Event Recap


Forum hosts higher ed panel, elects new directors at 2021 Annual Meeting

By Therese Schneider

While our 2021 Annual Meeting looked different this year, it still delivered what you’d expect from Forum events: informed, provocative discussion with high-profile guests on timely policy topics.

More than 200 people tuned in virtually for our event, which featured a provocative discussion about our new report on the state of Wisconsin’s public universities and colleges. We convened a panel with University of Wisconsin–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone, and former Governor and interim University of Wisconsin System President Tommy Thompson.

Watch the recording here:

We also installed our new Board Chair (Leigh Riley from Foley & Lardner) and a new Vice Chair (Grady Crosby from Johnson Controls) while adding nine new directors from prominent Wisconsin corporations, institutions, and foundations. Many thanks to outgoing Board Chair Steve Radke for his leadership and his guidance during the pandemic. and previewed our 2021 research agenda.

The following people were elected as new directors for three-year terms: 

Chris Abele, Argosy Foundation / CSA Partners
Griselda Aldrete, Alliant Energy
Susan Callanan, Northwestern Mutual
Marci Pelzer, Rockwell Automation
Adam Raschka, Charter Communications
Marylou Schirpke, Town Bank/Wintrust
Laura Schmidt, Milwaukee Tech Hub Coalition
John Walz, Milwaukee School of Engineering
Dan Weltzien, Badger Meter, Inc.

The following people were re-elected as directors for three-year terms:

James Barry, The Barry Company
Kevin Brehm, AECOM
Tina Chang, SysLogic, Inc.
Mark Czarnecki, BMO Harris Bank
Mustafa Emir, Clark Dietz, Inc.
Kelly Fortier, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
Christopher Jaekels, Davis & Kuelthau, S.C.
Kathryn Kuhn, Medical College of Wisconsin
Vicki Martin, Milwaukee Area Technical College
Daniel Potter, Grant Thornton LLP
Tom Rettler, Menasha Corporation
Cynthia Rooks
Scott Royer, Veolia Water Milwaukee, LLC
Jeremy Simon, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County
Richard Smith, raSmith
Wendi Unger, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP
Michael Weiss, General Capital Group

The following officers were elected for a one-year term:

Leigh Riley | Chairman
Rob Henken | President
Grady Crosby | Vice Chair
Cindy Rooks | Vice Chair
Tom Rettler | Secretary
Bradley Viegut | Treasurer
Mark Czarnecki
Helen Gurholt
Kenneth Munson
Steve Radke
Jennifer Zierer

Check out media coverage from the event:

Thompson: Lawmakers Warned Against Tuition Increases In UW Budget | Wisconsin Public Radio