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Joe Sensenbrenner


Professional arc: With early training in law and politics I have sought opportunities and learning experiences with people who want to improve their community’s integrity and success. Most recently, I have pursued the concept of civic resilience through Center for Resilient Cities, a not-for-profit based in Madison, Wisconsin, in practical application of the best/continuously improving community practices. I have served as President of the Board for a decade.

Formal Education: Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, Williams College, 1970 (Classics and Honors Political Economy); Juris Doctor, University of Pennsylvania, 1973; Total Quality Control Seminar with W. Edwards Deming, George Washington University, 1985 and 1991.

Related Employment: Office of the Governor, State of Wisconsin, Chief of Staff, 1975-77: Legal Counsel, 1973-75; Office of the Attorney General, State of Wisconsin, Deputy Attorney General, 1977-83; Mayor, City of Madison, Wisconsin, 1983-89 (three terms); President, Sensenbrenner Associates, 1989-2009

Major Practice and Learning Areas:

Total Quality Management As the chief executive of a city of 200,000, led the pioneering efforts to adapt and expand cutting edge private sector practices across the wide range of municipal government services.

Systems Thinking Extended consulting with state and local governments into systems view of government activities. Worked with governments and colleagues in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

Resilience / Civic Virtue / Engagement  Developing organizations and methods to integrate world-class partners in intensive urban agriculture (Community GroundWorks; Will Allen / Growing Power), energy conservation (Madison Gas & Electric, LEED Platinum design), educational reform (Badger Rock Middle School [public charter school]), neighborhood support (Badger Rock Neighborhood Center), neighborhood civic metrics (Professor Michael Bell, University of Wisconsin-Madison) and regulation of attention and emotion (Center for Investigating Healthy Minds – UW-Madison). The Badger Rock Center serves as a working pilot, the first of its kind to bring together this unique mix of partners and activities. The Center opened its doors to the community in August 2012.

Selected Publications: “Quality Comes to City Hall”, Harvard Business Review, March-April 1991; “Quality in the Community: One City’s Experience”, Quality Progress, April 1991; “Quality For Cities”, Nation’s Business, October 1991.

Joe was recognized by In Business magazine as “Visionary of the Year” for 2012.