$175,000 Secured for Regional Investment

By Larry Hosch, GSDC Business Development Director

At GSDC, we were excited to partner with Blattner Energy, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the City of Avon in securing $175,000 from the Job Creation fund to expand Blattner Energy’s Headquarters in Avon. This award will help facilitate a $14.5 Million capital investment in our region and will produce a minimum of 15 new high paying jobs, with much more likely.

 Blattner Energy is ranked the number one solar EPC contractor in the U.S. by two independent firms and is the most experienced EPC wind contractor in North America, having installed one-third of all wind power capacity in North American to date. Blattner provides services from engineering, procurement, construction and management of projects.

 If your business is looking to grow, whether by hiring or training additional workers, expanding your current facilities or looking to build new, reach out to GSDC’s Business Development Team to make sure you aren’t leaving any resources or financial incentive opportunities on the table. GSDC is experienced in leveraging resources and programs that aid in your company’s growth.  Let us do our work in finding what resources best fit your needs so you can do your work in guiding and growing your business. Contact Larry Hosch at lhosch@greaterstcloud.com or Leslie Dingmann at ldingmann@greaterstcloud.com.

Posted on October 4, 2019 .

Neel Kashkari Hosts Public Town Hall Meeting In St. Cloud on October 8

Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, coming to St. Cloud on Tuesday, Oct. 8; hosting public Town Hall at St. Cloud State University

 Are you curious about interest rates, and the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy views and actions? Do you have questions about the current economy? Are you curious about what the Minneapolis Fed does within the Federal Reserve System? Do you care about income inequality, and what might be done about it? Are you worried that banks are still too big to fail?

 Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, will host a Town Hall to answer these and other questions on Tuesday, Oct. 8, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m., at the Atwood Memorial Center on the campus of St. Cloud State University. The event is free and will feature a dynamic, free-form audience Q&A with Kashkari, who is a member of the Federal Open Market Committee, the body of the Federal Reserve System that sets national monetary policy, including interest rates.

 Since becoming president of the Minneapolis Fed in January 2016, Kashkari has spearheaded several initiatives, including releasing a plan to end the too-big-to-fail problem with big banks and launching the Opportunity & Inclusive Growth Institute at the Minneapolis Fed to investigate the sources and solutions to persistent economic disparity in the U.S.

 Kashkari will give brief opening remarks, followed by a Q&A with the audience.

 When: Tuesday, Oct. 8, 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Where: Ballroom, Atwood Memorial Center, St. Cloud State University


3:30 p.m. – Doors open. Admission is free, and light food and refreshments will be available to everyone in attendance.

4:00 p.m. – Welcome and introduction, followed by opening remarks by Neel Kashkari

4:15 p.m. – Audience Q&A, moderated by Robbyn Wacker, president, St. Cloud State University

5:00 p.m. – Program ends

 To register for this event, please click here (URL = http://frbminneapolis.cvent.com/stcloud2019)

 Public parking is available in the 4th Avenue parking ramp. Parking rates are 75 cents per half-hour. For more driving and parking details, please refer to the campus map: https://www.stcloudstate.edu/campusmap/parking/default.aspx.

Posted on September 25, 2019 .

What is Anabranch?

Anabranch  [an-uh-branch] : a section of a river or stream branching off and rejoining it further downstream. 

Anabranch is a community lecture series featuring current research conducted by SCSU faculty in a casual bistro setting.  It brings together people who may not otherwise have occasion to interact, who will share, explore and discuss ideas across disciplines and sectors.  It is a partnership between GSDC and SCSU.


To date, three Anabranch gatherings have taken place at Jules’ Bistro. There is no coast to attend. Attendees come a few minutes early to get a table, beverage and/or snack.

 Our next Anabranch: October 2, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Jules’ Bistro, Downtown St. Cloud

Steve Henningsgard and Dr. Matthew Julius are speakers at the upcoming TEDxStCloud on October 10. For 20 minutes Steve and Matt will share their thoughts on the experience of preparing a TEDx talk, followed by a free flow of questions and discussion with the audience. TEDxStCloud info and tickets at TEDxStCloud.com

Steve Henningsgard

 Steve is Product Manager at Geo-Comm.  He attained a BS in computer engineering at St. Cloud State University and spent ten years as a touring musician and audio engineer. Henningsgard is “inspired by people who constantly strive to be better, who aren’t satisfied with the status quo, and who maintain and open, excited mind.” 

Matthew Julius, Ph.D.

 Dr. Matt Julius leads the anaerobic digestion and biomass production team at SCSU. His research goals focus on microorganism use applications, and include working with academic and corporate partners in the U.S., Japan, Northern Ireland and Nigeria.  Julius predicts that we will experience near zero cost energy in the future.


Past 2019 Anabranch presenters have included:

On September 18, Marina Cetkovic-Cvrlje, M.D., Ph.D. shared information about her research on Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). Dr. Cetkovic’s research has been focused on the effects of environmental compounds, either pathogenic or protective, on the development of autoimmune T1D in experimental mouse models. She discussed recent preventative strategies for T1D and shared some interesting results obtained in her laboratory. 

