In MMAC's new interview series Take 10, we’ll get to know business and community leaders who are playing a significant role in building the future of Milwaukee, our region and the state of Wisconsin. Our series kicks off with Nancy Hernandez, President of the Hispanic Collaborative. Watch our interview with Nancy here:
MILWAUKEE -- Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) President Tim Sheehy expressed support for a proposal unveiled by Governor Tony Evers today which would allow counties and large municipalities to seek referendum approval for an additional half cent local sales tax.
“For more than a decade, MMAC has been working to find ways to restructure our state and local tax systems in a way that encourages economic growth,” Sheehy said. “Allowing referenda asking local voters for permission to raise additional sales tax revenue increases local taxpayer control of their own communities’ financial destiny and diversifies the revenue options available to local governments.”
Governor Evers announced that the sales tax referendum provision would be part of the state budget proposal he will be releasing next week. The Evers language would allow counties to increase their local sales tax to 1 percent, while municipalities with at least 30,000 people could add a 0.5 percent sales tax. Both would need approval from local taxpayers via referendum. Currently, local county sales taxes are capped at 0.5 percent.
Sheehy noted that Evers’ sales tax proposal was similar to the actions Republican Governor Tommy Thompson took in the mid-1990s to allow local governments the option of raising property taxes via referendum.
“We applaud Governor Evers’ leadership including this measure in his state budget proposal,” Sheehy said. “Allowing direct voter input on local taxing decisions makes local governments more responsive to those constituents in their spending decisions. Nearly three decades ago, Governor Tommy Thompson showed the leadership to empower local voters with regard to property taxes. With this budget proposal, Governor Evers has shown similar leadership with regard to sales taxes.”
Click here to download the presentation from Tuesday's Business of Metro MKE webinar, featuring Medical College of Wisconsin President and CEO Dr. John Raymond, Chancellor Rebecca Blank of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Chancellor Mark Mone of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee:
A recording of this program will be available on MMAC's YouTube channel.
MILWAUKEE – Catherine Jacobson, president and CEO of Froedtert Health, has been named Chair-elect of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) Board of Directors.
Jacobson will succeed current MMAC Chair Jonas Prising, Chairman and CEO of ManpowerGroup, as part of ceremonies at the MMAC’s All Member Meeting in fall 2021.
“I’m honored by the opportunity to lead the MMAC at such an important time for our region,” Jacobson said. “I look forward to advancing the significant strategies MMAC and its member companies are pursuing to help everyone in the Milwaukee Region realize our opportunities and address our challenges as we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m confident my experience leading our health care system throughout the COVID-19 crisis will help our members amplify our efforts and make a real impact on the metro Milwaukee community.”
Jacobson joined Froedtert Health in 2010 as executive vice president of finance and strategy, chief financial officer and chief strategy officer. She was promoted in 2011, becoming president, and in 2012, she assumed the CEO role. Prior to joining Froedtert Health, Jacobson spent 22 years at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago in various leadership roles.
Prising noted that addressing the COVID-19 pandemic while increasing efforts to make our workplaces and our community more diverse, equitable and inclusive, will be continuing challenges.
“We are excited to announce Cathy as Chair-elect of the MMAC and warmly welcome her deep knowledge acquired from such broad engagement in so many important aspects of our community. Her proven expertise in driving results together with her strategic prowess means she is the right leader to accelerate our progress especially around becoming a Region of Choice,” Prising said. “I look forward to the unique perspective and strong leadership I know that Cathy will bring at such an important time for the region.”
“As a business community, we welcome Cathy as our next Chair,” said MMAC President Tim Sheehy. “The qualities that make her such an effective leader, both at Froedtert Health and as a member of our Board of Directors, will help drive our initiatives to grow a globally competitive region that is prosperous for all our citizens.”
A national leader in the health care industry, Jacobson served as the voluntary national Chair of the Healthcare Financial Management Association during the 2009-10 term. Her other board appointments include Vizient, Teladoc Health and the Greater Milwaukee Committee. She is also a past chair of the board of the Wisconsin Hospital Association and is currently serving on the board.
