EXPANDING
Join Leaders. Exchange Ideas. Take Action.

Twice monthly we profile a member of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee. Although every RCM member is an achiever and contributes much to the fabric of our local and global community, our PEOPLE OF ACTION stories provide an in depth look at how some members are making a difference.


Karen Hung

Karen Hung is an exceptional guide for companies and organizations as they create and implement transformative growth strategies to compete globally. Silver Rock’s client base is diverse including large health care systems to international manufacturing firms, financial services and mid-market distributors. The firm has helped clients navigate diversification strategies to brand positioning.

 

Michael Sheppard

Michael Sheppard remembers “the feeling.” As a Brown Deer High School student, he was low, his life filled with tragedy and pain. But one man gave him a life-preserving message: correct your attitude, change your ways, work hard.

 

 

Christopher Kolenda

Bicycling 1700 miles across the United States will give retired U.S. Army Col. Chris Kolenda a lot of time to reflect on the six paratroopers from his unit who were killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan. But the journey is more than a commemorative ride. It will honor the fallen heroes’ service and sacrifice with scholarships in their names.

 

 

June 2022

Bert Davis, DVM

Tennis great Arthur Ashe once said, “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” Dr. Bert Davis may not have fully embraced that tenet in the past, but these days, he is taking it to heart.

 

 

 

May 2022

Theresa Reagan

Theresa Reagan describes herself as a navigator, someone who helps others—cancer patients, non-profit organizations, friends—find their way through life’s storms and organizational ambiguities. But it’s clear she is more pilot than navigator.

 

 

Audra Brennan

Rotarian Audra Brennan is a true Person of Action who exemplifies the ideals of Rotary at work, at home and in the community. She
seeks to live a life balanced between a commitment to help save our corner of the world and savoring the moments that make the
world worth saving.

April 2022

 

Avi Lank

You may know him from his newspaper byline but these days he’s just as well known for his community involvement and service to Rotary.

March 2022

Marty Brooks

Wisdom gained from negative experiences can be just as impactful as lessons learned from positive experiences. That’s something Marty Brooks discovered early in his career.

 

 

January 2022

Patrick Mutsune & Brett Timmerman 

Rotarians Patrick Mutsune and Brett Timmerman are a terrific couple we should all take the time to get to know. Patrick and Brett have a vision for Milwaukee to be a place to lay roots and thrive, a place that’s well housed, with good jobs and young talent that’s well educated.

 

 

 

Janan Najeeb

“I’m energized by coming up with new, innovative ways to bring people together, to build community, improve people’s lives, and safeguard our youth and help them find a brighter future. These are the things I live and breathe, and I jump out of bed every day ready to tackle challenges and come up with new ideas to incorporate into what we do.”

 

December 2021

Doug MacNeil

The MacNeil family introduced the Douglas MacNeil Legacy Scholarship, honoring the work Doug has accomplished over his 50 years in Rotary.

 

 

 

Margaret Krei

Like millions of others, Margaret Krei’s life was turned upside down by the pandemic. Unlike millions of others, she not only landed on her feet, but in a better place—a work, life, and service balance that works for her, for Rotary and for Milwaukee.

 

 

November 2021

Jerry Stepaniak

Jerry Stepaniak’s career path has led him to wide-ranging job experiences, and in many of them, he was “the fixer.”

 

 

 

 

October 2021

Kendra Ingram

In her first 18 months in Milwaukee, Kendra Whitlock Ingram’s leadership and dedication to the city has already proven her to be a true Person of Action.

 

 

September 2021

Charlie James

Charlie James has been a Rotary Club of Milwaukee member for 63 of the club’s 108-year history. Being an active member for six decades is impressive, yet not surprising for a man who has spent his life deeply devoted to things that matter most to him.

 

 

June 2021

Tom Bentley

While other people may slow down once they hit a certain age, Tom Bentley is too full of energy, dreams, goals and ambition to ease his pace.

 

 

 

 

Kevin Behl

You know your stars are aligned when you find success in your chosen profession, meet your spouse and spend nearly 30 years at an organization that feels like family. Kevin Behl achieved all three of those milestones in the course of his career with Ascension Health.

 

 

May 2021

Tanya Atkinson

When Tanya Atkinson decided to go into social work, her parents questioned her career choice. But they need only to look in the mirror to see why their daughter wanted to dedicate her life to helping others.

