WCEDA tabs executive director
The Walworth County Economic Development Alliance has chosen Douglas Wheaton as its new executive director.
Wheaton is expected to start working for the alliance in time for its next economic summit, which is scheduled for Sept. 8, according to a news release from the alliance.
The alliance works to foster economic growth in the county. It also administers a $500,000 revolving loan fund for small businesses or new businesses and manages a $685,000 training grant for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Wheaton has experience in bringing projects and jobs to a community, the release states.
Wheaton most recently worked as the executive director of the city of Franklin Community Development Authority.
In that position, Wheaton oversaw the development approval for more than 100 new businesses and expansions. Thirty-three of them were new development projects. The projects were valued at more than $300 million and created about 3,000 jobs, the release states.
Wheaton also led the city’s successful effort to secure the $86 million expansion of the Northwestern Mutual Franklin campus, which added 1,100 jobs. He was instrumental in attracting the $89 million Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare medical center, which provided hundreds more new jobs.
Wheaton worked for Franklin from 2005 to 2008, when he left to pursue his master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
Wheaton graduated from Carroll College in 1994 and earned his law degree from Marquette University in 1998.
He then worked as a legislative assistant in Madison and later worked as a governmental affairs director for the Wisconsin Realtors Association.
Thirty-three people applied for the position, said Mike Van Den Bosch, who has been serving as the interim executive vice president of the alliance. The alliance interviewed eight people for the job, Van Den Bosch said.
Van Den Bosch has been serving as the interim executive vice president since former executive director Fred Burkhardt left the alliance in April to take a new job.
“With such impressive credentials, WCEDA is thrilled that Doug agreed to come on as our new executive director starting in September,” President Kim Howarth wrote in a statement. “We had several qualified people interview for the position, but in the end Doug stood out to the search committee after careful review and extensive interviewing.”