During a January 31st stop at the New Richmond Regional Airport (New Richmond, Wisc.), Governor Scott Walker introduced his selection of Reed Hall as the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). Hall has been WEDC’s interim CEO since November 2012.
Governor Walker and Hall spent three days at various locations around the state making the CEO announcement. Several organizations attended the event in New Richmond, including St. Croix EDC, Polk County EDC, Pierce County EDC, New Richmond Economic Development Commission, Amery EDC, New Richmond Area EDC, City of New Richmond, New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce, Momentum West, and City of Prescott.
Hall spent his career at Marshfield Clinic (Marshfield, Wisc.) where he served as its executive director from 2000–2010 and general counsel from 1976–2000. During Hall’s tenure, Marshfield Clinic added 63 regional clinics and grew from 145 to more than 750 physicians and a total staff of 7,500.
In a press release earlier in the week, Governor Walker said, “Reed brings a fresh perspective and strong leadership to WEDC. Reed’s experience at Marshfield Clinic, in numerous civic organizations, and involvement in creating private sector jobs in Wisconsin makes him a perfect fit for this position.”
A mid-2010 competitive analysis of the state entitled, “Be Bold Wisconsin” laid the groundwork for a public-private organization like WEDC. Recommendations in the Be Bold study were supported by the three major candidates for governor, including Scott Walker. WEDC was created through legislative action in early 2011 and was officially launched on July 1, 2001. The law replaced a state agency, the Department of Commerce, with a public authority led by a CEO rather than a cabinet secretary. In addition to its economic development mission, the former Department of Commerce administered regulatory duties like inspecting petroleum tanks and issuing credentials to trades and labor. Commerce’s regulatory duties were assigned to a new agency, the Department of Safety and Professional Services. Today, WEDC leads the state’s economic development efforts through four core areas of focus – business and industry development, economic and community development, entrepreneurship and innovation, and international business development.
WEDC is headquartered in Madison but maintains offices throughout the state, including one in Eau Claire to serve west central and northwest Wisconsin. The Eau Claire office is staffed by Seth Hudson, a regional account manager (608.210.6772) and Marie Steenlage, a community account manager (608.210.6755).
Other recommendations in the Be Bold study led to WEDC’s branding initiative, “In Wisconsin” and a certified site program which confirms to real estate brokers and site selection consultants that business park sites are shovel-ready in order for development to occur.
More information about WEDC can be found at www.inwisconsin.com.