Thomas J. Kuesel, Bus Ad ’56
For Thomas Kuesel, change starts in his own backyard. A graduate of Marquette University High School and Marquette University, Thomas has been a major supporter of redevelopment in Merrill Park, the neighborhood that abuts them both.
Created in 1879 by Sherburn Merrill, general manager of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad, to house the more than 2,500 workers employed in the company’s massive railroad shop complex, the neighborhood was first settled by German and English immigrants. After a huge fire in Milwaukee’s Third Ward, it also housed displaced Irish families. Now home to many African-Americans, as well, it’s one of Milwaukee’s most ethnically diverse enclaves.
Thomas, founder and president of the Milwaukee property management firm Kuesel and Company, has focused his support on rehabilitating houses in Merrill Park for home ownership. He hopes that by giving more residents a true ownership stake, he can help improve the quality of life in the vibrant but sometimes troubled neighborhood.
Thomas is also a founding member of Marquette’s Center for Real Estate, created in 2008 to further teaching and research in the commercial business. The center promotes employment opportunities for minority professionals through its ACRE program.
Other “backyard” charities supported by Thomas over the years include Columbia-St. Mary’s Hospital, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Milwaukee Archdiocese and Marquette University High School.
Asked to name his biggest achievement, Thomas responds, “Meeting Marolyn, my wife of 52 years, at Marquette and having six children and 16 grandchildren.”
He says, “Marquette University certainly played a large part in my business career, from the strong faculty to the number of contacts made and used over the years.”