When Juli Kaufmann saw the real-estate industry ignoring environmental and social troubles, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
“I’m an entrepreneur and problem-solver at heart,” Kaufmann said. “Starting my own effort to do it myself seemed like my best option.”
Kaufmann founded Fix Development with a quadruple goal. The company assesses the environmental consequences, social justice and cultural celebration of each project, as well as its economic effects.
“It is a fallacy to suggest that profit is elusive if aims other than financial gain are pursued,” Kaufmann said. “We make choices every day about what we prioritize. I am simply showing that we can make enough money while equitably distributing the impact in more positive ways.”
Notable Fix Development projects include the Clock Shadow Building and the Freshwater Fix building, both in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood, the Sherman Phoenix in Sherman Park and Bublr Bikeshare in Milwaukee. Kaufmann said every project has been meant to futher her goals. She said she’s proud that the projects have given hundreds of Milwaukee residents an opportunity to invest in real estate in their own neighborhoods. She aims to use real estate as a way to further racial equality and end systemic racism.
“I would like to someday in my lifetime know a society that just has ‘Awards for Achievement,’” Kaufmann said. “Can you imagine the ‘White Male Construction Awards’? No, you cannot because we accept that is the default to which we are not the norm. That is what needs to change.”
Kaufmann said she has seen plenty of misogyny, sexism, sexual harassment and discrimination in the construction industry. She encourages white men in the industry to make room for different points of view and call out inappropriate behavior when they see it.
“If we are going to evolve the construction industry to be more equitable and inclusive, it will need to emphasize men changing more than anything,” said Kaufmann.