By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 27, 2023 at 8:02 AM

We’ve probably all seen the lone wind turbine at the foot of the Hoan Bridge in Bay View, but I don’t think anyone has been so inspired as to write a book about it ... until now.


Author Katie Meyer has brought the turbine that provides power to Port Milwaukee to life by giving it a name – Gust – and tapping artist Brigid Malloy to add a face for a new children’s picture book called “Gust.”

The hardcover book, published by Waukesha’s Orange Hat/Ten16, explains life and work around the port, plus landmarks (like the Hoan Bridge) and more.

A second major character – who may seem a little familiar to folks who know the port and its staff – helps Gust appreciate his own contribution to the Port’s life.

We caught up with Meyer to ask her about her inspiration, the book and its message.

OnMilwaukee: How did you come to write a story about a wind turbine?

Katie Meyer: My husband and I had recently moved to the Bay View neighborhood in Milwaukee, and we were taking strolls along the lake almost every day. On these walks, we’d always see and comment on the small wind turbine standing by itself against the skyline.

I wondered what its story was and started taking creative license with its backstory. I named him Gust. I started imagining everything he must see from his vantage point over both a city and a Great Lake and the story started telling itself from there.

What makes that turbine special?

Honestly, it’s just so unique – a wind turbine not in a wind farm and so much smaller than I’m used to seeing. I was surprised that nobody talked about this solitary wind turbine on the shore of Lake Michigan to the same extent as other Milwaukee skyline staples. To me, it stood out as much as the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Hoan Bridge and the Allen-Bradley Clock.

Katie MeyerX

Do you have any connection to the port?

At nearly the same time I moved to Milwaukee, and completely by chance, I ran into an old friend of mine at Colectivo Coffee – Adam Tindall-Schlicht, who I had initially met more than a decade ago in Washington, DC. It turns out he and his husband had also recently moved to Bay Viewv... so he could be the director of Port Milwaukee.

In addition to discovering an old friend in my new city, I finally had someone who could tell me more about the wind turbine I was so curious about! And truly, I owe thanks to many people at Port Milwaukee who were so gracious and helpful while I was researching and writing the book.

So is Mr. Port Director based at all on Adam (who last year left for a position at the seaway)?

The character of the Port Director is loosely based on Adam, the port director at the time I was writing “Gust,” who patiently answered my many questions about what goes on at a port and details about the wind turbine at Port Milwaukee.

What is the message you hope kids get from the book?

The lesson of the story is that everyone has unique talents to contribute and that, by working together, we can all help make a difference in our communities. I also hope that it will get kids curious about and start a conversation around clean energy.

Any future Milwaukee-related books in the works?

I do have some sequel ideas centered around Gust’s adventures and the friends he may make with other Milwaukee-focused characters!

Learn more about the book and its author at

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.