Wisconsin 275
Wisconsin 275
BizTimes Media

Joel Brennan

Nonprofits and Education
President
Greater Milwaukee Committee | Milwaukee 

Earlier this year, Joel Brennan became president of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, an organization of nearly 200 CEOs and industry leaders focused on improving the civic life and economy of southeastern Wisconsin. Brennan previously was Department of Administration secretary under Gov. Tony Evers. Previously, Brennan led Discovery World in Milwaukee and was head of Milwaukee’s Redevelopment Authority.  

Education: Bachelor’s, Marquette University; master’s, University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy 

First job: “Fry Cook at Wong’s Wok at Summerfest and State Fair. I learned how to operate a deep fryer and have the scars to prove it.”  

Favorite restaurant and meal: “Harbor House. I used to ask if I could add crab cakes to the Caesar salad, and eventually they added that dish to the menu.” 

Fun fact: “Many of the relationships I developed over the years started with connections to my older siblings. (Former Milwaukee Mayor) Tom Barrett, who helped shape my career in many ways and influenced me significantly, dated one of my older sisters in high school. Frank Gimbel, who has been a friend and mentor, hired my older brother right out of law school to practice criminal law. Roy Reiman, who provided support and guidance throughout my tenure at Discovery World, employed my father more than 30 years ago.”  

Why you’re excited for the future: “I am excited about a crop of young leaders who can propel us into a stronger and brighter future.”