Know Your Commissioner: Nick Zavos
In our second Commissioner profile of 2021, we get to know our newest Commissioner Nick Zavos. Nick comes to the Commission with years of government relations experience and understands the importance of regional planning in Dane County where growth is occurring rapidly. Commissioner Zavos believes that getting more buy-in from communities is important and hopes for continued communication about what the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission’s duties and roles are.
Nick Zavos was appointed to the Commission in October 2020. He worked for the Madison Mayor’s office as the Deputy Mayor for Government Relations for eight years and brings that unique perspective to the Commission. As Nick doesn’t have a particular background in regional planning, he has the advantage of coming into his role as a Commissioner with no pre-existing agenda. His desire is to find a way to make things work well for the capital region.
Before working for the Mayor’s office, Nick worked for the Wisconsin Legislative Council as a staff attorney where he provided legal counsel, staffed committees, and answered questions about legislation or bills. Nick also had the opportunity to be a stay-at-home dad for five years.
Commissioner Zavos is originally from Los Angeles and began his undergraduate schooling on the east coast, but after studying abroad for a year in Ireland at Trinity College, he transferred there to finish his degree in Philosophy. He attended the University of Michigan Law School, where he met his wife, got married, and started a family. Nick and his family decided that Madison would be a great place to call home because of its abundance of opportunities and cultural events, due in part to the state capital and university. They moved to Madison in 2000.
His favorite public service memory relates to the restructuring of the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District governance structure. While at the Mayor’s office, Nick worked on legislation to change the MMSD governance structure. It was daunting starting from square one, but he is pleased to hear the structure is working really well. Commissioner Zavos enjoyed talking to the communities involved, making sure they felt comfortable with the system and making changes/modifications to address their concerns.
Commissioner Trivia: Commissioner Zavos has somewhat of a sponge-like aptitude with accents. When he moved back from Ireland he still had a remnant of an Irish accent.
In his free time, Commissioner Zavos enjoys home improvement projects, gardening with his wife, and learning to play guitar. He picked up the guitar last year and enjoys it as a good mental exercise. Nick and his wife have three children, ranging from ages 14 to 25. They live on a lake and Nick is interested in sailing. He hopes to get involved with Hoofers (an outdoors club in Madison) once the pandemic winds down. Commissioner Zavos and his family are traveling to Isle Royale, a national park located in Lake Superior that can only be reached by boat or plane!
Commissioner Trivia: Nick and his family have two Maine Coon Cats. The largest one weighs over twenty pounds!