#ELGLPopUps: Choose Your Own Adventure in MKE

Posted on September 16, 2018


In this post, you’ll hear from those attending the upcoming Pop Up Event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You can register for the event here.

Presenters include: Aaron Foley, City of Detroit Chief Storyteller; Dan Gilmartin, Executive Director of the Michigan Municipal League; Jerry Deschane, Executive Director, League of Wisconsin Municipalities; Kathy Ehley, Mayor of Wauwatosa, WI; and Steph Crosley, Host & Author. View the complete agenda here.

Special thanks to event organizers – Chad Doran, City of Appleton, WI, Mitch Foster, Village of Winneconne, WI, and Zach Navin, City of Wauwatosa, WI.


Andrew Martin

Teacher – Milwaukee Public Schools


In keeping with the “Choose Your Own Adventure” theme, what’s the biggest adventure that you’ve had either personally or professionally?

My biggest adventure would probably have been the decision I made to apply to, and accept a job as a teacher in the Milwaukee Public Schools. I’ve been here seven years now, and I can honestly say it’s had the single greatest affect on my life than any other decision I’ve made – professionally or personally.

What’s one specific action that an organization should take around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Diversity and inclusion are more than just buzzwords, workshops, or professional development. They are actions, which means that organizations will actually need to act on the issues. That means making decisions that may be “outside the norm” of how historic decisions have been made. It may mean making a mistake, admitting it, and moving on. Too often we see these as “issues” and things that a training or simply talking about can take on, not actual action.

What’s your Mt. Rushmore (top 4) of fall activities?

Enjoying some warm coffee, opening the windows (summer is way too muggy!), gearing up for holidays, and remembering all the yard work I have to do.

If you couldn’t attend the Pop Up closest to you, which other Pop Up would you want to attend?

Portland – Without a doubt.

Who should we invite to appear on the next episode of GovLove?

Former Milwaukee Mayor and Congress of New Urbanism advocate John Norquist.


Ian Everett

Milwaukee County

Marketing & Communications Manager – Milwaukee County, WI

LinkedIn & Twitter


In keeping with the “Choose Your Own Adventure” theme, what’s the biggest adventure that you’ve had either personally or professionally?

Backpacking around the globe for 10 months, which included working on farms in New Zealand & camping in the jungle in Malaysia, was a great adventure, a huge influence on my world-view and even led to my career in local gov.

What’s one specific action that an organization should take around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Hire more immigrants – we bring a unique outsider perspective that can help organizations challenge their assumptions and biases.

What’s your Mt. Rushmore (top 4) of fall activities?

Drinking pumpkin porters, watching the Welsh rugby Autumn internationals, stepping on crunchy fall leaves and putting up Halloween decorations in early September

If you couldn’t attend the Pop Up closest to you, which other Pop Up would you want to attend?

Portland – I’ve heard it’s the Milwaukee of the West Coast!

Who should we invite to appear on the next episode of GovLove?

Tim Brown, or anyone from IDEO


Morgan Daniel

Morgan Daniel

Recruiting Specialist – The Novak Consulting Group

LinkedIn


Melissa Weiss

Melissa Weiss

Director of Administrative Services – City of Wauwatosa, WI

LinkedIn & Twitter


Menna Garedew

Oshkosh

UW-Oshkosh


David Simpson

David Simpson

Public Works Director – City of Wauwatosa, WI

LinkedIn


Kevin Lahner

City of Waukesha

City Administrator – City of Waukesha, WI

LinkedIn


In keeping with the “Choose Your Own Adventure” theme, what’s the biggest adventure that you’ve had either personally or professionally?

Personally, it is hard to choose one, but among the best is the time is spent canoeing the Devil’s River in Southwest Texas, near the border with Mexico. We went through more than 20 sets up rapids over two days on the water. Reaching the river while traveling through multiple border checkpoints, and seeing multiple hand-painted signs warning folks not to trespass “or else” was quite the adventure.

Professionally, every day is an adventure.

What’s one specific action that an organization should take around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion?

As an organization, make sure that culture aligns with policy.

What’s your Mt. Rushmore (top 4) of fall activities?

  • Wilderness Canoeing
  • Hunting in the Northern Wisconsin
  • Hiking
  • Drinking Octoberfest Beer

If you couldn’t attend the Pop Up closest to you, which other Pop Up would you want to attend?

LAX, because I have not yet been there.

Who should we invite to appear on the next episode of GovLove?

Gary Palmer, City Administrator from Roswell Georgia


Leslie Flynn

Leslie Flynn

Communications Coordinator – City of Oak Creek, WI

LinkedIn & Twitter


Mitch Foster

Mitch Foster

Village Manager – Village of Winneconne

LinkedIn & Twitter


What book are you currently reading?

