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Milwaukee Press Club Announces City Birthday Party Contest Winners

Meet the faces behind the city’s biggest cover stories

After  a renaissance year that saw  the Cream City featured in Vogue Magazine as the coolest in the Midwest, the Milwaukee Press Club set out to find the faces behind all that good news about Milwaukee. Now, hundreds of nominations later, the results are in and the club is thrilled to unveil the winners as part of the annual Milwaukee City Birthday Party celebration.

The cover-worthy stars include:

Griselda Aldrete – President & CEO, Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee: HPGM aims to be the leading resource for professional development for Hispanics in Wisconsin— and with Aldrete at the helm, it’s had great success. After a successful rebranding, HPGM has become one of Milwaukee’s fastest growing civic organizations, with Aldrete committed to its mission to connect and unite Hispanic professionals, students and the community with rich heritage, strong leadership and impactful initiatives.

Mandela Barnes – Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor: As the first African American elected as lieutenant governor, and only the second to hold statewide office in Wisconsin’s 171-year history, Barnes was a fresh, progressive voice on the Democratic ticket headed by Gov. Tony Evers. The pair defeated the incumbents, Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, in a close race in which  Barnes was credited with transforming the historically “sidekick” Lieutenant Governor role into an activist post that drew widespread popularity.

Craig Counsell – Manager, Milwaukee Brewers: The skipper of Milwaukee’s beloved Brew Crew is known for his love of the game, and it goes all the way back to his childhood. As a kid growing up in Whitefish Bay, Counsell spent days at County Stadium, where his father worked in the Brewers’ front office. He then spent 16 years playing Major League Baseball with five teams, earning two World Series rings. He turned down offers from other teams return to his hometown and join the Brewers. The former player became the team’s manager in 2015. And in 2018, after a magical season that was supposed to be a rebuilding year, the Brewers finished just one game short of the World Series.

Peter Feigin – President, Milwaukee Bucks:  Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee’s world-class sports and entertainment venue, and brand new home to the Milwaukee Bucks, debuted to a crowd of more than 50,000 at its open house in August 2018.  Feigin was the driving force behind the team and Fiserv Forum, known for marketing savvy and for reimagining, rebuilding and re-energizing the Bucks’ business operations. In October, the team announced a new record – selling more than 10,000 season tickets.

Juli Kaufmann and JoAnne Sabir – Co-owners, Sherman Phoenix: In the wake of unrest in the Sherman Park neighborhood in 2016, Kaufmann, a developer; and Sabir, co-owner of The Juice Kitchen; joined forces to transform the neighborhood. Their effort led to rebuilding the fire-ravaged former BMO Harris Bank into a model of entrepreneurship for small businesses. The pair saw the venture as a way to heal the city’s divisiveness, and to pave a pathway for inclusive economic opportunity. Today, 29 businesses, many minority-led, call the urban development home.

Russ Klisch – Co-founder & President, Lakefront Brewery: No matter how much transformation Milwaukee has seen over the past year, city residents always return to their roots, and Lakefront Brewery has it all: beer, brats, polka, and the Friday Fish Fry. Klisch started the craft brewery with his brother after an escalating sibling rivalry resulted in award-winning beer, but ultimately Klisch took the reins of business. After more than 30 years, the brewery continues to release innovative brews, and its popular tours have reached near cult-like status.

Mark Niehaus – President & Executive Director, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra: Cue the crescendo. This year, the MSO’s former principal trumpet led the way as it broke ground on a $139 million fundraising campaign. That includes $90 million to convert the former Warner Grand Theatre on West Wisconsin Avenue into its future concert hall. Niehaus and the MSO have raised more than $106 million so far, tapping into the hearts of both history and music lovers. The theater is expected to re-open in 2020.

Contest winners will be recognized at the City of Milwaukee Birthday Party, hosted by the Milwaukee Press Club, on January 31st, at the Grain Exchange.

Registration is still open. Your ticket gives you the opportunity to rub elbows with Milwaukee’s biggest and brightest stars. Enjoy complimentary beer, gourmet food stations by Bartolotta Catering, birthday cake, and a special gift for you to take home.

Come dressed to impress — this is a celebration you won’t want to miss.

Register here for the City of Milwaukee’s 173rd Birthday Party!

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