Schanning, who in recent months has worked for the city as real estate compliance liaison officer, assumes her new role Dec. 20.
She succeeds Frank Nicotera
, who retires at the end of the year after 15 years with the MWF as general counsel and CAO.
“I am thrilled to be joining the MWF team. I have always been a big fan and supporter of Summerfest and look forward to playing a role in keeping it successful for many years to come,” Schanning said. “I have known Frank Nicotera for several years and realize that I have very big shoes to fill as he retires, but I am ready to meet that challenge.”
Prior to her most recent role, Schanning was deputy city attorney from April 2016 to Feburary 2021. Before that, she worked as an assistant city attorney. While with the city, she supervised a team of attorneys representing the City of Milwaukee and its Redevelopment Authority and Housing Authority, the Port of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Public Library and Milwaukee Public Schools.
Schanning also provided project oversight for the city’s role in the development of Fiserv Forum, the Hop streetcar, Lakefront Gateway Project, downtown Northwestern Mutual Tower and the Couture residential tower. She also negotiated leases for Discovery World, the Milwaukee Art Museum and Harbor House restaurant, according to a MWF announcement.
Schanning also has experience with events, having helped with the city’s negotiations to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
“I have always been impressed with Mary’s ability to collaborate with a diverse group of stakeholders, in addition to her proven track record and commitment to our community,” said Don Smiley, president and chief executive officer of MWF. “I am confident she will bring these unique abilities, as well as her impressive legal background to this role. Mary is a fantastic lawyer with great insights and she is a wonderful person.”
Schanning sits on the State Bar of Wisconsin Board of Governors and is a former president of the State Bar Government Lawyers Division Board. From 2017 to 2018, she served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court Appointment Selection Committee.