Citizen of the Year
Keith Farley’s contributions earn him Chamber’s top honor

By Ryan Billingham - Enterprise Staff

Nov. 6, 2014

Keith Farley was recently named Oconomowoc’s Citizen of the Year by the Oconomowoc Chamber of Commerce. He is a partner and project manager at Oliver Construction and is involved in several initiatives and organizations aimed at making the community a better place to live.
Submitted photo

OCONOMOWOC - Keith Farley grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and openly admits to being a Cubs fan. But, that hasn’t stopped him from adopting Wisconsin and Oconomowoc as his home and, judging by his contributions to the community, it’s lucky to have him.

The Oconomowoc Chamber of Commerce has honored Farley as its 2014 Citizen of the Year. He, along with the other recipients of the Oconomowoc Chamber of Commerce awards, will be officially honored at 5 p.m. Nov. 6 at the Golden Mast restaurant in Okauchee.

Farley is a partner and project manager at Oliver Construction, a career choice that brought him back to the place where he spent summers with grandparents and where his wife, Vicki, grew up.

He and Vicki are now “empty enjoyers” as he calls it, with three children - Chelsea, Macky and Conor - out pursuing their own dreams across the country.

Farley answered some questions about the honor and his service to Oconomowoc:

ENTERPRISE: First, congratulations on the honor. How does it feel to be appreciated by your community in such a manner?

FARLEY: Well, I was totally shocked to be honest when Katie Miller walked into my office to announce the award to me. I had heard about the award but was not aware that my (Director of Business Development) Timm Walker filled out the paperwork and turned it into the chamber for consideration. People that know me also know that I’m not about being recognized for what I facilitate and get other folks involved in. My achievements in what I have been recognized for are really a tribute to the people that I have asked to be part of the various groups and foundations that I belong to. It doesn’t happen without them.


ENTERPRISE: Can you talk about some of the work you’ve done in Oconomowoc?

FARLEY: Well, it really started in helping out at my church, grew into coaching my kids in various sport clubs  in fall, winter, spring. From there I saw a need in other programs - volunteer groups, clubs - to be part of. There is a part of me that doesn’t ask the “why” to things that don’t get done but (rather) why not let’s get these things done for the betterment of our community and all that it will touch for now and future generations.


ENTERPRISE: What projects really stand out as you think of your past accomplishments?

FARLEY: There are a lot of them, difficult to pin down one, exactly. I would say that the blessing is in seeing how some of the projects such as the Physical Development Center (or PDC) at the high school which will have a very everlasting impact on kids learning the joy and appreciation of conditioning the beautiful bodies that God has given us, or the impact (of what) our Teresa’s Pancreatic Cancer Foundation means to the researchers at the UW Carbone Cancer Center in Madison and cancer patients. Lastly, the Athletic Fields Forever project. I just saw a drone video done by Oconomowoc’s own Joe Haas of the completed project. It was awesome. What a facility for our kids.


ENTERPRISE: Why is giving back to the community important to you?

FARLEY: I think we are all programmed to give, you just need to start. Whether it is volunteering or sharing or contributing your talents to those in need.


ENTERPRISE: What influences in your life (people, experiences) do you draw a line to as far as community-building?

FARLEY: I saw at a young age my grandfather giving to others without asking for anything in return. My father going door to door in my neighborhood supporting a candidate for public office and leading the Christian education programs at our church while growing up. Locally, Tom Snyder, who gave back to his community tenfold with never looking for anything other than a smile and a thank-you.


ENTERPRISE: What do you think is the most satisfying part of living in Oconomowoc?

FARLEY: The beauty of the Lake Country. Where else can you leave your office at noon in the summer, grab a pull with your favorite water skiing buddy, Randy Bourdo, and be back in your office by 1 p.m.? It’s the small town, beautiful scenery, and friendly people that make this place special.