John Constantine, general manager of The Wisconsin Club
, is retiring from the role after 27 years.
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John Constantine, general manager of The Wisconsin Club, at the city club location.[/caption]
The private club’s board has named Kevin Ehlert to replace him beginning May 1. Ehlert has more than 28 years of general management, food and beverage and operations experience at both nonprofit and for-profit clubs. Most recently, he was clubhouse director at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minnesota. He also has served as general manager of The Metropolitan Club in San Francisco, the Sutter Club in Sacramento and The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis.
Constantine, 63, informed the club’s membership in October that he would be retiring within a year. The Wisconsin Club board conducted a nationwide search which included at least two dozen candidates, then brought the top four in for interviews. Ehlert was selected in early March.
“The club is in a very strong position,” a club spokesperson said. “To make sure there is a very smooth transition, John will be working with Kevin for several months, probably as late as Oct. 1.”
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Constantine also has signed a two-year consulting agreement with The Wisconsin Club. No other staffing changes are planned as part of this transition, the spokesperson said.
“John was very successful in building a good management team that has been in place for years,” the spokesman said. “We’d like to keep the team in place and keep doing what we’re doing.”
The Wisconsin Club has 1,400 members. When Constantine became general manager in 1990, there were just 370 members and the downtown Milwaukee club was struggling. He has worked to improve amenities and attract new members, invested $30 million in improvements, and also oversaw the 2009 acquisition of Brynwood Country Club on Milwaukee’s north side, which is now known as the Wisconsin Club Country Club. The Wisconsin Club’s 2016 revenue was more than $12 million. The club has about 90 full-time employees and up to 150 part-time employees during peak season.
Constantine and Ehlert both declined to comment for this story.
“I think he accomplished everything he wanted to,” the spokesperson said of Constantine. “I think he wants to spend more time with his wife and traveling.”
In his letter to members in October, Constantine thanked the membership and said:
"I’m confident that the new general manager will continue the tradition of providing the best private club experience for members and guests."
BizTimes Milwaukee detailed the evolution of The Wisconsin Club and other area private clubs in a 2016 cover story