For two decades, Greg Nickerson has shaped the growth and fortunes of Bader Rutter. From the time he took over as president, the agency doubled in size, growing to be Wisconsin’s largest advertising agency and the country’s largest agricultural marketing agency. As current chairman and former CEO, Greg built relationships with clients like Corteva Agriscience, Zoetis, Case IH, Zoro, Trane, Acuity Insurance and the Milwaukee Bucks. With 250 full-service professionals working across the headquarters in Milwaukee, a Chicago office, and a satellite network that spans 13 states, Greg has significantly expanded the agency’s impact, always with an eye for what clients need today and will need tomorrow.
Greg grew up as an Iowa farm boy, spending his childhood waking up at 6 a.m. every day to tend corn, soybeans, pigs, sheep and chickens. By age 12, he was running a small business, purchasing supplies and balancing budgets between homework, school and household chores. Leveraging money earned raising livestock to pay for his education at Iowa State University, Greg was quickly recognized for his financial acumen and journalistic know-how. This same drive and dedication followed him into his career, where his writing abilities earned him his first PR position at Bader Rutter. When the de facto successor to Ron Bader left the agency in 1999, Greg stepped in to carry the agency into the 21st century. As president at only 39, Greg finalized a buyout plan that allowed the agency to remain independently owned. That alone was remarkable. That he did it on the eve of the 2008 financial crisis is uncanny. And characteristically Greg.
Under his tenure, Greg and the agency earned many awards and singular achievements, including the 2017 NAMA (National Agri-Marketing Association) Marketer of the Year; No. 1 Advertising Agency in Milwaukee; the No. 1 B2B marcomm agency by B2B Marketing in 2019; and the largest agricultural marketing communications firm by AgriMarketing magazine for well over a decade.
In 2017, Greg relocated the agency from Brookfield to the heart of downtown Milwaukee. He also steered the agency to make a lasting impact on the community, from client work for the 2021 NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks, to supporting iconic organizations such as the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, where he currently chairs the board. He has taken active leadership roles with organizations like MKE Fellows and the Greater Milwaukee Committee. Through his involvement with the National Board of Business Marketing Association, Greg has demonstrated his desire to succeed not only as an individual, but as a pioneering force within the larger industry.
Following in the footsteps of Hall of Fame inductee Ron Bader, Greg has spent his career ensuring Bader Rutter will expand far beyond its legacy to continue making a lasting impact on the advertising industry.