MadREP Report: December 16, 2016
A Successful Year in Review

As 2016 comes to a close, we want to thank you for your interest and involvement in the work -- both ours and that of our partners -- we have had the privilege of sharing with you over the past year. Looking back on 2016, we're proud of and excited about the milestones we've achieved in advancing the Madison Region economy. For instance:

The Inspire Madison Region initiative took off in 2016, reaching 43 school districts and 212 companies across the eight-county region, allowing students to explore career options through direct contact to local employers, mentors and coaches. MadREP's Investing in Manufacturing Partnership Communities designation yielded fruit as well by helping attract more than $2.1 million in federal investment to the region with significantly more in queue for 2017.

In collaboration with the Urban League of Greater Madison, the 2016 Economic Development & Diversity Summit drew a record crowd and praise for stellar speakers and informative breakouts, while allowing us to share the results of the second annual Workplace Diversity & Inclusion Survey. Elected officials in five more communities across the region -- Horicon, Mayville, Poynette, Sun Prairie, and Waupun - received ED101 economic development training, bringing our total to twelve over the past three years.

We promoted the Madison Region globally in Argentina, Canada, Germany, and Mexico through the Americas Competitiveness Exchange program, WEDC's trade venture to Mexico, and the world's largest industrial trade fair at Hannover Messe.

MadREP also led the creation of the Madison Games Alliance - a network of studios working together to put the region on the map as an internationally recognized hub of game development. We will continue to support this effort as the fledgling organization makes plans for a major game developers conference in 2017. Likewise, we were able to introduce the region to many site selectors through two familiarization tours, one of which focused on the tech scene. Our work with site selectors is among the reasons that companies like The Little Potato Company and HSI Sensing moved here recently.

While we are home to eight of the sixteen Certified in Wisconsin sites in the state, MadREP launched the complementary Gold Shovel Site Verification Program to provide an alternative, affordable program to promote premium sites for development.

As always, Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) is a critical piece of our work plan. MadREP and our partners across the region have completed over 85 BRE visits in 2016 (with scores more expected to be completed in a currently open online survey), yielding vital information to grow and maintain our existing businesses. This fall, MadREP also supported the implementation of the region's first Community Blueprint in the City of Madison's Northside neighborhood - a coordinated one-day outreach to businesses by volunteers who discover and report on threats and opportunities. Following this successful event, at least three additional communities plan to host Community Blueprints in 2017.

Finally, in our continued commitment to providing the data and information you need to help your business, community, or organization succeed, we overhauled our data dashboard, adding new metrics and peer regions, and adapted our website to be responsive to mobile devices. We will be supplementing that robust data by adding four more cluster reports for our target industries in 2017.

For efforts like these, and more, MadREP received the Wisconsin Economic Development Association's 2016 Organizational Excellence Award. As we continue to partner with our talented economic development colleagues throughout the region to build a world-class economy, I'm grateful to my exceptional staff and to be working with a Board of Directors of thinkers, creators, influencers and mentors to shape a stronger economy for the Madison Region.

Thank you for your engagement in the important work of economic development. I wish you a happy and thriving New Year.

Paul Jadin
President, MadREP
Talent & Training: 
MadREP initiative inspires students to explore education, careers
One of the most important civic conversations we are having right now is how to prepare our young people for 21st century careers. It speaks directly to how our schools function and to the economic future of our region. MadREP's Inspire Madison Region initiative connects businesses and schools to allow students to explore career options through direct contact with local employers, mentors, and coaches. And the program recently hit important milestones -- reaching 41 school districts and signing on 210 employers earlier this month. "These are up-close experiences that will help kids prepare to be the workers new economy businesses will need as they grow here. It's smart-strategy by MadREP, and -- if done right -- will help reduce disparities as it nurtures our workforce," said Neil Heinen of Wisc-TV channel3000. 

Business Expansion: 
John Deere completes first major expansion in 30 years

John Deere Horicon Works recently completed its first major expansion in 30 years -- a $46 million, 388,000 square-foot facility creating 80 additional jobs. Previously, John Deere's Gator products were shipped out of the Horicon facility where they would go to another factory to have the finishing touches applied. The new facility consolidates production, allowing the Horicon plant to warehouse, assemble and ship the Gator product. "We had great support from the City of Horicon," said factory manager Steve Johnson. "We feel pretty blessed that the company has that kind of confidence in our workforce here, in our area here, in the city of Horicon to make that investment." A ribbon cutting for the new facility was held in early December, attended by about 100 guests and visitors. An open house for Deere employees and their families drew a crowd of 3,500-4000 people.

