The Steering Committee, composed of leaders in business, government and non-profit leaders from across the region, guides A Greater Madison Vision. Capital Area Regional Planning Commission staff provide support, and Steering Committee members also participate in sub-committees working on specific elements of the process.
Sub-committee co-chairs have an asterisk (“*”) by their name.
Steering Committee Roster
Click on a name on the roster below to view details, or simply scroll down!
Ruben Anthony, Urban League
Juli Aulik, UW Health & UnityPoint Health – Meriter
Zach Brandon, Greater Madison Chamber
Dave Branson, Building and Construction Trades Council
Gurdip Brar, City of Middleton
Dan Brown, Ho-Chunk Gaming
Frank Byrne, St. Mary’s Hospital
Justice Castañeda, Common Wealth Development
Sharon Corrigan, Dane County Board
Joe Daguanno, Adams Outdoor Advertising
Drake Daily, City of Sun Prairie
Jack Daniels III, Madison College
Denise Demarb, Madison Common Council
Chris Ehlers, Ehlers Development Co.
Paul Esser, City of Sun Prairie
Paulette Glunn, Northwest Dane Senior Services
James Hegenbarth, Park Bank
John Imes, Wisconsin Environmental Initiative
Paul Jadin, MadREP
Sharyl Kato, Rainbow Project
Nhi Le, Gener8tor
Sabrina Madison, Heymiss Progress
Ezra Meyer, Clean Wisconsin
Deb Nemeth, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin
Mark Opitz, Madison Area Transportation Planning Board
Kevin Oppermann, Highland Spring Farm
Leslie Orrantia, UW-Madison Office of Community Relations
Larry Palm, Capital Area Regional Planning Commission
Harold Rayford, African American Council of Churches
Keith Reopelle, Dane Co. Office of Energy and Climate Change
Andy Ross, Columbia Co. Economic Development Corp.
Sue Springman, Village of Waunakee and Mullins Group
David Stark, Stark Company Realtors
Steve Staton, Village of Oregon
Andrew Statz, Madison Metropolitan School District
Nia Trammell, Urban League
James Tye, Clean Lakes Alliance
Lyle Updike, Town of Sun Prairie and Dane Co. Lakes and Watersheds
Troy Vosseller, Gener8tor
Donna Walker, Alliant Energy
Dan White, Filament Games
William White, WhiteFish Partners
Tom Wilson, Town of Westport
Gary Wolter, Madison Gas & Electric
Phillip Yang, Wisconsin Hmong Association
Alex Ysquierdo, Latino Chamber of Commerce
Consultant, SEED Consulting LLC
Godwin Amegashie holds a Master’s of Science in business from the University of Wisconsin School of Business with majors in finance, investment and banking, and international business.He is also a Fellow of the Economic Development Institute of the World Bank.
Mr. Amegashie is a founding member of the African Association of Madison and has served as president and chairman of the board. He is a Melvin Jones Fellow in Lions International and has served as president of Madison West Lions Club on two occasions. He is a member and former treasurer of the 100 Black Men of Madison. Currently, he serves on the Dane County Community Development Block Grant Commission.He has held appointments from the mayor of the City of Madison on the Economic Development Commission, Administrative Review Board and the Community Development Authority. He also served for more than 10 years as a member of the board of the Madison Development Corporation. He is a former board member and current advisory board member of the Wisconsin Women Business Initiative Corporation. Former Governor Thompson was pleased to name him to the State of Wisconsin Minority Development Loan Fund.Professionally, Mr. Amegashie has had two careers paths- the private and public sectors. He is a graduate of Citibank’s Executive Training Center in Beirut, Lebanon where he started his banking career. He has attended several professional development training by Citibank in Glen Cove, New York and, Nairobi Kenya. He was trained in economic development by the World Bank in Washington, D.C.Following his graduate studies from the University of Wisconsin in 1980, he joined the Affiliated Banks, forerunners to the M&I Banks in Madison. Among several duties, he served as planning officer, international banking officer, loan officer and head of the Small Business Banking Center in the Commercial Banking Group at M&I Bank (now known as BMO Harris Bank.).He joined state service as Director of the State of Wisconsin Minority Business Program in 1999. In 2006, he became Policy Advisor for the Division of State Facilities. He created the Wisconsin Supplier Diversity Program in 2012 and retired from state service in 2017.He works as a consultant for SEED Consulting LLC in the areas of supplier diversity, small business development, international trade and public policy.
President & CEO, Urban League of Greater Madison
Dr. Anthony has been a manager for nearly 30 years. He started RowJAC Consulting, a Management and Planning Firm that Specializes in Civil Rights in government contract compliance, in 2013. Through RowJAC he has served as the interim Director of Milwaukee County’s Community Business Development Program which is responsible for enforcing compliance in procurement and contracting.
