Last week, the NEWaukee team continued our annual tradition of taking an end-of-the-year company trip to explore a different city. This vacation is an important part of NEWaukee’s company culture, taking a sabbatical to reflect on the year and create new memories together. In the past seven years, the team has traveled together to NYC, Las Vegas, Denver, Pittsburgh, Boston, and Salt Lake City.

Generally, these trips have focused on ways post-industrial communities have adopted placemaking strategies and are spurring economic development. This year, we decided we wanted to slow down and try something different. The team was looking for warmth and rejuvenating inspiration going into our 10th Anniversary.

So, in search of sun, we packed our bags and boarded a plane to LA (well, Venice, more specifically).


The itinerary for this year’s company trip featured a mixture of inspiration breaks to explore the city, reflection on 2018, goal setting for 2019, program planning meetings, and time for tactical production. A few of us were even ambitious enough to sneak in morning workouts!


On Monday, after settling into our Airbnb, we headed into downtown LA to meet our friend Sara Daleiden, the founder of MKE<->LAX. Sara was generous enough to take us on a walking and public transit tour of downtown LA, showing us how even small planning decisions can shape a city.

Strolling through downtown, we quickly noted how the incredible amount of street art lent texture to the buildings. The sheer number and variety of murals was staggering – there was new art to see around every corner!


We also utilized the Metro Rail while downtown, and we were impressed by the way their TAP (Transit Access Pass) Cards provided a fully integrated, multimodal transit experience. The same pass could be used for the rail, buses, and even bikes!

After our morning work session on Tuesday, the team explored Abbot Kinney. It was interesting to see such a robust, thriving retail environment. Walking down it, there were several blocks of shops, each with its own distinctive character and offering.


Wednesday, during our inspiration break, the team grabbed Birds and took flight down the Venice boardwalk. Bird scooters played a huge role in our transportation all week in LA – it was so easy and affordable to zip from place to place. Why, again, are they no longer in Milwaukee? We need to get them back!


Thursday morning, the team woke up early for a sunrise swim. The water was surprisingly not too cold, though the same can’t be said about the sand. By the time we went home, our feet were nearly numb.


After an exciting work sesh with our partner Amanda from newance on Thursday, the team explored Santa Monica pier. We got a beautiful 360 view of the beach, city and mountains beyond.


That night, we ate the best pasta of our lives at Barrique and grabbed cocktails at Neighbor on Abbot Kinney, toasting to an amazing, inspiring and productive week.


By Friday, it was time to say goodbye to LA. We boarded our flight home with renewed energy and creativity, making plans for 2019 to be our best year yet. We can’t wait for you to see all that we have planned!

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