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The Lincoln County Annual Summit is a platform for the leaders of Lincoln County to educate on and explore the status of our economy, available resources, provide updates about the exciting work everyone is doing, and introduce the new direction of

Lincoln County Economic Development Corporation.


We aim to educate and inspire area professionals, students, and residents while promoting economic development.

Stay Ahead of the Economy





Elsa Duranceau

Executive Director, Lincoln County Economic Development Corporation

Elsa is a Merrill native and a graduate of Merrill High School class of 2000. She is a dedicated nonprofit professional skilled in strategic planning and is passionate about collaborating with community leaders in identifying and developing solutions to complex social issues. Before accepting the position of Executive Director of the Lincoln County Economic Development Corporation, she served as the Worker Advancement Initiative (WAI) Grant Coordinator for the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board. During her work with WAI she identified solutions to the child care crisis that led her to launch the Child Care Coalition of Wisconsin, a non-profit that aims to reinforce Wisconsin’s workforce by increasing the types of revenue sources to child care providers. Elsa also served her country for eight years in the Air Force National Guard.


Meet Your Hosts


Callie Wulk

Director of Outreach, Lincoln County Economic Development Corporation

Born and raised in Central Wisconsin, Callie grew up in Wausau and relocated to Stevens Point to pursue a MBA in Applied Leadership and Decision Making. Callie's aspiration is to continue work that drives business excellence and nurtures thriving, connected communities within our region. Callie has experience in academia doing marketing, data analysis, graphic design, research, brand analysis, and community outreach.





Registration and Coffee


Welcome: Lincoln County Board 

Chairman, Don Friske


Keynote - Succession:

Wisconsin Counties Association 

CEO/President, Mark O'Connell



Executive Director, Elsa Duranceau


Networking Break


Panel Discussion: The Genesee Project
The Genesee Project panel discussion between Jeff Burns - President of Weinbrenner Shoes, Tim Zimmerman - President of Mitchell Metal Products, Bill Bialecki - previous Mayor of Merrill and previous Director of LCEDC, Dave Johnson - previous City of Merrill Administrator, and Brian Arndorfer of the Merrill Area Development Corporation will cover the details of the near decade long process and answer the question, What is Economic Development?


Merrill, 2024
Mayor Hass and City Administrator, Rod Akey



Tomahawk, 2024
Mayor Taskay


LUNCH: Smokehouse TX BBQ


Lincoln County, 2024

Administrative Coordinator, Renee Krueger


Panel Discussion: Marketing and Tourism

The Marketing and Tourism Panel discussion features Sherry Hulett - Executive Director, Tomahawk Chamber of Commerce, Renee Krueger - Administrative Coordinator, Lincoln County, Scott Steele - Member, Merrill Marketing and Communications Committee, and Clyde Nelson - Executive Director, Merrill Area Chamber of Commerce. We will discuss re-branding and the joint efforts in Marketing and Tourism campaigns.


Broadband Expansion:
Andrew Faust, NCWRPC
Ken Wickham, Lincoln County Broadband Commission President


Innovations in Training:
President, Northcentral Technical College, Dr. Jeannie Worden


Thank You & What's to Come:
Elsa Duranceau, LCEDC





Registration and Coffee



Small Business Development Center - UWSP
Director, Patrick Gatterman


Welcome: Elsa Duranceau, LCEDC


Central WI Economic Development Fund & Redevelopment Resources:
CEcD, EDFP, Kristen Fish-Peterson


Talent Attraction and Retention
Centergy - CEO/President, Angel Laidlaw


Box Lunch: 1st Street Station


Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation -
Regional Director, Melinda Osterberg


Merrill Area United Way -
Executive Director, Dee Olsen &
Board President, Stacy Stevens


Melinda Osterberg & Elsa Duranceau


Closing Remarks & What's to Come:
Elsa Duranceau, LCEDC


Panel Discussion: Child Care
Lincoln County Dream Up! Committee

Dream Up! Committee members: Renee Krueger - Lincoln County Administrative Coordinator, Micki Krueger - Childcaring, Assistant Director, and Sarah Sturm - Merrill Area Chamber Marketing Director will explain the child care issue in Lincoln County and the state, highlight their efforts to address the issue, and explore how everyone can be part of the collective solution.


