2024 Governor’s Conference on Economic Development

January 31 – February 2, 2024

1305 Kalahari Drive

Wisconsin Dells, WI  53965


Theme:   Charting Wisconsin’s Horizons:  Emerging Trends in Economic Development

About the Governor’s Conference on Economic Development     

The 2024 WEDA Governor’s Conference on Economic Development – Charting Wisconsin’s Horizon:  Emerging Trends in Economic Development features industry-thought leaders and practitioners who will delve into entrepreneurship, solutions for workforce housing, trends Wisconsin manufacturers face and artificial intelligence in economic development.  The Governor’s Conference is WEDA’s largest educational and networking event of the year.  The packed agenda has something for everyone as we focus on advancing economic growth for people of all ages in rural and urban Wisconsin.   We look forward to having you join us!

Featured Speakers

Opening Address: Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (Invited)

WEDA is pleased to welcome Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers as a featured conference speaker. The 46th governor of Wisconsin has been invited to open the conference with remarks on what his administration is working on to drive economic growth and prosperity across the state. During his time in office, Governor Evers has been committed to advancing key economic development policies and programs, including rural broadband expansion, small business economic recovery, and affordable housing expansion.

Secretary Missy Hughes

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

Melissa “Missy” Hughes is secretary and CEO of Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Wisconsin’s lead economic development organization.  Before joining WEDC in October 2019, she was general counsel and chief mission officer at Organic Valley.

Her previous affiliations include Holland & Hart as well as serving on the boards of the Environmental Working Group and Organic Trade Association as well as the USDA Advisory Committee on Agriculture and Biotechnology in the 21st Century.

Ms. Hughes received her Bachelor of Arts in political science from Georgetown University and Juris Doctor degree from the University of Wyoming College of Law.

Elmer Moore, Jr.

WHEDA Chief Executive Officer

Elmer Moore, Jr. was appointed by Gov. Evers in April 2022. Mr. Moore previously served as the executive director of Scale Up Milwaukee. He has a proven track record in creating public-private partnerships and innovative programs that support business development and job creation.

Advancing innovative solutions and resources that provide equity for all has been the foundation of his career. Mr. Moore leverages his background in business development, job creation, strategic partnerships, and community engagement to support WHEDA’s commitment to growing housing equity and economic opportunity.

Mr. Moore has a bachelor’s degree from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in business administration from Columbia Business School in New York, New York. Mr. Moore also serves as chairman of the board for the WHEDA Foundation, is a member of the Community Investment Advisory Council of the FHLBank of Chicago, chairman of the board for the Social Development Commission, board member for the Harbor District, and adjunct instructor for Marquette University and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Michael M. Knetter

Chief Executive Officer
Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association

Mike joined the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association as president and chief executive officer in 2010 after eight years as dean of the Wisconsin School of Business. Prior to joining UW–Madison in 2002, he was associate dean and professor of international economics in the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. He also served as senior staff economist for the Council of Economic Advisers for former presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Locally, he chaired the capital campaign for The Road Home Dane County, a nonprofit that helps find housing and work solutions for homeless families in Dane County. At WFAA, Mike has led a variety of initiatives to support the advancement of UW–Madison, including the launch of a new constituent relationship management system, the $4.2 billion All Ways Forward campaign, and the 2014 merger of the UW Foundation with the Wisconsin Alumni Association.

Mike completed his undergraduate studies in economics and mathematics at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and his PhD in economics at Stanford University.

Conference Programming

Please find below key presentations from the conference (CLICK HERE to view the Conference Agenda):


  • WEDA CRA Network—Access to Capital through Special Purpose Credit Programs (SPCP)
  • WEDA GIVES BACK – Community Service Project Sponsored by Redevelopment Resources & Kapur
  • Energizing the Future: Exploring Key Trends in Energy


  • 2024 WEDA Awards
    • Andy Lisak Young Professional Award
    • Outstanding Organization Award
  • Emerging Economic Trends for Wisconsin
  • Artificial Intelligence and Economic Growth
  • Everyone in Wisconsin Deserves a Safe and Affordable Place to Call Home
  • Wisconsin’s Economic Outlook
    • Future Proof: The Small Business Community in Your Region
    • The Current State of Retail in Wisconsin
    • Trends & Challenges Your Manufacturers Face
    • Aging in Place
  • From AI to Cell Phone Data: Leveraging Tech to Tell the Story of Your Community


  • Scoring Economic Victories: The Packers Mentor-Protégé Playbook for Economic Growth
  • Community Land Trusts: A Solution for Permanently Affordable Workforce Housing
  • Partnering for Progress

Conference Lodging

1305 Kalahari Drive

Wisconsin Dells, WI  53965

Discount Rate for Kalahari Lodging $139/Night, as long as rooms last!

