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From White House to Field House


September 2014

Jesse Rosen talks with President Barack
on his way to an event.


When President Obama visited GE Healthcare in Waukesha last February, the White House called on Milwaukeean Jesse Rosen to coordinate logistics. This isnít as much of a stretch as it sounds because Rosen was a member of the White House advance team, which coordinates travel for the president, vice president and first lady. Heís now with the Jewish Community Center in Milwaukee.

On the advanced team, Rosen acted as the primary White House staff representative and coordinated all aspects of a presidential visit. "This involved consulting with Secret Service, event hosts and military staff to execute trips flawlessly," Rosen says.

But after five years organizing trips for POTUS (President of the United States) and FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States), Rosen wanted to slow down. "Iíd been spending about 300 nights a year in hotels," he says. "Itís a young personís game. I thought, ĎIíve got to come up with some sort of exit strategy from the road.í"

In November 2013, Rosen became the Maccabi Games director at the JCC, a five-day Olympic-style sports festival for Jewish teens. "I met with Mark Shapiro (executive director of the JCC) and I became much more interested in how this Olympic style sports festival could be a springboard to the bigger community."

More than 1,000 teens from across the country and around the world will arrive in Milwaukee in August 2015 for the event. "The Maccabi games have the potential to be way more than just an athletic event, but a transformative event for Jewish Milwaukee and greater Milwaukee if we do it right. Thatís what I signed on for."

"The scope of what the JCC is trying to accomplish requires somebody with Rosenís skill set. It requires a capital ĎLí leader. This man worked for the president, and now heís working for the JCC," Shapiro says.

Rosen maintains a presence in the presidential trip planning business. "As my day job permits, if the president calls you, you try to see what you can do to help," he says. For Rosen, helping involved recruiting several of his JCC colleagues as volunteers for the presidential visit in February. "Itís fun to be able to create those opportunities for people. It helps me remember that most people donít ever get to be in the same room with the president, let alone help volunteer and be a part of one of his events."

This story ran in the September 2014 issue of: