Meet Vinnie

Vinnie Miresse is a long-time Portage County resident who has contributed to his community with dedication, knowledge, and passion. He’s done so as a volunteer, an entrepreneur, a family man, and as a local elected leader. 

A four-term Portage County Board member since 2017, Vinnie has served on the Executive Operations, Judicial/General Government, and Agriculture/UW-Extension committees. He chairs the Solid Waste Management Board, the Portage County Healthcare Center committee, and is the Human Resources committee vice-chair. He chaired the former Diversity committee. A graduate of the Emergency Services Citizen Academy, Miresse learned best practices directly from law enforcement, firefighters, and EMS personnel. He is also a UW-Extension Local Government Leadership Academy graduate. 

Miresse volunteers for the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, Central Rivers Farmshed, and CREATE Portage County. He serves on the CREATE Wisconsin advisory board. CREATE fosters community engagement and a sense of place through the arts, music, and cultural appreciation, spurring entrepreneurship and local economic activity.

He is also on the executive board for the Wisconsin Counties Solid Waste Management Association, whose purpose is to promote effective and environmentally sound solid waste management systems and resource recovery efforts. Vinnie has traveled extensively through Portage County, the United States, and around the world, with significant time studying in Latin America, Australia, British Columbia, and the South Pacific. 

As a local elected leader, Vinnie:

Authored the Portage County Fair Maps Referendum. He was subsequently invited to the Governor’s 2020 State of the State Address because of his leadership.

Authored both Portage County Medical and Recreational Marijuana Referendums.

Co-created both Portage County Healthcare Center Referendums.

Strong advocate for the Portage County Clean Water Referendum.

Helped secure nearly $500k in State & Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for Central Rivers Farmshed’s future growth. Farmshed partners with family-owned farms and local food businesses to: ensure everyone in our community can choose healthy and delicious food; demonstrate sustainable farming practices; and launch new farming and food production related businesses.

Organized and facilitated The Groundwater Beer Summit—a public forum with County stakeholders about groundwater use and contamination. It included large and small farmers, scientists, local leaders, and clean water activists. Many of these people had not sat at the same table in years. Vinnie got them to drink beer together and talk.

Photo collage clockwise from top: Vinnie with his mom and sister, Vinnie traveling with Gina, Vinnie graduates from UWSP
Images clockwise from top: Vinnie with his mom and sister; Vinnie traveling with Gina; Vinnie graduates from UW-Stevens Point.

Vinnie’s entrepreneurial spirit began at 9, when he began mowing lawns in summer and raking leaves in fall for elderly neighbors, so he could buy baseball cards and treats from the local corner store.

At 13, Vinnie applied for a workers permit and got his first job, as a $2.90/hour dishwasher and bus boy, and also worked in the construction trades. 

Miresse earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point where he studied history, anthropology, and music. During and after college he worked at the Central Wisconsin Environmental Station (CWES), teaching environmental education as a head naturalist and site manager. Vinnie also funded his college education by playing jazz, folk, funk, country, and Latin music with various ensembles. After moving to the mountain West, Vinnie survived solely on the performing arts; teaching percussion and playing with world-class musicians and touring acts. 

During the 2008 recession, Vinnie returned home to Wisconsin. He worked at Central Waters Brewing Company and Northwind Renewable Energy, before starting his own residential remodeling business. He specializes in energy efficiency, building science, renewable energy, natural building technologies, and sourcing local materials. He and his family also practice regenerative agriculture in their urban setting, cultivating over 30 species of perennial edibles and a modest orchard of apples, pears, peaches, plums, and cherries.  
Vinnie and his wife, Gina, lived in the Amherst area for many years before moving to Stevens Point where they currently reside with their two children. In his spare time, Vinnie is an under-appreciated chauffeur and personal chef for his kids (parents will get this joke). Vinnie, Gina, and their children enjoy savoring the arts, traveling, backpacking, hunting and fishing, gardening, supporting family farms, buying local, and cooking amazing meals for their family with homegrown, local fruits and veggies. 

Vinnie walking hand in hand with his wife and two children down a boardwalk through a marsh