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Rural Successes - TRDI Winners & Updates

Wednesday, June 2nd

12:00pm - 2:00pm

Kelly Matthews - WI Early Childhood Association

Co-Director Wisconsin Early Education Shared Services Network (WEESSN)


Kelly has over 20 years’ experience in early care and education, specializing in family child care business practices and professional development. She brings compassionate, provider-focused leadership to this program.  

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Paula Drew - WI Early Childhood Association

Co-Director Wisconsin Early Education Shared Services Network (WEESSN)

Paula brings to this role a strong academic and experiential background in center-based care and education. For two decades Paula has worked in the early care and education sector in Wisconsin as both an educator and a program director and is commited to giving back to her community through her dedicated work.

Mariah Goode - Village of Baileys Harbor - Community Vitality

Mariah has been the Director of the Door County Land Use Services Department since 2006, and has worked in community, organizational, and land use planning in Door County since 1996.  Mariah’s housing-related work includes overhauling zoning ordinance regulations pertaining to housing, serving on the Door County Economic Development Corporation Attainable Housing Committee, serving as a board member of the relatively newly (re)established Door County Housing Partnership, serving as staff to the Door County group working with WHEDA on its rural affordable workforce housing pilot, and working with the UniverCity program currently studying affordable housing in Door County. 

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Nicki Peterson - Grantsburg Revitalization Operation

Nicki & Ben Peterson purchased the former Lion’s Club building in downtown Grantsburg in the fall of 2017. The building was originally a creamery and built in 1919. The reason for the purchase was to have an office space for Nicki’s marketing business, Spry Content. However, the location, being set across from Memory Lake, and the character and history of the building led them to consider doing more with it. Nicki formed an organization called the Grantsburg Revitalization Operation (GRO) in 2014 which has been discussing ways to bring more people to town to enjoy the amazing assets we have in Grantsburg.

Once they realized the building could actually be theirs, Ben and Nicki started talking about what type of business could bring people to town, give residents a different option for gathering and could succeed in a rural community with a large tourism base. A micro-brewery was the obvious answer. So it began…

70th Dist. State Representative Nancy Vander Meer

Nancy continues to work with fellow legislators from rural areas across the State on the Rural Wisconsin Initiative.  This is an ongoing effort, and we will be incorporating suggestions from people across the State.  The Initiative continues to focus on improving education, workforce development, technology and health care in our rural areas.

Prior to the creation of the Initiative, Nancy had focused on a wide range of legislation aimed at helping our rural schools and communities. 

75th Dist. State Representative Dave Armstrong

Prior to his recent election win, Dave had been working to grow the local economy as the Executive Director of the Barron County Economic Development Corporation. His work helped Barron County to be ranked 6th among the fastest-growing counties in Wisconsin in terms of business investment by


Dave led efforts to help individuals start businesses, introduced an economic gardening program to help existing businesses grow, championed additional workforce training programs and led the initiative to address the acute housing shortage in the area. These efforts benefit all residents, businesses and municipalities in the 75th.

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Marcy West - Office of Rural Prosperity Director

Marcy is from La Farge and is a veteran conservationist and manager of public land in Wisconsin.  In 2020 she was appointed to the Dept. of Natural Resources Board.  

From 1990-95 she was executive director of the Wisconsin Land Conservation Association, Inc., where she advocated for legislation related to conservation program policy and funding.


For the past 23 years, she has been executive director of the Kickapoo Reserve Management Board, the body that oversees management of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, a 8,600-acre public property in southwestern Wisconsin.

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Sandy Decker

Robert Borremans

Bonnie Peterson