Programs & Events

Programming designed to engage, connect, and inspire talent within Sheboygan County and across the region.

What is innovation programming and why is it needed?

Strategically developed programming that will create a critical mass of learning, doing, and collaborating on innovation for people from
any industry, type of organization or walk of life.

The results of this programming helps seed the human innovation capacity that is necessary for people to interact successfully with the new economy in Sheboygan County.

Coming in 2020!

There are no upcoming events at this time.

What kind of programs and events are being developed?


Great question. Here are the primary focus areas for the programming coming in 2020.


Regional Events

Area businesses, entrepreneurs, and students showcase their place in innovation to a regional audience as we promote the County’s role in innovation through a series of public events focused on emerging technologies and future-ready business concepts.

Student-Run Businesses

A real-world entrepreneurial experience that leads to education and future-ready skills that can only be developed by doing, rather than conventional learning tactics in a classroom or lecture hall. Student run businesses are profit-making enterprises that are operated, from the executive level to the front line staff, by students (working under the guidance and support of professional advisors).

Student-to-Business Leader Connections

A system of programs designed to lessen the barriers between local students and business leadership to help both learn from each other and build relationships that lead to productive hires and accelerated business skills.

How did we get here?


1 - Review of Innovation Summit Results

150 individuals representing over 100 organizations provided input on 12 topics ranging from education, leadership and new product development building the framework for innovation conversations.

View Summit Results

2 - One on One Conversations with Key Stakeholders

In-depth conversations with key individuals helped shape recommendations to the Steering Committee based on perceived wants and needs. 

View conversations with Steering Committee

View conversations with diverse leadership

3 - Statistical Analysis of Workforce Needs

Sheboygan County’s workforce needs were strategically analyzed to provide a context into the regions need for talent and skillsets.  

View statistical analysis of workforce need

4 - Present Recommended Pathways

Based on qualitative and quantitative data, pathways were presented to the the steering committee with several options that match the regions needs. 

View recommended pathways

5 - Select and Refine Pathways

The pathway or cohort of programs deemed most critical and timely were selected by the steering committee for implementation.

View first draft of Talent Development Pathway

6 - Talent Pipeline Pathway

The recommended pathway was presented back to Sheboygan County professionals and organizations to ensure the programs have captured the essence of the Innovation Summit.

7 - Business Plan for a Potential "Innovation Hub"

A formal business plan was developed that includes programs, events, and budgets that could sustain an innovation hub in Sheboygan County.

Innovation Hub Business Plan

8 - FreshTech Hires Programming and Engagement Staff

The FreshTech initiative welcomed its first dedicated staff member to partner with businesses, organizations, and other groups in the community to develop and execute programming.

Meet Nick O’Brien

9 - Programming Starts in 2020

In collaboration with the community, programs and events start to roll-out as Sheboygan County’s future of recognized innovation and draw of talent begins to take shape.

Coming soon!

 Who helped guide this process?

Steering Committee Volunteers


  • Erin Price, Sargento Foods
  • Michael Vandersteen, City of Sheboygan
  • Jacob Konrath, Sheboygan Area School District
  • Claudia Krepsky, Kohler Co.
  • Kristen Hiske, Johnsonville
  • Michael Klein, Bemis Manufacturing Company
  • Sam Gappmayar, John Michael Kohler Art Center
  • Scott Niederjohn, Lakeland University
  • Katelyn Braun, United Way of Sheboygan County
  • Rob Koenig, Alaark Tooling
  • Jeff Gruenwald, Lakeshore Technical College
  • David Sachse Jr., Landmark Consulting 

Thanks to the community partners who helped fund the Innovation Programming study!

The effort is made possible with the financial support of Lakeland University, Lakeshore Technical College and the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC). 

  Interested in learning more or      getting involved? Let’s talk!