Navigating the New Economy Community Roundtable Panelists

UW Colleges and UW-Extension are partnering with WisPolitics to present a series of roundtable discussions in October 2017 on how to navigate the new economy. The events will take place in Hudson, Richland Center and Sheboygan and provide community members the opportunity to learn from state and local experts. UW Colleges and Extension Chancellor Cathy Sandeen will moderate the discussion, and panelists include:


John Koskinen

John Koskinen is the Chief Economist of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, having served in that capacity in the administrations of both Governor Scott Walker and Governor Jim Doyle. He is a life long public servant, having amassed nearly 40 years working for the state of Wisconsin.

He has been cited as a commentator on Wisconsin's economy in the press, radio and television throughout the state. Mr. Koskinen has taught continuing education classes for the Government Finance Officers' Association and UW-Green Bay's Master Academy for Local Government Officials. Prior to joining the Department of Revenue in 2007, he served as the Staff Economist for the Governor's Budget Office, Wisconsin Department of Administration, from 1979 to 2007. He started his professional career at the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau, moved on to the Department of Commerce, then back to graduate school before settling in at the Department of Administration.



Mark Lange has been the executive director of the Division for Business & Entrepreneurship since 2013. He provides vision and leadership for five program units that collaborate on customer-driven approaches to enhance the value of Wisconsin one business at a time. The division serves aspiring, new and established small businesses by connecting them to resources, information and services that improve performance and increase capabilities for success.

Lange came to UW-Extension after serving 14 years as executive director for the Edward Lowe Foundation, a nonprofit organization seeking to accelerate entrepreneurship and its impact on community and economic development. He was responsible for day-to day operations and overseeing the foundation’s national advocacy for second-stage entrepreneurs, economic gardening and the development of

Other previous roles include Director, Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Oregon; Co-founder, CVT Productions, a video-production and software-distribution company; and adjunct faculty member in entrepreneurship, Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. 


Chancellor Sandeen

Eric Biltonen is the Community, Natural Resource and Economic Development Educator for St. Croix County with UW-Extension. His current work focuses on strategic planning, organizational development, business and economic development, local government programming and natural resources management. He provides research-based information, data analysis and organizational development processes to support the goals and efforts of economic and community development organizations.

 He formerly worked as an international development consultant based in Southeast Asia, where he lived for nearly a decade. During his time as a consultant, he travelled to nearly 30 different countries, consulting on water resources and infrastructure projects. He moved from Texas to Hudson, Wisconsin in 2014. Eric holds a Ph.D in Agriculture and Resource Economics from Colorado State University.


will cronin

Will Cronin is the Community Resource Development Educator with the Crawford County University of Wisconsin-Extension. As county-based faculty, he works in organizational development, economic and community development, and local government preparedness, among other things. He holds a Masters of Public Administration in Regional and Urban Policy and Planning.







Claire Thompson is the community development educator for UW Cooperative Extension in Kewaunee County. She brings 20 years of research, group process facilitation, planning and teaching skills to nonprofit organizations, business entrepreneurs and local government officials. Her primary educational areas are in nonprofit and organizational development and economic and business development. She also creates programs that enhance community collaborations and coalitions such as Live Algoma, and community-based wellness and quality of life development initiative.

Claire has served as interim executive director of Leadership Wisconsin, a rigorous two-year leadership program for Wisconsin residents with diverse backgrounds and experiences. She has also served on the board of directors for the Farm Market Kitchen - a regional shared-use food business incubator, the Wisconsin Local Food Network, and the National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin. Her efforts have been recognized by the “Vocal Local” award from the Kewaunee County Economic Development Organization and the Outstanding Early Career Award from UW Cooperative Extension.

Prior to working for Cooperative Extension, Claire worked as vice president of management services at Durkin Associates; vice president of programs and director of continuous learning at the Public Allies National Office; and community impact manager/outcomes manager at United Way of Greater Milwaukee. Claire has a master's degree in Public Administration from the University of Delaware and a bachelor's degree in International Studies from UW-Milwaukee.


For more information on the series of events visit