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Paul Jadin, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation President. Submitted photo

Wisconsin's new Job Creation Agency launched

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The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), billed as the state's new job creation and business incentive financing agency, marked a formal launch on July 1.

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WEDC (www.wedc.org) is a public authority that focuses exclusively on economic development in Wisconsin. It replaces the former Department of Commerce and will be led by President Paul Jadin, who previously served as the state's Secretary of Commerce. Mike Klonsinski also made the move from Commerce to WEDC and will serve as its chief operating officer.

"The launch of WEDC marks an important milestone for Wisconsin," said William Rubin, executive director of St. Croix Economic Development Corporation. "Never has economic development been so important, and given the worldwide recession, never has it been so difficult. A streamlined public-private partnership like WEDC is better positioned for success with new and expanding businesses."

WEDC has its roots in a competitive analysis released in last August. The study was entitled, "Be Bold Wisconsin" (www.weda.org/be-bold-wisconsin) which focused on policies, programs and organizations to better position Wisconsin in the global marketplace. One recommendation called for the transition of the Department of Commerce into a quasi-public entity charged with delivering Wisconsin's economic development strategy. All three major gubernatorial candidates supported the study's recommendations last fall.

Special Session Act 7 created WEDC in early 2011 and came on the heels of Governor Scott Walker's announcement that "Wisconsin is open for business." One of Governor Walker's goals is to create 250,000 new jobs over the next four years. Governor Walker chairs WEDC's board of directors. The 13-member board is comprised of state legislators, department cabinet secretaries, and private business representatives.

Serving WEDC in west central and northwest Wisconsin as a regional development manager is Dagmar Beckel-Machyckova. She is based in Eau Claire and was an area development manager with the Department of Commerce. Beckel-Machyckova can be reached at (715) 874-5265.

In addition to economic development initiatives for the state, the former Department of Commerce had responsibilities in issuing credentials for the construction trades, administering safety and building codes, and conducting inspections of petroleum tanks. The regulatory aspects of Commerce, along with the Department of Regulation and Licensing, were merged into the new Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS), effective July 1st. DSPS is now responsible for an estimated 430,000 licensees and permit holders in Wisconsin. Dave Ross will serve as Secretary of DSPS.

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