December 2018 News 12/21/2018
Thompson Appointed WisDOT Secretary
TDA Statement on Thompson Appointment

Transportation Development Association President Allison Bussler, director of public works for Waukesha County, released the following statement on the Craig Thompson appointment:

​"The Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin applauds Governor-elect Tony Evers on his appointment of Craig Thompson to be the next Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

“Craig Thompson has more than 25 years of experience working on transportation issues throughout Wisconsin, including as a member of the Wisconsin Commission on Transportation Finance and Policy – a commission created by Governor Walker to study the long-term needs of Wisconsin’s transportation system.

“He brings a proven track record of inclusive leadership. During his career, first at the Wisconsin Counties Association and then at the Transportation Development Association, he has brought together Wisconsin businesses, communities, legislators and units of government. As just one example, he built and maintained a broad-based coalition – one which remained unified for more than six years – to ultimately garner support from 80% of the voting public in order to amend the state’s constitution and protect the transportation fund.

“We look forward to working with the new Secretary, the Evers Administration and the Wisconsin Legislature to come up with a bipartisan, sustainable solution for Wisconsin’s transportation challenges.

“The TDA Executive Committee is pleased to announce Debby Jackson, an experienced transportation advocate with over 15 years with the association, has accepted the position of interim executive director.”
Thompson Farewell Message to TDA Members

From Craig Thompson...

This morning I participated in a press conference with Governor-elect Evers on my appointment as Secretary of the Department of Transportation. It is a humbling experience to accept this position. I am eager to get started on what will surely prove to be an exciting and perhaps daunting endeavor.

My excitement is a tad bittersweet, however, at the prospect of moving on from the TDA family. I have made so many close connections with so many of you over the past 11 years. TDA is a unique entity in the folks that it brings together. To say TDA is a big tent is a vast understatement. I have had the pleasure of watching members that have completely divergent interests on a host of vitally important subjects come together under the TDA banner to provide a unified voice for transportation in Washington D.C. and in Madison.

TDA members have mobilized to change hearts, minds and even the Wisconsin Constitution. Along the way, we have shared a lot of laughs and a lot of stories. 

It would be impossible to list all of the people that have mentored me, educated me, corrected me and supported me over these years. I do feel the need to mention the TDA presidents I served under, however, by name: Kristine Scott, Sheldon Johnson, Phil Ramlet, Richard Jones, Dean Haen, Paul Halverson, Steve Higgins, John Schmitt, Barb LaMue, Jerry Derr, Dave Brose, Tom Bressner and our current President Allison Bussler. These individuals have given of their time and energy without compensation for the sole purpose of bettering this state. I have tremendous regard for each and every one of them and can’t ever thank them enough for the support they have provided to me.

Lastly, I could not talk about my past eleven years at this association without talking about my partner in crime – Debby Jackson. Debby had already been working for several years at TDA when I arrived. Debby showed me the ropes and gave me the lay of the land and has always been willing to defer any recognition for any perceived successes we have had along the way. Somehow, two very strong-willed people found a way to work harmoniously in a two-person shop over this time. After spending countless hours together on various crusades, all I can say is that Debby is perhaps the most unique blend of integrity, talent and work ethic that I have ever experienced. She is a great friend.

The beauty of moving on to the Department of Transportation is that I will continue to work with all of you in the future albeit in a different capacity. My goal in my new endeavor will not be all that different from that of the one I had here at TDA - to work for a well-connected transportation network that improves our economic competitiveness and quality of life.

One last thought as I look forward to talking with each of you in my new position. The answer to your question is No. Just kidding.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I have loved each and every minute here at TDA. 
TDA Fly-in Information
2019 Fly-in 
April 3-4

Join us in DC this spring. It will be an important time to make the case for federal investment in Wisconsin’s transportation system. Only with increased investment at all levels of government will we begin to reverse the trend of deteriorating system conditions.

TDA is trying something new this year. In order to have more flexibility, reduce costs and accommodate increasingly congested calendars in the state and DC, we are holding most of the event on the Hill and just selecting a home base hotel area. Book any hotel that fits your need. TDA staff will make sure to keep participants connected as we know networking and reconnecting with old friends is a major part of the Fly-in.

Don't wait to make your plans! Pick your hotel to fit your budget. Read the materials and make your travel plans today.

​​Click here for the event brochure or register online .
Wisconsin 12 Days of Christmas

TDA's Wisconsin 12 Days of Christmas - A celebration of the magic of the Wisconsin holiday season and the transportation system that delivers it.  

Today , TDA wraps up its Wisconsin 12 Days of Christmas on social media channels. The goal was to highlight in a fun way the important role transportation plays in almost every aspect of the holidays. Read entire release .

In addition to social media, TDA shared the holiday campaign and the transportation connections with the legislature. See a few examples: Second Day, Third Day, Seventh & Eighth Days.
Safe travels and happy holidays to all!
Association News
Congratulation to the Michels Corporation
Biz Times Family-Owned Business of the Year

2018 BizTimes Best in Business
by Andrew Weiland December 17, 2018

In 1959, almost 60 years ago, Dale Michels went into business as a gas pipeline contractor, building and installing natural gas distribution systems for Wisconsin utilities.

Michels had two business partners, but he was the majority owner of the company, then known as Michels Pipeline Construction. In the beginning, the company had four employees. Michels was the foreman and his wife, Ruth, drove the dump truck.

Today, the company remains headquartered in Michels’ hometown of Brownsville, a small village about 40 miles northwest of Milwaukee. But it has grown considerably since its humble beginnings. Now known as Michels Corp., it has 8,000 employees and is expected to bring in nearly $3 billion in revenue this year. Over the years, the heavy civil infrastructure construction company has branched out and now does about 65 percent of its business on energy infrastructure projects (pipelines, transmission lines, electric substations, renewable energy projects), about 20 percent on transportation infrastructure (roads, bridges and tunnels) and additional business in communications infrastructure (including fiber optic lines). Read more
TDA Welcomes New Members