Chris Abele

Christopher Seton Abele (born January 28, 1967) is an American businessman and Democratic Party politician. He is the current Milwaukee County Executive.[1][2] Abele is the son of American businessman John Abele, the co-founder of Boston Scientific.[3] Abele serves as a trustee of the Argosy Foundation, a charitable trust established with an endowment from his father.

Chris Abele
6th Executive of Milwaukee County
Assumed office
April 25, 2011
Preceded byScott Walker
Personal details
Christopher Seton Abele

(1967-01-28) January 28, 1967
Concord, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Jennifer Gonda
ParentsJohn Abele
Mary Abele
ResidenceMilwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
OccupationMilwaukee County Executive, Trustee of Argosy Foundation, investor, politician

Business career

In 1996, Abele, with Chris Kerr, founded SteriLogic Waste Systems, which serves hospitals and medical clinics in managing sharps waste. Abele served as CEO of SteriLogic from 1996–2004. In 2004, Abele became Chairman of the company to devote more time to philanthropic efforts.[4] In 2006, SteriLogic merged with Medsolutions and in 2007, Kerr and Abele sold the majority of SteriLogic to Stericycle. The remainder of SteriLogic was restructured the remainder as Oxus Environmental.

In 2001, Abele and his business partner Steve Mech founded CSA Commercial, a Milwaukee-based real estate and development company.[5]

Prior to his election as Milwaukee County Executive, Abele served as CEO of the Argosy Foundation. In 2011, Abele stepped down as CEO and was replaced by his sister, Jeneye. Abele remains a trustee of the foundation. [6]

Abele invested $10 million into a venture fund, CSA Partners LLC,[7] for Milwaukee start-ups. The LLC was formed with Brian Taffora and Pat Farley. They invested into gener8tor's Fund II and opened Ward 4 (Milwaukee, WI startup accelerator space) in remodelled space inside the former John Pritzlaff Hardware Company Building.[8][9]

2011 Milwaukee County Executive race

On January 4, 2011, Abele formally announced that he entered the race for Milwaukee County Executive.[10] Abele and Stone received the most votes and advanced on to a run-off election that was held on April 5, 2011.[11] On April 6, 2011, Abele defeated Republican challenger Jeff Stone, and was sworn in on April 21, 2011.[12][13]

Issue positions

Ideology and party affiliation

Abele contributed primarily to Democratic campaigns and the Democratic Party.[14] Formerly, Abele served on a number of finance committees. This included the 2002 campaign for former Governor Jim Doyle, where he helped with John Kerry's presidential fundraising, and donated to Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.[14] The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Daniel Bice reported that Abele donated to the campaigns of Republican state legislators including Joe Sanfelippo and Dale Kooyenga, both of whom have played roles in the passage of bills that have increased Abele's power as Milwaukee County executive.[15]


On February 12, 2011, Abele received the endorsement of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which stated "Chris Abele's leadership on nonprofit boards, his experience running two family companies and his skill managing the Argosy Foundation make him a solid choice for county executive",[16] and "Abele has the right experience and the right vision. Abele could be a game-changer".[16] On April 2, 2011, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel once again endorsed Abele over Jeff Stone, stating "Milwaukee County needs transformative change. One candidate provides the better chance to accomplish that."[17]

Milwaukee County Executive

Abele took the oath of office to become Milwaukee County Executive on April 25, 2011, succeeding Scott Walker.

On June 9, 2011, citing concerns about budget cuts at the state level, Abele indicated his opposition to a planned $775,000 investment in public art at the Milwaukee County Courthouse. A year later, in June 2012, Abele signed a resolution placing the public art program on "hiatus" and authorizing use of the program's $500,000 in accumulated funds toward deferred maintenance instead of artwork.[18]

On June 10, 2011 he announced his intention to provide health care coverage to domestic partners of Milwaukee County employees. This was approved by the County Board on July 28, 2011, and signed into law by Abele on August 3, 2011.

Personal life

Abele grew up in Concord, Massachusetts, but after attending college at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin from 1991–95, he decided to stay in Milwaukee.[19][20]

He is previously divorced and has three children.[21] He was included in the Milwaukee Business Journal "40 under 40" and "Power Broker" lists in 2000 and 2010, respectively.[22][23]

He is a member of the Board of Governors for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Inc., a Trustee for Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design Inc, and the Chairman for Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.[24]

Electoral history

2011 Milwaukee County Executive General Election (special election)
Non-partisan election
Candidate Votes %
Chris Abele 134,848 60.53
Jeff Stone 87,913 39.47
2016 Milwaukee County Executive General Election
Non-partisan election
Candidate Votes %
Chris Abele 156,509 55.55
Chris Larson 125,240 44.45


  1. Craver, Jack (July 15, 2013). "Chris Abele: The Democratic candidate who could have been". The Capital Times. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  2. Stein, Jason (October 11, 2015). "Chris Larson to announce challenge of Chris Abele on Monday". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  3. "Foundation moving to Milwaukee : Chris Abele to head family's philanthropy". Retrieved 2017-08-09.
  4. "". Archived from the original on 2011-04-01. Retrieved 2017-08-09.
  5. "Real estate executive's projects have civic impact in mind". Retrieved 2017-08-09.
  6. Argosy Foundation. "Argosy Foundation 2011 Annual Report" (PDF). Argosy Foundation. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 23, 2015. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  7. Gallagher, Kathleen. "Chris Abele's money at work in venture fund". Journal Sentinel, Inc. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  8. Kirgues, Joe. "Milwaukee's Next Step Forward". Journal Media Group. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  9. Bauter, Allison (May 31, 2015). "First look: Ward 4 startup accelerator space opens Monday". Milwaukee Business Journal. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  10. "YouTube".
  11. "Five candidates file for county executive". Retrieved 2017-08-09.
  12. "Abele defeats Stone for Milwaukee County executive". Retrieved 2017-08-09.
  13. Wenzel, Patti. "UPDATED: Final precinct in, Kloppenburg maintains 204 vote lead; Abele wins Milwaukee County". Urban Milwaukee. Retrieved 2017-08-09.
  14. "Abele cutting checks for Republican candidates". Retrieved 2017-08-09.
  15. "Abele has vision, drive to lead county forward". Retrieved 2017-08-09.
  16. "Abele a better bet for change". Retrieved 2017-08-09.
  17. Schultze, Steve (10 June 2012). "Milwaukee County halts public art program". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
  18. "Jeff Stone says Chris Abele, opponent in Milwaukee County executive race, dropped out of three separate colleges". Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  19. Robertson, Campbell (2007-09-24). "Royal Shakespeare Company - Chris Abele - Theater". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  20. Bice, Daniel (January 20, 2015). "Chris Abele, wife to divorce soon". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  21. Milwaukee Business Journal: 40 under 40,, February 15, 2010.
  22. "Who Are Milwaukee's Power Brokers". Retrieved 2017-08-09.
  23. "Chris Abele: Executive Profile & Biography". Retrieved 2016-03-28.
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