numerous leadership positions with the United Way of Greater Milwaukee, including as co-chair of the Women’s Leadership Council – the largest and most successful council of its kind in the nation. As board member of LeadingAge Wisconsin, she pairs her advocacy work for seniors with that of United Way to help address issues impacting staff such as employment and financial stability.
As Senior Vice President and Market Executive, Lori Craig oversees the client’s team of wealth management professionals, striving to achieve the highest levels of client satisfaction. Her top priority is that the team not only meets, but also exceeds the client’s expectations. Through Craig’s leadership and commitment, she ensures that clients benefit from a full complement of investment, trust, financial planning and private banking services to help them achieve their financial goals.
Lori Craig joined PNC in July 2010 as Market Leader for Wisconsin. Prior to joining PNC, Craig was Senior Vice President and Wealth Strategist with Northern Trust in Milwaukee. She has over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, with 16 years of experience specifically in Wealth Management.
Craig holds a Master’s Degree in Management and Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Cardinal Stritch University. In addition, she is a member of the Delta Mu Delta Business Honors Society.
She is an active member in the community and serves on a number of boards, including the UWM Foundation, Cardinal Stritch College of Business – Chair, Go Red for Women – Chair of Executive Leadership Team, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, and the Milwaukee Jewish Museum. She is also on a number of advisory boards including UPAF Campaign Cabinet, Make a Difference Wisconsin, Milwaukee Women Inc Steering Committee and the MATC Paralegal Program and secure Futures.
Lori has two adult children. Her son lives in Chicago and her daughter is in Milwaukee.
Vice President – Corporate Strategy
Andrew DeGuire is the Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Northwestern Mutual where the team’s responsibilities include leading development and driving the company’s multi-year strategy, performance reporting, corporate, consumer and competitive research and analytics. He is a member of the Northwestern Mutual Venture Fund investment committee and Chairman, Wysh Life & Health – a Northwestern Mutual subsidiary.
Mr. DeGuire joined Northwestern Mutual in 2018 as a member of the Corporate Strategy team. From 2015 to 2018, he was the Vice President, Corporate Development and Mergers & Acquisitions at Quad/Graphics. From 2002 to 2014, he was the Vice President, Strategy & Acquisitions for the Building Efficiency business of Johnson Controls.
Mr. DeGuire received an Honors BA degree from Marquette University and an MA in International Economics & Finance from Brandeis University. He has also studied at the London School of Economics and Copenhagen Business School.
He is the co-author of Betting the Company: Complex Negotiations in Law & Business and has been a guest lecturer at Marquette University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Brandeis University business schools.
Andrew lives in Whitefish Bay with his wife Nikki and their two children.
Donna Drosner (’78)
Senior Investment Consultant
Private Wealth Management
Robert W. Baird & Co.
Donna earned her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ certification in 2010. In 2007, she completed Baird’s Investment Consultant Program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and earned the designation Senior Investment Consultant. In 2005, Donna earned the designation of Certified Retirement Counselor through Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Donna received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Donna is a Director of the Milwaukee Tennis and Education Foundation, a non-profit organization that makes a difference in central city, at-risk children’s lives through tennis, scholastic tutoring, and life skills mentoring and is a nationally ranked tennis player. She also sits on the UWM Foundation Investment Committee and a member of the Economic Club of Sheboygan and Alliance Franchise.
Jeff is currently a Senior Fellow at Harvard in their Advanced Leadership Initiative. For the last 11 year’s, 50 individuals are selected annually from around the world to participate. The current cohort comes from six continents and sixteen countries. Jeff is the first participant from the state of Wisconsin.
Previous to Harvard, Jeff worked for Miller Brewing Company for 38 years starting in an entry level position and retiring as President. He also served as President of SABMiller’s Americas where he oversaw an organization which serviced 36 countries. Prior to this he served as VP International, VP Trade Marketing, Director of Corporate Strategy, Director of Sales Development and Director of Business Development.
He is an owner of a multitude of companies across a variety of industries such as Bioverse (a producer of all-natural water cleaning products), New Fashion Pork (one of the larger pork producers with ownership in Triumph Foods, the second largest processor in the US), Precision Health Technologies (a manufacture of all nature animal health care products) to shrimp, farming and sugar cane operations in Belize. He is currently working on two startups while also sitting on the board of JW Speaker (a manufacturer of lights for companies such as Harley Davidson, BMW and John Deere).