 

 

April 2021

Dan Johnson

For Dr. Daniel W. Johnson, president of Wisconsin Lutheran College (WLC), his life’s work came into focus at a very early age. Education was the place where he knew he could make a big difference.

 

 

 

Marc McAllister

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected businesses in different ways. Restaurants, bars, hotels, retail, sports and performing arts were severely impacted. Others, including businesses related to outdoor recreation, flourished. Marc McAllister said the pandemic led to exciting sales for Tucker Powersports, a motorcycle, dirt-bike, UTV and ATV parts and accessories company based in Fort Worth, Texas.

 

March 2021

JoAnne Anton

Rotarian JoAnne Anton has proven to be a Person of Action throughout her storied career, working to improve our community in roles that span from the City to the US Senate, from private business to philanthropy. And, of course, as President of our Rotary Club.

 

 

February 2021

Kristin Bergstrom & Lloyd Dickinson

The legal profession brought Kristin Bergstrom and Lloyd Dickinson together. “We met at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren,” says Kristin. “When Lloyd left the firm, we decided to stay in touch.” Now, thirty years later, they have extremely successful careers to reflect on, a wonderful family and a love of Milwaukee.

 

 

Jill Pelisek

Sometimes a childhood skill hints at what will define our adult life. It doesn’t reveal all, but it forms a basis for who we will become. That may well apply to Jill Pelisek. In her life, love of the arts, volunteerism, teaching, and later banking, started with an aptitude for art.

 

January 2021

Ed Krishok

“In an ideal world, the best way to describe the relationship between humanity and nature would be harmony” says Edward Krishok, Managing Director of the Urban Ecology Center (UEC) in Milwaukee. Ed has been a member of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee since 2008 and served as club president (2018-2019).

 

 

Adam El-Ali

Before Adam El-Ali even graduated from college, he had already traveled more than many of us do in a lifetime. Born in Saudi Arabia, Adam and his family spent summers traveling and visiting extended
family. At 15, Adam began attending boarding school in the U.S., which meant nine months at Lake Forest Academy in Illinois and then back home for summer vacation and travels.

 

December 2020

Beth Ridley

It has been said that Americans live to work, while other countries work to live. According to Beth Ridley, founder and CEO of The Brimful Life consulting services, the work culture in the United States puts a premium on busyness and equates it to productiveness.

 

 

November 2020

Teresa Esser

Teresa Esser has a fervent wish…that more people see the possibilities of bringing the power of venture capital to Wisconsin. She sees the potential for businesses and jobs in a state that is often overlooked by investors and is chronically short of the venture capital needed to bring it to the next level.

 

 

Tom Angerer

Milwaukee Rotary member Tom Angerer always knew that he would run his own business. “I always thought I would run my own company. I never saw myself as someone else’s employee,

 

 

 

October 2020

James Burnett

Throughout his career, James Burnett has understood the value and emphasized the importance of storytelling.  But from a young age, James has always had the gift of connecting with the people from all walks of life and figuring out what makes them unique.

 

 

 

Pat Algiers

Pat Algiers’ late father had an adage that served as an informing principle throughout her life. Dr. James Algiers, who embodied service above self, told his children, “Life is an equation. What you are given is on one side and what you give is on the other.” Pat learned from an early age the moral value of keeping that equation balanced.

 

July 2020

Wendell Willis

Wendell has earned a reputation as a facile operations-oriented administrator; however, few know his other side as a talented painter and print maker.

 

 

 

Frank Gimbel

The laugh lines are deep, and his eyes are laser-focused on the conversation at hand, Frank Gimbel, a self-described “war-horse,” has been intensely engaged in life since his beginning. Despite the seriousness of his work as a defense attorney, Frank and his wife, Anne, always find time for humor and joy.

 

June 2020

Grady Crosby

Grady Crosby identifies himself as a “recovering attorney,” and a member of the Johnson Controls (JCI) “Department of Cool,” because as Grady says, “JCI’s public affairs, diversity and the Foundation staff do so many cool things for organizations, employees and the communities where JCI has a presence to contribute to JCI’s success and to the success of the communities where we have a presence.”

