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Developers push for Park East priority

Milwaukee's commercial real estate developers are becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of progress in the redevelopment of the Park East Corridor, which stands largely vacant on the north end of the city's downtown.

That frustration is evident in the responses of a new BizTimes survey of members of the Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin (CARW).

We asked the CARW members the following question: "What should be the region's priorities for economic development in 2013?"

"Brand and market and rename the Park East. There is no park and it is not east (of the river), so the name doesn't even make sense," said one respondent, who did not leave his name.

"Making smart decisions on the Park East Corridor vacant land development. The governmental bodies being willing to approve creative projects. The Menomonee Valley transformation is astounding, thanks to the efforts of the City, the Development Authority, the businesses that took a leap of faith," responded Patrick Zabrowski of Foley & Lardner.

"The Park East corridor. Continued support for industrial and multi-family development. Increased support for small and medium-sized manufacturers," said Ed Treis of HIS Properties.

Other respondents chose to focus on more big-picture priorities.

"1. Lower taxes. 2. A revitalized and active WEDC (Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.) 3. Attracting firms from Illinois," said Jim Barry III of Cassidy Turley Barry.

"Creating enthusiasm within the market by honoring the individuals and companies that have made the bullish decisions to expand their businesses and build new facilities in the face of the recession. These companies obviously believe in what they are doing and should be recognized for their positive business attitudes. Attitudes are contagious and their's are definitely worth catching. They are not the naysayers, they are the believers and the believers are the ones that make things happen," said David Buckley of Cassidy Turley Barry.

"Encourage new…

Jagler and former Green Bay Packers Willie Davis at the Milwaukee Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon.
Jagler and former Green Bay Packers Willie Davis at the Milwaukee Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon.

Failure was never an option for Davis

"Hard work. Dedication. And the mindset that failure is not an option."

That is how former Green Bay Packers great Willie Davis answered a question about the secrets behind his post-football career as a successful executive in the beer distributing and radio businesses.

Davis was fielding questions at a recent Milwaukee Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon, where he was promoting his recently completed autobiography, "Willie Davis: Closing the Gap." The subtitle of the book is "Lombardi, The Packers Dynasty and the Pursuit of Excellence."

Davis, of course, was an All-Pro defensive lineman for Coach Vince Lombardi's Packer championship teams during the 1960s.

For the past 30 years, Milwaukee has been a focal point of Davis' life. He still owns a residence in Milwaukee and maintains a strong local presence through ownership of radio stations 1290 WMCS, 102.1WLUM-FM and WLDB-FM 93.3.

A quick scan of his book recounts lessons learned from the legendary coach and how Davis applied them later in life to his business career.

One of the striking themes of the book is the vision Davis had for his career after football.

As a player at the peak of his game in 1963, Davis enrolled at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business to earn his master's degree in business administration with an emphasis on marketing.

"If there was one player on the team who truly appreciated my pursuit of a degree, it was Bart Starr," Davis wrote in the book. "Bart, as kind as he was, never once took part in giving me grief. Instead, he talked to me about the struggles of school and encouraged me to stick with it, telling me that what I was doing was inspirational. I was scared but excited. Going back to school made me feel like a winner, like I might be able to achieve my dream after all,"

After Davis achieved initial business success as a West Coast distributor of Schlitz beer, he was asked to serve on a series of corporate boards of directors. In almost every case, he became the firs…


Practical solutions to bridge the skills gap

Educational leaders and enlightened business executives will share practical solutions for employers to bridge Wisconsin's skills gap at the fourth annual BizTimes Get Smarter Conference.

The conference will take place Thursday, Oct. 11, from 7:30 to 11 a.m. at Potawatomi Bingo Casino in Milwaukee.

A panel of experts in workforce development, education and executive enlightenment will convene to share their insights about how southeastern Wisconsin's educational institutions and infrastructure, as well as the private sector, can collaborate to develop smarter employees who have the skills that employers need to grow their companies and the region's economy. The conference also will feature a discussion about how the region's executives can become more enlightened and effective leaders.

The conference will kick off with opening remarks by Tim Sullivan, who is serving as a special consultant for business and workforce development for Gov. Scott Walker. Sullivan recently submitted his long-awaited workforce development report to Walker, calling for bold actions to address the gap between the skills needed by the state's employers and the skills of the available workforce.

The report, "The Road Ahead: Restoring Wisconsin Workforce Development," is a comprehensive review of the background and current issues pertaining to workforce development in the state.

Sullivan will outline his bold recommendations at the Get Smarter Conference.

Sullivan's remarks will be followed by a panel discussion of workforce development and executive enlightenment. The featured panelists will include:

  • Mike Lovell, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lovell will discuss the future of collegiate education and share ideas for how employers can become engaged with the region's universities.
  • Joe Weitzer, dean of the Center for Business Performance Solutions at Waukesha County Technical College. Weitzer will discuss how the Wisconsin Technical College System is responding…