Does your plan to spend much of your time in Florida impact your decision to leave more locally focused organizations like the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce and the Greater Milwaukee Committee?
“Yeah it does. I’ve always felt that if I couldn’t dedicate the time to a nonprofit board, I wasn’t going to do it. I really try to be very active in the boards that I’m on. I don’t have any boards where I lend my name only. I am there. I am active. I take a leadership role.
“Clearly, the ones that are directly related to the Milwaukee business community, those ones I don’t feel I should be on there if I’m not part of that business community.”
Do you have any thoughts on where the local business community is heading as you transition out of it?
“The business climate in Wisconsin, in the last eight years under Scott Walker, has really prospered. The U.S. economy has been in a very slow growth mode, but I think Wisconsin, and in particular, Milwaukee, has done much better. There was nothing being constructed. In the ’90s, the 2000s, there was nothing being done. Now, I go downtown and, holy crap. Sometimes I can’t find my way around downtown because all of the roads are blocked off with construction. You’ve got the Northwestern Mutual building, the Fiserv Forum, the new BMO Harris building going up. There are so many exciting things going on down there. It’s just incredible.
“The business climate here is good. My concern, if you want to talk about the future, is the talent issue. I think all of the businesses are going to struggle attracting talent. I’m just seeing it now as I’m finishing my career, but I’ve just got to believe it’s going to get worse. Right now, it’s very hard to find engineers, and there’s a lot of competition for engineers. I think that’s going to spread, especially when Foxconn gets up and running.