Member Spotlight: Zakry Schwartz

Posted By: Emily Sudar Member Spotlight,

We've brought back the Member Spotlight series so we can all get to know each other better.  Do you know a WLIA colleague that you think people should know?  Let us know at and send us their contact information.  We may not get to everyone, but we'll try!

Zakry Schwartz, as one of the youngest LIOs in history and a recipient of the 2024 Emerging Leader award, is undoubtedly a figure worth spotlighting. His past and present colleagues have nothing but praise for his work ethic and abilities. Over the course of three years in his current role, Zakry has consistently demonstrated his competence by adeptly overseeing enterprise deployments and upgrades, spearheading capital projects, and immersing himself in diverse areas of expertise such as parcels, NG911, and WLIP grants. Without further delay, let's get to know Zakry a bit more.

How did you come to your current profession or job? 

In 2021 while still working as an intern for Kenosha County, I applied to this position because I saw it on the State Cartographers website. I went through the interview process being backed heavily by the Kenosha County team. If it had not been for them, I would not be where I am at today.

What’s your most favorite part and least favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my position is being able to provide services to people in ways that they did not think was obtainable. My least favorite part of my position is how much it is overlooked when it could be a great solution to people and fellow staff members alike.

What do you like to do for fun?  (Hobbies, volunteer work, etc)

In my spare time, I enjoy two things: camping and learning Japanese. For camping, I travel across the United States with my two best friends and now with my Fiancé. We mainly enjoy Northern Wisconsin as we found it to be among the best for camping sites and management. As for studying Japanese, it has become a major part of my life. I enjoy speaking with my Japanese Fiancé’s friends and family (they do not speak English) and watching various Japanese shows: J-Dramas and Anime.

Oh, very cool!  I’ve watched mostly K-Drama’s and dabbled in a few anime.  Do you have any that you would recommend to anyone else who might be interested in the WLIA? If so, why would you recommend it?

A very lighthearted anime named “Violet Evergarden” would be what I recommend people to watch. It is a post “WW1” world where ladies called “Dolls” are writing letters for people to send to their loved ones. It’s fascinating and a pretty cool view on a fictional postal system in an old-world setting. It’s a very touching story and will make probably want to write a letter to someone!

What’s something most people wouldn’t guess about you?

Most people do not know this about me, but I am able to speak Japanese and I am actively working towards language certifications each year. I recently obtained an “N4” level certification which is elementary Japanese. The lowest certification is “N5” and the highest certification is “N1” which is around 2,000 kanji characters known and 10,000 vocabulary words.

Is there anything you’d like to do once you get your certification?

Presently, I am not sure if I will do anything with my certifications, but having them could open doors in the future should I choose to do anything with them.

Where would you most like to travel to and why?

My favorite place to travel to is Osaka, Japan. It was where I was able to meet my now Fiancé and to really come out of my shell as a person. The City of Osaka is one of the most wonderful places with its vast amount of food options, amazing nature, and various man-made attractions. Universal Studios Japan located within Osaka is one of the most unique parks I have ever been to. I would highly recommend anyone looking to travel outside of the United States to consider going to Japan. It is very English friendly, and you will not be disappointed!

That’s awesome! Have you found any places in Wisconsin to get good, authentic Japanese food?

I have two answers for this: one in Wisconsin and just across the border into Illinois. The first is “Sooshi Bay” located in Kenosha, Wisconsin. This is a very great sushi conveyor belt bar! However, many others things aside from sushi are served there. Things like: Taiyaki (red bean paste treats), Takoyaki (Osaka style octopus balls), ramen, miso soups, etc.

The second one is located in Arlington Heights, Illinois. This place is called “Mitsuwa” and it is probably the largest American Japanese grocery stores. Inside, there is a Japanese food court with many different Japanese restaurants, a Japanese grocery store with all things you would be able to find in a normal Japanese grocery store in Japan, a Japanese book store, and a Japanese beauty salon. It is truly a fun place to hang out at!