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FaB’s “CEO Briefing: Plans to Attract & Develop Talent” on February 28th was designed to advance the strategic talent outreach plans of FaB’s Talent Committee. The FaB Council hosts three Briefings each year to garner executive input and support for key strategic initiatives.

At this CEO Briefing, we shared and discussed key findings from FaB’s 2016 Industry Talent Needs Assessment Survey conducted by MRA-The Management Association and presented by Mike Kopcynzski.

In addition, Shelley Jurewicz, executive director of FaB, laid out the strategic thinking that is foundational to the plan, as well as some of the key features of the plan which will debut at the FaB Farm to Factory to Fork (FFF) Career Discovery on March 24. All companies in attendance were encouraged to participate in the Career Discovery that has already attract ten high schools and is being hosted at the Milwaukee Public Museum

To further fuel the Briefing discussion, Briefing host and guest speaker Joe Bartolotta shared his company's hands-on approach to attracting and developing the talent they need to grow their thriving business.


9:30 – 10:00 AM 
Arrive, network, and enjoy a breakfast buffet by The Bartolotta Restaurants. It was Fat Tuesday and we were at a Bartolotta facility so we had to offer bacon and eggs. Attendees enjoyed the early fuel and the networking.

“I purposely ate light knowing Bartolotta's was preparing breakfast." 

- Russ Klisch, President of Lakefront Brewery

10:00 - 10:15 AM
Welcome and sharing of FaB outreach plans. Shelley Jurewicz, executive director of FaB, offered a welcome on behalf of the FaB Council, provided a brief bit of history on the event location in what was Milwaukee’s Little Italy, and highlighted the influence early Italian immigrants had, and continue to have, on Wisconsin’s food industry. Fallucca, Gardetto, Maglio, Balistreri, Campione and Bartolotta, just to name a few, were highlighted.

Jurewicz also took a moment to recognize FaB’s Annual Sponsors. She reminded everyone that funding was required if we were to succeed - FaB was dedicating 20% of all annual sponsorship income to its talent outreach efforts, as well as 100% of the profits from the Briefing and the upcoming Farm to Factory to Fork Career Discovery.

Having raised $20,000 of the targeted $50,000 outreach campaign, Jurewicz invited Giacomo Fallucca, Presidient and CEO of Palermo’s Pizza, up to offer peer encouragement to give. Fallucca is a member of the FaB Executive Board and Council.

Jurewicz then shared the strategic thinking that was foundational to the FaB Talent Outreach Plan. She discussed the employment and annual total earning averages of the industry and stressed that the industry must see itself as a whole from farm to factory to fork to truly tap the potential talent pool. She noted that FaB and employer efforts must seek to maximize career and employment flexibility and mobility.

10:15 - 10:30 AM
FaB Talent Survey Key Findings, presented by MRA – The Management Association. Mike Kopczynski shared the key findings of the FaB Talent Survey which was completed by 54 food and beverage companies. Jurewicz shared that the survey results will be leveraged at an upcoming FaB Industry Workforce Development to develop needed training programs.  View presentation

10:30 – 10:50 AM
Feature Best Practice by Joe Bartolotta, Co-Owner of The Bartolotta Restaurants. Jurewicz, in her introduction of Joe, shared that his philosophy of doing whatever it takes to keep his best talents, even if that means opening five restaurants in one year. Joe was invited to speak about Bartolotta’s success in attracting and developing talent. Jurewicz pointed to a Journal Sentinel article from February 2016 that shared his successful efforts to partner with Milwaukee Public Schools, and in one night, raised $500,000 to build out training space for the new culinary programs now being offered in high schools.

Joe got personal with his leadership philosophy, talking through Bartolotta’s five tenets of operations, including making sure his employees feel value, the guest experience, and maintaining good vendor relations. He also stressed the need to do good in the community to make a difference and the need to make a profit.


10:50 – 11:00 AM
Table discussion setting. Jurewicz laid out the key features of FaB’s Talent Outreach Plan with all attendees receiving a copy of the plan. She reminded industry leaders that students, the general public, teachers and counselors are mostly unaware of food and beverage manufacturing.

While Wisconsin has identified that middle schoolers and high school students are required to go through career planning, the approved website platforms do not give food and beverage manufacturing an easy call-out like that of food service or agriculture and they definitely do not communicate the career-making possibilities of food and beverage from farm to factory to fork.

State sites identified for career planning included Career Cruising, Inspire Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Career Pathways.

Jurewicz shared that we are making progress on the awareness front, providing an overview of the upcoming Farm to Factory to Fork Career Discovery, strongly encouraging all the companies in the room to participate.

