Panel Discussions

A Vision for Milwaukee’s Lakefront

Monday, October 28, 2013, Discovery World 

DSC_0025_700Hear panelists Joel Brennan, CEO Discovery World; Allyson Nemec, Owner of Quorum Architects, Inc.; Matt Rinka, Principal of Rinka Chung Architecture, Inc.; Mike Mervis, former Vice President of Zilber LTD; Dave Schlabowske, Interim Director / Communications Director of Wisconsin Bike Fed; and moderator Jeramey Jannene, Cofounder Urban Milwaukee discuss the impact of proposed changes along Milwaukee’s lakefront.

Meet the Panel

Mike Mervis, Zilber Ltd. 

Mike Mervis recently retired as Vice President and Assistant to the Chairman of the Board of Zilber Ltd., a diversified commercial and residential real estate development and asset management company with corporate headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Mr. Mervis worked for the company almost 40 years and will continue to do so in a consulting capacity.  He also serves as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Zilber Family Foundation and for many years worked closely with his mentor, Joe Zilber on a wide range of civic and charitable projects including the Zilber Neighborhood Initiative and the Milwaukee Full Potential program which total $100,000.000 in charitable commitments.

Mr. Mervis has been active in educational and government reform issues in Milwaukee and nationally for over four decades.

Matt Rinka, Rinka Chung Architecture 

As an architect and principal at Rinka Chung Architecture, Matt Rinka’s passion is to meaningfully enhance the built environments of our local and regional communities. Since founding the company in 2006 with a vision “to inspire through thoughtful design,” the firm has desined many high profile projects in the Milwaukee area, including The Moderne (a recently completed 31 story residential high-rise), Café Benelux, The Horny Goat Entertainment Complex, Drexel Town Square, The Couture (a proposed 44 story high-rise at the Transit Center site), Washington Place (a proposed 30 story downtown office high-rise), Carson’s Restaurant, and the new Pizza Man. Matt and Rinka Chung have received numberal design awardsincluding the 2012 Architect of the Year from The Daily Reporter, a 2012 AIA Wisconsin Design Award, 5 mayor’s Urban Design Awards, the 2012 Wisconsin Minority Business Award, and recognition as a Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Matt holds a BSAS from the School of Architecture at UW-Milwaukee and a Master of Architecture from the University of Washington.

Joel Brennan, Discovery World 

Joel Brennan began his tenure as President & CEO of Discovery World, a private non-profit educational and cultural organization, in October 2007.  Located on Milwaukee’s lakefront, Discovery World is Milwaukee’s Center for Public Innovation with interactive exhibits, fresh and saltwater aquaria and labs and studios that support its educational mission. Under Brennan’s leadership, Discovery World has employed innovative tools like federal New Markets Tax Credits to stabilize debt and build a more sustainable long-term future.

Previously, Brennan served as the head of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee (RACM).  In this capacity, Brennan directed real estate development and large impact economic development projects.  Major RACM efforts spearheaded or managed by Brennan included Menomonee Valley redevelopment, relocation of the Manpower World Headquarters to downtown Milwaukee and the reconstruction of the Milwaukee Intermodal Station.

 Allyson Nemec, Quorum Architects

Allyson Nemec founded Quorum Architects, Inc. as Principal in 1993. Quorum Architects is a boutique urban revitalization firm which concentrates its practice on renovations to the existing built environment. We focus on a holistic design philosophy, which allows each project to follow a consistent and integrated process, from site design through architectural and interior design. As a LEED Accredited Professional, Allyson is knowledgeable in environmentally sensitive a materials and systems and integrates them into the design process.

Allyson has a diverse academic and professional background.  Her studies in Architectural History and professional experience in historic preservation architecture make her well-suited for coordinating the architectural and engineering services on renovation and adaptive re-use projects.   Allyson is past Chair of the Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission.

Allyson has been very involved in the Milwaukee community, including her roles as Past President of AIA Wisconsin, Past-President of the UWM Alumni Association, board member of the Catch a Rising Star Foundation (MPS Arts Schools), Past President of the Next Act Theater Advisory Board, Past Trustee for Immanuel Presbyterian Church and
active membership in the Historic Concordia Neighborhood Association.

Dave Schlabowske, Wisconsin Bike Fed 

Born and raised down on the south side where the streetcar used to turn the corner around, Dave is 365 day a year commuter and former racer and frame builder. He open the Wisconsin Bike Fed’s Milwaukee office 11 years ago. Dave worked for the Bike Fed for five years and moved to the City of Milwaukee DPW to become Milwaukee’s first first
Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator. He was recently lured away from the excitement of bureaucracy by the high pay of the non-profit sector. A former professional photographer, Dave lives with his wife, daughter and two dogs in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee’s fashionable west side.

Historic Milwaukee, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of and commitment to Milwaukee's history, architecture, and the preservation of our built environment through education and advocacy. HMI is an affiliated member of the Wisconsin Historical Society, a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Visit Milwaukee.