MMAC will announce details of this fall’s All Member Meeting later this year.
Additionally, MMAC welcomes the following new members of its Board of Directors:
MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee 7 Economic Development Partnership has recognized former Milwaukee Commissioner of City Development Rocky Marcoux with its second annual Excellence in Economic Development Award, M7 officials announced on Wednesday.
The award, which recognizes outstanding achievements that have contributed to the economic vitality of the Milwaukee Region, was presented during M7’s annual meeting. The meeting was held virtually on Wednesday morning.
“Rocky has been an incredibly supportive and trusted M7 partner over the years,” said M7 co-chair Gale Klappa, Executive Chairman of WEC Energy Group. “For two decades, Rocky’s imprint was seen on every major development project in Milwaukee, creating a lasting legacy for our region. We thank Rocky for his hard work and endless energy. He has made an exceptional contribution to our region’s growth and prosperity.”
Marcoux is the longest-serving development commissioner in the city’s history, serving for 16 years until he retired from his position last May. During his tenure, he oversaw a significant development boom in downtown Milwaukee and beyond, along with the creation of thousands of new jobs and the construction of tens of thousands of new housing units citywide.
“It’s an honor for me to accept this award from the Milwaukee 7, and I greatly appreciate it,” Marcoux said, in a virtual acceptance speech. “I remember back in 2005 when the Milwaukee 7 was formed, and the incredible collaboration that was needed to make it happen between the business community, government and economic development professionals. We could take that leap of faith that we could combine our assets, that we could have one marketing effort, that we could become competitive with other regions in the United States. I think since 2005, it has proven incredibly successful.”
Significant projects during Marcoux’s tenure include:
“I would like to extend my congratulations and thanks to Rocky,” M7 Executive Director Pat O’Brien said. “We’ve all been proud to call Rocky a partner, and a friend, over the years. Now it’s time to wish him all the best in his retirement, and I’m proud to honor him with this award. While his time in office has come to an end, his exceptional contributions to our region’s economic growth and prosperity will have a lasting impact.”
The Racine County Economic Development Corporation won the inaugural award in 2020.
About the Milwaukee 7 Development Partnership
The Milwaukee 7 is the regional economic development partnership of the seven Southeastern Wisconsin counties of Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha, dedicated to growing, expanding and attracting business and talent.
Download the presentation from the Jan. 12 MMAC/M7 Business of MKE webinar.
We've adopted a new monthly format for our Tuesday webinars in 2021.
Since the first stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, MMAC and M7 have partnered with the Medical College of Wisconsin and a wide range of Milwaukee Region subject matter experts to provide actionable, trusted information for business leaders during our 11 a.m. Tuesday webinars.
In 2021, we look forward to an end to the COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of a new normal. There will be new opportunities to capitalize on, emerging trends to prepare for and long-standing challenges to confront. Once a month, join MMAC President Tim Sheehy, Medical College of Wisconsin President and CEO Dr. John Raymond and a wide range of business and community leaders to present actionable information on issues that are shaping our region’s interconnected health and economy.
If you're already registered for the previous Business Strategies During the Pandemic series, you should be all set. Otherwise, registration is free and available online. Replays of past webinars are available on MMAC's YouTube channel.
MMAC board approves strategies to further engage region’s employers in reducing racial disparities
MILWAUKEE – The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce’s Board of Directors has approved a plan to improve the region’s competitiveness by reducing racial disparities among its African American and Hispanic/Latino populations. Specifically, the plan is focused on supporting employers in developing and advancing talent, improving educational outcomes, and growing corporate partnerships -- all aimed at raising prosperity and moving forward as a Region of Choice for all.
To measure progress towards the goal of a more inclusive and competitive economy, MMAC is releasing data reported in aggregate from more than 100 companies with a combined total of 120,000 employees in the region. This data establishes a 2020 baseline for both overall employment and management employment of African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos. The companies providing this data have pledged to increase employment and management of African American and Hispanic/Latino employees, while sharing best practices for creating more inclusive workplaces.
Current employment levels of companies that have signed the Region of Choice Pledge
By 2025, these companies have pledged to increase overall employment of African American and Hispanic/Latino talent by 15% and management employment by 25%.
