EDA University Center



What is the EDA – University Center?

As a U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center, the University of Wisconsin-Extension Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED) receives Federal financial support for research in specific topic areas of community and economic development in Wisconsin.

The Economic Development Administration competitive selection process resulted in funding of $750,000 over five years for work and activities focusing on specific aspects of the state’s community and economic development.  The grant funds are distributed based on matching efforts in the CCED—every dollar from the EDA must be matched by University of Wisconsin-Extension spending on effort and activities for the University Center.


Who is Part of the EDA – University Center?

EDA-UC 2017 Advisory Board

  • Todd Johnson – UW-Extension Community Development Specialist, UW-River Falls
  • William Martin – Director of Business and Community Engagement, WHEDA
  • Paul Jadin – President, MadREP
  • Eric Biltonen – UW-Extension Community Development Educator, UW-Extension, St Croix County
  • Paul Dietmann – Emerging markets Specialist, Badgerland Financial
  • Jessica Beckendorf – UW-Extension Community Development Educator, UW-Extension, Waupaca County
  • Eugene Shawano – Tribal Administrator, Forest County Potawatomi
  • Lee C Swindall – Vice president Sector Strategy Development, WEDC
  • Mark Lange – Executive Director of Business and Entrepreneurship, UW-Extension
  • Pam Christenson – Economic Development Director, Madison Gas and Electric Co
  • Karl Martin – Dean and Director, UW-Extension
  • Christian Tscheschlok – Executive Director, Economic Development Washington County

University of Wisconsin-Extension EDA-UC Research Team

  • Tessa Conroy, Ph.D. – Instructor and Community Development Specialist
    • Conducts research on community economic growth and development focuses on topics such as small business dynamics, women entrepreneurs, job creation, and labor market trends.
    • Current projects include studies of social capital and information/network effects on business start-up and performance, the economic impacts of entrepreneurship, and the role of childcare in women’s labor market choices.
  • Steve Deller, Ph.D. – Professor and Community Development Specialist
    • Conducts research on community and regional economic development and growth with a focus on better understanding the changing regional economy and policies that can influence those changes including entrepreneurship and small business development and the impact of government fiscal policies.
    • Current projects include studying the interplay between social capital and entrepreneurial communities and the impact of alternative notions of business climate on economic growth and development.
  • Matt Kures – Community Development Specialist
    • Conducts research on areas of socio-economic impact analysis, regional economic analysis, central city revitalization, and industry sector competitiveness.
    • Current projects include work on the inter-state migration of college graduates, entrepreneurial ecosystems, and industrial cluster policy.
  • Kristin Runge, Ph.D. – Community Development Specialist
    • Conducts public opinion research on mass media and controversial issues, public opinion related to emerging technologies and designs communication strategy for small business, municipalities and economic development organizations.
    • Current projects include the use of community branding as a strategy for economic development, and the use of social media to advance partisan viewpoints for issues such as genetically modified foods, synthetic biology and lean finely textured beef/“pink slime.”
  • Greg Wise – Professor and Community Development Specialist
    • Conducts research on community and economic development strategic planning and strategies, and how the community capitals framework can be used to create more sustainable and holistic local approaches to development.
    • Current projects include developing a strategic economic development plan for Buffalo County, Wisconsin, piloting the Stronger Economies Together regional economic development plan in Juneau-Monroe-Jackson Counties, researching the community capitals framework as a guide for strategic community development.



What Will We Do?

The University Center’s research and educational team will advance research and community assistance, specifically focused on better understanding regional economic change, entrepreneurship, innovation, labor markets, economic resilience and proactive strategies to affect the local economy and community quality of life.


The University Center will conduct applied research resulting in evidence-based educational and outreach materials that will be disseminated across the state through publications, online platforms, and educational workshops. Alongside rigorous, peer-reviewed publications, topics will be analyzed in foundational, data-driven reports, policy briefs, and fact-sheets. This tiered approach to publication is designed to suit the needs of several audiences including county Extension educators, local practitioners, policymakers, journalists, and residents of Wisconsin.   In addition to publications and educational materials, the research team will host a series of educational workshops and professional development opportunities for economic development professionals throughout Wisconsin.