He received his undergraduate degree in Operations Management from The Pennsylvania State University and a Master’s of Science in Business from the Cardinal Stritch University, where he currently sits on their board. Jeff and his wife Karin live in Milwaukee, have two daughters and two grandchildren.
Jacqueline is a 1984 graduate of the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) where she earned a degree in Electrical Engineering. While attending MSOE, Jacqueline co-founded the school’s National Society of Black Engineers/NTA chapter. After graduating, Jacqueline began work as a Sales Engineer for Motorola. She retired in 2009 just shy of 25 years of employment.
Prior to her retirement, Jacqueline held direct and indirect sales management positions at Motorola. Her account base included companies in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Midwest and globally. This included manufacturers in diverse markets such as automotive, healthcare, military, contract manufacturing, telecom, factory automation, and avionics.
Jacqueline serves on several community and civic boards in Milwaukee. She is immediate past chair of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts Board, past chair of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Milwaukee Urban League, and MSOE Alumni Association boards. She currently serves as Past President of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee, is a member of the SaintA Board, the MSOE Corporate Board, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Foundation Board, St. Ann’s Center for Intergenerational Care, the United Way of Greater Milwaukee, the Urban Day School Board, COA, Children’s Hospital Foundation Board, Federal Defender Services of Wisconsin, Black Arts Think Tank (BATT) and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation Board.
Jackie is a 2006 inductee into the Milwaukee School of Engineering Wall of Fame a member of the Milwaukee Chapter of the Links, Inc and Girl Friends.
Jackie is married to Michael, COO of GE Healthcare Systems and has two children, Lauren, a fourth-year medical student at Harvard Medical School and Justin, a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and currently pursuing his MBA at the Lubar School of Business.
Kimberly Kane is the president and CEO of Kane Communications Group. She is an award-winning journalist and public relations practitioner. Her firm works with executives to align communications with business strategy, defining brands, building reputations and inspiring business results.
Kimberly grew up in Los Angeles where her father operated a gang prevention and juvenile diversion program. She and her twin sister spent years working with their dad in the city’s most dangerous housing projects. This experience inspired Kimberly to pursue a career in journalism where she saw an opportunity to do more than report on difficult news, but to share stories of hope and to empower viewers with well-researched, objective information.
During her 15 years in television news, Kimberly won multiple awards, including an Emmy nomination. She was instrumental in the creation of a highly recognized health segment for WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee. In 2006, Kimberly entered the business community, working in business development, communications and government affairs before starting her own company.
Today, Kimberly is not only involved with her firm and their clients, but is active on numerous boards, advisory boards and committees; regularly emcees events; and is a public speaker – on topics that include crisis management, strategic communications and leadership. She has a degree in Broadcast Journalism and Urban Politics from the University of Southern California and is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Strategic PR and Political Management from George Washington University.
Roger Kamau is the Director of Finance and Strategy for the Milwaukee Bucks. In this role, he is responsible for all financial analysis related to the team and its affiliates, as well as all real estate development. He was previously a Vice President in Citi’s Global Banking unit in New York where he worked in the Communications Group focused on media and telecom clients. While at Citi, Roger worked on a number of leveraged buyouts, mergers and acquisitions and financing transactions across the sectors. Prior to joining Citi, Mr. Kamau worked at Bank of America Securities in their Mergers & Acquisitions Group.
Dedicated to making a difference in education, Mr. Kamau served on the Board of Trustees for the Hunter College Foundation and was Finance Chair for the Bronx Charter School for the Arts. Mr. Kamau holds a B.A. from Morehouse College and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Margaret “Peggy” C. Kelsey (’06)
Executive Vice President
General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
WEC Energy Group
Margaret “Peggy” C. Kelsey joined WEC Energy Group as executive vice president in September 2017 and assumed responsibilities as general counsel and corporate secretary in January 2018.
In this role, Kelsey is responsible for all legal matters affecting the company. She also is corporate secretary to the WEC Energy Group board of directors and manages all governance matters. In addition, she oversees the company’s human resources, administrative services and environmental functions.
Kelsey was previously general counsel, corporate secretary and vice president – legal and corporate communications at Racine, Wisconsin-based Modine Manufacturing Co., where she oversaw a variety of legal and regulatory matters, served as liaison to Modine’s board of directors and managed corporate governance matters and the company’s corporate communications function.
