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Photo by Jackie Boyd.

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh administrators, faculty, staff and students joined about 700 leaders from throughout northeastern Wisconsin to foster collaboration, share success stories and map out a game plan for the continued prosperity of the region Dec. 3 in Kolf Sports Center.

The seventh annual New North Summit, “Competing to Win,” opened its “first quarter” with a welcome from John Casper, president and CEO of the Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce, followed by the national anthem, led by the UW Oshkosh Chamber Choir and ROTC Color Guard.

UW Oshkosh is a founding member of New North Inc., a regional collaboration effort focused on promoting regional cooperation and economic development in an 18-county region in northeastern Wisconsin. Chancellor Richard H. Wells presented key examples of the University’s pursuit of national distinction, including progress with collaborations and partnerships, sustainability efforts and growth.

“We are committed to graduating even more people,” Wells said. “Our community and our state economies need more, better-prepared graduates whose education is aligned with current and future needs.”

During the “second quarter,” Jerry Murphy, executive director of New North Inc., and co-chairs Bob DeKoch and Kathi Seifert shared how New North Inc.’s more than 300 partners have worked together to develop strategies to align the New North’s vision, mission and values. The summit focused primarily on economic development objectives while sharing the successes of corporations and communities throughout the region.

Photo by Jackie Boyd.

Featured speaker Governor-elect Scott Walker — very recently returned from Washington, D.C., where he and other future governors had met with President Obama — assured the audience that “Wisconsin is, indeed, open for business” and announced that the state of Wisconsin needs to find more partners in the private sector as well as at institutes of higher learning.

Without going into detail about the upcoming state budget, Walker explored avenues of regulatory reform and asked for support and good ideas from community and business leaders in order to bolster economic development.

“Great challenges bring great opportunities,” Walker said.

During a “halftime” break, summit attendees roamed four break-out zones: Targeted Growth Clusters, Education Attainment, NEW Manufacturing Alliance All-Stars, and Small Business and Entrepreneurship Showcase.

Showcasing UW Oshkosh and promoting the University’s commitment to sustainability were David Barnhill, English professor and director of the environmental studies program; Michael Lizotte, interim director of sustainability; Tom Sonnleitner, vice chancellor for administrative services; Stephanie Spehar, anthropology professor; and Marty Strand, assistant director for dining operations.

Photo by Jackie Boyd.

Keynote speaker Mark Murphy, president and CEO of the Green Bay Packers, kicked off the “third quarter” with accounts of his experience in the Packers’ competing markets and how success can come from both competition and collaboration.

Recalling his years as a collegiate athletic director, Murphy said, “Being part of the education process was invigorating. I am a tremendous believer in the great value of participating in athletics. Student athletes learn life lessons in dedication, teamwork and the importance of competition.”

Murphy shared anecdotes about working on both sides of the table in labor relations, the challenges of the economic recession and the importance of developing leaders within an organization.

During the “fourth quarter,” a panel of CEO throughout the region tackled a variety of questions on such topics as how to connect businesses with educational resources, what makes for a successful entrepreneur, and how to leverage New North universities and technical colleges.

The summit wrapped up with a “fifth-quarter” celebration, a New North Pep Rally led by the UW Oshkosh Cheer and Stunt Team, which performed a routine during the premiere of the “New North Fight Song.” The music was adapted from the UW Oshkosh fight song, “Hail Titans,” and included familiar sounds from Wisconsin.

“The task certainly seemed daunting at first,” said music professor Edward Martin, who teaches in the areas of music theory, aural skills, composition and electronic music.

“The creation of the ‘New North Fight Song’ can be described as nothing less than a major team effort born from the talents of UW Oshkosh student and faculty musicians,” Martin said, adding that contributors included the University Wind Symphony, directed by Rob McWilliams, and the University Jazz Choir, directed by Jessica Israels.

Martin worked with Natalie Fores and Anthony Weber, UW Oshkosh students in the music department’s recording technology program, to record the ensembles and collect the sounds of northeastern Wisconsin, including some moos and a cock-a-doodle-do.

Following the New North pep rally, a “Taste of Entrepreneurship” lunch showcased restaurants from throughout the region.

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