Southwest Region Tourism Specialist, WI Department of Tourism
Bio: He joined the Department of Tourism in 2012, after having spent his entire professional career in hospitality, marketing, and tourism. His focus with companies and organizations has always been to grow their customer service effectiveness, a passion that began with his first restaurant job in 1984. Drew refers to this as “Northern Hospitality”.
He loves traveling the state meeting with folks and helping them get the word out about all the great things there are to see and do in Wisconsin. Having worked with various regional and statewide collaboration efforts, Drew enjoys bringing organizations together to share ideas and resources. Tourism is a large part of economic development in Wisconsin, and the visitor’s experience here is paramount.
Director, Small Business Development Center - UW-LaCrosse
Bio: She is the Director of the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Prior to taking that position in June 2010, Anne practiced law for over 20 years with Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c., a large corporate law firm (200+ attorneys) headquartered in Milwaukee, WI. Her legal experience includes extensive work with general corporate and small business matters, government contracts, international/immigration law, dispute resolution, and compliance with federal, state and local regulatory requirements. Anne is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Marquette University Law School. She is admitted to the Wisconsin Bar; United States Circuit Court – Seventh and Ninth Circuits; United States District Court – Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin.
Anne is a frequent guest panelist/presenter at various entrepreneurial and economic development programs. She has been recognized with the Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee Women of Influence Award (Mentor category), the Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Mentoring Award and the Small Business Administration’s Legal Assistance Award in Wisconsin. Anne is board member of the UW-La Crosse Foundation, Pump House Regional Arts Center, Coulee Region Business Center, Wisconsin Business Development Finance Corporation, and Lincoln Opportunity Fund.
Executive Director, Arts Wisconsin
Bio: She is the Executive Director of Arts Wisconsin, Wisconsin’s non-profit statewide community arts action, service, and development organization. Arts Wisconsin’s mission is to nurture, serve, promote and speak up for the arts in Wisconsin and all of its communities. Under her leadership, Arts Wisconsin received the 2004 Governor’s Award in Support of the Arts from the Wisconsin Foundation for the Arts. Ms. Katz received the 2010 Alene Valkanas State Arts Advocacy Award from Americans for the Arts in 2010, and has been honored by Wisconsin Women Magazine in March 2010 and by Madison Magazine in June 2004 for her community cultural development work. She was also recognized in 2009 as one of the 25 most powerful arts leaders in the country, according to “Barry’s Blog,” an influential and widely-read arts blog written by former California Arts Council director Barry Hessenius.
Economic Development Director, City of Oconomowoc
Bio: He was raised in Oconomowoc. He left the community to pursue his college education. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography/Urban & Area Development from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater, and a Masters degree in Public Administration from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
He has held planning positions at the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, as well as the Menominee Indian Nation where he planned, and construction managed the creation of a community from the ground-up. Mr. Duffy also served as the Hortonville Village Administrator, where he was responsible for the oversight and direction of municipal day to day operations.
Certified Business Performer Advisor, INSPERITY, INC.
Bio: A passionate advocate for small and mid-size business, Chris brings over 25 years of management and consulting experience in the areas of Human Resources, Benefits and Business Development. In his role as a CBPA for Insperity, he works with business owners to implement “People Strategies” to help their firms run better, grow faster and maximize the ROI from their employees.
Insperity business performance solutions support more than 100,000 businesses with over 2 million employees. With 2015 revenues of $2.6 billion, Insperity operates in 60 offices throughout the United States.
Colonel David Pinter
Garrison Commander, Ft. McCoy
Bio: Col. David J. Pinter Sr. assumed duties as Garrison Commander at Fort McCoy March 11, 2016. Immediately prior to this assignment he served as Division Chief for the Homeland Defense Division of the Joint Staff J3 Operations Directorate, Washington, D.C.
Pinter earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa; a master's degree in Business and Policy Studies from Empire State College, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; and a master's degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College, Washington, D.C. His military education includes the Combined Arms and Service Staff School, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the National War College.
His deployments include Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq. His awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with seven Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with six Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with three Bronze Service Stars, Humanitarian Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, NATO medal with two Bronze Service Stars, United Nations Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, Joint Staff Identification Badge, Army Staff Identification Badge, Airborne Badge, Air Assault Badge, Combat Patch, Senior Aviator Badge, Ranger Tab, and Combat Action Badge.
