Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Transition and momentum at the Forum

An item in the Journal Sentinel this morning noted the Public Policy Forum is in the market for a new president. That's because I notified the Forum's Board of Trustees that I will be stepping down as president early next year. I wanted the board to have time to make this a smooth transition. The board has formed a transition committee headed by Bill Haberman, the board chairman. The board and its committee will identify my successor over the next few months.

As for me, I intend to stay active in the Forum and do what I can to help honor the Forum's 94-year civic tradition of non-partisan policy analysis. I also want to help keep up the momentum we started a few years ago -- concentrating on regional competitiveness, workforce development, race relations, environmental concerns (especially water resource management) and other public policy issues that are central to southeastern Wisconsin's future.

What the Journal Sentinel's online story mentioned, but the printed version didn't, is the reason for my decision to make this transition. Last month, I led a delegation of 18 Milwaukeeans to Hanoi, Vietnam, to explore the possibilities for cultural, humanitarian and business relationships between Milwaukee and Hanoi. It was what you might call a life-changing adventure for me, and starting next year I intend to focus much of my energy on building those relationships -- and at the same time helping connect my adopted 6-year-old Vietnamese sons to their native culture.

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