UP FRONT – New North Summit in the books

Posted on Jan 12, 2016 :: Up Front
Andrew Schaick
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

From Tim Bergstrom’s social media advice and colorful socks to Gov. Scott Walker’s talent challenge, the 12th annual New North Summit offered a host of new ideas for attendees to ponder.

But it was the ED Talks that stole the show.

New to the event this year, “ED Talks” are similar to TED Talks — short, 15-minute presentations focused on ideas of regional economic development — and exposed attendees to best practices to help their businesses grow from regional leaders who have already put the ideas into practice: Dan Ariens, chairman and CEO of Ariens Co.;  Tim Bergstrom, president and chief operating officer of Bergstrom Automotive; Dr. Matthew Hunsaker, dean of the Medical College of Wisconsin-Green Bay; and John Kreul, vice president and chief information officer at Bemis Company.

The concise packaging and programming hit home.

“Promoting these bite-sized presentations is really a great way to get people engaged,” says Josh Dukelow, key account manager for Fox Valley Technical College. “The short format of these powerful talks communicates important trends around the region and allows the audience to take away valuable information.”

This year’s theme, Think Shift, focused on how businesses should embrace the action of changing the way they think to better fit with 21st century practices. In Tim Bergstrom’s speech, he started out by saying, “If you aren’t tweeting, you need to start.”

Tim Bergstrom gives a presentation during the ED Talk program. Courtesy: Diane Verhagen

“The ED Talk content was spot-on with how leaders should shift their organization in order to innovate and move their companies into the 21st century,” says Ann Franz, director of the NEW Manufacturing Alliance.

Another speaker who promoted different ways to shift thinking strategies was Hunsaker.

“Foreign concepts sometimes offer the most benefit. So we must take those concepts to ourselves, and make ourselves experts in that field,” Hunsaker says.

Laura Wiegert of Investors Community Bank says the speeches in general were inspirational, when it comes to figuring out a way to change a current way of thinking.

“I found each speech to be inspiring, especially Dr. Hunsaker’s presentation,” says Wiegert. “I loved how each talk allowed me to not only learn more about the community and business leaders, but leave with tips that I can incorporate into my life as well.”

More than 500 people made the trek to the Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel and Convention Center in Oshkosh for the summit, which each year brings together business, education and community leaders from around the region and state to celebrate successes, connect and share economic development updates.

“This is a great day to celebrate good work done by everybody,” says Jerry Murphy, executive director of New North. “Besides being informational and a great way to connect with businesses, this day was fun and I look forward to it every year.”

For the past 12 years, Murphy says the New North staff learns something new at each summit and they get a new look at how to make that day very impactful for all of the visitors.

What Murphy says he values the most from each summit is the feedback New North receives from those who attend. He says it’s a way to make the event even stronger and a way to hear ideas on how to make the summit even better year after year.