Executive Director, Wisconsin Transportation Development Association
Bio: Craig is a veteran legislative and policy analyst with more than 20 years of experience working with Wisconsin businesses, communities, legislators and units of government. Prior to joining TDA in 2006, Thompson served as the legislative director for the Wisconsin Counties Association where he managed legislative initiatives at the state and federal levels. His expertise is valued throughout Wisconsin’s political spectrum, and he has been appointed to numerous boards and committees by Wisconsin governors Tommy Thompson, Scott McCallum, Jim Doyle and Scott Walker. Thompson is a native of Racine and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin is a statewide alliance of 400-plus transportation stakeholders committed to a strong, interconnected transportation network that will support a robust economy and enhance the quality of life for everyone in Wisconsin.
General Manager, Sheboygan Squared Business District
Bio: He currently serves as the General Manager of Sheboygan Squared Business District. Dave joined the District in May of 2012 and is responsible for implementing the Master Plan adopted by the District and the City of Sheboygan in early 2014. This is accomplished through recruiting new businesses, promoting the district, managing events, assisting member businesses, as well as addressing the needs to keep it clean, safe and friendly.
Dave’s prior experience includes restaurant management at multiple locations, food catering services, and ownership of a small service business for 30 years. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Restaurant Management from UW Stout and is currently involved in a variety of community activities such as: 20-year member of Sheboygan Rotary Club, Past President of the Sheboygan Jaycees, Board member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Sheboygan County and Chair of their major fundraiser, Chowdown in Cheesetown.
co founder, saveyour.town
Bio: She shares stories and advice on working and living in a small town and creating the kind of community you want to live in. Deb is the Executive Director Webster City Area Chamber of Commerce in Iowa. You might recognize her online as @debworks. She grew up in a town of 141 people, Geneva, Iowa. She loves to tell stories and share real world examples of how people are changing their small town into the kind of place the community wants to live, work and play in. SaveYour.Town is a partnership with Deb Brown and Becky McCray where they share the passion for small towns and bring you common sense advice on how to shape a brighter future for your small town.
Her programs on small business, what to do with empty buildings, customer service, marketing and economic development have been received by chambers, economic developers, tourism specialists, museum experts, business groups, and small town conferences. Deb has keynoted at Rural X Summit, TEDx Brookings, Michigan Rural Economic Development Conference, Roscommon County Michigan, Central Iowa Tourism Annual Meeting, Milbank South Dakota Chamber Annual Dinner and several 140 Character Conferences. Additional presentations include Western Iowa Tourism, Iowa Byways Association, Iowa Museum Association, Southern Illinois Economic Development, and Preserve Iowa Summit.
Downtown Development Account, WEDC
Bio: Erinn is a Downtown Development Account Manager with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and works with Main Street and Connect Communities, businesses and property owners statewide. Errin has significant experience with downtown revitalization, small business development and real estate, having been on staff with downtown organizations in both St. Cloud, MN and Denver, CO, with other relevant experience in market analysis, real estate development and brokerage.
Managing Director, Discover Wisconsin
Bio: As Managing Director of Discover Wisconsin, Greg works with Chambers Of Commerce, Convention and Visitor Bureaus, Communities, Counties and the State, to development promotions and marketing campaigns for the television series “Discover Wisconsin.” This is his 17th year working with Discover Wisconsin Media Network and has been in marketing 35 years. Greg makes his home in Chippewa Falls Wisconsin.
Regional Economic Development Director, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
Bio: Jenny, CEcD serves as a Regional Economic Development Director with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). In this capacity, Jenny works with businesses, communities and economic development partners throughout Western Wisconsin on a wide variety of business and community growth, attraction and capacity building initiatives. Jenny has over 15 years of experience in community and economic development. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Public Administration from UW-La Crosse and a Masters of Business Administration from Viterbo University. Jenny is also a Certified Economic Developer through the International Economic Development Council and holds the Economic Development Finance Professional certification from the National Development Council.
Executive Director, Appleton Downtown Inc.
Bio: She currently serves as the Executive Director of Appleton Downtown Inc. and Creative Downtown Appleton Inc. Jennifer joined the team at ADI in 2003 and is responsible for continuing the momentum and development of Appleton Downtown and management of the Business Improvement District through recruiting new businesses, promoting the district, managing events as well as addressing the needs to keep it clean, safe and friendly.
