WEDA Academy Update: Kathy Heady, Academy Manager

The WEDA Academy held its latest webinar – Exploring Opportunities in Freight Rail – on May 4.  Participants expanded their knowledge of the freight rail industry, learned about processes and important considerations when developing a freight rail project, and explored potential programs and resources for building freight rail industry spurs in Wisconsin.  The program featured three speakers with a wealth of experience in the industry – Brian Buchanan, Sales Manager, Watco Companies LLC; Jeff Francis, Owner, Principal and Railroad Engineer, TerraTec Engineering; and Rich Kedzior, Freight Rail Program Manager, Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

The next Academy program will be a webinar on August 3 – Placemaking: Creating Your Quality Place.  The program will provide an introduction to Placemaking and will feature examples of successful efforts.  As I have been researching placemaking initiatives, I ran across this definition offered by the Project for Public Spaces:

“Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. Strengthening the connection between people and the places they share, placemaking refers to a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm in order to maximize shared value. More than just promoting better urban design, placemaking facilitates creative patterns of use, paying particular attention to the physical, cultural, and social identities that define a place and support its ongoing evolution.”  The Placemaking program is currently being finalized and registration will be available in June on the WEDA website at

The Academy is planning two additional programs for 2022, a comprehensive program – Best Practices in Workforce Attraction September 28, which will be held prior to the WEDA Best Practices Conference, as well as exciting TIF Fundamentals webinar scheduled for  November 2.

I hope that you will be able to join us for one or more of these highly informative and affordable economic development educational opportunities. As a reminder, be sure to look for approved credits/points for continuing education/recertification on the course registration information.

Please reach out to me at if you have any questions