ASHLAND – “Regional economic development models” is one of four panel discussions scheduled for the third Lake Superior Technology Conference, to be held Aug. 6-7 in Ashland. The conference is being produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council, the Wisconsin Innovation Network Lake Superior Chapter and other Lake Superior region partners.

The panel discussion will illustrate how regional collaboration can enhance economic development.  New North, Inc. has implemented an 18-county economic development organization in northeast Wisconsin.  This panel will discuss how this was done, and what the long-term effects will be for the region. Panelists will examine the public and private partnerships, accomplishments, and lessons learned along the way.

The discussion will also report findings from a study being conducted by The Northspan Group, Inc. aimed at identifying the types of industries in store for the future of the Lake Superior region and northeast Minnesota.  The findings will help guide regional efforts to prepare for the future.

The panel will be moderated by Vern Kenas, senior economic development consultant, Xcel Energy Inc. Panelists are Jerry Murphy, executive director, New North Inc.; and Randy Lasky, president, The Northspan Group Inc.

“Regional strategies are a part of Wisconsin’s economic development portfolio today, with efforts such as New North, Momentum West, the 7 Rivers Alliance, Grow North and more providing working examples,” said Tech Council President Tom Still. “This is a fairly recent phenomenon that began with the Wisconsin Economic Summits in 2000 through 2003.”

The conference will be held on the WITC campus, 2100 Beaser Ave. in Ashland. Other panel discussions throughout the day will cover:

-    Eco-Industrial development
-    Trends in alternative energy and biofuels
-    Education as an economic driver

Other panelists and moderators will be announced in coming weeks.

The conference begins 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6 with a reception and networking event at the Hotel Chequamegon, 101 Lakeshore Drive West. It will be immediately followed by a 7 p.m., cruise of Ashland harbor departing from the hotel’s dock.

General registration for the conference is $50 ($35 for WIN members, $15 for students) and includes the reception, cruise and all Aug. 7 events and meals. Register online through 12:00 noon on Aug. 5 at or at the event.

WIN is the membership subsidiary of the Wisconsin Technology Council, the science and tech policy advisers to the governor and the Legislature. To join WIN, go to or call Liz Katz at 608-442-7557, ext. 27.