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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

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Steve Jagler nominates the old U.S. Postal Center for a potential new arena destination.
Steve Jagler nominates the old U.S. Postal Center for a potential new arena destination. (Photo: Colton Dunham)

Replace Downtown post office with new arena

In recent years, the Milwaukee Bucks have not had much to celebrate when they’ve conducted their annual preview luncheon with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

This year, however, there was a tangible buzz in the room at the event, which was held at the Harley-Davidson Museum. With a new ownership team, new head coach Jason Kidd, new front-office staff and the first-round draft selection of Jabari Parker, the realization of a new era was readily apparent.

The only question now is will it be the final era of the Milwaukee Bucks? The team is on the clock with the NBA, which says the Bucks must get a new arena built by 2017 to keep the team in Milwaukee.

Peter Feigin, newly appointed team president, went from table to table at the luncheon, introducing himself to members of the Milwaukee business community.

Businesses large and small can expect to hear from Feigin and his staff soon. Feigin said the typical NBA team sells 68 percent of its season tickets to businesses. In Milwaukee, businesses comprise just 15 to 17 percent of the team’s season ticket base.

"I promise you, we will give you a reason to change that," Feigin said.

Feigin brings a depth of experience in both the NBA and the corporate world to the Bucks. As the chief marketing and revenue officer of Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, he managed global business units and handled branding across the international entertainment company. Prior to working at Deluxe, Feigin was president and chief operating officer of Marquis Jet Partners and helped lead its acquisition by NetJets.

From 1998 to 2004, he worked for the New York Knicks and rose to become vice president of marketing – increasing profits, season subscriptions and suite revenue during his tenure. Additionally, Feigin has served as a senior advisor to the Milwaukee Bucks since Wes Edens and Marc Lasry acquired the Bucks from former owner Herb Kohl.

Feigin said he was aware that the media and the public are clamoring to…

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"Net neutrality simply means not preferring one type of content to another online," says attorney Michael Overly.
"Net neutrality simply means not preferring one type of content to another online," says attorney Michael Overly.

Net neutrality 101

President Barack Obama took a stand this week by calling for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to preserve net neutrality by regulating broadband service like a utility.

In essence, preserving net neutrality would ensure that all consumers and businesses will have universal levels of access to a fast Internet, not just some preferred customers who would pay for "faster lanes" on the Internet.

We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas," Obama said in a statement released by the White House. "I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online."

However, industry groups that represent ISPs criticized Obama’s plan. "Such a move would set the industry back decades, and threaten the private sector investment that is critically needed to ensure that the network can meet surging demand," the Telecommunications Industry Association said in in a statement.

Political opponents such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R- Texas) criticized the concept of preserving net neutrality. Cruz compared the plan to "Obamacare on Twitter," saying, "The Internet should not operate at the speed of government."

izTimes reached out to our legal resources to help readers understand the concept. Attorney Michael Overly of Foley & Lardner LLP’s Los Angeles office answered the following questions about net neutrality.

BizTimes: Please explain the concept of net neutrality.

Overly: Net neutrality simply means not preferring one type of content to another online. For example, not preferring the speech of a large corporation to that of an individual. Some say this is the entire basis for the Internet: allowing everyone an equal voice. Put another way, an Internet provider shouldn’t be able to stifle speech simply be…

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MMAC president Tim Sheehy spoke recently about the need to raise public financing for the region's cultural and entertainment venues.
MMAC president Tim Sheehy spoke recently about the need to raise public financing for the region's cultural and entertainment venues.

Sheehy's call for taxpayers to fund new arena faces uphill climb

Over the years, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce and its president, Tim Sheehy, have been vocal and ardent opponents of new taxes.

That’s why more than a few business leaders were still trying to process the messages Sheehy gave them when he spoke to the Milwaukee Rotary Club recently about the need to raise public financing for the region’s cultural and entertainment venues.

Sheehy took the unprecedented lead for that cause when he formed the Cultural and Entertainment Capital Needs Task Force last year. He has been filling a vacuum created by the lack of any elected leaders willing to fall on that sword.

Milwaukee, Sheehy told the Rotarians, has fallen behind cities such as Denver, Cleveland and even Oklahoma City that have found ways to invest public dollars in their cultural and entertainment venues. Denver has used a regional sales tax, Cleveland has used a consumption tax on cigarettes and liquor, and Oklahoma City has used three referenda to raise public support for investing in its downtown.

In Milwaukee, new Bucks owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens have pledged $100 million toward a new arena to replace the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Former Bucks owner Herb Kohl has pledged another $100 million for the cause. Other private investors have committed at least $50 million, and the team could garner another $50 million or so from selling the naming rights for the new arena. Still, that leaves a gap of about $150 million to build a $450 million new structure.

"This is going to have to come from the community. It’s going to have to come from the region," Sheehy said. "Those communities that play in a regional sandbox are going to be successful, and those that don’t are going to see the sand run out on them. The preference is that we do this on a metropolitan basis."

In addition to building a new arena, the Task Force is proposing to add investments in the Milwaukee County Zoo, the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Milwaukee Art Museum and W…

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Take your business to the next stage with advice from BizTimes' first Next Stage Workshop.
Take your business to the next stage with advice from BizTimes' first Next Stage Workshop. (Photo: shutterstock.com)

Take your company to the "Next Stage"

Empower your people to think like entrepreneurs and serve your customers.

That was the leading takeaway message from the panelists at the first Next Stage Workshop recently presented by BizTimes.

The panelists included: Kim Hastings, president of C.J. & Associates in New Berlin; Mike Natalizio, chief executive officer of H.N.I. Risk Services Inc. in New Berlin; and David Thompson, president of Swimming Pool Services Inc. in Waukesha.

Ahead of the event, I asked each of the executives to share one suggestion that the attendees could take back with them to the office and implement to take their organization to the "Next Stage."

"Hire people that are a lot smarter than you are and have a well-defined set of core values and strategic goals that are clearly communicated," Hastings said. "This provides the necessary framework for employees to excel. Don’t grow too fast. Always make sure your growth is manageable and that you are leveraging technology and sharing information throughout your organization. If it works in your company, provide a work/life balance for your employees."

"Commit to ‘blue sky time’ – the time where you just think, be and reflect," Natalizio said. "Our structured, busy lives lend but a small window of time – if any – to innovate. I've found that those who don’t partake can usually scrape by just fine. But when it comes time to innovate, they struggle."

"The main key that has fueled our growth is the team of people we have that are passionate about helping people," Thompson said. "As we have grown, our team members have had to take on more responsibilities, and we as owners have had to empower them because we could not do everything that needs to be done – even if we tried."

I asked the panelists to ponder the wisdom of Jerry Jendusa, who recently sold his company, Emteq Inc., and advised the Future 50 crowd to hire employees who think and act like entrepreneurs.

"I believe that is very important and was a brilliant statemen…

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