Dowell Vice President Steve Jahn will be celebrating five years at Dowell Management this summer. Jahn’s primary responsibility is as executive director of Eau Claire Wisconsin based Momentum West, one of nine regional economic development corporations that collectively blanket the state of Wisconsin. Momentum West represents ten counties in west central Wisconsin and is responsible for to marketing the region for business and talent attraction, development and retention as well as developing programs to promote the economic growth of the region. They work with numerous partners in the region including the regions county and municipal economic development organizations, higher education institutions, workforce organizations, chamber of commerce’s, business and industry and other groups within the region. “Dowell Management provided a truly unique opportunity for me to become part of an organization that promotes a part of the state of Wisconsin that has become very important to my family and me” states Jahn.
“Since taking the helm as executive director of Momentum West five years ago, Steve Jahn has guided the organization into a variety of projects and initiatives that have facilitated economic development and growth in the ten county Momentum West region.” Says Momentum West Board Chair Eric Turner, executive director of the Dunn County EDC. “We are fortunate to have him as our executive director.”
Formerly a Dolan Media vice president and publisher of Minneapolis based Finance and Commerce, Steve has 28 years of experience in the publishing and business and information world prior to entering the world of economic development. “My years at Finance and commerce provided me with significant background in the commercial and economic development world as much of our editorial focus was on commercial development in the twin cities and economic development throughout the state of Minnesota. Working with several developers and economic development organizations in the state of Minnesota allowed me to gain an understanding of the economic development world and helped with the transition from the private sector to running a public/private economic development corporation” states Steve. “Not to understate living in the Momentum West region since 1996 during which time I worked for a newspaper group covering much of the region. Having a significant number of business, industry and public sector contacts didn’t hurt!”
During Steve’s time at Momentum West the organization has moved forward on multiple fronts. In addition to gaining financial stability, several projects have received notoriety throughout the state of Wisconsin. The Gold Shovel Site Verification program, designed to help potential industrial property owners gather the necessary information to name the site as shovel ready for development has spread to other regions of the state. According to Jahn “This program puts the property owners in a position where they can proactively market their sites instead of gathering information when a developer reaches out. It also provides us with a solid collection of property to market to site selectors and developers”.
Several collaborative efforts have also been launched with the regions technical colleges and UW System universities to deal with the talent shortages in the region. According to Turner, “His vision has aided unique and successful programs that address issues from talent attraction & retention to the UWIN and Techstart which connected college & university students with area regional industry for valuable apprentice and internship experiences”. Both the WITechstart and UWIN (University of Wisconsin Internship Network) were designed to provide easy assess to internships and apprenticeships for the regions rural business and industry. “It has been a pleasure working with our regions higher education institutions to address the talent challenges to the benefit of our regions business and industry” adds Jahn.
Steve is involved with many organizations in the region and is the past chair of the Regional Leadership Council, an organization formed by the nine regional economic development agencies and WEDC. He is also one of two representatives on the Mid-America EDC board of directors from the state of Wisconsin.
“It has been a pleasure working with Larry Dowell and his team and I look forward to another five years. Hopefully more!” states Steve.
Steve is a native of Appleton, WI, and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Prior to his work at Finance & Commerce, he was publisher of the Dunn County News and held several upper management positions at Chippewa Valley Newspapers, a regional group of newspapers in west central Wisconsin.