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Catalyzing New Growth in Kenosha, Wisconsin

Before the civil unrest of the summer of 2020, Kenosha, Wisconsin, had enjoyed a decade’s worth of economic wins—namely, new jobs and capital investment along the
I-94 corridor. Even so, the community faced several headwinds, most notably a decline in manufacturing and an exodus of talent migrating to other cities for higher-paying tech jobs.


In 2021, the City of Kenosha engaged Waymaker Group to conduct an Innovation Ecosystem Study and develop a strategic framework and governance strategy to turn the neighborhood of its old Chrysler site into a thriving innovation district that would attract top-tier talent and much-needed investment.


The Waymaker Group completed an Innovation Ecosystem Study and found two industry clusters with strong economic impact—warehousing/distribution—and another with emerging promise—biotechnology and healthcare. We also discovered Kenosha was home to three outstanding local colleges, each bringing strong industry partnerships and STEM programs to the table. Kenosha did have a skilled STEM workforce—but they were commuting to Illinois. Finally, we discovered that Kenosha was within a 100-mile radius of $2+ billion in annual life sciences technology research and development.

  • Innovation Ecosystem Study 

  • Narrative & Vision Development 

  • Talent-Centric Strategic Growth Plan

  • Master Plan Development Support

  • Governance & Organizational Capacity services

& Findings

  • $21M federal & state funding raised in 24 mos.

  • Launch of independent 501c3; transfer of all development rights to nonprofit from City of Kenosha 

  • Two Tier I research partners

  • 25 state & regional partners


“Waymaker Group has become a trusted partner to Kenosha industry and civic leaders and helped us quicken the pace on a critical project that will transform our community’s economy. They push our market to position from our strengths, to think bigger about the region’s future and are sensitive to our community’s dynamics.”

— Mark Fedyk, President, COO, Jockey International, Inc.

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