Jessica Reilly

Ignite Your Passion for Excellence with LeRoy Butler at the 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit

The 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit is set to kick off with an electrifying start, as we proudly announce LeRoy Butler, former Green Bay Packer and NFL Hall of Famer, as our inspirational morning keynote speaker. Butler’s journey from humble beginnings to achieving legendary status in the NFL is a testament to the power of resilience, hard work, and the unyielding spirit of teamwork. His story is not just one of personal triumph but a blueprint for overcoming adversity, embracing diversity, and fostering an environment of inclusivity and success.

LeRoy Butler’s name resonates beyond the football field; it symbolizes a beacon of hope and determination for many. Rising from challenging circumstances in Jacksonville, Florida, Butler’s early life was marked by significant hurdles, including physical disabilities that could have sidelined his dreams from the outset. Yet, through sheer grit and an indomitable will, he not only conquered these obstacles but also carved a niche for himself in the annals of football history, playing his entire illustrious career with the Green Bay Packers (LeRoy Butler Inc).

Butler’s contributions to the sport include the creation of the iconic “Lambeau Leap,” a symbol of victory and community connection that endears him to fans worldwide. However, his impact extends far beyond the gridiron. As a speaker, Butler engages with diverse audiences, ranging from youth groups to corporate leaders, sharing messages of perseverance, leadership, and the critical importance of diversity and inclusion in achieving collective goals (LeRoy Butler Inc – Speaking Engagements).

His dedication to uplifting communities and fostering environments where diversity and equity are celebrated has been evident through his participation in various initiatives, including delivering keynote addresses at significant events like the Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI) Conference. This engagement underscores his commitment to advocating for inclusive practices across different spheres (United Against Hate).

At the summit, attendees can look forward to an inspiring session with LeRoy Butler that promises to energize, motivate, and offer invaluable insights into turning adversities into opportunities. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a business leader, or someone looking to make a positive impact in your community, Butler’s keynote will equip you with the mindset and strategies needed to excel and inspire those around you.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of an unforgettable experience that will set the tone for a day of learning, networking, and growth. Reserve your tickets now for the 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit and prepare to be inspired by the remarkable journey of LeRoy Butler. Together, let’s embrace the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion to drive economic development and foster a more inclusive society.

Reserve your spot today: 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit Tickets

Join us for an event that promises not just to enlighten but to inspire action towards creating a brighter, more inclusive future for all.

Unlock the Potential of Diversity and Inclusion with Michele Ghee at the 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit

In today’s rapidly evolving global market, diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords—they are essential pillars for innovation, growth, and competitive advantage. Recognizing this critical need, the 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit is proud to announce Michele Ghee as one of our esteemed keynote speakers.

Michele Ghee is a trailblazer in the realms of business development, diversity, and media. With an illustrious career that spans over various leadership roles, including her current position as the Chief Executive Officer at Expectant Media, Michele has consistently leveraged diversity and inclusion to drive business success. Her transformative work in developing EGM, the cultural marketing arm of Endeavor, showcases her unparalleled ability to bring in new business through inclusive strategies.

Ghee’s insights on diversity, inclusion, and business development have been recognized and celebrated across numerous platforms. She has been featured in prestigious publications and has shared her wisdom at significant events, making her an influential voice in the conversation around diversity and inclusion in business (

At the summit, attendees will have the unique opportunity to hear from Michele Ghee firsthand. Her keynote address promises to be a deep dive into how organizations can genuinely embrace diversity and inclusion—not just as moral imperatives but as core drivers of innovation, creativity, and profitability. Ghee’s perspective is particularly relevant as businesses strive to navigate the complexities of today’s economic landscape while fostering an environment where all talents are valued and nurtured.

Moreover, Michele Ghee’s participation in significant initiatives, such as her role in the African American Philanthropy Committee and her leadership at EBONY and JET magazines, underscores her commitment to uplifting diverse voices and stories. Her achievements in driving diversity in creative industries through partnerships with platforms like ADCOLOR further highlight the breadth and depth of her expertise (Cleveland FoundationADCOLOR).

The 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit is a must-attend event for leaders, entrepreneurs, and professionals across all sectors who are committed to leveraging the power of diversity and inclusion for economic growth and innovation. Michele Ghee’s keynote is just one of the many highlights of this summit, which promises to be an enriching experience filled with actionable insights and strategies.

Don’t miss this chance to be inspired and informed by one of the most influential voices in the field of diversity and inclusion. Reserve your tickets now and join us for a transformative experience that will empower you to lead your organization towards a more inclusive and prosperous future.