Dr. Anthony has also served as a disadvantage business enterprise capacity building adviser to the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and to the Dulles Airport in Washington D.C. The majority (19 years) of his career has been as a manager with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation where he started as a first line supervisor and eventually became the Deputy Secretary and the Chief Operations Officer from 2003 to 2010. Dr. Anthony is currently the President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison. While the League focuses on many aspects of Social Justice, Dr. Anthony is particularly interested in identifying strategies to get individuals into employment.
Director of Communications, UW Health & UnityPoint Health – Meriter
Juli Aulik has been director of community relations at UW Health since 2002. During this time, she started the community relations program, the events program, and was one of the founders of the philanthropy program. Currently, Juli directs UW Health’s contributions program, community benefit reporting, and community health needs assessment and planning. Juli collaborates on community health improvement projects, the community dimension of population health, and equity and inclusion work.
Prior to her work at UW Health, Juli served as Executive Director of Taliesin Preservation Inc. in Spring Green, worked as a policy analyst for the Wisconsin Department of Development, and as a clerk and aide in the office of Wisconsin State Senator Barbara Ulichny. She completed her undergraduate work at UW-Madison and went on to get a master’s degree in public policy from Duke University.
President, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce
Zach Brandon became President of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce in November 2012. The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce represents more than 1,300 organizations and is focused on creating a foundation for growth for the Greater Madison region. Prior to joining the Greater Madison Chamber, Zach was the director of the Wisconsin Angel Network, an early stage investment organization focused on increasing equity investments in Wisconsin’s entrepreneurs. Zach also served as the vice chair of public policy for the national Angel Capital Association.
Previously, Zach served as Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Commerce and served in the agency’s senior policy and external affairs role. Zach advised the Governor, Commerce Secretary and the Legislature on global trade and business development strategies with a heavy emphasis on expansion, investment and entrepreneurial development.An experienced entrepreneur and small business owner, Zach was part of the leadership team of three startups. He was president and chief executive officer of Laundry 101, which in 2003 topped USA Today’s “Best Places” to do laundry. Zach earned a B.A. in Political Science with a concentration in Management from Kent State University.
Executive Director, Building and Construction Trades Council of South Central Wisconsin
Dave Branson is the Executive Director of the Building and Construction Trades Council of South Central Wisconsin. Prior to becoming the executive director of the building trades council Dave was a Business Agent for Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 434 in central and western Wisconsin.
Mayor, City of Middleton
Dr. Gurdip Brar served as an Alderman on the Middleton City Council for nine years before being elected Mayor in April 2017. He is also President of G2DV Technologies in Middleton. Dr. Brar earned his Ph.D. for Genetics from the University of California-Riverside. He has been involved with the Kiwanis since 1992 in various leadership roles, during which time six Service Leadership Program and one Kiwanis clubs were opened.
As the Kiwanis Wisconsin-Upper Michigan Governor, he helped build an accessible swimming pool to serve thousands of campers at Camp Wawbeek (Easter Seal Society camp) near Wisconsin Dells. Dr. Brar also works as a volunteer with the United Way, Boy Scouts, schools, and youth soccer. Dr. Brar is married and has a daughter and a son.
Executive Manager, Ho-Chunk Gaming
Daniel Brown earned his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Ball State University in 1990. Following an internship with the Marion County Superior Court in Indianapolis, he served as a Probation Officer. He then worked a short time for a major retail chain as an Asset Protection Officer. In late 1993, he moved his family to Wisconsin where he began his career in the casino industry at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells (formerly Ho-Chunk Casino) with his tribe, the Ho-Chunk Nation.
There, he began in Surveillance where he worked as an Agent, a Supervisor, an Investigator and part-time Director of the department. He then transferred into management where he served as the Director of Casino Operations (managing Tables and Slots), the Assistant General Manager and then the General Manager, where he managed the Nation’s flagship casino for 4 years. From 2007-2011, he served a successful 4-year term as Vice President of the Ho-Chunk Nation. Since 2012 to the present, Mr. Brown serves as the Executive Manager of Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison where he endeavors to develop 40-plus acres near Madison’s casino in a collaborative effort with the City of Madison.
President Emeritus, St. Mary’s Hospital
Frank D. Byrne MD is president-emeritus of St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. He served as president of St. Mary’s from 2004-2015, during which time St. Mary’s was named one of the 100 Top Hospitals (2006), one of the 50 Top Heart Hospitals (2014), achieved Magnet re-designation twice from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, implemented a HIMSS Stage 7 electronic health record, and completed a $184 million expansion.
