Posted by Bill Selzer on Nov 07, 2022

On November 9, 2022 the Elmbrook Rotary Club (ERC) announced Neil Palmer, President, Village of Elm Grove, as the recipient of the 6th annual Business Person of the Year Award. The program recognizes the leadership and accomplishments of a successful Brookfield or Elm Grove individual.

Neil Palmer has served the Village of Elm Grove as a Trustee for fourteen years and as Village President for seventeen. Village government structure in Wisconsin is a unique arrangement. In most areas, board members possess the authority and the rights, and the Village President has no veto power. The Village President does, however, nominate all committee members—trustees and citizen members. None of the Board members are full-time, and Village operations are managed by hired professionals. Palmer's strategies for success were hiring good people and recognizing the Village President is achieved by being a leader—not a boss.

Before launching his consulting company in 1994, Neil spent 21 years with Wisconsin Electric Power Company in a number of positions of increasing responsibility. Neil Palmer & Associates was founded to assist clients to evaluate, site, permit and construct major projects, especially those in regulated energy industries. Neil’s success led to work for clients in industrial development, landfill, communications and the railroad industries.

Under Neil Palmer’s boards, The Village saved Tonawanda Elementary School, brought a safe sidewalk down Juneau Boulevard, facilitated the addition of Watermark Condominiums, and prevented the teardown of the original St. Mary’s Church— these are just a few of the many projects that have occurred during Palmer's 31 years of service.

Perhaps, one of the most important contributions has been Neil’s work following the devastating flood of 1998. Neil led a multi-year project to develop a crucial village-wide storm water management plan involving state and regional efforts. This resulted in the Village Park being re-imagined and re-developed into the popular and vibrant space it is today. He continues to work towards the revitalization of the downtown, the daylighting of the creek through the business district, and the consideration of the School Sisters of Notre Dame campus redevelopment as current top priorities.

Pictured from left: Doug Jacobson, Tom Michalski (ERC Business Person Selection Committee), Neil Palmer (ERC 2022 Business Person of the Year), Steve Ponto (Mayor, City of Brookfield), Ralph Gould (ERC Award Program Chair)