Who We Are

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

Building Rural Communities

As part of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the Office of Rural Prosperity seeks to foster vibrant, prosperous and resilient rural communities across Wisconsin. We aim to be a one-stop shop to help rural stakeholders navigate programs and resources serving rural communities and businesses.

The Office of Rural Prosperity was formed in January 2020, along with Governor Tony Evers’ Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity. The commission was charged with gathering public input on the long-term, recent and future economic challenges facing Wisconsin’s rural communities. The role of the Office of Rural Prosperity is to increase economic activity and improve the quality of life for future generations of rural Wisconsinites by putting the ideas and input gathered by the commission into action.

Who We Serve

Wisconsin’s rural landscape is integral to our state’s identity, both for the quality of life it affords its residents and for the escape it offers to those seeking to partake of Wisconsin’s natural splendor. Maintaining the vibrancy of Wisconsin’s rural economies requires an understanding of the diversity of its industries, from agricultural production and working forests to main street businesses. The variety of rural Wisconsin’s economic assets must be reflected in a coordinated statewide approach to building and maintaining rural prosperity throughout the state.

Our Support Organizations

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), its economic development partners and other organizations around the state offer a range of resources on all aspects of economic well-being, from childcare and education to businesses and housing. The support organizations listed here have all contributed programs to our resource directory.

Our Team

Beth Haskovec

Beth Haskovec

Director of the Office of Rural Prosperity

Beth joins WEDC from LISC, one of the nation’s largest community development financial institutions, where she oversaw strategies and programs related to access to capital for small businesses across rural America, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. She brings to the team a wealth of expertise in commercial real estate development, commercial corridor development, small business capital, entrepreneurship and initiatives at the intersection of arts and culture and economic development. Learn more about Beth.

Kietra Olson

Kietra Olson

Rural Initiatives Manager

Kietra grew up in the pines, prairies and pastures of Wisconsin. She brings extensive experience of coalition building, placemaking, community engagement and sustainability. She has a background in natural resources, micro-business marketing, and sustainable agriculture and has a deep interest in celebrating the culture and stories of rural Wisconsin. Learn more about Kietra.

Danielle Jones

Director, Rural Initiatives

Danielle has been with WEDC and its predecessor for over 10 years, managing the largest portfolio of industry sectors due to her ability to quickly evaluate industries and collaboratively identify solutions for them. Industries in her previous portfolio are close to the hearts of rural communities, including, telecommunications and forest products. She is excited to bring her expertise and skillsets honed across an over 30-year career to rural communities in order to assist them. In her free time she is an avid traveler – so long as she can bring her beloved dog, and has a passion to further her knowledge on epigentics and the mechanisms underpinning cancer progression and remission. Learn more about Danielle.

Jerry Exterovich

Jerry Exterovich

Program Specialist – REVAMP

Jerry comes to the Office of Rural Prosperity with a broad range of skills gleaned from years of professional service across the private sector. Capitalizing on early career experiences in finance, marketing, strategic planning, and sales, he developed a successful niche business in design and environmental contracting that served Sauk, Dane, and Columbia Counties for nearly twenty years. Raised in the Wisconsin river valley community of Prairie du Sac, he is a lifelong resident of South-Central Wisconsin, and currently resides on the Baraboo Range where he can be found cycling and hiking with his family and friends. Learn more about Jerry.

David Fleming Sr.

David “Waabigekek” Fleming Sr.

Program Specialist – REVAMP

David “Waabigekek” Fleming Sr., (Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe) has over 25 years of experience working in rural communities as a business leader and economic development professional. David is an alumnus of University of Wisconsin-Superior and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with experience in community development finance, small business loan funds, and, most recently, post-secondary education.  David and his family have lived in northern Wisconsin their entire lives. Learn more about David.