She also shared a quick video FaB had created on the food factory and food science to prepare Pat Werner on the FaB team to speak to a group of Nathan Hale High School students.

Key resources being developed that will debut end of March were highlighted including:

  • Classroom activity guides (grades 9-12 already available)
  • A new FaB Career Discovery infographic (being developed by Boelter + Lincoln)
  • New classroom and tour presentation templates
  • A new FaB Classroom Speaker Directory that FaB will launching

And companies were encouraged to have a career video created to post to the FaB Career Center. For $3,500, a food and beverage company can have Radio Tower Production come in to film and create a talent video (2-3 minutes) that would feature 2-3 young professionals with interesting food stories.

11:00 – 11:55 AM
Table discussion: How could you leverage or add to our plans? Attendees were asked to take all that they had heard and to think what success would like if our efforts were to flourish.

11:55 AM – NOON
Next steps were shared. FaB plans to host an Industry Workforce Development Forum to advance the survey results. FaB also plans to host an Industry Foundation Forum to better connect our food and area foundations to our efforts to grow a talent pipeline. A big thank you was given to all along with a final encouragement to sponsor and participate in the Farm to Factory to Fork Career Discovery.

“Thank you for such a wonderful event!”

- Wendy Bushell, HR Manager of Klement's
(Wendy attended with Ray Booth, President & CEO)


  • Kim Wall, Baensch Food Products Co.
  • Kim Bassett, Bassett Mechanical
  • Sam Miller, BMO Harris Bank
  • Tom Buhler, Butter Buds
  • Evan Hughes, Central Standard Craft Distillery
  • Pat McQuillan, Central Standard Craft Distillery
  • Mark Albrecht, Chortek
  • David Carpenter, Chr. Hansen
  • Dawn Wietholter, Chr. Hansen
  • Bill Jaehnert, Creativity Foods
  • Darel Tiegs, Creativity Foods
  • Neal Glaeser, Denali Ingredients
  • Paul Kortman, Denali Ingredients
  • John McMahon, Door County Brewing Co.
  • Adam Rix, Earthwise Environmental
  • Jeri Mesching, East Shore Specialty Foods
  • Bryan Dieckelman, Eurofins Microbiology Laboratories
  • Tera Johnson, Food Finance Institute
  • Deanna Kutchenriter, Fred Usinger
  • Fritz Usinger, Fred Usinger
  • Eric Beringause, Gehl Foods
  • Laurie Brunner, Gehl Foods
  • Sherry Alburg, Gehl Foods
  • Dan Depies, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern WI
  • Leah Glaub, Johnsonville Sausage
  • Colin McDermid, Kerry
  • Jean Kraft, Kerry
  • Mark Bearce, Kettle Range Meat Co.
  • Claire Hephner, Klement Sausage Co.
  • Ray Booth, Klement Sausage Co.
  • Pat Eden, Klement Sausage Co.
  • Wendy Bushell, Klement Sausage Co.
  • Carole Tapp, Lakefront Brewery
  • Russ Klisch, Lakefront Brewery
  • Jacque Oldenburg, Leach Farms
  • Caitie Bowers, Maglio Companies
  • Sam Maglio, Maglio Companies
  • Mike Walz, Miller Baking Company
  • Susan Koehn, Milwaukee 7
  • Dan Voss, Miron Construction Co.
  • Deb Schultz, MRA-The Management Association
  • Kelly Greinke, MRA-The Management Association
  • Marc Padron, MRA-The Management Association
  • Mike Kopczynski, MRA-The Management Association
  • Connie Loden, New North
  • D.J. Alwattar, Northland Laboratories
  • Eric Olesen, O&H Danish Bakery
  • Peter Olesen, O&H Danish Bakery
  • Giacomo Fallucca, Palermo Villa
  • Alex Nowakowski, Palermo Villa
  • Amy Bonomie, Professional Dairy Producers
  • Shelly Mayer, Professional Dairy Producers
  • Vivek Sharma, Quigistics
  • Robert Heinrich, Reinhart Boerner
  • Sara Suckow, Sargento Foods
  • Jeff Madden, Suzy's Cream Cheesecakes
  • Mark Kirchner, Suzy's Cream Cheesecakes
  • Rob Huether, Sysco Food Service of Eastern WI
  • Joe Bartolotta, The Bartolotta Restaurants
  • Thomas Erd, The Spice House
  • Richard Specter, Troubadour Bakery
  • Julie Fitzwater, Vonco Products
  • Keith Smith, Vonco Products
  • Cate Rahmlow, WEDC
  • Peter Gottsacker, Wixon
  • Sandy Jaskulski, Wixon