Theme: Charting Wisconsin’s Horizon:  Emerging Trends in Economic Development

About the Governor’s Conference on Economic Development   

The Governor’s Conference on Economic Development features industry-thought leaders and practitioners who delve into entrepreneurship, solutions for workforce housing, trends Wisconsin manufacturers face and artificial intelligence in economic development. The Governor's Conference is WEDA's largest educational and networking event of the year. The packed agenda has something for everyone as we focus on advancing economic growth for people of all ages in rural and urban Wisconsin. We look forward to having you join us!

Featured Speakers

Opening Address:   

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (Invited)  WEDA is pleased to welcome Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers as a featured conference speaker. The 46th governor  of Wisconsin has been invited to open the conference with remarks on what his administration is working on to drive economic growth and prosperity across the state. During his time in office, Governor Evers has been committed to advancing key economic development policies and programs, including rural broadband expansion, small business economic recovery, and affordable housing expansion.


Secretary Missy Hughes, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

Melissa “Missy” Hughes is secretary and CEO of Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Wisconsin’s lead economic development organization.  Before joining WEDC in October 2019, she was general counsel and chief mission officer at Organic Valley.

Her previous affiliations include Holland & Hart as well as serving on the boards of the Environmental Working Group and Organic Trade Association as well as the USDA Advisory Committee on Agriculture and Biotechnology in the 21st Century.

Ms. Hughes received her Bachelor of Arts in political science from Georgetown University and Juris Doctor degree from the University of Wyoming College of Law


Elmer Moore, Jr. , WHEDA Chief Executive Officer

Elmer Moore, Jr. was appointed by Gov. Evers in April 2022. Mr. Moore previously served as the executive director of Scale Up Milwaukee. He has a proven track record in creating public-private partnerships and innovative programs that support business development and job creation.

Advancing innovative solutions and resources that provide equity for all has been the foundation of his career. Mr. Moore leverages his background in business development, job creation, strategic partnerships, and community engagement to support WHEDA’s commitment to growing housing equity and economic opportunity.

Mr. Moore has a bachelor’s degree from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in business administration from Columbia Business School in New York, New York. Mr. Moore also serves as chairman of the board for the WHEDA Foundation, is a member of the Community Investment Advisory Council of the FHLBank of Chicago, chairman of the board for the Social Development Commission, board member for the Harbor District, and adjunct instructor for Marquette University and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


Michael M. Knetter, Chief Executive Officer

Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association

Mike joined the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association as president and chief executive officer in 2010 after eight years as dean of the Wisconsin School of Business. Prior to joining UW–Madison in 2002, he was associate dean and professor of international economics in the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. He also served as senior staff economist for the Council of Economic Advisers for former presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Locally, he chaired the capital campaign for The Road Home Dane County, a nonprofit that helps find housing and work solutions for homeless families in Dane County. At WFAA, Mike has led a variety of initiatives to support the advancement of UW–Madison, including the launch of a new constituent relationship management system, the $4.2 billion All Ways Forward campaign, and the 2014 merger of the UW Foundation with the Wisconsin Alumni Association.

Mike completed his undergraduate studies in economics and mathematics at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and his PhD in economics at Stanford University.

A dedicated website is available for you to book your hotel rooms online. Reservations can be made at this web address:

​​Reservations with discounted rate available AS LONG AS ROOMS LAST, discounted rate only offered through this link. 

Conference Programming

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

10:30 am – 12:00 pm:  WEDA CRA Network—Access to Capital through Special Purpose Credit Programs (SPCP) - In partnership with FDIC - OPEN TO ALL - FREE to ALL - REGISTER HERE. Lunch will be served, space is limited to 50  (registration is in the conference registration site) - (For those non-members we are giving you a sneak peek at the valuable information members get for free.)

