NorthWest RPC mapNorthwest Regional Planning Commission

1400 South River Street
Spooner, WI 54801
Phone: (715) 635-2197
Fax: (715) 635-7262

Counties Served:
Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, Washburn

Tribal Nations Served:
Red Cliff, Lac du Flambeau, Lac Courte Oreilles, Bad River, St. Croix

Year Created: 1959

Program and Activity Summary

Economic Development:

The Commission annually updates its Overall Economic Development Program that examines the regional economy and identifies locally significant economic development projects. The inclusion of economic development projects allows communities to gain access to the Economic Development Administration’s grant programs. In addition, the Commission works with local communities to secure grants from State and Federal sources.

The Commission’s revolving loan funds, operated out of the Northwest Wisconsin Business Development Corporation, targets economic development opportunities in the Region. These funds continue to provide financial assistance for numerous businesses in the Region. The Wisconsin Business Innovation Corporation is a corporation linking markets, technology and enterprise formation to create higher skilled/high paying jobs. The Corporation offers a unique array of technical, financial and business support services along with capital and real estate critical to enterprise formation and growth.

Other avenues of economic development available within the Commission include the Enterprise Center Network of business incubators, innovation services and linkages, access to technology services and transfer, the Wisconsin Rural Enterprise Fund equity investments venture fund, and access to international markets via international joint ventures.

Community Development:

The Commission provides technical assistance to county and local units of government. It also engages in a range of community development activities, including grant writing and administration, tax incremental financing district development and administration, downtown revitalization, capital improvements planning, housing and public facility needs studies, transportation studies, site planning for businesses, harbor studies, and other planning and community development activities.

Regional housing assistance is provided through the Commission by Northwest Affordable Housing, Inc. Northwest Affordable Housing assists low- and moderate-income families in obtaining home ownership and is developing multifamily housing units in areas of need.

Land Use and Environmental Resources:

The Commission provides technical assistance to local units of government relating to land use planning. Geographical Information System development and mapping services are available to local units of government. The development of comprehensive land use plans provides assistance to communities in their development of local lands and policies to encourage proper growth and development activities.

The Commission engages in a range of coastal management activities in its role as liaison between the State Coastal Management Program and local units of government. Examples of activities include studies of dredge disposal alternatives, development of coastal hazard management strategies, lakes management and classification systems, and waterfront redevelopment.

The Commission is also very active in waste management planning, including technical assistance in the form of pollution prevention strategies, waste to energy studies and recycling. A hazardous waste collection program service for households, businesses and municipalities has been implemented in the Region. In addition, services are also available for brownfield site remediation in local municipalities and environmental management assistance to businesses.


The Commission’s Roadway Management Program helps local officials make effective road investment decisions through studies that result in a timetable for roadway maintenance and upgrading. The Commission has also been active in expressing the Region’s needs relating to regional highway improvement plans and transportation infrastructure improvements.

Forest Resources:

The Commission’s Forest Resources Program supports economic development efforts which utilize the Region’s abundant forest resources. The Commission provides technical assistance to forest products industries, conducts applied research related to forestry, and analyzes policies which directly impact the industry.

Information and Data Systems:

The Commission serves as a clearinghouse for a range of resource, demographic and economic development information. The Commission also maintains local and regional maps and assists local governments in creating new mapping systems.

  • Operating Characteristics
  • Commission and Method of Selection
  • Current Commissioners
  • Staff
2014 Budget:
$2,850,209 (9% Federal, 17% State, 7% Local Levy, 48% Local Contracts, 19% Miscellaneous)
The Commission contains 31 Commissioners.
All County Board chairs serve as Commissioners, and an additional Commissioner per county is appointed by the County Board. The mayors of communities over 2,500 persons serve on the Commission; one person appointed by the County Board from each county having a municipality which has a population in excess of 25,000 persons; and all five Tribal Governments in the Region are represented by their Tribal Chair.
Ashland County: Richard Pufall*, Donna Williamson and Deb Lewis, Mayor-City of Ashland
Bayfield County: James Crandall*, Dennis Pocernich
Burnett County: Donald Taylor*, Ed Peterson
Douglas County: Douglas Finn*, Sam Pomush, Larry Quam, and Bruce Hagen, Mayor-City of Superior
Iron County: Joe Pinardi*, Mike Saari
Price County: Bob Kopisch*, Bruce Jilka
Rusk County: Peter Boss*, Vacant and Marty Reynolds, Mayor-City of Ladysmith
Sawyer County: Ron Kinsley*, Bruce Paulsen
Taylor County: Rollie Thums*, Jim Metz and Arlene Parent, City of Medford
Washburn County: Tom Mackie*, Jim Dohm and Gary Cuskey, Mayor-City of Spooner
Red Cliff Tribal Council: Bryan Bainbridge
Lac Du Flambeau Tribal Council: Butch St. Germaine
Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Council: Mic Isham
Bad River Tribal Council: Robert Blanchard
St. Croix Tribal Council: Lewis Taylor
*Executive Committee Members
Authorized Staff: 21
Staff Contacts:
Sheldon Johnson, Executive Director
Jason Laumann, Deputy Director
Jennifer Barton, Environmental Services Specialist
Heidi Buchmann, Finance Specialist
Bonnie Carlson, Housing Development Specialist
Jeffrey Dietrich, Business Development Specialist/Loan Fund Manager
Kimberly Gifford, Housing Specialist
Stacie Haus, Administrative Assistant/Receptionist
Warren Johnson, HHW/Recycling Technician
Mariann Jones, Fiscal Manager
Michael Kinnick, Community Planner/Certified Lead Inspector
Clem Larson, GIS Specialist
Mark Mueller, Director of Business and Innovation Services
Richard Roeser, Business Development Specialist
Crystal Rohde, Business Development Specialist/IT Specialist