On June 26, Dr. Christopher P. Lehman shared information about the rise and fall of St. Cloud’s African American population after the Civil War.  The presentation looked at the African American families and individuals who labored (and in some cases, resided) downtown, the triumphs they enjoyed, and the segregation they suffered.

On March 27, Mark Gill and Bill Gorcica discussed and demonstrated the intersection of art and engineering in their work together at SCSU.

For upcoming Anabranch events follow Anabranch St. Cloud on Face Book.

Posted on September 24, 2019 .

News Release: GSDC Announces 2019 Innovation Award Recipients

St. Cloud, Minn., September 10, 2019 – The Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation (GSDC) announces the recipients of their 2019 Innovation Awards.  A strategic focus of the GSDC is to foster and promote innovative thinking among area businesses and organizations. The GSDC Innovation Awards recognize St. Cloud area for-profit and non-profit organizations employing innovation to advance products, services and processes.

 Horizon Virtual and Central McGowan will each receive an award for a for-profit company. The recipients of the two non-profit awards are Neighbors to Friends and a collaboration of Benton County, Stearns County, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Central MN Mental Health Center, St. Cloud Police Department, Waite Park Police Department, City of St. Cloud and CentraCare.  Each awardee will receive $1,000. The organizations will be recognized at the upcoming meeting of all GSDC investors on November 7. 

 Horizon Virtual has been selected for the for-profit emerging company award.  The award recognizes the company’s remote telehealth platform that provides overnight physician coverage to rural hospitals. The company is located in St. Cloud, Minn.  More information can be found at www.horizonvirtual.net.

 Central McGowan will receive the for-profit established company award for their process of combining robotics with fixed automation to create systems that meet the unique needs of each manufacturing customer.   The company is located in St. Cloud, Minn.  See website at www.centralmcgowan.com.

 Neighbors to Friends has been selected for one of two awards for non-profit organizations.  Their innovation is Shower the People, a mobile shower truck for the homeless.  They also assist homeless people in getting their laundry done through Laundry Love, a neighborhood movement.  For more information contact Nancy Dyson at nancydyson16@gmail.com

 Benton County, Stearns County, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Central MN Mental Health Center, St. Cloud Police Department, Waite Park Police Department, City of St. Cloud and CentraCare will receive an award for a non-profit collaborative Community Action Team (CAT).  CAT is a multi-agency team of professionals who work directly with active utilizers of services in the community and those caught up in the justice system due to mental health concerns.  CAT is an initiative that came out of a larger collaborative effort around decreasing recidivism and providing a more effective response to mental health in the community, called the Mental Health Steering Committee.  For more information contact Katy Kirchner, Kathryn.kirchner@centracare.com.

Posted on September 24, 2019 .

Congrats, Welcome & Bravo!

By Patti Gartland, GSDC President

At the GSDC we remain dedicated to making great things happen in our greater St. Cloud region. And September 2019 is proving that out in so many ways! Please take a moment to read a quick summary of my top three picks:

 1 - Congratulations! Young American Leaders Program Cohort

Kudos to the 10 selected from our greater St. Cloud region to participate in the Harvard- based Young American Leaders Program (YALP) being hosted in Minnesota! GSDC was invited to select a cohort of up-and-coming young leaders to participate with 40 other young leaders from the Twin Cities and Rochester regions in a robust 3 day mYALP workshop in November. The MN adapted workshop will focus on the Harvard Business School’s (HBS) research on American competitiveness, shared prosperity, and cross-sector collaborations. 

 Members of the mYALP Cohort:

Ryan Cross – BCI 

Leslie Dingmann - GSDC

Dan Edelbrock – US Bank

Hudda Ibrahim – Filsan Talent Partners

Karl Nohner – Sauk Rapids Rice Schools

Marie Pflipsen – City of Becker

Clare Richards – Leighton Interactive & Rotoract 

Amanda Romaine - GeoComm

Lacey Schirmers – GREAT Theatre

Jonathon Wong – State of MN & Jugaad Leadership

 Special thanks to our 11 member selection committee for their time and expertise in reviewing the robust candidate pool of nominees and presenting an excellent slate of participants, all of whom have accepted and affirmed their participation. 

 We also offer our appreciation to Anita Archambeau for serving as project manager for the mYALP selection process. We were fortunate to tap into a window of time she had available prior to her relocation to Memphis. Anita had been the City of Sartell’s Community Development Director & Assistant City Administrator.   

 We’re excited to have this powerhouse of talent enlisted to put their learnings from the HBS- modeled workshop session into play to the benefit of the greater St. Cloud region. They’ve been tasked with developing and launching the envisioned GSDC’s Young Leaders Initiative. They’ll be working with Ryan Fitzthum, Sartell Mayor and Strategic Account Manager at CH Robinson, and a young leader in his own right, who has accepted our invitation to lead the GSDC Young Leaders Initiative project.  

