State of the Association: WEDA President and CEO Mary Perry

Hello WEDA! We have passed the one-year mark since the pandemic changed our world. As I reflect on this milestone and focus on the future, I want to take a moment to say how proud I am of our dedicated economic development professionals and resilient businesses and communities. Momentum is building as we get out to patronize local businesses and enjoy the warmer temperatures with friends and family. Let’s build on that momentum! Wisconsin will soon be completely OPEN FOR BUSINESS!

WEDA President & CEO Mary Perry

In the last edition of the WEDA Wire, I discussed upcoming WEDA networking and educational opportunities. I am happy to report that we have begun to deliver on that promise with our recent (March 24th) Academy virtual training course that featured a tremendous list of presenters who are experts in commercial and industrial real estate. From design and construction to retail attraction and alternative funding, the live webinar provided attendees with information and tools needed to grow their local economies.

In short, WEDA Academy training and education offers both members and non-members a fantastic opportunity to learn from highly regarded  professionals and provides a significant return on investment – as the classes are nominally priced and the exposure to state and national industry leaders is priceless.  Look for registration opportunities coming up for our May 26th Academy course, which will feature more commercial and industrial attraction strategies and tactics!

I would also like to touch on the CRA Network, which was recently “re-launched” after a short pause during the height of the pandemic when WEDA presented its statewide community needs survey results. The survey responses represent needs identified in 97% of Wisconsin counties. Priorities like housing, childcare, mental healthcare, workforce, and broadband were cited as common themes across the state. These existed pre-pandemic, but are clearly more of a concern in the current economic climate. With federal pandemic relief dollars now flowing to communities, many of these projects could be CRA-eligible. Through our CRA Network, WEDA stands ready to help your community connect your project with interested lenders.

So if you’re not a WEDA member yet, why not..? WEDA’s sole mission is to make Wisconsin a better place to live and work through economic advancement. We do so by providing effective education, networking, and advocacy. Check out our membership opportunities today!

Finally, I want to encourage you to SAVE THE DATE for our next statewide conference, which will take place in beautiful downtown Appleton, WI on September 29th – October 1st. The conference will highlight a vast array of best practices content relevant to economic and community developers. It will focus on Wisconsin’s economic development toolbox and the programs and polices you can use to energize and grow your communities.

Stay tuned for more details…