Milwaukee County Historical Society

Interview with Adam Tindall-Schlicht, October 19, 2021

MCHS Oral History Collection
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:24 - Childhood/Early Life

Play segment

Partial Transcript: [John]: So to start, Adam, just some background, where and when were you born?

Segment Synopsis: After briefly describing his plans for the next day (his birthday), Tindall-Schlicht goes through his early life and childhood, describing his parents' occupations, his "blessed" family memories, his interests in theater and student government in high school.

Keywords: Background; Birthday; Information; Parents; Theater

Subjects: Extracurriculars; Family; Life; Milwaukee, WI; Oak Creek High School; Oak Creek, WI; School

GPS: Link to map
Map Coordinates: Milwaukee, WI
00:04:16 - Higher Education/First Job

Play segment

Partial Transcript: [John]: And then, um, did you go to college after high school? [Adam]: Mhmm

Segment Synopsis: Tindall-Schlicht describes his college experience at UW Madison, claiming himself to be a "very proud badger," going through his various extracurriculars and memories there. After finishing his major in Political Science, he went off to Washington DC, achieving his masters of Public Administration at American University. He then worked for the USDOT for 10 years.

Keywords: College; Political Science; Public Administration

Subjects: American University; Badger; Extracurriculars; US Department of Transportation; University of Wisconsin-Madison

GPS: Link to map
Map Coordinates: Madison, WI
00:06:19 - Back to Milwaukee

Play segment

Partial Transcript: [John]: Oh wow, and so what made you come back to Milwaukee?

Segment Synopsis: Tindall-Schlicht goes through why he came back to Milwaukee, explaining his job at the DOT further and why that prompted Mayor Tom Barrett to invite him to come home and lead Milwaukee's Port. He also explains the differences between his jobs at the Federal Government and as the Port Director, and how his expertise brought in a new perspective for the Port and the city. He talks about the call from the mayor being completely unexpected, assuming that he and his husband would stay in Cleveland long term.

Keywords: Great Lakes; Job; Mayor; Port; Public Policy; Water

Subjects: Milwaukee, WI; US Department of Transportation

GPS: Link to map
Map Coordinates: Milwaukee, WI
00:09:30 - New York Times Wedding Coverage

Play segment

Partial Transcript: [John]: Um, you mentioned your husband, to kind of digress from your career for a second, your wedding got covered by the New York Times?

Segment Synopsis: Tindall-Schlicht goes through his wedding, which was covered by the New York Times. He explains that they were going to have a large wedding, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they decided not to, choosing instead for an eight person outdoor wedding. During their honeymoon, he received a call from the Times asking for an interview, which he excitedly agreed to. They went through hours of interviews, and eventually the article was posted.

Keywords: Article; COVID; Honeymoon; Husband; Wedding

Subjects: COVID-19 Pandemic; Marriage; New York Times; Pandemic

00:11:29 - Port of Milwaukee Director

Play segment

Partial Transcript: [John]: So back to kind of what you do as the Port Director, so, I think a lot of people see the signs as they drive down the freeway of like "Port of Milwaukee" or you know, and kind of see stuff like that, what does the Port of Milwaukee do? What does, like the organization- what is the purpose of it?

Segment Synopsis: Tindall-Schlicht goes through what the Port of Milwaukee is and does, explaining the identity of the Port through defining their structure of government oversight and detailing the historic "chapters" of the Port authority. When asked what the Port Director does, he describes his job as the Executive administrator, dealing with running the port itself, as well as implementing governmental policy, then further describing the four divisions of the Port and their purposes. Finally, he talks about his job security, as a political appointee, his job could be in flux with a new administration, but hoping to stay where he is.

Keywords: Director; Government; History; Water

Subjects: Career; Milwaukee, WI; Port of Milwaukee

GPS: Link to map
Map Coordinates: Milwaukee, WI
00:17:38 - Motivators and Challenges of the Job

Play segment

Partial Transcript: [John]: What is it about working with like water resources that draws you in? What do you like about it?

Segment Synopsis: Tindall-Schlicht explains why he is motivated in his job in water resources, citing two major reasons, a respect for the freshwater of the Great Lakes and the community that comes with being in a job associated with the Great Lakes. When asked what the greatest challenges of the job, he explains that the answers are similar, he wants to keep the Port sustainable for the future through economic investment in the face of climate change.

Keywords: Economics; Freshwater; Great Lakes; Job; Motivation; Shipping; Water

Subjects: Climate Change; Community; Milwaukee, WI; Port of Milwaukee

00:21:42 - COVID Complications

Play segment

Partial Transcript: [John]: Um, a quick question about COVID, how has it affected your job, but also like the shipping industry as a whole?

Segment Synopsis: Tindall-Schlicht explains how difficult COVID has been on both his job as well as the shipping industry. He explains the hybrid-work model his office employees work in, and how the workers at the port itself had to work through those conditions full-time. He also goes through the supply chain disruption in North America on account of COVID, how that has affected everyday life, and their attempts to figure out solutions and be a "relief valve." He emphasizes his pride in the sacrifices of those around him by restricting their social interactions.

Keywords: COVID; Pandemic Response; Shipping

Subjects: COVID-19 Pandemic; Pandemic; Port of Milwaukee

00:25:45 - Representative Object

Play segment

Partial Transcript: [John]: One more question, um we are a historical society we have- we have artifact collections, we put on exhibitions, like the one coming up about water, but if you know down the road in the future, there's going to be an Adam Tindall-Schlicht portion of an exhibit, what object would you pick to represent your life?

Segment Synopsis: When asked to choose an object to describe his life, Tindall-Schlicht chose a picture of his nephew who had health complications and ultimately passed away at six months old. He explains the potential future his nephew would have had and experienced, and that life had a huge impact on him

Keywords: HIstory; Hospital; Nephew; Object

Subjects: Artifact; Family; Milwaukee County Historical Society

00:27:53 - Final Thoughts

Play segment

Partial Transcript: [John]: That's all I have, unless you have anything that you think I missed.

Segment Synopsis: Tindall-Schlicht explains to future viewers that it is unique for himself, a "gay man" is a Port Director at his age, citing that hopefully in the future it will not be seen as unique or surprising that someone of his sexual orientation hold that sort of position, calling this era a "precipice" for new voices in the industry to be heard. Secondly, he says that he hopes that he will be successful in bringing international cruise activity into the Port of Milwaukee.

Keywords: Cruise Ship; Great Lakes; History; Sexuality; Transportation

Subjects: Career; Future; Milwaukee, WI; Port of Milwaukee; Sexual Orientation

GPS: Link to map
Map Coordinates: Milwaukee, WI