Milwaukee Repertory Theater
Press Release

Milwaukee Repertory Theater Elects Davis & Kuelthau Attorney James E. Braza as Board President

Gregory C. Oberland, KPMG’s Joseph A. Rock, Edward Seaberg, and Stacy P. Williams join Executive Committee. Mark Benskin, Nic Wahl and Howard Williams join as Trustees.

By - Aug 13th, 2014 11:42 am

August 13, 2014 – [Milwaukee] – Milwaukee Repertory Theater is pleased to announce that Davis & Kuelthau Attorney James E. Braza was elected as The Rep’s new President of the Board of Trustees. This will be his sixth year as a trustee and he will follow outgoing President Judy Hansen who remains on the Executive Committee as Immediate Past President. In addition, the Board of Trustees elected Gregory C. Oberland (President, Northwestern Mutual), Joseph A. Rock (Partner, KPMG), Stacy P. Williams (Vice President, Robert W. Baird), and Edward Seaberg (Vice President, Rockwell Automation) as new members of the Executive Committee, and they will be joined by Catherine Robinson (Community Volunteer), Matt Bartel (CEO, Digital Measures) and Robert H. Manegold (Community Volunteer). Mark Benskin (Managing Director, BMO Private Bank), Nic Wahl (Managing Partner, Godfrey & Kahn), and Howard Williams (Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo) also join as new trustees of The Rep.

“I am truly honored to be elected President of The Rep’s Board of Trustees at this exciting time in our history. The Rep just completed an extremely successful 60th Anniversary Season including record- breaking productions in each of its three theater venues. Artistic Director Mark Clements’ artistry and vision has added tremendous excitement to our work, and in his first year as Managing Director, Chad Bauman has brought great care and stewardship to managing our finances. As we serve almost 200,000 patrons each year through our 630 performances as well as 20,000 students in 250 schools, I am both humbled and honored to be elected as President of such an impactful institution,” remarks Braza. “I also want to thank my predecessor Judy Hansen, who as Board President – not once, but twice – has shown her extraordinary commitment to this theater. I’m grateful that she will continue to serve on our Executive Committee, and look forward to working with her in the coming years.”

“We are delighted that Jim Braza is The Rep’s new Board President. His knowledge, passion, and long commitment to The Rep has been and will continue to be instrumental in our success,” commented Managing Director Chad Bauman. “We are also thrilled to have representatives from our region’s most well-respected corporations join our Executive Committee. Their skills, expertise, and guidance will be of great value to The Rep as we conclude a new strategic plan and look forward to the launch of our 61st Season.”


James E. Braza has been a construction lawyer and business litigator with the Davis & Kuelthau law firm since joining the firm in 1981. Braza represents owners, developers, contractors, architects, and engineers in construction contract negotiations, project administration, and the litigation and arbitration of construction disputes. He also represents business entities, including manufacturers, lenders, and private businesses of all kinds in the litigation and arbitration of commercial disputes involving contracts, lender liability, insurance coverage, business torts, noncompetition agreements, commercial fraud, and breach of warranty. He also serves as a mediator and arbitrator for parties involved in commercial disputes. Braza sat for 20 years on the firm’s board of directors and has served as the firm’s president and managing partner. He has won numerous awards including Best Lawyers® in America-Milwaukee, Construction Law “Lawyer of the Year” (2014), M Magazine, Best Lawyers (2013 – 2014), Wisconsin Law Journal’s “Leader in the Law” (2005), and is recognized as a Wisconsin Super Lawyer (2005 – 2014). Braza is a graduate of Cornell University Law School and Marquette University.

Mark Benskin is the Managing Director for the BMO Private Bank, leading the BMO Private Bank’s team of investment, trust and banking professionals who advise high net worth individuals, families, and organizations, including closely-held and family-owned business, endowments and foundations, and assembles the appropriate team of professionals to provide a full range of wealth services as part of an overall personal wealth management strategy. He joined the organization in 2002 and has over 17 years of experience in the financial services industry. Benskin graduated cum laude with a BS in Economics and Political Science from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. He also earned Masters in Taxation and a JD, with distinction, from the University of Iowa School of Law in Iowa City, IA. He is a board member of the Greater Cedarburg Community Foundation and Sharp Literacy.