May 2020

Karen Hung

Karen Hung is an exceptional guide for companies and organizations as they create and implement transformative growth strategies to compete globally. Silver Rock’s client base is diverse including large health care systems to international manufacturing firms, financial services and mid-market distributors. The firm has helped clients navigate diversification strategies to brand positioning.

 

Janine Kolbeck

Since Janine was born with a degree of “wanderlust,” it isn’t surprising this involved Rotarian has been bitten by the travel bug. While earning her degree in Marketing, with a Global Business minor, Janine spent a year studying abroad in Italy at the CIMBA semester abroad program in Paderno del Grappa at the base of Mt. Grappa just outside of Venice.

 

April 2020

Bill Coleman

Ato Kwamina Ado, a/k/a William B. Coleman (Bill) was born in Ghana and migrated to the US in 1979. Bill’s Ghanaian name is steeped in tradition. In Ghana babies are named for the day of the week on which they were born, given an appellation (comparable to a nickname) and because Ghanaians believe in reincarnation, the baby is also given the name of an ancestor, for Bill it was his father’s uncle, Ado.

 

December 2019

Kathie Eilers

She was born in New York City, educated in Cincinnati, Ohio but in 1980 Kathie Eilers, her husband, Dr. Barry Blackwell and their then-two-year-old son, relocated to Milwaukee. The family was determined to make Milwaukee their permanent home and this city has been enriched ever since.

 

 

November 2019

Sarah Kimball

Milwaukee gained a tremendous friend when a young Sarah Wright came to Milwaukee decades ago from New York City. She has remained a strong supporter of her adopted hometown ever since. Her trajectory here is an interesting combination of talent and serendipity.

 

 

October 2019

David Baum

Dave Baum’s path to working with his dad, Clair, managing stocks and bonds for individual and family accounts with the Wells Fargo Advisors was rather circuitous.

 

 

 

Mary McCormick

When Mary McCormick accepted the position to be the Rotary Club of Milwaukee (RCM) Executive Director she thought it would be a fun experience for a few years. Now nearly 20 years later, the Rotary Club of Milwaukee is considered one of the best managed large clubs in the country generally because of Mary’s leadership.

 

September 2019

Dan Nelson

Dan Nelson, Sr. purchased the Ken Schmidt Agency in 1988 with Dan, Jr. (Nelie) joining the firm in 1995 and purchasing the agency from his father in 2012. With offices in Madison and Milwaukee and a staff of nearly 50, the firm has thrived under Nelie’s leadership, nearly tripling in size since he joined.

 

 

Janet Protasiewicz

Janet Protasiewicz didn’t grow up dreaming to be a lawyer. After graduating with a degree in history from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she simultaneously applied to earn a master’s degree and law school. She decided she really didn’t want to teach so law school won the toss.

August 2019

Todd Bentley

Six years old is a rather tender age to start your career, but when it’s a family business, the progression is pretty natural one. At least that’s the case for Todd Bentley.

 

 

 

July 2019

Kim Schaffer

A banker by day she may be, but Kim likes adventure as well. She rides a 100th Anniversary Harley Davidson; Jim bikes alongside with a Harley Fat Boy. A member of Westmoor Country Club, she enjoys golf and has frequently participated in the RCM Golf Classic.

 

 

June 2019

Jean Casey

Jean Casey describes herself as an Irish Trailer. The youngest of six in an Irish Catholic family, the previous five children (4 girls and 1 boy) of her parents’ brood were just one or two years apart; there’s five years between Jean and nearest sibling, thus the trailer.

 

 

Jim Miller Jr.

Jim Miller was first introduced to Rotary in 1953 when this young man from Okmulgee, OK was named a Rotary Fellow. The $2,400 awarded enabled Jim to pursue graduate study at Oxford University in England for two years. Ultimately, Jim would earn a PhD in English from Harvard with a scholastic emphasis on English literature published before 1500.

 

May 2019

Beth Fetterley Heller

Beth Heller was raised on the east side of Milwaukee, however, her parents imbued in her a love and appreciation of nature that would rival someone born in the wild.

 

 

 

Darren Miller

Darren worked alongside his father in high school and college where he studied architecture, earning both his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Like his father who was also an architect, interior architectural design and the aesthetics of construction have always been of interest to Darren.

 

April 2019

 

Steve Chevalier

Just like Dorothy’s magic ruby red slippers reveals there’s no place like home, RCM’s 2019 President Steve Chevalier is the quintessential homeboy.