He previously served in a variety of clinical, administrative and governance leadership roles at Parkview Health, Fort Wayne, Indiana from 1982-2004.Frank has extensive governance experience, serving on the boards of two publicly-traded companies, not-for-profit hospitals and health systems, health plans, multi-specialty physician practices, physician-hospital joint ventures, foundations, and professional societies, including the Wisconsin Hospital Association, the Wisconsin Medical Society, and the American College of Healthcare Executives. He has served on the boards of numerous not-for-profit and community organizations, including the Madison Community Foundation, the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, the Urban League of Greater Madison and Edgewood College. He was named one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives by Modern Healthcare in 2011, inducted into the InBusiness Magazine Business Hall of Fame in 2012, designated a Champion of Women’s Health by the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation in 2012, and received the InBusiness Executive of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.
Executive Director, Common Wealth Development
Justice Castañeda currently serves as the Executive Director of Common Wealth Development, Inc. Justice is an educator and community development specialist by trade, whose praxis negotiates the intersections of housing policy, economic development and community violence, looking at the role these intersections play in educational & life outcomes for youth and communities of color. A Madison, WI native, Justice’s professional career began in the Marine Corps, where he spent 8 years before being honorably discharged.
His academic career began at Red Caboose Day Care on Williamson St., and he advanced from Kindergarten and earned his 5th grade graduation at Mendota Elementary School on Madison’s North Side, earned his 8th grade graduation as part of the inaugural class at O’Keefe Middle School on Madison’s East Side, and is a proud graduate of Madison East High School.
County Board Chair, Dane County Board of Supervisors
Sharon Corrigan serves as the Chair of the Dane County Board of Supervisors. Sharon first took office in 2010. Prior to becoming Chair she served on the Public Protection and Judiciary Committee, the Public Safety Communications Center Board, the UW Extension Committee, the Environmental Council, and the Lakes and Watershed Commission.
She also chaired the Personnel & Finance Committee and the DaneCom Governing Board. Before running for office, Sharon held public policy positions focusing on health care, education, pension, state finance, and employee issues. Sharon and her husband Dan live in Middleton and have four grown children.
General Manager, Adams Outdoor Advertising
Joe Daguanno has been in the Madison area business community for the greater part of the last 28 years working in media advertising and consulting. Joe has been with Adams since May of this past year after spending the previous 23 years with Mid-West Family Broadcasting where he was a minority owner. He has worked closely with several different non-for profits in the area, including United Way of Dane County, UW Children’s Hospital Foundation, The Rainbow Project, and Gio’s Garden, and he is actively involved with the UW Alumni.
Joe also worked in Michigan and was a big part of the rebuilding and rebranding of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph (individual towns and cities became branded as Michigan’s Great Southwest).
City of Sun Prairie alternate representative (see Paul Esser)
Drake Daily is a Management Analyst at the City of Sun Prairie where he has worked for the past 2.5 years within the Office of the City Administrator. Prior to joining the City, Drake earned a Master’s Degree from the La Follette School of Public Affairs at UW-Madison. He also obtained his bachelor’s degree from UW-Madison.
President, Madison College
Dr. Jack E. Daniels, III has over 30 years of higher education experience ranging from community and technical colleges to graduate institutions. Dr. Daniels has a wide breadth of expertise in strategic and master planning, economic development and community engagement. He has also been a leader in visioning and guiding initiatives focused on student success.
Dr. Daniels has served in various capacities in higher education. In addition to serving 18 years as a community and technical college president, Dr. Daniels has held several positions of distinction including psychology professor, associate dean of math, science and physical education, dean of instruction, and vice-president of academic affairs. As president of Madison College, he has led the college in creating and implementing a shared governance environment, reshaped how the college responds to its varied communities, guided the transformation of an institutional culture that respects open dialogue and shared decision-making. Dr. Daniels continues to advance a college leadership model that is inclusive, respectful of a diversity of thought and action, and empowers individuals to lead within their scope of influence.Prior to his current role as President of Madison College, Dr. Daniels served as president of Los Angeles Southwest College, Lincoln Land Community College and Houston Community College – Central College. Dr. Daniels also served as a psychology faculty member at Laney College. In addition to his work locally with economic and community development, and educational initiatives, Dr. Daniels’ has been actively engaged in leadership positions in national and statewide organizations and has been a requested presenter and advisor on student success and leadership. Dr. Daniels’ credentials include a bachelor’s degree from Huntington (Indiana) College and a Ph.D. from the Wright Institute Graduate School of Psychology in Berkeley, California.
Alder, District 16, City of Madison
Alder Denise DeMarb was elected to the role of District 16 alderperson on April 16, 2013. She is currently serving her third term. She was elected by her peers as President Pro Tem in 2014 and Council President in 2015. Alder DeMarb currently sits on the following city committees: Board of Public Works, Common Council Executive Committee, Early Childhood Care & Education Committee, Economic Development Committee, Ho-Chunk Nation/City of Madison Joint Planning Committee and the Sustainable Madison Committee.