Gregory C. Oberland is president of Northwestern Mutual leading the agencies, sales and marketing function. In this role, Oberland is responsible for the company’s strategy of growing and enhancing its field force and delivering financial security to clients. He is also a member of the Executive Leadership Team, which oversees Northwestern Mutual’s strategy and operations. Oberland joined the company in 1982 as an attorney. In 1987, he moved to the business side and has had increasing executive level responsibility for a variety of product line and operational areas. Oberland received a bachelor’s degree with honors in 1979 from the University of Notre Dame and a law degree with honors in 1982 from Georgetown University. He also completed an executive development program at the Kellogg School at Northwestern University in 1997. In the community, Oberland also serves on the board of the United Way of Greater Milwaukee.

Joseph A. Rock is a Partner with KPMG and leads the Milwaukee Audit Practice. In his 20+ year career with the firm he has spent time in KPMG’s Chicago, Sydney, and Bangkok offices prior to his joining the Milwaukee office in 2005. He focuses on industrial manufacturing, retail, and distribution clients as well as food, drink, and consumer goods companies. His client portfolio includes publicly listed US and multinational companies as well as private equity and family owned companies. He is a Marquette University graduate and a licensed CPA in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan. Rock is very active in the Milwaukee community serving on the Milwaukee Repertory Theater Board since the 2007/08 Season. He also serves on the Boards of the Milwaukee Film Festival and the Coalition for Children, Youth, and Families and in 2010 received recognition as a Milwaukee Business Journal “Forty Under 40.”

Edward Seaberg is Vice President of IT Operations for Rockwell Automation. In this role he is responsible for IT support services for over 32,000 Rockwell employees, contractors, and partners. Seaberg’s organization operates and supports data centers, and systems and enterprise applications within them, data and voice networks, and the connected workforce’s PC and mobile devices delivered and supported by a global IT Service Desk, distributed Field Services team and global delivery center personnel. Seaberg holds an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management as well as a bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan University.

Nic Wahl joined Godfrey & Kahn, S.C. in 1990 and, after holding numerous leadership positions in the Firm, was appointed President and Managing Partner in January 2011. While Wahl is responsible for the overall strategic direction and operation of Godfrey & Kahn, he also continues to maintain a broad-based practice focused on both corporate and real estate matters. Wahl’s extensive experience in both areas provides clients a valuable perspective when advising on transactions and general business matters. Wahl regularly advises strategics, private equity investors and management in mergers and acquisitions, and advises institutions, investors, and early stage companies in venture capital transactions. He also regularly represents buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants in real estate transactions. Wahl is originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin and works out of Godfrey & Kahn’s Milwaukee office. Awards include Best Lawyers® in America – Corporate Law – 2007 – 2014 and he is recognized as a Wisconsin Super Lawyer. Other affiliations include Village of Fox Point Police Commissioner, Marquette University Law School Advisory Board, CEOs of Growing Businesses and Association for Corporate Growth. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School and the University of Kansas.

Stacy P. Williams is VP/Senior Investment Consultant at Baird. She began her financial career in 2000 as a Research Analyst in Baird’s Petroleum Research Group and in 2005 she joined Baird’s Private Wealth Management Group, where she provides investment consulting to successful families, endowments, and

corporations. Prior to Baird, she was a Petroleum Geologist with Union Pacific Resources. Williams received her MS from UW and BA from the College of Wooster. She attends “Barron’s Top Women Advisors Summit” annually and in 2010 received recognition as a Milwaukee Business Journal “Forty Under 40.” Williams serves on the Executive Committee as VP-Development for Milwaukee Rep and is involved with United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council and Emerging Readers Program. She lives on Milwaukee’s East Side with husband, Blair, and their two children.

Howard Williams joined Wells Fargo in 2009. He serves as Regional Managing Director of a region that includes markets in Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, and Ohio. In that role, Williams is responsible for Brokerage, Investment Management & Trust, and Private Banking within these markets.Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Williams spent seven years at SunTrust Bank in Atlanta. He held a number of senior management positions at SunTrust. At the time that he accepted the Wells Fargo opportunity, Williams was SunTrust’s Chief Fiduciary Officer. Most of his career has been spent in Milwaukee. He practiced law at Whyte Hirschboeck & Dudek and spent 18 years at Bank One (now JP Morgan Chase). At Bank One, Williams was involved in the development and execution of a team-based approach to Wealth Management, an approach that has also been adopted as the business model by a number of other large banks, including SunTrust and Wells Fargo. A Wisconsin native, Williams is a graduate of Northwestern University and of Northwestern University School of Law, and is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin.

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