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Friends Feature: Athletic Director's Winning Pitch for Woodman's Center Project

The Friends of the Woodman's Center are profoundly grateful to Ryan Callahan, Athletic Director of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, for his influential voice and support for our ambitious project. Under his stewardship, the University's athletic department is one economic engine our south central Wisconsin region regularly depends on. With its 20 intercollegiate teams contributing millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs yearly, it has etched an undeniable mark on our regional economy. His full-review understanding of a facility of this scope, coupled with his in-depth experience in athletic and non-athletic event programming, provides real-time evidence for the similar community-shaping impact the Woodman's Sports and Convention Center can have on Janesville and the surrounding regions.

Friends Feature title image

A Game Plan for Growth

By Ryan Callahan

I currently serve as the Athletic Director at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. I understand that athletics is one of the largest economic drivers in this area. According to UW-Whitewater's Fiscal and Economic Research Center, our 20 intercollegiate teams contribute over $7 million to our region and support 98 full-time jobs (2015). The Woodman's Center's economic contribution would far surpass these figures due to the number of events that would be hosted at the complex and the endless opportunities that come with the growing demand for flexible-use spaces. We also see the potential for UW-Whitewater and UW-Whitewater at Rock County to partner in the facility.

As a lifelong community member, the complex would benefit families, athletes, businesses, and individuals in various ways. It would also attract people throughout the region and stateline due to its ideal location along the interstate and other major highways. The Woodman's Center and Janesville and Rock County's excellent schools would help attract new families to our great city. People today seek affordable and accessible living options that offer a greater chance for themselves and their families to grow. The Woodman's Center in Janesville would provide that and much more. And based on my experience in athletic and non-athletic event programming, the Woodman's Center would profoundly impact Janesville and the surrounding areas.

More about Ryan: Ryan Callahan, Interim Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at UW-Whitewater since May 2019, oversees 22 varsity programs and serves on the Chancellor's Cabinet. He began his tenure at UWW in 2007, following a stint as a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. From 2012, Ryan led Continuing Education, coordinating non-credit programming for regional constituents. As the former Assistant AD for Internal Operations, he managed financial forecasting, game management, and strategic planning, among other responsibilities.

Turning Potential into Reality with the Woodman's Center

Ryan Callahan's support for the Woodman's Center underscores its potential for significant regional development and the creation of vast collaborative opportunities with educational institutions and athletic programs. His vision situates the Center as a project and a catalyst, bolstering Janesville's appeal through its economic stimulus, community enrichment, and role as a hub for diverse regional events and community activities. As an accomplished athletic leader and community member, Callahan's endorsement and advocacy warrant careful consideration, reinforcing our resolve and highlighting the substantial impact the Woodman's Center could have. His input serves as a powerful testament to the Center's transformative potential, underscoring the importance of a collective commitment to realizing this vision for the benefit of our community.

With the support of a UW-Whitewater led-analysis of the Woodman's Center's economic and fiscal impact, it's easy to visualize the economic boost from the Woodman's Center. And it's no doubt that the scale of the project and the reach of its benefits are poised to surpass those of the university athletics department at $23,050,000 in annual economic impact. Additional studies, cost data, and economic impact resources can be found here.


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