“Our Towns” by James and Deborah Fallows. It is a fabulous read about their travels around the country in their personal plane. I would recommend it to anyone looking to get an inside perspective on communities of all sizes and the common threads that lead to dismay and/or improvement.

Which “Choose Your Own Adventure” book best describes your local government career?

Mystery of the Maya – has time travel, and keeps sending the reader back to the same page and place in time.

What’s your advice for networking at a local government conference?

If you are an introvert like myself; jump out of your comfort zone in a way that you can control. Go to a structured social event like karaoke or a round table discussion as these can be an easier introduction to other people.

Which local government topic is most fascinating to you right now? 

The long-term financial viability of our communities as the debts of infrastructure, pensions and health care begin to weigh us down without any means to address it.

https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2017/1/9/the-real-reason-your-city-has-no-money

I’ll leave #ELGLPopUps happy if I… meet amazing people, create lasting relationships and take away some good ideas!


Beth Mbow

Beth Mbow

Interim HR Director at City of Wauwatosa


What book are you currently reading? 

The More of Less by Joshua Becker. I would recommend it to someone looking to get into the minimalist lifestyle. It has some interesting perspectives to it.

Which “Choose Your Own Adventure” book best describes your local government career?

Mystery of the Maya – has time travel, and keeps sending the reader back to the same page and place in time.

What’s your advice for networking at a local government conference?

Don’t’ be afraid to talk to people outside of your circle! Be bold, be daring and be yourself!

Which local government topic is most fascinating to you right now? 

Driving culture change!

I’ll leave #ELGLPopUps happy if I…. I learn something new.


Cindy Plante

Economic Development Coordinator at City of Evanston, IL

LinkedIn & Twitter


What book are you currently reading? 

I started reading Your Money or Your Life a while back, out of a desire to explore minimalism and the FI/RE movement a bit more. I have to admit I’m on a bit of a hiatus from recreational reading because fall for me means knitting season! So I guess the more honest and accurate answer to this question would be knitting patterns. Right now I’m wrapping up a sweater and a baby blanket and getting ready to start some Christmas stockings for holiday gift giving.

Which “Choose Your Own Adventure” book best describes your local government career?

Surf Monkeys – has the fewest endings of any book in the original series, with long stretches without decision-making.

What’s your advice for networking at a local government conference?

I seek out the wallflower(s) and try to start a conversation.

Which local government topic is most fascinating to you right now? 

The intersection of housing affordability, density, and zoning. A friend from grad school is an economist and we’d get into arguments about it constantly.

I’ll leave #ELGLPopUps happy if I… meet new friends, learn about other communities, and maybe score a cool pair of socks.


Douglas Petroshius

Doug Petroshius

eAllianceGov – President

LinkedIn & Twitter


What book are you currently reading?

Born to Build. I recommend it because at the beginning it provides an online assessment so that you can determine what skills you bring to the table when building a business.

Which “Choose Your Own Adventure” book best describes your local government career?

Island of Time- has the shortest path from beginning to an end.

What’s your advice for successfully networking at a local government conference?

Be authentic. Leverage what is best about your personality.

Which local government topic is most fascinating to you right now? 

Artificial Intelligence and automation. I received these from www.citymanagerinsights.org.

I’ll leave #ELGLPopUps happy if I… have made some new connections.


Shannon McMahon

Shannon McMahon

Communications Coordinator – City of Iowa City, IA

LinkedIn & Twitter


What book are you currently reading? 

Bunkhouse Boys – Fantastic and recommend it as it is well-written with captivating content based on the real lives of several developmentally challenged men who were taken advantage of in every way imaginable by a private business, ignored by government systems in place at the time, and how they were finally able to escape.

Which “Choose Your Own Adventure” book best describes your local government career?

Mystery of the Maya – has time travel, and keeps sending the reader back to the same page and place in time.

What’s your advice for networking at a local government conference?

Join as many small meeting groups as possible, learn names, find shared interests, and engage.

Which local government topic is most fascinating to you right now? 

I am most interested in learning new ideas for engaging with the public using a variety of tools; inclusivity and diversity initiatives.

I’ll leave #ELGLPopUps happy if I… learn something new!


James Healy

James Healy

Village of Richfield, WI – Village Administrator

LinkedIn & Twitter


What book are you currently reading? 

“How the World Sees You – Discover your highest value through the science of fascination,” By: Sally Hogshead

So far the book is interesting. Essentially, it is about becoming a better version of yourself and helping others see more of “you” by understanding your personality attributes.

