Upcoming events

Featured Partner

Log in

Log in

2023 Wisconsin Rural Summit Agenda

Thursday, April 27 Afternoon Speakers




Rural Cooperatives: Discussion of Options
Mark S Baenen, DVM
Spring Green Animal Hospital
Cooperative Veterinary Care - A Worker-Owned Cooperative

Mark Baenen graduated from UW School of Veterinary Medicine in 1995 after studying Dairy Science at UW Madison. After almost 9 years of large animal practice (cows and pigs) his partner John and Mark started Spring Green Animal Hospital in 2003. They focus on Good Medicine, Good Customer Service and Good Work / Life Balance. Like the rest of the world, Veterinary Medicine has changed greatly in the last 30 years. They have tried to position themselves for the future by becoming a Worker Owned Cooperative - Cooperative Veterinary Care.

Victoria (Tory) Clark, Executive Director, North Country Foundation

Tory has worked in the affordable housing sector for nine years. She joined NCF in 2016 as a cooperative technical assistance provider, working directly with several rural housing cooperatives. In January 2019, Tory was promoted to lead the organization’s real estate development activities, including developing the organization’s pipeline of projects, managing the financial analysis and due diligence of properties for development and acquisition, and preparing debt and equity financing applications for co-op housing projects. Tory completed the National Development Council’s Housing Development Finance Professional (HDFP) Certification Program in spring 2019. Tory was promoted to Executive Director in September 2020 and now oversees organizational strategy, advocacy, fundraising and capitalization, and new program development. Tory holds a bachelor's degree in English from Gustavus Adolphus College.

Moderator: Marie Barry, Director of Community Economic Development,  Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative

Make Your City an Age Friendly Community

Darrin Wasniewski, Associate State Director- Community Outreach, Associate State Director- Community Outreach, AARP

A New Jersey native, with time in Ohio before moving to Wisconsin, Darrin has spent his professional career building great places for all. He thought his path lie in historic preservation, but an internship with the German Village Society in Columbus, OH, helped him to understand that saving old buildings was a means to creating authentic places and building community. His time in this historic neighborhood just south of downtown, allowed him to experience the power of inter-generational community and shaped his future work. Darrin continued to hone his craft in Orrville, OH through downtown development, nonprofit leadership, and entrepreneurship (he and his wife, Stephanie, opened a natural pet market) and most recently with Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s Wisconsin Main Street communities before joining AARP-WI.

Office of Rural Prosperity WEDC

Mike Ward, Vice President of Business and Community Development
WEDC Office of Rural Prosperity

Mike Ward joined WEDC in September 2022 as vice president for business and community development. To his work at WEDC, he brings more than 25 years of experience in banking with U.S. Bank and its predecessors. Mike has held leadership positions in sales management, commercial lending, marketing, sales support, and underwriting—all focused on small business. Helping and learning about small businesses and the communities they support has been Mike’s passion for his entire career.


Wisconsin Rural Partners
601 Sawyer Terrace #5184
Madison, WI 53705

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software