By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Oct 13, 2007 at 7:57 PM

David F. Schulz was my first real, post-college boss. He also, in case you don't know, worked for years in the Milwaukee County Department of Public Works, as Budget Director, as Milwaukee County Parks Director and, of course, as Milwaukee County Executive.

I, as you definitely don't know, served Dave in the County Executive's office during his final year in office. I was officially a "special assistant to the County Executive." More officially, if you asked senior staff members and if you could ask Dave, I was a grunt boy.

I was 21, fresh out of Marquette University and without a job since my goal of owning the Bucks wasn't quite panning out and, well, I couldn't land any area sports marketing job to save my life. Thankfully, a great friend of mine had connections with the County Executive and I got my first taste of Milwaukee political and civic life inside the Milwaukee County Executive's office.

I honestly had no idea what a County Exec did.  Come to think of it, I'm not sure I truly do now either (no disrespect, Mr. Walker). But, Dave, who passed away this week, did. Wait, I take that back. I think he knew he had what it took to be a big-time elected official, but just kind of realized that all the crap wasn't worth it. So, he decided to serve just one term. 

His passion was to build, to talk cooperation, to grow communities. He knew civic life. He knew community involvement. He knew how to promote. He knew how to have fun.

It's incredibly easy to say that Dave was larger than life. Dude was a big guy. I like to say, though, that he was too big for Milwaukee. At the time, DFS (as he signed his e-mail and as many of us in the office referred to him) was a visionary.

He was talking about the need for a new ballpark years before any other politician would even touch the subject. He pushed Lakefront development, regional thinking and always pushed for fun and innovation. He basically made the County Parks a destination for kids and families by building water slides and then sporting his jams and taking his annual media stunt trips down the slide. Heck, the guy had us on Macs in a government office in 1991! That's innovation.

Many indeed know Dave for his trips down the county water slides. They were quite the photo opportunity. My county pool memories with Dave are a bit different. At least once a week, I would meet the County Executive at a pool for his morning swim. I'd sit on a diving board as he exercised, swam and/or waded. These were great times, formative too as I would read Dave the morning news from the old Milwaukee Sentinel ("the fish wrap," as Dave called both the Sentinel and Journal). He'd react to stories, pontificate and teach me about Milwaukee, its people and its governments. It was a great way to learn.

I'll miss Dave. Not only for what he taught me, but for how he pushed this community. Dave was clearly proud of his community (he grew up on Oakland Avenue) and it showed even after his years in office with regular communication with area media and his annual Schulz Fests.

There might not be a Schulz Fest this coming summer, but for those of us who knew Dave we will always toast and celebrate his passion and commitment to Milwaukee and Milwaukee County.  

Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.

He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.

Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.  

He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.

He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.