February 12, 2020

B.C. Expo Center to bear Resch name

Green Bay Press-Gazette story

'Resch Expo' name kicks off Green Bay's effort to woo national trade shows to $93 million center

Jeff BollierDoug Schneider

Green Bay Press Gazette

Work by tourism and entertainment companies to attract groups and events to Resch Expo will be critical to ensuring the building can deliver its projected economic impact of roughly $13 million each year.  

Community leaders joined County Executive Troy Streckenbach and Dick Resch, executive chairman and chairman of the board at KI, on Thursday to announce the venue's new name, Resch Expo. 

"A big part of the sales process is knowing what it will be called," said Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Brad Toll. "It's a huge step forward. We have marketing materials prepared to go out around the country now."

Terry Charles, PMI Entertainment's senior corporate communications manager, said the first Resch Expo event has not been booked yet, but that it will likely be an annual RV and camper show previously held in Shopko Hall. 

Toll said it will take time to book trade shows and large events into the building since such groups often schedule events years in advance. For example, he said, the bureau is working with a group he would not identify on an event in 2024. 

Terms of the $10 million naming-rights deal call for funding to be provided in three phases: 

  • A $5 million cash payment. 
  • $1 million for furniture, fixtures and equipment.
  • Two $2 million payments, each of which gives Resch the "naming rights" for 10 years. That guarantees the Resch name will be on the building at least through 2040.

The expo center project includes about 120,000 square feet of event space on the ground level and additional meeting spaces above the glass lobby. It will be paid for using a combination of revenues from Brown County's 0.5% sales tax and a room tax added to visitors' hotel, motel or short-term rental bills. 

Plans call for a steep-angled roof over the main entrance, which will face Armed Forces Drive. A second entrance facing South Oneida Street and Lambeau Field, will give passers-by a teasing glimpse of what's happening inside.  

The expo center is designed with amenities like an open floor plan, concrete floor and LED display boards that are attractive to larger events and conventions.  

"It will be the perfect building for trade shows and events," Toll said. 

Dick Resch, now 81, was chief executive at local furniture-manufacturer KI, previously known as Krueger International Inc., from 1983 into 2019. He sold his 71% ownership stake in the company to KI's 200 employees in 2018, but remains executive chairman and chairman of the board of directors.

He noted it was more than 18 years ago that he and Sharon were on hand to help break ground on the 10,000-seat Resch Center, which was completed in August 2002 and hosted Thursday's announcement. 

Their local philanthropy also includes:

  • Allouez's Resch Miracle Field, a flat, artificial-turf baseball diamond that enables children who use wheelchairs to play baseball.
  • The new Richard J. Resch School of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
  • The exterior lighting at the Brown County Courthouse in downtown Green Bay.
  • A $250,000 donation for naming rights to the Resch Aquatic Center. The donation was half the amount the community needed to fundraise.

Streckenbach said the $10 million agreement cements the Resch family's philanthropic legacy in the Green Bay area and will contribute to the vibrancy of Brown County. 

"We're very fortunate to have families like the Resches here who are willing to put money back into the community," Streckenbach said.