July 2016: Executive Director
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Recently, I had the pleasure of going to a Progress Lakeshore Board meeting in Manitowoc. I am excited to experience one of Wisconsin’s strategic assets—the Great Lakes. Of course, the Great Lakes are a strategic asset that over time has seen efforts to maximize opportunities while advancing our economy. In the early days, lighthouse systems were constructed to warn mariners of dangerous shores and reefs and to guide them to sheltered harbors. As the number of lighthouses increased, the safety and overall return on this strategic asset as an economic driver was more fully realized.
Making strategic decisions to fully take advantage of assets is a critical part of any economic, community or organizational development effort. In this next state budget, the policy decisions being made need to invest in our state’s strategic assets in order to give Wisconsin an advantage in this competitive global economy. To learn more on how WEDA is working to make a difference in this area, take a look at the July Legislative Report.
In managing the association, the WEDA Board has been making difficult decisions to advance our brand and our greatest asset—our membership. WEDA is implementing existing and new programming that allows new-to-the-profession members and key partners to expand their knowledge and network. Ultimately, this will be critical to the success of our profession and communities.
Our Basic Economic Development Course is a four-day course designed to provide a broad foundation on the subjects needed to successfully implement a comprehensive economic development strategy. WEDA is truly fortunate to have a strong set of course instructors, who have received outstanding reviews from previous attendees.
In the first quarter of 2017, WEDA will launch some additional training through a program called the Economic Development Academy. The topics will be diverse and will provide a solid foundation on niche areas that if implemented locally, will likely require outside service providers.
WEDA will also explore methods to expand our membership and will be open to suggestions from our members.
WEDA’s strong foundation is built on decades of success. The WEDA name is a part of our brand, though I sometimes get tired of stating that we are the WEDA without the “H.” While lighthouses have the same mission and purpose, they come in different designs, shapes and sizes. So with that in mind, the WEDA board is in the process of updating the WEDA look, through the introduction of a new logo. As with a lighthouse, WEDA will continue to be the economic development beacon in Wisconsin, providing our membership guidance into sheltered harbors. A logo will not change our foundation or our purpose. It will be more reflective of the leadership, bipartisan approach and the digital age that is part of our world today. We look forward to unveiling the updated look, as WEDA launches the new member -focused projects later this fall.
- Brian Doudna, Executive Director