Gertie Awards


Each year since 1994, the Milwaukee Riverwalk District has awarded its Gertie Award to recipients from both the private and public sectors for their characteristics that are likened to that of Gertie the Duck.

The Gertie Award is named for the famed duck who survived on the Milwaukee River beneath Wisconsin Avenue against all odds. In 1945, the mallard was perched on top of river pilings in her nest, protecting her eggs. As she waited for her eggs to hatch, she gained attention from Milwaukeeans. Her popularity garnered her a personal guard, she received thousands of Mother’s Day postcards and letters and was visited by more than 100,000 people.

Gertie Award Winners are nominated and chosen by the Milwaukee RiverWalk District Board of Directors and are presented annually.

Past winners include:

  • Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett
  • Steve Costello, President, Bradley Center
  • Russ and Jim Klisch of Lakefront Brewery
  • Dr. Eckhart Grohmann of the Milwaukee School of Engineering and Grohmann Museum
  • Barry Mandel of The Mandel Group

PAST AWARD WINNERS

2018

Alderman James Bohl, City of Milwaukee
Captain Scott Casssavant, Milwaukee River Skimmer, Veolia Water
Will Bott, Outreach Coordinator & Coach, Milwaukee Rowing Club

2017

Alderman Nik Kovac, City of Milwaukee
Debra Patti
Beth Handle, Milwaukee Kayak Company

2016

Barry Mandel and The Mandel Group
Mike Loughran, DPW, City of Milwaukee
William Florescu and The Florentine Opera
Suzy Wood, Grucon group

2015

Wells Fargo Bank Wisconsin
Milele Coggs, 6th District Alderwoman, City of Milwaukee

2014

Dr. Eckhart Grohmann, The Grohmann Museum
Drs. Robert & Patricia Kern, Kern Family Foundation
Rocky Marcoux, City of Milwaukee - DCD

2013

Gary Witt, Pabst Foundation
Paul Upchurch, Visit Milwaukee
Ghassan Korban, Commissioner DPW

2012

John Noel, Compass Properties
Alyssa Remington, City of Milwaukee - DCD

2011

Steve Costello, Bradley Center
David Neville, Beer Capitol Distributing
Dr. Hermann Viets, Ph.D., MSOE

2009

Bruce Block, Wisconsin Preservation Fund
Alderman Robert Baumann, City of Milwaukee

2008

Debra Usinger, Usinger's Famous Sausage
Whitney Gould
Chris Abele

2007

Sue Black, Milwaukee County Parks Dept.
Gary Ahrens (Rep.), Milwaukee Rowing Club
Marsha Sehler
Tom Miller

2006

Mayor Tom Barrett
Manpower
Ed Mordy

2005

Nancy O'Keeffe, Historic Third Ward Association
Dick Wright, Historic Third Ward Assocation
Mark Warhus, Richard & Ethel Herzfeld Foundation
Dale Ruczika, Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors
Steve Johnson (Retired), Miller Brands

2004

Paul Melotik, Water Street Tavern Restaurant Assoc.
Tom Bolger, M&I Bank
Ald. Marvin Pratt (Retired), City of Milwakuee
Ed Hanrahan, Hanrahan & Associates

2003

Paul Mathews, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts
RBC Dain Rauscher

2002

Mark Irgens, Irgens Development
Bill Orenstein, Ivory Tusk

2001

Russ & Jim Klisch, Lake Palm Garden
Russ Davis, Café Vecchio & Riverboat Rentals
Ken Kay

2000

Ald. Marlene Johnson, City of Milwaukee
Mike Bartels, Bartels Management, Inc.

1999

Tom Bernacchi, Towne Realty
Shel Lozoff, Polacheck
Jack MacDonough, Miller Brewing

1998

Supervisor Sheila Aldrich, Milwaukee County
Eppstein-Uhen Architects

1997

Jim Kaminski, Dept. of Public Works
Mike Morgan, Dept. of City Development

1996

Jack Weissgerber, Weissgerber Restaurants
Ald. Paul Henningsen, City of Milwaukee
Westown Association

1995

Gerald Fogelson
Timothy Hoeksema, Midwest Airlines

1994

Mayor John Norquist, City of Milwaukee
Robert Bell, John Hawks Pub