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

Brittany Beyer

Executive Director

Brittany Beyer brings a unique understanding of business management, economic development, organizational innovation, and cultural enhancement to make the Northwoods a better place to live, play, work, and invest. She is happy to have become Grow North's Executive Director in June of 2018. 

Beyer is a native of Illinois and spent almost two decades in New York City working within the arts and culture field before relocating to the Northwoods to become the Warehouse Art Center’s Executive Director in 2016. She earned a BFA in Dance Performance from New York University / Tisch School of the Arts, having a first career as a professional dancer touring in both the United States and Europe with different choreographers including Johannes Wieland and JoAnna Mendl Shaw of the Equus Projects. Finding a deepening interest in non-profit management, she returned to NYU and continued her studies, receiving an MA from Tisch's Art and Public Policy Department, where she focused on Nonprofit Management and Social Entrepreneurship.

For the better part of a decade, Beyer has served in company management and fundraising capacities in many arts based non-profits, including the Equus Projects, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, and the Dance Enthusiast (an online arts resource journal). During final three years in New York, Beyer was the Business Development Manager and Executive Assistant to the President of EmcArts, an arts service organization that moves organizations through complex challenges by holding workshops, coaching, and innovation labs.

Brittany Beyer was named by the Governor of Wisconsin as the Chair of the Task Force on Broadband in July of 2020 and also serves as a commissioner on the Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity, starting in June of 2020. Beyer is on the Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis (2020-present) and a member of the Federal Sustainable Forestry Committee (2019-present). 

Brittany can be reached at bbeyer@grownorth.org

Vicky Oldham


Vicky is a Regional Manager at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, which covers portions of Oconto and Marinette Counties. In 2010, she helped establish the Northwoods Regional Technical Academy, a partnership between Pembine/Wausaukee/Crivitz School Districts and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, which provides credit-level welding, automotive, electro-mechanical, nursing, photography, carpentry, early childhood education, and entrepreneurship courses on-site. This partnership received the Standing Up For Rural Wisconsin Schools, Libraries, and Communities Award in 2012.

She is also on the steering committee for Education for Economic Development through CESA 8, which involves integrating Inspire with Career Cruising, K-12 and Business initiative, as well as a member of the Business & Education Alliance for Oconto County, aK-12 and business internship initiative. She is a member of Crivitz Business Association and Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce, and was Vice-President for Grow North from 2016-2017. Vicky is also an adjunct instructor at NWTC, and teaches courses in Leadership Development, Business Management, and General Studies. Vicky is a graduate of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and Concordia University, with degrees in Supervisory Management, a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA).

Derek Heikkinen

Vice President

Derek is the Business Director for the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board. His primary responsibility is to lead a business driven approach to workforce and economic development success by identifying the needs of businesses, economic partners, and educational partners, within the 9 county region to ensure future prosperity. He is the chair of the North Central Wisconsin Business Solutions team comprised of all federal and state workforce partners working together to create career pathways and opportunities for those with barriers to employment. Under his leadership his team has won the National Award 2 years in a row for employment services to disabled veterans from the American Legion, and recognized by State partners as developing 5 best practices in Workforce development in the past 2 years.

Derek also is the Chair of CWIMMA (Central Wisconsin Metal Manufacturer’s Alliance) which works to create new curriculum, programs, and workforce strategies by promoting educational and career opportunities in the welding, fabricating, and machining trades. Additionally, he also serves on the board for WATEA (Wisconsin Automotive Truck and Education Association) and Northwoods Innovation Group (Representing Manufacturing in the Northwoods), The State Business Services Team, The Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce Workforce Paradox, North central Technical College Youth Apprenticeship Consortium, The Wausau Chamber of Commerce Workforce Hub, The Advisory Committee for The Branch Entrepreneurial Project, The Wood County Business and Education Alliance, and Chair of the State Workforce Conference entitled Collabor8.

Derek is a graduate of UW-Stevens Point with a degree in Business/Communication and an emphasis in economics and public relations.

Stacey Johnson


Johnson  is the Executive Director of Oneida County Economic Development Corporation,  starting in the spring of 2018. She began her career in the early 2000s in central Florida, rapidly rising through and building upon a variety of roles in retail banking, including residential and commercial lending, compliance, and domestic and international business development. 

While she found great success in Florida, Johnson felt that she was drawn to community and economic development projects. A position opened in Wausau in the 2000s that allowed Johnson to continue to grow her career in finance while simultaneously expanding her portfolio to include a focus on community and economic development. 

Recently, Johnson has been working with local nonprofits and foundations on multiple large-scale development projects, implementing her passion for community development and her vision for sustained economic growth in the Northwoods. 

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