ASHLAND – Laying the foundation for creation and attraction of technology-based jobs is the focus of the 2011 Lake Superior Business and Technology Conference, which will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5 at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, 2100 Beaser Avenue, Ashland.

Major speakers include Ray Cross, chancellor of the UW Colleges and Extension System, and leaders of business and technology parks from Wisconsin Rapids, Menomonie and Weston. Civic leaders in northwest Wisconsin are proposing to build a Lake Superior Technology Park in the Ashland area, and discussion will revolve around best practices.

Conference registration is $30, which includes lunch. Students with attend free. Visit and register through the “What’s Happening” section.

In addition to Cross, who helped stimulate economic growth in New York during his tenure with the State University of New York, conference attendees will hear from Mayor Mary Jo Carson of Wisconsin Rapids; Village Administrator Dean Zuleger of Weston; Brad Gingras, chief operating officer of NWCEP Inc.; and Christopher Smith of the Stout Technology and Business Park in Menomonie.

 “We believe Ashland and the surrounding region is the gateway to progress in the 21st century on Lake Superior,” said Bruce Lindgren, president of the Wisconsin Innovation Network’s Lake Superior chapter. “This conference continues to attract regional and statewide players who want to support business innovation, technology and research development in our area.”

“The city of Ashland is privileged to host this conference,” added Mayor Bill Whalen. “I hope it will continue to serve as a catalyst in bringing new businesses to the city and region.”

The day-long conference annually draws more than 100 attendees and financial support from area businesses and organizations. The Wisconsin Innovation Network is the membership arm of the Wisconsin Technology Council. Among other sponsoring organizations are: Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board, Inc., UW-Extension, UW-Superior Small Business Development Center, Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, Business North, Xcel Energy, Memorial Medical Center, C.G. Bretting Manufacturing, School District of Ashland, Ashland County Board of Supervisors, Northland College, B. Lindgren Consulting and the Tech Council.