Governor's Conference on

Economic Development

Equity in Economic Development 

February 4 - 5, 2021



About the Conference

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The 2021 WEDA Governor’s Conference on Economic Development, which will be held VIRTUALLY this year on Feb. 3 -5, will address equity in economic development while exploring ways to support businesses, large and small, during difficult economic times. The conference will highlight Wisconsin businesses that have met the new demands of this past year with creative, collaborative approaches and explore the unique challenges faced by minority and women-owned businesses. 


Keynote speaker, William Fruth, POLICOM Corporation will share the twenty wealth-producing industrial sectors that will grow in the 2020’s and how these will influence economic growth for communities across Wisconsin and the United States.

The Governor’s Conference is the biggest WEDA education and networking event of the year.  Be sure to take a look at this year’s comprehensive agenda and plan to attend.  We look forward to having you join us!





8:30 AM

Welcome Messages 

WEDA Board Chair & US Bank

8:45 AM

Opening Address 

Governor Tony Evers

8:45 AM

Opening Address 

Secretary Missy Hughes

9:20 AM

Frederick C. Pierce Award Presentation

9:30 AM

Keynote Address - William Fruth "Twenty for the Twenties"

10:30 AM

Short Break - Entertainment/  Content will be running

10:40 AM

Panel Discussion - Access to Capital in Difficult Times

11:30 AM

Seminar - Unique Challenges for Minority Owned Businesses

12:15 PM

Lunch Break - Entertainment/  Content will be running

1:00 PM

Panel Discussion - Micro-enterprise Making an impact

2:00 PM

Panel Discussion - Wisconsin’s Supply Chain

2:45 PM

Short Break - Entertainment/  Content will be running

3:00 PM

Seminar - Racial Equity in Economic Development

4:00 PM

3 Breakout Sessions(Choose One)


- The Shift to a Remote Workforce


- Celebrating Innovation

- Impact of COVID on the Farm, Factory and Fork

4:45 PM - 6:30 PM

WEDA Annual Meeting followed by a Virtual Happy Hour!


8:35 AM

Seminar - The Economic Impact of 2020 on Wisconsin Tourism

10:00 AM

Short Break - Entertainment/  Content will be running

10:15 AM

Seminar - Recovery Steps for Communities/Re-Building Efforts

11:10 AM

Seminar - How Rural Communities Thrive "Learning to shrink smart"

12:00 PM

Closing Remarks

2021 Conference Close

8:30 AM

Welcome Messages

Visit Milwaukee

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For all conference tech support, please follow the menu for live assistance.


Governor Tony Evers

The 46th and current Governor of the Great State of Wisconsin

Conference Opening Address

Secretary Joel Brennan

Wisconsin Department of Administration

Transportation Infrastructure 

Jim Villa 

President and CEO at NAIOP Wisconsin

Shift to a Remote Workforce

Shelley Jurewicz

Executive Director of Milwaukee based FaBWisconsin

COVID Impact - Farm, Factory, Fork

Robert Villareal

California Community Development

Microenterprise Making an Impact

Agnes Noonan


Microenterprise Making an Impact

Bridget Condon

Vice President, Corporate Banking, CIBM Bank

Access to Capital in Difficult Times

Matt Childress

Commercial Lending Product Manager, WHEDA

Access to Capital in Difficult Times

Jason Monnett

Incoming 2021 WEDA Board Chair

2021 Conference Speaker

Maysee Herr

Executive Director, Hmong Chamber of Commerce

Minority Owned Businesses Panel

Tiffany Kenny

Executive Director, Madison’s Central Business Improvement District

Recovery Steps for Communities

Joanne Sabir

Co-Founder, Sherman Phoenix

Recovery Steps for Communities

Greg Marcus

CEO, The Marcus Corporation

COVID 2020 Tourism Impact

Rodrick T. Miller

CEcD Chief Executive Officer, Invest Puerto Rico

Racial Equity in Economic Dev.

William Fruth - Keynote

Founder and President of The Policom Corporation

"Twenty for the Twenties"

Alex Lasry 

Senior Vice President, Milwaukee Bucks

Economic Impact 2020

Secretary Missy Hughes

CEO, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

Welcome Messages & Seminars

Secretary Craig Thompson

Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Transportation Infrastructure 

Tracy Johnson

President & CEO, Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin

Shift to a Remote Workforce

Secretary Randy Romanski

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection 

Transportation Infrastructure 

Connie Evans

CEO, Association for Enterprise Opportunity

Microenterprise Making an Impact

Ayrianne Parks

Rapoza Associates

Microenterprise Making an Impact

Marjorie Rucker

Executive Director, The Business Council

Access to Capital in Difficult Times

Richelle Martin

Managing Director, WINNOW Fund

Access to Capital in Difficult Times

Corry Joe Biddle

VP of Community Affairs, and Executive Director, FUEL Milwaukee

Racial Equity in Economic Dev.

Scott Harrington

Principal Planner, Vandewalle & Associates, Inc.

Recovery Steps for Communities

John Antaramian

Mayor, City of Kenosha

Recovery Steps for Communities

Pat O’Brien

Executive Director, Milwaukee 7

Recovery Steps for Communities

Kristian Vaughn

Southeast Regional Director, WEDC

Recovery Steps for Communities

Quentin Messer, Jr.

CEcD, President & CEO, New Orleans Business Alliance

Racial Equity in Economic Dev.

Kurt Chilcott

CEO & President, CDC Small Business Finance

Racial Equity in Economic Dev.

Kathleen O'Leary

Chief Executive Officer, Wisconsin State Fair Park 

Economic Impact 2020









William H. Fruth is the President of POLICOM Corporation, an independent economics research firm located in Palm City, Florida, which specializes in studying the dynamics of local economies. Mr. Fruth has personally evaluated the data for more than 800 local economies in the United States, created more than 200 economic and community studies, and has provided presentations and workshops for state-national associations and community forums in 40 states.


Prior to founding POLICOM in 1995, from 1988 to 1995, Fruth served as Vice President of a major industrial land development company directing the development and marketing of a 500-acre corporate park in West Palm Beach, Florida. Previously he was President of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, the economic development organization for the area. During that tenure he was named Florida’s Economic Development Professional of the Year. From 1980 to 1984, Fruth served in a full-time capacity as Mayor of Tiffin, Ohio. During this time, he was named one of the “Five Outstanding Young Men in Ohio” and was heavily involved in economic and community development statewide.




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