Business Alliance sets policy agenda 
Economic development, education, infrastructure remain at forefront 

BY DAVE FIDLIN - Special to The Freeman

Feb. 24, 2018

WAUKESHA - Economic development, education and infrastructure are issues that will remain front and center as 2018 unfolds within the Waukesha County Business Alliance.

Following a customary practice from prior years, alliance leaders recently drafted the organization’s 2018 policy agenda and set in motion plans of looking at how the business community can most effectively be engaged in the trio of overarching concepts.

This year’s policy agenda is encapsulated within a 12page document, but Suzanne Kelley, president and CEO of the WCBA, said the concepts within it will come to life as organization members gather and make recommendations.

“This serves as a guide for us,” Kelley said. “It’s continuously being looked at and reviewed throughout the year.”

With this year’s agenda plan in place, three committees — each comprised of 20 to 30 WCBA members — will meet routinely to review the trio of issues before bringing policy recommendations back to the organization’s full membership.

Each of the three committees will offer proposals this fall. The WCBA’s full membership will act on the policy recommendations in December, so this year’s agenda can set the stage for legislative advocacy efforts in early 2019.

YouTube video

WCBA has posted a video on YouTube, highlighting how the committee review process works. Brian Nemoir, an association member and owner of Delafield-based Full Impact Communications, heads a board overseeing the policy review process.

Speaking to issues surrounding economic development, education and infrastructure, Nemoir says in the video: “I think those are the three biggest issues impacting Waukesha County right now. It isn’t something that can rest — it has to be vibrant and active.”

As outlined in the policy document, members of the committee reviewing economic development will look at a range of issues, including advocacy for tax and regulatory measures that could help in promoting business expansion and retention.

Additionally, the committee will continue its comb-through of government relations between municipal leaders and county and state officials in the hope of offering recommendations that can improve communication between the layers.

On the education front, committee members will look at ways the WCBA can be most effective in youth apprenticeship and internship opportunities across Waukesha County.

The group also will continue exploring ways businesses can partner with school districts and higher education facilities so curriculum reflects real-world employment needs across different industries.

Addressing infrastructure

While the correlation might not be immediate at quick glance, the WCBA has been a frequent proponent of investing in infrastructure. Its interest has extended beyond the county’s borders in the past, as evidenced by advocacy for the Interstate 94 corridor in Milwaukee County.

In addition to continued reviews of how it can lobby around I-94, the alliance in 2018 will continue its discussion of the West Waukesha bypass and the city’s water needs.

Kelley said many of the specific issues within the three committees have bubbled to the surface in the past, but have remained consistent on the organization’s radar.

“You may solve them at some point,” Kelley said. “But over time, they morph and evolve and need to be looked at again.”