NEWaukeean of the Week

Joe Zepecki

"The fact that we are still one of the most racially segregated cities in the US has to change..."

By - Nov 30th, 2015 11:06 am
Joe Zepecki. Photo courtesy of NEWaukee.

Joe Zepecki. Photo courtesy of NEWaukee.

What is your job and its responsibilities?

I lead a great team at a growing public relations agency in Walker’s Point – Moon Landing, Inc. We have an amazing group of clients in a variety of industries who are doing really exciting things. Sharing their stories and helping them reach their goals is incredibly fulfilling. From developing lean brands and creative campaigns for external audiences to pushing the envelope on internal brand behavior, all while working to grow our own company… the fun never ends!

Was there a point where you decided this was the city you wanted to live in?

I knew very early on in my career that I ultimately wanted to end up back home in Milwaukee. I was very fortunate to have opportunities to live and work around the country in my twenties, but it’s great to be back, and even greater to see that my faith in my hometown was worth it since I spent the years I lived elsewhere telling everyone how awesome Milwaukee was!

What is your favorite Milwaukee event?

The cultural festivals at the Summerfest grounds. It is so very Milwaukee to go from throwing the world’s largest music festival and rocking out to a chart topping, big name superstar/band on a free stage…to say…dancing the polka at that same stage a few weeks later, while having an equally great time.

What have you seen in other cities that you’d like to see in Milwaukee?

Better utilization of, and development around, cultural attractions. From the neighborhood that’s sprung up around Nationals Park in DC to the Gaslamp district around Petco Park in San Diego, other communities are leveraging stadiums more effectively than we have to generate economic development. Because we don’t have that opportunity with a downtown baseball stadium, I’m hopeful that the vision for not just the new Bucks arena, but for the entire surrounding community, will be fully realized.

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

The fact that we are still one of the most racially segregated cities in the US has to change if we’re going to become the city we all hope, want, and know we can become.

What do you think of Milwaukee as a place to work and do business?

I don’t think we’re anywhere close to realizing our potential as a city when it comes to entrepreneurship and economic growth, but all of the ingredients are here. Don’t get me wrong, there are amazing things happening already in terms of innovation and business creation, but the evolution from the old economy to the new has been challenging for Milwaukee. We have the talent, culture, values and resources at our fingertips to do even more and hopefully, very soon, become a model example of a thriving mid-size city.

3 thoughts on “NEWaukeean of the Week: Joe Zepecki”

  1. Keith Prochnow says:

    *The fact that we are still one of the most racially segregated cities in the US has to change if we’re going to become the city we all hope, want, and know we can become.*

    Please, PLEASE, can we stop repeating this sloppy quote? Many parts of Milwaukee are nicely integrated. It is most of the SUBURBS that are hyper-segregated, though several of them are also nicely integrated– Brown Deer, Shorewood and, surprise– Mequon!

    I live here in the Heart of this Minority Majority City with folks of all colors and stripes and that’s why I live here. Each year we blend a bit more. It’s the SUBURBS who make the metro area look so bad.

  2. Cate Phillips says:

    Joe, Kudos to you for a nice feature! And, thanks for not taking the easy way out on this issue and for bringing it up. I did the same when I was a Newaukeean last Spring and the ongoing conversation in the comments were fun!

    I’m very pro Milwaukee too Keith and I know that the suburbs are rife with segregation. However, racism and segregation are VERY much Milwaukee proper problems. Milwaukee’s Dr. Marc Levine does a lot of work on this topic and he typically provides data that is even broken down by zip codes, as well as by suburbs. Check out:

  3. Keith Prochnow says:

    Levine best and most reasonably measured the City’s level of “integratedness” some years back, and I refer to his conclusions when I say “nicely integrated.” I agree,Cate, that we have a long way to go to fuller, more balanced integration. But our *City* is not so bad as this old trope would have unknowing outsiders believe.

    Alas, people like to use “city” to describe a metro area. I overhear people on planes all the time tell seatmates that they live in Milwaukee, then in deeper conversation it comes out that they live in one of the suburbs. A small inaccuracy, a verbal shortcut? Sure, much of the time. But when calling racism like the lad above, accuracy ought to be important.

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