At the annual meeting and luncheon for the Forest County Economic Development Partnership (FCEDP), UW-Extension Agent Steve Nelson took the group back a couple of years to help illustrate just how far the young organization has come in a short time. Nelson read the names of those present at the initial meeting set to organize the partnership. While the names have largely changed, the mission of helping to improve the standard of living and quality of life for all the people of Forest County has not.
Joe Hegge, executive director of Grow North, the regional economic development corporation of which Forest County is a member, acknowledged the collaboration that has occurred within Forest County and how it can have a great impact on the entire region. “Northern Wisconsin’s greatest days lie ahead and we are all inspired by how Forest County has achieved so much in such a short time,” he said. Hegge cited the work of FCEDP’s executive director Jim Schuessler, especially with job creating initiatives for new business expansions, new business launches and notably, the opportunity that exists in restoring proper forest management in the national forest.
Schuessler recognized several key businesses and stakeholders for outstanding achievements in economic development. Kristina and Joey Dunow of Hometown Trolley received the Entrepreneur of the Year award for “executing an exciting new business plan that has included job creation and helped put Crandon on the manufacturing map.”
Crandon Mayor Rob Jaeger received the Economic Spirit award for his leadership with several job-creating initiatives over the past year, including Hometown Trolley and Infinity Wood Flooring. Schuessler noted the collaboration of Crandon’s City Council with Mayor Jaeger to make these projects a reality.
The Forest County Potawatomi (FCP) Community received the FCEDP Founders Award. In acknowledging FCP, Schuessler noted, “a deep admiration for entrepreneurial success as this community diversifies its economy and supports local and regional initiatives.” He went on to cite the “deep well of grant support training” and to praise FCP Tribal Administrator Eugene Shawano Jr. as “a person that always makes time for me when I seek counsel and always provides great advice.”