Career Fair Setup




Boys & Girls Club of Merrill:
CEO, Kim Larsen

Networking Break



North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board:
Workforce Services Director,
Brian Kalish


Grow North Economic Development Corporation
Interim Executive Director, Thomas Wartman

Meet the Speakers

2024 Keynote -
Mark O'Connell 

President / CEO,

Wisconsin Counties Association


Mark D. O’Connell President and CEO Wisconsin Counties Association Mr. O’Connell has served county government since 1989 and is presently President and Chief Executive Officer of the Wisconsin Counties Association. Prior to the counties association, Mr. O’Connell served the State of Wisconsin in the Department of Administration State Budget Office, Department of Natural Resources, and Legislative Audit Bureau. Mr. O’Connell has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse and a Master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. Mr. O’Connell is President of WCA Services, Inc., an executive officer of the Wisconsin Education Business Roundtable, and Vice President of Competitive Wisconsin Inc. Mr. O’Connell serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Counties Edge Corporation in Washington DC, is Chairman of the Board of Discover MediaWorks, a technology production company and National Cooperative Rx, a pharmacy benefits company. He is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of Angel On My Shoulder, a charity focusing on children with cancer challenges. Mr. O'Connell was one of the co-founders of the Wisconsin Way effort as well as Wisconsin’s aggressive and innovative “Be Bold” public policy strategy. Mr. O’Connell coached youth baseball and basketball for many years, is a master sheepshead player, a pretty good cook, and the regular guest host of the radio show Business Solutions on WISN in Milwaukee.

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Dr. Jeannie Worden

President Northcentral Technical College

Dr. Jeannie Worden was appointed President of Northcentral Technical College (NTC) in April 2021. Dr. Worden started her career at NTC in 1995 as a Human Resources Specialist. She advanced in her career to leadership roles such as Director of HR, Vice President, and Executive Vice President of Student Services.

In addition to leadership positions within the College, Dr. Worden also serves the Wausau community as a Board member for the Entrepreneurial and Education Center, Central Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance Board, Wisconsin United Coalition of Mutual Assistance Association, and Aspirus Board of Directors. In addition, she is a member of the Greater Wausau Prosperity Partnership.

Dr. Worden holds a Bachelors of Business Administration Degree with an emphasis in Personnel Management from the University of Wisconsin Madison; a Masters of Business Administration Degree with an emphasis in Human Resources from Upper Iowa University and a Doctorate of Education Degree from Edgewood College.

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Angel Laidlaw

President / CEO, Centergy

Angel Laidlaw currently serves as the President and CEO for Centergy, a Regional Economic Development Organization in Central Wisconsin with experience in marketing, economic development, and strategic planning. Angel is a graduate of Mid-State Technical College with an associate degree in digital marketing with several certifications in Economic Development. Before Centergy, Angel led the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, and she served as the Marketing and Communications Director at the Portage County Business Council. Angel was recently awarded the Wisconsin Economic Development Association’s Young Professional Award. She has also been involved in several community and economic development organizations, including Ignite Young Professionals, the Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce’s Executives, Exclamation Board of Directors, and the Secretary for Opportunity Development’s Executive Board.

Melinda Osterberg

Regional Economic Development Director, WEDC

Melinda Osterberg is a Regional Economic Development Director with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). At WEDC, she assists communities and businesses in North Central Wisconsin to access state and federal resources and to increase capacity for community and economic development. With more than 19 years experience in this field, Melinda has assisted Wisconsin communities with planning and economic development activities, including management of broadband, school facility, and comprehensive planning projects. 