Prior to becoming an alderperson, Denise was employed in public accounting and global finance. She achieved a BS in Accounting from Northern Illinois University and did masters-level work in sustainability at Edgewood College.Alder DeMarb and her husband Scott have lived in the 16th district for over 16 years. They enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.
President, Ehlers Development Co.
Chris Ehlers is a developer of residential, multi-family, commercial and worship sites in Dane County. He holds a BA in Real Estate from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. During his 12 years at a large national developer in Phoenix, AZ, Chris gained valuable experience on the development of several master plan communities, including Del Webb’s award-winning Sun City Anthem communities.
In 2010, Chris accepted an offer to become president of a national homebuilder’s Wisconsin division and returned home to Dane County. Over the next five years, he turned the once-struggling division into one of the company’s most profitable divisions in the country.Upon realizing his passion for land development, Chris set out on his own in 2016 to start Ehlers Development Company. Today he not only develops land but also lends support to local farmers and land-owners by providing advice on how their property should be developed to achieve highest and best use. Chris’s commitment to the community has resulted in excellent relationships among alders and commission members of Dane County’s municipalities, and has even inspired him to consider running for office. Chris is currently the 2018 president-elect for the Madison Area Builders Association.
Mayor, City of Sun Prairie (Drake Daily, alternate)
Paul Esser was elected Mayor of the City of Sun Prairie in April 2015. He had previously been elected Mayor for two terms starting in 1987. Mr. Esser has a degree in Accounting and has been retired since 2008. His vision for Sun Prairie is focused on human diversity, transportation and comprehensive planning.
His administration has created an Ad Hoc Diversity Committee that will focus on increasing the diversity of City employees and communicating in appropriate ways with people in the community. He is married and have four children and six grandchildren and, unfortunately, none of them live in Sun Prairie.
Executive Director, Northwest Dane Senior Services
Paulette’s career spans over the past twenty five years within senior care. Upon receiving her Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, she relocated from her hometown of Wautoma, WI along with her husband, Neal to Dodgeville, WI. Over the years, Paulette has held several positions within the assisted living industry, including that of administrator, district manager, director of operations and owner of assisted living and memory care specific homes.
Familiar with the needs of senior adults, as well as those of people in need, she brought her and her husband into the supportive home care business, Friends For Folks, LLC. In 2013, she joined Northwest Dane Senior Services as the Executive Director.
Business & Workplace Services Vice President
Kari Grasee is American Family Insurance’s vice president of Business and Workplace Services (BWS), a position she assumed in December 2017. The BWS team manages the facilities which includes maintenance, oversight of construction and leasing activities, logistic services, administrative, safety and compliance services, corporate responsibility leadership and management and development of The American Center. Kari has over 20 years of experience at American Family. While at American Family, she has held various roles within the Finance organization.
Kari became VP, Controller in 2006 and led the Finance team for nine years. As Controller, Kari was responsible for the accounting, tax, budgeting, financial analysis, treasury and sourcing functions. In 2015, Kari became the VP of Information and Data Management where she was responsible for oversight over the Information Assets of American Family. In this role she managed delivery of business intelligence and big data projects as well as data governance over American Family’s information assets. She served in this role until her recent appointment to the BWS VP in December 2017.Kari attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in tax from the University of Minnesota. Kari is a certified public accountant.Prior to American Family Insurance, Kari worked at the accounting firm of Deloitte and Touche and as a tax analyst at Wisconsin Power & Light Company.
Mr. Hegenbarth completed the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin in 1994. He served as a Board Member of the Wisconsin Bankers Association from 2006-2009. He is also a member of the holding company board for the Bank of Deerfield. Active community involvement includes American Family Children’s Hospital at UW board member, trustee and chair of the Business and Finance committee at Edgewood High School, co-chair of the Madison Chapter of the Ronald McDonald House capital campaign and Member Director of the Federal Home Loan Bank-Chicago.
Executive Director, Wisconsin Environmental Initiative
John Imes, a former Chairman of the Board and co-founder of Wisconsin Environmental Initiative (WEI), joined as Executive Director in 1998. Previously, John was the Environmental Manager for Quad/Graphics, a company long known for its environmental stewardship and social responsibility, garnering a long list of local, state and national honors.
John also serves as an elected Board Trustee and Personnel Committee Chair for the Village of Shorewood Hills and has served in many appointments and as an adviser to national, state and local initiatives over the years. John, an MATC and Carroll College graduate, is also co-owner of Arbor House, an award-winning inn and model for sustainable tourism located in Madison, Wisconsin.
President, Madison Region Economic Partnership
Paul Jadin joined MadREP as President in November 2012. Prior to that, Paul served as both the Secretary of Commerce and Secretary/CEO of the new Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation since January 2011.
