Wisconsin Deals

The chapter, known for quality programming, also has a reputation of being difficult to get in to

ACG Wisconsin is driven by quality programming and good membership.

"They feed off each other," says chapter president Steven Peterson.

If a chapter has good speakers, quality ACG members will attend events, then more people will want to show up, and even more presenters will want to come, he explains.

The chapter's speakers this year have included: Mark DiBlasi from Roadrunner Transportation Systems (NYSE: RRTS); Mark Murphy, the president and chief executive of the Green Bay Packers; and a fireside chat with father and son, Sheldon and David Lubar, from Lubar & Co., a Wisconsin business. Keeping the status quo intact is an asset to the chapter. Corporate dealmakers feel weary if they think too many service professionals are going to come to events and ask them for work, Peterson says. Instead, with ACG Wisconsin, they are heading into a target-rich environment. "Our chapter has a little bit of a reputation of being difficult to get in to. We don't try to be elitist at all but we try to strike the right balance," Peterson says.

About 25 years ago when the founding members started the chapter, they knew that recruiting corporate development players was a key to success, Peterson says. That's why the chapter has always required approval and these days, is comprised of about 50 percent corporate members.

The group has 20 meetings per year, including a newly-implemented "summer patio series" - a group of events at different watering holes around Milwaukee, where the chapter is centered.

As the largest city in the state, Milwaukee is home to most of the private equity firms, investment bankers, banks and professional service firms involved in the state's deal community. Manufacturing maintains a strong presence in the area, with Harley Davidson (HYSE: HOG), S.C. Johnson Wax and Kohler located near Milwaukee. Members from a 75-mile radius usually show up to meetings. Firms of some members provide services or manufacture products for the agriculture sector. However, even though the area is known for cheese, milk and dairy products, the agriculture industry isn't directly involved in ACG Wisconsin because it's located in more rural sections.


Year founded: 1986

Number of Members: 225

Annual Dues: $575

Approval Required for Membership: Yes

President: Steven Peterson, managing director, Brass Ring Capital

The Wisconsin ACG chapter has tight requirements for its members in order to maintain its 60 percent corporate or capital provider balance. Service professionals who want to join must come with a corporate or capital provider member in tow. The group recognized from its inception that having too many service members wouldn't be a good thing. It boasts a retention rate hovering around 90 percent.