Get a feel for MARKETPLACE with detailed information from the 2023 event.

Download the 2023 Program Book


  • Beyond Vision-AbilityOne Base Supper Center
  • US Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul
  • US Dept. of Veterans Affairs
  • US General Services Administration – Great Lakes Region OSDBU
  • Dept. of Children & Families
  • Dept. of Children & Families
  • Dept. of Employee Trust
  • Dept. of Public Instruction
  • WI Dept. of Health Services
  • WI Dept. of Health Services – Lead Safe Homes Program
  • WI Dept. of Justice
  • WI Dept. of Revenue
  • WI Dept. of Transportation
  • City of Milwaukee
  • City of Wauwatosa
  • Milwaukee County
  • Milwaukee County Zoo
  • Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
  • Milwaukee Public Schools
  • Advocate Health
  • American Family Insurance
  • CG Schmidt
  • Generac
  • Gilbane
  • HGA Architects & Engineers
  • JH Findorff & Son
  • JP Cullen
  • Michels
  • Oshkosh Defense
  • Snap-on Inc.
  • US Bank
  • Versiti
  • WPS Health Solutions
  • Marquette University
  • Medical College of WI
  • Milwaukee Area Technical College
  • University of WI – System Administration
  • UW-Madison
  • UW-Milwaukee

2023 Exhibitors

Accurate Digital Solutions
AREA Greetings
Associated Bank
Athletic Rubber Converting
Backupz Childcare Services
Best Ed Business
Better Business Bureau
Beyond Vision
Beyond Words Productions
Brandt Molded Marble
Camo Crew Junk Removal
Can Do Crew Wisconsin
City of West Allis
Columba Industries Corporation
Construction Business Group
Crawford Evaluation Group
Dane County Office for Equity and Inclusion
Diverse Supply Solutions, LLC
Everdry Waterproofing
Fashion, Art and Teen Entertainment (F.A.T.E.)
Fenrici Brands
GBF Bespoke Balloons and Event Services, LLC
Generation of Excellence Trendsetters
Gerber Leisure Products
Gilbane Building Company | CG Schmidt
Global Capital Group, LLC
Great Impressions, LLC
Green Bay Packers
Greenfire Management Services
Ictect, Inc.
Institute of Business and Entrepreneurship
Jake’s, A Lakeland Community/Lakeland University
JNJ Gifts and More
JP Cullen
LeafFilter Gutter Protection
Life Empowered Consulting Services
MalamaDoe – A Coworking Community for Women
MARS Solutions Group
McMurtry Financial Services, LLC
Menominee Tribal Enterprises
Nelson & Co.
North Central Minority Supplier Development Council (NCMSDC)
Northwest Side Community Development Corporation
OH Snap! by Shell Photography
Olympia Granola
Oshkosh Defense
Pawstar, Inc.
Peoples State Bank
Prism Technical
Professional Advocacy, LLC
Riveter Construction and Engineering
SCORE, Wisconsin
Sherman Phoenix Foundation
Southeastern WI Regional Planning Commission
State of Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection
The Foster Lane
Tootsie’s Tea
TVG-Medulla, LLC / Chiro One Wellness Centers
U.S. Bank
U.S. Commercial Service
U.S. Small Business Administration
Vanguard Computers, Inc.
Walsh Construction
WI Dept. of Administration – Supplier Diversity
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
Wisconsin ESGR
Wisconsin Indigenous Economic Development Corporation
Wisconsin Native Loan Fund
Wisconsin Procurement Institute
WNOV 106.5
Yings Kitchen, Inc
ZYN Turmeric Wellness

2023 Agenda

Tuesday, December 5

The Contracting Academy (TCA) | VIRTUAL   

9 a.m.-noonFocus on best practices in business development and market research, as well as on how to leverage various types of business partnerships including Mentor-Protégé programs, joint ventures, subcontracting.

1 p.m.-4 p.m.Sessions feature discussions on opportunities, buying practices, selection criteria, and priorities with DOD, civilian federal government agency, and federal prime contractor representatives.

Visit The Contracting Academy (TCA) website for additional details.

