Tia Torhorst is CEO of Harbor District and Director of BID 51. In these roles, Tia works to make Harbor District a vibrant waterfront community where diverse businesses, people and ecologies thrive together.
For the last twenty years, Tia has focused on improving communities. Prior to this role she has served as Assistant Deputy Secretary at the WI Department of Administration supporting the diverse work of the agency to support and improve government services and amenities and working to connect the dots between cabinet agencies. In addition, Tia has worked at gener8tor, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Milwaukee County and the Milwaukee Bar Association. While living in Washington, D.C., she worked for the National Partnership for Women and Families creating a national framework for improving health care quality.
Her husband, two kids, very fuzzy dog and Tia can be found kayaking on the waterways in Wisconsin and checking out the amazing parks and beer gardens. As founder of the Shorewood Farmers Market, Tia always checks out a community’s farmers markets when traveling to support the small growers and makers in our communities.
Aaron Zeleske leads the Harbor District’s efforts to improve the ecological functioning of our corner of the city, focusing on improving habitat for fish and wildlife and green infrastructure practices that improve water quality. He works on several habitat restoration projects on the Kinnickinnic River, manages innovative projects like the Eco Breakwater and Habitat Hotels, and seeks to creatively incorporate environmental principles into everything happening in the Harbor. Through these projects and programs that connect people to nature, Aaron works to change how people think about and relate to the plants and animals with whom we share our city and our world.
Prior to joining Harbor District in 2019, Aaron spent over seven years working atMilwaukee environmental organizations, River Revitalization Foundation and Urban Ecology Center. He has a Masters in Nonprofit Management from Marquette University, where he was a recipient of the Trinity Fellowship.
Yaa Engel is a dynamic and passionate individual embodying a vibrant blend of creativity, fearlessness, and dedication to transformative change. As the Economic Development Director for the Harbor District, she revitalizes Milwaukee’s inner harbor, forging connections between people and place. Yaa’s unwavering commitment to empowering marginalized groups ensures inclusive benefits for all. Her proactive mindset, boundless energy, and solution-oriented approach drive her success, fostering a distinct identity and collaboration among diverse stakeholders. Leveraging local networks and global connections, she infuses the district with pride and incorporates global best practices.
Yaa excelled in venture capital, fostering partnerships between businesses and startups in a Fortune 90 company’s Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) division. She also invested in high-growth startups as part of a nationally ranked accelerator, securing vital resources. Previously, Yaa honed her skills as an educator, teaching collaboration, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving to students from elementary to high school. Her efforts in voter education for young adults garnered recognition from prominent figures like Michelle Obama and Jenna Bush Hager.
Inspired by her son, Yaa cherishes moments spent aligning her energy, watching him play baseball, and connecting with loved ones. She believes in embracing the unexplored and treating everyone with respect, fostering an inclusive environment for a thriving community.
Katie Stensberg is the Operations Manager at the Harbor District. Her primary roles are to keep the office running smoothly and serve as a support person to the Harbor District Team. Katie is a graduate of UW-Milwaukee and has an extensive background in Marketing and Advertising. When not at work, Katie is an artist and can be found enjoying nature.
Judy Krause is the Finance Manager for Harbor District. She is the Principal Consultant of Judy Krause Consulting, LLC, a fiscal and project management firm specializing in nonprofit and community-focused clients. She has over 20 years of experience as a nonprofit finance professional and previously worked as the Director of Finances and Operations at Urban Ecology Center. As a consultant, Judy works with organizations to increase fiscal knowledge, ensure strong financial operations, and improve planning.
Judy is a Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional through the National Association of Nonprofit Accountants & Consultants. She received her Bachelor of Science from Knox College in Economics. She is a fourth-degree black belt and certified instructor in ATA taekwondo. She enjoys exploring local, state, and national parks on foot throughout the seasons.