From the President: July 2016
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Happy summer WEDA members!
I hope you’re enjoying the longer days and warmer temps. Remember when summer provided some “down time” and gave a busy economic developer a chance to slow down and get caught up? Perhaps you could do some office organizing and cleaning, get through that stack of “to-be-read” documents or clean out your email inbox? That’s definitely not the case anymore. Economic development has turned into a year-round sport with no rest for the weary—although it’s wonderful to hear about so many great economic development projects happening all around the state. We need to tell those success stories, so people better understand what we do and how we do it. Working with companies to provide appropriate incentives to advance a project is not corporate welfare. It’s the cost of doing business and results in employment, increased income for local residents and redevelopment of blighted and underutilized areas. Tell your local success story through the second annual WEDA Community and Economic Development Awards. Nominate a project and let others around the state learn from your best practices and the “wins” you’ve experienced in your community. Applications are being accepted through July 29. Visit the WEDA website for more information on the different award categories. Award winners will be announced on September 14 at the newly renovated Edgewater Hotel on Lake Mendota in Madison.
Things have not slowed down for WEDA this summer either. The organization is making plans to hire a full-time public affairs employee. After contracting out for legislative services for over four decades, WEDA will now have someone in-house devoted to advocating for WEDA, educating lawmakers, coordinating our legislative and agency efforts and communicating our activities to the membership. This is a big move for WEDA, one that will help bolster the visibility and viability of the organization. Despite the legislature being out of session, our organization’s government affairs activities have not slowed down during these summer months. WEDA leadership will meet with the Governor’s office to discuss 2017-19 budget initiatives; the legislative committee will pull together the legislative agenda for the next session; and our organization will continue to educate more local elected officials through the WEDA Economic Development 101 seminar.
Speaking of seminars—while we still have plenty of summer left to enjoy, the WEDA Fall Conference will be here before we know it. Held in downtown Eau Claire, October 4-6, the conference will focus on “Making Your Community a Destination for Business and Talent.” Check out the agenda on the WEDA website. You’ll notice more opportunities to network with the exhibitors and new WEDA members along with a gastro treat through a “culinary crawl.” I hope you will make plans to join us in Eau Claire to support your organization, take away some nuggets of knowledge and meet some new people.
Enjoy the rest of the summer!
- Pam Christenson, President