James Otterstein Receives WEDA’s Highest Honor for Exceptional Work in Economic Development

The Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA) today presented Rock County Economic Development Manager James Otterstein with the 2021 Frederick C. Pearce Award at the organization’s Governor’s Conference on Economic Development. The prestigious award, given every other year, was established in 1985 to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of economic development in Wisconsin.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be recognized by WEDA. It truly is humbling to have my name associated with previous recipients of the Frederick C. Pearce Award, as those individuals were and continue to be economic development pacesetters and thought leaders,” said Otterstein who was named one of the top 50 economic development officials in North America in 2018 by a national consulting firm.

Otterstein has managed Rock County’s economic development efforts for over two decades, utilizing his strong leadership qualities and innovative approach to economic development to drive business growth, job creation, and a better quality of life for Rock County residents. He played a major role in guiding the county through the closure of the General Motors Janesville plant and worked closely with key partners to help diversify, reposition and revitalize the area’s economy. A long-standing member of WEDA, Otterstein is a past president and board member of the association and currently chairs WEDA’s legislative committee.

In his acceptance speech, Otterstein acknowledged the team aspect of economic development and thanked his partners. “Successful economic development requires a heavy dose of public and private sector alignment, so I want to thank the Rock County Board of Supervisors, County Administration, my teammates, and all of the stakeholders that support economic and workforce development activities throughout Rock County.”

WEDA President & CEO Mary Perry applauded Otterstein’s extensive list of career accomplishments and said his recognition is well-deserved. “WEDA is thrilled to celebrate James exceptional achievements in economic development and his career-long commitment to promoting opportunities for growth and prosperity in Rock County and across Wisconsin. He sets an outstanding example for our entire industry.”