Forward Wisconsin: Chicago Businesses Targeted to Encourage Their Investment in Wisconsin

For More Information Contact:
Scott Reigstad, 608.261.2506

Over 60 Illinois CEOs are interested in meeting to discuss doing business in Wisconsin

MADISON – – In an annual spring tradition that is now over two decades old, Wisconsin officials will be in Illinois later this week to encourage business investment in Wisconsin. Forward Wisconsin, the state’s business recruitment group organizing the marketing mission, will head into the Windy City with a team of state economic development professionals in hopes of attracting expanding companies to the state. This year’s Forward Wisconsin marketing mission includes over 60 face-to-face, scheduled appointments with CEOs interested in expanding their firms across the border.

The appointments are the result of a three-month effort that included obtaining a qualified mailing list of Chicago area CEOs in targeted industries, and sending a personal invitation letter from Forward Wisconsin Chairman Governor Doyle to over 3,500 business executives. The letters were mailed in April to generate interest in scheduling meetings and were followed by an intensive phone initiative that secured appointments during the two-day trip.

“Governor Doyle’s ‘Grow Wisconsin’ plan includes a strong business attraction and marketing agenda and we certainly have much to offer growing businesses and new residents,” said Forward Wisconsin President Pepi Randolph. “I invite Chicago area business people to take a serious look at Wisconsin’s pro-business climate, our strong educational system, and what we have to offer as a place in which to live, work, play, and raise a family.”

Governor Doyle has signed into law a number of important initiatives that will help grow the Wisconsin economy and create a better climate for businesses. Successful measures include: switching to a single factor sales methodology of calculating corporate income taxes; implementing the most aggressive regulatory reform in the Midwest; providing funding to manufacturing extension programs to help small manufacturers modernize and create new jobs; providing more venture capital in Wisconsin to help start-up companies grow and develop; expediting the process of siting needed power generation and transmission facilities; and modernizing Wisconsin’s financial industry.

Forward Wisconsin will conduct the on-site portion of its annual marketing mission to the Chicago area on May 11 and 12. Wisconsin’s pro-business message continues to resonate with Illinois corporate executives – many of which have Wisconsin vacation homes and spend significant amounts of time in the Badger State. Since 1987, Forward Wisconsin has worked with about 80 Illinois firms that have expanded or relocated to Wisconsin.

“Illinois will continue to be targeted by Forward Wisconsin and the Chicago marketing mission is our primary means to seek business expansions,” Randolph said. “Wisconsin representatives are delighted to get the word out about Wisconsin’s competitive pro-business economy, skilled workers, and lower land and building costs. In addition, Wisconsin is well-known among neighboring states for its tremendous quality-of-life, and my economic team always stresses our lower housing costs, shorter commute times, and our wonderful recreational opportunities.”

Thirteen Wisconsin officials will pitch-in to make the appointments. The Forward Wisconsin team members are primarily economic development professionals from across the Badger State interested in both promoting Wisconsin and their region or community.

The Forward Wisconsin Team of economic development professionals going to Chicago includes:

Jan Alf Forward Wisconsin

Todd Battle Kenosha Area Business Alliance
Tara Bergeson UW-Stout Technology Park
Gary Delveaux Wisconsin Public Service Corporation
Brian Doudna Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation

Bethany Graceffa Racine County Economic Development Corporation
Jessica Kirchner La Crosse Area Development Corporation
Neil Marciniak Wausau/Marathon County Chamber of Commerce
James Otterstein Rock County Planning & Development Agency

Pepi Randolph Forward Wisconsin
Peter Sensenbrenner Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation
Ken Stubbe Economic Development Corporation of Manitowoc County
Doug Venable City of Janesville

Forward Wisconsin, Inc., (, created in 1984, is a unique public-private state
marketing organization. Its job is marketing Wisconsin’s business advantages outside the state to educate decision-makers on the positive benefits of living, working, playing and doing business in Wisconsin. Governor Jim Doyle is Forward Wisconsin’s Chairman of the Board.