Gov. Walker introduces new WEDC CEO in Eau Claire - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Gov. Walker introduces new WEDC CEO in Eau Claire; talks job creation


Eau Claire (WQOW) - The governor makes a stop in the Chippewa Valley to talk job creation, and announce a new leader at the helm of a state agency.

Governor Walker recently selected the interim director of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to lead the agency permanently.

The governor stopped in Eau Claire along with the new head of the WEDC. The two spoke about what's next for the corporation, and about job creation right here in the Chippewa Valley.

"I turned to him initially to help us bring some credibility back to the administration and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation," says Governor Scott Walker.

That credibility was damaged when the two-year-old agency failed to keep track of tens of million dollars in loans to businesses. An independent audit blamed high turnover, a lack of basic accounting controls, and poor record keeping. Fixing that computer system is one the first goals on the new CEO's agenda.

"Our computer system is terribly outdated, and that's one of the reasons the WEDC did not track the loans as they needed to. It's just not an efficient, workable system," says Hall.

He also says collaborating with local governments needs to be a priority for the corporation.

"Partnerships will be a key to our growth as we move forward," Hall says.

"It's great that we work on things regionally because as we attract new businesses and new people to the area, we all benefit from it," says Russell Van Gompel, the Eau Claire City Manager.

The state and the economic development corporation are also hoping the creation of "Ready Set Build" sites: shovel-ready places where new businesses can build, will help drive job creation. The newest one? The Lake Wissota Business Park.

"If a company is looking to grow, looking to expand, it's one of those unique opportunities where they can come into the state, look at sites in Wisconsin, and say here's a site that's been certified, they've looked at it, they've looked at environmental issues, they've looked at regulatory issues, they've looked at support from the local community in terms of infrastructure and other supports," Governor Walker says.

Governor Walker says with Reed Hall WEDC remains on track to help the governor with his goal of creating 250,000 new jobs by 2016.

Part of that approach is to create a new way to track job growth. The pair say the method used now isn't always accurate.

The governor and Hall made stops across the state Wednesday and will be making more Thursday.

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