Jim Frings is a co-founder and partner in Wisconsin River Partners. He has built a business organization that spans four continents in the areas of manufacturing, real estate investment and development, software, and, now, through Wisconsin River Partners and Rostela Investments, private equity management. He has led rust belt manufacturing companies and a multi-state real estate portfolio through the best and worst of times.
Jim started out managing International Marketing and Sales Channel Development for Intel’s Systems Division, where he arranged technology transfers on six continents, achieved multiple sales records, and negotiated and started up international joint ventures. After turning around a small manufacturer for a wealthy individual, Jim decided to build his own company.
In 1993, he acquired Wire Maid Manufacturing in Wausau, Wisconsin and over the course of twenty years multiplied its revenues tenfold. During that period, he grew a separate investment starting with a 50% stake in a California four-plex into a twenty property real estate business. His investments in private companies broadened his exposure to many markets industries. Jim sits on several corporate and not-for-profit Boards.
Jim earned a Bachelor of the Science of Foreign Service degree from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and an MBA from the Columbia University School of Business. He resides in Wisconsin and enjoys skiing, horseback riding, basketball, and travel.
Kevin Kraft is a co-founder and partner in Wisconsin River Partners (WRP). He is a manufacturing and financial professional known for adding value to organizations through deep analytical and strategic thinking.
Born and raised in Wausau, WI Kevin began his career with Ernst & Young in Boston, MA and earned his Certified Public Accountant credentials in 2002. He later moved back to his home state taking a financial position with Bucyrus International (now part of Caterpilar) in Milwaukee. He joined JARP Industries, Inc., his family’s 50+ year old manufacturing company, in 2006. He held roles of CFO and COO on his way to the CEO position, before leaving for WRP in 2018.
Kevin is also on the Board of Directors of Peoples State Bank, a $1.3 billion publicly traded community bank headquartered in Wausau, acting as the Chair of the Audit Committee.
With over 10 years in his family’s business, Kevin knows what it is like to own and operate a privately held business, including the unique challenges and rewards. His personal experience with family relationships, transferring management and ownership through generations and leading a business uniquely positions him to understand the needs and feelings of a business owner and potential seller.
Kevin received a BS in Accounting from Boston College and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin (Madison). He is married with 3 children and lives in Wausau, WI. He is actively involved in the Boys and Girls Club of the Wausau area, MC United Soccer Club, The Grand Theater Foundation, The Central Wisconsin Manufacturers Alliance (CWIMA) and Junior Achievement.
Born and raised in Green Bay, WI, he attended Bethel University in St. Paul, MN receiving his BA in Finance. He began his career in sales at Nystrom Building Products. In 2002, he moved home to Green Bay to join his father at Metals Engineering before purchasing the business in 2005. He acquired Omega Metal Treating in 2014 and Wisconsin Ordinance Works LTD (WOW) in 2018, which is a manufacturer of components for military tracked vehicles. Ted acted as owner/CEO before selling Metals Engineering in 2019 and WOW in December 2021. He joined (WRP) as a Director in January 2023.
Ted’s career has allowed him the opportunity to acquire, grow, and sell small businesses. He enjoys seeing companies flourish and individuals prosper in their careers and personal lives.
Over the last twenty years living in Green Bay, Ted has coached youth soccer, served on the advisory board for Bay Link Manufacturing, was a part of the initial committee starting Young Life at Bay Port High School, a member of the NorthEast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance (NEWMA), and currently serves in leadership at his local church.
Michael Palumbo is a Senior Associate for WRP, where he supports the entire acquisition process including financial analysis, due diligence, debt financing and raising equity. Previously a Vice President at Balmoral Advisors, he has worked on more than 20 completed transactions and has over 7 years of buy-side M&A experience.
Michael earned a BS in finance and business analytics from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.
Teresa Marek is the portfolio company CFO for WRP, starting in October, 2022.. In her role she is responsible for oversight of financial reporting, budgeting, planning and analysis at WRP portfolio companies. Teresa has over 20 years of financial leadership and a Masters Degree in accounting.