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Curtain call

By JENNIFER HUNHOLZ

February 2014

It’s been 12 years since Gary Witt was named executive director and president of The Pabst Theater. While his accomplishments have been more than impressive, it’s clear that Witt’s first priority is the betterment of our city. Witt shares his most memorable moments, the importance of supporting local businesses and Milwaukee’s promising future.
 

1. What has been your most memorable experience so far?

"(Most memorable) is the role that we have played in developing an entertainment community in our city, and from that, the impact this has had in assisting our city in gaining a soul and an identity. I believe we help tell the story that this city is safe, it is doable, it is exciting and that something is happening downtown that you need to be here to experience. 

Secondly, developing and working as a part of the Pabst staff (has been memorable). This team is self-contained and super-charged to get things done. Their focus, determination, creativity and passion are inspiring, and they make everything that we do possible."
 

2. What measures does the organization use to engage and benefit the local community?

"Every single decision that we have made from the very beginning was based upon, ‘Will this be good for Milwaukee?’ For example, that is what inspired our relationship with Colectivo over one with a larger national chain. We believe that making our city stronger makes our business stronger."
 

3. How do you see Milwaukee’s entertainment community evolving?

"Our business began over a decade ago doing $308,000 in sales; we did more than $15 million in 2013. So much has changed in our city during that decade. So many entrepreneurs are now choosing to do what they do here. And as a result of that decision, they are doing it and making an impact in the future of our city. Where else can you do that? Do the work that you love to do and at the same time make a lasting difference in a city? Bay View, the Fifth Ward, Riverwest, Brady Street and the Third Ward are the engines that drive our city. I am really pleased that we at The Pabst are a part of this movement." 


This story ran in the February 2014 issue of: