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Honoree Headshot

Mike Tenpas

CEO
UFS

Location: Ozaukee County, WI
Founded: 1991
Industry: Financial Technology

Mike Tenpas is CEO of a financial technology company, where data and technological upgrades and infrastructure are paramount. But he is clear in his belief that tech takes a back seat to what’s most important: people.

“It’s all about people,” he said. “Even in a world of technology, it’s the people that make the difference. Everything should point to the people and everyone should understand their connection to the purpose of the organization. People thrive together organizationally when connected to the same purpose.”

In 1991, three community bankers collaborated to create UFS — a technology outfitter for community financial institutions — so that community financial institutions could compete with larger national financial institutions. By 2011, the company served 10% of Wisconsin’s community financial institutions.

Tenpas came to UFS in 2011 as a result of the company seeking a CEO succession plan that would focus on continuing its strong reputation and accelerate the company’s adoption of technology to meet the changing needs of its customers. Tenpas designed a new executive team, implemented a leadership development program, completed a strategic acquisition in 2013, built an updated data center, invested in a full technology infrastructure rebuild and put the company on a sustainable growth plan.

Since Tenpas joined UFS, the company has nearly tripled in size. UFS has partnerships with customers in eight states, touching nearly one million customers who count on a community financial institution. He has led the launch of new products and services within the managed IT services space.

“The vision Mike has brought throughout his tenure at UFS is inspirational,” his team said. “His deep sense of purpose is evident in everything he does. You can see it in the robust and collaborative team he has built and in the thoughtful culture he has cultivated to engage and empower employees and in the outward mindset embodied in the way UFS interacts with its customers.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel named UFS a Top Workplace for three years running. Tenpas has invested in leader development programs, with more than 50 associates completing a year-long internal leader development program, and nearly all associates participating in personal and professional training and development activities each year.

Tenpas is a frequent speaker at banking association and trade events. He serves as a member of the UFS board of directors and the Bankers Bank board of directors.

“Relevance, influence and being looked to as a leader generally come as a result of strong performance, and strong performance comes as a result of great people doing great work together,” Tenpas said. “Our focus will remain on empowering our people and our customers in an effort to enable all of us to thrive together.”

Presented by:

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Honoree Fun fact

Mike grew up on a dairy farm in central Wisconsin…about as far away from technology as one could get. The party line telephone his family had when he was a kid is about as close of a tech encounter as he can recall. Quite an interesting background for a technology leader!

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