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Patrick Gatterman

Director, Small Business Development Center

at UW Stevens Point

Patrick Gatterman is the Director of the Small Business Development Center at the University of Stevens Point. Providing free business consulting services covering 9 rural Wisconsin Counties. The Small Business Development Center consults with over 300 business owners annually in addition to providing custom business programming for both start-up and growing businesses.


Patrick has grown his professional career working both in the engineering and utilities field before opening his own successful outdoor adventure business in 2015 highlighting his love of entrepreneurialism.

Thomas Wartman

Interim Director, Grow North Regional Economic Development

Tommy Wartman is currently the Interim Director at Grow North Regional Economic Development; in addition to this, he currently administers the Small Business Administration’s Community Navigator Pilot Program Federal Grant which is an effort to connect small businesses with resources of all kinds. Tommy has a degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, as well as a Degree in Business Management from the Leeds School of Business in Colorado. Tommy’s professional background features companies of all sizes, but he has spent the majority of his time at smaller firms and entrepreneurial ventures. Most recently, he has been involved with an effort in the Northwoods called The GRID which stands for Guiding Rural Innovation and Development, and is committed to finding ways to engage with entrepreneurs and small businesses in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.


Kristen Fish - Peterson

CEcD, EDFP, Central Wisconsin Economic Development Fund, Inc

Kristen Fish-Peterson has over 30 years of experience in redevelopment, market analysis, planning, implementation, grant writing, brokerage, business development, media, manufacturing, and marketing. In 2009, she and two colleagues started Redevelopment Resources, a community impact consulting firm which operates throughout the U.S.


Kristen has her bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of North Dakota and her MBA from UW Oshkosh. She is a licensed Realtor in the state of Wisconsin, and a Certified Economic Developer through the International Economic Development Council

Dee Olsen

Director, Merrill Area 

Dee Olsen is the Executive Director of the Merrill Area United Way, joining the organization in May of 2011.

Prior to that she held leadership positions at three Chambers of Commerce spanning 39 years in that organizational venue.


She has serviced the cities of Madison, Merrill, and Sheboygan County. She served as President of the Wisconsin

Chamber of Commerce Executives Association on three separate terms and, as a pioneer, was the third female to hold that post.

Olsen’s accolades are numerous.

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Stacy Stevens

President, Merrill United Way

Stacy Stevens is a native of Wisconsin and has lived in Merrill since 1999. A retired nurse and library director, she is active in the Merrill Area United Way and currently presides as President. Stacy is the treasurer for the Merrill Noon Optimists and has been a member since 2010.

In conjunction with Merrill Forward Together Healthy Community Initiative and the Merrill Noon Optimists, she chairs the Post Prom Bowling event and is co-chair for Make a Difference Day. Stacy received her bachelor's degree in nursing at UW-Oshkosh and her master’s in library science at Texas Woman’s University

Andy Faust

GISP, Senior GIS Analyst

Andy holds a bachelor’s degree in urban Regional Studies from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and brings over three decades of experience in GIS and planning. Throughout his career, he has collaborated with various forms of local government, offering support across a diverse array of projects.

In 1995, Andy became a valuable member of the North Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (NCWRPC), where he played a key role in establishing and overseeing the NCWRPC's GIS program. Recognized for his expertise, Andy earned his Certified GIS Professional (GISP) designation in 2004.

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The Venue

The Bierman Building / Expo Center

303 N Sales Street

Merrill, WI 54452

2024 Summit
Career Fair &
Volunteer Expo

Join us for our Inaugural Summit Career Fair &

Volunteer Expo on March 15, 2024!

Held as part of the First Annual Lincoln County Summit, this event is designed to bring our community together to learn about the wonderful opportunities throughout Lincoln County. 

We would love to have you there!


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Setup begins at 2:30PM

Doors open at 3:00PM

Fair ends at 4:30PM

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