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Sub-Zero Freezer Company Celebrates 75 Years of Premier American Manufacturing

Third-Generation, Family-Owned Appliance Company Pioneered Industry Innovations and Has Thrived With Strategic Acquisition and Thoughtful Expansion

Madison, Wis. (August 20, 2020) – This month marks the 75th birthday of one of the most storied brands in American manufacturing. Sub-Zero began as an engineering challenge for Westye F. Bakke – fighting to find a way to store his son’s insulin at a consistent temperature – and involved several years of helping architect Frank Lloyd Wright customize refrigerators to fit his infamous design style. The Sub-Zero Freezer Company was officially formed on August 20, 1945, in Madison, Wisconsin.

Sub-Zero Group, Inc., as it is known today, has trailblazed technological and design innovation across dozens of product lines over the decades – not only within the refrigeration space, but with the development of its Wolf cooking line and the recent launch of its Cove dishwashing brand.

In 1972, Westye Bakke handed the company reins to son Bud Bakke, who spearheaded the creation of a new, lightweight, all-aluminum freezer – an upright model with separate inside doors rather than a top-opening chest freezer. He also led development of the built-in refrigerator unit, which changed the future of kitchen design by fitting within surrounding counter and cabinet space.

Bud’s son, Jim Bakke, was named CEO in 1992. Facing aggressive category growth and competition from full-line manufacturers, he recognized the need for Sub-Zero to expand beyond its mainstay of refrigeration. Jim and his team worked to develop a residential cooking line and bought the brand rights to the Wolf name, a primarily commercial-focused brand known for its recognizable red knobs.  The company introduced 13 new Wolf products from 2001 to 2004 and grew to five times its initial size over the next decade. Jim Bakke also led the development of the dishwashing line Cove, which debuted in 2019, and has entrenched the iconic Sub-Zero brand with considerable enhancements and expanded Wolf’s dominance with next-generation cooking products. Jim still leads the company to this day from its headquarters in Madison.   

“Customers reach out to us all the time. Their Sub-Zero units are 30, sometimes 40 years old and still going strong. We are keenly aware of our heritage and see it as our obligation to be the specialists in not only refrigeration but in cooking and cleaning products for the kitchen – and in whatever we do in the next 75 years,” says CEO Jim Bakke.

The company’s senior vice president of marketing and innovation, Tim McDonough, has this to say about the milestone: “This is a company that is passionate about the role its appliances play in the lives, and kitchens, of homeowners. We’re continually looking for ways to bring new, intelligent approaches to the table, and we manufacture them to last for generations.”

Sub-Zero Group’s impact on the kitchen appliance industry is marked with numerous “firsts,” including:

  • 1943: Westye F. Bakke built his first freestanding freezer prototype out of salvaged scrap metal in his basement. Bakke bent the unit’s coils barehanded and improvised any materials that were lacking because supplies were scarce during World War II.
  • 1945: Bakke founded Sub-Zero Freezer Company in Madison, Wisconsin. The Sub-Zero name was chosen because its freezers were the first to meet the strict quality standards for below-zero safety in freezing food.
  • 1955: Sub-Zero pioneered dual refrigeration – separate, sealed systems for the refrigerator and freezer.
  • Late 1950s: Sub-Zero changed the built-in refrigeration category by introducing the first-ever cabinet-flush unit. The company also modified built-in design to allow for recessed fronts. This enabled the complete customization of each unit to match the kitchen’s overall décor. The refrigerator, once considered the least attractive appliance in American kitchens, became an elegant and beautiful workhorse.
  • 1990s: Revolutionary integrated designs, another Sub-Zero first, made refrigeration units blend seamlessly into kitchen décor.
  • 1993: Sub-Zero kicked off its inaugural Kitchen Design Contest to recognize talented designers who utilize Sub-Zero appliances to rethink what is possible for the kitchen.
  • 2000: Sub-Zero expanded its expertise in the kitchen with the acquisition of Wolf, a legend in commercial kitchens. Now the brand offers residential ranges, ovens, cooktops and ventilation with performance power that home cooks have never experienced before.
  • 2005: The PRO 48 professional-style refrigeration unit, a monument to food preservation, was unveiled. The PRO 48 keeps food fresher longer with dual refrigeration and is crafted out of stainless steel, inside and out.
  • 2006: Wolf revealed its first dual fuel range: gas cooking above, dual convection electric ovens below.
  • 2008: Sub-Zero introduced an antimicrobial air purification system based on NASA technology. The technology scrubs the air of ethylene gas as well as mold, viruses and bacteria that cause foods to spoil.
  • 2013: Sub-Zero and Wolf introduced a new generation with the biggest new-product rollout in the company’s history. Seventy new appliances. Exclusive technologies. Novel décor possibilities.
  • 2018: Sub-Zero and Wolf launched state-of-the-art dishwashers under the brand name Cove, completing the trifecta of kitchen appliances. Cove units are engineered with the same commitment to quality and innovation shared by Sub-Zero and Wolf, and Cove similarly serves as a single-focus kitchen specialist.

