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Centergy News
Updates from your regional economic development alliance
June, 2010- Vol 1, Issue 4
In This Issue
Manufacturing Alliance Update
NEW Creative Council
Area CEOs help recruit talent to the region
MREA's Renewable Energy Fair Begins Friday
Central Wisconsin is extremely fortunate to have within its geographic territory the home of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA).  Each year the MREA hosts an annual Energy Fair, arguably the largest of its kind in the world. This year's Energy Fair runs June 18 - June 20 at the ReNew Earth Institute in Custer, WI.

It seems only fitting that this event should be held in Central Wisconsin with complementing assets such as the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technologies at UWSP, and the heavy concentration of paper manufacturers, food processors, and agriculture.  Over the past 20 years that the fair has taken place in central WI, the MREA has grown from a one person operation, to now employing 18 full-time employees that help organize more than 200 workshops and classes beyond the annual June fair. The fair, itself, now draws over 23,000 people.

Check out the MREA's Web site HERE for a listing of events at this year's 21st Annual Energy Fair.

Meet the Centergy
Board of Directors
Centergy is blessed to have a strong, diverse board of directors from both the public and private sectors.

Meet them HERE.
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Barb FleisnerCentergy helps develop strategy to attract foreign direct investment in central Wisconsin.

The dust has not yet settled on our Economic Summit and we are moving full steam ahead on a new recommendation to help grow this region.

Our goal is to develop an aggressive strategy to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to Marathon, Portage and Wood Counties.  The FDI strategy would involve analyzing the level of existing FDI in the region, better understanding the impetus behind those investments, local plans for our employment base and their capital infusion, and alliances local businesses have with other foreign companies seeking a Midwestern presence. 

A recent article in Fortune Magazine, "China Wants You!" shows that many foreign countries and companies are interested in locating production facilities in the U.S.   To help advance this strategy, Centergy has joined a UW Task Force on International Economic Development led by David Ward of NorthStar Economics. The first meeting was held June 9.  Moving forward, our initiatives include mapping current international connections, regional assets, and global trends. 

One may fear that by encouraging foreign investment we will lose local control and community involvement.  While this could be the case, we also must think about how we retain jobs and recruit new industry into our area. While other parts of the world are just now truly feeling the effects of the global recession, there are countries that have made it a priority to seek investments in the United States.  Our state and region should be on their short list.  

Please click HERE for the written summary of our Economic Summit and the three other major efforts that Centergy will pursue in addition to the strategy for foreign direct investment.

Barb Fleisner
Barb Fleisner
Executive Director
Central WI Manufacturing Alliance Update
Manufacturing Alliance Photo
In our April newsletter we announced a plan to organize a Centergy region manufacturing alliance in order to support and grow the manufacturing sector in central WI. We are extremely excited to report that a formal steering committee of individuals representing 14 different manufacturing-related companies across the Marathon, Portage and Wood Counties now exists to support the following purposes:

1. Provide business-to-business connections - growing the central WI manufacturing supply chain.
2. Enhance the image of manufacturing to increase the size of available skilled workers in central WI.
3. Advance 'next generation' manufacturing concepts.
4. Advocate for legislative support.

This group will convene on June 23 for a meeting led by Tom Felch, J&D Tube Benders.  Please contact Barb Fleisner if you wish to become involved in the work of this committee.
Creative Council Convenes for Inaugural Meeting
Creative Council photoA select group of young professionals has been chosen to serve on a regional council whose purpose is to provide direction for systemic change that will make the region more attractive for young talent. While good work is occurring in various communities through United Way's Emerging Leaders, Chambers of Commerce, and young professional networks, the role of the council is to provide a forum to discuss and implement tactics on a regional basis for the succinct purpose of retaining and recruiting young talent to Central Wisconsin.

The 15 member council is comprised of talented individuals who work or live in Marathon, Portage and Wood Counties, representing those who have left the area and returned, those who never left, and those who were not from the region originally but are here now, all wanting to make the region "home."  Industry areas of focus include careers in medical sciences, advanced manufacturing, bio-energy/agriculture, and entrepreneurship.

The Creative Council will decide upon a detailed plan of work, method of execution, and representation to serve on the Centergy Board of Directors. This council will convene for facilitated dialogue, led by Molly Foley, Next Generation Consulting, on June 30 at Granite Peak Ski Lodge on Rib Mt. Please watch for future updates as this council takes shape.
Area CEOs help recruit talent to Centergy region
In an effort to recruit talent and jobs to the region, Centergy partnered with Professor Ellertson's Digital Marketing Class at UWSP and Golden Icon to create four live CEO testimonials to personally explain why their companies are successful in central WI. Click HERE to watch the full or portions of testimonials given by the following individuals:  

1. Advanced Manufacturing: Joe Kinsella, Pointe Precision
2. Medical Research: Dr. Humberto Vidaillet, Marshfield Clinic      Research Foundation
3. Food Processing/Agriculture: Cheryl Urban, Urban Processing
4. Entrepreneurship/Small Business: Dan Shoman, Flapjack Creative

Please contact Centergy should you wish to be part of this new expanded marketing method.

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