Fox Cities Regional Partnership vice president steps down

Manny Vasquez, vice president of the Fox Cities Regional Partnership, is stepping down from his post and moving to Newmark Grubb Pfefferle, an Appleton-based real estate company.

He says his new job will put him in a familiar position, because commercial real estate drives economic development.

“The work is fairly similar,” Vasquez said. “I will continue to help companies in northern Wisconsin and statewide to expand and grow in the community.”

The new job will be much more specific, he added, as he will work to help companies meet their commercial real estate needs by working to increase investment, and “leveraging and strengthening” connections in the area.

The Fox Cities Regional Partnership is the economic development division of the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce, and is a public-private entity formed through a board of directors. It receives funding from private groups as well as municipalities to support its three main strategic goals: retain and expand local businesses, attract new businesses to the region, and recruit talented workers.

Newmark Grubb Pfefferle is one of the strongest supporters of the partnership, Vasquez said, adding that he is “very excited” to be moving to the next stage in his life.

“I am very fortunate to stay in the Fox Cities,” he said. “There is a lot of opportunity here.”

During his time at the Fox Cities Regional Partnership, Vasquez has seen great strides made in economic growth and workforce preparation.

“It’s bittersweet; I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished,” Vasquez said. “In two and a half years, we have increased our resources and attention around workforce development.”

The partnership launched the Talent Upload program in spring of 2015, which aimed to open students up to the myriad possibilities for career paths and employers.

“After three sessions, we hosted over 230 college students from the Midwest,” Vasquez said. “More than 70 of those have been hired or placed in participating companies.”

Looking back, Vasquez sees the last few years as a time of learning for the region.

“I think companies and investors and partners are understanding the importance of helping companies expand and grow,” he said. “To be successful in economic development we have to be aggressive–we have to market and brand the region.”

Vasquez formerly worked both for Russ Feingold and Ron Johnson, experiences which taught him the value of making lasting relationships, he says.

The chamber has not yet selected a successor for Vasquez, who ends his time there on Feb. 3, but the partnership’s Beth Pritzl and Rob Peterson will “serve as the point of contact going forward until a new VP is named.”

Looking forward, Vasquez sees growth in local culture and the art scene, which adds to the value of making a home in the Fox Cities.

“After living here, I’ve gotten to personally experience the great quality of life and low cost of living that we market externally,” he said. “It’s a great place, and we’re going to call it home for a while.”

See an earlier story on the former Fox Cities Chamber president and CEO stepping down:

–By Alex Moe