About Sub-Zero Group, Inc.

Sub-Zero Group, Inc., headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, manufactures best-in-class appliance brands Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove. Founded in 1945, Sub-Zero, Inc., is the leading American-based manufacturer of refrigeration, freezer and wine storage products. Sub-Zero, the preservation specialist, pioneered the concept of dual refrigeration, ensuring that food stays fresher longer. With the acquisition of Wolf Range Company in 2000, Sub-Zero Group, Inc., added the industry specialist in residential cooking appliances, with products including ranges, cooktops, wall ovens, warming drawers and ventilation equipment. In 2018, Sub-Zero Group, Inc., launched the Cove brand of dishwashers, the specialist in all things clean. Cove joins Sub-Zero and Wolf, establishing the brands as corporate companions and a complete kitchen family. In its third generation of family ownership, the privately held company also operates manufacturing facilities in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, and Goodyear, Arizona. Sub-Zero Group, Inc., is continually recognized for the highest achievements in appliance innovation and customer satisfaction. For more information about Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove, visit or follow us at, on Twitter @subzerowolf or on Instagram @subzeroandwolf. For Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove Customer Care, call 800-222-7820.


Photo by Richard Hurd

Eppstein Uhen Architects Celebrates Making an Impact in Madison for 15 Years

MILWAUKEE, WI, August 11, 2020 Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA) is celebrating its 15 year anniversary of opening a Madison office. EUA is a community champion; the employees and firm believe in giving back to the communities that they live, work and play.

EUA is proud to give back to the Madison community by donating time and money. Over the past 15 years, EUA has donated over $250,000 to local Madison non-profits, including Operation Fresh Start, Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS), REAP Food Group, Food for Thought Initiative, Schools That Can, One City Early Learning, Variety – The Children’s Charity of Wisconsin, Goodman Community Center, Briarpatch Youth Services, Safe and Sound, Wisconsin Bike Fed, YMCA and more!

EUA believes architecture has the power to unleash true human potential. The power to inspire; and enable people to be their best. Fueled by a team passionate about the community, the local architecture firm has designed many innovative projects across Dane County, including the Goodman Community Center, American Family Insurance, UW-Madison Aldo Leopold Residence Hall, The Lyric, Verona Area School District, Monona Grove School District, Middleton Cross Plains Area School District, Waunakee Community School District, De Forest Area School District, CUNA Mutual Group, Hy Cite Enterprises and more.

“Our social responsibility as architects lies, in part, in believing that architecture can create better places, affect society and even play a role in building communities. During our 15 years in Madison, EUA has been blessed to provide support and contributions to local area charities that are making a meaningful impact in our city.” Says John Chapman, Madison Studio Director.

Click HERE to watch a video on our Madison office.

Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA) is best known for designing environments that elevate people’s potential. More than 230 employees in Milwaukee, Madison and Denver demonstrate unparalleled commitment to the markets, communities and clients they serve. The respected 113-year old firm specializes in several markets including education, workplace, healthcare, senior living, student housing, mixed-use, entertainment and science + technology. For additional information, please visit the firm’s website at


If you would like more information, please contact Denise Henning-McGee, Marketing Leader, at 608.442.6699 or

Photo by Richard Hurd

LÜM Continues Its Fresh Take on Music Streaming and Closes Seed II Round Funding

Global Superstar NE-YO Partners with the Brand

See latest coverage from Forbes

MADISON, Wisconsin – August 10, 2020 – LÜM, a Madison-based tech startup that’s revolutionizing the way artists and fans stream and discover new music, has closed a Seed II round of funding and will continue its innovative launch of the first virtual gifting system implemented to help the development and profitability of independent artists in the music streaming industry.

Over the past year, the music streaming and discovery application built on a stand-alone social network has enabled emerging artists to circulate their music to larger audiences, grow their fan base and make money.

The Company’s Seed II financing comes alongside the rapid growth of the LÜM platform’s first-ever direct-to-artist financial support system with the launch of virtual gifting to the app in January. With this successful round of funding, the Company looks to continue developing innovative methods that empower independent artists. In just over a year, the LÜM platform has grown to over 100,000 users and over 200,000 tracks uploaded to the app, making LÜM one of the largest user-uploaded music streaming services in the US. Alongside additional investors, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) participated in this funding round.

LÜM is thrilled to announce its partnership with multi-GRAMMY Award winner NE-YO and Compound Entertainment co-founders, music executives; Tishawn Gayle and Rynell “Tango” Hay. In addition to his Global Ambassador title, NE-YO will be launching the first ever remix competition for his new single U 2 Luv featuring Jeremih. The winners will be hand selected by NE-YO and collectively receive up to one million Notes (LÜM’s in-app currency). A first ever contest of its kind for the app.

“The digital music landscape is changing, and LÜM is excited to be leading that change for how artists and fans consume, share and support music,” said Max Fergus, CEO and co-founder of LÜM. “Our partnership with NE-YO reinforces LÜM’s mission to create a new platform, outside of traditional streaming models, that provides all of the tools artists need to grow their careers and be successful promotionally, artistically and financially.”

“I am honored to join the LÜM team as we embark on making fundamental changes to the music streaming industry that will allow us to give back to the music creators and will significantly impact the digital distribution of music,” said NE-YO.

Tishawn Gayle, co-founder of Compound Entertainment states “Every so often a product hits the marketplace that’s truly disruptive. I wholeheartedly believe LÜM is that product. This social music discovery platform truly puts music discovery back in the hands of the cool kids while continuing to support the artists and creators monetarily through virtual gifting.”

Within six months of the launch of LÜM’s virtual currency, over 13,000 artists have received direct support from fans. Over 21,000,000 Notes have been gifted to artists. Each Note has direct financial value equal to the average royalty payout per stream on alternative streaming platforms. In the future, LÜM looks to apply its virtual currency to new areas of the music industry and continue to pursue the company’s ultimate goal of creating a path for independent artists to make a career out of their passion for music.

iOS App Download: Click here
For press inquiries: (P: 608-576-6682) Press:

About LÜM

LÜM is a music streaming and discovery application built on a stand-alone social network that enables emerging artists to circulate their music and grow their fan base. The LÜM platform focuses exclusively on emerging artists and increases fan-to-fan and fan-to-artist engagement through the gamification of music discovery, and the platform’s first-ever direct-to-artist financial support system with the launch of virtual gifting to the app in January 2020.

Artists upload their content and connect with fans on LÜM’s platform. Fans discover artists and circulate music by discovering, sharing, and engaging with their friends and peer communities. Founded in 2018, LÜM is headquartered in Madison, WI. For more information, visit Follow LÜM on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to keep up on the latest music trends and up-and-coming artists.

About NE-YO

Shaffer Chimere Smith better known as NE-YO, who is now in his fourth season as a judge on NBC’s “World of Dance.” In his career to date, he has sold a cumulative 20+ million adjusted albums worldwide. The Motown Records/Compound Entertainment recording artist has won three GRAMMY awards and been honored with a total of 14 nominations. His first single, 2005’s “So Sick,” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was certified quadruple Platinum. Since then, he has racked up a collection of hit singles – including “Sexy Love,” “Closer,” “Because of You,” “Miss Independent” and “Push Back” featuring Bebe Rexha and Stefflon Don. Three of his albums have entered SoundScan’s Top Current Albums chart at No. 1s a Grammy Award-winning American musician who sings R&B. In 2004 he wrote “Let Me Love You” for Mario. It was number one in the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks. After this, Def Jam Recordings signed him. His debut album, In My Own Words, was released during 2006. Other albums then followed. In 2009, Billboard ranked him as the 57th Artist of the 2000s decade. He is known for songs like “So Sick”, “When You’re Mad”, “Closer”, “Miss Independent”, “Let’s Go” and “Give Me Everything”. The first and last song both reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

About Compound Entertainment

For the past 15 years Compound Entertainment has been on the forefront of identifying and working with emerging talent. Founded by CEO Reynell “Tango” Hay and his partner COO Tishawn Gayle, they have devoted almost two decades to working with and developing artists. Music has always been at the core of what Compound stands for. They have made it their mission to work with artists at inception and have since gone on to launch the careers of countless multi-platinum artists. Most notably their partnership with Multi GRAMMY Award winner, writer, producer, and actor NE-YO, who has been with the company since its start.
Editorial Contacts:

Anita Chatterjee
A-Game Public Relations for LÜM

Max Fergus LÜM

Photo by Richard Hurd

UW–Madison, American Family Insurance: Seeding tech growth in Wisconsin’s fertile ground

Why would a global program for tech startups tackling risk decide to make Wisconsin its home? And how does a partnership with a Fortune 300 insurance company help support success for the startups?

When the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) – an innovative nonprofit that has created programs in support of early stage startups worldwide – decided to partner with the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Madison-headquartered American Family Insurance for only its second U.S. location, it gave a nod to the ever-growing recognition that the region is fast becoming a hub for technology and innovation.

CDL is not alone in this belief. In December 2019, two national think-tanks, the Brookings Institute and Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, released a report putting the Madison area at the top of the list of regions positioned to be the next national tech hub. This thinking reflects what many in the area already know: The education level, business climate, and rich environment for innovation and scientific discovery make the region fertile ground to seed the next wave of entrepreneurs and tech growth.

Founded at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, CDL’s objectives-based entrepreneurship program was built to include active involvement of university students and faculty. This will support a streamlined pathway for research and discoveries at UW–Madison to more quickly find its way into industry. In addition, students will have access to an exciting experiential learning lab geared towards educating digitally aware students who will quickly become the business leaders of tomorrow.

Not including Wisconsin, CDL currently has eight locations. They are in Canada, England, and France. The only other U.S. program is in Atlanta, Georgia, which is launching at the same time as Wisconsin.

Students will benefit

“Students from a variety of academic disciplines will benefit from the exchange of ideas and interactions with entrepreneurs and mentors, while generating startup ideas about how digital technologies can spur unrealized opportunities in risk management,” said Vallabh “Samba” Sambamurthy, Albert O. Nicholas Dean of the Wisconsin School of Business. “In the long run, this will be another way our public university helps to create jobs and grow the economy.”

Region poised for tech growth

CDL’s decision to place its ninth startup program in Wisconsin was inspired by the revelation that while early-stage venture capital was concentrated in California and a few other cities, scientific breakthroughs that seed companies have a much broader geographic distribution. Discoveries and innovations in Madison, Milwaukee, and even as far as Minneapolis, make our region ripe for accelerated growth and venture investment in tech.

Understanding that Madison is home to not just a top-ranked university but also a highly innovative national insurance company, American Family Insurance, made Wisconsin an ideal location to launch its newest stream, CDL Risk. The program will nurture high-tech entrepreneurs in the growing field of risk management. CDL Risk will leverage the expertise at  UW–Madison and American Family, focusing on emerging high-tech software technologies related to identifying, assessing, preventing, mitigating, and transferring risk. The program is slated to start in November and will be entirely virtual for the time being.

