State of the Association: WEDA President and CEO Mary Perry

Colorful leaves crunching under your steps, mulled cider, the first fire of the season crackling in the den. These are a few of my favorite things this time of year. What else? WEDA’s Best Practices Conference which wrapped up last month proved to be most valuable in terms of tools to take back to your communities as well as priceless in-person networking. It was worth the long wait to see 150+ economic developers and industry related people. Want to know what you missed? We learned from the best:

  • WEDC Secretary Missy Hughes kicked us off with an inspirational “Economy for All” and brought her A-Team to share all the programs WEDC has to offer.
  • Minah Hall, Principal of Compass Key Solutions, put us to work on an interactive site selection RFP—scoring and weighting community characteristics that unlock how the winners win in site selection.
  • Mark Eppli, of University of Wisconsin-Madison, headlined for us with a look at Wisconsin’s housing situation. It really hit home being aligned with WEDA’s legislative agenda which focuses on workforce issues, not the least of which is the lack of Heroes Housing – workforce housing for essential teachers, nurses, law enforcement and firefighters.

The weather was glorious, the foodie culture was perfect and WEDA took to the streets touring gorgeous workforce homes created from the historic buildings that once housed Gabriel Furniture, the Post Crescent Newspaper, and Woolen Mills. All offered fantastic downtown living with a delightful historical design in an urban setting. In this pre-conference hands-on session, we discovered the art of finding beautiful new homes through real estate redevelopment. It tied in nicely to other sessions offering challenges and solutions in workforce development including transportation, childcare, and finding financial feasibility through creative capital stacking.

2021 will soon end, and WEDA wishes all of you have a strong finish! Keep safe, keep healthy and keep in the loop with what’s coming up at WEDA:

  • November 10th -1:30 -3:30pm Virtual Academy Workforce Development-Overcoming Barriers and Building Opportunities will explore transportation and childcare challenges and solutions. CLICK HERE to register.
  • February 9-11th 2022 WEDA Governors Conference – at Monona Terrace—registration opens soon!

And one last thing—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 by providing education, networking, and advocacy to our membership. What benefits can you expect? Members grow their networks, learn best practices, and earn continuing education credits at discounted rates via our conferences and Academy programming. They also make their communities stronger via our ED 101 for Local Leaders. And as the “Voice of Economic Development” WEDA is dedicated to backing programs and policies that create a strong business climate. CLICK HERE to find out more about individual and corporate membership.

All the best – enjoy a delightful Thanksgiving feast surrounded by your loved ones and don’t forget to start your holiday shopping early!