BROOKFIELD - Todd Willis and his 10-year-old son are
enjoying a wonderful summer.
Willis is the city of Brookfield’s new Economic
Development Coordinator. He took the position in November of last
year after serving the city as a Community Development intern from
October of 2015 to November of 2016.
Enough chatter, for a moment, about titles and
Willis’ son is baseball crazy, and the Milwaukee
Brewers are enjoying a banner campaign two-thirds through this long
season. Willis said can, probably, easily name every man on the
Brewers’ 25-man roster.
later this summer, father and son are joining other family members
for a road trip to Burlington, Vt., to catch a few games of the
Vermont Lake Monsters. The Lake Monsters are the short-season, Class
A-ball affiliate of the Oakland Athletics.
Between work, baseball and being a dad, Willis is
clearly a busy man who is enjoying his position in Brookfield.
“Brookfield really does have a great community, and a
great sense of place,” Willis said. “It kind of sells itself.”
The city of Brookfield’s status as one of the
Wisconsin’s economic titans is well-established. The city of
Brookfield boasts a population of roughly 38,000, and is the
18th-largest city in Wisconsin.
In terms of equalized value, though, Brookfield is
third - behind only Milwaukee and Madison.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue,
equalized value is the estimated value of all taxable real and
personal property in each taxation district, by class of property,
as of January 1.
Willis said a big portion of his job involves being a
go-between for government officials and would-be developers on the
issues of locating a business, development and the accompanying
“A big part of my job is basically being a mediator
between city government and the business community,” Willis said. “I
get a lot of questions regarding permits, or what do I need to do to
find space, or redo this space.”
Upon receiving a request from an interested party,
Willis starts working within City Hall to streamline the process of
getting answers to questions, all in an effort to keep development
moving. Willis also works with state and federal officials on issues
related to economic development.
In his short time in Brookfield, Willis said he’s
been involved with the effort to bring a conference center and new
hotel to Brookfield Square, and also with updating the Bishop Woods
According to numerous published reports, Brookfield
Square might soon host a conference center and hotel. The site of
the former Sears Auto Center, which closed earlier this year, might
be redeveloped as a movie theater and entertainment complex.
Bishop Woods is in a slight state of flux after
longtime resident Bader Rutter, a business marketing agency,
relocated to downtown Milwaukee. Other properties in the development
have changed hands in recent months.
Willis said he started working on plans for Bishop’s
Woods while an intern.
“There are challenges,” Willis said. “That’s one of
the things I like - coming up with innovative ways to solve the
challenges posed to me.”
Willis is a believer in municipal government, and his
background and education are proof. Hopefully, he is able to answer
any and all challenges of his new position, and continue to drive
Brookfield as part of the thriving, economic engine that is Waukesha
“I’ve always enjoyed economic development, and it’s
something I’ve always wanted to do,” Willis said. “My education
background is a master’s in public administration, and this is
certainly an arm of that. It’s kind of an uncharted route of getting
to economic development.”