Triangle Background

Marquette University Commercial Banking Program welcomes fifth cohort since inception

Dr. Kent Belasco

By Cassandra Krause

The Commercial Banking Program at Marquette University in Milwaukee is one of very few undergraduate commercial banking programs in the country and has graduated 56 students since the program’s inception in 2017, with an additional 16 planned in the next year, at a minimum. At the helm of the program is Dr. Kent Belasco, a 37-year banker who pivoted to a full-time career in higher education after having taught part-time as an adjunct professor of finance while he worked as an executive vice president and chief information and operations officer at a bank. Belasco said his two main goals for the program are (1) to provide students with great career opportunities and (2) to provide talent to the industry.

Students in the finance major at Marquette have the option to choose a concentration in the Applied Investment Management Program or the Commercial Banking Program. Belasco developed an advisory board, built the curriculum for
the Commercial Banking Program, and has published a Fundamentals of Commercial Banking textbook. The program is highly experiential, allowing students to analyze actual small businesses in the community and internationally. Students complete two internships with banks during the program and have opportunities to participate in competitions and field trips to places near and far, like Chicago and Zurich, Switzerland. Marquette is also co-branding research on bank performance with Crowe LLP (a Wisconsin Bankers Association Associate Member), with which students can get involved.

Students complete their introductory classes in finance and typically apply to the Commercial Banking Program as sophomores. A 3.0 GPA
is required for participation in the program, and students complete rigorous coursework that equips them with knowledge and skills Belasco says many bankers may not otherwise acquire until many years into their careers. Banking careers provide the opportunity to earn a good living in a rewarding industry. Belasco noted that today’s students are socially conscious, want to make a difference, and want to give back to the community. When he explains how those values align with the banking industry, he finds that it resonates well with students. He opens one of his introductory classes with a quote from Jason DeSena Trennert’s book, My Side of the Street:

Modern banking… has been the single greatest contributor to human progress… Academics have long noted the strong correlation between modern banking systems and national wealth, allowing businesses to take on more risks in their efforts to grow. Prudent risks can lead to faster economic growth, more jobs, and greater innovation in all fields of human endeavor.

Students who complete the program have a solid command of banking principles and terminology, have worked on projects with businesses and non-profit community organizations, and are eager to grow in meaningful careers. The program boasts a 100 percent job placement rate of its graduates in banks. For bank leaders who are looking to connect with the program and its students, there are a number of avenues:

  • Offer an internship (many can be done remotely during the academic year and/or in person over breaks);
  • Sponsor a scholarship;
  • Host a field trip;
  • Volunteer on a panel or at a career night; and/or
  • Attend the annual conference.

Last year’s virtual cybersecurity conference had around 200 attendees, and the focus of this year’s conference will be climate/sustainability.

An ideal partnership, says Belasco, could look like the following: the bank identifies a student in their local community with an aptitude for banking, sponsors a scholarship for the student at Marquette, offers the student an internship, and then hires the student into a key position at the bank upon graduation. There is a lot of flexibility in how to get involved, and Belasco encourages bankers to reach out to him personally about their plans for succession and talent development.

Daryll Lund, WBA executive vice president and chief of staff, serves on the advisory board for Marquette’s Commercial Banking Program. “To have a specialized program of this quality right here in our state is a great asset for Wisconsin’s banking industry,” says Lund of the program. “I would encourage bankers to raise awareness of the program in their communities and to get involved as employer partners.”

The program is a “win-win-win” for students looking for rewarding careers, for banks seeking talented employees, and for the bank customers they serve.

Triangle Background

Stella Terry was recently promoted to senior vice president – director of human resources at Port Washington State Bank. Since joining PWSB in 2020, she served as VP – director of human resources and has been an invaluable asset to the bank during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Terry’s current responsibilities at PWSB include hiring and employee relations, as well as employees’ benefit management, and strategic oversight of the bank’s culture as a 12-time Top Workplace winner. Terry and her team also ensure the company’s policies are enforced and in compliance with state and federal labor laws.

“We’re very happy to welcome Stella to the senior management team. Her insights and background will help guide the bank’s future direction in the coming years,” said James Schowalter, president and chief operating officer.

Prior to PWSB, Ms. Terry’s background involved working in corporate HR and benefits for both a large healthcare organization as well as a specialty HR consulting firm. Terry has more than twelve years of human resource management experience. She has a degree in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and also holds a SHRM-CP (Society of Human Resource Management) certification.

