By Shereen Siewert

Wausau has chosen a former executive director of the River District to lead economic development for the city, roughly one year after the departure of former director Chris Schock.

Elizabeth Brodek, who led the Wausau River District for three years until her exit in March 2018, will step into her new role in August.

Wausau Human Resources Director Toni Vanderboom said Brodek was one of nine candidates who applied. Of those, seven were granted an interview and Brodek was the sole finalist.

Brides, in an email to Wausau Pilot & Review, said she is thrilled to return to her “adopted” hometown.

“I am honored, grateful, and humbled at this opportunity, and really excited to work with so many amazing people again,” Brodek said. “I look forward to all the great things we will do, inclusively, for our community to benefit generations to come.”

Brodek is currently the executive director of the Historic Downer Avenue Business Improvement District in Milwaukee, a role she has held since August. She also serves as executive director of the East Side Business Improvement District, a partner in Milwaukee’s efforts to develop and support strong businesses and the community on the east side of the city.

Before moving to Milwaukee, Brodek was communications and promotions coordinator for Downtown Eau Claire, Inc. She is a Marquette University Law School graduate, and practiced nonprofit criminal defense in Milwaukee for a short time before shifting to downtown development. Brodek previously held local board positions on the Wausau Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission, Wausau Young Professionals group, and Central Wausau Progress, among others. She is vice-president of the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters board of directors, according to her LinkedIn profile, and is on the board of the Wisconsin Downtown Action Council, Inc.

Wausau’s top economic development spot has been empty for a year, though Sean Fitzgerald, who was hired as the city’s business development specialist, served as a point of contact between business leaders and city staff during his year-long tenure with the city. Fitzgerald’s role changed significantly after Schock resigned in June 2020, but he ultimately left Wausau in May.

Brodek will earn $104,894.40 annually not including benefits, Vanderboom said. Her official start date is Aug. 11.