UWRF alumnus, business partners get to ring Nasdaq’s closing bell

Posted October 3, 2016

UW-River Falls alumnus Tim Schneider earned national exposure for his company last month when he and his colleagues got to ring the closing bell on the Nasdaq stock exchange in Times Square.

Schneider, who graduated from UWRF in the fall of 1988 with a business administration degree, is now the CEO of Investors Community Bank in Manitowoc in eastern Wisconsin. He and three other business partners founded County Bancorp Inc., the parent company of the bank, in 1997. Schneider said that after years of success financing the Wisconsin agriculture industry, they decided to bring the company public, resulting in this opportunity at Nasdaq.

“This opportunity is a product of the fact that we took the company public back in January of 2015,” Schneider said. “We’d been attempting to find a time closer to then, but it’s a high demand opportunity you know, there’s an opening and closing bell, so when we finally found a date that worked, where we could take our executives and board of directors out there, it was a really cool experience.”

According to the Nasdaq website, the closing bell ceremony serves as “a platform to generate exposure for your company, make a news announcement, or celebrate a corporate milestone.” Companies are afforded an hour of advertisement before the ceremony at the stock exchange, and it is televised on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and Fox Business News, reaching millions of viewers.

“The actual button is on a large computer monitor,” Schneider said. “There’s a countdown, and they told us we had to be prepared for all four of us, the founders, to touch the button at the same time. My guess is it’s more symbolic than anything, you know, it’s always set to go off at 4 p.m. Eastern time, but it was a cool experience for sure.”

It was great exposure for the newly public company. Investors Community Bank is dedicated to the agricultural industry of Wisconsin, but is also business focused, and does a lot of commercial lending, too. Schneider said the company will hopefully expand even more with this new marketplace.

“By trading on Nasdaq we got acquisition opportunities, so we’re working on that, too,” he said. “We’re looking to grow both organically and through other acquisitions.”

County Bancorp Inc. is traded on Nasdaq under ticker symbol ICBK.

Schneider has been back to campus a few times in the past two years, as his daughter attends UW-River Falls. He said that he has many fond memories of his time in River Falls, and was prepared for his career after graduating.

“I went to UWRF intending to pursue business, but I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to get involved in,” Schneider said. “I later on determined I wanted to pursue more broad business, so that’s how I came to administration and management.”

Schneider was recruited to UWRF to play basketball, but appreciated the small-town atmosphere, too, since he had grown up in small town. He was a two-sport athlete, and the football coach quickly recruited him to come out for the team the fall of his sophomore year. He said that was his main involvement at UWRF outside of academics.

“I have several fond memories of River Falls,” Schneider said. “The motivation for me to go there was that I graduated from a school in a tiny little town called Hilbert, Wisconsin, a graduating class of 65. I felt that River Falls was comfortable, I liked the small-town setting.”

Though he now brushes shoulders with Wall Street executives in New York, he still appreciates the rural, close campus environment that UWRF has.

“It’s very friendly, with good people and instructors,” Schneider said. “It was a great fit for me. It still feels quite the same. There have obviously been a lot of updates, but it’s nice that it hasn’t changed too much. I still felt that same kinda atmosphere.”