Tim Kuehn and Matt Hildebrandt were recently elected to PremierBank’s Board of Directors

PremierBank has announced Tim Kuehn and Matt Hildebrandt were elected to PremierBank’s board of directors. PremierBank Chairman, President and CEO Russ Turk said, “Tim and Matt bring valuable insights and industry knowledge that will be a tremendous asset to our organization as we execute upon our overall growth strategy. We are fortunate to have them both on our board.”

Tim Kuehn

Kuehn was born and raised in Jefferson, Wis., graduating from Jefferson High School where he excelled as a student-athlete. He played collegiate baseball at Iowa State University and UW-Oshkosh, receiving a speech communications/business degree from UW-Oshkosh. Kuehn is a real estate developer with a remarkable entrepreneurial spirit having built his businesses from the ground up. As President and Owner of both Kuehn Commercial Properties and Margarita’s Famous Mexican Food & Cantina, based in Green Bay, Kuehn values strategic economic development and serves on the town of Ledgeview Redevelopment District Authority board. Additionally, he focuses his philanthropic efforts on causes centered around improving the quality of life for Wisconsin residents including local schools, educational programs, children’s issues; and specific nonprofit organizations that specialize in providing services for low-income individuals in need of food and shelter along with services to support them in reaching self-sufficiency.

Matt Hildebrandt

Hildebrandt is from the Wausau, Wis. area and is the President and CEO of StrataDefense, a Wisconsin-based technology and network security firm that focuses on the unique needs of financial institutions. With a degree in business administration, from Upper Iowa University, Hildebrandt has had strong ties to the banking industry throughout his entire career; leading information technology departments for two independent, community banks based in Wausau. A deeply rooted civic-minded philosophy is what motivates Hildebrandt to engage in a variety of volunteer leadership capacities throughout the community that focus primarily on education and local government. He is currently governing council president of DC Everest Idea School and previously served as a district supervisor for Marathon County, as well vice chair, citizen member for the Village of Kronenwetter Planning Commission.


State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski Proclaims Wisconsin Saves Week to Encourage Wisconsinites to Build Emergency Savings and Save for the Future

A coalition of Wisconsin organizations are encouraging Wisconsinites to participate in Wisconsin Saves Week and take steps toward securing their financial futures. Wisconsin State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski officially proclaimed February 21–25, 2022 as Wisconsin Saves Week in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA), the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), and America Saves, the leading national campaign in promoting savings. Wisconsin Saves Week is part of the national America Saves Week, an annual campaign focusing on helping Americans build financial resilience.

“Wisconsin Saves Week is a great opportunity for Wisconsinites to start laying the groundwork for achieving their savings goals, whether that’s buying a car, paying for college, purchasing a home, or planning for retirement,” said Treasurer Godlewski. “By promoting tools and tips to help set a savings goal or make a plan to save, we can assist individuals and families as they build savings habits and become regular savers.”

As part of this week of action, a coalition of Wisconsin organizations led by Treasurer Godlewski, DFI Secretary-designee Cheryll Olson-Collins, WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels, WWBIC President Wendy Baumann, and America Saves are encouraging Wisconsinites to strengthen their personal financial security by promoting resources to build financial resilience.

“Being financially resilient is more than having access to money, it includes individuals being conscious of their own financial landscape, being aware of available resources, and being willing to seek out and take advantage of opportunities that will support and increase their financial wellness,” said DFI Secretary-designee Olson-Collins. “Our goal with Wisconsin Saves Week is to help more Wisconsinites start to build emergency savings and save for the future.”

Wisconsinites are encouraged to evaluate their personal finances and savings habits by taking the America Saves Pledge. Through this pledge, individuals complete a financial check-in that allows them to get a clear view of their finances, set savings goals, and create a plan to achieve them. After completing the pledge, America Saves provides tips, resources, and tools through short emails and text reminders to keep individuals on track toward their savings goals.

“Our organization is excited to promote Wisconsin Saves Week because the initiative aligns with the efforts bankers engage in each and every day to help customers achieve their financial goals,” said WBA President Oswald Poels. “Establishing a savings habit creates a strong foundation upon which individuals can build to achieve financial health.”

Together organizations and institutions across Wisconsin will amplify information, resources, and tools to help individuals and families take action toward building financial confidence. Each day of Wisconsin Saves Week centers on one of five critical areas of financial wellness to build financial resilience. The daily topics are as follows: Monday, February 21: Save Automatically; Tuesday, February 22: Save for the Unexpected; Wednesday, February 23: Save for Retirement; Thursday, February 24: Save by Reducing Debt; and Friday, February 25: Save as a Family.

“With so many Wisconsinites still feeling the financial distress from the coronavirus pandemic, this statewide effort is timely and needed,” said WWBIC President Baumann. “We look forward to supporting Wisconsinites in gaining better savings habits and getting key strategies that enhance their financial wellness journey.”

Wisconsin Saves Week is an opportunity for individuals to evaluate their own savings habits and commit to saving by making a plan to achieve better financial stability. The week is also an opportunity for organizations to promote good savings habits to their employees. Launched in May 2021, the statewide Wisconsin Saves Automatic Saving Initiative encourages Wisconsin businesses to work with their employees to save each month through payroll split deposit to establish emergency savings and save for the future.

“Wisconsin Saves is a timely program aimed at helping Wisconsin employers recruit and retain the best talent particularly during this ultra-competitive job market,” said America Saves Senior Program Manager Carolyn Pemberton. “Employers can distinguish themselves from other businesses by offering this easy-to-use financial wellness benefit that helps their employees to save in the easiest and most effective manner by saving automatically through split deposit.”

Employers can sign up at to receive a suite of ready-to-use resources to help them promote split deposit as a way they support their employees in reaching their personal savings goals. Any employer in Wisconsin is eligible to use the information as long as they pay their employees using direct deposit. For more information on Wisconsin Saves, contact America Saves Senior Program Manager Carolyn Pemberton at

“I am proud that this coalition from across the state has come together to provide resources and information to Wisconsinites so that they can take action for their financial well-being,” said Treasurer Godlewski. “We also know that employers have a role to play, and this week I encourage all Wisconsin employers to promote good savings habits by signing up for the Wisconsin Saves program. Together we can work to make a positive impact on the financial lives of Wisconsinites and build a more economically secure future.”

For more information, visit and become part of a nationwide community of savers.

Ixonia Bank would like to recognize Susan (Sue) Kopiness on her 50th work anniversary which she celebrated on February 7, 2022.

Kopiness has maintained many important roles over her years, starting out when she was still in high school. She has been a teller, loan secretary, assistant bookkeeping supervisor, bookkeeping supervisor, and many years as accounting manager. She has most recently been our VP of special projects and has contributed to many committees, working groups, and projects.

“We are extremely grateful for all the great years of service that Sue has given Ixonia Bank and its customers. She remains the “go to” person for answers to difficult questions about deposit operations” said Dan Westrope, Ixonia Bank’s Chairman and CEO. “While Sue’s work schedule has decreased a little, her impact remains great.”

Kopiness grew up and still resides in Oconomowoc and enjoys spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren. She also remains active in a bowling league she has been in for several years.

As Kopiness is slowly scaling back her hours, we look forward to many more years of her presence. She has been a hard-working and dedicated employee for the past 50 years and we thank her so much for her devoted time and high level service.

Associated Bank announces the promotion of Andrew Shallow to market president for the central and northern Wisconsin markets, succeeding Dennis DeLoye who was recently promoted to the bank’s executive team and is responsible for the community markets line of business.

In his new role, Shallow is responsible for leading the commercial, private, and retail banking teams in central and northern Wisconsin, which includes 28 branches.

With over 20 years of financial experience, Shallow has been a member of the Associated Bank team since 2000. While in college, he worked at the service center in Stevens Point and progressed through various commercial banking roles from Green Bay to Manitowoc to Rockford to Wausau. For the past eight years, he has been the commercial banking team lead in the central Wisconsin market.

Shallow earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and his master’s degree in business administration from University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh.

In the community, he currently serves on the United Way board as treasurer and the Junior Achievement board as past president.

He is located at 2010 Stewart Ave. in Wausau.

Brenton D. Teeling, vice president of client services and administration at Legacy Private Trust Company, has received the Under 40 in Wealth Management Award from the American Bankers Association (ABA).

ABA’s Under 40 in Wealth Management Awards recognize wealth management and fiduciary professionals who are committed to the highest standards of achievement at work and in their communities. Mr. Teeling will be honored along with other award recipients at ABA’s 2022 Wealth Management and Trust Conference held in February.

