7 Rivers Alliance - September 2015 e-Newsletter         
View this email in your browser

Dear Colleagues,


Our September e-Newsletter is full of good news and great information for you to enjoy. The first piece of good news came last week when we were notified that we received a $50,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to create County Workforce Response Teams (CWRT) in Southwest Wisconsin. These teams will work with manufacturing companies at risk of relocation or shift reduction because of worker shortages.  We will share more information about this project as it launches and profile the businesses served.  See below for more details about this exciting project. 


This week, the ECO DEVO group completed business outreach, retention and engagement visits through out the region to 143 businesses.  This project is a great example of the power of regional collaboration to serve our businesses. The results of this business survey will be shared in a written report that will be distributed at our November 4th State of the Region event.  


We have assembled an incredible group of experts to provide you up-to-date economic reports at our State of the Region event.  This year, Ron Wirtz, Editor of the FedGazette for the Minneapolis Federal Reserve, will present a customized report on the economic index for the 7 Rivers Region.  We have also arranged for state of the industry reports from healthcare, manufacturing and food processing industry executives.  Read below for more information about the experts that we have assembled. This is definitely an event that you will not want to miss. 


Our Revitalize Storefronts event has been moved to November 19th.  We are excited about the amazing array of presenters who will sharing best practices for rejuvenating rural downtown corridors.  See below for more details. 


Thank you for your ongoing support of our work.  We look forward to seeing you at these upcoming events.




Lisa Herr

Executive Director

Registration now for November 4th!
Our Annual Meeting/State of the Region Event will be held on November 4, 2015 at the Radisson Hotel in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  We have confirmed national and regional experts to provide you on update on the economic indicators for our region and how we compare to neighboring states. Space is limited, register now!
7 Rivers Region Economic Index Report 
Ron Wirtz is the editor of the Fedgazette, a business and economics journal published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. The fedgazette investigates topics of economic and policy interest in the Fed’s Ninth District.
State of Healthcare Report
Dr. Kim Byas works with hospitals in IL, IN, MI, OH, and WI on federal advocacy, health care system transformation, and health research. His academic research focus is ethical and creative leadership. 
State of Food Processing Report
Louise Hemstead is the Chief Operating Officer for Organic Valley.   She has put her animal and food science expertise to good use building her successful 25-year career in the dairy industry. 
State of Manufacturing Report
Sandy Kashmark is the Executive Director of Midwest Manufacturers’ Association, a nonprofit organization providing services to three regional manufacturing trade associations. Kashmark has been with the office for 23 years.
Dan Larson is the president for Hydro Solutions of Duluth, which is a contract manufacturer that works with customers from concept stage though prototyping and on to final fabrication.
The 2015 Business Survey results are in!
This year, the ECO DEVO group 
visited 143 companies. Printed reports will be shared at the State of the Region event on November 4th. We would like to give a special thanks to those who conducted the business visits:
Charlie Handy & Brian Fukuda, La Crosse County
Vicki Markussen, La Crosse Chamber of Commerce
David Connolly, Crawford County
Terry Whipple, Juneau County
Steve Peterson, Monroe County,
Karen Dahl & Shaynan Holen, Vernon County
Steve Bissen, Buffalo, Western Technical College  
Natalie Siderius, Winona County
 Della Schmidt, Winona Chamber of Commerce 
Val Reinke & Ardie Kuhse, Allamakee County 
Nikki Brevig, Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce 

We really appreciate your efforts to reach businesses in the region! 
We have moved the date of the Revitalize Storefront Conference.  It is now scheduled for November 19, 2015. The Conference will focus on holistic solutions, national trends, best practices, and success stories that lead to action plans and spark ideas to fill empty storefronts. We are pleased to partner with Monroe County to offer this event in Cashton, Wisconsin.  Space is limited, register now
 Keynote Speakers:
Joel Bookman is the President and CEO of Bookman Associates, Inc., providing consulting services in economic development, comprehensive community development, commercial corridor development, and strategic planning.
N. David Milder founded his private consulting firm in 1977 to confront downtown and commercial district revitalization issues in his own dynamic and no-nonsense way. To view the full list of speakers, click here.
ECO DEVO: September 9th
Join us for our next ECO DEVO Meeting on September 9th, 2015 from 10 am to 12 pm. This meeting will held at the Evo Park in La Crosse, WI. The address is 789 Myrick Drive.  Jason Gilman, City Planner for the City of La Crosse will share his vision for the upcoming year.
New Grant Supports County Workforce Response Teams
The 7 Rivers Alliance has been awarded a $50,000 Capacity Building Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to facilitate the creation of County Workforce Response Teams to support manufacturers and food processing companies that are experiencing worker shortages.  The project will launch mid-September and team members will be recruiting members. To learn more about this project and how to access the services funded through this grant, contact or call 608-787-8777. 
On October 21st, a La Crosse delegation will head to Madison, WI where they will visit the Capitol, speak with lawmakers, and meet the staff at key government agencies. Upon each stop, they will share what's great about doing business in the 7 Rivers Region, as well as what keeps business owners and executives awake at night.  

