Que El-Amin: Real estate developer and entrepreneur
Que began his career in residential real estate and also started the Young Enterprising Society (YES) with his brother, Khalif.
About Scott Crawford, Inc.
Real estate development company, Scott Crawford, Inc., has negotiated over 45 residential real estate transactions totaling millions of dollars in development. The firm’s niche is assisting municipalities with the redevelopment of parcels. Scott Crawford, Inc., has turned properties that were once blighted liabilities for cities into vibrant residential and commercial developments by using public and private support.
About Young Enterprising Society (YES)
The Young Enterprising Society’s mission is to be an international epicenter for financially, politically and socially progressive individuals. YES mobilizes people, information, resources and capital for the greater good of its members and society at large.
A native of Milwaukee, Que graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2005 with a degree in graphic design. He began his career in residential real estate as co-founder of Scott Crawford, Inc., in 2007. Que later earned his master’s degree in geography from Chicago State University before returning to Milwaukee to start YES with his brother, Khalif.
BRIEFLY TALK ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATH. HOW DID YOU END UP IN MILWAUKEE? WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE YOU STARTED YES AND SCOTT CRAWFORD, INC.?
I was born in Milwaukee. My grandfather, Jeff Crawford, moved his family from Mississippi to Milwaukee in 1956 for better job opportunities. His siblings, Cliff, Fletcher, Willie and Dorothy moved here as well.
Before I started YES with my brother, Khalif El-Amin, I was in graduate school at Chicago State University and owned Scott Crawford, Inc. (since 2007).
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT BEING A WISCONSIN RESIDENT?
My favorite part of being a Wisconsin resident is summer. Wisconsin summers are magnificent. From Sister Bay to Summerfest or Lake Geneva to Lake Michigan – there are so many places that make for a great summer experience.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT OPERATING YOUR BUSINESS IN WISCONSIN?
My favorite part of operating a business in Wisconsin is the accessibility to stakeholders. In my experience, state, local and business leaders are one call or event away.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT YES DOES?
YES mobilizes resources for the greater good of our community – we find opportunities and monetize those opportunities to help as many people as possible.
Currently, we train students and entrepreneurs from high school to young adults to be successful tech employees and entrepreneurs. We provide the necessary training and financial resources.
WHAT ABOUT WISCONSIN HAS KEPT YOU IN THE STATE?
The advantages, both business and personal, have kept me in the state, specifically in Milwaukee. There are so many unexpected opportunities.
CAN YOU DISCUSS YOUR PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE WITH WEDC?
WEDC has been a strong supporter of my businesses. They have provided over $1 million in funding through programs such as the Brownfield Redevelopment Grant and SEED Accelerator Program.
The staff is easy to work with – from Missy Hughes and Seyoum Mengesha to Tracy Luber and Neil White. They have a get it done attitude.
WHAT WAS THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC LIKE FOR YOUR BUSINESS? HOW DID YOU PIVOT AND WAS IT SUCCESSFUL?
COVID-19 was stressful for business because our services, at the time, required in-person programming. Everything stopped for a few months until we were able to move them virtually.
We have successfully expanded our programming and have been able to reach people outside of Milwaukee and the U.S. We would not have been able to do this if the pandemic had not happened.
WHAT EXCITES YOU THE MOST ABOUT THE WISCONSIN BUSINESS CLIMATE GOING FORWARD?
The recent out-of-state investments most excite me about the Wisconsin business climate. It demonstrates the value that Wisconsinites may not realize being from here.
In Milwaukee, I am excited about the current authority granted to politicians of color, specifically, African Americans. This demonstrates an acknowledgment that more representation is needed.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO SEE IMPROVE IN THE WISCONSIN BUSINESS CLIMATE GOING FORWARD?
I hope the business community makes a larger and longer-term investment in education. Larger companies must connect to the next generation of entrepreneurs who will be their partners, suppliers and/or potentially their competitors.
Personally, I would like to see people go outside of their comfort zone to support businesses throughout the state in places they would not ordinarily visit.
WHAT PERCEPTIONS ABOUT WISCONSIN/MILWAUKEE DO YOU HOPE TO CHANGE?
I hope the perception that Milwaukee is not a vibrant, diverse urban market changes. To put this into context, former Wisconsin Director of Urban Development, Jamie Elder said, “If all the African Americans in metro Milwaukee moved to Indiana, they would be the second-largest city in the state of Indiana.”
Milwaukee has produced some of the most dynamic African Americans that have influenced culture – historic leaders such as Dr. Howard Fuller, Oprah Winfrey and Malcolm X, to the next generation of leaders like Arike Ogunbowale, Jacob Latimore and John Ridley.
Additionally, Milwaukee can lay claim to national and international leaders, such as Herb Kohl, Bud Selig, Golda Meir, Chris Gardner, Zora Neale Hurston, Frank Lloyd Wright, Al Jarreau, Danica Patrick and Colin Kaepernick.