Meet a Local Leader: Ron Brisbois

Ron Brisbois has worked for Grant County Economic Development Corp. for more than 21 years. He has written applications for communities and businesses that have been approved for more than $30 million in funds and has worked on projects that range from large manufacturing businesses to small start-up entrepreneurs.

He has received the Regional Economy Builder Award and has been selected for various statewide committees and organizations, including the Rural Broadband Committee and the Wisconsin Economic Development Association Legislative Committee.

Brisbois is married and has two daughters who are in college. His hobbies include trout fishing in southwest Wisconsin, morel mushroom hunting, raising beef cattle and hiking. He owns a 200-acre farm and says running the farm is one of his hobbies. Brisbois serves as president of the Ithaca School Board and serves as a supervisor on the Ithaca Town Board.

Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? My high school wrestling coach, Gary Gutknecht, would say if nothing else “keep your head up and keep moving,” and I have found this to be good advice in other aspects of life.

What are the most important decisions you make as a leader of your organization?

The strategic priorities of the corporation, what are our targets and goals for the corporation – year to year.

As an organization gets larger, there can be a tendency for the “institution” to dampen the “inspiration.” How do you keep this from happening?

Remain focused on quality versus quantity, we are a small organization, but it is best to do a few things very well rather than a lot of things fair or poorly. This is how we have stayed valuable to our stakeholders. Too often we see other organizations be satisfied with the status quo or being “good enough,” but not us.

Which is more important to your organization — mission, core values or vision?

This is a very difficult question. I see all three highly interconnected in my corporation. I think my mission is the most important, as it was developed when the corporation was formed in 1986 and is the DNA of my corporation. My vision for the corporation may change from year to year but the vision and core values all support the mission of my corporation.

What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?

Humility. No person should be without humility, no person knows all things and learning is never ending.

What advice to you have for future leaders?

Success is measured in numerous ways, not just one or two, and sometimes those successes are difficult to see, but help yourself and others to see them.

What lessons can leaders take away from the current pandemic?

We need to be nimble and flexible and always be prepared to adjust our goals and plans quickly.

What are two or three of the best things about being a leader?

Seeing your initiative create results, developing an environment that fosters and supports growth, and cultivating relationships with a variety of people.