Jack Modzelewski is president of the Americas and senior partner. In this role, he has management responsibility for the firm’s largest group of regions. He works closely with the presidents and management team of FleishmanHillard’s offices throughout the United States, Canada, and Latin America to ensure a unified approach to client solutions, new business development, and the achievement of sustainable growth.
Dave comes to UPAF after working for more than 10 years in the hospitality and tourism industry as Deputy Secretary of Tourism and Vice President of Public Relations for VISIT Milwaukee. At the Department of Tourism, Fantle led the marketing efforts, which included a series of seven TV commercials directed and conceived by filmmakers and Milwaukee natives David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams that featured the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in a slapstick winter snowball fight, their “Airplane!” stars Robert Hays and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar back in the cockpit as well as other spots featuring Packer Jordy Nelson and Wisconsin Badgers basketball coach Bo Ryan. At VISIT Milwaukee, he conceived the bronze Fonz statue, which was dedicated on Milwaukee’s Riverwalk in 2008. Fantle’s nonprofit board affiliations have included the Jewish Community Center, Glendale Little League, Nicolet High School Foundation, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, Film Wisconsin, The Wisconsin Humanities Council and Wisconsin State Fair. Fantle is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America and an adjunct professor at Marquette University where he teaches strategic communications and film and popular culture courses. He and his wife Cathy reside in Bayside and have three adult children.
Andy took an unconventional path into the agency business. After trying his hand at beer delivery, teaching and journalism, he finally landed in PR and hasn’t looked back. He has spent the last 25 years at some of the Midwest’s leading agencies, working for blue-chip brands like Yamaha, Volvo, Evinrude, Wisconsin Department of Tourism and Rite-Hite. During that time, he has been involved in almost all areas of PR, from product introductions and speechwriting to media relations, social media and content marketing. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University and a master’s degree from the Integrated Marketing Communications program at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Sometimes newcomers to the city become its most passionate ambassadors! Megan moved to Milwaukee from Chicago in 2013 and immediately put her 15 years of marketing experience to work for VISIT Milwaukee, leading a talented staff of eight in promoting the city in creative new ways as a top destination. Among her many branding initiatives are impactful websites, advertising campaigns, visitors guides, maps, vacation itineraries, eye-catching photography, and more than 50 new Milwaukee videos released in the last two years. Megan is a proud graduate of Xavier University, a Jesuit university in Cincinnati, OH, where she obtained a BSBA in Marketing. Her previous positions covered both agency and client-side of the business, including Choose Chicago, Kings Island, U.S. Bank, Wintrust Financial Corporation, Motorola, Carhartt, Abbott, AbbVie, FTD Flowers.
After graduating from Marquette University in 2003 with degrees in Spanish and Anthropology, Tom moved to New York City and began his professional career as a Media Planner at MediaVest. He spent four years there, moving up the ranks, working on Proctor and Gamble accounts such as Tide, Downy, and Crest. After a year-long hiatus living out his dream as a scuba diving guide in the British Virgin Islands, Tom came back to Wisconsin and started working at Milwaukee-based Laughlin Constable as an Account Planner. Working with clients such as the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, and Paris Presents, Tom is responsible for connecting brands to consumers and consumers to brands by helping translate insights and observations into communications strategy, then making sure the work connects back to both.
A director with 19-plus years of experience, Mike joined the Marketing Comms team at Harley-Davidson in 2013. At Harley-Davidson, fulfilling dreams of personal freedom is more than a phrase. It is the company’s purpose and passion. Previously, Mike worked agency-side for 15 years on some of the biggest brands. Mike broke into PR at Voices for Illinois Children, a Chicago-based non-profit. Before moving to Milwaukee, Mike authored more than 100 articles as a free-lance writer for the Chicago Tribune and served as a volunteer Wrigley Field tour guide for the Chicago Cubs Charities.
Nancy Hernandez is the president and founder of ABRAZO multicultural marketing & communication, a leading integrated marketing firm dedicated to connecting companies, institutions and organizations with Hispanic, African American and Asian audiences. ABRAZO offers primary research, branding, strategic planning, creative design, copywriting, media services, digital marketing and public relations delivered by a team of insightful, diverse professionals.
Nathan Gilkerson is an assistant professor of public relations and strategic communication in the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University, located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He received his Ph.D in Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota. He is a member of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Gilkerson has published articles in Communication Research and Case Studies in Strategic Communication, and his research interests include political communication, political psychology, public relations and social media, and crisis communication.
Matt Wild is the former city editor for The Onion’s A.V. Club Milwaukee. Following that publication’s demise, he co-founded a new local music and culture site, Milwaukee Record, with fellow writer Tyler Maas in April 2014.