Kelsey joined Modine as senior counsel in 2001 and progressed through a series of positions, including senior counsel and assistant secretary; corporate treasurer and assistant secretary; vice president – finance, corporate treasury and business development; vice president – corporate strategy and business development; and vice president – corporate development. She served as general counsel, corporate secretary and vice president since 2008.
Previously, she was a partner at Quarles & Brady LLP, where she was a member of the litigation group, specializing in product liability defense and representing clients across the United States.
Kelsey holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Mount Mary University, a juris doctor from Georgetown University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.
She is a member of the boards of directors of Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, Greater Milwaukee Committee, North Shore Bank, Teach for America and Zoological Society of Milwaukee. She also serves on the Marquette University Women’s Council.
Rebekah Kowalski is the Vice President of Manpower Manufacturing Solutions and is responsible for ManpowerGroup North America’s Manufacturing Sector Strategy, developing talent solutions for the rapidly transforming industry. Rebekah’s work focuses on developing solutions that help organizations and leaders deal with the implications of both the shortage of rightly skilled workers, and the evolution of roles and skills.
Leading up to her current role, Rebekah led the Client Workforce Solutions team for ManpowerGroup North America. Rebekah’s work focused on developing solutions that help organizations and leaders deal with the implications of both the shortage of rightly skilled workers and the rapid evolution of roles and skills across multiple sectors. Rebekah led the ManpowerGroup team who worked with MxD (formally the Digital Manufacturing & Design Innovation Institute) to define the future workforce for digital manufacturing and design and was responsible for leading ManpowerGroup North America’s manufacturing sector strategy. Rebekah also led the Workforce Strategy and Solution Integration team for Right Management, a ManpowerGroup company, where she was the primary architect of ManpowerGroup’s proprietary workforce supply and demand forecasting solution and consulting process. She pioneered the workforce strategy approach for government clients to help align their employment ecosystems with their long-term talent forecasts.
Prior to joining Right Management, Rebekah spent nine years at the helm of Manpower’s U.S. and Global Solutions units. She led the teams responsible for working with ManpowerGroup’s most strategically significant global clients to architect innovative global workforce strategy and delivery models that enabled them to optimize cost and flexibility and prepare for emerging needs. Rebekah is on the Executive Committee of GPS Education, the board of the Skylight Music Theater and Midwest Energy Research Council.
Matt Kulasa started his career in the audit and assurance practice at Deloitte. He joined Joy Global in 2005 as the Manager and then Director of Financial Reporting with responsibility for SEC reporting, technical accounting and internal controls. In 2009, he became Assistant Controller and Director of Corporate Accounting. Matt then moved to the U.K. in 2011, where he led the finance, information technology and commercial teams for the Eurasia region as Finance Director. In 2014, Matt returned to Milwaukee and was named Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer of Joy Global. After the acquisition of Joy Global by Komatsu in April 2017, Matt became Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer for Komatsu Mining Corp (formerly Joy Global) and Komatsu America. Matt holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. In 2021, Matt joined WESCO International, a leading provider of business-to-business distribution, logistics services and supply chain solutions as Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller & Chief Accounting Officer.
Ron is an “active retiree” having left the employed workforce in 2016. From 2016 to 2020 Ron did a variety of consulting projects related to healthcare information systems, mental health, higher education and in construction.
Ron has remained very active in the Madison community serving on the boards of directors of The Beacon and Porchlight, Inc., serving the homeless in Madison, the Rotary Club of Madison and Downtown Madison Inc. He is also a member of the development committee at the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison. Ron has also been appointed by the City of Madison Mayor, Satya Rhodes Conway, to serve on the Joint Campus Area Committee and is a former member of the City of Madison Urban Design Commission.
Ron began his career in advertising sales and worked in sales management at the News-Gazette in Champaign, Illinois and then at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Upon leaving the Journal Sentinel he embarked upon a career as an advertising and public relations consultant in Madison and Milwaukee working at such firms as R.L. Meyer, Stephan & Brady and Fuller Thiede & Luskin. After Fuller Thiede & Luskin merged with Andrews Mautner to form Blue Horse, Ron left seeking new challenges and opportunities in the next phase of his career in architecture and engineering as director of business development at HGA Architects & Engineers, and then vice president and director of business development and marketing at Marshall Erdman & Associates and Arnold & O’Sheridan. In the final phase of his professional career Ron directed donor development for the College of Letters & Science at the University of Wisconsin Foundation and UnityPoint Health–Meriter, in Madison.