The three objectives approved by the Board include:
“Racial disparities are perhaps the greatest single factor holding the Milwaukee Region from reaching its full potential,” said MMAC President Tim Sheehy. “Employers participating in the Region of Choice pledge acknowledge their responsibility to be part of the solution. They also recognize what study after study tells us: Building more diverse teams leads to better decision-making and ultimately boosts a company’s bottom line.”
Supporting actions for each objective will be refined as the work evolves, they include:
1: Improve the recruitment, retention and advancement of African American and Hispanic talent.
MMAC’s survey of 1,100 diverse managers, along with focus groups and executive interviews, provided several key takeaways, including that corporate culture is a key barrier to the recruitment, retention and advancement of Black and Brown employees. Recommendations include:
2: Increase educational attainment and career development opportunities for African American and Hispanic talent
The region’s working-age population is projected to grow by less than 1% through 2040. During that time, the region will become a minority-majority community. Eliminating racial gaps in educational outcomes is critical to meeting the workforce needs of the region’s employers.
Identifiable by ownership race, 95% of the region’s 25,000 businesses are White-owned, while 3% are African American-owned, and 2% are Hispanic/Latino-owned. Corporate partnerships have the capacity to grow African American and Hispanic/Latino business wealth.
Download the presentation from the Dec. 15 Business Strategies During the Pandemic webinar:
Governor Evers and Wisconsin State Legislature:
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the threat of predatory lawsuits, seeking possibly bankruptcy causing damages, for alleged COVID-19 exposures is a major concern of small businesses and many other entities, even if they “did everything right” by complying with public health orders and taking all necessary precautions.
We appreciate the past efforts of the legislature and Governor Evers at the beginning of the pandemic to protect healthcare workers and those businesses that donate personal protective equipment. We also are happy to see Speaker Vos proposing liability reforms, as outlined in a December 1 Legislative Fiscal Bureau memorandum. That memo contains some encouraging concepts and we are interested in providing input on the statutory language to ensure that struggling Wisconsin businesses, non-profits, schools, and homeowners receive meaningful—and easy to comply with—protections from predatory lawsuits, provided they take adequate precautions to keep their premises safe.
In the same vein, the undersigned organizations encourage the legislature to pass, and governor to sign, meaningful liability reforms based off of LRB-6434/2 authored by Senator Kapenga, Representative Born, and Representative Knodl. The legislation would create a safe harbor for all property owners/occupants who are good actors against frivolous lawsuits alleging a plaintiff was infected with COVID-19 at a specific premises. The bill is not business community specific and would protect homeowners, non-profits, schools, universities, and any other premises including outdoor events and festivals. The safe harbor would not protect bad actors. An entity would lose the liability exemption if they knowingly violated a public health order or spread COVID-19 by acting in a reckless, wanton, or intentional manner.
Wisconsin is not alone in enacting premises liability protections. At least 13 other states have also done so, including neighboring states Iowa and Michigan. The legislature and governor need to act quickly to protect businesses, schools, non-profits, and individuals doing the right thing.
The signatories respectfully urge the legislature and governor to work together to pass and enact substantive liability protections like LRB-6434/2, which will help rebuild Wisconsin’s communities and economy.
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce
National Federation of Independent Business – Wisconsin
Wisconsin Civil Justice Council
Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
Wisconsin Technology Council
Wisconsin Association of School Boards
Wisconsin Insurance Alliance
Wisconsin Builders Association
Wisconsin Bankers Association
Wisconsin Property Taxpayers, Inc.
Midwest Food Products Association
Wisconsin Restaurant Association
Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce
Marinette Menominee Area Chamber of Commerce
Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce
Stoughton Chamber of Commerce
Portage County Business Council, Inc.
Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce
Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin
Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry
The Wisconsin Credit Union League
Burlington Chamber of Commerce
Wisconsin Institute of CPAs
Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce
Bowling Centers Association of Wisconsin
Waukesha County Business Alliance
Wisconsin Dairy Business Association
Wisconsin Defense Council
American Property Casualty Insurance Association
Muskego Area Chamber of Commerce
Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association
Commercial Association of REALTORS Wisconsin
Wisconsin Agri-Business Association
Venture Dairy Cooperative
Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce
Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce
Beaver Dam Area Chamber of Commerce
Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce
Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association
Wisconsin Convention and Visitor Bureaus
Mosinee Area Chamber of Commerce
Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association
Wisconsin Grocers Association
Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation
Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin
Wisconsin Dairy Alliance
The Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors Association of Milwaukee
The Sheetmetal and Air Conditioning Contractors Association of Milwaukee
Wisconsin REALTORS Association
Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association
Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association
Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin, Inc.
West Bend Area Chamber of Commerce
Wisconsin Association of Textile Services
Wisconsin Amusement and Music Operators
Wisconsin Automatic Merchandising Council
Tool, Die & Machining Association of Wisconsin
Associated General Contractors
Independent Business Association of Wisconsin
Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association
Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association
Wisconsin Soybean Association
Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association
Wisconsin Cattlemen Association
Wisconsin Association of Professional Agricultural Consultants
Germantown Area Chamber of Commerce
Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce
Hartford Area Chamber of Commerce
Whitewater Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism
Oregon Area Chamber of Commerce
Menominee Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center
Envision Greater Fond du Lac, Inc.
Dear Members of the Wisconsin Congressional Delegation,
We write today to ask for your support in securing bi-partisan legislation that provides critical additional assistance to communities throughout our state, including local and tribal governments, businesses, non-profits, and first responders to address the ongoing public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We sincerely appreciate the previous three relief measures enacted by Congress and executive action by the President. However, the public health and economic impacts of the pandemic continue to grow. As a result, an immediate and unified response that provides additional support is critical to supporting efforts to contain the virus and mitigate the consequences of this unprecedented crisis.
As members of a diverse coalition of leaders in our state, we can attest to the severe economic and public health impacts facing our members, economies, and the communities we support. Without additional federal financial support, the immediate negative consequences will be significant, and will be compounded by severe long-lasting effects.
Additional federal aid will enable a continued joint response from the public and private sector, and support partnerships between local governments, businesses, and their communities to mitigate the economic, health, and public safety impacts of COVID-19.
For example, Milwaukee County recognized the value of these partnerships early in the pandemic. In addition to direct virus mitigation and recovery measures, the County partnered with businesses and non-profits to address the collateral damage inflicted by the pandemic, especially to communities of color. This partnership resulted in Milwaukee County utilizing roughly one-third of its direct CARES Act allocation to immediately address housing and foreclosure needs, issue small businesses grants, and partner with community groups to address mental health and food assistance needs.
This unprecedented situation requires action at scale with the problem. Addressing the issue now with bold solutions will prevent larger systemic economic damage. To enhance the fiscal responsibility of this legislation, reasonable guardrails could require COVID-19 relief dollars be tied to the public health, economic, and community impacts of COVID-19, ensuring resources are utilized in the most effective and efficient manner possible.
As evidenced by the diversity of the groups who have signed on to this letter, the effect of delaying further relief will have second- and third-level impacts on business, property owners, and a multitude of other industries throughout the state.
We sincerely appreciate your earlier efforts to assist our communities in addressing this crisis. However, we request further action – a bi-partisan solution that provides additional resources to address the public health and economic impacts of this pandemic. Our businesses, employees, and communities depend on the continued support of our federal government in these trying times.
Advocate Aurora Health
Apartment Association of South-Central Wisconsin, Inc.
Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin, Inc.
Commercial Association of REALTORS Wisconsin
Community Advocates, Inc.
Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin
Forest County Potawatomi Community
Greater Milwaukee Committee
Hunger Task Force, Inc.
