Cory L. Nettles, Of Counsel


Cory Nettles is Of Counsel in the Business Law and Government Relations Groups. He served as Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle's Secretary of the Department of Commerce. As Secretary of Commerce, Nettles was Governor Doyle's "point man" on business and economic development for the State of Wisconsin. Cory managed a wide range of issues for Governor Doyle, including negotiating a $500 million venture capital package, banking and commercial lending legislation, and regulatory reform legislation.

At the Department of Commerce, Nettles managed one of the State's largest agencies, with 450 employees and an annual budget in excess of $225 million. Under Nettles's leadership, the department invested $280 million in businesses and communities in Wisconsin, which leveraged an additional $1.4 billion dollars in private investment, and which created or retained more than 70,000 jobs. Nettles also was a principal architect of Governor Doyle's "Grow Wisconsin" plan, a comprehensive strategy for investing more than $1 billion in Wisconsin's economy.

Nettles has experience in a wide range of matters, including private equity and venture capital investing, mergers and acquisitions, tax incremental financing, affordable housing, and diversity related matters such as the development of minority- and women-owned businesses and suppliers.

Nettles also has worked closely with city and county municipal leaders on community and economic development matters across the state.

Legal Services

Education and Honors

  • University of Wisconsin Law School (J.D., 1996)
    • LEO Fellow; Dean's List; Ethel Brown Award
    • Mathys Memorial Award for Appellate Advocacy
    • Abe Sigman Award for Scholarship and Character
    • North Milwaukee State Bank Trail Blazer Award; Alpha Kappa Alpha Connection 2003 Trail Blazer Award
  • Lawrence University (B.A., magna cum laude, 1992)
    • Thomas J. Watson Fellow, 1992-1993 (postgraduate research in Africa and the former Soviet Union)

Bar Admissions

  • Wisconsin

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin, 1996
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, 1996

Professional and Civic Activities

  • Generation Growth Capital, Inc. (Founder, Managing Director)
    • GGC is a Milwaukee-based private equity fund. It does buyouts and provides growth capital to small businesses and lower-middle market companies
  • Associated Banc-Corp (Board Member)
  • The Private Bank (Former Advisory Board Member)
  • Weyco Group, Inc. (Audit Committee, Corporate Governance, Compensation Committee, and Executive Committee)
  • Lawrence University (Trustee)
  • Robert W. Baird's Baird Mutual Funds, Inc. (Director)
  • Robert W. Baird's Baird Private Equity (Former Advisory Board)
  • Medical College of Wisconsin, Inc. (Trustee)
  • University of Wisconsin Foundation (Director)
  • Boys & Girls Clubs, Inc. (Trustee)
  • United Way of Greater Wisconsin (Director)
  • Partners Advancing Values in Education - (PAVE) (Chair)
  • Wisconsin Partnership for Housing Development (Director; Chair of Finance Committee)
  • Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (Board of Directors)

Professional Recognition

  • Inducted into Milwaukee Business Journal's 2015 40 Under 40 Hall of Fame (Inaugural Class)
  • Recognized as Most Influential African American in Wisconsin
  • Annabell Cook Whitcomb Award, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, May 2011
  • Distinguished Corporate Man of the Year Award, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, April 2011
  • Selected for inclusion in Wisconsin Super Lawyers® -Rising Stars Edition 2007 (Government Relations)
  • Received an award from St. Francis Children's Center
  • "2009 Business Hall of Fame Peak Performer Award" from Junior Achievement
  • Inducted into Milwaukee Business Journal's 2015 40 Under 40 Hall of Fame