MADISON – – Forward Wisconsin’s annual Chicago Marketing Mission held last week

proved again that the Windy City is a fertile market in which to recruit corporate

expansions and business investment. Five teams of Wisconsin economic development

professionals met with over 30 Chicago area CEOs, real estate consultants and

“headquarter” company executives on June 20-21 in the Chicago area and found that

businesses continue to have a high-level of interest in expanding to Wisconsin.

“After taking an initial look at how all our appointments went, I am very optimistic

regarding the early results,” said Forward Wisconsin Director Jan Alf. “We met with several

companies that are definitely going to expand in the next 12-18 months and are

considering Wisconsin for their expansions. We’ve also generated some excellent leads for

the future and strengthened relationships with key site selection consultants.”

The spring Chicago Marketing Mission has been a staple of Forward Wisconsin’s business

recruitment outreach effort for over 20 years. The calling program is a three-month

initiative that includes purchasing a qualified mailing list in targeted industries, and sending

a personal invitation letter from Forward Wisconsin Chairman Governor Doyle to over 3,000

business executives. The overall goal of Forward Wisconsin marketing missions is to attract

investment and expanding companies to the state through direct, face-to-face meetings.

The mailing from Governor Doyle was sent in May to generate interest in scheduling

meetings and was followed up by an intensive phone initiative that secured appointments

during the two-day calling portion of the trip. 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 Wisconsin. Since 1987, Forward Wisconsin

has worked with nearly 100 Illinois firms that have expanded or relocated to Wisconsin.

“Forward Wisconsin will continue to urge Chicago area business people to consider

expanding their businesses to Wisconsin. We have a high-quality labor force, lower

building and land costs, competitive costs of doing business as well as excellent educational

and transportation systems that can be of great benefit to growing companies,” added Alf.

Why continue to have long commute times, pay burdensome Chicago taxes and endure

such a high cost of living when you can be in Wisconsin?”

In addition to the traditional business cost advantages touted to Illinois business people by

the Wisconsin teams, Governor Doyle and the Legislature have implemented a number of

important initiatives over the past few years that are growing Wisconsin’s economy and

creating a better business climate.

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


The Chicago metro area has been a geographic target for Forward Wisconsin’s marketing

program since the organization began in 1984. Wisconsin has consistently had several

business advantages over Illinois and especially the City of Chicago, like lower housing

costs, shorter commute times, and lower than average worker’s compensation rates. Our

state’s quality of life has also been a continual part of marketing to Illinois business people.

Eleven Wisconsin economic development officials pitched-in to conduct the appointments

and promote Wisconsin and their areas.

The Wisconsin team that traveled to Chicago included:

Jan Alf Forward Wisconsin

Brian Doudna Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation

Nancy Elsing Columbia County Economic Development Corporation

Jamie Jacobs WISPARK LLC

Bruce Kepner Alliant Energy

Jenny Kuderer La Crosse Area Development Corporation

April Mielke City of Waupaca

James Otterstein Rock County Planning & Development Agency

Mary Perry Wisconsin Department of Commerce

Charlie Walker Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation

Doug Wheaton City of Franklin

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


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