On August 27, 2021, the CCEDC hosted their Annual Meeting at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, getting the area’s economy “Back in the Saddle.” Over 200 people were in attendance, namely UW-Stout Chancellor Katherine Frank, WEDA Secretary Rebecca Cooke, Chippewa County Economic Development Chair Lee McMenamin, State Representatives Jesse James and Rob Summerfield, and State Senator Kathleen Bernier.

The primary goal of the Annual Meeting is to get people who would not normally interact in a normal setting to network, forge new relationships, and nurture existing partnerships. This was achieved by sitting different industries at the same table, and allowing sufficient time before and during the event for networking and discussion.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers made a special appearance at the event and spoke about the legislative priorities during the pandemic, the importance of vaccination, and the criticality of getting the economy “Back in the Saddle.” He strongly encourages everyone to get vaccinated and reenter their communities, because this is the key to economic rebuilding.

This year’s keynote speaker was Rusty Tolley, an esteemed cowboy poet and motivational speaker. Using the tag phrase for this year, “Back in the Saddle,” as his refrain, Rusty gave his keynote address in the form of poetry. This poem entailed his life experiences, what business personalities can take away from the cowboy lifestyle, and the importance of dusting off your boots and getting “Back in the Saddle.”

While there have been unforeseen challenges in politics and the economy over the last year or so, the CCEDC works hard daily to ensure that the Chippewa Valley always has its best foot forward. This year’s Annual Meeting was undoubtedly a success because it gave the community an opportunity to get back in the saddle and was instrumental in keeping the wheel of commerce turning. We look forward to the economic development to come, and to hosting the community once again at next year’s Annual Meeting.