Pewaukee native and NFL star J.J.
Watt shakes hands with Suzanne Kelley, president of the
Waukesha County Business Alliance, after his speech
Wednesday at the
Brookfield Suites Hotel and Convention Center.
BROOKFIELD - Pewaukee-native and NFL defensive end J.J.
Watt spoke to over 250 businessmen and women at the
Brookfield Suites Hotel and Convention Center Wednesday
as part of the Waukesha County Business Alliance’s AMP!
about integrating his personal motto, “Dream Big Work Hard,”
into the business world, as well as finding motivation from
unusual places and surrounding himself with the right people. He
also talked about the importance of remembering your roots and
the place you came from.
“I don't care
how big you get, how famous you get or how successful you get,"
Watt said. "If you forget how you got there, you'll lose it
The 2012 NFL
Defensive Player of the Year said he still conducts his
off-season workouts at Pewaukee High School.
describe Watt's charitable organization
University of Wisconsin football star also runs a charitable
organization, the Justin J. Watt Foundation, which provides
funding for middle schools so they can offer after-school
athletic activities for their students.
“It all came
about because as a sophomore (at UW), J.J. heard a story about a
kid who hadn't been participating in after-school sports,”
Watt's father, John, said. “His school lost its funding, so he
came home and subsequently got himself in a little bit of
trouble. J.J. said, ‘Well, I think there is something I can do
the foundation as a junior at UW, and in the four years since,
it has raised nearly $1 million - over half of which has already
been put back into schools.
also runs an annual 5k run/walk fundraiser, which will be held
at Waukesha County Technical College on June 2. In the three
years it has been run, the event has grown from 100 to 750
participants and has helped raise over $40,000.
(kids) get shut down before they even get a chance? They should
not be hindered by what the schools cannot provide,” said Watt's
mother, Connie, who runs the foundation. “We just want to make
sure that if we can do something about it, we definitely want to
take the opportunity.”
has given money to dozens of middle schools and organizations in
Wisconsin - including over $40,000 to the Milwaukee Public
Schools for football and wrestling equipment - but has also
spread the wealth to Illinois, Alabama and Texas, where Watt
plays for the Houston Texans.
praises NFL star
Suzanne Kelley, president of the Waukesha County Business
Alliance, Watt's speech drew the largest audience of the year
for the monthly series.
messages that resonate with business people as well as the
younger generation about working hard, commitment and ethics,"
she said. "It is great to get a local guy with his background
and his caliber, to have him bring his message to our