- Colleen Landkamer, MN State Director USDA Rural Development
Colleen Landkamer was appointed by President Obama to serve as State Director for USDA Rural Development on July 13, 2009. As State Director, Landkamer manages a staff of about 120 that administers over 40 programs to improve infrastructure, facilities, business and economic development in rural communities. Before being named State Director, Landkamer was elected to the Blue Earth County Board of Commissioners in 1988 and worked tirelessly for 20 years representing residents at the local, state, national and international level. Landkamer served as President of the National Association of Counties (NACo) throughout 2006 and 2007 and also served as an executive board member since 2002. Her passion for local government brought the concerns of counties to the national stage since her involvement in forming the National Association of Counties Rural Action Caucus (RAC) in 1998. Landkamer’s enthusiasm for RAC helped take it from an organization of 20 members to several hundred. Landkamer also chaired the Campaign for Renewed Rural Development made up of 30 public and private entities that work together to keep rural America strong. She also is a past president of the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC). Landkamer has been a Humphrey Institute Policy.
Featured Panel “Real People Doing Real Stuff”
- Dave Engstorm - Minnesota Association of Small Cities
- Stephanie Ibarra - Madelia Mobile Village Cooperative
- Murial Krusemark – Hoffman Economic Development
- Adam Regn Arvidson - Willmar Design Center and Treeline
Adam Arvidson is a landscape architect and freelance writer. He is the urban designer for the Willmar Design Center and founder of Treeline, a Twin Cities landscape architecture and urban design practice. He has recently worked for the small towns of New London, Morris, and Biwabik. His written work has appeared or is forthcoming in Landscape Architecture Magazine, Architecture Minnesota, Garden Design, Planning, and Minnesota Conservation Volunteer. He is founding editor of the magazine _SCAPE: land and design in the upper Midwest, and recently served for seven months as interim editor-in-chief of Landscape Architecture Magazine.
Breakout & Session Speakers
- Jane Leonard, Director of MN Rural Partners
Jane Leonard is President of Minnesota Rural Partners, Inc. and the Strategic Coordination Manager for the Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board. In this dual role she helps build connections between rural and urban development. From 2007 through 2008 Jane was Executive Director of the Minnesota Statehood Sesquicentennial Commission, building a coalition of hundreds of communities, organizations, businesses and foundations to invest over $4 million in commemorating Minnesota’s history and preparing for a thriving future. For 25 years, in various positions with the public, private, and non-profit sectors, she has worked to build a healthy balance between civic society and market-based economy, including creating policy and programs that integrate knowledge and innovation economy strategies into community and economic development goals. Jane was named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Regional Champion Award winner and Minnesota Advocate of the Year for 2004–2005. She is also a recipient of the University of Minnesota Alumni of Notable Achievement award for her work in entrepreneurship, community technology and rural development policy in 2006. She also holds the Duane L. Gibson Distinguished Service Award from the international Community Development Society. She was president of CDS in the 1990s and has been a member since 1987.
- Bart Finzel, Director Center for Small Towns
- Sheldon Giese, Mayor of Morris
- Sharon Danes, University of MN Department of Family Social Science
Dr. Sharon M. Danes, Professor, University of Minnesota has authored over 160 research articles, book chapters, and outreach publications emphasizing family/business interface in family businesses including farm, resort, and rural hotel and restaurant family businesses. She has received over $1,000,000 of grants; most recently from the National Science Foundation. She is an author of the Sustainable Family Business Theory. She has a learning website called Rural MN Life that has downloadable worksheets, interactive assessments, and audio-streamed PowerPoint presentations at www.ruralmn.umn.edu for you to use with your family business.
- Amy Fredregill, Cooperative Network
Amy Fredregill is Vice President of the Cooperative Network where she manages the MN Division. She helps set the strategic direction of the organization, including government affairs and other business services for co-ops, which account for over 1,000 businesses in virtually every industry in MN. She is Vice Chair of a statewide non-profit and also serves on a credit union board. Previously, Fredregill was a legislative aide for the U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee in D.C., a Congressional fundraiser and a Program Coordinator for a national non-profit. In 2002 she received a Masters in Public Policy from George Washington University where she was the Honor Policy Graduate for her department. She received a B.A. in Economics from the College of St. Benedict, graduating magna cum laude, and was a 08-09 Policy Fellow at the Humphrey Institute. Fredregill was awarded the 2009 Outstanding Contribution to Cooperative Education and Training Award by the Association of Cooperative Educators and was named one of 25 Women to Watch by the 2010 Business Journal Women in Business Awards.
- Joan Stockinger, Cooperative Development Services
- Dave Aronson, Morris Theater Co-op
David Aronson has been a Morris resident since 1981 and is an avid movie fan and regular theater attendee. An original member of the ad hoc Morris theatre steering committee, he has served on numerous University and community committees including the elementary school task force, joint UMM/MAHS football facility, board of directors of the Pomme de Terre Golf Club and Morris-Hancock Flying Club. Dave Aronson is an administrator in the physical plant at the University of Minnesota, Morris working primarily with major capital projects involving both new construction and major renovations. Dave has 35 years of administrative experience and most recently worked with architects and contractors to renovate a historic registered engineering building to a LEED certifiable 21st century office complex now known as the Welcome Center. David became involved in the theater project because he feels strongly that it is important for the community and our children to maintain and improve the movie theater in our community. David is an original member of the Board of Directors and has served as treasurer since inception and has served as chairperson of the Theatre renovation planning committee.
- Stephanie Ibarra – Madelia Mobile Home Co-op
- Kate Searls, Rural Urban Connections
Kate Searls is a highly experienced leader of practical, yet unique, collaborative research programs. Her research partners have spanned from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Innovation Lab to the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest. Most recently, she was the founder and Director of the Sheltering Home Chronicles, a multi-media initiative developed to use history and the arts to stimulate community engagement around the experiences of Minnesota’s over 30,000 young people who each year find they cannot live at home.
- Linden Weiswerda, Rural Urban Connections
Linden Weiswerda is a masters candidate at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities working on a degree with the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs. He is interning this year with Minnesota Rural Partners, Inc. to work on the mapping portion of the Rural Urban Connections Project.
- Jean Burkhart, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation
- Philipp Muessig, GreenStep Cities
Philipp Muessig’s background is in science and community development, having worked as an exploration geologist, cooperative business developer and neighborhood association director. A graduate of Carleton College in Northfield, MN, he is currently the sustainable communities coordinator with the MN Pollution Control Agency and lead developer of the GreenStep Cities program. His previous development projects are the NextStep website, Living Green Expo and a new AmeriCorps program, the MN GreenCorps.
- Jon Commers, Strong Towns
- Ben Oleson, Strong Towns
Ben Oleson has spent his professional career studying and working in land use planning and regulation across the country and throughout Minnesota. His work experiences have included research of social and economic patterns within the country’s major metropolitan areas while with a non-profit organization, a Zoning Administrator with a rural county in central Minnesota, and a private land use planner serving rural cities, townships and counties. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).
- Dave Hengel, Center for Community Stewardship
Dave Hengel is the Director of the Center for Community Stewardship in Bemidji MN. The Center’s goal is to build successful communities by empowering their greatest asset: their leaders. Dave works to build coalitions among the region’s key industries and public and non-profit leaders. He is a leader in the areas of community leadership, the innovation economy and how to competitively position regions and communities to thrive in the changing economy. He is a strong advocate for a new vision for economic development, one that focuses on building talent and innovation, as well as for the need for the re-emergence of civic stewardship/leadership.
- Blaine Hill, City of Morris
Blaine Hill is currently the City Manager in Morris Minnesota. He started his administrator career as the City Clerk/Treasurer for the City of Breckenridge Minnesota. He worked there for 17 years prior to returning to his home town of Morris. He has also worked as an accountant for 10 years with the City of Morris prior to finishing a political science degree at the University of Minnesota Morris. Blaine has served as the President of the League of Minnesota Cities. Blaine has been working in City government for 30 years and has experience in almost all aspects to include general operations, electrical enterprises, liquor stores, libraries, joint law enforcement centers with dispatching, airports, water, storm sewer, sewer and wastewater. He also has extensive experience working with State and Federal agencies on flood disasters issues.
- Todd Prafke, City of St. Peter
Todd Prafke is currently the City Administrator in Saint Peter Minnesota. He started his City Administrator career as Quad Cities Administrator for the Minnesota Cities of Bricelyn, Delavan, Easton and Minnesota Lake. He was also City Administrator in the City of Blooming Prairie. Todd is currently on the LMC Insurance Trust Board and has served as President of the League. He has worked with budgets both small and large. He has worked in both the enterprise fund and general fund arenas and also in special funds which have included municipal owned operations including hospital, clinic and nursing homes. Those budgets include operations and capital. He has also ridden out budget changes that were brought about due to changes in state funding and natural disasters including floods and the 1998 Saint Peter/Comfrey tornado.
- Lois Schmidt, Nonprofit Resources, Bremer Bank
Lois Schmidt joined Bremer in 2003, serving as the bank’s southwest area nonprofit resource specialist, working to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations by organizing trainings, networking opportunities, and connecting them to resources to carry out their missions. Her current community activities include serving on the boards of Hunger Solutions Minnesota; Lincoln, Lyon, Murray Human Services; Nonprofits Assistance Fund and Women’s Foundation of Minnesota Social Change Grantmaking Committee. She has a B.A. in Political Science from Southwest Minnesota State University, and is a 1998-99 University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs Policy Fellow. Lois resides in Tracy, Minnesota.
- Edna Mars, La Tienda Grocery Store; Morris, MN
- Eduardo Martinez, Mexican Village Too Restaurant; St. Cloud, MN
Eduardo Martinez graduated from the University of Mexico with a BA in veterinary science, then went on to receive a masters from University of Minnesota in Animal Science. Eduardo also did some post graduate research at Carrell University. He has been in the food industry since 1986 and has owned his own business the “Mexican Village Too Restaurant” for the last ten years.
- Roberto Valdez, Willmar Area Multicultural Market
Roberto Valdez Jr. directs the Willmar Area Multicultural Market (WAMM), tackling the challenges of poverty and creating opportunity through Latino/a enterprise development. He also serves as a Community Resource Specialist for the Latino Service Network Providers (LSPN), providing training and support to groups and individuals in our target communities.
- Troy Goodnough, Center for Small Towns
- Mike Reese, University of MN West Central Research and Outreach Center
For the past ten years, Michael Reese has been the Renewable Energy Director at the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris. He has participated as the principle investigator or project manager on several renewable energy research and demonstration projects including large scale wind energy, biomass gasification, sustainable biomass feedstocks, renewable hydrogen and anhydrous ammonia, solar thermal, and green building technologies. In addition to renewable energy, Michael continues to maintain a strong focus in agriculture, rural economic development, and community vitality.
- Abdullah Jaradat, USDA Agricultural Research Service
- Chris Droske, MN GreenCorps
Christopher Droske is a senior at the University of Minnesota, Morris majoring in Chemistry and Environmental Science. He works with the GreenCorps as an Energy Conservation Specialist, where he assesses and collects data on the energy usage of government buildings. The data is compiled into the B3 benchmarking system; and then he recommends energy saving strategies. Christopher plans to attend graduate school in the fall of 2011 in the field of environmental chemistry.
- Dorothy Rosemeier, University of MN West Central Partnership
Dorothy Rosemeier lives near De Graff, MN and has served as the Executive Director to the West Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (WCRSDP) board since 2000. Dorothy has a masters degree in education from the University of Minnesota, and an Bachelor of Science degree from the U of WI-Stout. She moved to west central MN in 1978 for an Extension Educator position in Swift County. Throughout her extension career, her work expanded from the family and consumer education to community development and active citizenship/leadership on county and regional levels. Dorothy’s interest in the Partnership work on sustainable development stems from her interest in “grassroots” and “social justice” issues, which were influenced by her up bringing with eight siblings on a small family farm in southeast Minnesota.
- Steve Lawrence, Pope County
Steve Lawrence has been serving as the Director for Pope County Land & Resource Management for over 11 years and has over 18 years experience as a planning director for other organizations. Lawrence also serves as the Coordinator for Pope County Fresh. With financial assistance from West Central Initiative and the Pope County Board of Commissioners and technical support from the Land Stewardship Project and the Center for Small Towns, Pope County Fresh started last summer and has accomplished a lot in just a short time. The mission of Pope County Fresh is to create opportunities that provide local food sources which are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable for producers and consumers in the Pope County area. Steve’s specific interest with this program is with greenhouse technology and market development.
- Linda Grover, Winona Economic Development Local Foods Sub Committee
Linda Grover, currently serves as Director for the Winona County Economic Development Authority. Employed by the Southeastern Minnesota Development Corporation since 1989 as a Community Development Specialist, her primary focus was grant writing and administration. She has served as a City Council member, board member of Partners in Housing, Agriculture and Sustainable Economic Development (PHASED) and enjoys her membership with the Minnesota Association for Professional County Economic Developers.
Gubernatorial candidates include:
- Mark Dayton (DFL) - former US Senator, invited
- Matt Entenza (DFL) - former House Minority Leader, confirmed
- Tom Emmer (R) - State Representative, invited
- Tom Horner (I), invited
- Jim Mulder (I), confirmed
- Margaret Anderson Kelliher (DFL) - speaker of the house, invited
- John Gunyou (DFL), invited