Tag Archives: Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce

“How Can We Make Madison More Vivid?”

Zach Brandon made an inspiring presentation at our March 24th meeting of the Rotary Club of Madison.  As the president of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and past Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, he is well qualified to speak to us about Madison’s present and future in his titled address, “There is Light in the Darkness.”  He structured his presentation around the intervening years since his prior Rotary presentation in 2018 which was his third.

The year 2019, as he showed, was full of positive indicators with Madison having the largest percentage of millennials moving to a new city, leading city in increased percentage of high digital skills positions and high stability in those jobs.  2020 began with more positive signs of Madison as a tech growth center in the Nation.  But then, covid-19 struck, and all conversation and attention stopped which muted the story of Madison.

Then the issue became, “How can we make Madison more vivid?”  Zach feels a part of that is to target the work force of the future in terms of gender, diversity and equity.  As he says, the data suggests the wind is still at our back, especially when national surveys consistently predict Madison to make the fastest recovery from the covid-19 down turn.

He concluded that Madison’s goal should be developing and attracting top quality workers to the right mix of jobs in the Madison economy.

If you did not attend the presentation and would like to feel good about your community, please view his presentation on our Rotary Club’s YouTube Channel.

Our thanks to Zach Brandon for his presentation this week and to Larry Larrabee for preparing this review article.  If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here:  https://youtu.be/Fp1PFHlnaSQ.

Brandon: Behold the New Madison Economy!

submitted by Dave Mollenhoff; photo by Mike Engelberger

Zach Brandon 4 18 2018Zach Brandon, President of the Madison Chamber of Commerce, wants civic leaders to see a great new future for Madison.  Today’s perception is that Madison is a place of government and education and not a very good place for business.  But that is not the Madison that is evolving before our eyes, he asserted in a spirited talk.

In 1948, Life carried a cover story with a question: Is Madison the best place to live in the country?  Since then dozens of magazines have trumpeted Madison’s superlatives.  But in the last twenty years national writers have been touting a new surprising set of superlative metrics, a place that is among the top cities in the country measured in economic momentum, confidence about the future, percentage of tech workers, educational attainment, millennials in high tech positions and overall innovation.  These are the qualities of the future workforce, which we ignore at our great peril.

“How can we best nurture this exciting new future for this special city?” Brandon asked.  Only if we find better ways to recruit our future work force, he replied.   To find out how to do this, the Chamber hired Brainjuice, a London company that specializes in effective recruiting campaigns.  Their 500-person national survey produced some surprising and critically important findings.

Workers in Madison’s new economy consciously seek something special—a city where their experience is more important than possessions, a city where natural beauty abounds, a city that crackles with spirit, life of the mind, cutting edge knowledge, justice and equity.  This is the city our discerning future workers seek, Brandon emphasized.

Armed with this template, the Chamber is creating new communication tools using drones and state-of-the art video techniques to give prospective new economy workers a vivid and compelling image of the city.

What a privilege to hear this new vision!

Brandon on Madison’s Business Climate

–submitted by Rick Kiley; photo by Mike Engelberger

Brandon ZachZach Brandon, President of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, addressed our Club regarding “Madison’s Business Climate,” citing four trends to explain where we are headed.

The first trend is “sector density,” the types of jobs and industry we have.  These include growing industries such as biomedicine and bioscience, health tech and information technology.  Three-fourths of local jobs created are diverse sources in the private sector, not just Epic Systems; recent hiring is by Google, Amazon, Zen Desk and Microsoft.

One reason for this job creation is jobs in technology and engineering are easily filled with local employees and do not pay relatively high salaries.

The second trend is our development of talent.  We are a large market for software creation.  State-wide software development is nearly as large an employer as manufacturing.

We have a significant in-migration of “millennial” workers, born in the late 1970s.  Unlike most cities, in Madison this group tends to buy homes and settle.

The third trend cited is our area’s reputation.  We have a lot to boast.

Recently, Forbes magazine listed us fifth among cities “winning the battle” for info-tech jobs; the Millken Institute ranks us eleventh among cities for high-tech job growth; per capita, we rank fourteenth for raising venture capital to fund early-stage companies.

In addition, we rank #1 among cities for successful aging.  What underlies these encouraging rankings?  Proximity to education, Mr. Brandon says.  However, we are nearly the most income-segregated city, a troubling situation that requires the attention of the entire community.

The fourth trend is wealth creation.  “Madison is the epitome of how to win the coming jobs war”, he says.

Concluding, Mr. Brandon sees the Madison area as “on the upswing,” but we “need to learn how to brag” to communicate our strengths, that “we are the next big thing;” “we solve the world’s problems;” and “we export solutions.”

CLICK to watch the video on our club’s YouTube Channel.