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2023 Wisconsin Rural Summit Agenda

Wednesday, April 26 & Thursday, April 27
The Lodge at Mauston

Wednesday, April 26 Schedule




3:00 pm

Bus Leaves The Lodge at Mauston

  • Camp Douglas Area | Target Bluff Marketplace Shops
  • Visit the GOLD Lake Decorah Weed Harvester
  • Mauston's Business District Main Street and Visit the Oh! Arts Studio along with 

    Milk & Sugar Ice Cream Shop

5:30 pm

Welcome Reception
Heavy Appetizers

The Gravity Box Brewery/ Collins Coffee

7:00 pm

Bus Returns to Lodge

Thursday, April 27 Schedule 

All sessions are held in the Lodge Ballroom, including exhibitors




7:30 am

Registration & Continental Breakfast

The Lodge Conference Center Lobby

8:30 am


Sandy Decker, WI Rural Partners President

8:45 am

Mauston's Strength | Stories of Collaboration

The Lodge at Mauston | The Story
Throughout Brunner’s travels, and the countless nice places he stayed, the idea of building such a place close to home grew on his mind. Thinking about the big picture and his loyalty to the area, Brunner sees The Lodge as a legacy project for Juneau County.

G.O.L.D. | Learn how a small grassroots group of citizens, Guardians of Lake Decorah, addressed significant issues with the lake, formed by a dam in downtown Mauston. Historic area flooding, nearby agricultural practices and invasive species resulted in deteriorating water quality, aesthetics, and navigability. The project is ongoing.

Juneau County started the first Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club in 2003 to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. The Juneau County I&E Club model has sponsored over 40 similar clubs in Wisconsin and numerous clubs throughout the Midwest.

Wendy Murphy, Business Manager of the Lodge, and CFO, Brunner Manufacturing, Inc

Randy Reeg, City Administrator, City of Mauston

Cary Winch, Club President, Juneau County Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club

9:45 am

Top Rural Development Initiatives (TRDI) Presentation

10:00 am

Break - Visit Exhibitors

10:20 am

Community Collaboration | State Programs

Moderator: Seth Hudson, Executive Director Corporate Relations and Economic Engagement, Discovery Center

11:00 am

Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Building

A wide variety of county and city officials, economic developers and more can be great resources for entrepreneurs without recreating the wheel and/or providing the technical assistance themselves. Learn about the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Wisconsin and how you can connect with the resources within it.

Shari Laffredi, SCORE

Melissa Meschke, EDP, Economic Development Outreach Manager UW-Institute for Business and Entrepreneurship

11:45 am

Break - Visit Exhibitors

12:00 pm

Roundtables: Resources to Fuel Collaboration - Topics and Organizations

Roundtable discussions with Summit Presenters, Leaders of State Programs, and Leading sponsor representatives. PLUS Lunch!

Leaders from Local, County, and State Programs will be a host at a table to answer your questions.

1:15 pm

Break - Visit Exhibitors

1:30 pm

Rural Cooperatives | Discussion of Options

The cooperative business model has provided essential services in rural Wisconsin for generations. Learn how the cooperative business model is being utilized today as a collaborative strategy to meet community needs.

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

Dr. Mark Baenan, Spring Green Animal Hospital

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

2:15 pm

Make Your City an Age Friendly Community

An age-friendly community allows people of all ages to participate in activities that keep the community healthy and encourage economic stability. It is a place where older persons can easily stay connected with others and remain independent. An age-friendly community also looks out for those who need support to age successfully. Darrin Wasniewski will discuss how to make your community more livable for people as they age.

Darrin Wasniewski

Associate State Director- Community Outreach, AARP

3:00 pm

Office of Rural Prosperity | WEDC

The latest on the work of Office of Rural Prosperity and collaborative approach to rural development, and an overview of the Policy Academy Technical Assistance program and how ORP/WEDC is partnering with Regional Planning groups to develop a statewide rural plan.

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

3:20 pm

Looking forward to 2024 in Ashland!

May 14 & 15, 2024


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

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