If you have any further questions or would like further information, please contact the La Crosse Area Development Corporation office at 608-4784-5488 or emial 
Rural By Design Workshop With Randall Arendt
The 7 Rivers Alliance is excited to partner with Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center to bring Randall Arendt, author of "Rural by Design" and the nation's leading authority on conservation design. This workshop is geared towards developers seeking new ideas, experienced planning board members, and professional planners who create site plans and write code.  
Friday, January 8th, 2016
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM (Registration starts at 8:00 AM)
$60 first person with $50 each additional person with same organization
Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center
28097 Goodview Drive, Lanesboro, MN 55949
Directions and Map:

Click here

To register for the event, click here.
We are pleased to introduce Lauren Bruggenthies as our new Marketing and Communications Intern.  She is a senior at University of Wisconsin- La Crosse and is majoring in Organization and Professional Communication and minoring in Interpersonal Communication.  Lauren recently completely a marketing internship at Mueller Media. She is excited to be a part of the 7 Rivers Alliance team.

Economic Development Board Approve Awards to Support Over 276 Million in Capital Investments

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board today awarded direct financial assistance and tax benefits to nine companies for job creation and expansion projects. Today's awards will assist in the creation of 712 jobs, retention of 81 jobs and will result in over $276 million in new capital investment for the state. The board also approved innovation funding for three startups.
The board approved assistance for planned or proposed projects located in Knoxville, Sioux City, Sioux Center, Oelwein, West Des Moines, Hiawatha, Des Moines, Le Mars and Ames.

Angel Tax Credit program still has funds available 


The Angel Tax Credit Program has allocated $12 million in tax credits for investments in more than 80 Minnesota startup companies so far this year, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The agency said an additional $4 million in tax credits is still available for angel investments specifically targeted at startup businesses based in Greater Minnesota or owned by women or members of minority groups.

Any funding for those targeted groups still unused after Oct. 1 will be made available for investments in other Minnesota startups.

Western Technical College Presents: Wisconsin's Future Workforce

Dennis Winters, a nationally recognized expert on human resource challenges in the competitive global economic develop, will lay out the challenges Wisconsin faces to secure its future workforce.

Tuesday, September 15
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Lunda Center, Western Technical College
319 N. Seventh Street
$20 per person or $108 for a table of six, includes lunch

For more information or to register for the event, please contact Western’s Business and Industry Services at 608.789.6290.

Nominations Sought for Private Sectors Seats on the WDB

The Local Elected Officials Consortium of the Western Wisconsin Workforce Development Area serving Buffalo, Crawford, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Trempealeau and Vernon Counties is seeking nominations to serve a three year term on the WDB.

The WDB is a business majority, non-profit board which provides oversight and strategic direction for the workforce development system in the region.  Under the newly enacted Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the system provides services to assist businesses in their employment needs, and helps job seekers gain the skills needed in the market place.

 Interested individuals need to submit an application form to the Chief Local Elected Officials.  Application material may be accessed at   To find out more about the position, please contact Beth Sullivan at

Seeking Local Applicants for Increase Broadband Grants

Governor Scott Walker announced the state Public Service Commission is now accepting applications for Fiscal Year 2016 Broadband Expansion Grants. Walker’s 2013- 15 state budget tripled the local grants to extend broadband to undeserved areas of the state more quickly.

“Improving access to the digital marketplace for Wisconsin businesses is critical to the economic growth of our state,” said Governor Scott Walker. “Reliable and efficient broadband ensures job creators can position themselves to capitalize on new technologies and access information they need to prosper in today’s global economy.”

Applications for the Broadband Expansion Grants for Fiscal Year 2016 are due September 30th, 2015. For applications and additional information, click

Proposals to Fix the American Economy 

Gallup tested with the public the ideas put forth by the two major political parties. The compilation of proposals also included suggestions and input from economists, academics and economic and political observers, along with the public's suggestions for fixing the economy. 

Most of the proposals tested in this process represent ideas that, in practice, would be quite complex in their operationalization, and would no doubt have consequences and nuances unknown even to economists and those who advocate them. Click here to read the list of suggestions. 
Copyright © 2015. 7 Rivers Alliance. All rights reserved.

Mailing address:
601 Seventh Street North
Suite 400
La Crosse, WI 54601

Contact Us:
Phone: 608-787-8777
Email: Info

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences