Joe Schmidt

Nonprofit Excellence Awards


Next Generation Leadership – Winner

Joe Schmidt

Project developer, Trane Co.


Joe Schmidt, a project developer with Trane Co. in Milwaukee, has spent his career in the construction industry.

Formerly with CG Schmidt, he has collaborated and completed work on several multi-million-dollar projects throughout the community. But it’s his work as board president for the Building2Learn Consortium where Schmidt can share his passion for the industry and skilled trades with local youth.

The Building2Learn Consortium is a collaborative effort that involves educators, industry experts, apprenticeship training leaders, businesses and philanthropists. It gives Milwaukee students the opportunity to explore the skilled trades.

In 2016, the consortium brought together students from several local schools to apply their STEM education by constructing wooden boats.

The students worked in teams to develop plans, measure and build the boats they later launched in the Menomonee River. The goal was to provide students an opportunity to feel self-empowered, to realize that there are immediate, challenging and attainable career options for them in this industry.

Schmidt has been instrumental in the growth of the consortium by helping to garner more partner schools and securing funding for the program.

Schools that participate in the consortium include Messmer Catholic Schools, School District of Brown Deer, UCC Acosta Middle School, Carmen Schools of Science and Technology, and Notre Dame Primary and Middle schools.

In addition to his work with the Building2Learn Consortium, Schmidt also has served the Project Lead the Way initiative at school districts in the region and he assisted with the Messmer High School mentoring program that helped mentor five students through college. He also is a member of the Community Warehouse facilities committee and has led and contributed to efforts to address code violations and other facilities improvements at two of the organization’s sites.

“(Joe) has joined private, public and charter school leaders, along with innovative providers of pre-apprenticeship educational options, to create pilot projects that offer real change to our local educational landscape,” said Jim Piatt, president of Messmer Catholic Schools and a board member of Building2Learn. “Joe cares deeply about all Milwaukee students, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, having pathways to productive careers and post-secondary education options.”

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