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WEDAWire August 2015
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August 12, 2015

Member Newsletter

In This Issue

1. From the President
2. Executive Director
3. Legislative Update
4. Letter from Reed Hall
5. WEDC Corner
6. WEDI News
7. Membership Update
8. Corp Sponsor Spotlight
9. Member Opportunity
10. Members in the News
11.Board Member Profile
12. Upcoming Events
13. New Members
14. Job Openings


IEDC Upcoming Courses in Wisconsin Survey

Please Click Here to Complete

Upcoming Events

Aug 19, 2015
UW-Madison Corporate Open House

Aug 20, 2015
Leaders Fund Golf Outing: Hosted by WI Economic Development Institute
Stevens Point

Aug 20, 2015
WEDA “Seasoned” ED Professional Reunion (working or retired)
Stevens Point

Aug 20, 2015
Community and Economic Development Awards
Stevens Point

Sept 8-11, 2015
Basic Economic Development Course

Sept 23-25, 2015
WEDA Fall Regional Conference Wisconsin Dells

Oct 29-30, 2015
MARKETPLACE 2015 Wisconsin Governor's Conference on Minority Business Development

Dec 2, 2015
New North Summit 2015

Feb 3-5, 2016
Governor's Conference on Economic Development

Welcome New Members

Brian Elwood
Xcel Energy

Aaron Kramer
Village of Mukwonago

James Schaefer
City of Horicon

Christian Schock
City of Wausau

Jodi Schramm
Progress Lakeshore, Inc

Donna Sykora
Alliant Energy

Sarah Wallace
City of De Pere

Jason White
Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corporation

Teresa Withee
City of Brodhead

Job Opportunities

Risk Manager, WEDC

2015 Diamond Sponsor


From the President
Christian Tscheschlok

“You are here.” When backpacking with family in Wisconsin’s amazing state parks, my sons, Julio and Jordan, have come to look for this phrase on the wayfinding posts and maps. No need for a map, however, when trying to identify economic development’s location within the political landscape today.

Wisconsin’s stage is the national stage now that Governor Walker has formally announced his campaign for President. While this represents unprecedented opportunity to advance Wisconsin’s brand globally, this also translates into potentially epic impacts for our profession. No matter where one falls on a discussion of economic development approaches, one kernel remains certain: The strength of our local development efforts is inexorably linked to that of our state’s development mission.

The scrutiny WEDC has received from the last two Legislative Fiscal Bureau audits and during the budget process pales in comparison to what is yet to come. Global media outlets and pundits are descending on Wisconsin, examining the Governor’s economic development record and opining on its shortcomings and accomplishments. We are here…like it or not.

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Executive Director Report
Brian Doudna

When I first took this job, I expected to have the summer to advance new programming, corporate goals and to conduct outreach efforts on membership and corporate sponsorships. As I am sure you all have experienced, you can have your scope of work, but the “other duties as assigned” phrase found at the end of most job descriptions sometimes creeps into work life.

Economic Development – Listening Sessions and Industry Education
The recent listening sessions held by WEDA on the State of Economic Development were time consuming but will provide good information on how to advance efforts with our statewide economic development organization. The WEDC Board of Directors has hired the Council for Regional Economic Competitiveness to conduct an analysis of their operations and to make recommendations, which eventually will include recommendations on needed legislation. The information received from stakeholders during the listening session will be communicated to the WEDC consultants. For those not able to attend the listening sessions, it is my intent to have a survey sent to the membership to confirm viewpoints and to gather additional information in August.

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Legislative Update
The Hamilton Consulting Group

Budget Passes Legislature and Signed by Gov.

Governor Scott Walker signed the $73 billion-plus state budget on Sunday, July 12, just days after the legislature passed the budget bill and hours before his presidential election announcement. Before signing the budget, the governor issued 104 vetoes – double the number of vetoes he issued in previous budgets.

The roller coaster of events in this year’s state budget saga included several economic development policies that were front and center for much of the budget process. The governor’s original budget proposal included $55 million for a new regional revolving loan fund, merging the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority to form a new state economic development and housing agency and the consolidation of tax credit programs into a new refundable Business Development Tax Credit.

Following a troublesome audit report of WEDC, at the request of the governor, the budget committee, also known as the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC), removed the proposed agency merger from the budget. The audit resulted in many other economic development tools in the budget to be closely examined and ultimately modified significantly by the legislature.

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Letter from Reed Hall
WEDC Secretary and CEO

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is committed to creating an environment in Wisconsin where companies and the communities in which they do business are able to achieve their full potential—both in terms of economic success and quality of life. Our priorities are formed through input we receive from the many stakeholders, economic development and industry partners, and businesses that we serve throughout the state.

As WEDC enters its fifth year of operations, the organization is at a point where it makes sense to reflect on the impact and effectiveness of its programs and internal processes. The goal of course is to make informed strategic decisions on opportunities to improve the programs and services offered, the related delivery and compliance processes, and the organizational structure. In addition, it is critical that WEDC is diligently working to build and maintain trust with elected leaders while providing transparency with and accountability to the public.

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WEDC Corner

In this issue:
  • WEDC Launches Online Network for Economic Development Collaboration
  • Dane County Technology Park Earns Certified in Wisconsin Designation
  • Milwaukee Receives $1 Million Grant for Water Technology Business Park
  • WEDC Assists Kapco with Grafton Expansion Project in Ozaukee County
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WI Economic Development Institute News
By Roger Nacker, President

In this issue:

  • The Community Economic Development Handbook
  • The Economic Profile System
  • VISIT Milwaukee MKE Toolkit
  • Competitive Alternatives 2014 Study Results
  • When States Compete: How State Tax Climates Impact Corporate Investment
  • Chief Executive 11th Annual Survey Results
  • Capacity Building Initiative
  • Workers are New Weapon in the Battle for Business
  • New Wisconsin Technical College System Report

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Corporate Sponsor Spotlight

Fifty-five years after its founding in Kaukauna, Keller, Inc. has grown to include offices in four areas of the state: Kaukauna, Milwaukee, Madison and Wausau. The company employs 230 people and manages more than 800 personnel on all jobsites. The company is 100% employee-owned since Founder Walter Keller made the company an ESOP in 1986. That’s a mindset the company strives to maintain; every project has an employee-owner working at all times. Keller has staff with a lot of longevity and does not experience a lot of turnover, which is an advantage to its customers.

Keller services a wide variety of industries including: agriculture, assisted living, automotive, child care, chiropractic, cold storage, construction management/municipal, convenience store, dental, education, faith-based, financial, funeral home, hospitality, industrial, medical, manufacturing, professional office, recreation, restaurant, veterinary and warehouse.

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WEDA Member Opportunity

2016 WEDA Conferences: Speaker Opportunity

The Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA) Education Committee invites Economic Development Practitioners and Professional Service partners to share knowledge and expertise with their economic development colleagues and contribute to the profession’s field of knowledge.

If you have heard a potential speaker at a conference, seminar, or meeting recently, or if you know of a fellow practitioner with a great story to tell. Please complete the form on the link below. All submissions should be sent to, no later than September 16.

Speaking opportunities at the WEDA 2016 Conferences:

  • Governor’s Conference on Economic Development
  • Spring Meeting (focus on Financial)
  • Fall Conference in Eau Claire (Dates to be Announced)

Speaker Suggestion - RFP Download

Unlocking Development Finance in the Badger State Roundtable Invitation to Members

WEDA recently entered into an MOU with the Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA). As part of this MOU, WEDA invites you to join CDFA on September 30, 2015, for the first Wisconsin Roundtable Conference as they focus on "Unlocking Development Finance in the Badger State." This one-day event will feature economic development finance experts and leaders from around the state discussing innovative development finance tools and projects, emerging resources and approaches, and how these methods can catalyze investment in the Wisconsin economy.

2015 CDFA Wisconsin Financing Roundtable Conference
When: September 30, 2015
Where: The Madison Concourse Hotel & Governor's Club, Madison
Agenda: Roundtable Agenda

More information/registration

WEDA Members in the News

Barb LaMue has accepted the position of Vice President of the Economic and Community Development Division at WEDC. Barb was President of WEDA in 2004.

Congratulations to recently Retired WEDA Members
Bruce Kepner, Alliant Energy and former WEDA President
Andy Lewis, Center for Community & Economic Development, and former WEDA Board Member

WEDA Board Profile: Brent McFarland

Current Position: Chief Operating Officer of Lac du Flambeau Business Development Corporation (BDC). This is a wholly owned entity of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indian tribe, focused on diversifying tribal assets outside of gaming. My role started as the Director of Business Development under the tribal administration and within a year spearheaded the initiative to separate businesses development from political influence.
This was successful due to involvement of tribal members, community stakeholders and tribal leadership engaging in the process of developing the BDC. Since 2013 the BDC has grown from zero revenue or employees, to seven figures in revenue and over 22 full-time employees. By 2015 year end, we will triple those numbers through growth and acquisition. We currently have 16 companies involved in several market sectors ranging from retail, construction, real estate development, to internet-based commerce.

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