Held at the Northern Wisconsin State Fair Grounds on August 19th 2022, the Chippewa Economic Development Corporation held their 26th annual meeting. Over a pancake breakfast, Lona Cook the keynote speaker of the morning event motivated the audience on the importance of recentering, refocusing and balancing one’s business and personal lives. “By becoming more aware of and focusing on the positive energy that surrounds us and less on the negative our business are more apt to be better positioned to reclaim market share and reduce employee turnover.” She noted “In reality any decision we make or don’t make effects others connected to us-having a positive mindset will lead one towards the right decision.”

Moderated by CEDC’s Charlie Walker and CEDC board member Klaus Bauer, the event was packed with over 365 regional business owners, developers, and community leader from across the Chippewa Valley. One of the largest business networking events in Western Wisconsin, the first part of the morning focused on reengaging each other as business were randomly scattered at tables hosted by Chippewa Valley Youth Apprentices, trade and industry instructors from the areas high schools, Workforce Resource Professionals, and sponsors. For thirty minutes each table discussed topics like talent attraction, building a worker pipeline, and collaborating more with the high schools getting students and teachers more aware of the career opportunities that existing companies have to offer.

To wrap up the event CEDC recognized several businesses by giving out our annual BEAR Awards. The award winners were nominated by CEDC investors who understand that highlighting the accomplishments of local entrepreneurs and businesses are important aspect of an economic development program. These businesses have contributed to the community’s growth and continue to expand and prosper. Business who have made an impact in 2021 across the Chippewa Valley and received awards were: Valley Sports Academy (Lake Hallie), AJ Manufacturing (Bloomer), Crescent Landscape Supply (Cadott), Broadway Boutique (Stanley). The Business Expansion And Retention Award (B.E.A.R.) was awarded to Northern Crossarm Company highlighting their continued growth and longevity for over a hundred years of operation and growth. Finally, the Community Partner Award was awarded to the nonprofit Manufacturing SOS while Senator Kathy Bernier was awarded the economic development leadership award.