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Regional Profiles – Mid West – The Fonz, Motorcycles and Beer

Quick quiz: Which United States city ranks fifth in terms of the number of Fortune 500 company headquarters as a share of its population? If you guessed any city besides Milwaukee, Wisconsin – you were wrong. I’ll give you a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor.

As any true fan of Wayne’s World knows, Milwaukee is an Algonquian word meaning “good land.” With easy access to Lake Michigan and other waterways, over 15,000 acres of parks and an internationally renowned art museum Milwaukee lives up to its name. Long known for its numerous breweries, the city has diversified its economy in recent decades to include health care, electronics and transportation. Thanks to this diversification, Milwaukee has been less affected by the current economic turmoil than many other major American cities. In fact, the website forbes.com just ranked Milwaukee as the number one city in which to look for a job in 2009. A year earlier, Forbes also wrote that Milwaukee was a top 10 city for young professionals based on job prospects, quality of life and – no joke – the “attractive population.”

With the Milwaukee Brewers making the Major League Baseball playoffs and the Milwaukee Bucks slated to make a similar statement in the National Basketball Association, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy outside of work. Every summer the city hosts the US Bank Championship, the very first PGA Tour event that Tiger Woods participated in as a professional. The area will also host the 2009 PGA Championship, one of the four largest golf tournaments in the world, for the second time in the last four years. For music lovers, there is the annual Summerfest which is the world’s largest music festival. Live musical acts are offered on 11 stages for 11 days, attracting over one million people each year. Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Bon Jovi and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are just some of the many acts to have graced the stages of Summerfest.

In the film “Love Actually”, one of the British characters travels to Milwaukee to see in person the land of beautiful women that he has observed in beer commercials. While I don’t want to give away the ending to those who haven’t seen it, let’s just say his quest is successful. I can’t promise similar success on your own love-seeking journey, but I can guarantee you that a trip to Milwaukee will be a rewarding outing no matter what you’re looking for.

February 17, 2009
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