GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – When it comes to the pandemic everyone is still bouncing back trying to find a new normal. And that’s especially true for businesses within the 18 counties that make up the New North. But as Kris Schuller learned at the group’s in-person summit, many feel better times are up ahead.

Inside the Lambeau Field Atrium, private and public sector business leaders assemble for the New North’s in-person summit. As those who keep the economy rolling gather to recharge in the shadow of the pandemic.

“It’s pretty energizing, even just to be here today seeing people we haven’t seen in over a year,” said Lisa Piikkila, owner of Coalesce, Inc. Marketing & Design.

The theme of this gathering was Playbook for Recovery, looking at the impact of the pandemic and the resilience of the region’s economy.

“It was obviously nothing that any of us have ever lived through before. Created a lot of challenges,” said Tim Schneider.

Schneider is the CEO of Investors Community Bank. He says his employees worked from home but maintained a high level of service. For example – when the federal government first rolled out its Paycheck Protection Program.

“The information came out from the SBA at 10 in the evening. We all dove into the rules and regulations that night, so we were prepared the next morning to deliver that,” Schneider said.

For Piikkila the pandemic kept her marketing firm busy, helping develop messaging for clients deemed essential businesses.

“We were very busy making sure we kept the employees safe and their customers safe through messaging and whatever else was needed,” said Piikkila.

Just two of the stories from the many business owners gathered here at a time when the virus’s impact is decreasing.

“There’s work to be done yet, but clearly a tremendous amount of optimism that we are headed in the right direction,” said Barb LaMue, president & CEO of New North Inc.

A level of confidence that New North hopes leads to collaboration between all in attendance – those who’ve weathered the pandemic’s storm.

“When we find we can work together, we can come out further ahead,” said Piikkila.

“I think we’re going to see a lot of good things happening here in the next few months,” said Schneider. New North was created back in 2005 to be a catalyst for prosperity and collaboration in the 18 counties in Northeast Wisconsin.