Clark Wantoch
Clark Wantoch

Wisconsin Concrete Pipe Association Executive Director
Milwaukee, Wis.
Employees: 150
Budget: $1 million

Clark Wantoch didn’t move into the private sector when he retired after 34 years with the City of Milwaukee. He remained true to his public-sector roots.

Sort of.

Since January, the 1986 Marquette University graduate managed a non-profit organization that certifies makers of reinforced concrete pipe used on federal- and state-funded infrastructure projects. His 10 board members own these manufacturing plants. As business owners with their livelihood on the line, they’re similar to elected officials who don’t want an infrastructure failure or poor service to hinder their re-election chances.

Become the go-to person for when elected officials need help.

Luckily, Wantoch’s an excellent salesman.

You have to be to develop a system for monitoring and controlling capital improvements from concept through completion. Two hundred planning, surveying, design, drafting, sewer, water, street lighting, traffic control, contracting, and inspection employees enter information into an Oracle database as projects develop. Salaries and hours by project are downloaded from Milwaukee’s financial management information system into the database and used to estimate and track costs.

Wantoch has seven rules of thumb for managing expectations:

  • Keep an open door
  • Be honest, reliable, and trustworthy
  • Provide factual and accurate information
  • Listen to elected officials’ concerns and provide timely feedback to them and to their constituents
  • If the response will take time, let them know and provide an expected date for the response
  • Follow through with what you say you will do
  • Become the go-to person when help is needed.