Economic Development in Rural Wisconsin

October 26–27, 2011


On Wednesday, October 26, and Thursday, October 27, 2011, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, CAP Services, Inc., Community Bankers of Wisconsin, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, U.S. Small Business Administration and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority will co-sponsor a conference entitled "Economic Development in Rural Wisconsin: Developing a 21st Century Response to Compete in Today’s Global Marketplace." The purpose of the conference is to explore and discuss policies that speed, strengthen and enhance economic development in Wisconsin's rural areas to increase their competitiveness and support new market development in today's global economy.

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7:15 AM
Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:15 AM
Welcoming Remarks
Alicia Williams, Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
8:30 AM
Opening Remarks
Eric Ness, Wisconsin District Director, U.S. Small Business Adminstraton
9:00 AM
Morning Keynote Address
Paul F Jadin, Chief Executive Officer, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
9:30 AM
Rural Midwest Economy Perspectives
William Testa, Vice President and Director of Regional Programs, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
10:30 AM
Break & Networking
10:45 AM
Panel Discussion: Small Business and Farm Access to Credit

Supporting the flow of loans to creditworthy small businesses and farms is a crucial step in bolstering economic recovery and job creation. The economic recovery began in June 2009, but has borrowing to small businesses and farms rebounded as well? Are bank lending standards and terms easing or constricting? What about the demand for credit? Panelists will discuss the latest data, developments and their impact on the availability of credit to, and demand from, small businesses and farms.

Moderator and Presenter
James Simelton, Lead Business Development Specialist, U.S. Small Business Administration
Charles Luse, Assistant Vice President, Community Bank Group , Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Richard McGuigan, Executive Vice President, Community Bankers of Wisconsin
Mary Patoka, President and Chief Executive Officer, CAP Services, Inc.
Dan Schneider, Executive Vice President of Lending, Wisconsin Business Development Finance Corporation
12:00 PM
Lunch and Luncheon Address
Luncheon Address
Herb Kohl, Senator, U.S. Senate (Invited)
1:15 PM
Panel Discussion: Entrepreneurial Access to Venture Capital

Entrepreneurs are engines of creativity and innovation vital to our economic growth. Consequently, entrepreneurs are disproportionately responsible for job growth in industrialized economies and for rising standards of living. However, for the past several decades, Wisconsin has ranked well below the national average for new firms launched. Panelists will discuss Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial environment and how leaders who create economic policies can strive to encourage the pioneering innovation and risk taking of entrepreneurs.

Karl Pnazek, Director, Community Assets for People
Kurt Waldhuetter, Northeast Regional Director, Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Network (WEN)
Bill Wheeler, Executive Director, Tri-County Regional Ecnomic Development Corporation
Kim L Kindschi, Executive Director, Division of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development University of Wisconsin-Extension
Paul Graham, Owner, Central Waters Brewery
Peter W Brey, Managing Partner, Buena Vista Investment Management, LLC
2:45 PM
Break & Networking
3:00 PM
Panel Discussion: Developing, Attracting and Retaining a Skilled Workforce

Misunderstanding – misinformation - it all factors into displaced workers and unemployed college grads looking past rural America as a career pathway. It takes many skilled people to smoothly run a healthy rural economy. Our panel will discuss Wisconsin’s current labor market, the mismatch of skills possessed to skills needed, educational efforts to reach out to displaced workers and the pathway to providing employers with the skilled employees they need.

Moderator and Presenter
Jack Ourada, Executive Director, Wisconsin Agricultural Education and Workforce Development Council
, Retired Chief Labor Economist, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (Invited)
Paul Larson, High School Agricultural Educator, Freedom Area School District
Lori A Weyers, President, Northcentral Technical College
Mark MacPhail, Agriculture Director, McCain Foods
4:15 PM
Panel Discussion: Rural Labor: Many Voices, One Community

Rural communities throughout Wisconsin face serious challenges to their continued vitality. Among the most critical is the challenge of rural labor, primarily in agriculture and tourism. Immigrant labor is a growing segment of the local population and an essential factor in community economic health; however, immigration is among the most politically divisive and controversial issues. Panelists will discuss the importance of immigrants to healthy rural economies and their impact on increasing long-run economic growth and U.S. competitiveness, as well as how to bring differing cultures to mutual trust and understanding.

Gary Sipiorski, Dairy Development Manager, Vita Plus Corporation, Past President and CEO and current board member, Citizens State Bank of Loyal
Erich C Straub, Immigration Attorney, Erich C. Straub Immigration Attorney, LLC
Daylene Stroebe, General Manager, Kalahari Resorts
John T Pagel, Owner, Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy
Wilda G Nilsestuen, Coordinator, Wisconsin Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program, UW-Madison Department of Family Medicine
5:30 PM

A Reception Sponsored by the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) and CAP Services, Inc. will be in the Jefferson Room. The Reception includes Hors d’Oeuvres and a Cash Bar. Please Join Us for Networking and Cheer!

