Newaukeean of the Week

Jeramey Jannene

Yes, Urban Milwaukee's founder is an immigrant to the city. Why he loves it and would like to see improvements.

By - Mar 4th, 2013 01:49 pm
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Jeramey Jannene

Jeramey Jannene

Editor’s Note: Yes, it’s a bit unusual to profile this publication’s founder, but the choices for this weekly feature are made by NEWaukee’s president Ian Abston, and we thought readers would be interested to read this. As always, you can let us know in the comments section. 

How long have you lived in Milwaukee and why did you choose to move here?

I grew up in Janesville and moved here in 2005 to study Management Information Systems at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. I was excited at the notion of moving to a big city, and especially with the prospect of going to college in the heart of it. I graduated no worse for wear in 2009 and have been joyfully self-employed since.

What about Milwaukee makes it a place you want to work and play?

The big city amenities are certainly nice, be it the sheer number of parks, events, bars, restaurants, etc., etc., but with rare exceptions every big city has those. What sets Milwaukee apart is the historic built environment and the willingness of a growing group of people to open doors for you. On the built environment side, we have unique Cream City brick buildings, while cities like Minneapolis and many others demolished nearly everything historic they could find and put in surface parking lots. On the doors opening side, if you’re willing to work hard it’s relatively easy for an entrepreneur to get noticed in Milwaukee. The success of businesses like NEWaukee, ART Milwaukee, and Spreenkler is proof of that.

What is your favorite Milwaukee event?

Bastille Days is easily my favorite. It incorporates just about everything that makes Milwaukee a great city. It’s an ethnic festival (although I can’t remember the last time I’ve met a French Milwaukeean), but it’s not held in the same, isolated place as so many other festivals are. It’s kicked off by a night-time run through the city streets that, up until MJ’s on Milwaukee bar closed, featured an unofficial beer stop (get on that Smoke Shack) as you ran through East Town and the Historic Third Ward.  For the duration of the festival the streets are closed and filled with vendors, and later in the evenings the fun doesn’t stop as the bar-going crowd takes hold. Numerous stages offer nearly non-stop entertainment, and not just the same stuff you see at every street festival. Plus, there is a mini-Eiffel Tower. What’s not to like?

What is one thing you’d like to see change about Milwaukee?

I wish I had a genie in a bottle to fix a number of issues. Most pressing in my opinion is finding a dedicated funding source for mass transit. Most Milwaukeeans are blissfully unaware of the substantial cuts coming to the Milwaukee County Transit System thanks to reductions in state aid that were temporarily replaced with federal funding. When those cuts do come in 2014, they’re going to make a bad issue worse. The Milwaukee region is heavily Balkanized at the county lines. Milwaukee needs a truly regional mass transit system, not only to better connect the city’s most densely populated areas with downtown and each other, but to provide transportation at a reasonable speed for workers in Milwaukee (many of whom lack cars) to jobs in Waukesha County. Infrequent, long bus rides across Milwaukee County that drop riders at the county line aren’t the recipe for success for a region struggling to carve out an identity in the 21st century. People move to places like Portland and Denver without a job because these cities have chosen to invest in themselves, spending on parks and transit and other public infrastructure, and Milwaukee needs to catch up with them.

What do you do?

I’m the founder and President of We’re an online daily that champions urban life in the Cream City. It’s crazy to think how it’s gone from a dorm room idea I had in 2007 to something with thousands of daily visitors. It, however, wouldn’t have happened without the contributions of the two key partners I’ve accumulated along the way, Dave Reid and Bruce Murphy, and support from others too numerous to mention. Dave and I also operate Urban Milwaukee: The Store at 755 N. Milwaukee St. selling Milwaukee merchandise. And because, for better or worse, I can’t sit still, I also do web development work for a number of local businesses.

  • Alex Lasry

    Alex Lasry

    "Marc, Wes, Jamie and the Bucks are determined to help rejuvenate the city."

  • Maurice Thomas

    Maurice Thomas

    "I believe we can change the life outcomes for students in our community..."

  • Sarah Dollhausen

    I have struggled over the years to stay in Milwaukee. With the line of work I am in (youth and community work, running a nonprofit) there are many times I feel hopeless and overwhelmed with the issues we face; unemployment, lack of opportunities for youth, #1 segregated/institutionalized racism, and wanting to explore other opportunities but at the end of the day, this is my home and Milwaukee needs invested individuals to stay here to work through the issues we face.

    "Milwaukee needs invested individuals to stay here to work through the issues we face."

  • Lizzi Weasler

    Kickstart my heart to Harley Davidson Fest... Seeing all of Milwaukee turn into a sea of leather fringe and bedazzled back pocket jeans warms any fashion girl’s heart.

    "The best bonus of Harley Fest is being sung to sleep by thousands of motorcycles revving their engines throughout the streets of good ol’ Miltown."

  • Jonathan Brostoff

    Without a doubt, some big investors are betting on Milwaukee's future, and as a resident of this city, I naturally think they're very wise to do so and would encourage more to follow suit. This sort of growth can have very positive effects on our community, so long as we’re planning in a way that enhances the city as a whole.

    "Without a doubt, some big investors are betting on Milwaukee’s future..."

  • Matt Dorner

    I have lived in Milwaukee for nearly a decade. Since the first time I visited the city with my parents for a Brewers game at County Stadium, I felt a connection to the urban setting. I always felt at some point Milwaukee would be my home.

    "Milwaukee is truly a city on the rise..."

3 thoughts on “Newaukeean of the Week: Jeramey Jannene”

  1. Jeff Jordan says:

    Jeramey Dave and so many others that I’ve meet in my nine years in the city, is a transplant. People that move here seem to get Milwaukee better than many lifelong residents.
    Even though I am easily three times older than Jeramey, I aspire to be just like him when I grow up.

  2. Keith Redington says:

    Nothing unusual about this selection at all! Thank you Jeramey and Urban Milwaukee for keeping me caught up on the inner workings of this city. I rely on the Urban Milwaukee Daily for news in and about Milwaukee.

  3. Wait, your favorite event is not BarCampMilwaukee!?

    I have failed…

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