He was charged with transitioning from a state agency that had responsibility for economic development and regulatory activities to a public/private authority that is 100% focused on economic development. That reorganization has brought an expanded emphasis on international activities, with networks being developed in over a dozen countries; it has fostered a significant investment in entrepreneurship and innovation; and it has enabled the state to better understand and support its key industry sectors. The WEDC, under Paul’s leadership, has also produced a new state brand to be unveiled in September 2012.From April 2003 until his appointment, he was president and CEO of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, which has 1,400 members employing 93,000 workers. He directly oversaw economic development, government affairs, member services, and education functions. In partnership with Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, he led the development and growth of a 50,000-sq.-ft. business incubator, which has become a model for collaborative efforts involving small business activities.From 1995-2003, Paul served two terms as Mayor of Green Bay. He led economic development efforts that yielded a 50 percent increase in the tax base over his two terms in office. He also represented the city in all private and intergovernmental negotiations, including the Lambeau expansion agreement with the Green Bay Packers and the fee-for-service agreement with the Oneida Nation. In partnership with the Department of Commerce, he established the award-winning On Broadway Main Street Program.Prior to his terms in office, Paul spent 14 years in human resources management, first as personnel director for Portage County from 1981-1988 and then as director of personnel and labor relations for the City of Green Bay from 1988-1995.Paul was born in Green Bay and raised in Kewaunee, WI. He earned a B.A. in Political Science from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, and an M.S. in Public Administration from Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL. He and his wife Jane have four children and have been married for 30 years.
Director, The Rainbow Project
Sharyl Kato, MS, LPC, is Director and Child/Adult & Family Therapist with the Rainbow Project Child & Family Counseling and Resource Clinic and is a Clinical Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.
Ms. Kato specializes in areas of prevention, early intervention, crisis support, and treatment of childhood/family trauma, including child abuse, neglect, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, community violence, grief/loss, natural disasters. She has special interest in strengthening resiliency for child-adult caregiver and family relationships, parent education, cultural competency, play therapy, social emotional development, and helping children/adults manage stress. She is also active in community networking & interagency coordination, to maximize effectiveness of services and coordinate resources for children and families.Ms. Kato also serves as chair of the Children, Youth and Families Consortium, Child Abuse and Neglect Coordinated Response Task Force, the Children’s Mental Health Collaborative, Commission on Sensitive Crimes and the Domestic Violence Task Force.Additionally, she serves as Chair of the Wisconsin Organization for Asian Americans; Member of Women in Focus; Downtown Madison Rotary Board of Directors; Member, Wisconsin Women of Color Network; and is a member of TEMPO, a Women’s Networking & Service Organization.
Director of gBETA, Gener8tor
Nhi is the Director of gBETA Madison and is completing her PhD in Materials Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
After graduating from the Georgia Institute of Technology (BS in Materials Science and Engineering and BS in Biomedical Engineering), she moved to Madison to for her PhD. Over the past 10 years, Nhi has also worked extensively with underserved communities through nonprofit involvement with the Graduate Engineering Research Scholars, Gates Millennium Scholars Program, and AmeriCorps Jumpstart.
Award winning entrepreneur Sabrina Madison is affectionately known as “Heymiss Progress”. Under the Heymiss Progress brand, she’s created the Black Women’s Leadership Conference, the Conversation Mixtape, the Black Business Expo, and the Black Excellence Youth Conference.
In 2016 she was recognized by In Business Magazine as one of the most influential people in the Greater Madison area and named one of the most influential African Americans in the state of WI by Madison365. She’s a BRAVA Woman to Watch and was named to Madison Magazine’s M List for 2016 on behalf of her work in creating the Black Women’s Leadership Conference.A Grand Poetry Slam Champion, Sabrina thrives as a motivational speaker and social entrepreneur. She has motivated students nationally including the National Conference on Student Leadership and local groups including AVID TOPS and the DELTA GEMS to live their dreams despite tough circumstances. As a quarterly speaker for the American Family Insurance DreamBank, she’s helped countless community members leverage their strengths to live their dreams! From inspiring keynote addresses to leading workshops on personal branding success, she’s a woman who leads with purpose and does the work from a love ethic. From inspiring keynote addresses to leading workshops on personal branding success, she’s a woman who leads with purpose and does the work from a love ethic. Sabrina will soft launch the Sabrina V. Madison Center for African-American Leadership, Entrepreneurship + Media this fall with a full launch in spring 2018.She’s the mother to a brilliant young man, a community organizer, poet, connector and master collaborator! She also finds you to be beautiful.
Water Resources Specialist, Clean Wisconsin
Since 2008, Ezra has been an integral part of Clean Wisconsin’s water team, bringing his background in water policy and science to bear on the organization’s water-related work at the state level and in the Greater Milwaukee watersheds flowing into Lake Michigan in Southeastern Wisconsin. Before Clean Wisconsin, Ezra served as education specialist at Wisconsin Association of Lakes for more than four years.
