MADISON — The program has been finalized for the Wisconsin Economic Summit, scheduled for November 29-December 1 at the Midwest Express Center in Milwaukee under the auspices of the University of Wisconsin System, the Board of Regents and other groups.

More than 500 persons are now registered for the meeting, according to Laurie Dies, summit coordinator. “It’s an exciting program,” she said, “featuring John Morgridge of Cisco Systems, Governor Thompson, and a variety of other presenters. The registration list includes people from M&I Bank, Briggs & Stratton, Serigraph, Silicon Logic Engineering, and several energy companies. For the business community, the summit is a great opportunity to meet with leaders of government and education to influence future state policy.”

Details of the schedule are included in a brochure mailed this week to 8,000 persons statewide. The schedule is also available on-line at . Here are two late additions to the program:

  • Robert Howe, chairman and CEO of Scient Corporation, a San Francisco-based provider of integrated eBusiness strategy and technology implementation services, has been added as a keynote speaker at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 30.
  • Howe will be preceded on the program that morning by Wisconsin Lt. Governor Scott McCallum, who will make brief remarks.

Also available at the website are the first “white papers” commissioned specifically for the summit and designed to help inform the discussion in Milwaukee. More of these briefing and background documents will be posted during the next two weeks.

The website also now features public comments submitted via e-mail. This feature is intended to give participants and observers a forum for discussing the white papers, the seven principal themes addressed by the summit, and related topics. Comments will be received and posted for the next several months.

Program Highlights

The summit will open on Wednesday, November 29 with presentations summarizing the regional listening sessions held this fall throughout Wisconsin. This will be followed by a “town hall” discussion and a reception featuring remarks by Governor Tommy Thompson.

On Thursday, November 30, a panel including Brenda Blanchard, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, and corporate representatives will start by focusing on the state’s economic challenges and how they can be met. This general session will be followed by a total of six breakout sessions, held two at a time between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. These concurrent sessions will hit on the summit themes and feature a mix of presenters representing industry, government, education and labor. Titles of the sessions are as follows:

  • “Catalyst or Choke Hold? Enhancing the Regulatory Climate for Success in the New Economy”
  • “Brain Power: Educating the Workforce Through Innovative and Collaborative Learning Opportunities”
  • “Under Construction: Building Quality Jobs to Maximize Existing Strengths and New Opportunities”
  • “A Sunny Forecast: Improving Wisconsin’s Entrepreneurial Climate”
  • “Funds for the Future: Building Wisconsin’s Venture Capital Capacity”
  • “Getting From Here to There: Enhancing Key Infrastructures”

Also on Thursday, Arthur J. Rolnick, senior vice president and director of research for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, will speak at lunch on “Promoting State and Local Economic Development: Why Congress Should Change the Rules.”

At 4 p.m., a general session will address how Wisconsin can build a distinctive brand image for itself. This will be followed by a recognition reception for the persons who contributed white papers to the summit.

The summit resumes on Friday with a keynote address by John Morgridge, chairman of the board of Cisco Systems, on “Wisconsin’s New Economy Challenges and Opportunities.” Next will be a panel discussion offering legislative perspectives on this topic. Panel members will include Senator Chuck Chvala, Senator Mary Panzer, Representative Scott Jensen and Representative Shirley Krug (invited).

The summit concludes with two sessions that summarize the more than two days of discussion and suggest the next steps that need to be taken if the ideas coming out of the meeting are to be implemented.

It’s not too late to register to attend the Wisconsin Economic Summit. The cost is $149, which includes all materials, a luncheon, two receptions, and two continental breakfasts. You can register at the website or by calling 1-800-222-3623. Blocks of rooms for summit participants are being held at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee (414) 276-1234 and the Hilton Milwaukee City Center (414) 271-7250. Both hotels are adjacent to the Midwest Express Center, 400 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee.


Kevin Boatright, UW System
(608) 263-2227