Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College

1900 College Drive - Rice Lake


Welcome - Introductions

  • Errin Welty - President - Wisconsin Rural Partners

  • Jeff French - Administrator - Barron County

Keynote Speaker - Dr. David Ivan

  • "Can Small Towns Be Cool?" 

Dr. David Ivan is nationally recognized for his research on successful community change.


A frequent invited speaker on community success at state/provincial, multi-state and national community and rural development conferences in the United States and Canada, Ivan has conducted previous research on community vitality, including a 2011 study entitled “Community Success in the New Economy” and a 2012 study examining community change.


His research has been recognized by the Community Development Society as its national research award winner. Ivan received a B.S. degree from Michigan State, an MBA from Penn State, and his PhD from Michigan State with a focus on community sustainability and vitality.

WRP Hot Topic Reports

  • Housing
Dave Armstrong
Executive Director
Barron County Economic Development Corporation
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  • Agriculture
Brian Winnekins
Past President - National Association of Farm Broadcasters - Owner - WRDN Radio - Durand, WI
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Brian is the Past President of the NAFB and owns his own radio station in Durand, WI.  He is a leader in farm broadcasting not only in Wisconsin but across the country.  Brian has spoke and broadcast at many national agricultural conventions on many Ag-related topics.

  • Healthcare

Pamela L. Guthman, DNP, RN-BC

Clinical Assistant | Professor Community/Public/Population Health UW-Eau Claire

Dr. Pamela Guthman is a clinical assistant professor at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, College of Nursing and Health Sciences during the academic year and continues to teach the Rural Immersion Nursing Program in the summer for University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Nursing in rural, northwestern Wisconsin. She has spent much of her career practicing rural community and public health nursing with a focus on the determinants of health, health equity, poverty, and population health. Her previous work settings have included rural public health, primary care, long term care, educational programming, and home visitation.


Dr. Guthman also has previous administrative experience with a rural community action agency providing programming aimed at the social determinants of health ranging from domestic violence prevention, youth and mental health prevention initiatives, food pantries, transportation, early childhood education, housing, business development, home health and personal care services. She serves on the Wisconsin Center for Nursing’s Board as Secretary, is a Board of Director for Forward Community Investment, Inc., serves on the Advisory Committee on Healthy Aging in Rural Towns, and is active on other boards to support innovative collaborative initiatives aimed at prevention. She holds AACN board certification in home health nursing and was the 2016 recipient of the Wisconsin Community Action Program Association President’s Award and the Wisconsin Nurses Association Community Service Award.


Dr. Guthman was awarded the Dr. Brenda Pfaehler Award in 2017 through UW-Madison's Center for Educational Opportunity. In May 2017, she additionally received the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Award for care, skills, and compassion. In August 2018, she received the Rita Kisting Sparks Faculty Service Award for exemplary service and leadership on behalf of the Profession of Nursing through the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

  • Infrastructure

Colter J. Sikora, GISP

Broadband Mapping Coordinator

Public Service Commission

WI Broadband Office

Colter makes Wisconsin’s broadband mapping data and tools as current as possible. He works with providers, other government agencies, stakeholders, and PSC colleagues to develop improved internet mapping resources.


Part of the PSC since 2013, he has supported the Broadband Expansion Grant Program from its beginning. When he’s not mapping the internet, you can find Colter travelling all over Wisconsin, especially within his native Chippewa Valley!

Top Rural Development Initiatives Awards

Congratulations to our 2 outstanding Award Winners:

  • VERNON TRAILS - Vernon County

  • SOIL SISTERS - LaFayette County

  • Guest Speaker

Brad Pfaff


Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection

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Brad Pfaff was selected as the secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) by Governor Tony Evers. Pfaff has spent most of his career working on behalf of Wisconsin farmers and rural residents at the local, state and federal level.

Pfaff grew up on his family’s dairy farm in La Crosse County. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and his master’s degree from George Mason University.

Prior to his appointment, Pfaff was the deputy chief of staff to U.S. Representative Ron Kind. He has also served as the Wisconsin State Executive Director and the National Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency, overseeing the implementation of federal crop assistance programs, the Conservation Reserve Program, and federal farm loan programs.

Previously, Pfaff was a staff member for U.S. Senator Herb Kohl and served on the La Crosse County Board. Pfaff and his family live in Onalaska.

