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Executive Profile: Brad Hutter, Mortenson Investment Group, LLC

Photo by Eric Tadsen

As a teenager in Sauk Prairie, Wis., Brad Hutter was not only proud to be a bagger at the local Piggly Wiggly, he relished in it. "I was really good!" he smiled. "I was faster than everyone else, great at fitting items into bags in a methodical order and not smashing bread." More importantly, he learned from the experience. "It was the job that taught me that every job can be done well, or badly. Even the most mundane jobs have complexities."

Hutter, 42, the president and owner of Mortenson Investment Group, LLC (MIG), is a man of varied interests and identities. Ask him for his business card, for example, and you may get seven. There's the card from MIG, an Investor card from the new Bonfyre American Grille, a Board of Directors card from Gaming Informatics, LLC, and the list goes on.

And that's exactly how he likes it.

"As a kid," Hutter said, "I never felt that I was going to be locked in to a profession. I just wanted to be comfortable with who I was. So am I in commercial real estate? Restaurants? Software? Real estate? Insurance? Private equity? Those are things people do. But I'm someone you don't really know unless you spend time with me."

On paper, Hutter also serves as the president and owner of Mortenson Brokerage Group, LLC, and Mortenson Equity Group, LLC. He is the executive director and owner of the Mortenson Family Foundation, and is an owner (full or in part) of the new Bonfyre American Grille, Gaming Informatics, LLC, Ideal Builders, Inc., and Food Concepts, Inc. He also serves on numerous community boards and works with many area organizations.

In person, he is leading MIG full-bore through the recession. "Withdrawing and detaching from the current economy, to me, is a bad idea," he explained, saying the company has been busily identifying opportunities.

"Whether that's land acquisition, investments in other companies, reinvestment in current holdings, or even investing in nonprofits that we believe will be critical in the future but may need help now." Since the recession began, MIG has added a realty group and "made other moves" in preparation for the next economic turnaround.

Hutter graduated from the UW in 1991, then earned a law degree from Wake Forest in 1994. He returned to the area shortly after, set up a Sauk County law practice, and married Joelle Mortenson, daughter of Loren Mortenson (who owned MIG at the time) in 1996. Hutter joined MIG full-time in 1997, and 11 years later, he and his wife purchased the company.

Hutter wears many hats — including that of husband and father to two young girls — and is rarely idle. He is as likely to fill his day overseeing business as he is to cap each night composing at his Clavinova (digital keyboard). An accomplished pianist, Hutter is really an actor and singer at heart, frequently leading the downtown Rotary in song, sometimes even in costume.

Though his favorite high school musical role was that of Harold Hill in The Music Man, Hutter admits that playing the part of the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera would be a dream come true.

What's one more business card, after all?

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