A departure, a milestone for the Fox Cities Exhibition Center — change was the order of the day on the economic development front.
Manny Vasquez, vice president of economic development for the chamber’s Fox Cities Regional Partnership (FCRP), has accepted the newly created position of vice president of business development at Pfefferle Co. Inc. Vasquez will start with the company Feb. 6.
“We’ve made a lot of strides in the past two and a half years that I’ve been with the partnership,” says Vasquez.
He counts his organization’s internationally recognized Talent Upload as one of his greatest successes. The award-winning program connects information-technology students with area employers and has hosted around 230 college students and placed more than 70 in local companies.
“Our Talent Upload program is something that we’ve been able to fine tune throughout the past couple years,” Vasquez says. “The program itself is a legacy.”
When FCRP launched in 2012, it set a goal of creating 1,200 jobs by 2017. Vasquez is proud to say that the organization exceeded that goal by the end of 2016.
During his tenure, FCRP also worked with Fond du Lac, Green Bay and Oshkosh to create the I-41 corridor marketing collaboration. “That ability to look outside of municipal boundaries for the betterment of the entire region is something that I hope sticks after I leave.”
Vasquez says he’s delighted to stay in the Fox Valley in his new job, and he sees a lot of parallels between his old position and his new. “There’s a direct correlation between economic development and commercial real estate development,” he says.
He applauds Pfefferle’s commitment to the community and its strong support of FCRP. In his new role, Vasquez says he’ll work to strengthen and establish relationships with the company’s current and future clients.
The region got some good news on the economic development front with the announcement of the Fox Cities Exhibition Center’s first booking. Jay Schumerth, Radisson Paper Valley Hotel senior general manager, reported that Pierce Manufacturing will hold its North American sales meeting Jan. 25-28, 2018 in the exhibition center and Radisson Paper Valley Hotel, which manages the center.
The event, which is expected to draw some 500 attendees, will bring more than 1,000 room nights to the area and carry with it an estimated overall economic impact of $250,000.
“The goal behind building the Fox Cities Exhibition Center was to attract just this kind of event that previously could not be held in the Fox Cities due to lack of exhibition space,” Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna said in a press release. “We’re even more excited to see that a local company like Pierce Manufacturing, who has been supportive of the project from the beginning, will be impacting the local economy in this positive way.”