League of Municipalities
Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee
Local Public Health Officers of Milwaukee County
Medical College of Wisconsin
Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce
Milwaukee County Commission on Aging
Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley
Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force
Wisconsin Apartment Association
Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments and Boards
Wisconsin Bankers Association
Wisconsin Counties Association
Wisconsin Credit Union League
Wisconsin Mortgage Bankers Association
Wisconsin REALTORS Association
Wisconsin Restaurant Association
Download the presentation from the Dec. 1, 2020 MMAC Business Strategies During the Pandemic webinar:
A thriving democracy is critical to a free market economy. To serve the citizens of our local, state and federal governments, we applaud those who entered the arena for public office. In Wisconsin, with the election behind us, the validation process underway and the peaceful transfer of leadership in front of us, the task now turns to finding ways to advance a stronger Milwaukee Region, State of Wisconsin and United States.
The public discourse in elections and the robust give and take of the legislative process are both hallmarks of our democracy. But this year, of all years, differing policy views must find the common ground needed to make progress. The pandemic wave continues to swamp our health care system, drowning the resurgence of our economy, its small businesses, and the jobs of those who rely on consumer activity. We want our duly elected leaders working together on this crisis for the benefit of Wisconsin’s economy and the health of our citizens.
Chairman and CEO, ManpowerGroup
Download the presentation for the Nov. 17 MMAC/M7 Business Strategies During the Pandemic webinar:
Download the main presentation from the Nov. 3, 2020 MMAC Business Strategies During the Pandemic webinar:
And download the health update from Dr. Weston at the Medical College of Wisconsin:
In response to concerning rises in positive COVID-19 cases in the City of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Health Department is announcing revisions to its Moving Milwaukee Forward Plan. These changes include some new restrictions on activities and operations that you should be aware of. Highlights of these changes are included below.
It should be noted that these revisions were made by the Health Department only after extensive consultation with MMAC and other impacted parties. We are very grateful to Health Commissioner Marlaina Jackson, Deputy Commissioner Claire Evers and their entire team for their commitment to working collaboratively to find the least disruptive steps possible to respond to the recent spikes in the virus locally.
Schools that have more than 3% of their on-site population test positive for COVID over a 14-day period will be reviewed by the health department for possible shift to virtual instruction or modification of their operating plan (this process is largely analogous to how outbreaks are handled at places of business).
Also, the department announced last Friday that it will be taking a more aggressive enforcement approach to establishments in violation of their safety plans or of the city’s orders.
Read the full text of the order.
Click here to download the presentation from the Oct. 20 MMAC Business Strategies During the Pandemic webinar with Tim Sheehy, Dr. Raymond and Milwaukee Region higher education leaders.
MMAC remains encouraged by Foxconn’s investment to date in an advanced manufacturing facility and high-performance computing center. At more than one million square feet, this development is home to the high-tech, high-talent jobs and innovation that are welcome additions to Wisconsin’s economy.
The state and the region have already benefited from significant investment and job creation, and Foxconn has benefited from the infrastructure investment to support its future growth. We will continue to work to support Foxconn’s growth, and encourage the development of an agreement between Foxconn and Wisconsin that is mutually beneficial. As noted by WEDC, “there is a path open for incentivizing additional development on a win/win basis.” MMAC supports this outcome.
STATEMENT FROM THE MMAC
The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce acknowledges the urgent need to mitigate the surge in COVID-19 infections across our state. The measures introduced today by Governor Evers are well-intentioned, but are a blunt instrument that knocks down too many business establishments in metro Milwaukee that have gone to great lengths to develop comprehensive operational safety plans and have had them approved by the Milwaukee Public Health Department. These locations are among the safest places for individuals to work and play in the state. To impose new limitations on them fails to recognize the due diligence these establishments have put into keeping their employees and customers safe. And while we are always on guard against a surge, the Milwaukee Region’s infection and hospitalization rates remain relatively stable.
At the same time, we thank Governor Evers for his actions to get CARES Act funding to small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19.
In echoing Governor Evers’ message earlier this week, MMAC communicated to thousands of area employers to “continue to reinforce with your employees that behavior outside the workplace can and does affect their health, the well-being of their family and friends – and, ultimately, the ability of our health care system and our economy to function properly. WEAR A MASK, MAINTAIN PROPER SOCIAL DISTANCE AND WASH YOUR HANDS.”
Slides from the Oct. 6 MMAC webinar.
Download the presentation from our Sept. 22 Business Strategies webinar.