Regional Economy:
More broadband money is on the way for rural Wisconsin

Efforts to bring high-speed internet to rural Wisconsin residents and businesses recently got a boost, with up to $61.5 million in additional funds being funneled toward projects to expand broadband. Gov. Scott Walker asked the state Legislature to pass a bill that would allocate an additional $35.5 million over the next three years to make broadband more accessible to rural residents and businesses. The money includes grants to expand high-speed internet access in rural areas, and for schools and libraries to upgrade their internet access and train teachers. The state Public Service Commission also approved spending up to $26 million in the 2017 and 2018 calendar years toward new programs for rural areas that couple energy efficiency projects with broadband upgrades. "It will allow Wisconsin communities, especially in rural areas, to compete for jobs, improve education, and provide a higher quality of life," the governor said.

Regional Economy:
Sauk County Development Corp. names new leader

The Sauk County Economic Development Corp. has chosen Platteville economic developer Edward White to head the agency as its new executive director. The hiring marks one of the final actions in an 18-month effort to restructure the 40-year old economic development agency from a quasi-governmental entity to a public/private partnership. President of the organization's transitional board of directors, Andrew Stratham, said White's experience in connecting private industries with public development projects put him ahead of a dozen other candidates for the position. As a certified economic development finance professional and business incubation manager, White brings more than 30 years of experience in building and financing community and economic development to the position.

Community Highlight:
$13 million redevelopment plan approved for Sun Prairie

An eyesore along a prime Sun Prairie corridor is about to get a major upgrade. A proposed $13 million redevelopment will include 5,000 square- feet of retail space and 74 apartments, half of which would be reserved for workforce housing. Final building and site plans for what is being called McHenry Apartments are under review by the city's planning department; if approved, construction would start in spring and be completed by July 2018. Sun Prairie is one of the fastest-growing communities in the state and has seen rapid development along the Highway 151 corridor with both housing and commercial developments on its south side. "I am very excited to see a project of this caliber moving forward on Main Street," said Mayor Paul Esser. "I think this project has tremendous potential to jump-start additional private investment in this area, and is hopefully just the first of many good things to come for Main Street." 

Talent & Training: 
Moraine Park wants to buy land, expand in Beaver Dam

Moraine Park Technical College (MPTC) in Beaver Dam is asking to purchase about two acres of land alongside Hwy 151 from the city. MPTC is currently running a capital campaign to raise funds for its gas utility technician program. The expansion is estimated to be 3,800 square- feet and will include a lab and a classroom. According to a document detailing the gas utility technician workforce, MPTC is working with Wisconsin Technical College System, Wisconsin Energy Workforce Consortium, WE Energy, MG&E, Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, and Michels Corporation. They have all verified the need for local gas utility workers. This would become the third such program in the state, and would be modeled after the one at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay. 

WEDC Global Trade Venture: Middle East
Deadline: December 16

From Jan. 27-Feb. 2, WEDC will lead a global trade venture to Dubai and Qatar to connect Wisconsin companies with potential buyers and other partners. The trade venture is scheduled to coincide with the opening of the Arab Health trade show. Learn more .
Applications Now Open: gBETA Beloit 
Deadline: December 18 

Applications are being accepted for gBETA, a free six-week program run by gener8tor to help connect early stage companies with mentors, customers, and investors. This program will be based out of Irontek and begin in early 2017. Learn more.
VIV Asia Trade Show 2017
Deadline: December 30

Wisconsin DATCP will lead state businesses to Bangkok, Thailand to exhibit at the VIV Asia Trade Show -- the largest international platform for Southeast Asia's booming animal protein production and processing industry. Contact Jennifer Lu for more info.

2017 Global Economic Forecast: Where Will the Growth Be?
January 10, 10:30am-2pm
Fluno Center, Madison

Join Madison International Trade Association for its annual Economic Forecast event to look into the future of the global economy with keynote speaker Hesna Genay from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Find out more.
Nominations Open: 2017 Governor's Export Achievement Awards
Deadline: January 13

The Governor's Export Achievement Awards recognize companies that have contributed to Wisconsin's exporting strength by achieving extraordinary results in international markets and elevating Wisconsin's competitiveness in the global economy. Nominate a company.
Call for Entries: Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest
Deadline: January 31

The mission of the Governor's Business Plan Contest is to encourage entrepreneurs in the startup stage of tech-based businesses in Wisconsin. The contest links up-and-coming entrepreneurs with a statewide network of resources. Learn more.
Thank you to all our investors
who support our region's economic future through their generous financial contributions.

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