Andy joined the Pabst Theater Group in 2007 and was named PR Director in 2011. He handles all earned media for over 400 events annually at three historic Milwaukee venues: Pabst Theater (est. 1895), Riverside Theater (est. 1928) and Turner Hall Ballroom (est. 1882) and at other unique spaces throughout the region. Programming is diverse and includes everything from Neil Young to Neil deGrasse Tyson to Kevin Hart to Lebowski Fest. Additional responsibilities include acting as Spokesperson, Historian, Public Affairs Manager, and Communications Consultant. Andy also appears regularly on various local radio and TV outlets as a “Milwaukee Entertainment Correspondent.”
On a personal note, Andy would strongly consider going on a one-way mission to Mars.
Kristi joined the Wisconsin State Fair six years ago. Prior to joining the team at the Fair, she was the Marketing and PR Manager at Summerfest.
Her current position includes media relations, as well as overseeing all internal and external communications. She is a spokesperson for the Fair, and manages strategy and content for the Fair’s website, social media channels and printed collateral. She also assists with planning the Fair’s annual advertising campaign, with a focus on concert marketing and ticket promotions.
She has a B.A. in Journalism from UW-Madison and attended graduate school at UW-Milwaukee for Mass Communications, while also serving as a Media Writing teaching assistant. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the International Association of Fairs and Exposition’s Advertising, Promotions and Public Relations Committee.
For the last nine years, Evan has been the music editor and an A&E writer for the Shepherd Express, Milwaukee’s weekly paper, and its website. Before that he was the A&E editor for the Madison weekly Core Weekly, a city news reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal, and the editor in chief of The Daily Cardinal. He is a regular contributor to Pitchfork and the Onion A.V. Club, and his writing has appeared in many other publications, including Paste, Rap Up and American Songwriter. He can be heard Wednesdays at noon on WMSE as a co-host of The Disclaimer.
Prior to joining Marquette University’s Office of Marketing and Communication, Chris Jenkins was a sports writer for The Associated Press and USA Today. His writing has touched upon several significant national issues in sports, including head injuries in football, safety in motorsports and the use of performance-enhancing drugs. He continues to work as a freelance sports writer and provides commentary for Marquette men’s and women’s soccer broadcasts on gomarquette.com and the BIG EAST Digital Network.
Sophia Minnaert is in her third full season as a social media and sideline reporter for FOX Sports Wisconsin.
A native of Madison, Wis., Minnaert graduated from Edgewood High School. In 2009, Minnaert graduated from Marquette University with degrees in journalism and Spanish language and literature. As a student at Marquette, Minnaert interned at ESPN in Bristol, CT and WISN. She also provided content for ESPNU Campus Connection.
Prior to joining FOX Sports Wisconsin, Minnaert worked for Play ON! Sports Midwest on high school state championships across the Midwest, including Fox Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Midwest, and CSN Chicago. She also worked as a feature reporter on FOX Sports Wisconsin Prep Zone.
Aside from her role on Bucks broadcasts, Minnaert also works on Milwaukee Brewers broadcasts, WIAA football state championships, and Hockey Day Minnesota for FOX Sports North.
Jen Lada is a sportscaster for ESPN, based at the company’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn. Her duties for the network include regular appearances as a host of Baseball Tonight, a nightly roundup of Major League Baseball action, and co-hosting a radio program.
Prior to working at ESPN, Lada was a sportscaster for Comcast Sportsnet Chicago and a sports reporter/anchor for WITI in Milwaukee. She also has worked at WREX in Rockford, Ill. and for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s “Preps Plus” program on WTMJ.
A 2002 graduate of Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication, Lada is a native of McHenry, Ill. She enjoys running in her spare time.
Julie DiCaro is an update anchor for 670 The Score and a columnist for CBSChicago.com. She studied journalism and French at Indiana University before getting her JD at DePaul’s College of Law. After 15 years of slogging away in the trenches of criminal and family court she escaped into the world of her first love, giving her opinions on Chicago sports to a captive audience. A Cubs blogger since 2007, Julie has written for such outlets as Deadspin, Red Eye and Huffington Post. Don’t try to make her feel bad about her love for soccer or professional wrestling, because it won’t work. Oh yeah, and she really hates red peppers.
Joe Simmons, SJ, has written regularly for several online ministries run by the Society of Jesus. He currently writes and serves as associate editor for essays at The Jesuit Post, which leverages social media to build a following for discussions about faith and religion. As graduate of Marquette University, Joe enjoys traveling, language study, engaging the bigger questions, and the philosophy and history of Jesuit education.