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2022 Wisconsin Rural Partners Presentations and Agenda

Wednesday, April 27

8:30 am Welcome 

Danielle Jones, Director, Office of Rural Prosperity WEDC 


9:30 am         Sessions

Collaboration for Shared Public Services in Rural Communities:  
Sponsored by Dempsey Law Firm
Moderator: Seth Hudson Director of Economic and Strategic Development, Cedar Corporation

Tim Hanna, Executive Director, Local Government Institute of Wisconsin 

Lee D. Turonie, Attorney, Dempsey Law Firm, LLP  

Healthcare Collaborations to Meet Pressing Community Needs 

Moderator: Marie Barry, Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
Physical Health Ryan Neville, Chief Administrative Officer – Wausau/Weston, MMC Neillsville
Youth Mental Health Amanda Lange, Director – Community Health and Foundation, Aspirus Medford
Alcohol + Substance Abuse Reduction and Recovery Meagan Pichler, PS, CHES, Substance Use Prevention and Recovery Programs, Community Health Manager, Marshfield Clinic Health System

  • No Presentations or Handouts

Rural Broadband – How do “we” get started!
Sponsored by MaryAnn Lippert Consultant LLC

Moderator: MaryAnn Lippert, MaryAnn Lippert Consultant LLC
Federal Infrastructure Support: Jaron McCallum, State Broadband Director, Public Service Commission
Communities & County Planning for Broadband: Gail Huycke, Community Development Outreach Specialist, UW-Madison, Division of Extension 
Local Match: Wendy Gehlhoff, Director, Florence County Economic Development Corporation

​10:45 am        Breakout sessions

Public Safety Services in Rural Communities 
Moderator - Mike Koles, Executive Director, WI Towns Association
Bill Euclide, Supervisor for Town of Adams
Matt Fennig, Merton Lake Country Fire and EMS Chief
Phil Stittleburg, LaFarge Fire Chief

Intergovernmental Agreement - Adams County

Developing and Strengthening Community Leaders

Sponsored by WEC Energy

Todd Johnson, Land Use + Community Development Specialist, The University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Jeremy Solin, Leadership Specialist and Local Government Education, University of Wisconsin

PowerPoint - Innovating Local Government by Developing Leaders 

Leveraging Natural Resources, Tourism, and Quality of Life for Economic Development in Rural Communities

Introduction & Moderator – Cassandra Mordini, Community Development & Communications Specialist, Office of Outdoor Recreation, Wisconsin Department of Tourism 

Angie Close, Executive Director, Langlade County Economic Development Corporation 

Nicole-Wolf River Scenic Byway: Leveraging Natural Resources for Tourism and Economic Development
This scenic byway is named in honor of two of its nationally-recognized resources:  the Wolf River, a National Scenic River and the Nicolet National Forest. Learn how a collaborative partnership between counties was created and how this unique designation offers significant opportunities for the communities, businesses, and residents.
Brian Finstad, Community Volunteer, Gordon Fire Tower
For people connected with the Town of Gordon (Douglas County) it was never a question of “Can we save the fire tower?”  It was a commitment to “We will save the fire tower!”  Hear the inspiring story of how a former DNR fire tower slated for demolition is preparing to be a daytime and overnight tourism destination.

Presentation - Travel Wisconsin

Presentation - Nicolet-Wolf River

11:45 am    Lunch - TRDI Award Presentation 

1:15 pm       Breakout sessions

Emerging Opportunities in Agriculture and Forestry 

In nearly every area of our lives, technology or new economic opportunities are changing how or why we conduct business, and forestry is no exception. The rapidly increasing popularity of the carbon market is providing a space for forest landowners to potentially generate revenue. Drones and other remote sensing technology continues to revolutionize data and information we are able to measure and quantify.

Moderator: MaryAnn Lippert, MaryAnn Lippert Consultant LLC
Jessica Niekrasz, Principal, Clean Fuel Connects 
Shane Kleiman, Interdepartmental Specialist, Green Timber Consulting Foresters

Financing Small Business Growth in Rural Wisconsin Panel

Moderator - Seth Hudson, Director of Economic and Strategic Development, Cedar Corporation
Wendy Gehlhoff, Director Florence County Economic Development
Mark Speirs, Consultant, Wisconsin Small Business Development Center at UW-Stevens Point
Kyle Kuntz, Vice President – Loan Officer, Wisconsin Business Development
Jed Lechleitner, Vice President – Commercial Banking, Nicolet Bank 

2022 Rural Annual Summit Agenda           2022 Annual Rural Summit Attendees

2022 Annual Rural Summit Sponsors | Thank You



2022 Exhibitors

About us

​Wisconsin Rural Partners, Inc. (WRP) serves as a network hub for organizations, government agencies and people working to make rural Wisconsin a better place. ​​We strive through our work to build leadership for the communities of rural Wisconsin.  ​​

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