Prior to her role with ADI, Jennifer led the New London Area Chamber of Commerce for 5 years as the Executive Director. She has a Master’s degree in management and organizational behavior from Silver Lake College, is an IOM graduate and is currently involved in a variety of community activities such as: President of the Appleton Downtown Rotary Club, President of Wisconsin Downtown Action Council, Board member with Arts Wisconsin and Sculpture Valley a local organization focused on public sculpture and monuments.
Director , Office of Business Development - WI Dept. of Administration
Bio: Working in various industries in the private sector coupled with serving a term in the Wisconsin State Legislature, Joe has seen the creation of regulation and the effects that regulation has on the business community. The son of a Rock County Veterinarian, Joe grew up knowing the hard work and challenges a small business faces. Governor Walker recently appointed Joe as a Director of the Office of Business Development. Working in this position gives Joe the opportunity to advocate for the small businesses in our state. Joe also works with the Small Business Regulatory Review Board to reduce regulations that burden small business owners.
While serving in the State Legislature, Joe worked alongside a pro-growth Governor on many promising pro-business pieces of legislation. He understands that there is much more to be done in creating a smart regulation environment in Wisconsin. While meeting with many groups of business owners, associations and economic development groups he is learning what changes need to be made. Using this information to make changes sometimes can be a challenge however working in the Office of Business Development gives Joe a unique opportunity to make changes that small businesses owners need to succeed.
Director of Communications , KWIK TRIP
Bio: He is the Director of Corporate Communications, Leadership Development and Training for Kwik Trip, Inc. He holds degrees from the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota and the Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. His enjoyment in giving keynote addresses has brought him throughout the United States, Ireland, and Italy. He and his wife Maggie enjoy living at their log home near Sparta, Wisconsin.
CEO, The 7 Rivers Alliance
Bio: Dr. Herr brings more than 11 years of experience successfully growing dynamic partnerships that contributed to the economic vitality in Tacoma-Pierce County, in Washington State. She was the Global Solutions Officer for Invista Performance Solutions, a regional higher education partnership dedicated to working with businesses. Dr. Herr holds a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Washington where she specialized in creating innovative Workforce Development programs that supported a talent pipeline for high demand industries.
Host, Discover Wisconsin
Bio: Mariah is the host and brand manager for the longest-running tourism TV show in the country, Discover Wisconsin. She travels the state to bring Wisconsin's best foods, festivals, sights and activities to the living rooms of more than 500,000 loyal viewers across the Midwest each and every weekend. Mariah received her bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 2010. She serves on the UW-Oshkosh alumni board and was selected to InBusiness Magazine's 40 Under 40 Class of 2015.
Executive Director, Wisconsin Counties Association
Bio: Mark serves as WCA Executive Director and has been with the Association since 1989. Previously, he worked for the State of Wisconsin in the Department of Administration, Department of Natural Resources, and Legislative Audit Bureau. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin. Mark is president of WCA Services, Inc., serves as an executive officer of the Wisconsin Higher Education Business Roundtable, is Vice President of Competitive Wisconsin and was a principal in the Wisconsin Way effort.
State Specialist, UW-Extension Center for Community & Econ. Dev.
Bio: He is a Community Development Specialist with the University of Wisconsin-Extension Center for Community and Economic Development. He carries out the Wisconsin Idea by conducting applied research and educational programs that address regional economic analysis and geospatial analysis. Matt has researched and presented regional and community-level economic studies in communities both large and small across the state of Wisconsin. He has provided cutting edge research on Wisconsin’s industrial clusters and the creative class economy.
Matt was a regular contributor to the Capitol Region Business Journal and his work is featured in numerous other business and economic development publications. He has presented or authored over a dozen papers addressing regional economics and geographic information systems. Matt was named to the prestigious “Madison’s 40 Under 40” by In Business magazine. He and his Center colleagues were also recognized with the 2009 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Civic Engagement. Matt earned a bachelor’s degree in Geography from UW-Madison and is currently completing a master’s degree, also in Geography, at UW-Madison. Matt has worked in the Center since 2001.
Director, Office of Business Development - WI Dept. of Administration
Bio: She has seen both sides of government rules and regulations. She has more than 30 years as a private sector entrepreneur and 15 months within a regulatory agency for the State of Wisconsin. Nancy was appointed by Governor Scott Walker as a Director in the newly created Office of Business Development where she serves as an advocate for small business. Nancy and her team work with the Small Business Regulatory Review Board to remove red tape and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens that impact business owners. They also help businesses connect to various resources and investment networks that small business owners might not know about otherwise.
