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County Executive's Office

Dane County Executive Falk Forms Economic Strategies Group to Boost New Economy Business in Dane County

February 26, 2002
Sharyn Wisniewski, (608) 267-8823
County Executive

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today announced formation of a new Economic Strategies Group (ESG) to focus on public-private efforts to boost the start-up and retention of new economy businesses. “There is huge potential in Dane County to attract and retain high tech businesses, to provide jobs and enhance our economy,” said Falk. “I have asked a group of talented executives to help focus our efforts on what will have the biggest payoff.” The ESG convenes at a breakfast meeting Wednesday, February 27 at the County Executive’s conference room. This past November, Falk asked some leaders in biotechnology and information technology, and advisors to new economy businesses, to share their thoughts with her on what the county can do to keep the economy vibrant. Key themes that arose in the discussion were that Dane County:  Must attract more investment capital into the county;  Has an outstanding quality of life, a key attraction for those employed in new economy fields;  Needs to take a focused approach on branding and promotion; and  Ought to develop rail and other good public transportation options. “Our economy has gone through changes this past year, affected as it has been by the recession and the events of September 11. Yet, we are well positioned in Dane County for even better things ahead, if we continue to work productively together,” said Falk. “This new group will focus on action and results that will make a difference. Over the next year, the specific challenge I ask the ESG to take on is attracting more venture capital to help build and expand businesses here,” said Falk. Falk said the time was right to replace the former Dane County Economic Summit Council with the new Economic Strategies Group. She said the Summit Council was enormously successful in launching Jobs with a Future (JWF), the public-private initiative that has involved over 40 local companies in health care, finance and insurance, and manufacturing and trained over 600 participants for more highly skilled and better paying jobs. The Center on Wisconsin Strategies (COWS) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, coordinates JWF with public and private funding, including funding from Dane County. “The JWF Oversight Committee is in place and funding is secured to keep it going, so I believe Jobs with a Future is in good hands,” said Falk. Nino Amato, president, Nino Amato & Associates, LLC, who chaired the Economic Summit Council, will chair the new Economic Strategies Group. Also serving on the new ESG are: John Barni, CEO, TomoTherapy, Middleton; Madison Mayor Susan Bauman; Steve Braunginn, president & CEO, Urban League of Greater Dane County; Robert Brennan, president, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce; Mark Bugher, director, University Research Park; James Cavanaugh, president, South Central Federation of Labor; Jan Eddy, CEO, Wingra Technologies, Madison: William Haight, president, Magna Publications, Inc.; Richard Harris, executive director, Genesis Development Corporation; William Harvey, executive vice president, Alliant Energy; Chuck Oehler, president, The Oehler Group; Matthew Palazzolo, vice president-strategic product development, Covance Laboratories; Toni Sikes, president,; Beverly Simone, president, Madison Area Technical College; Walter Simson, CEO, Infigen, DeForest; Jerry Smith, president & CEO, First Business Bank; Peter Spear, provost, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Bob Walton, retired executive, DeForest; and Mark Williamson, senior vice president, MG&E, Dennis Winters, NorthStar Economics, Inc. # # #