 Reserve Your Lodging

Reserve Your Exhibit Space

Special WEDA Conference Rates:  

  • Wednesday night, January 31 & Thurs. night February 1: $139/1-4 guests
  • Friday, February 2: $189/1-4 guests.


A dedicated website is now available for your attendees to book their hotel rooms online. Reservations can be made at this web address:


Reservations must be made before rooms run out, to secure this discounted rate. 

Check-in:  4:00 pm   |   Check-out:  11:00 am

Parking:   FREE

Exhibit Tables Available

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to share your products and services.  Exhibit information can be found on the conference registration site or by contacting Kathy Davies, conference planner – kdavies@weda.org or 715.344.2457

Exhibit spaces are $150 for WEDA members and $250 for non-members.

Conference Sponsorships Available 

Conference sponsors make this programming possible.  In return, your organization will be recognized across Wisconsin!

To see the GC Sponsorship Opportunities CLICK HERE or click the picture.


Early Bird Registration — Register by Dec. 31, 2023, for a Chance to WIN!

  SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY!    Register by December 31 and be entered for our Early Bird Prize Drawing.

Winners will be announced at the Thursday luncheon.

Full Conference Registration includes Wednesday evening reception; Thursday morning continental breakfast & breaks, lunch, and evening reception; Friday morning breakfast and a break.  The Wednesday afternoon programs are free of charge to WEDA members.  See the registration site for details.

Registration Fees:                          Member              Non-Member

Full Conference                               $ 379                    $ 499

Thursday Only                                  $ 279                    $ 399

Friday Only                                       $  129                   $ 249

Wednesday Energy Workshop     $ 0                         $79

Refund policy: registrants may receive refunds up to 15 business days, January 9, 2024, prior to the event start date. To request a refund email weda@weda.org  Refunds are given minus 10% handling and purchasing fees. If desired, registrants may transfer their registration to another individual.

As of January 10, 2024, 15 days or less prior to the event start date: As food and beverage guarantees have been made on your behalf registrations may only be transferred. No refunds will be given. There are no exceptions to this policy.

Start date of the event and beyond: There will be no refunds given for no-shows.




Gain access to a vast network of economic development professionals, best practices, and valuable resources.  Position you and your community for success in the economic development field.

Become one of more than 400 WEDA members today and save on conference fees, course fees, webinars and more!  Plus, enjoy our new WEDAConnect, an exclusive membership benefit and ‘place of belonging’ where members convene, exchange ideas, and share best practices.   Individual memberships start at just $350/year.


  • This conference is approved for IDEC credits.
  • Conference handouts and slides will be posted on the WEDA website.
  • Check this website for updated information as conference dates near.

We look forward to seeing you at the 2024 Governor’s Conference on Economic Development.

Thank You Conference Sponsors:

  • Baker Tilly
  • Alliant Energy
  • US Bank
  • FIRE
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing & Productivity
  • Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce
  • Redevelopment Resources 
  • Ayres
  • Associated Bank
  • Charter
  • City of West Allis
  • City of Green Bay
  • Miron Construction
  • PW Group
  • Vierbicher
  • Greenfire

2024 Conference Planning and Production Team:

  • Melissa Hunt, WEDA Board Vice-Chair and Education Committee Chair
  • Brad Alexejun, Madison Gas & Electric
  • Kelly Armstrong, Green Bay Chamber of Commerce
  • Marie Barry, Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
  • Kathryn Berger, Consultant
  • Angie Close, Langlade County
  • Brad Elmer, Baker Tilly
  • Kristen Fish-Peterson, Redevelopment Resources, LLC
  • David Kircher, Phoenix Financial Advisors
  • Melissa Meschke, UW Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship
  • Olivia Otte, Green County Development Corporation
  • Coleman Peiffer, Alliant Energy
  • Jennifer Peters, WI Indigenous Economic Development Corporation
  • Colan Treml, Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce
  • Charlie Walker, Chippewa County
  • Tim Weber, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
  • Angel Whitehead, Centergy
  • Travis Peterson of Kapur