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PMI Entertainment Group turns 40

PMI provides comprehensive venue, sports and entertainment management services

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July 12, 2023

ASHWAUBENON – “It’s a story much like across the street, but we just haven’t told it enough.”

Those are the words Brendan Bruss, president of PMI Entertainment Group, said when comparing the team located inside the Resch Center (PMI) to the team located inside Lambeau Field (Green Bay Packers).

“Green Bay is the only place in the country that can make a statement like that – we have two similar organizations producing these huge economic impacts from live events,” Bruss said.

PMI hasn’t been around as long as the Packers – who were incorporated in 1919 – but Bruss said the entertainment group is celebrating a milestone of its own – 40 years in business.

PMI, which got its start in 1983, provides comprehensive venue, sports and entertainment management services for the Resch Center, Resch Expo and Meyer Theatre.

“We are a private, non-stock corporation led by a board of directors made up of community leaders – we have no owner,” Peter Mancuso, PMI chairman of the board, said. “Any profits we make are reinvested back into the venues we manage or into the area communities.”

It’s all in the details
According to PMI’s website (, the organization “exists to enhance the entertainment offering and economic growth of the venues we manage and the community we live in.”

Bruss – who has been with PMI since 2003 and has served as its president since 2020 – said the 40-year milestone speaks volumes to what the organization is about.

“As we like to say, ‘we sell fun,’” he said. “It’s rewarding and a different lifestyle on days we have events – it’s about providing quality-of-life activities to the people in the community.”

Bruss said PMI has survived for 40 years – and will continue to thrive – because of how its run.

“We’ve been entrepreneurial enough to say we should have our own ticketing company (Ticket Star), our own food and beverage company and produce our own events,” he said. “Because of that – and because the money doesn’t leave town – that money has allowed us to continue to be innovative and allowed us to run the Resch Center with no taxpayer expense on an annual basis… I don’t even know if another arena our size in the country can say that.”

Bruss said by combining all the things PMI does, it has equaled success.

Brendan Bruss

“Being able to own the content, promote your own shows, take your own risk, create new events, own the (Green Bay Gamblers) hockey team, own the ticketing company – because of that, it gives us a tremendous amount of capital to put money back into the organizations and the venues we manage,” he said.

Bruss said in many venues across the country, “some money inevitably leaves town.”

“They will outsource ticketing to Ticketmaster, or they’ll outsource food and beverage to Aramark or Delaware North,” he said. “That means a certain amount of dollars goes back to those big corporations – that doesn’t happen here.”

Bruss said the “great people who work for PMI” also help.

“Kristie Haney (vice president of events/booking) is probably one of the best concert bookers in the country,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate to have so many long-standing members of the company who know the business. That’s a testament to this part of the country – people work hard and take pride in what they do.”

Bruss said another hurdle has been overcoming the ease of accessing entertainment at the touch of a button.

“People can get so much more from home or to their phone than before,” he said. “Will people still have the desire to come to venues and see live entertainment like they used to?”

Bruss said the COVID-19 pandemic proved people still want to “get out of the house.”

“People missed (live entertainment at venues) during COVID,” he said. “Some of our fear of people wanting to stay home (after COVID) wasn’t warranted. There is still a demand for live entertainment – it’s just adapting to the nuances of technology and other spaces.”

The younger generation, Bruss said, is a perfect example of how PMI has adapted.

“The Millennial and Gen Z generations like going to live events,” he said. “Sometimes we complain they like technology too much and are on their phones too much, but they like events – we just have to create a spot where they can take selfies and post them so people know where they are. That’s probably good for our industry anyway.”

Board of directors
PMI currently has nine board members.

“Tom (Olejniczak – a partner with Conway, Olejniczak & Jerry, S.C. Law Firm) and I are the only two who were with the original board and have remained all these years,” Mancuso said.

Other board members include:
Robert Atwell – chairman/CEO, Nicolet National BankJere Dhein – retired owner, Tosca, LTDJeffrey Kanzelberger – chairman/founder, PerformaThomas Meinz – retired executive, Wisconsin Public Service CorporationBob Weyers – co-owner, Commercial HorizonsKen Wachter – retired CEO, PMI Entertainment GroupMitch Weckop – CEO, Skyline Technologies
The biggest challenge the board faced 20 years ago, Mancuso said, was planning and building the Resch Center – which was completed in 2002.

Peter Mancuso

“Since we pay (Brown County) all the operating costs, insurance, utilities and most of the maintenance, we have to make money,” he said. “The payment of money to the county is fundamentally used for the repayment of the bonds the county had to take out – the taxpayers don’t pay for any daily operations of the facilities we operate.”

Mancuso said, every year, when the fiscal year starts on June 1, PMI is more than $1 million underwater.

“We have to make money to pay the county – we have no choice,” he said. “Many years ago, that led the board to look at revenue streams – it’s now the focus of what we do.”

Mancuso said through Blue Green Events, PMI produces many of its own events.

“Tall Ships, the first Lambeau concert with Kenny Chesney (was produced by us), the boat show, the pet expo, the RV & camping expo, the wedding show, Monster Jam, the Craftoberfest, etc. are examples of how we generate money to pay the county,” he said.

Mancuso said like any board meeting, some time is spent reviewing data and financial information, but 75% of the time is spent discussing other things.

The Resch Expo, which opened in early 2021, is hosting Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience through Aug. 10. Photo Courtesy of PMI Entertainment Group

“We mostly talk about what we do, what can we do, what opportunities are out there and how we strategize,” he said. “I’ve been in business for a long time and have been on many boards, and I’ve never been in a room with more horsepower than this board has intellectually. Our mission is to improve the quality of life through the things we do.”

The Green Bay Blizzard indoor football team also plays at the Resch Center, and the WIAA hosts its girls’ basketball and volleyball state tournaments at the arena.

Green Bay Gamblers
Bruss was the president of the Green Bay Gamblers – members of the United States Hockey League – from 2003-20 before Jeff Mitchell took over.

The Gamblers, who recently had four players selected in the recently-completed NHL Draft, play their games in the Resch Center – one of the facilities PMI operates.

“In 2003, Gamblers tickets were printed,” he said. “Now, everything has changed technologically. The Gamblers and Ticket Star were probably my two biggest roles before becoming president (of PMI).”

Bruss said on and off the ice, the Gamblers – who have three former head coaches (Jon Cooper – Tampa Bay Lightning; Derek Lalonde – Detroit Red Wings; and Tony Granato – Buffalo Sabres) now coaching in the NHL, weren’t always going so well.

“Ron Weyers sat in a board of directors meeting and said, ‘We need one (behind) to kick,’” he laughed. “It became me, and we had to hire a coach. The first coach I hired was Jon Cooper – that worked out pretty well.”

Cooper led the Gamblers to a Clark Cup championship in 2010 before being named the Tampa Bay coach in 2013.

In his 11 seasons with the Lightning, the franchise won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2020 and 2021.

Cooper is currently the longest-tenured coach in the NHL.

“I still get goosebumps thinking about (the Clark Cup championship game at the Resch Center in 2010),” Mancuso said. “It was Game 5 of the series, and we sold tickets at $5 piece. We wanted to sell the place out, and we did. It was an electric atmosphere – the place went wild.”

Mancuso said the 2010 championship game is an example of the type of excitement and entertainment PMI aims to bring to the community.

“We are typically first, second or third every season in attendance,” he said. “We have a wonderful facility in the Resch Center. The cool thing to me is seeing multiple generations come to the Resch over the years.”

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