MADISON — Final plans are taking shape for the second Wisconsin Economic Summit, to be held Nov. 26-27, at the Midwest Express Center in Milwaukee. The summit is sponsored by the University of Wisconsin System and the Board of Regents, in cooperation with business and government leaders from throughout the state.

The theme of this year’s meeting, which will build on the success of the 2000 Wisconsin Economic Summit, is ” Wisconsin’s Economy at the Crossroads: Building Higher Paying Jobs for the Future.” According to co-chairs Jay L. Smith, president of the Board of Regents, and Katharine Lyall, president of the UW System, the intent is to develop an action plan that can help position the state for an economic resurgence.

Highlights of the summit will include sessions on:

  • Lessons learned from neighboring states;
  • Why businesses choose to stay in or leave Wisconsin;
  • How we can improve our entrepreneurial climate;
  • Attracting, developing and retaining Wisconsin’s workforce;
  • Preserving Wisconsin’s economic backbone;
  • The amazing growth of the biotechnology/biomedical sector; and
  • Latest Wisconsin economic trends.

“Per capita income in Wisconsin is below the national average,” said Smith. “We need an economic strategy aimed at closing this gap by focusing Wisconsin’s business, industry, government and educational assets on jobs and investments that pay higher average wages, while targeting high value-added segments of our manufacturing and agriculture.”

“We’re looking for ways to take what we learned at the first summit and apply it to the real problems facing our state today,” said Lyall. “The economic situation has changed markedly since December, and we must address these new conditions as quickly and comprehensively as possible.”

Gov. Scott McCallum will address the summit on Monday evening, Nov. 26, and a panel of state legislative leaders is planned for Tuesday, Nov. 27. Other sessions on a variety of topics will take place Monday afternoon and all day Tuesday, including a federal government perspective on boosting Wisconsin’s economy, a presentation on the importance of industry clusters, and a review of progress made since the first summit in 2000. Also, James Keyes, chairman and chief executive officer of Johnson Controls, will report on the recommendations of a CEO working group organized by the Greater Milwaukee Committee.

Daniel Burrus, one of the world’s leading science and technology forecasters, will provide keynote remarks on Monday afternoon. He is the author of six books, including Technotrends: How to Use Technology to Go Beyond Your Competition, which has been translated into more than a dozen languages. Burrus is a successful entrepreneur who has founded and managed five Wisconsin-based businesses. He publishes a variety of technology publications, including the Technotrends newsletter. More information about him can be found at

On-line registration is now available at You can also register by calling (414) 227-3200 or 1-800-222-3623. Cost of the two-day meeting is $129 before Oct. 31 and $149 thereafter. A block of rooms has been reserved at two hotels near the Midwest Express Center: Hilton Milwaukee City Center (414) 271-7250 and Hyatt Regency Milwaukee (414) 276-1234. Special Wisconsin Economic Summit rates are available upon request through Oct. 26.

Persons who register for the summit can also attend free pre-Summit workshops being offered on the morning of Nov. 26 on a variety of topics, including successful rural economic development, intellectual property issues, a multi-cultural workforce, and energy conservation.

All workshops will be offered at the Midwest Express Center by UW Extension, UW System, state agencies or private presenters. One set of workshops will start at 8:45 a.m. The second set of workshops will start at 10:30 a.m. The summit itself will begin at 1 p.m.

As in 2000, some regional meetings around the state will precede the summit and background papers will be posted on the website: Information from last year’s summit, including more than 40 background papers, remains available there as well.

Media Contact

Kevin Boatwright UW System 608-263-2227