WisBusiness: Leinenkugel introduced as Commerce secretary

Dick Leinenkugel said he has “frugal” travel tastes as he was introduced as the state’s next Commerce secretary.


Leinenkugel, 50, is the vice president of sales and marketing the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. and a fifth generation brewer. He replaces Jack Fischer, who stepped down this summer following reports of the expenses he initially charged taxpayers while on a trade mission.


Leinenkugel vowed to handle trade mission expenses within state policies and credited his father for instilling his frugal tastes for travel.

“Certainly I am going to be one of those people who will be very frugal but … is going to do what is best for the state,” Leinenkugel said.


Leinenkugel said he is excited for the opportunity to give back to the state that has provided him and his family with so much, but added that it was a “bittersweet day” as he leaves his family’s business after 21 years.


Leinenkugel said he understands that the state faces a number of economic challenges but looks forward to being part of the solution. He pointed to promising futures for renewable energy production, stem cell research and high-tech manufacturing in the state as part of that solution.


“I look forward to championing the governor’s strategy of moving every sector of Wisconsin’s economy toward the high end,” said Leinenkugel. “We will continue to build our manufacturing base and promote it. Let the word go out that our state is eager to help high-tech entrepreneurs who are the future of job growth in Wisconsin.”


Doyle described Leinenkugel as a “great leader” who knows what it takes for a company to succeed in the state.


He also said that if Wisconsin hopes to succeed in the current economic climate, it will have to engage businesses nationally and internationally through trade missions. He said that selling Wisconsin out on the road is a vital aspect of the commerce secretary’s job.


“We are very, very fortunate to have him joining our cabinet here today,” Doyle said. “I am confident his talent and experience is exactly what we need to help create the jobs of tomorrow and move our economy forward.”