Last week, I speculated that our region may have been to some extent held back by what I called our "backwater mentality." This week, I want to suggest two industries that I think Milwaukee should invest in and develop in order to overcome the geographical limitations that do make us to some extent a "backwater" -- our proximity to Chicago and our Lake Michigan shoreline.
I believe two industries that can help us transcend our geographical limitations are the Communications industry and the Spa industry, both of which have a long history of success in this region.
In Communications, I see room for growth at the university level. I propose that Marquette U. explore the possibility of setting up and running a Jesuit-based cable TV news channel. And I propose that UWM explore the possibility if setting up and running an international film cable TV channel. For such enterprises to succeed, our location would not really be a factor. More important would be our talents and our ability to build on our traditions.
Since Milwaukee has long been known for its hospitality -- indeed, we pride ourselves on that -- and since our region has a long history of being a Spa destination (Waukesha's recuperative spring waters were but one example), why not set out to achieve world-class status in this field? With an accessible international airport, if we were to train workers and develop a reputation as a premier Spa destination, again our location would not be a factor.
What do you think? Do you see these as promising fields for the Milwaukee area to explore? What are your suggestions for overcoming our geographical limitations and growing our economy? I do not think there is any argument that economic growth is our region's top priority, or any question that with such growth, all of our other problems would to some extent be made easier to address.