Working for a pro-business, pro-growth Governor, Nancy sees tremendous opportunity for business owners to reduce the impact of government on their everyday lives. Nancy meets with business owners, economic development and trade associations to gather firsthand knowledge of what they see as needed changes. She then takes this information back to the legislature, state agencies and the Governor’s office to help improve the business climate in Wisconsin.
Dean - Workforce And Economic Development, Western Technical College
Bio: She grew up in La Crescent and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Math with a Secondary Education Licensure. After teaching high school and coaching competitive debate and speech for a number of years, Patti began organizing apprenticeship programs in the construction trades throughout Minnesota. Her role, based in Minneapolis, MN, expanded to include running a non-profit, overseeing the creation and sales of an electrical training curriculum, customized training for electrical companies and legislative lobbying in support of the electrical construction industry.
At Western Technical College, Patti oversees the Business and Industry Services (BIS) area. BIS is the customized training unit within the college and works with local employers to provide quality training and other services when and where they need it. BIS also offers all professional development and continuing education seminars. Patti obtained her Master’s in Education with an emphasis in Training and Performance Improvement which helped hone her skills in helping all types of organizations improve.
Senior Director of Governmental Relations, WI Farm Bureau
Bio: Rob serves as Senior Director of Governmental Relations for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation where he assists grassroots Farm Bureau members in working with local, state and federal lawmakers to advance the policy directives for Wisconsin’s largest general farm organization. Prior to this, Rob spent 15 years as a senior legislative aide in leadership offices for the WI State Assembly and Senate. He has a degree in history from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and currently lives in Mazomanie with his wife and two young children.
Digital Sales & Marketing Manager, Phase 3 Digital
Bio: With 20 years in media, she not only has extensive client-side marketing experience, but she was "born" in the customer service era. Her growth and development took place when relationships, trust and results were everything. Combine that with an insatiable appetite for the changing landscape of digital media, Susie's skills offer a unique blend of old and new. With more than thirteen years with a dedicated digital focus, Susie has led too many successful campaigns to count. Her passion is in customizing unique solutions for her clients that drive results. She assists the sales teams at Morgan Murphy Media to harness the power of digital media in a way that is tailored to the specific goals and budget of their clients. You will often hear her say, "Digital is not a one size fits all medium," rather each client has unique avenues to market themselves digitally.
In addition to a 13 year focus on digital products and services, Susie has been through Google Boot Camp, holds Advanced Digital Certification from the Local Media Association and is a graduate of the Walker Broadcast Management Institute
President, Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance
Bio: Todd has been President of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX) since 1994. WISTAX, and Todd, fervently believe that, more than ever, voters and taxpayers need objective, factual information about their government. Prior to joining the Alliance, Todd combined private business experience with service in state and local government. For 10 years, he was a marketing executive for one of the state’s oldest food manufacturers.
In the late seventies and early eighties, he was Wisconsin’s Assistant Secretary of Revenue. Berry has served on a number of gubernatorial and legislative commissions and task forces, among them the 2000 Kettl Commission. He also served on the Dane County Board, the Jefferson School Board, the CESA #2 Board of Control, and the North Central College Board of Trustees, Naperville, Illinois. With bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from UW-Madison, Todd is a loyal and committed "Badger." He also holds master’s degrees from Harvard University and the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.
Bio: She is an Area Director with USDA Rural Development, supervising offices located in Stevens Point and Dodgeville Area, serving 20 counties in central and southwest Wisconsin. She is the State’s Community Economic Development Co-Lead, and the agency lead in the state for Stronger Economies Together (SET). Ms. Wetuski serves on the Wisconsin Rural Partner Board of Directors, and is a member of the Small Town Downtown Forums Planning Committee. Ms. Wetuski worked as a civilian for the Department of the Army for 11 years and served in the US Army from 1985-1989. She has a Master Degree in Management Information Systems from Strayer University, a Bachelor Degree in Organizational Management from Viterbo University, and an Associate Degree in Accounting from Western Technical College.
Chief Executive Officer, Cranberry Growers Cooperative
Founder & CEO , Shop Local Communities
Director - Business Health Services, Gundersen Health System
Technology & Outsourcing Manager, Meca Sportswear Inc
Chair/County Board Supervisor, Monroe County EDCT Committee