Employer Workforce Panel

Three different approaches to recruitment/retention of workforce:  Rice Weighing System - in house training programs to build skills sets of the next generation of workforce. The Department of Corrections – programs available to employers recruiting and training workforce.  And the USDA – Cooperative model to recruit and retain Home Healthcare workers.

  • Bill Korrer - MODERATOR
    • Field Service Representative

Bill Korrer serves as a WCA Field Service Representative. His primary duties include working with WCA sponsored International Trade, Business, and Economic Development Councils (ITBEC). The ITBECs are a consortium of counties collaborating to strengthen their economic base through regional tourism and economic development related projects.

While he joined the WCA team in 1999, Bill has been involved with county government since 1988; serving for 14 years on the Oneida County Board of Supervisors, including eight years as County Board Chairman.  He also served 11 years on the Minocqua Town Board, including four years as Town Board Chairman.

Prior to joining WCA, Bill worked in the hospitality industry for 24 years.

  • Lori Katcher
    • Rice Lake Weighing Systems
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Originally from Pipestone, MN, Lori attended College in Moorhead, MN/Fargo, ND area with majors in Business and Marketing.  Relocating to Wisconsin in 1991 Lori was the Assistant Store Manager& HR Manager for Herberger’s Department Store in Rice Lake. 


In 2006, Lori started her career with Rice Lake Weighing Systems.  Continuous improvement and learning are important to Lori and to RLWS.  To help with the rapid growth RLWS has experienced over the past decade, and be a strategic and change management partner, Lori has continued her education to remain current on laws, leadership and employee engagement.  She also received her certifications for both HRCI Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and SHRM Senior Certified Professions (SHRM-SCP).   


Lori acts as Business Liaison for Project SEARCH at RLWS, a transition program for youth and adults with disabilities. Has written a Fast Forward Training Grant and has been an active partner in developing and maintaining the welding, machine tool, CNC set up training programs at Rice Lake Weighing Systems.  This program has been successful in training new and incumbent employees with key skills and bridged skills gaps.  Lori serves on both WITC and CVTC Weld Advisory Committees, Is a Member of the Youth Apprentice Steering Committee through CESA 11, works with the Indianhead Region Pathways Wisconsin Project and serves as a member of Rice Lake High School’s CTE Committee.  She works with area schools to coordinate manufacturing tours, offers career job shadows experiences and coordinates internship opportunities for high school and college level students.  Sharing knowledge, training and development and helping others find and be successful in their career paths is her passion.

  • Margaret Bau
    • Home Healthcare Cooperative
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Margaret has been a Cooperative Development Specialist with USDA Rural Development since 1998.  She has assisted in the formation of over 30 cooperatives across her home state of Wisconsin in sectors as diverse as long term care, distributing local foods into regional institutions, arts marketing and galleries, conventional groceries, housing, disability support services, and converting existing businesses into employee ownership.


Margaret organized Cooperative Care, the country’s first rural home care workers co-op.  Harvard University named Cooperative Care a finalist in the prestigious 2004 Innovations in American Government award.  She organized a second worker co-op called the Circle of Care Cooperative.  It was a dismal failure following management embezzlement and poor board leadership.  These factors have led Margaret and other co-op development leaders to explore systemic supports needed to foster worker co-op success in home care and other low wage industries. 


Margaret developed an interest in cooperatives while organizing a rural women’s income generating project as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica. Margaret earned a masters degree in economic & community development from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and a bachelors degree in psychology from Carroll College in Wisconsin. 

  • Ray Woodruff
    • ​Employment Program Manager 

Ray Woodruff has nearly 15 years of corrections and reentry experience, and manages several local and statewide initiatives aimed at reducing recidivism and improving the employment outcomes of individuals who are returning to the community from incarceration. He has worked with various special populations, and provides technical assistance and training to counties, workforce agencies, and corrections professionals on offender management and program implementation.

Previously, Woodruff provided program interventions and services to incarcerated adults and juveniles in facilities in Wisconsin and Ohio. He received his MS in criminal justice and forensic psychology from Tiffin University, and his BA in psychology from the University of Cincinnati.

Community Panel

Learn about rural communities projects:  Village of Granton – Childcare within the public school; Dodge County Blue Zone Project – building healthy communities; Generations – an Intergenerational Center that has both childcare and senior center.

  • Jon Hochkammer - MODERATOR
    • Outreach Manager
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Jon Hochkammer serves as the Outreach Manager for the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA), overseeing outreach and training efforts with all 72 counties and any other groups that interact with county government.  

