Brain Drain Author Speaking at Stone Harbor April 28

Patrick Carr, co-author of Hollowing Out the Middle: The Rural Brain Drain and What it Means for America, will be the keynote speaker at the Door County Economic Development Corporation’s annual luncheon.

Carr, whose book spurred the ongoing series about Door County’s Brain Drain in the Peninsula Pulse, will address, “Confronting Rural Brain Drain: Strategies and Best Practices.” The luncheon is at Stone Harbor Resort in Sturgeon Bay at noon April 28.

For his book, written with his wife, Maria Kefalas, the couple moved to a rural Iowa town to answer a complicated question.

“We wanted to know of young people, when you finish high school, do you stay or do you go? And if you go, do you come back?” Carr said in a January interview for the Pulse. “We quickly realized that this issue is much bigger than one town.”

Carr and Kefalas interviewed hundreds of graduates from the town about why they chose to leave, stay, or return and the influences in school and community that led to that decision. The results of those interviews are familiar to anyone who has grown up and faced the same decisions in Door County.

“We have to stop the thought that says only the achievers can save us,” Carr says. “Small towns always go after the high flyers, but with the vast majority of achievers, once they’re gone, they’re gone. While we’re focusing on them, we’re missing all those that do come back, and they are the future of your town. We have to think of ways to say, ‘we’re so glad you came back’ and invite them to lead.”

Professor Carr’s appearance in Door County is sponsored by: Associated Bank, Baylake Bank, Bay Pharmacy, Charter Communications, the Door County Manufacturer’s Association, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Nsight/Cellcom, Sturgeon Bay Utilities, Therma-Tron-X, the Village of Sister Bay and Wisconsin Public Service.

A pre-luncheon networking session with Carr will take place from 11:15 – 11:45 am. Tickets for the April 28 luncheon are $30 per person or $280 for a table of 10. Tickets are available from the DCEDC office. For more information, contact DCEDC at 920.743.3113 x200 or [email protected].

To read articles on Door County’s Brain Drain and learn more about Patrick Carr, visit and search “Door County’s Brain Drain.”