FRI AM News: Trade groups looking forward to working with new WEDC CEO; WisBusiness: the Podcast with Andrea Dlugos, co-manager for Wisconsin Investment Partners

— Some of the state’s top trade groups say they’re looking forward to working with Missy Hughes when she takes over as CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. 

Gov. Tony Evers announced yesterday that Hughes would replace Mark Hogan, who officially left the agency Tuesday. She will begin the job Oct. 1.

Hughes has been the chief mission officer and general counsel for Organic Valley/CROPP cooperative since 2003. It is the nation’s largest farmer-owned organic cooperative. 

“WMC is excited to continue the positive relationship we have had with WEDC in the past,” said Kurt Bauer, president and CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the state’s largest business group. 

“As we have talked about in the past, the labor shortage is one of the biggest challenges for economic development in our state, and it is our hope WEDC will make talent attraction a focus to help grow our state’s workforce,” Bauer said in an email. 

In a statement, the Wisconsin Bankers Association emphasized WEDC’s role in the state’s economic development efforts. 

“As key drivers of our state’s economy, our member banks as well as the association look forward to meeting Missy Hughes and working toward the same goal of improving and growing the Badger State’s business opportunities,” the statement said. 

Tim Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, says Hughes is “clearly highly accomplished and appears to bring a strong background to the role at WEDC.” 

See more: 

— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Andrea Dlugos, co-manager for Wisconsin Investment Partners, one of the state’s largest angel investor networks. 

“That means we’re a group of individual angels — each member makes their own investing decisions,” she said. “In our group, each member has their own contribution to make. Both in terms of monetary contributions, but also what each member has to add from an experiential standpoint to the group.” 

Dlugos gives an overview of WIP, which has a portfolio of investments totaling more than $25 million. She explains why individual investors would band together in a partnership, also highlighting the types of companies WIP chooses for investment.  

“When we started, we were focused on investments in the life science business sector,” she said. “But in recent years WIP has expanded to investing outside life sciences, including software, health IT and high-tech manufacturing.” 

She also previews the upcoming Early Stage Symposium, held each year by the Wisconsin Technology Council to bring together investors and startups from around the state. This year’s event will be held Nov. 6-7 in Madison. 

Listen to the podcast: 

See a full list of podcasts, sponsored by UW-Madison: 

See more on the upcoming event: 

— Foxconn executive Louis Woo is stepping down from his project responsibilities to address “some personal matters,” according to a statement from the company. 

“We can confirm that Dr. Louis Woo, whose invaluable contributions have established a strong foundation for the Wisconsin project and have set the stage for Wisconn Valley to be the center of a high-technology hub supporting thousands of Wisconsin jobs, has relinquished his project responsibilities to focus on addressing some personal matters,” the statement reads. 

Now leading the project will be Jay Lee, deputy chairman and board member of Hon Hai Precision Co. Ltd. 

The statement read Foxconn “remains fully committed to the success of the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park and the company’s significant investments in the State of Wisconsin.” 

See more in Foxconn Reports below. 

— Lands’ End has announced a new buying and sourcing office in Hong Kong, the first independent facility of its kind in the region for the Dodgeville-based clothing retailer. 

“Opening our own buying and sourcing office will provide for better management of the team, which will allow us to better execute on corporate strategies,” said Jerome Griffith, CEO and president of Lands’ End. 

The company has also announced a new managing director for the new office: Diaz Kwok, who has more than 20 years of experience with senior management in the fashion industry. 

“With her decades of experience building and managing extensive supply chains across the globe, Diaz brings a depth of valuable knowledge to the new office and will help deepen Lands’ End’s footprint in a competitive global marketplace,” Griffith said.  

See the release: 

— The Department of Transportation has approved nearly $1.8 million for repairs to a lift bridge in Kaukauna after Gov. Tony Evers vetoed an earmark for the project from the state budget. 

The funds will come out of a pot of money Republicans had originally set aside for local road projects before Evers reworked the provision with his veto pen. 

The GOP budget included a provision to pump $90 million in general purpose revenue into road work. But Evers lowered that to $75 million and eliminated the restriction that it only go to road projects, opening up the money to transit as well. 

The GOP budget also included an earmark requiring DOT to fund the Kaukauna project with the money from the local bridge assistance program. Instead, the state will pick up about 80 percent of the costs. 

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, said in a statement the bridge’s lift mechanism is what needs repairs, which “would be used almost exclusively for boat traffic in a state-managed transportation network.” 

“Forcing Kaukauna residents to exclusively fund a state project that would provide little to no services for them would be an unfair burden for the community,” Steineke said. “From the start, my top priority has been to make sure we do right by Kaukauna taxpayers, and I am proud to say we have accomplished that goal.” 

Along with announcing the state money for the Kaukauna project, the DOT released the criteria for local governments applying for the remaining $73.2 million in GPR. 

The criteria include: a minimum project cost for counties, cities and villages of $250,000 and $50,000 for towns; the state covering up to 90 percent of total eligible costs; and a six-year completion schedule for approved projects. 

The other projects will be announced early next year. 

See the release:

— Madison’s Madworks Coworking Accelerator is taking applications for its fall program through Sept. 30, organizers recently announced. 

The free, 10-week course begins Oct. 7 and finishes Dec. 9, giving participants information on how to get strategic financials in order, run an effective board meeting, tackle legal issues and prepare to take the company to the next level.

The participants also will be eligible for grant funding up to $5,000.

See more at Madison Startups: 

Get more program info and apply here: 


# StartingBlock unveils ‘last piece of the puzzle’ with larger, later-stage startups

# Strauss Brands to build HQ and processing facility at Century City

# Harley-Davidson’s new electric balance bicycles target next generation of riders

# Lake Superior lighthouse sold to tech exec for $159K



– Monthly cheese production drops again in July


– Property assessments up in Wisconsin but construction lags


– Missy Hughes appointed new secretary and CEO of WEDC


– Northwestern Mutual Foundation gives $2.1 million in Milwaukee area education grants


– Lou Malnati’s announces Fox Point location opening plans


– Louis Woo, a top Foxconn exec, stepping down to address ‘some personal matters’


– Ascension Wisconsin opens new Shorewood clinic

– Approval granted for farmer mental health programs


– Willy Street Co-op workers vote overwhelmingly for a union


– Duluth Trading CEO leaving for job at UnderArmour; principal founder steps back in as Duluth CEO


– Speed, labor force drove Strauss Brands’ Century City decision

– Franklin mayor says Strauss Brands has deal with his city; company exec preps Milwaukee project


– Joe and Jennifer Bartolotta, American Family to be honored for community efforts


– Evers taps Hughes as new WEDC secretary


– Nexus Pharmaceuticals acquires land from Pleasant Prairie for new facility


– Movie Tavern, WhirlyBall target mid-October openings at Brookfield Square


– Broadband expansion grant application period now open


– Innovation key for new Betty Brinn director Brian King


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce: Gov. Evers proclaims September as Chamber of Commerce Month

Strauss Brands: To build headquarters and processing facility at Century City

Wisconsin Bankers Association: Statement of 2Q FDIC numbers released today

Northwestern Mutual: Commits to Milwaukee education with more than $2.1 million investment