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Collaboration Makes for a Successful Regional Educational Event
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Collaboration Makes for a Successful Regional Educational Event in Milwaukee
By Jeff Baryenbruch, Executive Sales Director, VISIT Milwaukee

After becoming a member of AMCI four years ago, we at VISIT Milwaukee had been eager to showcaseour destination to Institute membership. When the opportunity presented itself to host the Midwest Regional Conference from May 10-12th this year, we jumped at the chance, knowing that the combination of Milwaukee’s impressive hotels and meeting spaces, along with our partner sponsors and VISIT Milwaukee staff, would welcome the attendees in true Milwaukee style!

Collaboration with local partners is always key to successful meetings, and was especially evident during the Midwest Regional Conference. Generous local partners included the Milwaukee Marriott Downtown with its complimentary amenities, and Milwaukee Food & City Tours, which featured our beautiful lakefront area along Lake Michigan, major attractions, and charming neighborhoods. The tour included an introduction to local delicacies like hand-ground spices and Wisconsin artisan cheeses and a visit to our lively Milwaukee Public Market. Six restaurants featuring various types of cuisine gave a delectable taste of Milwaukee’s lively dining scene, which has garnered numerous James Beard nominations and wins in recent years. All the restaurants were within easy walking distance from the Marriott, a tribute to the walkability of the downtown area.

On the tour, VISIT Milwaukee Executive Director of Sales Jeff Baryenbruch was able to point out major new downtown development projects, including a new streetcar system and a $500 million new Wisconsin Entertainment & Sports Complex, which will be home to the Milwaukee Bucks and an exciting catalyst for future private development. Both projects are set to open in 2018.

And what better way to network at a conference and give back to the community at the same time than a Build-a-Bike event? The 80+ attendees from Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa and Arizona ended up making a difference in the community as well.

Drawing from experience in successful “Build-a-Bike” events, VISIT Milwaukee organized an activity that resulted in 30 bikes assembled by the attendees over a two-hour period at the Milwaukee Marriott Downtown. Refreshments were served to keep the builders’ energy up, while they assembled 10 mountain-style bikes and 20 BMX-style bikes. 


 From left to right: Jeff Baryenbruch, Executive Sales Director at VISIT Milwaukee, and Kim Westfahl and Margita Baricevic of Lutheran Social Services.

Collaborations continued through this great team building and networking exercise, but the real pay-off was to see and hear from the recipients, including Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. The attendees heard how the kids involved had often never owned or had access to a bike, and their beaming smiles said it all!

VISIT Milwaukee, along with 20 other sponsors, including Milwaukee’s Three City Collective (a 16-year collaboration) partners, Pittsburgh and Portland, contributed to this successful event. We also are grateful for the support of Wisconsin-based companies Omnipress and pc/nametag.

According to Jeff Baryenbruch: “We hope that the attendees came away with valuable information from the conference, along with a fresh image of Milwaukee and all the reasons why Milwaukee is a great meetings destination.”

AMCI Partners

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