MKE IT Downtown

How the Milwaukee Public Market’s Maintenance Coordinator Keeps the Market and His Attitude Strong

May 20, 2020 /   Lucas Ribbink Milwaukee Public Market

Lucas Ribbink, Maintenance Coordinator at the Milwaukee Public Market, has witnessed meaningful growth during his years at work. For almost a decade, Lucas has watched the Milwaukee Public Market rise in popularity to become an admired staple of the city’s community. But with the spread of COVID-19, the Milwaukee Public Market had to temporarily close its doors before reopening for curbside service. Lucas describes this experience, saying, “One of the constants has been the Market getting busier every year, so it’s certainly strange seeing the place devoid of people.” 

Even with this major change, Lucas found a silver lining. He realized the absence of people gave him the opportunity to devote more time to maintenance projects. For Lucas, this means the Market will function better than ever when crowds finally return. He proudly states, “We’re working to make sure the Market is a safe and welcoming place once we reopen fully.”

Lucas’ efforts to make the building safe and welcoming haven’t gone unnoticed. Milwaukee Public Market’s Executive Director Paul Schwartz had this to say about his hard-working staff member: “Lucas has been an employee for a while and he’s been on the front lines of our operation since we closed to make sure the building is secure and facility projects are maintained.” 

Lucas Ribbink Milwaukee Public Market

Even though the Milwaukee Public Market isn’t the same without its busy atmosphere, it has made significant strides to support its vendors and customers. Lucas emphasizes additions like curbside pickup and delivery, remote office work and daily disinfecting routines. Keeping the Market up and running gives hope not only to the market’s workers but also the greater Milwaukee community.

Lucas understands firsthand how familiarity brings people hope. Even though he can’t participate in his favorite social activities anymore, trying the next best thing keeps Lucas optimistic. Since Lucas can’t practice his passion of martial arts at a public training area, he accepted his second option—practicing in his own living room. “I’m sure my neighbors must think I’m looney!” Lucas exclaims. 

In the future, Lucas knows he will look back on this time with gratitude. “I’m going to remember the fact I was lucky enough to maintain my job. Just keeping the routine of going to work I believe has been a huge help for me during this crisis,” he says.  

When asked to offer an uplifting phrase to others, Lucas shared this quote from Winnie the Pooh: “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day!” This humorous play on words does have a helpful message; it shows us how the impossible can be made possible more often than we think.   

About the author: Claire Barten is Milwaukee Downtown's Special Events & Marketing Intern, spreading Milwaukee Downtown's community ideals through social media and other engaging platforms.

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