Ron received both a Bachelor of Arts degree in history (‘75) and Master of Arts degree in public administration (‘79) from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He and his wife, Terry Ruzicka, a former administrator at both UW-Milwaukee and UW-Madison and a proud alumna of UW–Milwaukee (M.S. ‘96), reside in Madison. They are legacy donors to UW–Milwaukee.
Former Executive Director
Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute
Keri McConnell is the co-director of the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute at Northwestern Mutual. In this role, Keri is leading the creation of the NMDSI, a unique and innovative partnership between Northwestern Mutual, Marquette University, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Keri is a business technology leader who has built her career on two key pillars – identifying systemic connections between business strategy and technology and creating learning organizations.
Throughout her career, Keri has built a wealth of knowledge in designing, leading and directing near-term and long-term strategies for analytics while leading and developing high-functioning teams along the way. She was a founder of the analytics practice at Northwestern Mutual during a time of tremendous growth within the organization. Keri’s early career was spent at a Fortune 100 telecommunications company where she worked in areas as diverse as call-center management, process design, software testing, and requirements design. She earned her Master of Education in adult and organizational learning from Northeastern University. As a co-director of the NMDSI, Keri is leveraging her unique ability to create tangible strategies and deliverables from high level visions, translate abstract concepts into actionable plans, and create the clarity needed to coalesce teams around shared goals in organizations that are transforming.
Ron Miller joined Cleary Gull in 1993 and is currently Managing Director and Head of CIBC Cleary Gull. He is responsible for leading CIBC’s United States Middle Market M&A group, as well as actively managing transactions, business development, and private equity coverage. With over 35 years of transaction experience, Ron has completed more than 130 merger and acquisition and public and private financing assignments which represent approximately $10 billion of transaction value. In 2019 and 2015 Ron was named the M&A Advisor “Boutique M&A Investment Banker of the Year”.
As President of Cleary Gull from 2016 to 2019, Ron grew the firm 70% prior to negotiating the sale of Cleary Gull Inc. to CIBC in September 2019.
Between 1998 and 2002, Ron served as Managing Director of Tucker Anthony Sutro’s Investment Banking Department. Prior to Cleary Gull, Ron worked as a commercial banker at First Chicago Corporation and a Financial Analyst at Morgan Stanley in New York City.
Ron earned a M.M. from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, a B.S.E. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. in History from the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.
Ron is on the Executive Committee and is Treasurer of COA Youth & Family Center, on the Executive Committee and is Investment Committee Chair of Versiti (f/k/a Blood Center of Wisconsin), a member of the Business Advisory Council of the Lubar School of Business at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, on the board of SODA: Student Organ Donation Advocates, a member of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, on the Endowment Committee of Congregation Shalom, on the Audit Committee of the Jewish Community Center and a guest lecturer at the Lubar School of Business and Marquette University and past President of the Wisconsin Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG – Wisconsin).
David Misky (’92)
Assistant Executive Director
Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee
Dave graduated from UWM with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Science 1992. Since completing graduate school from UW-Madison in 1995, Dave has resided in the City of Milwaukee working in both the private and public sectors. He currently works for the City of Milwaukee overseeing the City’s real estate program including residential, commercial, and industrial properties. His specific focus has been on brownfield redevelopment converting abandoned, contaminated properties into productive uses in the Menomonee Valley, 0th Street Industrial Corridor, and the Harbor District. He proudly served as the President of the UWM Alumni Association from 2013-2018.
His wife, Lisa (also a UWM grad), and he have two daughters
Tom Myers is a Shareholder in the Business Practice Group. Tom focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, succession planning, executive compensation, ESOP transactions, business counseling, corporate finance and taxation. He represents manufacturers, distributors, large retailers, software companies, mezzanine lenders, private equity sponsors and financial institutions.
Tom has served as lead attorney for both sellers and buyers of businesses and has many years of effective service in representing public companies, family-owned entities, leveraged buyout funds, investment banking and other equity funds. He is a frequent presenter to business groups regarding all legal aspects of the business purchase process, including valuation, negotiations, taxation, business structure, documentation and due diligence, as well as the process of marketing a business for sale.
Tom is listed in The Best Lawyers in America® for Corporate Law and has been recognized by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2008-2013). Tom is AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, the highest rating possible.
Tom is very involved in the community and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Cardinal Stritch University (Chair, Board of Trustees 2013-2017) and Ozaukee County Economic Development Corporation.