He previously served as Legislative Director, as well as the Director of Insurance Operations for WCA.   Jon frequently speaks on behalf of WCA to groups and individuals interested in local government issues. 


He served as Manitowoc County Board Chairperson/Administrator Coordinator and on other county boards and commissions having been appointed by Dane County Executives Kathleen Falk and Joe Parisi.  He chaired the Dane County Area Agency on Aging Board and the Dane County Library Board, served on the Dane County Specialized Transportation Commission and the Dane County Human Services Board.  

From 1994-2002, Jon served as the Sergeant-at-Arms for the Wisconsin State Senate.  In 2017, Jon was appointed to the Leadership Wisconsin Board of Directors. 
Jon was elected to the Verona City Council in 1997.  He was elected Mayor of Verona in April 2006 and was re-elected for six consecutive terms.  Jon served as the President of the Dane County Cities and Villages Association from 2007 until April 2018.  Prior to joining the WCA, Jon owned and operated a large dairy and beef operation in Manitowoc County.

  • Joye Eichten - Village of Granton
    • Childcare in Public School

Joye is the Clerk and Treasurer for the Village of Granton and the Clerk for the Township of Lynn in Clark County, WI.  Although not a native to Wisconsin she has been proud to call it home for the past 25 years.  Joye  grew up just south of Minneapolis and graduated from McConnell School of Business,  She married her husband of 34 years and moved to Wisconsin just before her first child started school.  All 4 of her children graduated from Granton High School where the graduating class averages 15 graduates and  Joye is a very strong supporter of small town USA.   

  • Leslie Covell Hershberger
    • Community Program Manager
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Leslie Covell Hershberger is part of Blue Zones Project Dodge County team and serves as the Community Program Manager. Leslie has over 30 years of nonprofit management experience including volunteer recruiting and management, fundraising, project development and marketing. As a leader, she is mission driven and brings an ability to inspire and motivate. Her management style is to steer individuals to develop expertise and work where they have natural enthusiasm and ability.

Prior to joining the Blue Zone Project, Leslie was Executive Director of the Friends of Horicon Marsh Education & Visitor Center. She also owns and operates Responsive Business Solutions, LLC which is a marketing and consulting company in Mayville.

Leslie demonstrates a passion for giving back to her community. She is involved as a volunteer in her community and sits on the board of directors for the Mayville Chamber of Commerce, Mayville Rotary Club and the Community Development Authority for the City of Mayville. Her past area involvements include Discover Dodge Tourism board of the directors, Audubon Days Festival Committee and Main Street Mayville’s economic development committee.

Leslie moved to Wisconsin in 2009. Her past accomplishments include: co-founding PAL (Preparation for Adult Living) Mission in Canton, OH which is a home for children being emancipated from foster care, co-founding Creating Perry Recreation (CPR) in the Perry School District in Massillon, OH where over $8m was raised for new and refurbished sports facilities, and serving on the founding board for Dragonfly Academy, a school for autistic children. She has served on numerous boards, served on 13 mission trips, and has been involved in her community wherever she has lived.

  • Marsha Vollbrecht 
    • Founder & VP of Generations Board
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Marsha has worked in the field of Geriatrics and Gerontology in health care, serving older adults for over 40 years.  She is a Geriatric Social Worker and has been a licensed long-term care administrator in Wisconsin.  She worked as Social Worker and Social Work Director in both acute and long-term care in a rural community for 25 years for Aurora Health Care.  She was the Nursing Home Administrator there for 7 years before moving into a system position.  For the last 15 years, she served as Aurora’s Senior Service Director at the System level, with offices in Milwaukee and Plymouth.  She retired from that position last June. 


Marsha has always had a passion for serving older adults and the community.  She has served on the Plymouth City Committee on Aging, Sheboygan County Aging committees, the WiHA (Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging) Board and other various Boards and committees.  She has also been instrumental in starting new programs – both within Aurora Health Care and in the Community. 


She is the Founder of the Generations Facility in Plymouth (An Intergenerational Community Center) and is currently Vice President of the Board.  Marsha was also a founding member of low-income Senior Housing in Plymouth, and a Day Center for those with early memory loss in Sheboygan Falls.  Again, both serving small communities and rural areas.

Dr. David Ivan

  • "Regionalism"

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© 2020 Wisconsin Rural Partners, Inc   


Steve Peterson - WRP Manager | 608-769-9910 | steve@wiruralpartners.org

204 Waffle Street | Kendall, WI 54638

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