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm: WEDA GIVES BACK – Exclusive Member Only - Community Service Project, Sponsored by Redevelopment Resources & Kapur - REGISTER HERE (registration is on the conference registration site)

All WEDA members are welcome to ‘give back’ by joining our 1st Annual community service project.  Join Redevelopment Resources and Kapur, as we network, have fun, and pay it forward when you join other service- minded WEDA attendees in assembling hygiene kits for the Hope House of South-Central Wisconsin. WEDA Young Professionals will serve as assembly station captains. The Hope House supports victims of domestic and sexual violence in Sauk, Columbia, Juneau, Marquette, and Adams Counties.   To learn more about the Hope House go to:

3:00 – 4:30 pm:  WEDA Academy: Energizing the Future:  Exploring Key Trends in Energy

Energizing the Future:  Exploring Key Trends in Energy Academy

This Academy will feature a lively panel discussion that will delve into the dynamic world of energy. Utility availability and rates play a significant role in a community’s ability to attract, expand and retain business. The 2022 Business Development Magazine survey identified that corporate site selectors and industry CEO’s rank utility availability and affordability as a top five criterion in selecting a location for their project. Attendees will get a basic understanding of the utility industries and how utilities work in general. They will better understand the role utilities play in economic development and their importance in being able to accommodate an expansion/ attraction project. Attendees will also learn about the issues/ difficulties utilities are currently facing and their electrification plans for electric vehicles in communities across Wisconsin.


The seminar will include information on future energy generation utilizing renewable resources like wind and solar and other, electric vehicle charging, and unique roles a utility can play in economic development. Session attendees should generate valuable information to take back to their teams and communities. (NDC, IEDC and APA continuing credit approval is pending.)

Free to all WEDA members! Non-member Fee: $79 required. Separate registration is required, separate event page. Registration will be opening soon and you'll Register Here.

5:00 – 6:30 pm:  Conference Opening Networking Reception

6:30 – 7:30 pm:  Young Professionals Pizza Night - Free to Young Professionals in Economic Development

8:00 – 10:30 pm:  Networking Hospitality Suite

Thursday & Friday, February 1-2, 2024

See current conference agenda. 

Conference Awards  

In 1985, WEDA established a Professional Awards program to recognize the accomplishments of individuals and organizations making significant contributions to the field of economic development at the local, regional, or state level. The awards program includes the Andy Lisak Young Professional Award and the Organizational Excellence Award, which is presented every other year at the WEDA Governor’s Conference on Economic Development. More information about these awards can be found on the WEDA Agenda:   Award winners will be announced on Thursday morning, February 1.

Conference Lodging: 1305 Kalahari Drive, Wisconsin Dells, WI  53965


Special WEDA Conference Rates:  

  • Wed. night, January 31 & Thurs. night February 1:  $139/1-4 guests    
  • Friday, February 2:  $189/1-4 guests. 

A dedicated website is available for attendees to book your hotel rooms online. Reservations MUST be made can at this web address for DISCOUNTED RATES: 

​​Reservations must be made by JANUARY 1, 2024, through this link to secure this discounted rate. 

Check-in:  4:00 pm   |   Check-out:  11:00 am   |   Parking:  FREE

Exhibit Tables Available

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to share your products and services.  Exhibit information can be found on the conference registration site or by contacting Kathy Davies, conference planner – or 715.344.2457

Exhibit spaces are $150 for WEDA members and $250 for non-members. Exhibitor Form can be found here.

Conference Sponsorships Available – Sponsorship Guide can be found here.

Conference sponsors make this programming possible.  In return, your organization will be recognized across Wisconsin! 


Early Bird Registration --- Register by Dec. 31, 2023, for a Chance to WIN!

SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY! Register by December 31 and be entered for our Early Bird Prize Drawing. Winners will be announced at the Thursday luncheon.

Full Conference Registration includes Wednesday evening reception; Thursday morning continental breakfast & breaks, lunch, and evening reception; Friday morning breakfast and am break.  The Wednesday afternoon programs are free of charge to WEDA members.  See the registration site for details.

