The Greater Green Bay area owes much of its economic success—past and present—to its strong manufacturing base. However, as the sector was becoming increasingly dependent on the development and adoption of new technologies, new challenges emerged related to this transition such as low enrollment and minimal levels of R&D at the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay (UW-GB), limited air travel connections, and a lack of networking and connectivity across the region’s IT workers, startups, and tech firms.
To better position the region, the Greater Green Bay Chamber engaged TIP Strategies to prepare an economic development strategic plan. Over roughly 12 months, the consulting team met with 200+ community, business, and academic leaders through roundtable discussions, one-on-one employer interviews, and stakeholder meetings to identify opportunities for economic growth. TIP also identified the most promising industry sectors for new business investment and job growth in the region. The resulting plan included these recommendations: a more aggressive recruitment effort, an emphasis on downtown and urban development (including the creation of a downtown innovation district), a greater alignment of economic development activities with the Green Bay Packers, and the development of a robust ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship. The community’s biggest challenge—attracting, retaining, and developing talent—was addressed by the plan through an ambitious strategy to re-mission UW-GB to become a much larger, more R&D-focused university. The planning process was also instrumental in galvanizing local leaders in the pursuit of an engineering school at UW-GB. The Richard J. Resch School of Engineering began accepting students in the fall of 2019.