“The importance of supporting entrepreneurship in tech has never been greater,” says Tom Erickson, founding director of the UW–Madison School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences. “The tech industry continues to drive economic growth around the globe, and we have an opportunity to put Wisconsin in the center of that.”

American Family partnership a win-win

As a founding partner of CDL Risk, American Family and its venture capital firm American Family Ventures is helping identify and select startups and will provide mentors and other resources during the nine-month program. This support is part of the company’s ongoing partnership with UW–Madison, which includes The American Family Insurance Data Science institute and endowed chair of the institute among other elements.

“Now, more than ever, we can see why entrepreneurship and advancements in data science and technology applied to risk management is critical to the insurance industry and society in general,” said Bill Westrate, American Family Insurance president. “Our involvement with these innovative startups in the very early stages will provide invaluable insights for us, and established resources to help them succeed.”

This partnership with American Family, access to focused mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs who have founded, led, and sold significant tech companies, and an emphasis on objective-setting to sharpen objectives, prioritize time and resources sets CDL Risk and CDL’s other programs apart from a typical startup accelerator.

With advances in data collection, analysis, and artificial intelligence, companies and individuals are better able to assess and respond to risk leading to new products, innovations, and cost savings. The ripple effect could lead to the development of many new companies and ventures focusing on anything from the use of satellites to detect wildfires, to new technology to identify potential damage to homes to improving traffic patterns to reduce accidents.

Furthers UW entrepreneurial innovation

“UW–Madison is a great choice for this project,” says Professor Joan Schmit, who holds the endowed American Family Insurance Distinguished Chair in Risk Management and Insurance at the Wisconsin School of Business. “To be able to support entrepreneurial innovation and economic growth in an area where we have a deep bench of expertise is a natural extension of our work.”

“CDL has developed a proven process for helping companies cut through distractions and focus on what’s most important, with a global network working toward our mission to accelerate the commercialization of science for the betterment of humankind,” says Sonia Sennik, Executive Director of the Creative Destruction Lab. “We are thrilled to both welcome UW–Madison to the CDL family as our newest site, CDL-Wisconsin, and to announce the launch of CDL Risk in partnership with American Family Insurance.”

CDL Risk continues seeking startup candidates and businesses and individuals willing to serve as mentors. More is available at CDL Risk.

Applications for CDL Risk at CDL-Wisconsin are now open at Selected ventures will begin the nine-month CDL program in October 2020. To learn more about CDL Risk, please contact

Read answers to frequently-asked questions about CDL and the new partnership here.


The University of Wisconsin–Madison is a public, land-grant institution that offers a complete spectrum of studies through 13 schools and colleges. With more than 43,000 students from every U.S. state and 121 countries, UW–Madison is the flagship campus of Wisconsin’s state university system. UW–Madison is a formidable research engine, ranking eighth among U.S. universities as measured by dollars spent on research. Faculty, staff, and students are motivated by a tradition known as the Wisconsin Idea that the boundaries of the university are the boundaries of the state and beyond. The Wisconsin School of Business (WSB) offers the #1-ranked under graduate risk management and insurance program by U.S. News & World Report, and the Risk and Insurance department at the Wisconsin School of Business is recognized as a Global Center of Insurance Excellence by the International Insurance Society. The School of Computing, Data and Information Sciences (CDIS), housed within the UW–Madison College of Letters & Science, and home to top-ranked departments of Computer Sciences, Statistics, and the Information School, was founded in 2019 to serve the needs of our ever-changing society. CDIS departments have been the source of many successful tech companies in our region and nationally.