Reserve your tickets here: 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit

Embrace the opportunity to shape the future of your organization and the broader economic landscape. We look forward to welcoming you to an event that promises to redefine the paradigms of leadership, diversity, and economic success.

Tickets Now on Sale: Secure Your Spot at the 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit

The Urban League of Greater Madison together with the Madison Region Economic Partnership is thrilled to announce that the 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit is officially open for registration. This premier event, set to take place on May 2, 2024, at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in downtown Madison, promises to be an unforgettable day filled with inspiring speakers, innovative ideas, and unparalleled networking opportunities.

The summit stands as the Madison Region’s leading gathering of business and community leaders dedicated to pushing the boundaries of workplace and economic inclusion. It’s more than just a conference; it’s a movement towards creating a more inclusive, diverse, and prosperous region for all.

Why You Should Attend

This year’s summit boasts an impressive lineup of keynote speakers and panelists who are at the forefront of their respective fields. Attendees will have the privilege of hearing from:

  • Michele Thornton Ghee, Business Transformation Visionary and former CEO of Ebony & Jet Magazine, will share her insights on leadership and innovation in media and business.
  • LeRoy Butler, Pro Football Hall of Famer and motivational speaker, will inspire with stories of overcoming adversity and achieving greatness.
  • Matthew Kures, Community Economic Development Specialist and Researcher, will provide valuable data and analysis on regional economic development.
  • Brian “Woody” White, Technology Executive, will delve into the impact of AI on society, jobs, and particularly its implications for communities of color.

These featured speakers, among many other compelling presenters to be announced, guarantee a day rich in knowledge, inspiration, and actionable insights.

What to Expect

The day kicks off with a continental breakfast and networking session, offering a great opportunity to connect with other forward-thinking individuals from across the eight-county Madison Region. Following this, attendees can look forward to:

  • An opening keynote presentation by LeRoy Butler that is sure to motivate and energize.
  • A variety of engaging breakout sessions covering topics ranging from artificial intelligence to entrepreneurship, allowing participants to tailor their summit experience to their interests and professional needs.
  • A luncheon keynote presentation by Michele Thornton Ghee, offering a deep dive into the world of business transformation and media.

Beyond the plenaries and sessions, the summit provides ample opportunities for networking with business, government, nonprofit, and community leaders.

Register Now

With individual and group registration options available, securing your spot at the 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit has never been easier. Whether you’re attending on behalf of an organization, with a sponsor or special code, or as an individual eager to learn and connect, now is the time to act. Spaces are limited, and you won’t want to miss out on what promises to be the most impactful summit yet.

Your registration includes access to all keynote presentations, breakout sessions, continental breakfast, lunch, and countless opportunities to network and collaborate with peers and industry leaders.

Be Part of the Change

The 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit is not just an event; it’s a catalyst for change. It’s an opportunity to be part of a collective effort to drive economic growth and promote diversity and inclusion in the Madison region.

Don’t miss this chance to contribute to meaningful conversations, connect with like-minded professionals, and gain insights that could shape the future of your career or business. Reserve your spot today and join us in making a difference.

Click here to register now and secure your spot at the summit.

Let’s come together to envision and build a more inclusive, diverse, and economically vibrant Madison region. See you on May 2, 2024!

Public Comment Period: Madison Region CEDS Draft

This document, draft Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Elevate: Madison Region, is a work-in-progress and not a final version.

The information contained within is subject to change based on new data being collected from our external partners and ongoing analysis by our team.

We are actively seeking input from the public and are committed to incorporating this feedback into the final strategy. We believe that community input is vital to shaping a robust and effective Economic Development Strategy.

Please note that while we strive for accuracy, due to the dynamic nature of the data and the fact that it is still being collected, there may be updates or modifications in the final version. We appreciate your understanding and patience during this process.

We encourage you to share your thoughts, ideas, and concerns regarding this draft. Your feedback will play an essential role in refining and finalizing this strategy.

Please use this survey to provide your comments by 5:00 PM on February 12, 2024. Thank you for your participation and contribution towards building a stronger economic future.

The End of an Era: Celebrating Craig Kettleson’s Tenure at MadREP 

Labor Force Madison WI Primary Industries Kettleson

Today we take a moment to celebrate the invaluable contributions of a pillar in our organization, Craig Kettleson. We also announce, with mixed emotions, his retirement from MadREP after a remarkable tenure filled with numerous achievements and unwavering commitment to economic growth. 

MadREP Contributions 

During his tenure at MadREP, Craig Kettleson achieved significant milestones that greatly bolstered the region’s economic growth and development. 

One of his notable contributions was securing Wisconsin Fab Lab grants, which established fabrication laboratories in local schools. These labs have become thriving hubs for innovation and entrepreneurial activities. 

Kettleson also played a crucial role in establishing and managing the organization’s revolving loan fund, providing vital financial support to local businesses. 

Recognizing the immense potential of the gaming industry, he dedicated himself to establishing the Wisconsin Games Alliance. As a result, M+DEV, an annual game developer conference, came into existence. Furthermore, Kettleson became a passionate advocate for promoting esports in the Madison Region, fostering an environment that nurtures this emerging industry. In 2023, Madison achieved a significant milestone in its growing esports scene when the Minnesota Rokkr, a professional team from the Call of Duty League, hosted a major tournament in the city. This historic event marked Madison’s first in-person, professional esports competition, solidifying the region’s status as a thriving hub for esports activity. The tournament not only showcased elite competitive gaming but also united fans and players, contributing to the vibrant esports community in the area. 

Kettleson’s contributions to MadREP garnered national recognition when the Madison Region received the IMCP (Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership) designation from the federal government. Furthermore, Kettleson took a lead role in drafting key industry sector reports, offering valuable insights into the region’s supply chain and economic landscape. 

Decades of Outstanding Service 

Before joining us at MadREP, Craig served in several key positions, including as VP of Finance, Principal, and Chief Financial Officer for U.S. Foods and Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (USFP), Eslabon Consulting and Investments, LLC, and Woodridge Venture Group, LLC. His mastery of the fiscal side of business, evident in his generation of historical and pro forma financial statements and business planning, was instrumental in raising $1.2MM for USFP. 

Craig’s aptitude for financial analysis and business planning also shone during his time at Eslabon Consulting. He was instrumental in analyzing potential acquisitions and financial investments, providing business planning assistance, and offering business retention and expansion services. 

Entrepreneurial Success 

In 2003, Craig stretched his entrepreneurial muscles and co-founded Woodridge Venture Group, LLC. Under his financial stewardship as CFO, this venture capital business focused on early-stage renewable technologies, successfully raising over $14MM for equity placements in two start-up companies. 

Contributions to Wisconsin Business Innovation Corporation 

From 1998-2003, Craig served as Business Development Manager for the Wisconsin Business Innovation Corporation. His notable achievements included marketing and implementing a $1.2MM Defense Conversion Loan Fund and a $2.7MM USDA Intermediary Relending Program Loan Fund. He played a crucial role in developing a rural Enterprise Center Network and the Wisconsin Rural Enterprise Fund. 

Planning and Community Development 

Craig’s expertise extended beyond finance and business development. He was Lead Planner for MSA Professional Services in Beaver Dam, WI, managing community and land use planning projects, creating 25 Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts, and securing millions in business development and infrastructure grants. 

Award-Winning Credentials 

Craig’s credentials speak volumes about his competence and dedication. He holds the American Institute of Certified Planner (AICP) title by the American Planning Association (APA). He is a GrowthWheel Certified Advisor® and was recently designated a certified Incubator manager by the National Business Incubation Association. His educational background includes a B.A. in Political Science with an emphasis in architecture and economics (UW-Milwaukee) and an M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning (UW-Madison). 

Meet Everett Butzine: The New Point of Contact 

Everett Butzine Headshot

As we bid Craig a fond farewell, we are excited to introduce Everett Butzine as the new point of contact for anything previously handled by Craig. 

About Everett Butzine 

Everett is an economic development specialist who will lead initiatives to support the long-term economic growth and success of the Madison Region. He has a rich background in working with local and regional governments, businesses and industry groups, educational institutions, and community organizations. Before joining MadREP, Everett served as executive director of Sherman County Economic Development, Inc. and economic development technician at the City of Oshkosh. 

Leading the Way to 2028 

Everett’s role also includes a vital part in developing our Region’s third comprehensive development strategy, which will guide our activities and priorities through 2028. We are confident that with Everett at the helm, we will continue to see the growth and success that have become synonymous with MadREP. 

As we celebrate Craig’s legacy and the impact he has made on our organization and the Madison Region, we are also excited about the future under Everett’s leadership. Join us in bidding Craig a happy retirement and welcoming Everett to his new role. We look forward to a future of continued growth and success at MadREP.