For over fifteen years, he has served on the board of directors of the Friends of the Mukwonago River, a nonprofit watershed advocacy organization he co-founded in southeastern Wisconsin. For seven years, Ezra has served as an appointee on the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District Commission. Ezra studied economics and environmental studies at UW-Madison and returned to the UW for double master’s degrees in urban and regional planning and water resources management.
Executive Director, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin
Deborah Nemeth has worked in both the public and private sector. She was a small business owner for many years. After finishing her graduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she worked for Congressman Les Aspin and then went on to work in the Wisconsin state senate as a policy advisor. She was Director of Development and Communications for The Nature Conservancy – Wisconsin Chapter before a short retirement spent traveling. Deb was a founding board member of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin and has served on a variety of non-profit boards. She joined the staff of 1000 Friends after serving as a volunteer for a number of years. She was Director of Development and is now serving as Executive Director.
Board Member, Madison Area Transportation Planning Board (MPO)
Mark joins the steering committee as the representative of the Madison Area Transportation Planning Board. Born and raised in Minnesota, Mark has lived and worked in the Madison metropolitan area since 1991. He graduated from Macalester College with a B.A. in Geography and earned an M.S. in urban and regional planning from University of Wisconsin—Madison. Mark worked for state government as a transportation planning and program analyst before joining the City of Middleton as a city planner in 1999. His responsibilities include assisting decision-makers with long-range planning, evaluation of proposed developments from a design perspective, and administration of the zoning, subdivision, sign and lighting ordinances. Mark particularly enjoys working to enhance transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities through context-sensitive design of the built environment, and he staffs the Middleton Airport Commission.
Between 1998 and 2010, Mark served as an elected member of the Dane County Board of Supervisors. Since leaving office, he has represented small cities and villages on the MATPB, and he recently joined the board of the Wisconsin chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism. He is also a member of the Tobacco Free Columbia-Dane County Coalition, Middleton Endowment Board (a Madison Community Foundation partner), and the Good Neighbor Festival Board of Trustees.
Owner, Highland Spring Farm
Kevin Oppermann owns Highland Spring Farm located in the Town of Dunn. Established in 2012, the farm focuses on raising pastured chicken, eggs, pork and their signature Scottish Highland beef. Despite growing up as a city kid in Brookfield, WI, Kevin’s foray into farming began by helping his grandparents on their farm in Fitchburg. As a way to earn money for college after high school graduation, Kevin took over his grandparent’s sweet corn business, selling sweet corn directly at the farm as well as at the Fitchburg Farmers’ Market (a market founded by his grandfather).
Kevin learned invaluable lessons about agriculture from his grandparents and his passion for farming grew; he even wrote his senior capstone project at Luther College centered on saving the family farm by diversifying and selling directly to consumers.After graduating from Luther College in 2006, Kevin returned to the Madison area and spent seven years in the healthcare IT industry working at Epic. It was during this time that Kevin realized his true vocation: agriculture. In 2012 he and his wife Keely purchased the land in the Town of Dunn that became Highland Spring Farm; Kevin has been farming this land full time since 2013. Highland Spring Farm currently supplies pasture-raised meat directly to consumers at several farmers markets across Dane County, and also has partnerships with several Madison area restaurants and corporate kitchens. Kevin is also a member of the Town of Dunn Parks Commission, Westside Community Farmers’ Market Board and serves on the Congregational Council of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Oregon. Kevin’s dichotomy of careers in local food supply and healthcare IT give him a unique perspective on the future needs of the greater Madison area.
Director, UW-Madison Office of Community Relations
Leslie is the Director of Community Relations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She serves on behalf of the Chancellor as point-of-contact for city and county relations, oversees the UW South Madison Partnership, and facilitates meaningful relationships between campus and community across the areas of research, outreach, and service.
Chair, Capital Area Regional Planning Commission
Larry Palm is a City of Madison for District 12 on Madison’s Northside. He has long-term interest in the improving the community, serving on the Madison Public Library Board for nineteen years, as an Alder for eleven years, and as a commissioner for the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission since its formation in 2007.
Larry has also been the Chair of his neighborhood association, co-founded what is now GSAFE, a Vice President of his union, the treasurer of Friends of Starkweather Creek and biked 300 miles to raise funds for AIDS Network.
President, African American Council of Churches
Director of Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change
Keith is the Director of Dane County’s Office of Energy and Climate Change. Prior to coming to Dane County, Keith was the Senior Policy Director at Clean Wisconsin where he worked for 32 years leading clean energy campaigns at the state and regional levels.
He has served on numerous energy and climate -related task forces and advisory committees. He was a member of Governor Doyle’s Task Force on Global Warming where he served on the full Task Force and co-chaired the cap and trade working group. Keith also was a member of the Midwestern Governor’s Association Greenhouse Gas Accord advisory committee and served on the group’s modeling working group for two years where he helped advise on IPM and macro-economic modeling. Keith has a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife ecology and a Masters of Science degree in environmental communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
President, Columbia County Economic Development Corporation
Owner and CEO, Ruedebusch Development & Construction Inc.
