In jeopardy after U.S. Bank ended years of sponsorship, Milwaukee’s annual July 3 lakefront fireworks display needed someone to step in — and fast.
Longtime Milwaukee money manager and philanthropist Ted Kellner went to Jack Salzwedel, the chief executive of Madison-based American Family Insurance, and explained that losing the fireworks would be a big blow to the city. Kellner, who had been a member of American Family’s board of directors, suggested Kellner’s T&M Partners and American Family split the cost.
“As we got into it we realized it’s a lot more than just writing a check. It was about logistics,” Salzwedel said. “So we approached the Brewers, who were in the middle of spring training. I actually was able to talk with Mark (Brewers principal owner Mark Attanansio), and when Mark heard about it, he was like, ‘Yeah, we’ll be part of that.’”