Michael D. Orgeman is a shareholder with Lichtsinn & Haensel S.C. law firm in Milwaukee. He has extensive practice experience in the representation of lenders and borrowers in the documentation and closing of commercial finance and real estate loan transactions. He also represents businesses in commercial and residential real estate transactions and developments, and lenders in the enforcement of security interests, secured transactions, work-out agreements, and participation agreements.
Mr. Orgeman is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Schoenleber Foundation, Inc.
Mr. Orgeman graduated with his B.A. from St. Norbert College in 1989 and with his J.D. from Marquette University in 1992, and was admitted to the State Bar of Wisconsin and U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, in 1992.
Mr. Orgeman was born in Antigo, Wisconsin on February 20, 1967. He is married with two children and lives in Brookfield, Wisconsin.
Dennis Webb earned his B.S. Degree in Materials Science at the UWM College of Engineering and Applied Science. Graduating in 1971, he began the first few years of his engineering career working at Koehring Company and A.O. Smith Corporation. Later he moved to another Milwaukee based company Cutler-Hammer (Eaton Corporation).
At Eaton, Dennis was Supervisor of Quality Assurance & Testing in the Aerospace and Control Systems Group and worked there for 8 years. After 2 ½ years as Director of Quality Assurance at Gould Gettys Motion Control in Racine he moved to Orlando Florida to Lockheed Martin as Quality Program Manager for FLIR (forward looking infrared) Ground Support used in F-14 combat missions. All of the above companies provided a great background for his move to Badger Meter, Inc. in Milwaukee.
At Badger Meter Dennis served as V.P. of Quality Assurance, Engineering, Sales & Marketing, and later Customer Solutions. He worked there for 28 years. After his time at Badger Meter, Dennis formed Sage Water, LLC and currently has his office in the UWM Water Technology Accelerator (WaTA).
Peggy Williams-Smith is the President and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee. She joined VISIT Milwaukee in November of 2019, after spending 22 years with Marcus Hotels & Resorts in several leadership positions at varying locations throughout the division. At VISIT Milwaukee, she is responsible for promoting Milwaukee as an attractive travel destination and enhancing its public image as a dynamic place to live, work and visit. She is directly responsible for the branding, marketing and selling of Milwaukee. She serves as the key spokesperson for the organization, ensuring ongoing and active communication with all tourism industry, public and private constituents and develops advocacy programs to communicate the mission and raise awareness of the organization.
Peggy currently sits on the boards of Milwaukee World Festivals, the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation, Professional Dimensions, BID 21, Greater Milwaukee Hotel and Lodging Association and Destinations Wisconsin. She is the Research Chair for Milwaukee Women, Inc and the co-chair of the 2021 Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee Gala. She was the 2016 city wide co-chair for the United Performing Arts Fund, past president of Tempo Milwaukee, and past Chair of the board for the American Heart Association of Southeastern WI. She was honored in 2010 as one Milwaukee’s 40 under 40 presented by the Business Journal and was awarded the Peak Performer Award in 2009 from Junior Achievement. She was also named a 2017 Women of Influence by the Business Journal, as well as one of the city’s 100 Power Brokers for five years.
David H. Gilbert
President, UWM Foundation, Inc.
President, UWM Real Estate Foundation, Inc.
David H. Gilbert was appointed to the position of President of the UWM Foundation by the Foundation Board of Directors 2005. As President of the UWM Foundation, Mr. Gilbert provides leadership and direction for Foundation programs that support the educational, scientific and literary purposes of the University. Since being appointed to the position of President, he led the effort to create two subsidiary corporations – the UWM Real Estate Foundation and the UWM Research Foundation. Mr. Gilbert serves as an ex-officio member of the Board, all of its committees, and subsidiary corporations. In 2013, he was appointed by the Chancellor to the newly created post of Executive Director of the UWM Innovation Campus, a project Mr. Gilbert spearheaded as President of the UWM Real Estate Foundation.
Mr. Gilbert came to UWM from the State University of New York at Albany in 2004 as Senior Advisor to the Chancellor of UWM. From June 2007 through August 2008, Mr. Gilbert served as Interim Vice Chancellor for Development at UWM during which time he guided the University through the close of a successful $125 million comprehensive campaign. He also served as Interim Athletic Director from April 2010 through February 2011. At Albany, he served as Vice President for Outreach. His portfolio there included government, industry and community relations. His initiatives at Albany supported both the academic programs of the University and economic development in the region.
