Friday, January 15, 2010

Raw data

We had a very interesting statewide group meet at our Courthouse in Iowa County this week (the oldest working Courthouse in Wisconsin).

The group is called the Partnership for A Stronger Economy (PSE). It's a gathering of a wide range of private industry leaders, workforce leaders and an economic development leadership team from the Wisconsin Assembly that meets regularly to find truly new ways of doing business in Wisconsin.

I was honored to be asked to make the opening presentation. I got to discuss the Driftless Foods project and the economic development possibilities built into that design.

My wife, who was also my business partner for 20 years, says that I share raw data with everyone, generally as fast as I get it in.

A friend was at meeting in Washington DC recently and was able to hear the President speak about rural economic development. He was telling me about it on my cell phone as I was walking over to give my presentation to the PSE. I understood him to say that the President had heard about our project at the meeting and had cited it as valuable.

So I mentioned it during my PSE presentation, of course. I joked about my new friend Mr. Obama, but I said I had to check on it further. I did the next day and my friend who was at that meeting told me that the President hadn't cited our specific project (Darn! What an endorsement that would have been…). My friend said that he felt the President indicated that projects like the ones we are trying to do in Iowa County would be an example of what the federal government should be supporting.

I told my wife about the lost presidential endorsement and all she could say was, "Could you hold on to the raw data for just a little longer next time?"

We not only got to talk about Driftless Foods, but the PSE group also got to hear a brief overview of our new Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen from Tom Schraeder of The Hodan Center. This also gave Tom and I the chance to talk jointly about the entrepreneurship and economic development possibilities inherent in community access kitchens, particularly models based in centers for adults with disabilities.

I firmly believe the legislative economic development leaders present got a good understanding of the rural economic development landscape we're helping to design in Iowa County and Southwest Wisconsin. I thought our ideas got a very positive response.

Just wish we could have held on to that endorsement

Wisconsin's Partnership for A Stronger Economy (PSE)

PSE members

Hodan Center

Obama to Support Local and Organic Food Download PDF article article by Jim Slama, President of

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