Robe Arrives At Wis. Agency

Karl Robe, who has joined Scheibel Halaska in Milwaukee as the shop’s first public relations manager, figures there are some advantages to being a golf nut from Wisconsin.

“I’ve come to accept the fact that I’d probably be a good British Open player,” Robe said. “I play through some pretty extreme conditions up here.”

Robe, 34, was hired to expand the 12-person business-to-business shop’s public relations practice, said principal Mary Scheibel. She added that public relations leadership had been spread among several executives, including herself and vp of client relations Mike Stefaniak.

“What we have found is that public relations has been growing in our client interests,” Scheibel said. “That was really the driver [behind hiring Robe].”

Robe has been operating his own public relations consultancy for the past four years, working for clients that include local utilities. A Milwaukee native, Robe graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee with a degree in journalism, then worked at local papers and freelanced for publications such as Baseball Weekly.

“I enjoy writing quite a bit,” he said, but he added that public relations offered “more stability for my family.”

Scheibel Halaska’s clients include Briggs & Stratton and the Milwaukee County Zoo. No staffers will report to Robe directly at the $6 million shop, but several with public relations expertise will work with him as called upon.

Before striking out on his own, Robe spent three years at the Milwaukee-based Alliance for Families and Children, where he dealt with public-policy issues. His work often took him to Washington, where he found the similarity of his name to presidential political advisor Karl Rove cut both ways.

“How people reacted depends on whether they were Democrats or Republicans,” he said.