Wednesday, December 6


10 a.m.-6 p.m. – Registration

10 a.m.-3 p.m. – Exhibitor Move-in

2 p.m.-4 p.m. – Business and Economic Opportunity Sessions

  • Business Opportunity Panel
    Will feature presentations by project owners and general contractors providing the scope of work for the different mega projects in Wisconsin and discussing their supplier diversity programs to include diverse businesses’ participation.


    • Commissioner L. Crump, City of Milwaukee


    • Rebecca Villegas, Vice President-Enterprise Compliance, Northwestern Mutual presenting on the upcoming $500 million North Office Building Modernization
    • Mike Morris, Pre-Construction Director, Walsh Construction presenting on Microsoft’s $1 billion investment in Wisconsin to construct multiple data centers
    • Aaron Popkey, Director of Public Affairs, Green Bay Packers presenting on the 2025 NFL Drafts in Green Bay
    • S.R. Mills, CEO of Bear Development presenting on Iron District MKE – a transformative sports and entertainment district centered around an 8,000-seat soccer stadium
  • Economic Opportunity Session
    Annual Updates by WEDC, DOA, & SBA

    • Dr. Eugene Manzanet, Sr. Director, Diverse Business Development Program, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
    • Alex Ysquierdo, Director, Supplier Diversity Program, DOA
    • Eric Ness, Wisconsin District Director, U.S. Small Business Association
    • Report on the Economy by Tom Walsh, Section Chief Office of Economic Advisors, Wisconsin Dept. of Workforce Development
    • Guest Speaker: Farooq A. Mitha, Director, Office of Small Business Programs, U.S. Dept. of Defense

4 p.m.-5 p.m. – Educational Workshops 

  • Building Capacity in Current and Aspiring DBE MBE WBE Sub-Contractors
    The purpose of the Construction Business Group’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Development Initiative (DBEDI) in collaboration with WisDOT is to build further capacity, support growth, and provide development opportunities for selected Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) who seek certification in the State of Wisconsin’s transportation industry. The goal of DBEDI is to work with at least 15 small businesses that are currently certified or have been seeking their certification in 2022-2023. Working closely with WisDOT’s Office of Business Equity and Opportunity Compliance, DBEDI facilitated various opportunities for DBE utilization.


    • Joe Davis, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Development Director, Construction Business Group
  • Building Relationships with Local Lenders
    This workshop will support business owners who want to improve their knowledge of how banks and credit unions can help small business owners with their top three financial challenges: efficiency, process, and cost. Speakers will be on hand to discuss how a dedicated local business banker can offer guidance to face critical financial decisions. Our discussions will briefly focus on the risks of nonbank products and services that may appear to be insured but are not. The workshop will also focus on accessing credit offered through government guarantees and programs that increase credit access through special purpose credit programs (SPCPs) to better serve historically disadvantaged individuals and communities.


    • Carol Maria, Community Affairs Specialist, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Division of Depositor and Consumer Protection
    • Mary Perry, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA)
  • Bonding and Financing Resources for Small Businesses
    Join representatives from the industry to learn more about resources available to support bonding and financing needs for your business.


    • Aina Vilumsons, President – Executive Director, Wisconsin Procurement Institute


    • Shane Mahaffy, Lead Business Opportunity Specialist, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
    • Tammie Clendenning, Lead Economic Development Specialists, U.S. SBA
    • David Schuppler, President, David Schuppler & Associates
    • Rick Zawacki, Sr. Business Loan Officer, First American Capital Corp., FACC

5 p.m.-7 p.m. – Networking Reception in Expo Hall

  • Emcee: Dr. Eugene Manzanet, Sr. Director, Diverse Business Development, WEDC
  • Program: Sponsor Remarks – People’s State Bank – Jeff Musa, Regional President, Southeastern WI
  • Presentations:
    • DOA Highest Spend Awards – Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld and Alex Ysquierdo, Director, Supplier Diversity Program, DOA
    • SBA Award Presentation – Eric Ness, Wisconsin District Director, U.S. SBA
    • Anniversary Recognition (DVB, MBE, WBE) – Dr. Dugene Manzanet Sr. Director, WEDC, and Alex Ysquierdo, Director, DOA

Thursday, December 7


6:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. – Registration

7:30 a.m.-9 a.m. – General Session/Breakfast Business Panel

Emcee Welcome and Session Overview
Tim McMurtry, Executive Director of Infrastructure and Business Development, NAMC, and Rashi Khosla, President, MARS Solutions

Sponsor Remarks
Heather Ladage, Market President and Publisher, The Business Journal

Fireside Chats – Business Panel

    • Michael Ward, Vice President of Business & Community Development, WEDC


    • Alegra Fowler, MSW – Sweetgrass Behavioral Health
    • Quinn Long – Clearcut Solutions
    • Fanni Xie – Uni Uni Appleton
    • Efrain Lara – Lara Associates LLC dba Milwaukee Pallets

WEDC Remarks
Sam Rikkers, Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer

RNC Presentation
Alison Prange, Chief Operating Officer, MKE 2024 Host Committee

9:15 a.m.-11:45 a.m. – Expo Hall Opens

Buyer meetings – one-on-one matchmaking meetings with federal, state, local, and corporate buyers

Exhibitors – including corporate, small businesses, lenders, business resources, professional services, and government agencies

Business networking lounge – centrally located within the expo hall

9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. – Educational Sessions

  • Going Global: Building the Fundaments, From Business Development to Compliance to Finance
    Hear from Wisconsin District Export Council members on fundamental topics for international growth including financing, compliance, state and local resources for expansion and support, and local education opportunities for those supporting international transactions at their organization.

Chelsey Libecki-Duszynski, Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service, Wisconsin


    • Susan Dragotta, Global Business Instructor, Waukesha County Technical College
    • Julie Pojar, Director of Trade Compliance, Kohler
    • Bruce Glaub, Principal, Trade Acceptance Group, and Treasurer, Wisconsin District Export Council
    • Chris Wojtowicz, International Trade & General Business Consultant – Wisconsin Small Business Development Center & WI District Export Council Chair
    • Jane Dauffenbach, President, D&D Products Inc. / Aquarius Systems and Dynatek Divisions
  • Unlocking the Power of E-Commerce: Ideas for Online Success
    This panel will provide insight and strategies on leveraging technology effectively in today’s digital era. Each panelist has found success in their respective field by harnessing the power of e-commerce and digital tools. They will share their experiences with website development, e-commerce solutions, online marketing, and implementing digital tools for communication. They will provide practical advice on how to establish a strong online presence, attract customers, and increase sales through e-commerce platforms. You will gain valuable insights, innovative ideas, and actionable tips that can propel your business towards digital success.


    • Amy Pietsch, Fox Valley Technical College Venture Center Director


    • Ruben Contreras, owner, Action Painting and Epoxy Coatings
    • Carmen Leal, writer, and author of I Chose You: Imperfectly Perfect Rescue Dogs and Their Humans
    • Orson Fournillier, co-owner Sharay’s Ghana Style Brittle and Sweet P’s Pantry
    • Fanni Xie, owner, Uni Uni Bubble Tea-Appleton
    • Ziming Wu, VP, Chinese Chamber of Commerce
  • Leveraging Certifications for Small and Diverse Businesses
    This session will identify the different certification programs available to businesses, share some of the basics, and talk about how your business can leverage these certifications to build your business.


    • Aina Vilumsons, President – Executive Director, Wisconsin Procurement Institute


    • Shane Mahaffy, Lead Business Opportunity Specialist, U.S. SBA
    • Madalena Maestri, Program Chief – Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program, WisDOT
    • Alex Ysquierdo, Director – Wisconsin Supplier Diversity Program, WI Department of Administration
    • Shirlean Clayton, Certification Manager, Milwaukee County

10:45 a.m.-11:45 a.m. – Educational Sessions

  • Going Global: WI Small Business Development Center, A Case Study with Carefree Enzymes
    A case study with Carefree Enzymes session to hear from Chris Martin, owner of Wisconsin based Carefree Enzymes, and Chris Wojtowicz of the Small Business Development Center as they discuss how together they worked to ensure Carefree Enzymes had the fundamentals for export expansion and how Mr. Martin is building his international presence with the help of both federal and local resources.

