Food & Beverage Advisory Council

Six years ago the Milwaukee 7 was formed as an economic development collaborative between the seven counties of southeast Wisconsin with a mission to grow, expand and attract world-class business and talent to the Milwaukee Region. 

In a study commissioned by the M7, Deloitte’s Site Search Team identified food and beverage manufacturing as a target sector for regional strategic economic growth, seeing a strong match between our industry assets and industry trends.

In response to the study, the M7 is working with the region’s food industry leaders to develop the necessary strategy and resources to successfully expand food operations around the region, and attract new companies from around the nation and globe.

Leading the charge is the M7 FaB Advisory Council – a council of leading industry executives, educators and innovators representing the Region’s food industry.

Food Industry Strength

The Milwaukee Region is home to more than 240 food manufacturers that employ 14,700 workers with $590 million in annual payroll; and accounts for 9% of our overall manufacturing sector.  Seven of the 11 largest food companies in the world have operations here. And 12 global food companies have their America’s headquarter operations in the Milwaukee Region.

Long recognized for our outstanding cheese, beer and bratwurst, as well as agriculture, our Region offers significant concentrations of food manufacturers serving as world-class producers of everything from soy sauce to chocolate, to seasonings and sauces, to baked goods and snacks, to dessert toppings and coffee, to flavors and fragrances. Whether it's locally grown or regionally made, our food products are consumed around the world. 

To learn more about our regional food industry, visit

Click here to view the Milwaukee Region Food Industry Brochure that highlights the advantages of doing business in southeast Wisconsin.


The food industry is well poised for sector growth and has fared well through the recent economic downturn. There are consistent reports of expansion and growing markets in the areas of food ingredients, functional foods, organics and locally grown/made food, and an increasing demand for quality, abundant water. The Milwaukee Region offers formidable strength in all these areas. 

In January 2011, M7 conducted a survey of 40 industry executives, whose companies collectively employ nearly half of the Region’s food and beverage manufacturing workforce. We learned the following:

  • On average, they ship 80% of their products outside the Milwaukee Region – this is significant as the only way to grow the regional economy is through the exporting of goods and services

When asked about growth in the next 12 months, respondents projected major growth:

  • 68.8 % expect significant employment growth
  • 93.8% expect significant investment in capital equipment expenditures
  • 50% expect significant facility expansions


The FaB Advisory Council’s role is to help build a strong industry network and strategy that supports the mission of making the Milwaukee Region an easy choice to innovate, start, expand or locate your food or beverage operation AND enjoy a rewarding industry career.

The FaB Milwaukee network is designed to connect and facilitate resources to drive job growth and innovation in food and beverage production, distribution and systems. FaB Milwaukee is organized around five core strategies to: 

1. Build a world-premiere industry network - to foster industry connections and growth.
2. Create industry career pathways - to attract a world-class talent base.
3. Lead sustainable industry innovation - to advance the industry and the communities.
4. Provide single-source industry assistance - to grow companies exporting products     outside the region.
5. Market industry cluster strengths - to attract business to the Milwaukee Region.

Executive Food Forums

By invitation only, the M7 quarterly Executive Food Forums are designed exclusively for the food industry's top executives. They provide a forum to network with peers and discuss issues/developments of high importance to the industry. Forum planning is conducted by the Advisory Council. 

On Jun 7, 2011, we invited food industry leaders to join us for a Food Industry Vision Session.  The session was designed to unite the region’s food industry around shared knowledge of our industry’s competitive standing, and around a shared vision for industry growth as measured by jobs, payroll and capital investment.

Click here to view the Vision Session Presentation.

Click here to view event pictures.


M7 held its first Executive Food Forum January 27, 2011, hosted by MillerCoors and sponsored by the City of Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Water Works. It was attended by 40 industry executives with special guests including:  Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Secretary of Commerce Paul Jadin and Secretary of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Ben Brancel. 

Click here to view event pictures. 

Click below for Forum press:

New Milwaukee 7 group to promote food, beverage industries”  

O&H’s Olesen named to new Food and Beverage Council

For more information about the Milwaukee 7’s food industry focus or for assistance in your expansion efforts, contact:

Shelley Jurewicz
Milwaukee 7
Vice president of Economic Development
(p) 414.287.4143

FaB Advisory Council

The FaB Advisory Council is made up of leading industry executives, educators and innovators representing the Region’s food industry.
Council Chairs:

O&H Danish Bakery, Eric Olesen, Co-Owner & President

Palermo's Pizza, Giacomo Fallucca, President & CEO

Sysco Food Services, Cathy Henry, President & COO

Council Members:

American Pasteurization
Justin Segel, President

ANSI-ASQ National
John Knappenberger, President & CEO

Baptista's Bakery
Nan Gardetto, Owner & CEO

Ed Salina, President

Birds Eye
Tom Timm, Senior Director

Butter Buds Ingredients
Tom Buhler, Director Business Development

Cargill Regional Beef
Matt Leu, General Manager

Center for Resilient Cities
Martha Davis Kipcak (Founder, The Milwaukee Foood Council)

Chr Hansen
David Carpenter, President (Founding FaB Advisory Council Chair)

Discovery World
Paul Krajniak, Executive Director

Evans Transportation
Don Cox, CEO

FaB Milwaukee
Shelley Jurewicz, Executive Director

Fred Usinger, Inc
Fritz Usinger, President

Fromm Family Foods Inc
Tom Nieman, President

Gehl Foods
Andy Gehl, Former President

Klockner KHS
Michael Brancato, President

Lakefront Brewery
Russ Klisch, President

Lesaffre Yeast Corp
Geoff O'Conner, CFO & Treasurer

Masterson Co.
Mike Masterson, President

Milwaukee Area Technical College
Rich Busalacchi, Associate Dean

Steve Jacquart, Intergovernmental Coordinator

MillerCoors LLC
Mike Jones, Vice President

Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc
Tim Peoples, Plant Manager

Schreiber Foods
Mike Bown, Plant Manager

Sendik's Markets
Ted Balistreri, Owner

Johannes Britz, Interim Provost

White Oak Farm/Purple Cow Organics
Sandy Syburg, Owner

WI Economic Development Corp
Cate Rahmlow, Senior Development Manager

Wixon Inc
Peter Gottsacker, President

WWidicus Consulting
Warren Widicus, President