Ron Bader

Ron Bader was raised on a dairy farm in Iowa. Before founding Bader Rutter in 1974, he worked in the advertising department at Amana Refrigeration in Iowa and a number of agencies in Milwaukee, including the Bert Gittens Agency, The Brady Company and Hoffman York. The values instilled in him in those younger years on the farm were also the values he brought to his career. This included one of his favorite mantras: outwork your competitor. Ron did just that with Bader Rutter, helping to redefine how agencies approach business-to-business advertising nationally, while building BR into one of the most respected B-2-B agencies in the country. As other shops went through ups and downs, Bader Rutter grew steadily year after year. Hard work, an unwavering commitment to client service and bringing creativity to industries that lacked it were the cornerstones of Ron’s philosophy of success. So were its people. One of the legacies Ron is most proud of leaving after retirement in 2008 is the stability of the agency. He wanted people to feel that Bader Rutter was a place where they could have a career, so he made decisions carefully — always thinking how they would impact employees. This commitment included offering equity in the agency to the employees who helped make it a success, eventually selling it all at his retirement to the employee shareholders. Today, Bader-Rutter, owned and managed by the employees Ron helped guide, is now the largest agency in all of Wisconsin. A state, Ron is still very committed to, running several agriculture operations with his children in southwestern Wisconsin and even staying here in winters.


  • 1953: Ron begins his career at Amana Refrigeration in Iowa
  • 1961: Ron moves to Milwaukee and joins an agency to apply his agriculture background and creative talents
  • 1974: Bader Rutter opens in downtown Milwaukee with three employees
  • 1977: Bader Rutter creates a public relations department in the belief that an integrated advertising and public relations offering best serves clients
  • 1979: Growth spurs move to larger office space in Brookfield
  • 1987: Ron offers employee ownership of company
  • 1990: Bader Rutter reaches 100 employees
  • 2000: Bader Rutter joins BBN, a global network of independent agencies
  • 2003: BtoB magazine ranks Bader Rutter as top midsized agency in the United States / Ron names Greg Nickerson president, signifying the next generation of leadership / Bader Rutter moves to a newly constructed building in Brookfield
  • 2008: Ron retires and completes ownership transition to employee shareholders
  • 2013: Ron inducted in Wisconsin Advertising Hall of Fame / Bader Rutter ranked No. 1 advertising agency in Milwaukee by The Business Journal

The Wisconsin Advertising Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is held every year at the United Adworkers Milwaukee 99 Awards Show. For details and to purchase tickets to the show on October 12, 2017, please visit

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