NEWaukeean of the Week

Liam Ortega

"Such diverse culture, museums, and the food -- it keeps my belly very happy."

By - Oct 14th, 2013 01:21 pm


Liam Ortega

Liam Ortega

What is your job and its responsibilities?
US Speedskating Olympic Hopeful and Ambassador/founder of Driven to Move:
*Arrive at the Pettit National ice center at 6 or 7am for ice/dryland. Training for racing.
*Driven to Move and other non-profits: work with kids, share my story about pursuing an active, healthy life and doing your very best in pursuit of your goals.

How long have you lived in Milwaukee and what brought you here?
I first visited Milwaukee in 2002 for Short Track age group nationals and North American Championships in the midst of the Dwayne Wade Era at Marquette, and fell in love with the spirit of Milwaukee and Marquette then. I moved to Milwaukee in 2003 to attend Marquette University and do speed skating.

Was there a point where you decided this was the city you wanted to live in?
After I graduated in 2007 from Marquette University, I made the US national speed skating team and moved to Salt Lake City, UT. Coming back to Milwaukee for camps and competitions, I decided I wanted to move back in 2012 after taking a year off from skating. I realized there was no other place I’d rather skate and live life.

What makes Milwaukee a good place to live?
It’s a small-town, big city. Warm community. Great environment for an active life. There is ALWAYS something going on from the festivals to concerts to sporting events! Such diverse culture, museums, and the food…the food keeps my belly very, very happy.

How would you rate Milwaukee as a place to work and do business?
GROWING! The entrepreneur spirit is strong within Milwaukee, while at the same time being a very hard-working culture with the factories throughout city being the trademark…BREW city. Milwaukee is also the home to numerous Fortune 500 companies’ headquarters. Then the festivals and lakes create a substantial tourism flux and the proximity to Chicago results in a lot of people making the commute to the “small-town” of Milwaukee and many maintaining residence.

How does it compare to other cities you’ve lived in or visited?
Every city has their own charms. I grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska, the winters are cold, the aurora is gorgeous, the midnight sun has it’s own magic, and I LOVE winter with the chance to be in the mountains and skiing as early as the first week of October. Milwaukee is filled with people that remind me of my friends in Alaska and I love that. It has the city life I wondered about at a young age and “action” that draws you from home in the first place. I discovered the outdoors here and the single track mountain biking at Kettle Moraine is a whole lot of fun, and the road rides out into the country, skiing/running at Lapham peak, and the fishing gives me the same connection with nature I grew up with. Then there is this gorgeous place called the Pettit Ice Center which I was drawn to in the first place and still am today.

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