Leo Ries, longtime executive director of Local Initiatives Support Corporation’s Milwaukee office, will move on from the organization at the end of April to explore a new personal and professional direction.
LISC Milwaukee, a neighborhood revitalization-focused nonprofit that is part of a national organization, announced Ries’ exit on Monday. He has served as the nonprofit’s executive director since February 2000.
In an announcement issued by LISC Milwaukee, Ries said the “timing is right” for a leadership transition in the organization and for a transition in his personal life.
“From a personal standpoint, I still have a lot I want to contribute to the community, but also feel a strong calling to outside interests, especially since my wife recently retired,” Ries said. “From an agency perspective, LISC is as strong as ever and positioned well to thrive under the fresh perspective of a new leader.”
Since Ries took over the helm of LISC Milwaukee 15 years ago, the organization has expanded its program base to include partnerships with the Milwaukee Police Department and the development of the Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) program, a 28-week course that prepares minority students for careers in real estate development, property management and construction management.
LISC Milwaukee now operates with seven employees, up from three when Ries started.
“Leo’s advocacy for Milwaukee neighborhoods and commitment to bettering our community is exemplary,” said Lisa Glover, chairwoman of LISC Milwaukee’s advisory board and member of the LISC National board of directors. “The progress that LISC has made under Leo’s leadership speaks for itself. We are sincerely grateful for his years of service and wish him the best of luck in his new endeavors.”
As LISC’s national office and a local advisory board search for the nonprofit’s next executive director, Chick Vliek, program vice president, will lead the organization as interim executive director.
In the last 20 years, LISC Milwaukee has generated more than $368 million in development costs of its neighborhood revitalization projects. On Wednesday, the nonprofit will celebrate its 16th annual MANDI (Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation) program, when it will salute successful redevelopment projects transforming central city neighborhoods.