Category Archives: Economic Development

Microsoft: A monster game-changer for Wisconsin

Back in the 1980s when the central political theme in Wisconsin was “JOBS, JOBS, JOBS,” I frequently asked the question during speeches on economic development: “Can you name a major employer in Wisconsin that didn’t start here?” According to a … Read the rest

Update on The Bend: More Sell-out Crowds

It is so much fun to watch a new venture go well, and that has certainly been the case as the community has supported The Bend, a pure startup out of the ashes of the 1929 “movie palace.” My wife … Read the rest

50 years of projects transform downtown

Let no one say that leaders in West Bend aren’t bold and forward looking. The complete rebuild of Main Street, its sidewalks and the Riverwalk are the latest projects in a long series of projects that have put downtown West … Read the rest

West Bend’s Main Street will get a face-lift

It was a half-century ago that an embryonic non-profit redevelopment group called City Centro Inc. led the way toward angle parking on Main Street and brick pavers for its sidewalks. The red brick pavers created a unique look. Bump-outs on … Read the rest

Downtown renaissance defies COVID

When the organizers of the restoration of the historic West Bend theatre were mounting their efforts in 2017 to 2019, they operated on the fundamental premise that the community would “own” The Bend. Community members far and wide pitched in … Read the rest

State leaders weak on growth initiatives

If you have been in business for a while, you will have learned that you can’t cut your way to success. Layoffs, cutbacks in new equipment, deferring maintenance, shelving R&D, may be necessary to get through some tough patches, but … Read the rest

Country needs to bring home major industries

One of the great learnings coming out the COVID near-depression is that a public-private partnership buttressed by massive government funds can produce amazing results. The delivery of the COVID vaccines in a short burst of time stunned everyone, including business … Read the rest

50 years of restoration transforms West Bend

When city planners and consultants did big thinking about the central part of West Bend 50 years ago, they all agreed that the Milwaukee River was potentially the city’s most attractive asset. The river was a draw because it was … Read the rest

COVID sidelines many workers, undercuts rebound

The COVID clamps on the available workforce explain much of the inability of the economy to get rolling again. Companies simply cannot get the available work done because they can’t muster full work forces for their operations. When one worker … Read the rest

Foxconn: more politics than business

How did we get so far off the tracks in the Foxconn train wreck in Racine County? At the bottom of the debacle were two major pieces of flawed strategic thinking running all the way from the Oval Office to … Read the rest