BMO Harris Bradley Center - Fiserv Forum transition caps a history of service: Iconic project launched careers, friendships for Lemberg

Brookfield, WI (August 14, 2018) – The removal of the BMO Harris Bradley Center (Bradley Center) external and internal signage in July marked the final phase of Milwaukee’s downtown entertainment venue transition from the Bradley Center to the new Fiserv Forum. Lemberg’s signs and lighting division facilitated the debranding process, which served as the final punctuation for the company’s 30-year involvement with the Bradley Center and a bittersweet moment for those actively involved in the venue’s entertainment schedule in the city.

(Watch the implosion of the Bradley Center now on WISN-Milwaukee.)

Lemberg served the Bradley Center since its groundbreaking in 1986, having been the electrical contractor for the building of the project, the go-to electrical service and data communications resource, and the installers of several signage projects.

“The teamwork put into a project the size of the Bradley Center was phenomenal,” said Tim Scheid, executive vice president and COO of Lemberg. “We’re honored to have had such a long-standing relationship with the Bradley Center and their facilities management group.” 

Thirty years ago, the Bradley Center, like the Fiserv Forum is today, was just taking shape and a source of employment for tradesmen and women across the region. Built through a gift from Jane Bradley Pettit, the 550,000 square foot venue opened in 1988 and became an iconic landmark in downtown Milwaukee -- home to the Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee Admirals, and Marquette University Golden Eagles basketball; a preferred downtown venue for concerts and large events; and a regular Lemberg customer.

The venue will be demolished this summer to make way for future downtown development around the new, state-of-the-art, 714,000 square foot, Fiserv Forum. As the decommissioning unfolds, Lemberg technicians remember their experiences with the Bradley Center.

Bradley Center launched a construction career

Lemberg Electrical Construction Project Manager and Field Coordinator Ted Cyrs, began his electrical career with Lemberg as a 20-year-old apprentice on the Bradley Center new construction project. It was a big – and very public -- project for a novice. Cyrs says it was an exciting start to his career.

“I take great pride in the work we did in the [BMO Harris Bradley Center]. It’s a great memory to share with my family,” said Cyrs. Recently, he watched his son receive his diploma at the final Marquette University commencement ceremonies to be held in the building this past spring. “It was definitely bittersweet.”

Iconic project, deep memories

Lemberg Electrician Paul Mueller recalls his 24 years with the Bradley Center. “I am probably one of the luckiest guys at Lemberg. I got to meet and work with a lot of great people, including celebrities.,’ he said. “There’s a lot of setting up for each type of concert of event.”

Mueller has seen it all at the Bradley Center, from the inside of Bango’s head to the behind-the-scenes views of concerts, performances, and athletic and political events. Yet, he says his fondest memories are of the people he’s had the opportunity to work with on a regular basis, from facilities to general management.

Technical progression and preparation for the move

“One of the coolest things we’ve had the opportunity to do is install the fiber optic cable and cameras directly above the goal lines for the official score-keeping of the Milwaukee Admirals,” said Ernie Garza, data communications division manager at Lemberg, speaking of the requirements by the American Hockey League to install replay cameras above the goal lines in the 2012-13 season. “It was cool to see the angle on TV and know that we did that work.”

In 2017, Lemberg’s data communication division re-cabled the Bradley Center in preparation for the construction of the Fiserv Forum next door. The media dock was moved from the north side to the west side of the building. A new cabling plan was developed to service the Vyvx video broadcast and communication system that carried the communications, video and audio to produce the final event schedule at the Bradley Center. In May of 2018, Lemberg moved the Vyvx system from the Bradley Center to the new arena.  

Don Hess, data communication technician for Lemberg, commented on his experience servicing the Bradley Center. “Seeing behind the scenes and what it takes to put things together for all the different events was really satisfying,” he said. “The work was often challenging but I enjoyed being part of a historic icon in the city.”

Signs of the Times

Lemberg’s signs and lighting division worked with both the Bradley Center and BMO Harris Bank in the past, having provided sign installation for several bank locations in Wisconsin as well as the installation of the electronic ribbon sign that ran the circumference of the bowl at the Bradley Center. The team also worked on various internal areas of the Bradley Center including the Coors Suite, which featured unique remote-controlled, color-changing lighting that spanned the ceiling above the main bar.

“It’s hard to believe that 30 years have passed since the Bradley Center was first opened,” said John Wachniak, signs and lighting division manager at Lemberg, thinking back to his professional and personal experiences at the arena. “I have been to many Bradley Center events in that time, including the Shine On Celebration in May.”

The Shine On Celebration was a closing fundraiser held in May of 2018 at the Bradley Center honoring Jane Pettit’s donation to the city. The event raised funds for local community groups through a special Pay-it-Forward initiative.

In July, Wachniak’s sign and lighting team pulled the external and internal brand signage from the building, capping off the era of the Bradley Center in Milwaukee and Lemberg’s 30-year service of the venue.

“It’s been a privilege serving the Bradley Center and working with the great people that we had met along the way,” said Wachniak.

Now that the BMO Harris Bradley Center is officially decommissioned, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Marquette University Golden Eagles begin their 2018-19 season in the new Fiserv Forum; the Milwaukee Admirals will play in the UWM Panther Arena; and the entertainment district will continue to evolve.

Lemberg Electric Company, Inc., was founded in 1928 in Milwaukee and serves the southeastern Wisconsin business community in electrical service, sign design and installation, data communications, energy management and electrical construction. The company is located in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Visit us at and find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram.