WEDC Chief Hopes Governor-elect Evers Keeps Job-Creation Agency in Place

It’s not clear whether outgoing Gov. Scott Walker’s Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. will remain intact, but the public-private job creation agency’s chief is making a case to keep it running.

Mark Hogan, the agency’s secretary and CEO, told reporters Tuesday in Beloit that he’s reaching out to Gov.-elect Tony Evers’ transition team to persuade Evers that the 7-year-old agency—known as WEDC—has hit its stride and should remain the state’s main jobs organization.

Hogan’s statements come as Evers signaled last week that he will propose a plan to dissolve the organization. He hasn’t given details on how he might replace the partially taxpayer-funded agency, but he has said he was considering reverting back to the former state Department of Commerce.

It’s not clear whether the Legislature, which is still dominated by Republicans, would go along with a proposal to dissolve the agency.

Hogan, a former banking executive for M&I and BMO Harris, has been at the agency’s helm for the last three years. He believes it should continue to operate under Evers because he thinks it is “nimble” enough to tackle the incoming governor’s priorities.

WEDC spokesman Mark Maley said the state budget has funding in place through part of 2019 for agency programs that are already underway, including a half-dozen job fairs to help place veterans in jobs in Wisconsin.

Other initiatives, such as school technical training programs and a marketing campaign to attract young professionals to move to Wisconsin, are rolling out in Chicago and in 13 other cities in the Midwest, Maley said.