Board Member, Village of Waunakee, and Senior Project Manager, The Mullins Group
A Madison native and commercial broker and developer since 1982, much of Susan’s career has focused on downtown Madison. Her passion for the downtown was ignited when she was hired as Executive Director of the Central Madison Council (CMC) now named Downtown Madison Inc (DMI). It was during her tenure at CMC that the State Street Mall/Capital Concourse was first constructed. Later, as an Assistant to Mayor Joel Skornicka, she played a role in the opening of the Civic Centre, development of the Capital Centre, approval of the first TIF assisted housing development downtown and numerous other urban initiatives.
She went on to the private sector, becoming Vice President of Development and Commercial Leasing for the Munz Corporation, where she helped the company secure approval and construct the Department of Administration Building. It was at the Munz Corporation that she and Richard Munz led the effort to reorganize the Central Madison Council into what is now called Downtown Madison Inc. Susan left the Munz Corporation to start her own consulting company, Springman Real Estate LLC, and was hired by the Mullins Group to help them gain city approval, construct and lease the 22 East Mifflin Building. She was then appointed Division Administrator for the State of Wisconsin Department of Administration’s Buildings and Police Services overseeing the management and leasing of all state owned and privately owned real estate and leases. Later, as President of Executive Management Inc., she worked with its owner to develop the 1.1 million square foot mixed use University Square. Susan is currently the Senior Project Manager for the Mullins Group where she is involved in leasing, management and project work on their downtown real estate holdings. She also is their community liaison with the Business Improvement District (BID), DMI and the Greater Madison Visitor and Convention Bureau. Susan spends a considerable amount of time involved in public policy issues that impact development and real estate in Madison in addition to serving as a Trustee on the Board of the Village of Waunakee.
President, Stark Company Realtors
David Stark is the president of Stark Company Realtors, for whom he has worked since 1978. He has held several offices in national, statewide, and local real estate organizations and associations, including the Wisconsin Realtors Association, the Greater Madison Board of Realtors, and the National Association of Realtors. David was elected to In Business Magazine’s Executive Hall of Fame in 2008.
Alongside his years of work in the real estate industry, David has been very involved with the United Way of Dane County, serving on many committees and campaigns and as chairman of the board from 2001 to 2003, and with the Madison Community Foundation, where he currently serves on the board of directors. A graduate of Memorial High School and the UW-Madison, David lives in Middleton with his wife, Marcie, and has three children.
President of the Village Board, Village of Oregon
Executive Director of Accountability, Madison Metropolitan School District
For nearly five years, Andrew Statz has been the Executive Director of MMSD’s Department of Research, Accountability & Data Use. This department includes the district’s enrollment and research offices and GIS functions, which in combination are responsible for issuing annual official enrollment counts, five-year enrollment projections, and official building capacity rates. These offices also support the district’s development of its long-range facilities plan.
All of these efforts will benefit from MMSD’s participation in CARPC’s visioning process. Andrew’s involvement in local and regional planning includes over five years of serving in City of Madison government in the office of Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and over seven years with the state Department of Administration handling local budget and policy issues. He also holds a master’s degree in urban planning from UW-Milwaukee.
Board Member (serving as President), Urban League of Greater Madison
Nia Trammell is an Administrative Law Judge for the State of Wisconsin in the Worker’s Compensation Division.
She formerly worked as an associate attorney in the commercial litigation section of Michael, Best & Friedrich LLP, handling cases in a variety of legal disciplines. Nia is the current Board Chair of the Board of Directors of the Urban League of Greater Madison. She co-founded the Urban League of Greater Madison Young Professionals and served as its President from 2012 to 2015. She is a recent appointee to the City of Madison Police and Fire Commission.
Executive Director, Clean Lakes Alliance
Board Chair, Town of Sun Prairie, and Member, Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission
Troy Vosseller is the Co-Founder of gener8tor, a “Top 15” ranked startup accelerator. To date, gener8tor has invested in 38 high-growth startups that have cumulatively raised $50M in follow-on venture capital. He is a three-time graduate of the University of Wisconsin, having earned his bachelor’s degree, law degree and master’s of business administration in entrepreneurial management at the UW’s Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship.
Prior to gener8tor, Vosseller practiced law as a supervising attorney at the UW Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic. As an undergraduate, he founded the apparel company Sconnie Nation, a line of clothing that focuses on celebrating the Wisconsin lifestyle.
Economic Development Manager, Alliant Energy
As an Economic Development Manager for Alliant Energy, Donna implements and assists in the development of comprehensive strategies to effectively promote regional and community economic development activities including but not limited to the attraction, expansion and retention of business and industry and community development.
