"I remember when downtown Milwaukee didn't exist. Buildings such as the Calatrava and University Tower are creating a unique skyline."
What is your job and its responsibilities?
I am a Portfolio Manager at Northwestern Mutual in the Wealth Management Company. I’ve been with Northwestern Mutual for seven years and five months. My team and I (11 total people) are responsible for managing $1.7 billion in discretionary assets for clients all around the country. In addition, we help our financial representatives, located all across the country, with attracting and adding new clients. I’ve been managing assets since I graduated from Marquette University 15 years ago.
In addition to my day job, I am also the Chair of NML’s first Hispanic Employee Resource Group. Since the Hispanic ERG was first chartered in March 2013, it has grown to 400 members which is almost eight percent of NM’s home office employee base (in downtown Milwaukee and Franklin). The Hispanic ERG’s mission is to use our talents and unique perspective to make a positive and impactful difference on our business, our members and our community. Our members frequently volunteer in the community by partnering with great organizations such as the United Community Center and Notre Dame Middle School. The ERG has also been helping the company go after the Hispanic consumer by reviewing translated materials and being a part of focus groups.
How long have you lived in Milwaukee & what brought you here?
I have been living in Milwaukee for nine years, the last six years in a condo I purchased on the corner of Marshall Street and Brady Street. I attended Marquette University from 1995 to 1999, and after graduation I moved back home to Kenosha, WI to take care of my mom and, at the time, six-year-old sister. My first job after graduation was with Firstar Bank’s investment department, FIRMCO, which was located downtown in the US Bank tower. I continued to work in Milwaukee while living in Kenosha and commuted for 6 years — 80 miles round trip!
Shortly after my mother passed away in May 2006 and after finding a family member in Kenosha to care for my sister, I moved to Milwaukee. With property prices at elevated levels, I rented an apartment at Trostel Square on the west bank of the Milwaukee River. After three years of renting, I came across a great opportunity to purchase a brand new condo on the east side of the river. By this time, I had started working at NM and now my commute is one mile from my front door to the 611 building on East Wisconsin Avenue!
What have you seen in other cities that you’d like to see in Milwaukee?
I would really like to see a subway/train system like in Chicago and New York.
Riverwest Stein made by Lakefront Brewery is one of my favorite beers and so is their seasonal Oktoberfest Lager.
What is your favorite Milwaukee tradition?
I love the different festivals such as Mexican Fiesta, Irish Fest and Bastille Days. I’ve stormed the Bastille for several years. NM’s Annual Meeting, when we bring our field force and their families to Milwaukee, is also a great tradition that occurs in the city. For a few days it seems like everyone in Milwaukee works for NM. And we have a race, called Roots & Wings, which I’ve run every year since being at NM.
What strikes you as the most unique thing about Milwaukee?
How the city has evolved in the almost 20 years that I have been a part of Milwaukee – going to school here, working here, living here and playing here. I remember when downtown Milwaukee didn’t exist. The city has been willing to grow and it has seen residents, businesses and tourism return back to downtown. Buildings such as the Calatrava, Kilbourn Tower, University Tower and soon our very own Tower & Commons are creating such a beautiful and unique skyline on the shores of Lake Michigan. Our new Tower & Commons will not only make Milwaukee’s skyline even better, but it will also open our company up to the city and bring new jobs to downtown. The 32-story tower will be the second tallest building in Wisconsin and will give NM capacity to add almost 2,000 new employees. This in turn will bring more businesses and investments downtown.
With all of this growth it will be critical for NM to secure a parking structure such as O’Donnell Park. Living on the East Side, I know how important parking is for a business so I would love to see NM purchase O’Donnell Park. Since I walk to work or take the 30 bus, I would not be parking in O’Donnell, but I would like to see that structure cleaned up and improved to make Downtown even more aesthetically pleasing. Bringing O’Donnell Park into the 21 century would help with Milwaukee’s evolution into one of the country’s best cities to work, live and play.