Of these three iconic “Choose Your Own Adventure” book titles and descriptions, which best describes your local government career?

Island of Time- has the shortest path from beginning to an end.

What’s your advice for successfully networking at a local government conference?

I do not attend a lot of conferences because of scheduling difficulties, but when I am able to come, I try to soak in as much as possible. Better develop relationships with existing peers, try to seek out people from areas of the State far away from SE Wisconsin, or communities that are much larger than us (pop. 11,500) to see the leading practices they are implementing. 

Also, bring a handful of business cards. Not an obnoxious amount, but around 10-15.

Which local government topic is most fascinating to you right now? 

Conditional Use law administration in Wisconsin – additional reading – link & link

Complete the sentence: I’ll leave #ELGLPopUps happy if… I get a new pair of those beautiful socks I see everyone on Twitter with!


Jeremy Lucas

Milwaukee County, WI – Senior Budget & Management Analyst

LinkedIn & Twitter


What book are you currently reading? 

The Color of Law, Yes. It’s important background history for those of you who aren’t UWM Urban Studies graduates

Which “Choose Your Own Adventure” book best describes your local government career?

Mystery of the Maya – has time travel, and keeps sending the reader back to the same page and place in time.
 

What’s your advice for successfully networking at a local government conference?

Sidle confidently.

Which local government topic is most fascinating to you right now? 

Property rights (real estate, pension etc) and how they translate into behavior.

Complete the sentence: I’ll leave #ELGLPopUps happy if… I meet new people and gain a different perspective than I arrived with.


Meghan Ruble

Meghan Ruble

Engagement Manager at Bang the Table

LinkedIn & Twitter


What book are you currently reading?

One Track Mind – Drawing the New York City Subway. It’s mostly a picture book, if I’m being honest, but I’d recommend it (and anything about the history and architecture of NYC) as it serves as a wonderful reminder of the magic that city planners create when they design for generations that haven’t been born yet.

Which “Choose Your Own Adventure” book best describes your local government career?

Island of Time- has the shortest path from beginning to an end.

What’s your advice for successfully networking at a local government conference?

Buy beer + ask questions! Offer empathy, support and resources without expecting anything in return.

Which local government topic is most fascinating to you right now? 

I’m interested in learning more about iTeams and the intersection of innovation and local government. Where can creative public servants and their smart cities take us?

I’ll leave #ELGLPopUps happy if…. I make a few friends and learn something new!


Jamie Ludovic

Jamie Ludovic

Central Services Director – Washington County, WI

LinkedIn & Twitter


What book are you currently reading? 

The New Localism by Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak

Which “Choose Your Own Adventure” book best describes your local government career?

Surf Monkeys – has the fewest endings of any book in the original series, with long stretches without decision-making.

What’s your advice for successfully networking at a local government conference?

smile

Which local government topic is most fascinating to you right now? 

Economic development, education and Foxconn

Complete the sentence: I’ll leave #ELGLPopUps happy if… I meet a fellow efficient government junkie.


Chad Doran

Chad Doran

Communications Coordinator – City of Appleton, WI

LinkedIn and Twitter


What book are you currently reading? 

Change by design – Tim Brown.

Good read on transforming organizational thinking through innovation.

Which “Choose Your Own Adventure” book best describes your local government career?

Island of Time has the shortest path from beginning to an end.

What’s your advice for successfully networking at a local government conference?

Be off your phone and smile.

Which local government topic is most fascinating to you right now?

Branding

Complete the sentence: I’ll leave #ELGLPopUps happy if… I help someone learn a new communication method!


Allyson Watson

Allyson Watson

Principal Planner – City of Kaukauna, WI

LinkedIn


What book are you currently reading? 

“The Power” – definitely recommend, it’s hard to put down!

Which “Choose Your Own Adventure” book best describes your local government career?

Island of Time- has the shortest path from beginning to an end.

What’s your advice for successfully networking at a local government conference?

Connect with people in different roles that I am in – less likely to know them from statewide conferences for professional associations.

Which local government topic is most fascinating to you right now? 

How municipalities (and states) will legislate to accommodate facets of the gig economy (like ridesharing, home delivery service) and autonomous vehicles as those become a part of these economic forces.

I’ll leave #ELGLPopUps happy if….. I connect with some new people that I can learn from and stay connected to in the future.


Erica Lewandowski

SafeBuilt

Regional Operations Manager, SAFEbuilt, LLC


Which “Choose Your Own Adventure” book best describes your local government career?

Island of Time- has the shortest path from beginning to an end.

What’s your advice for networking at a local government conference?

Make time to meet new people.

Which local government topic is most fascinating to you right now? 

How vendors and government can work together for the common good.

I’ll leave #ELGLPopUps happy if I…. make new connections and have fun.


Jennifer Keller

Jennifer Keller

Administrative Services Coordinator – Village of Richfield, WI

LinkedIn


What book are you currently reading? 

The Soul of America by Job Meacham seems to be a great recap of where the United States has been when it comes to national movements or times of war under various presidencies or leadership, and links those times of trouble and political tension to the constant hope for progress. I would recommend if you’re excited about history!

Which “Choose Your Own Adventure” book best describes your local government career?

Island of Time- has the shortest path from beginning to an end.

What’s your advice for successfully networking at a local government conference?

Attend conferences willing to ask individuals about the communities they work in. By understanding how different organizations work, you may come to find there are new and/or improved ways of carrying out different programs/operations at your own municipality.

Which local government topic is most fascinating to you right now? 

The planning, execution, and closing of TIFs is an area I could grow in. I’ve learned about Tax Increment Financing through the MPA program I’ve been apart of. However, real world application would help with a more in-depth understanding along with the Economic Development aspect of these types of projects. What does an actual “But For” Test look like? What developers/users of sites would be better than others? It might be cumbersome to see real numbers in an example of this, but it’s a curiosity of mine!

Here’s an article from a new source in Missouri, which was thought provoking.


Kent Wyatt

Kent Wyatt

Co-Founder, ELGL & Interim Communications Director, City of Tigard, OR

LinkedIn & Twitter


What book(s) are you currently reading? 

The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy by Anna Clark

Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, its Chaotic Founding… its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis by Sam Anderson

Which “Choose Your Own Adventure” book best describes your local government career?

I’m going off script by picking “Playing with Fire” and “State of the City” by Scott Lazenby, Lake Oswego (OR) City Manager

What’s your advice for networking at a local government conference?

Don’t underestimate the power of Twitter. It’s a great way to connect with people before, during, and after a conference. It also shows that you are interested in the profession and want to bring back ideas from the conference to your organization.

Also, don’t sit next to people for other organization. Sit down at a table where you don’t know anyone.

Which local government topic is most fascinating to you right now? 

Homelessness. Local government is expecting too much from non-profits without providing the necessary funding. Portland and Seattle are examples of cities where they allowed homeless to grow into too big of a problem.


Steve Cage

SafeBuilt

Business Development Representative, SAFEbuilt, LLC


Which “Choose Your Own Adventure” book best describes your local government career?

Island of Time- has the shortest path from beginning to an end.

What’s your advice for networking at a local government conference?

Make an effort to meet new people.

Which local government topic is most fascinating to you right now? 

Relationship between local government and third party providers.

I’ll leave #ELGLPopUps happy if I…. meet new people.


Jordan Salzman

Jordan Salzman

Management Intern – City of Janesville, WI

LinkedIn


What book are you currently reading? 

Currently, I am reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac. I would recommend this book it is an easy, interesting read about an adventure across the U.S. I also recently finished reading a book titled Public Service Values by Richard C. Box. This book provides excellent insights into the importance of establishing values for public administration practitioners.

Which “Choose Your Own Adventure” book best describes your local government career?

Mystery of the Maya – has time travel, and keeps sending the reader back to the same page and place in time.

What’s your advice for networking at a local government conference?

Get involved through networking / professional development opportunities and listen and ask questions of seasoned practitioners and scholars.

Which local government topic is most fascinating to you right now? 

I am highly interested in performance measurement for local government. Specifically how to provide tangible metrics that interest and engage the general public and other administrative professionals alike.

I’ll leave #ELGLPopUps happy if I…. take away new and valuable insights!


Christine Westrich

Director – Milwaukee County Emergency Management


Aaron Lipski

Deputy Chief, Milwaukee Fire Department


Marion Sodnik

Retired – City of Wauwatosa, WI


Chris Swartz

Retired Village Manager


Benjamin Hubrich

Deputy Clerk/Management Analyst – Village of Germantown, WI


Brian DeNeve

Office of City Clerk/Common Council – City of Milwaukee, WI


Dan Gilmartin

Executive Director – Michigan Municipal League


Robert Albrecht

Student and Administrative Intern


Robert Kane

POLCO


Jerry Deschane

Executive Director – League of Wisconsin Municipalities


Stephanie Crosley

Author


Adam Gitter

City of West Allis, WI


Supplemental Reading

ELGL C0-Founder. Interim Communications Manager for the City of Tigard, Oregon.

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