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News & Press: From the President

May 2016: From the President

Monday, May 30, 2016   (0 Comments)
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In the last WEDA Wire, I talked about change and how embracing change can be a good thing.  At the risk of sounding redundant, I’m going to again cite the same quote:  “The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

The reason for my repetitiveness? “Building the new” seems to be a great mantra for WEDA and our economic development efforts. Your WEDA Board of Directors continues to explore and advance new programs to help serve the membership. We’re not making changes just for change sake, but examining existing tools and programs to uncover opportunities where WEDA can add value to the important work you do as an economic development professional. WEDA exists to serve its members through educating, networking and advocating. Here are some exciting changes and “value adds” in store for WEDA over this next year. 

Economic Development Academy –  “The Academy” will provide core economic development topics to professionals, local officials, volunteers and service providers that are new to the topic, industry and/or to the State of Wisconsin. This training will be conducted by our partners in the private and public sectors in three- to four-hour sessions either live or online. Examples of some topics which may be covered by The Academy include TIF, Wisconsin Taxation and Finance, New Market and Historic Tax Credits, Placemaking, Talent Management and Recruiting. WEDA is also working to get Continuing Education Credits for different professional certifications. More to come on this exciting topic!

ToolBox Newsletter-
Recognizing that in order to make good laws and good decisions related to economic development, lawmakers need to understand the different economic development programs and the state’s economic development landscape. A new WEDA newsletter geared towards elected officials will highlight key programs and projects using case studies from around the state to demonstrate real-life examples—showing how things actually work to achieve economic development “wins” by our members in their communities.   

Community and Economic Development Awards – Speaking of wins, we want to celebrate those successful projects from your community through the second annual WEDA Community and Economic Development Awards celebration. This year’s location has changed to Madison, where we will honor winners in seven different categories on September 14 at the Edgewater Hotel on Lake Mendota. We will recognize individuals, businesses, projects and organizations that are making significant contributions to the Wisconsin economy. We still have a few sponsorship opportunities available for this event. Watch for further updates and a call for nominations!

Branding – Don’t panic!  We are not changing the name of WEDA, but we are exploring ways to enhance the look of our logo and better brand the association. We need to stress that we are in fact an association and not an authority or an agency.  Perhaps new colors, a new logo or a new tagline will help to differentiate WEDA from WEDC, WHEDA and others? (Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to say “WEDA without the “H”?)

Advocacy – The state legislature may not be in session between now and the end of the year, but state agencies are in the process of developing their biennial budget requests, which are due into the Governor’s office on September 15. WEDA’s Legislative Committee will be hard at work this summer, communicating with agencies and the Governor’s office to provide input on the budget process as well as crafting our legislative agenda for the 2017/18 session. Watch for a legislative survey coming to our members soon.  

We also had a change in the WEDA board membership.  Thank you to Ryan Kauth at UW-Green Bay for his service to WEDA. Ryan has been a champion for young professionals and helping WEDA recognize and support those new to the economic development profession. We are pleased to welcome Michael Ostrowski from the City of Stevens Point to the WEDA Board.

Enjoy the remainder of your spring and keep building on the new!

- Pam Christenson, President

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