Volunteer in this Community
Ways we help in this Community
Donate to this Community
How you can help in this community
Hear More from this Community

Never Miss a Chance to Do the Most Good

Please enter your name, email and zip code below to sign up!

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please enter a valid email address
Please enter a valid zip code

What is your story? How did you end up in Milwaukee?Ian Abston

I was born and raised in Colombia, and I moved to the United States for College to attend the University of Florida (Go Gators!), where I graduated with a degree in Aerospace and Mechanical engineering. I was recruited by Rockwell Automation #clocktower for a Leadership Rotational Program, in which every six months I will be in a new location with a different Job. Within the first 6 months here in MKE I wanted to move away in the hopes that one of my rotations will take me somewhere warmer, specially after moving here straight from Miami. Simple questions , like "why did I needed a shovel in the trunk of my car?", were tough to comprehend at the time, but the warmth of the Midwest culture, and the new friendship families created, always made me want to come back after every trip.

What keeps you in Milwaukee/What do you like best about Milwaukee?

I love the people in Milwaukee. My family is in Miami and Colombia, but I have been blessed with friendships here in MKE that have turned into family. I travel a lot for work and I never seen so much love and pride given to a city from its long term natives and the transplants. Love and Pride that is not based on a national popularity, but on the experiences and relationships formed here.

Favorite spot in the city?

The Lakefront/Lake Michigan for Sailing. The Eastside for living.

Milwaukee festival you are eager to attend each year?

Bastille Days, Summer Solstice and Beerfest.

What drew you to Echelon?

When I worked at Rockwell Automation, I use to lead the Latino Resource group that allowed me to help organize a lot of community events to give back through partner organizations like United Way. All those hours of volunteering stopped once I left the Corporate world in 2015, and I was looking for a mission fit of an organization to volunteer with, and I found Echelon thanks to Brandon Tshacher July 2016.

Share with us a memorable experience you have had thus far with the organization.

It's been very short time since I started, but everyone has been amazing at welcoming new members and I couldn't be happier with the first volunteer events I have participated: WISN Class act phone bank and the five star dining.

What struggles do you see our city dealing with? What can our generation do to help?

When I moved to Milwaukee, I visited different areas of the city just to familiarize myself with my new environment, and I saw first hand the extreme segregation that didn't seem apparent when living downtown. As someone that is extremely proud to be in the United States and the melting pot of other cultures that we live in here as a nation, I was still very sadden by how much ignorance on other cultures was expressed by a lot of the Wisconsin natives. The root for intolerance and conflicts seen first hand were based on just lack of knowledge and stereotypes. Our generation should focus on education and setting examples through groups like Echelon that will attract other young professionals to Southern Wisconsin and will influence those around us to not fear the problems we face as a community , but to act on them in a collective effort.