About the Center

The Center for Community and Economic Development, University of Wisconsin Extension, creates, applies and transfers multidisciplinary knowledge to help people understand community change and identify opportunities.


The Center for Community and Economic Development is the CNRED outreach unit providing community and economic development information and assistance to individuals, local governments and community organizations.  The Center supports Cooperative Extension in all Wisconsin tribes and counties to support work with local businesses, communities and organizations.  Program areas include the Community Preparedness; Asset-based Sustainable Development; Geospatial Regional Economics; Community Demographic and Market Analysis; Business District Market Analysis; Tourism Business Development; Entrepreneurship Development; and Rural Urban Business Market Assessment.  Located in Madison, The UW-Extension Center is comprised of faculty and staff with affiliations at UW-Superior, UW-Madison and UW-Extension.

An EEO/AA employer, University of Wisconsin-Extension provides equal opportunites in employment and programming, including Title IX and ADA requirements.

History of the CCED:

Professor Ron Shaffer, CCED Director 1990-2000

ron_shaffer scaledThe UW-Extension Center for Community Economic Development, was established in July 1990. Ron Shaffer served as the founding director of the Center (Appointed by CNRED Program Leader Ayse Somersan) from its establishment date until he resigned in July, 2000. In 1980, Ron Shaffer and Glen Pulver jointly developed an educational model to help communities formally plan their economic futures – the Community Economic Analysis (CEA). CEA programs were conducted in 150 Wisconsin communities and Ron and Glen received the Extension award for their CEA in 1985 from the American Agricultural Economics Association. In 2001, Ron was the initial recipient of the Research Award from the Community Development Society International. In addition to being the first director of the CCED, Ron was appointed as director of the National Rural Economic Development Institute (an initiative under President George H. Bush) in 1990. With Ron’s careful leadership, 39 states formed State Rural Development Councils. The Institute trained and encouraged council leaders to identify actions that would improve the well being of rural residents, gain consensus on priorities, and achieve results through cooperation among federal/ state /local and tribal governments and the private sector. Ron was Institute director for eight years. In 2001, the National Rural Development Partnership established the Ron Shaffer Award given annually for outstanding collaboration in rural America. In addition, Ron was A founding member and long time Board Member of Wisconsin Rural Partners. Ron valiantly endured a long struggle with ALS and passed peacefully on March 4, 2005 at his home in Middleton, Wisconsin

Professor Al Anderson, CCED Director 2000-2005

al_anderson scaledAl Anderson was appointed by CNRED program leader Pat Walsh as the second director of the CCED in 2000 and served in that capacity until his retirement in 2005. Al Anderson joined Extension in 1976 and contributed innovative programming, research and teaching for 30 years. He had numerous innovative programs that were unique to the needs of Burnett, Juneau and Sauk Counties, the Kickapoo River Valley, Leadership Wisconsin, the Basin Educator Program and the Center for Community Economic Development. His programming in the areas of Natural Resources Management, Local Government Education, Organizational and Leadership Development and Community and Economic Development were well grounded in the grass roots needs of local citizens. Professor Emeritus Al Anderson is currently living in Baraboo, Wisconsin.


 Professor Gary Green & Distinguished Lecturer Chuck Law, Co-Directors 2005 – 2008

 gary_green_7_08 scaledchuck_law scaledGary Green and Chuck Law were appointed as Co-Directors of the Center by CNRED Program Leader Robin Shepard in 2005 and served until July, 2008. Gary Green still serves as a specialist for the CCED while Chuck Law serves as the Director of the Local Government Center.




Professor Greg Wise, Director 2008-Present

greg_wise_7_08 scaledGreg Wise was appointed as Director of the Center by Interim CNRED Program Leader Tom Blewett in 2008. He had previously served as a specialist in entrepreneurship and community economic development for the CCED.

Wise joined the center in 2004 after serving as the UW-Extension interim assistant vice chancellor for economic development for 15 months and as the secretary of the faculty and academic staff for five years. For 11 years previously, Wise was a community development educator in Manitowoc and Sauk counties. He joined UW-Extension as an instructor in 1989.




CCED Staff circa 1997


(left to right sitting): Dave Marcouiller, Harriet Moyer, Rachael Lohr, Bill Ryan, Bill Pinkovitz. (left to right standing): Sumathi, Sue Hamilton, Steve Deller, Marsha Cannon, Ron Shaffer, Susan Cabbit, Gerry Campbell.