Ben attended his first Warehouse show in 1992 and never really left. In the 23 years since, he has made lifelong friends and incredible music industry connections. Along the way he lost many of those same music industry friends to alcoholism, suicide, and drug overdose, and the Warehouse Alliance’s mission to provide a substance free venue for music lovers and artists of all ages became more important to him than ever.
Between awareness and fundraising campaigns and his duties as a board member, Ben can be seen enjoying Warehouse performances of all genres and occasionally onstage with his internationally known, locally famous electronic group Sweat Boys, sometimes singing duets with his wife Jen. Ben also travels quite frequently to see musical performances in Minneapolis and Chicago. If he is not at the Warehouse, or watching bands somewhere else, or performing with his band, you can usually find Ben in his home studio, crafting synth-pop that could possibly bring back the days of New Wave.
Mara Schmidt was born and raised in La Crosse, Wisconsin and has been involved in minor musical endeavors throughout her life but never flourished musically. Luckily, the performing side of things never held much interest for her. Now, Mara can be seen at a small handful of Warehouse shows, helping out at the door or behind the bar, wherever she is needed. Primarily, she focuses on information technology and its implementation within the venue, financial workflow, and coordination of events and organization as a member of the board of directors for the Warehouse Alliance.
Outside of her volunteer position as a jack-of-all-trades at the Warehouse, Mara is an optometric technician at Robeson Family Vision Center in Winona, Minnesota. She also enjoys yardkeeping/gardening, sewing, concerts, Ingress, and traveling, time-permitting.
William (but call him Bill) is a veteran of the La Crosse music scene, although he has been away from it for some 8 years.
He returned to the La Crosse stage performing this past summer during the “Woodstock” set at the Moon Tunes event in La Crosse’s Riverside Park, and travels to La Crosse as often as possible to jam with friends.
Bill has a storied history with the La Crosse music scene, a complicated tale typical in La Crosse: a downward spiral, and through hard work, a fantastic climb back up with no looking back except to set an example.
Father of 5, Bill lives in Madison and works as an insurance services specialist at Bankers Life and Casualty, splitting time between Madison and La Crosse to service 17 years worth of clients in Western and Central Wisconsin. Bill is proving to be an invaluable asset to the business-to-business fundraising efforts of Warehouse Alliance because of his passion for the services we provide to the region.
Nicole Larson brings her organizational skills to Warehouse Alliance. No stranger to non-profit operations, Nicole’s “real” job is working for another non-profit: The Hunger Task Force of La Crosse! She enjoys watching the Packers, traveling, and spreadsheets. She really loves spreadsheets.
After years of touring the US with his band, and then with a sound company, Steve started the Warehouse with 4 partners in 1991. Those partners eventually left, and he spent the next 20 years putting all of the venue earnings back into maintenance of the building and operation costs of the venue.
In 2013, when the earnings could not keep up with the expenses, several former “Warehouse Kids” came to him with the plan to turn the venue into a non-profit, thereby keeping available the services the Warehouse provided. Harm agreed and gave the 23 years of work away, becoming an unpaid volunteer and a Board Member in order to keep the venue operating.
Steve handles booking, poster design, live sound mixing, stage managing, some public relations, as well as working with other 501c3 organizations. He generally puts in about 16-20 hours/day, 7 days a week, volunteering at the venue.
Although most of his education in concert production and venue operation came from years of touring experience followed by 20 years of venue development, Harm also holds a Certificate in Non-Profit Leadership Development from Viterbo University in La Crosse.