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Alumni Spotlights

Peter Olesen

Peter Olesen

BBA '09

Vice president of strategic development, O&H Bakery
Racine, Wisconsin


Region: Midwest

Peter Olesen finds sweet success in the family business

Peter Olesen (BBA ’09) always knew he could make a lot of dough when he grew up. Layers and layers of it, in fact, sometimes filled with pecans, cherries, or cream cheese.

Peter is vice president of strategic development at O&H Danish Bakery, which is nationally known for its signature item, kringle. The fourth-generation business was founded by Olesen’s great-grandfather in Racine, Wisconsin, where O&H is still based and growing.

“We’ve been good about teaching our team members how to bake,” he says. “Now we are teaching them how to lead and to build a strong company.”

Generations of Olesen’s family created a beloved company that had regional success. Then the emergence of e-commerce, social media, and foodie culture created demand for unique products, and Olesen has helped the company meet a demand that became national. The bakery has been featured in national media, and busloads of tourists show up to shop there.

At WSB, Olesen majored in finance and real estate and considered a real estate investing career. He began his career as a consultant for Blue Stone International in Chicago. The kringle was always calling, though, and in 2012 when an uncle retired, Olesen came home.

His real estate and finance background has been instrumental in helping to lead the company’s growth and strategy as its popularity grows.

Olesen’s is a particular kind of sweet success—creating success for a family business that helps people celebrate and savor life’s special moments.

“I can’t imagine not doing that. It’s in my blood.”

Read Peter’s profile in Update magazine’s 8 to Watch feature.

Learn about the Wisconsin Undergraduate Program.