Based in Madison, Wisconsin, American Family Insurance has been serving customers since 1927. The company inspires, protects and restores dreams through insurance products, exceptional service from agency owners and employees, community investment, and creative partnerships to address societal challenges. American Family acts on the belief in diversity and inclusion by constantly evolving to meet customer needs and preferences. American Family Insurance group is the nation’s 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group, ranking No. 254 on the Fortune 500 list. The group sells American Family-brand products, primarily through exclusive agency owners in 19 states. The American Family Insurance group also includes CONNECT, powered by American Family Insurance, The General, Homesite, and Main Street America. Across these companies the group has more than 13,500 employees nationwide.


American Family Ventures is a venture capital firm focused on insurance innovation. Founded in 2013 as the direct venture capital arm of American Family Insurance, AFV invests in early-stage startups that are redefining the future of the insurance industry. AFV aims to help create category-leading companies through minority equity positions, active partnership and collaboration, an extensive Insurtech network, and a comprehensive platform of value-add programs. For more information, visit


CDL is a nonprofit organization that delivers an objectives-based program for massively scalable, seed-stage, science- and technology-based companies. Its nine-month program allows founders to learn from experienced entrepreneurs, increasing their likelihood of success. Founded in 2012 by Professor Ajay Agrawal at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, the program has expanded to eight sites across four countries: Oxford (Saïd Business School, University of Oxford), Paris (HEC Paris), Atlanta (Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology), Vancouver (Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia), Montreal (HEC Montréal), Calgary (Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary), and Halifax (Rowe School of Business, Dalhousie University).

Photo by Richard Hurd

Wisconsin Bank & Trust’s Commercial Card Nationally Ranked Fifth Year in a Row

Shawn Kesler
Regional Marketing Officer, VP 414.394.5946

Brent Giles President and CEO 608.203.1224


JUNE 29, 2020 — MADISON, WI – Wisconsin Bank & Trust, a member of Heartland Financial USA, Inc. (NASDAQ: HTLF), announced today that for the fifth year in a row it has been ranked among the top U.S. commercial credit card issuers for purchase volume growth.

The Nilson Report ranked Heartland’s commercial credit card program among the top 35 Purchasing Card programs, with over $453 million in purchasing card volume in 2019, a growth of 53.9 percent over the previous year. The Nilson Report is a leading publication covering payment systems worldwide for 50 years. Earlier this year, Heartland Financial USA, Inc. was also named by Forbes as the 40th best bank in America.

“Today, more than ever, we understand the importance for our clients to manage cash flow, maintain relationships with vendors, and negotiate favorable terms. It is an honor to be recognized as a leader in the commercial credit card space as we provide solutions that meet the needs of our clients, and the marketplace,” said Brent Giles, President and CEO. “We’re grateful to our clients for choosing Wisconsin Bank & Trust as their partner, and we remain committed to innovating solutions for today’s dynamic environment.”

Even before the pandemic, the Association of Financial Professionals 2019 Electronic Payments Survey shared that 47 percent of companies surveyed said “Cost Savings” is a top benefit of sending electronic payments, and 53 percent of companies surveyed said “Speed of Settlement” is a top benefit of receiving electronic payments. With this method of payment rapidly becoming more common, Wisconsin Bank and Trust is helping clients reduce operating costs, increase fraud protection and provide more streamlined payments processes.

About Wisconsin Bank & Trust

Wisconsin Bank & Trust (WBT), a subsidiary of Heartland Financial USA, Inc., (NASDAQ: HTLF), is a business-focused community bank with assets of more than $1 billion. With fifteen banking centers, Wisconsin Bank & Trust serves customers in the Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Sheboygan, Monroe and southwest areas of Wisconsin. WBT offers a wide range of personal and business banking, private client and mortgage lending services. For more information, visit or call 608.203.1214. Wisconsin Bank & Trust is a member of the FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender.

About Heartland Financial USA, Inc.

Heartland Financial USA, Inc. is a diversified financial services company with assets of

$13.2 billion. The company provides banking, mortgage, private client, investment and insurance services to individuals and businesses. Heartland currently has 114 banking locations serving 83 communities in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, Colorado, Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri, Texas and California. Additional information about Heartland Financial USA, Inc. is available at

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