Chelsey Libecki-Duszynski, Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service, Wisconsin


    • Chris Martin, Owner, Carefree Enzymes
    • Chris Wojtowicz, International Trade & General Business Consultant – Wisconsin Small Business Development Center & WI District Export Council Chair
  • Financial Resources Supporting Diverse Businesses
    Hear directly from diverse based organizations that received the American Rescue Plan Act, ARPA, Fund to provide technical and financial resource. The organizations will discuss programs and services they administer to support diverse businesses in Wisconsin grow.

Marjorie Rucker, Chair, Ethnic and Diverse Business Coalition, and Executive Director, The Business Council


    • Becky Albert, Executive Director, First Nations Community Financial
    • Maysee Herr, CEO, Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce
    • Terese Caro, President & CEO, Legacy Redevelopment Corporation
    • Willie Smith, Executive Director, North West Side CDC
    • Nelson Soler, Ph.D., President & CEO, Latino Chamber of Commerce – SEW
    • Michael Hetzel, Director of Lending, Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation
  • Maximizing Success with Entrepreneurs of Color in Your Community
    Foster an Equity Diversity Inclusion framework tailored to economic development and small business support organizations. Increase awareness of the diversity of entrepreneurs and what they need to succeed. Use evidence-based practices, data, and professional experience to move from awareness to action.


    • Mia Ljung & Erica Carter, UW-Extension

Noon-1:30 p.m. – Awards Luncheon

  • Emcee Welcome
    Tim McMurtry, Executive Director of Infrastructure Business Development, National Association of Minority Contractors-Wisconsin
  • Sponsor Welcome
    Suzanne Zwaska, Vice President of Community Affairs, U.S. Bank
  • Keynote Speaker
    Jessica Cavazos, Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for Minority Business Development, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • WEDC Remarks
    Missy Hughes, Secretary and CEO, WEDC
  • Governor Invited
    Tony Evers, Governor, State of Wisconsin (Invited)
  • Awards Presentation
    • Outstanding Business of the Year
    • Best Workplace
    • Thought Leadership Excellence
    • CEO of the Year
    • Diverse Business Champion of the Year
  • Thank You and Concluding Remarks
    Dr. Eugene Manzanet, Senior Director of Diverse Business Development, WEDC and Tim McMurtry, Executive Director of Infrastructure Business Development, National Association of Minority Contractors-Wisconsin

1:45 p.m.-4 p.m. – Expo Hall Reopens for Exhibitors and Buyers Meetings

2 p.m.-3 p.m. – Educational Sessions

  • Going Global: What you need to know when selling internationally
    Roundtable small group discussion meetings

Chelsey Libecki-Duszynski, Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service, Wisconsin

  • WiDEN Your Possibilities! & SizeUpWI
    Learn about WiDEN ( and how it can help you scale your business and introduce you to procurement opportunities statewide. Later, learn how to use one of WEDC’s free customized tool for small and midsize businesses. SizeUpWI provides access to the market research and business intelligence needed for growth and success. With SizeUpWI, businesses can discover potential customers and suppliers, optimize advertising and marketing to ideal customers, and much more!


    • Marjorie Rucker, Chair, Ethnic and Diverse Business Coalition, and Executive Director, The Business Council
    • David Fleming Sr., Program Specialist, WEDC Office of Rural Prosperity
  • Mentoring – Critical for Personal and Business Growth and Development
    During this panel discussion we will share information on various formal Mentor – Protégé programs and initiatives available to diverse businesses.  We will also discuss how a diverse business can locate, identify and target good potential mentors and what defines a good Mentor – Protégé relationship.

Aina Vilumsons, President and Executive Director, Wisconsin Procurement Institute


    • Anna Steinfest – President/ CEO, AFF Research LLC
    • Shane Mahaffy – Lead Business Opportunity Specialist, U.S. SBA
    • Jean Marie Thiel – President, Belonger Corporation
    • Madalena Maestri – DBE Program Chief, WisDOT
    • Courtney Skinkis – Owner, Confluence Graphics

4 p.m. – Conference Ends

Expand your business opportunities today

Facilitate connections through networking, workshops, panel discussions, buyer meetings and much more. Connect with resources and potentially make a deal or lay the framework for a future contract.

2022 Program Recording

How can we help?

Whether you’re interested in attending, exhibiting, sponsoring, networking or finding new diverse suppliers, we’re here to help.

Contact Us