A new direction

WEDC's Barb LaMue takes over as New North Inc. leader

Posted on May 30, 2019 :: New North
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Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

For 14 years, Jerry Murphy cultivated New North Inc.’s messaging and branding and put the economic development organization on the map. This month, he’s leaving his role as executive director and moving into a new strategic role focused on entrepreneurship as he transitions toward retirement.

While Murphy is excited to focus on moving entrepreneurship projects forward, he feels confident New North’s new leader, Barb LaMue, will continue to drive the organization forward. LaMue, who has 23 years of economic development experience in Wisconsin, comes to New North from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., where she’s served as vice president of business and community development since August 2015.

“Barb is an extremely talented and creative leader in the profession of economic development,” Murphy says of the transition, which takes place early this month. “She brings a strong range of experiences, leadership and relationships that will serve her and the New North well.”

New North Co-Chair Vicki Updike says LaMue’s strong ties to the region are a benefit to her new role as executive director.

“Barb’s No. 1 value is collaboration, and we look forward to the relationships she will build with New North’s investors and partners,” Updike says.

LaMue has worked with the WEDC since 2012 in two roles, including regional account manager for eight counties in Northeast Wisconsin, before her current role as vice president. Prior to working with the WEDC, she served as executive director of Centergy Inc., the regional economic development organization overseeing five counties in central Wisconsin. Before that, she was vice president of economic development at the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce.

LaMue says she plans to draw on her previous experiences in her new role.

“I congratulate Jerry, as the first and only executive director of the New North, on the organization’s many successes since its inception and for his leadership, not only to this region but mentoring other regions across Wisconsin,” she says. “I look forward to working with Jerry, the New North board, staff, investors, business community and local partners to build on these accomplishments, along with the collaboration of WEDC and other state and federal agencies.”

Murphy joined New North just months after it was created by regional business leaders. As executive director, he designed and executed the organization’s strategic economic development initiatives, with a specific focus on workforce and business development, along with regional branding, while fostering collaboration across the 18 counties of Northeast Wisconsin.

One of Murphy’s biggest accomplishments with New North was leading the creation of what is now known as the Wisconsin Supply Chain Marketplace. The web-based directory provides a way for more than 2,000 companies to get in front of new business opportunities. Businesses create a listing that other companies can tap into when looking for suppliers. While it started in the New North, its success led to statewide implementation.

Murphy also developed collaborative approaches to talent development and recruitment for regional employers, which were created with the help of academic, workforce development, local partners and business leadership.

“Jerry has done incredible work for New North,” says New North Co-Chair Bill Bohn. “He built it into a well-known and respected organization, one that plays a leadership role in economic development regionally and across Wisconsin. Jerry has been integral to launching a number of strategic alliances, along with the Supply Chain Marketplace in recent years.”