State of the Association – WEDA President and CEO Mary Perry

Happy Spring WEDA Family— We’re thrilled with the buzz of activity and progress within WEDA! From active participation in committees across the state to attending both our online and in-person gatherings, our members are making significant strides. A recent highlight was our presence at the Business Development Tax Credit (BTC AB627) bill signing alongside our esteemed partners from WEDC, with special thanks to Governor Evers for making it possible.

In equally exciting news, we’re proud to announce the launch of the WEDA Young Professional Engagement Network (YPEN). After years in the making, YPEN kicked off with a spectacular event in Wisconsin Dells at the Kalahari, complete with networking over pizza and an exhilarating round of Laser Tag. Stay tuned for more on YPEN’s upcoming virtual and in-person meetups.

Our first two Academy events took place in person at the Kalahari where many of our state utility members produced the Energizing the Future Seminar. It was a real hit! And our March Academy just wrapped up virtually. The Think Like a Developer Academy was produced by Ayres Associates.  Initial member feedback is that they are thrilled with the new structure: All Academy events are now exclusive member benefits—offered at no cost to you!  If you’re not a member yet, you can attend these at a nominal registration fee.

There’s more to come and we can’t wait to partner up with AARP and the Wisconsin Downtown Action Council in Wausau in May for a double play:  WDAC’s Downtown Summit, Evolve Downtown, followed by WEDA Downtown Development Academy with nationally renowned speaker, Jeff Siegler, founder of Revitalize or Die.

The Academy Planning Committee is also announcing its 2024 line up soon—stay tuned!  The Fall Best Practices Conference Planning and Production Committee is also putting the sessions together for a super strong lineup in Eau Claire this Fall.  Since WEDA is member driven, we always produce what YOU, our members request through our conference Call for Presentations RFPs.

More things to be excited about: IEDC’s accredited WI Basic Economic Development Course registration is open now!  Register for the WI BEDC here!  We are producing it May 6-9th at the Chippewa Valley Technical College campus in Eau Claire.  Scholarships are available.

Let’s say you are up to speed on best practices in economic development, but some of your elected officials and citizens could have a better understanding. The ED 101 curriculum is designed as a three-hour training session specifically addressing the issues affecting your city or county.  If you would like your public officials, board members and residents to better understand and support economic development efforts, this is a program for you!  Contact to learn more.

Not a Member?

Save the dates for upcoming events:

  • Virtual Energizing the Future Academy Webinar in April (TBD)
  • WI Basic Economic Development Course in Eau Claire from May 6-9
  • Wisconsin Rural Partners Summit in Ashland on May 14
  • WDAC Evolve Downtown Summit in Wausau from May 20-21
  • WEDA Downtown Development Academy with Jeff Siegler in Wausau on May 22
  • Wisconsin Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference in Platteville from May 30-31
  • Virtual YPEN on June 13
  • WEDA CRA CDFI Round Table in Wausau on June 26
  • YPEN in Stevens Point in August (TBD)
  • Virtual YPEN on September 12
  • WEDA Fall Best Practices Conference and CEDA in Eau Claire from September 25-27
  • WEDA Academy Seminar in Eau Claire on September 25
  • WEDA CRA Network in Iron Mountain on September 25
  • WEDA Community & Economic Development Awards in Wausau on September 26
  • WEDA CRA Network in Milwaukee on November 13
  • Virtual YPEN on December 12
  • 2025 Governor’s Conference on Economic Development in Milwaukee from February 5-7

Join us for these exciting opportunities to learn, network, and grow with WEDA.