Mr. Teeling earned his B.A., magna cum laude, from Loras College, and his J.D., with distinction, from the University of Iowa College of Law. He also holds the Certified Trust and Fiduciary Advisor designation. In the community, he serves on the United Way Fox Cities Board of Directors and chairs its Emerging Leaders group. He also volunteers for various other organizations’ committees.

The 16th annual WBA Women in Banking Conference will make its return to an in-person event, while also offering the livestreaming option for those who prefer to attend from the comfort of their home or office. Scheduled for Tuesday, April 26, 2022 in Wisconsin Dells, this is a must-attend event for your women bank leaders!

Founder of Headbands of Hope, Jess Eckstrom, will join the conference as our keynote speaker, sharing her message that aligns with her book, Chasing the Bright Side: Embrace Optimism, Activate Your Purpose, and Write Your Own Story. Each conference attendee, whether attending in Wisconsin Dells or via livestream, will also receive a copy of the book, and a headband will be donated in recognition of each conference attendee to a local children’s hospital. By using her story of creating a million-dollar company from her dorm room, Eckstrom talks about the three essential tools to practicing optimism: confidence mindset, failure management, and purpose activation.

Bell Bank’s Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President – Chief Culture Officer Julie Peterson Klein will share her message on leading with your heart. Peterson Klein has 30 years of banking and leadership experience, the past 23 with Bell, where she leads the company culture for the company’s 1,800 team members. Peterson Klein was instrumental in implementing Bell’s Pay It Forward program, which has given over $19.6 million in the past 14 years to those in need. Her role includes encouraging employee mentorship, empowering employees to lead in community service, and ensuring team members are recognized for employment anniversaries, personal milestones, and outstanding service.

In addition to a great lineup of speakers and presentations, those attending in Wisconsin Dells will enjoy the valuable networking that takes place throughout the conference, including a dedicated session of tabletop conversations to share ideas, ask questions, and learn best practices from your peers.

Get a head start on meeting with your peers by attending an optional networking event on Monday evening. A morning yoga session is also available for those who want an early refresh before the conference kicks off.

Make plans to join your fellow women in banking leaders in the Dells on April 26. You can find more information on the conference agenda, room block details and more at

The Wisconsin Bankers Foundation has awarded UW-Platteville senior Alexis Boston and UW-River Falls junior Joseph Schlies with the 2021 Agricultural Banking Scholarship. The scholarship is given to two students who plan to go into a career in agriculture finance and who demonstrate in their application a strong understanding of the importance of financial literacy.

Boston is a declared agribusiness major expected to graduate this December. She has worked as an agribusiness professor assistant at UW-Platteville and currently is involved in many on-campus and community organizations including UW-Platteville’s Agribusiness Club, the Collegiate Farm Bureau, and the National Agri-Marketing Association.

Schlies is a declared agricultural business major. He currently holds two positions at the college as a teaching assistant in the Agricultural Economics Department and as a residential assistant. Previously, Schlies was the state president for the Wisconsin Association of FFA State Officers. He is also actively involved on his campus as the vice chair of the Finance Committee and at-large senator of the Student Government Association.

“Joseph and Alexis’s passion for agricultural finance and making an impact on their community is foundational to the qualifications for the Foundation’s Agricultural Banking Scholarship,” said Foundation Chair Rose Oswald Poels. “I am pleased that we are able to honor their achievements with this scholarship and wish them each much success in their future agribusiness careers.”

Joseph Schlies (center) accepts 2021 Agricultural Banking Scholarship from WBF Chair Rose Oswald Poels (second from left). Also pictured are: Dr. Dale Gallenberg, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (far left); Dr. Brenda Boetel, professor and chair of the Agricultural Economics Department (third from the right); Dr. Sierra Howry, associate professor of agricultural economics (second from right); and Tony Betley, vice president – senior agricultural banker at Nicolet Bank.

Alexis Boston (center) accepts 2021 Agricultural Banking Scholarship from WBF Chair Rose Oswald Poels (far left). Also pictured are: Nicholas Felder, vice president – commercial/ag banking at MidWestOne Bank (second from left); Chad Bahr, assistant vice president – agribusiness lending officer at Mound City Bank (second from right); and Donna Hoppenjan, president and CEO of Mound City Bank (far right).