Donna has more than 18 years of experience in the energy field, including strategic planning, creation and implementation of annual budgets, customer service, labor relations, human resources, contract negotiations and management, and regulatory compliance at the federal, state and local levels.Prior to joining Alliant Energy, Donna managed the overall operations, strategic planning, design, administration and delivery of energy efficiency programs for utilities in six states and other territories. For 10 years, she worked for Xcel Energy as the primary contact for builders and developers in new business, residential and commercial sales in Wisconsin and Michigan.Active in numerous organizations such as the Beloit Chamber of Commerce Executive Board, Blackhawk Technical College Foundation Board and United Way of Rock County, Donna holds an M.B.A. and B.A. from Lakeland College.
CEO, Filament Games
Dan White is a founding partner and CEO at Filament Games, a learning game development studio in downtown Madison with 60 employees and over 80 titles to its credit.
White earned an MS in Educational Communications and Technology from the UW-Madison and a BS in Communication Technologies from Cornell University. White serves on the advisory board for Games for Change and is a founding member of the GLS (Games Learning Society) organization at UW-Madison. He has presented on the business and design of learning games at numerous conferences, including Games for Change, SXSWedu, Games Learning Society, EdNet, the Serious Games Summit, the European Conference on Games Based Learning and the SIIA Ed Tech Industry Summit.
Attorney, WhiteFish Partners
William F. White is a partner in WhiteFish Partners, LLC, a problem-solving entity focused on development issues. Previously, he was a partner in the Madison office of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP. Mr. White has initiated and litigated land use and development issues on behalf of property owners, developers, municipalities, and businesses. He is special counsel on land use issues to towns, villages, cities, and counties and has participated extensively in the development of cooperative plans, boundary agreements, “smart growth” comprehensive master plans, and annexations and municipal incorporations. He is a frequent speaker on land use and development issues.
Town Attorney/Administrator/Clerk-Treasurer, Town of Westport
Tom Wilson has served as the Attorney/Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer for the Town of Westport in Dane County since 1999. Previously, he was a partner in the Wisconsin law firm Stafford Rosenbaum with a practice focus on local government and administrative law. He serves on several local and regional government boards, commissions and committees, including the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District and Dane County Towns Association. He received both his BA in Political Science and his JD from the UW-Madison.
Chairman, Madison Gas & Electric
Gary Wolter serves as Chairman of Madison Gas and Electric Company (MGE) and MGE Energy Inc. Wolter joined MGE more than 30 years ago, originally as an attorney, and later served in various positions before becoming MGE’s CEO in 2000.
Wolter graduated maxima cum laude from Loras College in Dubuque, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics. Upon graduation, he began his career in the utility industry.
A few years later he returned to school to earn his law degree from the University of Iowa, earning a place in the Order of the Coif Honor Society. Wolter practiced law with a private firm in Dubuque before making his way to Madison and MGE in 1984.
Beyond his professional accomplishments, Wolter’s commitment to community service is extensive as he serves, or has served, on numerous boards throughout the years, including Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, Madison Community Foundation, MadREP (formerly Thrive), University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, United Way of Dane County, and University of Wisconsin Research Park.
Wolter also serves on various industry boards including American Transmission Company and the Edison Electric Institute, and he is a former board member and chair of the Wisconsin Utilities Association. He also serves on the board of National Guardian Life.
His professional leadership and personal support for improving the greater community have garnered him awards and honors from In Business Magazine, Madison Magazine, the Madison Chapter of Sales and Marketing Executives and the South Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board. He and his wife Mari are the 2014 United Way Tocqueville award honorees.
Executive Director, Wisconsin Hmong Association
Dr. Yang is the Executive Director for the Wisconsin Hmong Association, Inc. Dr. Yang has over 23 years of professional experiences in non-profit organizations, state agencies, K-12 and higher education settings. He has a strong background in philanthropic work, civic engagement, and community advocacy.
He has been serving as Vice-president for Southern Wisconsin Hmong Association, serving as Executive Committee Member for the President at Madison College, facilitating the Hmong Parent Empowerment Group (PEG) for Madison School District, Co-Chair of the Madison Community of Color with Madison College, and initiated the Hmong Education Council and Hmong Health Council for Hmong and non-professionals who are interested in advancing the Hmong community.
Vice-Chair, Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County
Alex is an AVP Business Development Officer for Associated Bank at its Londonderry Drive, Madison, location. Alex’s family is from South Texas, also known as “The Valley.” At the age of nine he and his family came to Wisconsin as migrant workers who primarily worked in the Hancock area. His family settled in Nekoosa, Wisconsin, after his father took a year-round, full-time job. Upon graduating from Nekoosa High School Alex continued his education at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, ultimately obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Culture Studies. Alex lives in Columbus, Wisconsin, with his wife and three daughters.