5 minutes with… Kevin Ehlert

Biz Connections


Kevin Ehlert

General manager, Wisconsin Club

Credit: Lila Aryan Photography

John Constantine served as general manager of the Wisconsin Club for 27 years, shepherding the private downtown Milwaukee club through $30 million in improvements, helping boost its membership from 370 at his 1990 arrival to 1,400 at his May 2017 departure, and leading the 2009 acquisition of Brynwood Country Club. Now, Constantine has retired and industry veteran Kevin Ehlert has taken the reins.

In a recent interview with BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor Molly Dill, Ehlert discussed his plans for the club.

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Goals for the club

“Really to continue the success that the Wisconsin Club has seen and to be an industry leader, and that includes being a little bit unconventional. I would categorize John that way and I would say that I’m that way, as well. John’s big mantra was, ‘We’re here to serve the members,’ and that’s been mine, as well, for the last 30 years. We’re looking to continue, although with a different set of eyes, a fresh set of eyes.

“We’re focusing on all generations. If you do some research into club management, we just realized that there’s this group called the millennials and they’re all interested in cell phones and data, but in actual truth they want to belong to a group of like-minded people. They certainly like exclusivity that is inclusive and diverse.”

Changes in the works

“One of the projects the club is looking at is modernizing the kitchens. That is one project that is most likely going to be in the three-year plan. Out at the country club, this spring we have some initiatives with wellness and fitness. There’s some equipment out there we’re going to swap out and bring in some new equipment.”

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“We’re revitalizing our website, we’ve added apps for members to  better connect to the club. Using technology is a tool for us to enhance and increase our service. We’re a very high-touch club and that is just one more way, one more piece for us to give better service to our members.”

First impressions of Milwaukee

“I grew up in Minnesota. Coming here, it’s interesting, the community is so open and welcoming, much like the Twin Cities and Minnesota is, just that great Midwestern hospitality. And I still cannot get over how nice people are here in Milwaukee. It’s that Scandinavian and that German background of welcoming. It’s been great. The staff, the members, people I run into here on the street.”

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