— WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes is touting the Evers administration’s work to ensure the Foxconn project will be successful for taxpayers.
“I think that the key to making it a good deal — because it has to be a good deal, right, we’re in, we’re doing it — is to make sure that we have open communication,” she said yesterday.
Hughes, appointed by Gov. Tony Evers on Sept. 5 to replace outgoing WEDC CEO Mark Hogan, said at a WisPolitics.com luncheon in Madison she intentionally avoided diving straight into the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer’s project in southeastern Wisconsin after taking the job on Oct. 1.
Instead, she prioritized travel to nearly every other part of the state in order to get “a good feeling for what was happening as far as economic development goes.”
“If we want small businesses to access economic development programs and things like that, I don’t want them to think that economic development in Wisconsin is only Foxconn,” she said.
But Hughes said after immersing herself in the Foxconn deal, she came to realize the transition from former Gov. Scott Walker to Evers meant “the Foxconn conversation … had to restart in the last 10 months.”
Still, she praised Evers and the new leaders of the departments of Administration and Transportation and the Public Service Commission for “working incredibly hard in the southeastern region putting in the infrastructure.”
Quizzed as to whether she thought the deal was “good or bad” for the state, Hughes said she didn’t think it was “a black and white question.”
— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Richelle Martin, managing director of the Winnow Fund, a women-led fund that’s based in the state and investing in Wisconsin companies.
In the podcast, Martin talks about the challenges associated with entering the venture capital world, particularly for certain underrepresented groups.
“Venture in general for anyone is not easy. Fundraising is not easy. Quitting your job to go into this and fundraising while not getting paid is not easy,” she said. “It does still take a certain kind of person who’s maybe a little more risk-tolerant.”
She also discusses the Badger Fund of Funds, and how the state can do more to support entrepreneurs and investing in Wisconsin.
See a full list of podcasts, sponsored by UW-Madison: http://www.wisbusiness.com/category/podcast/
See a recent story with comments from Martin: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2019/winnow-fund-director-wants-more-diverse-representation-in-vc-field/
— DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm says fewer Healthcare.gov plan selections so far during this year’s open enrollment period could be evidence of a more stable market in the state.
“This year we’re seeing premiums declining; our reinsurance program has hit its stride,” she said today in an interview. “There’s some speculation that we will see more auto-enrollment, rather than people shopping around and picking out plans.”
At the end of November, nearly 70,000 individual plan selections had been made in the state, compared to 82,000 at that point in 2018. A similar trend continues at the national level.
Health insurance plan selections on the federal exchange typically ramp up near the end of open enrollment, which runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 this year for 2020 plans. Wisconsin is one of the 38 states using the Healthcare.gov platform for the individual market exchange, created under the Affordable Care Act.
With less than two weeks to go, Palm said program navigators are “feeling some increased energy,” and suggested the number of signups could rise as people rush to get coverage at the last minute. And if more customers are satisfied with their current plans, the number of plans that are auto-enrolled at the end of the period could also increase.
“Until open enrollment is over, we won’t know for sure,” she said.
Federal funding for navigator programs in 2019 is unchanged from last year, though funding has been cut by more than 80 percent under the Trump administration. Palm noted the state Department of Health Services added nine full-time equivalent navigator positions to assist consumers during this year’s open enrollment period.
She said DHS aims to expand navigator capacity in the northwest part of the state, in the Fox Valley, in southeast Wisconsin and elsewhere.
“We will help navigators there through federal funding have more bandwidth, and serve more folks with one-on-one assistance,” she said.
See the latest enrollment snapshot: http://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/federal-health-insurance-exchange-weekly-enrollment-snapshot-week-5
— State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa briefly served on the board of directors for the host committee overseeing the 2020 Democratic National Convention before deciding it was too much of a time commitment while she was running for the Common Council and serving as a state lawmaker.
Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee, was replaced by Rebeca Lopez, an attorney with Godfrey & Kahn. Lopez was one of the five members of the board, which governs the convention committee, when its members were announced in October.
Zamarripa said she decided in September it would be best to allow someone else to serve on the board who could put more time into the endeavor.
“I realized I really couldn’t give them the time to make sure we have the best DNC ever. It really pained me to have to leave,” Zamarripa said this week. “I felt like it would be better to let someone who could give it their all as I try to win this race for the Common Council.”
Zamarripa’s time on the board hadn’t previously been reported.
The board’s other members include: John W. Miller, founder and principal at Arenberg Holdings; Michael O’Neil, general counsel at The Dohmen Company; Joan Prince, vice-chancellor of global inclusion and engagement at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; and Liz Gilbert, president of the Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee.
— Investors Community Bank CEO Tim Schneider has been named an incoming co-chair for the New North, an economic development group focused on northeast Wisconsin.
According to a release, Schneider has been a board member since the group got its start 14 years ago. He’s been on the board’s executive committee for the past five years and will take over for Bill Bohn of Associated Bank, who’s been co-chair since 2017.
“Moving forward, as the New North evolves with our regional economy, we will continue to respond to the needs of area businesses and maintain a strong collaborative role in further advancement of our market,” Schneider said in a release.
— Dr. David Alquist, co-inventor of Exact Sciences’ Cologuard test, has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.
This program recognizes academic inventors who have made an impact on quality of life, economic development, and societal welfare. In a release, the Madison company notes more than three million people have been screened for colon cancer with the Cologuard test.
Alquist holds 42 issued patents for colorectal cancer screening and other inventions. He’s also an emeritus professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic.
# Dairy farmers continue to struggle in face of declining prices, lack of demand
# City Lights Brewing prepares for 30% growth, in talks to buy its buildings
# Wisconsin exports down 2.3% in October
# UW-Madison asks regents to change policy requiring minimum in-state enrollment
– Organic farming conference being planned in La Crosse
– State cheese production fell during October
– Bucks: Fiserv Forum meets all hiring goals in final construction report
– New WEDC CEO says state committed to Foxconn deal
– November Class III milk price announced at $20.45
– Grad students to UW-Madison: Fire ‘toxic lab’ professor
# HEALTH CARE
– Medical College of Wisconsin endowment awards $1.6 million to health initiatives
– American Family selects building near arena district for Milwaukee office
– American Family plans to overhaul Milwaukee building in move from Pewaukee
– Fiserv to sell 60% of its investment services business
– Dave Steele strives to improve transportation options for Milwaukeeans
– MillerCoors’ Holiday Lites display lights up Miller Valley Wednesday: Slideshow
– Affordable housing conversion of Journal Sentinel office endorsed
– ABC of Wisconsin endorses Tiffany for congress
– Wisconsin Farmers Union planning Farm & Rural Lobby Day
# REAL ESTATE
– Fiserv reevaluating options for new global headquarters site
– American Family bringing 400 jobs to Mandel building in downtown Milwaukee
– Pat Connaughton group plans two-story building on Brady Street
– Zywave acquires New Hampshire-based data analytics company miEdge
– Two Madison-based startup founders named to Forbes 30 Under 30
– Milwaukee’s dockless e-scooter pilot comes to a close; DPW to evaluate public feedback
– Regional transportation board supports converting Beltline shoulders to part-time travel lanes
# PRESS RELEASES
<i>See these and other press releases: