Apr 26, 2012

Goals for regional growth outlined

Excerpted from Wisconsin State Journal
By Judy Newman

About 300 elected officials, company heads and community leaders from south central Wisconsin were told Wednesday it’s time to stop resting on their laurels, get past any rural-urban conflicts of the past and work as a team if they want to spark the area’s economy in the coming years.

Advance Now, the eight-month project to create a plan to spur economic growth for the eight-county Madison region, presented its recommendations and promised a series of goals that include:

  • Increasing the number of businesses by 5.2 percent in the next five years.
  • Compiling a list of “shovel-ready” sites for development.
  • Matching local company needs with training and education programs.
  • Increasing access to capital and developing a regional system to bring innovations to market.
  • Closing racial and geographic achievement gaps.
  • Increasing the number of minorities in leadership positions.
  • Creating a regional brand identity and a national public relations campaign.

In a presentation at the Sheraton Madison Hotel, Mac Holladay, chief executive of Market Street Services, exhorted local leaders to set aside any bickering of the past.

“This is not a partisan politics game,” Holladay said sharply, drawing applause. “It is time for you all to stop yelling at each other and start talking to each other … (or) this place is going to fail.

“The silos need to come down. The boundaries don’t matter.”

Holladay’s Atlanta consultant firm has been working on Advance Now with MadREP, the economic development partnership for Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Rock and Sauk counties.

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