What is Grow North?

Grow North began in 2004 as a private/public 501(c)(6) organization dedicated to economic development in the eight counties of northern and northeastern Wisconsin. The region includes Forest, Florence, Marinette, Lincoln, Langlade, Oconto, Oneida, and Vilas counties.

Grow North is investor/member driven by generous donations and sponsorship of events. Some funding comes from the State of Wisconsin through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation as well as other state agencies that assist with funding through various grants for projects. We focus on forestry and wood products, workforce development, and broadband expansion.

If you would like to help move your community forward, Grow North may be the place for your expertise. We are looking for community leaders, business owners, and individuals that want to see our great communities flourish and grow. Please check out the members page to find out how to join the efforts being made in broadband, workforce, forestry and wood products. We value and welcome your advice and insight. Welcome to Grow North!


Meet Grow North

Tommy Wartman

Interim Executive Director
Tommy Wartman comes to Grow North from a background in business management and entrepreneurship. Tommy is currently engaged in administering the Small Business Administration Community Navigators Pilot Program which is an effort by the S.B.A to connect small businesses to resources of all kinds. The Northwoods Navigator Program is running throughout North Eastern Wisconsin and Grow North is an affiliate 'Spoke' of the program that runs on a Hub and Spoke Model to reach out to the businesses in the area. Tommy can be reached at the email info@grownorth.org

Angie Close

President of Executive Board
Angie Close is a long time resident of Northern Wisconsin and operates from the city of Antigo in Langlade County, Wisconsin. Angie brings extensive experience to the Leadership Board of Grow North from her current position as the Executive Director at Langlade County Economic Development Corporation. Angie's breadth of experience and knowledge of the business landscape in the region is a real asset to Grow North.

Jake Weinand


Jake Weinand serves as the Treasure of Grow North. Jake has a background in commerial banking and serves as a VP/Market President at Forward Bank.

Weinand has his Bachelor of Arts in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He has been very active in the Northwoods as the President of Northland Pines Youth Football & Cheerleading, Rhinelander Community Foundation and Chief Volunteer Officer of the YMCA of the Northwoods.  

When not at work or volunteering, Weinand enjoys playing on the lake in the summer, in the woods in the fall, and trying to get on the trails in the winter. His family makes firewood in a hobby business in the springtime on land in Phelps, and now have a resort that will add to their lifestyle. The Weinand family also chase their boys around in sports, with Jake coaching both of them in Football which adds to the fun.

Lisa Sage


Lisa is the Marketing Specialist for Workforce & Economic Development at Nicolet College. She worked at the college in various positions for 26 years, many of which were spent in Public Safety working with fire department, EMS, and law enforcement personnel. Throughout her career at Nicolet, she has developed excellent working relationships with entrepreneurs, employers, and community leaders across the district. Lisa has been with Grow North since 2012. She served as Membership Coordinator on the Board of Directors for the Northern Arts Council for nine years and now focuses her volunteer efforts on animal rescue.

In her free time, Lisa operates a small business called Black Dog Botanicals. She grows and harvests many of her own organic herbal and medicinal ingredients, and her focus is all-natural, small-batch skincare and luxury body products, as well as herbal infusions and extracts for people and pets. She has a keen interest in working with entrepreneurs and small businesses and is excited to assist Grow North in its efforts to support business and economic development in northern Wisconsin.

Collette Sorgel

Past President

Collette is the owner of CJM Solutions, and is a business consultant and entrepreneur. She is currently on the Three Lakes Fab Lab Advisory and Curriculum Committee, is a member of the Three Lakes Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Three Lakes Women’s Club and Three Lakes Planning Commission. She is also the President and Special Project Coordinator for Three Lakes Center for the Arts, and a member of Ducks Unlimited and the Three Lakes Red Suspenders Society. Collette has been a member of Grow North since 2010 and has been President, Secretary, and was on committees for Public Relations and Advertising, Broadband, and Entrepreneurship.

Collette is a former Board Member for Vilas County Economic Development Corporation and Broadband NOW Committee. She completed Wisconsin Economic Development Council (WEDC) Wisconsin Basic Economic Development Course, UW Principles of Marketing for Nonprofit organizations, completed Fab Lab 101 Training for Instructors, is a Certified Sales Executive (CSE), a Certified Marketing Executive (CME), and completed the Lily Family School of Philanthropy – 2015 Principles & Techniques of Fundraising. She previously taught classes at Nicolet Technical College as an adjunct instructor.


President, Vicky Oldham, NE Wisc. Technical College
Vice President. Derek Heikkinen, North Central WI Workforce Development
Secretary, Lisa Sage, Nicolet Area Technical College
Interim Treasurer, Roger Luce, Oneida County EDC
County EDC Representative: Roger Luce, Oneida County
County EDC Representative: Paul Ehrfurth, Oconto County
Past President, Collette Sorgel, CJM Solutions, LLC

County EDC Representatives:

Angie Close, Langlade County
Bob Egan, Vilas County
Paul Ehrfurth, Oconto County
Wendy Gehlhoff, Florence County
Interim Mark Ferris, Forest County
Roger Luce, Oneida County
Ken Maule, Lincoln County
Open Seat, Marinette County

County Board Representatives:

Paul Millan, Forest County Board Chairman
Carolyn Ritter, Vilas County Board Supervisor

Tribal Representatives:

Melissa Doud, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
Cara Kulhanek, Forest County Potawatomi Community
Open Seat, Sokaogon Chippewa Community

Other/At-Large Representatives:

Sandy Bishop, Nicolet Area Technical College
Troy Brown, Kretz Lumber Co.
Ben Niehaus, K-12 Rep.
Carolyn Ritter, Vilas County Board
Leah Van Zile, Wisconsin Public Service