Housing plays a key role in economic development.

The housing needs of younger workers and middle income families are changing. Right now in our region, there is a severe shortage of adequate housing for these groups, who are also the most vital groups of potential workers. 


Matthew Godfrey
CEO of Better City

Mattew Godfrey

At the third Regional Economic Indicators Forum, our keynote speaker, Matthew Godfrey, CEO of Better City, will talk about the key role that housing plays in attracting employees—and businesses. 

Matthew grew up and began his career in Ogden, Utah, as the youngest full-term mayor in the country and went on to recruit more than two dozen outdoor brands to his hometown, attracted more than $1 billion of private investment and brought in more than 8,000 jobs. In the course of this growth, Matthew worked with local government and developers to transform the housing market to appeal to the key demographics that would drive economic development.

Matthew is a dynamic speaker, and we anticipate a full house for this event. Please register early to reserve your spot.

Karl Green
La Crosse County
UW Extension

Karl Green

Karl Green is the UW Extension Community Resource Development Educator in La Crosse County. In this position, Karl has developed a strong research base in issues relating to local housing conditions, land use policy, frac sand, and stormwater management. Karl has acted as lead researcher and author of several policy-related papers including, “La Crosse’s Large Employer Housing Survey”, “Comparison of Annual Costs Associated with Home Ownership in La Crosse County, “Challenging Trends Facing Housing in La Crosse”, “The Two Sides of TIF”, and “Cost of Community Services Study in Town of Holland 2005-2010”.
Prior to his time at UW Extension, Karl worked  as a Registered Professional Geologist for a La Crosse based civil engineering firm.  Karl’s educational background consists of a Bachelors of Science in Geology from Winona State University, and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.   


Regional Economic Indicators Forum (R.E.I.F.)

National Bank of Commerce, in cooperation with the College of St. Scholastica, University of Minnesota-Duluth and University of Wisconsin-Superior, has initiated a long-term study of our area’s economic indicators. The research will be ongoing and focusing on trends for a territory that covers 15 counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Participating sponsors of the study are NE MN Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and UW-Superior Small Business Development Center, the Development Association of Superior-Douglas County, APEX, BusinessNorth and the Development Association.

The Goals of the project are to:

  • Support business owners in their business decisions by gathering key local economic indicators and trend information
  • Develop specific economic indicators for this region that are not readily available to decision makers
  • Develop tools to assess our progress in economic growth. Prepare baseline measures that will allow comparison with other regions and measure future progress of the region
  • Track the region’s participation in the “new economy” and development in the high tech arena
  • Bring professionals together with business owners for discussion about the local economy and related critical issues in a collaborative, non-political environment
  • Create a business recruitment and retention tool by publishing the information

The REIF Region is a 15-county area that covers Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin. The 8 counties of Minnesota include the Arrowhead Region — Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, and St. Louis counties — along with Pine County. The 7 counties of Wisconsin include Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Sawyer, and Washburn.

The R.E.I.F. is governed by a steering/advisory committee comprised of representative(s) from:

  • National Bank of Commerce
  • College of St. Scholastica
  • SBDC – MN
  • SBDC – WI
  • UMD
  • UWS
  • Resources such as APEX and the Development Association of Superior-Douglas County will be utilized as needed.

Meet the Regional Economics Faculty Research Staff.

To view the full R.E.I.F report presented at the breakfast forum on October 28, please click here

October 28 Presentation 
March 25, 2014 Report

The next breakfast forum event will take place:

Date: March 31, 2015
Time: 7:00 am - 9:00 am
Location: DECC Harborside Ballroom