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.
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.
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.
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
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.