The Most Influential People in Milwaukee

The movers and shakers and wheelers and dealers who make things happen.

Edited by Kurt Chandler | Photographs by Adam Ryan Morris

Written by Ann Christenson, Erik Gunn, Claire Hanan, Matt Hrodey, Howie Magner, Laura Merisalo, Georgia Pabst, Rich Rovito, Dan Shafer & Jon Anne Willow

They forge connections, pull the levers of change and shape the future of metro Milwaukee.

They’re politicians and CEOs, real-estate moguls and sports stars. They’re multimillionaires, entertainment kingpins, talk show hosts and social activists.

Some work behind the scenes, others front and center. Some have made the lists in the past, others are newcomers, young and creative and driven, inching their way to the top as the Old Guard falls back.

They’re the best in their class, people with access, people with clout, and they have what it takes to get things done.

We’ve ranked Milwaukee’s power players in 10 areas of influence. Read on to see who made the list. And who didn’t.

Areas include:

  • Politics & Government
  • Business & Finance
  • Sports
  • Development
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Health & Wellness
  • Philanthropy
  • Education
  • Justice System
  • Media

See the full feature story using Milwaukee Magazine‘s Member Pass for 45 cents.

‘The Most Influential People in Milwaukee’ appears in the November 2015 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find the November issue on newsstands Nov. 2

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Kurt Chandler began working at Milwaukee Magazine in 1998 as a senior editor, writing investigative articles, profiles, narratives and commentaries. He was editor in chief from August 2013-November 2015. An award-winning writer, Chandler has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer, editor and author. He has been published in a number of metro newspapers and magazines, from The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Minneapolis Star Tribune, to Marie Claire, The Writer, and He also has authored, coauthored or edited 12 books. His writing awards are many: He has won the National Headliners Award for magazine writing five times. He has been named Writer of the Year by the City & Regional Magazine Association, and Journalist of the Year by the Milwaukee Press Club. As a staff writer with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, he was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and chosen as a finalist for the Robert F. Kennedy Award. In previous lives, Chandler worked construction, drove a cab and played the banjo (not necessarily at the same time). He has toiled as a writer and journalist for three decades now and, unmindful of his sage father’s advice, has nothing to fall back on. Yet he is not without a specialized set of skills: He can take notes in the dark and is pretty good with active verbs.