Registration Fees: Register Here

Event Member Non-Member
Full Conference $379.00 $499.00
Thursday Only $279.00 $399.00
Friday Only $129.00 $249.00
Wednesday Academy - Separate Reg Page $   0.00 $ 79.00

Register Here

Refund policy: registrants may receive refunds up to 15 business days, January 9, 2024, prior to the event start date. To request a refund e-mail  Refunds are given minus 10% handling and purchasing fees. If desired, registrants may transfer their registration to another individual.

As of January 10, 2024, 15 days or less prior to the event start date: As food and beverage guarantees have been made on your behalf registrations may only be transferred. No refunds will be given. There are no exceptions to this policy.


Start date of the event and beyond: There will be no refunds given for no shows.


Gain access to a vast network of economic development professionals, best practices, and valuable resources. Position you and your community for success in the economic development field. 

Become one of more than 400 WEDA members today and save on conference fees, course fees, webinars and more!  Plus, enjoy our new WEDAConnect, an exclusive membership benefit and ‘place of belonging’ where members convene, exchange ideas, and share best practices. Individual memberships start at just $350/year. Membership information.

Additional Information: 

  • This conference is pending approval for IDEC credits.
  • Conference handouts and slides will be posted on the WEDA website for registered attendees.
  • Check this website for updated information as conference dates near.
  • Photography / video release: WEDA programs and events may be photographed or video recorded. Your registration and that of your guests for any WEDA program or event confirms your consent to your images being represented in a future publication, broadcast, or other use of photographs or videos at the sole discretion of WEDA.

2024 Conference Planning & Production Team:

  • Melissa Hunt, WEDA Board Vice-Chair and Education Committee Chair
  • Brad Alexejun, Madison Gas & Electric
  • Kelly Armstrong, Green Bay Chamber of Commerce
  • Marie Barry, Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
  • Kathryn Berger, Consultant
  • Angie Close, Langlade County
  • Brad Elmer, Baker Tilly
  • Kristen Fish-Peterson, Redevelopment Resources, LLC
  • David Kircher, Phoenix Financial Advisors
  • Melissa Meschke, UW Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship
  • Olivia Otte, Green County Development Corporation
  • Coleman Peiffer, Alliant Energy
  • Jennifer Peters, WI Indigenous Economic Development Corporation
  • Colan Treml, Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce
  • Charlie Walker, Chippewa County
  • Tim Weber, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
  • Angel Whitehead, Centergy
  • Travis Peterson of Kapur

THANK YOU! 2024 Governor's Conference Sponsors:

  • Baker Tilly
  • US Bank
  • FIRE
  • Green Bay Packers Give Back
  • Redevelopment Resources
  • Wipfli
  • Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing and Productivity
  • Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce
  • Alliant Energy
  • Associated Bank
  • Ayres
  • Charter
  • City of West Allis
  • City of Green Bay
  • Miron Construction
  • PW Group
  • Vierbicher
  • Greenfire


2024 Governor's Conference on Economic Development

  • January 31 - February 2, 2024
  • Kalahari Resorts & Conventions
    1305 Kalahari Drive
    Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
    United States

Event Workshops

Giving Back - Community Service Project - Sponsored By Redevelopment Resources And Kapur

January 31, 2024  01:30 - 03:00
Fee: $0.00
Seats Remaining:300

All are welcome to ‘give back’ by joining our

1st Annual community service project.

January 31, 1:30pm to 3:00pm

Join Redevelopment Resources and Kapur, as we network, have fun, and pay it forward when you join other service-minded WEDA attendees in assembling hygiene kits for the Hope House of South-Central Wisconsin. WEDA Young Professionals will serve as assembly station captains.

The Hope House supports victims of domestic and sexual violence  in Sauk, Columbia, Juneau, Marquette, and Adams Counties.   To learn more about the Hope House go to: