"Five years from now, Milwaukee will have a state of the art facility for the Milwaukee Bucks just north of the current Bradley Center."
What is your job and its responsibilities?
I’m a sports anchor, reporter, and sports talk-show host at 620 WTMJ. I’m also the host of the Packers official post-game show on their 53-station radio network, and TV sports anchor for Today’s TMJ-4. I try to be an engaging, thought-provoking, story-teller who uses sports as my canvas. I’m in the locker rooms, in the dugout, at the games, and on a radio or television near you.
Was there a point where you decided this was the city you wanted to live in?
Back in 2004 I was chosen as a contestant for ESPN’s reality TV show, Beg, Borrow & Deal 2. As part of the pre-show process, I was flown to Miami along with 15 other finalists. Most of the other finalists were from California, and none were from the midwest. Over the course of the three days, I realized a tremendous sense of pride explaining to the group all of the things that make Milwaukee special. From Summerfest, to Veteran’s Park, the art scene, music scene, restaurant scene… the list goes on. Sometimes you don’t realize how much you appreciate your hometown until you step away from it. That is when I realized I wanted to stay in Milwaukee.
What is the perfect thing to do in Milwaukee on a Sunday afternoon?
Sundays in the summer are my favorite days. I’ll catch a bite to eat and an iced chai at Colectivo… walk the dog over to Veteran’s Park to play… maybe rent kayaks with my wife and paddle down to the Milwaukee Ale House to fill up a growler… maybe finish the day off with a slice of pizza from Ian’s (on Juneau… not Abston’s house) or catch a show at the Pabst. In Milwaukee, one can accomplish all of the above without traveling too far or breaking the bank.
The European Homemade Sausage Shop is unbelievable and classic-Milwaukee. The shop has been owned and managed by 77-year old Polish immigrant, Frank Jakubczak and his family since 1973. THIS is the kind of place that makes Milwaukee special. The aroma is incredible, and the quality of his wide variety of fresh and smoked sausages is out of this world. If I remember correctly, Frank tried to close up shop in 2009, but the demand to remain open was overwhelming. You must visit this place, but you can only do so Thursday, Friday, or Saturday of a given week.
What have you seen in other cities that you’d like to see in Milwaukee?
Aggressiveness and willingness to take a calculated risk. A common thought among those in the metro-Milwaukee area (especially the 30-something crowd) is that the city moves too slow and would be better served with more progressive thought. I believe, over the past decade, the city has begun to shed this label and has done a tremendous job appealing to young professionals. If Milwaukee wishes for the continued urbanization of millennials, the demands of this highly influential generation will need to be met. Warp speed is not the way to run a city, but neither is snail pace – millennials will only wait so long.
Where do you see Milwaukee in five years?
Five years from now, Milwaukee will have a state of the art facility for the Milwaukee Bucks just north of the current Bradley Center. I envision the arena being the centerpiece of a district complete with retail, hotel, shopping, restaurants and residential living. In addition, five years from now, we will all be encouraged by what we are seeing with the space currently occupied by the Grand Avenue Mall. Today, Grand Avenue is the subject of jokes and ridicule. Five years from now, the vision of what the mall could be will come to light. The sports, arts, and restaurant scene will remain vibrant, and – in the midst of global warming – we’ll continue to be frustrated with winter parking regulations.