"This city is on the rise where many others have peaked!"
How long have you lived in Milwaukee and what brought you here?
I moved back to Milwaukee about nine months ago. I was born and raised in Milwaukee but left directly after high school to attend school and play football at Vanderbilt University. Post undergrad I spent the next decade living all over the world and the US. I moved back to Wisconsin in 2012 (Madison) and that’s where Bankmybiz.com was born. Last month we officially moved company headquarters here to Milwaukee (777 N. Jefferson St.). I chose Milwaukee because it’s home and there is so much potential here for a thriving and innovative tech scene. I truly believe Milwaukee is ripe for fostering a robust startup community… and I want to be here and help the community get there!
Was there a point where you decided this was the city you wanted to live in?
Ha, when I was younger I could not wait to get out. Like most teens I thought my Midwest town was “too small.” So I got out, traveled everywhere and at some point it just hit me… Milwaukee is HOME. I was very impressed with the city’s progress both aesthetically and economically. This city is on the rise where many others have peaked!
What strikes you as the most unique thing about Milwaukee?
Milwaukee has an old-world charm with innovative attitude. When my father and his family immigrated here it was to build a better future with sweat, iron and dirt, Milwaukee was built with smokestacks. But NOW, our “industry” is innovation… Clean and renewable energy, health care IT, financial technology, emerging tech and the list goes on and on. Additionally, this city has an invaluable asset with so many universities within it or in close proximity. One of my focuses with bankmybiz.com is to help develop and retain young, local talent.
What is the one thing you’d like to change about Milwaukee?
At this point in my life I am loving Milwaukee so much I can’t think of anything I’d change. Wait can we bring the Packers back to play at Miller Park… like they used to come down a few times a year to play at the ‘ole County Stadium?!
Lakefront Brewery New Grist Ginger, Pabst, and look out Milwaukee, MobCraft Beer is moving to Milwaukee so I’ll be all over that.
Is there an issue you believe all Milwaukeeans should turn our attention to?
Commercial real estate progress! Skyscrapers in the sky are a good thing. A more robust skyline is a good thing. We can retain historic integrity without crippling progress. Build!
What is your favorite Milwaukee tradition?
Outdoor neighborhood festivals and block parties. Just tell me where and when. I’ll be there.
Favorite little known fact/secret/hidden gem in Milwaukee?
Lake Emily. There is an underground lake in the middle of the city, well actually underneath Northwestern Mutual, which is fed by an underground river. A lot of haunted myths surrounding Lake Emily.
What is the most effective way to implement change in Milwaukee?
Push for what you want responsibly and intelligently… loud voices can drown themselves out. Have open conversation. Change what YOU and your like-minded friends can first… don’t wait for local government or beg for them to change something. If you change it in popular opinion and gain traction they will have to catch up to your awesome ideas eventfully.
How does Milwaukee vary from other cities you’ve lived in/visited?
Again, Milwaukee is on the rise. Our talent levels and innovation levels are creating something exciting. So many cities have peaked or are creating white noise but Milwaukee, here we go.
Where do you see Milwaukee in five years?
In five years Milwaukee will be a sought after city for technology innovation and talent. Where Austin, Boulder / Denver, and Chicago are now… well, that’s where Milwaukee could be. We just need to embrace and fund technology ideas.
What do you think of Milwaukee as a place to work and do business?
Bankmybiz.com chose Milwaukee because it’s a perfect environment for growth, creativity, and affordability. Plus, the people here are amazing! I’m not a huge fan of the word “networking” because most modern networking events are stale, however in this city, if you put in a bit of effort, there are people of influence who want to listen, who like fresh ideas, who can help your realize your goals.
What do you think of Milwaukee as a place to socialize and play?
There are a TON of things to do in Milwaukee. Ha, I love it when people say “well I love New York because of all the museums,” “I love Chicago because you’re on the lake.” Hey, we have museums and we have a Great Lake. We also have a crazy amount of breweries, festivals, live music events, parks, districts, etc. … all packed with amazing, genuine and creative people. I’ve been all over this planet and you can do just as much in Milwaukee that you can do anywhere else.