Thrive Announces New Director of Agriculture Initiatives

UW Extension Outreach Specialist Greg Lawless will head sector-based work

February 11, 2008 (Madison, WI) – Thrive, a not-for-profit entity serving the eight-county Madison Region*, is pleased to announce the appointment of Director of Agriculture Initiatives, Greg Lawless.

Greg earned a BA in Political Science at the University of Illinois in 1989 and an MS in Land Resources at University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994. He worked for the UW Center for Cooperatives from 1992-2005, with a focus on co-op development in agricultural niche markets. An applied research project in 1995 led to the formation of Home Grown Wisconsin, an organic produce co-op targeting upscale Chicago restaurants.

From 1998-2004, Greg served as Co-Leader of UW Extension’s Emerging Agricultural Markets (EAM) Team. In 2002 he headed up a year-long educational program for leading agricultural producers that led to the formation of Badger AgVest LLC, an angel investor network focused on Wisconsin’s agricultural industry.

In November, 2005 Greg became Co-Director of the Agricultural Innovation Center, a joint project of UW Extension and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, where he developed and supported a statewide program for agricultural entrepreneurs. Greg will continue his affiliation with the UW Extension as he works with Thrive, promoting a deeper partnership of two organizations with similar visions and goals.

In his current role with Thrive, Greg will:

  1. Act as regional leader and catalyst to grow the target industry sector of agriculture based on our assets and partnerships with relevant regional organizations

  2. Champion Thrive’s mission, guiding principles and strategic plan

  3. Work with partners to identify, analyze and produce solutions for regional agricultural industry opportunities

  4. Coordinate regional efforts for the agriculture sector and workforce initiatives with business, government, education and non-profit partners

  5. Promote the region to interested business leaders, entrepreneurs, employees and investors


Our vision: To grow the eight-county Madison Wisconsin region’s economy in ways that preserve and enhance the quality of life. *The eight-county Madison Region includes: Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Rock and Sauk.