Since moving to Wisconsin, Mr. Gilbert has served on a variety of Boards including the Children’s Hospital and Health System, the Wisconsin Biotechnology and Medical Device Association, the Milwaukee County Research Park, the Wisconsin Innovation Network and the Techstar Foundation.
Mr. Gilbert holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University at Albany and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Resource Management from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He resides with his wife at the Echelon Apartments on Innovation Campus and has two grown daughters.
Michelle Putz, RN, NHA
Owner/Principal Consultant, PTZ Consulting
Chair, UWM Alumni Association Board of Trustees
Michelle Putz has worked in the Senior Living Industry in Southeastern Wisconsin for well over 25 years, with over 15 years in the Administrative/Corporate Sector. In August 2021 Michelle decided to leave the corporate world and start her own healthcare consulting business, PTZ Consulting –specializing in quality improvement and project management in Senior Living throughout Wisconsin. As Principal consultant she has led several projects including interim executive management, quality improvement initiatives, strategic planning and state directed relocation plans transitioning nursing homes to assisted living settings. Several other healthcare consultants have joined the company, building the capacity and expertise to almost a combined 100 years in Senior Living Management.
While Michelle started her career as a RN, she quickly obtained her MBA and spent the bulk of her professional life in executive leadership positions specializing in operations and quality improvement. She has shown a high level of commitment and proven abilities in Non-Profit, Faith Based Communities and is talented at utilizing industry benchmarking tools to identify opportunities and develop innovative strategic plans. With an impressive track record of regulatory and corporate compliance she has shown a high level of competence and industry knowledge of complex funding streams.
Michelle has been involved in several state and national quality teams including a National Leading age/Joint Commission Advisory Board analyzing the skilled nursing survey process and a Metastar Coalition project successfully bringing together the hospital and long-term care world to reduce the number of unnecessary hospital admissions in Milwaukee County. Michelle has been actively engaged on the Leading age WI Board for several years with the purpose of enhancing the lives of seniors in Wisconsin and a Tempo Wisconsin member showcasing successful professional women in Wisconsin. An accomplished speaker and published writer—she is most proud of being the recipient of the 2015 University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee College of Nursing Distinguished Alumni Award, one of only 50 recipients out of the last 8000 college of nursing graduates.
Michelle is a proud University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) Panther with degrees including a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, 1996 and a Master’s in Business Administration, 2004. She has been on the UWM Alumni Association Board of Trustees since 2016 and has been involved in everything from lobbying legislature to increase necessary funding to international relationship building in Amsterdam. Most recently she became the Chair of the Alumni board and is looking forward to supporting UWM well into the future and beyond.
Curtis A. Stang, CPA
Chief Operating Officer, UWM Foundation, Inc.
Chief Operating Officer, UWM Real Estate Foundation, Inc.
As the Chief Operating Officer of both the UWM Foundation and the UWM Real Estate Foundation, Curt is responsible for managing all aspects of the day to day operations including financial management and reporting. Curt came to the UWM Foundation in October 2003 with extensive financial management experience in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. He was responsible for regional financial reporting, cash control and accounts receivable while at Blue Cross of Wisconsin and prior to that was Manager of Accounting for United Hospital, Inc. and United Hospital Foundation in St. Paul, Minnesota. Curt also worked in public accounting as an auditor for four years for Arthur Andersen & Co and Ernst & Young after obtaining his accounting degree from Marquette University in 1985. Curt is a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the Wisconsin Institute of CPA’s.
Curt resides in Burlington and has six children, three daughters and three sons.
Owner, BB Real Estate Investments, LLC
Chair, UWM Panther Fund Council
Joah Tucker graduated from UWM with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2006. He was born and raised in the city of Milwaukee. Joah played basketball during his tenure at UWM where he helped the team to one of their most successful seasons in history, a Sweet Sixteen birth in 2005. Joah was honored to be inducted into the UWM Hall of Fame In 2014.
After graduating from UWM, Joah played professional basketball for five (5) seasons in Europe. He began to invest in residential and commercial real estate during his basketball career. After retiring from basketball, he invested in real estate full time. He and his family now manage a modest portfolio of investment properties on the near Eastside of Milwaukee. His company has been buying, renovating and providing housing in the community for over 15 years. He is also a proud Acre Program graduate in the class of 2014.
In his free time, he enjoys watching sports, golfing, boating and spending time with family and friends.
He is married to his wife Amy and they have 2 children together, Camden and Cali.