ABC of Wisconsin Names Two New Directors to the Association Team

Madison, May 28 2024 —  Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Wisconsin announces the promotion of Michael McDonald to Apprenticeship Director and the hire of Laura Kocum to Marketing and Communications Director.  Both roles were filled after their predecessors, Leigh Emrick and Kyle Schwarm retired.

Michael started with ABC of Wisconsin in 2015 as an apprenticeship manager. Over the years, he has worked with apprentices in the Fox Valley, Green Bay, and La Crosse regions. He has also been involved in planning events, spearheading apprenticeship initiatives, and cooperating with state and college partners on apprenticeship program development and oversight. He is excited to continue working with apprentices, employers, and partners in this new role.

“I have a passion for seeing apprentices succeed and bring highly-needed skills into Wisconsin’s workforce. We have a strong team of apprenticeship managers and excellent partnerships throughout the state. I’m excited to continue the work of this program, and support Wisconsin’s construction industry,” said McDonald.

“ABC of Wisconsin is proud of our apprenticeship program. It’s grown to be the largest in the state,” remarked John Mielke, President of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin. “Michael brings nearly a decade of experience with this program, and I know it will remain strong under his leadership.”

In addition, Laura Kocum was hired as the new Marketing and Communications Director. Laura brings more than twenty years of experience as a writer, reporter, association manager and executive director. She spent the last seven years working at a bipartisan public affairs firm in Madison, where she managed associations, communications and legislative initiatives.

“Laura brings a diverse skillset that will be a strong match for ABC’s communications and marketing work. We are pleased to have her as an advocate for our members, and look forward to her highlighting our members’ important roles in building Wisconsin’s businesses and infrastructure,” said Mielke.

 “ABC of Wisconsin does a fantastic job advocating for the thousands of merit shop builders and contractors in Wisconsin, Kocum said.  “I am proud to join the team and raise awareness of our members’ efforts to provide stable, family-sustaining jobs, excellence in construction and open competition for projects across our state.

Both roles are filled effective immediately.



Established in 1950, Associated Builders and Contractors is a national construction industry trade association that represents more than 21,000 members. The ABC Apprenticeship program has more than 2,000 active apprentices in 12 different skilled trades utilizing 13 different technical colleges. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 69 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. The Wisconsin Chapter, based out of Madison, is among the largest in the country with nearly 1,000 member companies. Learn more at

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