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University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives
427 Lorch Street
Madison, WI 53706-1503
Phone: (608) 262-3981
Fax: (608) 262-3251

For general inquiries or information on cooperatives, please email

For information on UWCC's Services, please see our Services page.



Brent Hueth, Faculty Director

Brent Hueth is the faculty director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His teaching focuses on cooperative organizations, agricultural markets, and applied microeconomics.

Brent is currently leading research projects on cooperative governance, behavior, and performance, and on the economic impact of cooperatives on the U.S. economy. Other recent research topics have included incentive pay for CEOs in cooperative firms; cooperative conversions, failures and restructurings; and the role of the cooperative bargaining association. His research has been published by the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, and the Journal of Regulatory Economics, among others.

After receiving his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics from the University of Maryland-College Park, Brent spent two years at the University of California-Berkeley as a Research Economist. He was an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University for eight years prior to joining the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Contact info: (608) 890-0924 or

Courtney Berner, Executive Director

Courtney Berner joined the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives in 2011 and served as a cooperative development specialist until assuming the role of executive director in January 2018. As the executive director, she develops courses, conferences, and other educational programs and works closely with the Center’s faculty director on the Center’s strategic direction. Courtney teaches a course on cooperatives at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that focuses on the role and management of cooperatives, cooperative groups, and collective action.

Courtney has provided support to new and established cooperatives of all types and in a range of industries including agriculture, grocery, manufacturing, energy, healthcare, and forestry. Her areas of expertise include business development, cooperative finance and governance, and innovative uses of the cooperative model. Courtney writes and speaks frequently on the cooperative business model and recently co-authored Coordinating Farm Labor Across Farms: A Toolbox for Diversified Farmers and Farmworkers with Farm Commons.

Prior to joining the Center, Courtney worked at the Worldwatch Institute, an independent research institute devoted to global environmental concerns. Courtney holds an M.S. in agroecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and bachelor’s degrees in biology, French, and environmental studies from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. Courtney served on the Willy Street Grocery Co-op Board from 2013-2016 and currently serves on the Wisconsin Economic Development Association’s Board.

Contact info: (608) 890-0966 or

Tom Flory, Data Scientist

Tom Flory is the data scientist/database administrator for the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, developing the Center's research data resources and data access and analysis software. He has a PhD in Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before joining the Center he was the Director of the UW's Social Science Computing Cooperative and a Systems Engineer for a major software company.

Contact info: (608) 262-5905 or


Kelly Maynard

Kelly Maynard, Outreach Specialist

Kelly Maynard is an Outreach Specialist with the UW Center for Cooperatives and UW Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems. She focuses on development of and ongoing education and support for agricultural cooperatives. From 2010-2014 she worked as the Technical Assistance Facilitator and General Manager of the Spring Rose Growers Cooperative in Madison, fitting her professional commitment to design and provide technical assistance to underserved agricultural producers. Kelly served as an agro-forestry volunteer with the Peace Corps in Paraguay from 2003-2005 and managed a forestry project in Indonesia for Conservation International from 2006-2008. She earned her Master's degree in Agroecology from UW-Madison in 2010.

Contact info: (608) 262-9751 or


Lynn Pitman, Outreach Specialist

Lynn Pitman is an outreach specialist at the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, providing resources and assistance to individuals and groups working on cooperative projects and issues. She also writes and develops educational, program and communication materials to support the Center's outreach activities. Lynn contributes to the Center’s ongoing research on cooperative economic impacts.

Lynn has served on several cooperative boards, including a new grocery co-op start-up effort, and is engaged in neighborhood planning and development issues. Prior to joining the Center, she was the catalog marketing director at several growing entrepreneurial firms.

Contact info: (608) 261-1355 or

Charity Schmidt, Cooperative Development Specialist

Charity Schmidt is a cooperative development specialist at the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, providing technical assistance to start-up cooperatives and facilitating outreach efforts to cooperators and community-based organizations. She coordinates the work of the Madison Cooperative Development Coalition (MCDC), the City of Madison’s funded initiative to form worker cooperatives that address income inequality and racial disparities by creating living-wage and union jobs. She has published work ranging in topics from diversity in and access to service learning, sociology in action beyond the university, and the crisis facing bee colonies.

She has masters degrees in Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies, and Sociology from University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has taught classes on social theory, sociology of race and ethnicity, and American contemporary society at Madison College and UW-Madison. She also serves on the Board of the Workers' Rights Center.

Contact info: (608) 262-5905 or


Megan Webster, Outreach Specialist

As an outreach specialist at the Center for Cooperatives, Megan Webster develops content and implements outreach and education programs related to cooperatives, including UWCC's Farmer Cooperatives Conference and Consumer Cooperative Management Association. She also manages the UWCC’s social media sites (Facebook and Twitter), writes UWCC's newsletter and maintains UWCC web page.  Megan currently serves on the board of directors for the Cooperative Grocer Network.

Before joining the Center for Cooperatives, Megan implemented international development programs for financial cooperatives with the World Council of Credit Unions. Megan holds a B.A. in International Relations and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Contact info: (608) 890-1048 or


Esther West, Cooperative Development Specialist

Esther J. West brings broad national background to her passion for co-operatives and creative community development. Her comprehensive approach is supplemented with graduate degrees from Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Urban Affairs in Urban Planning and Environmental Studies and a GIS certificate, and an undergraduate degree in Theology from Xavier University. This Mexican-American’s co-operative experience includes five years of worker-ownership at Equal Exchange in Boston, facilitating workshops with Green Worker Co-ops, collaborating with Community Blend in her hometown of Cincinnati, co-authoring an academic paper on innovative co-op development in legacy cities, and more. She dedicates her work to her late father, co-operator Ray West.

Contact info: (608) 263-4775 or