Port High graduate brings local connection as new senior planner
In his position as senior planner with the municipal consulting firm Mead & Hart, Dustin Wolff is new to the Village of Saukville.
However, his long-standing connection to Saukville and Port Washington made the assignment feel “like a homecoming for me.”
That was the assessment Wolff gave at recent meetings of the village’s Plan Commission, Community Development Authority and Village Board.
The three meetings were held within a two-hour period, and served as his introduction to local officials after the village hired the Madison-based firm to provide planning services.
Wolff grew up in Port Washington and graduated from Port Washington High School in 1990.
His grandfather was Mel Werking, a former Port Washington mayor and alderman who with his wife Marge ran Werking’s Dairy Haus restaurant in Port.
“I know I am a new face, but I grew up here. You can imagine how popular any place was with kids that served ice cream,” Wolff said.
He said he also has relatives in Saukville.
Wolff has a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he also earned his bachelor’s degree in history.
He has 20 years of experience in urban and regional planning, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and the American Planning Association.
Wolff has been a planning consultant with municipalities in Wisconsin and Illinois. Among those clients are the villages of Grafton and Oostburg.
He is currently the consulting planner for Lake Mills, Ledgeview and Burke in Wisconsin, and Sterling, Ill.
“When you work as a municipal planner, you don’t often get the opportunity to come back home and have a hand in shaping the community you came from,” he said.
“It is nice to start a position where you have some institutional knowledge — the learning curve is shortened.”
Wolff stressed that he is just part of the Mead & Hunt team that has been working on municipal planning since 1900.
“There is a team behind me, and there is strength in numbers. We have been around a long time and we aren’t going anywhere,” he told officials.
At the time the village contracted with the economic development firm, Village President Barb Dickmann said the intent was to position the village look for — not just react to — development opportunities.
Wolff agreed that should be his firm’s top priority.
“The goal is not to pit our community against the others, but you want to make sure you are as competitive as you can be with communities like Port Washington and Grafton,” he said.
Dickmann said one of the primary tasks Wolff will be given is to develop strategies to bring more residential development to the community.
“That is something we need to fix,” she said.