WEDA: Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA)Announces New Board Members

For additional information:

James Otterstein, WEDA President

Megan Purtell, WEDA


Seven new members were elected to the 18-person board for the Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA) on February 9 during the organization’s annual meeting at Monona Terrace. The new board members who will serve three years include: Gary Becker, Madison; Dennis Blang, Madison; Brian Doudna, Eau Claire; JoAnne Ehasz, Mauston; Barb Fleisner, Marshfield; Andrew Lisak, Superior; Cheryl Welch, Neenah.

Gary Becker, Community Development Specialist, Vierbicher Associates, Inc., Madison, WI

As the Community Development Specialist for Vierbicher Associates, Inc. for over 17 years, Gary assists Wisconsin municipalities plan and implement community development projects. Project types include business parks, business attraction/retention, economic development, redevelopment, downtown development. Services he provides include feasibility studies, market analysis, tax incremental financing plans, economic development and redevelopment plans, strategic plans, fiscal impact analysis, grant writing and project management.

Dennis Blang, President, Dennis Blang & Associates, Madison, WI

As President for Dennis Blang & Associates for over 3 years, Dennis provides consulting services to economic development organizations in Wisconsin. Services include marketing program design and implementation, marketing materials development and execution, strategic planning facilitation, and Web site analysis.

Brian Doudna, Executive Director, Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation, Eau Claire, WI

As Executive Director for the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation over 1 ½ years, Brian manages and oversees all aspects of the corporation including: business recruitment marketing, business retention, community infrastructure assessments, workforce packaging, grant/economic development financing (RLF) and corporate/investor relations.

JoAnne Ehasz, CEcD, Executive Director, Mauston Area Development Corporation (GMADC), Mauston, WI

As Executive Director for the Mauston Area Development Corporation (GMADC) for over 10 years, JoAnne directs all aspects of a community economic development organization including: Industry liaison, economic development education for board and city council, marketing, research, prospecting, planning, workforce development and identifying resources for businesses and the community. As with all economic development organizations a key to success is to maximize the resources of the community and organization. To do this in a rural community the organization must; be flexible, able to respond quickly, and be able to shift and focus limited resources to react to changes in the economic environment.

Barb Fleisner, Executive Director, Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Marshfield Area Chamber Foundation, Marshfield, WI

As Executive Director of the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Marshfield Area Chamber Foundation for over 9 years, Barb works on leading activities of both non-profit corporations to include the development and implementation of commercial and industrial retention and growth strategies, leadership development and workforce development initiatives for the greater Marshfield area (portions of Wood, Clark, and Marathon Counties). Major areas of focus – economic development, legislative advocacy, community development, membership services, personnel, fiscal accountability, strategic plan deployment and oversight of the Central Wisconsin School to Career Partnership comprised of five area school districts. Part-time instructor of business development classes at Mid-State Technical College and a SCORE counselor.

Andrew Lisak, Executive Director, The Development Association, Inc., Superior, WI

As Executive Director for The Development Association, Inc. for over 3 ½ years, Andy has the ultimate responsibility for the activities of a county-wide economic development organization. The Development Association works closely with City of Superior and Douglas County officials to develop and implement strategies for retaining and recruiting businesses, assisting with business expansions and start-ups. They manage a 45,000 sq. ft. business incubator and a $1,500,000 loan fund.

Cheryl Welch, Executive Director, Fox Valley Workforce Development Board, Neenah, WI

As the Executive Director of the Fox Valley Workforce Development Board, Inc. for over 9 years. Cheryl oversees a staff of 40 people and report to a 28 member Workforce Development Board that is private sector led. Also responsible to a seven county Local Elected Official Consortium. Accountable for appropriate use of funding, e.g. WIA funds, state grants, and corporate account. Responsibilities include developing a working plan for workforce and economic development initiatives that serve to strengthen the economy. Work with private businesses, community partners, education and others. Responsible for a seven county workforce development area. Provide oversight to the One Stop Workforce Development/Job Centers. Work with state departments, state and federal legislators, and national Associations.