Posted by Bill Selzer on Oct 31, 2022

Every year the Elmbrook Rotary honors a local businessperson “For Outstanding Business Achievement and Community Service”. This year’s recipient, Neal Palmer, was introduced by Rotarians Ralph Gould and Doug Jacobson.

For 21 years, Neal was employed by Wisconsin Electric. In 1994, he started the consulting firm Neal Palmer and Associates. His company was founded “to assist clients with efforts to evaluate, site, permit and construct major projects”.

Over the past 31 years, Neal has volunteered and served as a Trustee on the Village of Elm Grove Board for 14 years followed by 17 years as Board President. During his tenure, he served on numerous village committees and as President, lead the Village Board in the following:

· Due to the extensive damage in the 1998 flood, a multi-year village wide storm water management plan was developed, resulting in the Village Park and other sites being reimagined and redeveloped. This was a successful regional and state flood mitigation project.

· Keeping Tonawanda Elementary School open

· Funding a sidewalk on Juneau Blvd. west of the railroad tracks, that provides a safe pedestrian access to the Village Park

· The Preservation of the Old St. Mary’s Church on the corner of Watertown Plank and Juneau Blvd.

· The addition of the Watermark Condominium project

· Development of a Master Plan for the revitalization of the downtown area

· Daylighting of the creek through the business district

· The Sisters of Notre Dame campus redevelopment project

As this year’s recipient, Neal thanked the Rotary members for this honor and their service. He recognized and thanked his wife for her support. He also thanked Jill Varick and Jennifer Morales from the Audubon Society, who also attended the event.

Neal’s philosophy, echoes that of his grandfather’s, “You don’t have the right to complain about anything if you are not willing to try and change it”.

Over the years he has embraced the belief, as a leader, that “Everybody brings knowledge. If you come into the room with the understanding, we all have the same goal, lets try to figure out how we get from here to there and best way possible.”

Neal said, "As president, you layout the issues that need to be addressed, keep at them until you get them solved, and try to bring people together”.

He credited the success of many village projects to the talents of those board members, resident volunteers, and professionals he served with through the years.

In closing, Neal emphasized the importance of public service, and encouraged residents to “get involved in your local government”.

And if you, a loved one, or friend want to be more connected to our community, please check out a 7a Friday morning meeting with the Elmbrook Rotary Club!