7:30 AM
Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:45 AM
Welcoming Remarks
Jeremiah Boyle, Managing Director of Economic Development, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
9:00 AM
Opening Remarks
Stan Gruszynski, Wisconsin State Director, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development
9:30 AM
Local Governments on the Brink

Local governments of all sizes are facing many challenges in 2011, partly because of their overwhelming dependence on property tax revenues to fund their operating budgets. Rick Mattoon examines the likelihood of local governments defaulting on their debt or filing for bankruptcy. Despite the challenging fiscal environment today, the vast majority of local governments are not likely to do either, if history serves as a guide for the future.

Richard Mattoon, Senior Economist and Economic Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
10:30 AM
Break & Networking
10:45 AM
Panel Discussion: Growing Rural Wisconsin’s High-Technology Opportunities

Employment opportunities are critical to a sustainable rural economy. Presently, high-technology fields requiring math, science, or engineering backgrounds are in need of a skilled workforce. What is the high-technology industry? How can rural communities build an infrastructure and create opportunities that will attract and keep a skilled workforce? Panelist will discuss resources and technology available to communities looking to move their economies forward.

Moderator and Presenter
Justin Kirking, Business and Cooperative Program Specialist, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development
Gary Radloff, Interim Director, Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiatives
Tom Eggert, Director, Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council
Charlie Walker, President and CEO, Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation
12:00 PM
Lunch and Luncheon AddressJefferson Room
Luncheon Address
, Under Secretary, Rural Development, United States Secretary of Agriculture
1:30 PM
The Perspective from WHEDA
, Executive Director, Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority
2:00 PM
Panel Discussion: Taking a Collaborative and Regional Approach to Economic Development

With dwindling resources at all levels of government, is the era of taking a collaborative and regional approach finally at hand? If so, does such a coordinated effort truly reduce duplication; provide focus on regional priorities and solutions; and improve local capacity to undertake projects that individual communities could not otherwise accomplish on their own? How do communities within a region develop a collective attitude of collaboration and cooperation? How does a region establish a recognized and respected voice on economic issues and establish priorities and policies? How does this regional concept directly provide a positive impact for the community, employers and employees to be gainfully employed and flourish?

Moderator and Presenter
Diane Schobert, Business Development Officer, Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority
Farshad Maltes, Director of Economic Development, Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority
Brenda Hicks-Sorensen, Vice President of Economic and Community Development, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
Stan Gruszynski, Wisconsin State Director, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development
David J Ward, President and Founder, NorthStar Economics, Inc.
Kelly Lucas, President, Community Foundation of South Wood County
3:15 PM
Break & Networking
3:30 PM
Panel Discussion: How Does Rural Wisconsin Go Global?

The rural economy has collided full force with globalization. Many rural communities are struggling as low-cost global competitors challenge rural America’s commodity industries. Many are searching for new competitive advantages for a new rural economy. In order to embrace globalization, Rural America’s new economic frontier may require a new business model, a remodeled financing model and fresh policy ideas built upon technology and developed by entrepreneurs. This panel discusses the impacts of globalization on the rural economy, its future and how it plays out here in Wisconsin.

Moderator and Presenter
John A Nevell, Liaison Director Regional Manager, International Trade Programs, U.S. Small Business Administration
Steven C Deller, Professor, Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
William MacFarlane, Owner/President, MacFarlane Pheasants Inc.
Lora Klenke, Vice President of International Development, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
Sheila Nyberg, Executive Director , Clark County Economic Development Corporation and Tourism Bureau
4:45 PM
Closing Remarks and Adjourn
Jeremiah Boyle, Managing Director of Economic Development, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
4:45 PM



Last Updated: 11/04/2011

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Hotel Information

Jefferson Street Inn – Wausau, WI
201 Jefferson Street
Wausau ,  WI   54403
(715) 845-6500

Phone: (715) 845-6500
Rate: $105

A block of rooms is reserved for conference participants, the cost of which is not included in the registration fee. Reservations must be made by September 26 to guarantee availability.

To make reservations, please call the Inn directly and mention you are with the Federal Reserve Bank Economic Development Conference to receive the conference rate of $105 per night. You will need a credit card to secure your reservation. If you have any questions, please contact Sandy Schneider via e-mail or at (312) 322-8203.

No matter what the season, Wausau offers a plethora of fun and exciting things to do within minutes of Jefferson Street Inn. Shop at historic Washington Square or Third Street specialty shops, Wausau Mall a full service shopping center, contemplate artful exhibits at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, or see your favorite musician perform live at the Grand Theatre on the ARTSblock.


Parking is complimentary for the first 2 hours, after which you will need a parking pass. Parking passes are available at the Front Desk of the Jefferson Street Inn for $3.00. Please pick-up a pass within the first 2 hours upon arrival at the conference. A parking pass is required to park in the city parking lot, and to park in the city parking ramp across the street from the hotel. The parking fee is not included in the conference registration fee and must be paid separately.

With a pass you can park:

  • In any non-metered spot in the lot next to the Hotel
  • In the 2nd street parking ramp in front of a red meter. (Reminder: the Skywalk to the conference rooms is on the 2nd floor.)

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