WEDA: Doudna named first executive director of Wisconsin Economic Development Association

Media contact: Megan Purtell

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Madison, Wis. – September 16, 2014 – The Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA) is pleased to welcome Brian Doudna as its first full-time executive director. Doudna has 25 years of experience and commitment to economic development, including ten years as executive director of the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

“The board of directors started a search for our first full-time executive director with the mission to find a candidate who was active in economic development, with proven ability to grow an organization and proven leadership to advance a vision,” says WEDA President Patrick Schloss. “We found that in Brian Doudna. Brian has knowledge and experience in workforce development, cultivating new businesses, promoting innovation, and much more.”

Doudna served on the WEDA board from 2005 to 2012 and as president in 2010. He will begin as executive director at the end of September and transition to full time on December 1.

“I look forward to continuing WEDA’s strong legislative, educational and member services programs, and implementing new efforts with our statewide partners that will advance the profession and field of economic development in the state of Wisconsin,” notes Doudna. “The field of economic development is changing with increasing focus on innovation, collaboration, alignment of service delivery systems and asset-based cluster strategies. WEDA’s membership is a critical part of maximizing the collective assets of the state.”

As executive director of the Eau Claire Area EDC, Doudna successfully developed and implemented an economic development strategy that included regional talent management, business formation, recruitment of equity investors and support for regional innovation efforts. Doudna also provided leadership and oversight in: school to work, job center, chamber of commerce, downtown development, incubation space, speculative building development, innovation and commercialization strategies in prior positions at Portage County, Oneida County and Sparta, Wis.

Kristen Fish has served as interim director over the two+ year process of hiring a full-time executive director. “The board of directors thanks Kristen Fish for her leadership that helped grow our educational offerings and attract members, sponsors and new strategic partners,” says Schloss. “WEDA has benefitted from her efforts to offer the Economic Development 101 course for elected officials, gain greater exposure for the organization and increase the number of certified economic development practitioners throughout the state.”

In addition to advocating for legislation on both the state and federal level, WEDA offers educational programming to ensure Wisconsin is home to the best equipped economic development professionals in the country. The organization hosts top-quality conferences and educational opportunities including local leadership training and specialized courses from the International Economic Development Council and National Development Council.