NEWaukeean: Michael Hostad
What is your job and its responsibilities?
I’m in the final days of a 12 year career at UW-Milwaukee where I served as the Director of Web and Mobile Strategy and the Chancellor’s Designee for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I’m excited to take the next step in my career as I move to the Greater Milwaukee Committee where I will serve as the Executive Director of their Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE) initiative. MiKE creates programs that lead to partnerships between corporations and emerging talent networks. MiKE is also the organization behind Flying Car – an event that features stories from diverse thought leaders, hands-on labs, pitch competitions, and lots of networking. If you haven’t been, I’d highly recommend checking it out flyingcarmke.com. I’m excited to help MiKE realize its mission and make a lasting positive impact on Milwaukee.
Was there a point where you decided this was the city you wanted to live in?
Yes. When I started at UWM, I was 21 and still living at home in Hartford – just 45 minutes northwest of the city. While the annoyance of the commute was initially what promoted me to consider living in the city, I was most surprised by how quickly I fit in once I moved to Milwaukee. I made friends with ease – due in large part to the amazing people that work at UWM – but I also found it easy to get involved and engaged in the community. It’s been almost 13 years and Milwaukee is home to me. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
What have you seen in other cities that you’d like to see in Milwaukee?
I’ve been to a number of places that have elements that I wish Milwaukee could incorporate. In Portland, OR, I saw the benefit of public transportation in the form of an easy to use train system. In Grand Rapids, MI, I loved how they embraced public art and creative placemaking. In Maui, I appreciated their winters. When it comes down to it, Milwaukee has its own unique style and while we may covet what we see in other cities, it is important to appreciate what we have in our backyard.
What is your favorite Milwaukee beer?
I’d write more here, but my answer is simple: Lakefront IPA.
What is the most effective way to implement change in Milwaukee?
To answer this question, I can’t help but look back at the previous question that asks what I’ve seen in other cities that I’d like to see in Milwaukee. In this case, I think Milwaukee sets the example when it comes to collaboration and a passionate populous. I’m struck by how Milwaukeeans are so eager to assemble around a common goal – especially if that goal involves making our city a better place. Therefore, to positively affect change, an idea must be presented in a way that our community can believe in and support. Our greatest asset is our people and when we can coalesce around a common idea, there’s no stopping us.
What do you think of Milwaukee as a place to work and do business?
I think Milwaukee is an excellent place to work and do business. It has all the amenities of a larger city while offering a sort of Midwestern charm that is unmistakably Milwaukee. It is very easy to get connected here which is especially helpful for those looking to advance a career or conduct business. Milwaukee also has a growing start-up scene and a culture that supports those who have an entrepreneurial spirit.