By Thomas J. McKillen
A job transfer brought Kevin Nash and his family to Germantown while a love for the community will keep him here.
“Once my wife came up here and she asked if we ever got another job transfer or something would happen, where would we go? I said, ‘This is it, we found home,’” Nash said during a recent interview. “I felt early on we’re staying here for the long haul. I’ve just been so blessed to be in the business that I’m in to help people for 25 years, helping people in such a way that has built and strengthened the community.”
Nash was raised in the Chicago area and he and his family lived in Kenosha before moving to Germantown in 1997 when his wife got a job transfer to Brio Toys, which had a Germantown location. Nash started his real estate career in Germantown in 1998 and said he has “never looked back.”
“By 1999, we knew that we wanted to call this home. I thought it was particularly interesting and of value that so many residents live here and their families go back to the very beginning,” Nash said. In his work as a realtor for Shorewest Realtors, Nash has played a part in bringing people into the Metro Milwaukee area and Germantown.
“I know the Milwaukee metro. Seeing the community for what it is, celebrating the community — I love Milwaukee. I love metro Milwaukee, having helped so many families through the years. People think it’s and easy job — it’s really not. It takes a lot of patience, it takes a lot of fortitude — you’ve got to know a lot of people,” Nash said. “I’ve moved people into Germantown that grew up here, moved away and came back. I’ve helped people with job transfers. I’ve helped first timers, end of life people in the transitions, I’m proud of what I’ve done because people need the help and if I can help people, then I’ve been rewarded.”
Nash took the advice of the late Steve Spaulding, who suggested Nash get involved in the community. Nash’s first became involved in the community with Leadership Menomonee Falls, where his office was located at the time. From there, Nash became involved in Germantown activities. Nash has been a Chamber of Commerce Ambassador since 2000 and was in the inaugural Leadership Germantown Inaugural class in 2000. Nash has been on the Leadership Germantown board since 2003 and is a past president of the organization. He is also a past president of the Germantown Historical Society and a volunteer coordinator and emcee for the Oktoberfest Committee since 2003. He served as chair of the Great Circus Train Committee from 2000 to 2003, has been involved with more than 40 Germantown parades, participated in food collections for the local food pantry, has served Life Church as an usher and Life Group leader and has participated in the Citizen’s Police Academy.
Nash’s community sponsorships have included the Performing Arts Pavilion, Dheinsville Pavilion, Germantown Community Scholarship Fund, Leadership Germantown Scholarships the annual Oktoberfest festival, a Taste of Germantown, Police K9 operations, and he has been a Germantown Chamber of Commerce member since 2002. Nash was selected as Citizen of the Year by the Germantown Chamber of Commerce in 2013.
During an interview, Nash mentioned the sponsorships at the Performing Arts Pavilion and Dheinsville Pavilion as examples of committing to the community where his children are being raised.
“We did that for the legacy for our grandchildren so they can come back to those parks and they can enjoy the facilities and see that grandma and grandpa were a part of that,” Nash said. “The community has responded to me by trusting me to sell their home and helping people move in and out and in turn we give back to the community.” Nash also mentioned the Maifest and Oktoberfest festivals in the village, which are both a celebration of the people who moved to the area and the community they helped to create.
“It’s a celebration you would think of German roots, but what it’s morphed into is a celebration of the community of Germantown because we’re such a close knit group. People love it here, and rightfully so,” Nash said.
Nash said his interest in the village’s history was spurred by Irene Blau. Other people who have influenced Nash over the years include former Police Chief Peter Hoell, current Village President Dean Wolter, BMO Harris Vice President Glenn Schroeder, and Life Church Pastors Aaron Cole and Ryan Coggins. “All men with great vision and a passion for servant leadership,” said Nash of Hoell, Wolter, Schroeder, Cole and Coggins. He added that Carol Miller of Server Products is “an amazing woman who always gets things done.”
Having been a part of the village since the late 1990s, Nash has seen first hand how the village has grown. Nash explained how the village had approximately 11,000 residents at the time his family moved to the village, a figure that had grown to approximately 22,000 residents. During that time, a new library was opened and there have been upgrades in the parks in the Germantown schools. Nash noted how Leadership Germantown has been involved with the village over the past 20 years, with leadership classes that include representatives from local government and business.
“As the village has changed in the last 20 years, Leadership Germantown has integrated with municipal departments, police department, county government, local government and businesses as well as has the community in putting all of those people together in a room for a leadership project for nine months out of the year,” Nash said. “Relationships begin to grow within the community as the community begins to grow.”
When asked about how he would want to see the village grow over the next 25 years, Nash mentioned there should be an effort to preserve the rural character of the village north of Freistadt Road along with advancing the schools and keeping them relevant, specifically mentioning the industrial arts portion of the high school (which was added following the approval of a 2016 referendum). “That’s amazing, that’s where the future is in these young kids,” Nash said. “Just so we don’t lose our identity of who are as a people.”
Nash later reflected on the community’s commitment to preserving past while living in the present.
“Germantown is a special place with a deep sense of community which started in 1842 but carries on through today. We have things which are unique to the village, the park names, building architecture and festivals to celebrate were the village came from and to celebrate who we are,” he said.
He then added: “As we’ve grown, my sincerest of hope is that we don’t change the core of who we are, the same core of the earliest pioneers, people who migrated to a place with similar values of community and family , a place where we celebrate who we truly are, a caring community.”