 2 - Welcome! Precious Drew, gBETA Greater Minnesota St. Cloud Director

 We are excited to welcome Precious Drew as Director of the Greater MN St. Cloud gBETA program. Precious Drew graduated from the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University in 2018 where she received her bachelor’s in Global Business with a focus on entrepreneurship. As a student, she experienced firsthand the thrill of turning an idea into a revenue-generating business through the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship’s Entrepreneur Scholars program. Precious joins the gener8tor team after completing a 9-month social impact fellowship through the Finnovation Fellows program in Minneapolis, MN. Precious previously served in communications roles with the State of Minnesota in addition to serving as a Program Assistant with the City of Minneapolis. Through these experiences, she discovered a passion for the art of storytelling and helping others tell their own stories.

 Applications are being accepted for the Fall/Winter gBETA cohort.  To apply please visit https://www.gbetastartups.com/greater-mn-st-cloud Applications are due October 18th. To learn more and to get involved you can sign up for office hours with Precious here or feel free to e-mail Larry Hosch or Leslie Dingmann at GSDC.

Precious Drew, Director of the Greater MN St. Cloud gBETA program

Precious Drew, Director of the Greater MN St. Cloud gBETA program

3 - Bravo! CareerSTART

We couldn’t be more enthusiastic in our support and advocacy for the Boys and Girls Club of Central MN’s launch of CareerSTART! This locally developed program is designed to provide students K-12 with introduction to the plethora of career options and opportunities in our region and to develop the employability skills needed to enter and succeed in the workforce.  See more information about this and other talent initiative and resources here.

Posted on September 24, 2019 .

Creating Partnerships in Workforce Development

At GSDC, we’re committed to developing the talent of the future, in addition to the current workforce.   That’s why we’re partnering with regional educators, youth organizations and businesses in providing youth with opportunities to explore interests through interactive experiences.  We’re also facilitating the connection between businesses and education professionals to inform curriculum and skills development in the classroom.  Three of our current partnerships in talent development are illustrated below.  For information about any of them contact GSDC Talent Director, Gail Cruikshank at gcruikshank@greaterstcloud.com

Boys and Girls Club: CareerStart Program

This new and innovative talent development initiative enables youth to development essential skills and explore career interests at an early age.

These are a few elements of the CareerSTART approach:

·         Early essential skill development, such as working with youth as young as kindergarten to develop such skills as teamwork, creativity, communication, problem-solving, conflict resolution, critical thinking and self-confidence.

·         Evidence-informed skill development and career exposure, offering career exploration, and opportunities to apply skills through real-life experiences.

·         A strong network of community support from local schools and colleges, employers, workforce centers, the military and the community-at-large.

Much more information about CareerStart is available at https://www.bgcmn.org/careerstart/

Pictured: Mary Swingle – Boys and Girls Club President/CEO, Patti Gartland – GSDC President and Jim Clark – Boys and Girls Club of America President/CEO at the CareerStart kickoff luncheon on Sept 9th

Pictured: Mary Swingle – Boys and Girls Club President/CEO, Patti Gartland – GSDC President and Jim Clark – Boys and Girls Club of America President/CEO at the CareerStart kickoff luncheon on Sept 9th

Sauk Rapids Rice Business and Industry Summit, February 18, 2020

On February 18, 2020 Sauk Rapids Rice High School, in collaboration with GSDC, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, Benton Economic Partnership, United Way and Career Solutions, is providing an opportunity for their entire SRR staff (approx. 600) to engage directly with our local employers on the topic of talent development.  Businesses and education professionals will share information on current and future workforce needs, business/education collaboration, and essential workforce skills. An employer panel and an educator panel will each share information, answer questions, and discuss best practices in preparing students for successful and satisfying careers.  All employers are welcome.  To join us contact Aaron Sinclair, Sauk Rapids Rice Superintendent at aaron.sinclair@isd47.org or GSDC Talent Director Gail Cruikshank at gcruikshank@greaterstcloud.com.

For your interest, a video highlighting the vision of the Sauk Rapids Rice school district: STORM

Exploring Potential Interests and Careers (EPIC), February 28, 2020

EPIC is a collaborative community event created to provide high school students hands-on, interactive experiences that relate to many career options, from health care to heavy equipment operation.  Student participants also learn about educational requirements of featured careers.

This year’s EPIC will take place on February 28th, 2020 at St. Cloud Technical and Community College. Our goal is to host 5,000 students from more than 30 area high schools.

An essential component of EPIC is the participation of business and community partners, who provide hands-on, interactive (and fun!) experiences for the students.  We encourage you to take part in this creative exploration event.  To do so contact GSDC Talent Director, Gail Cruikshank at gcruikshank@greaterstcloud.com

Posted on September 24, 2019 .

Project CoNNECT Talent Initiative

By Gail Cruikshank, GSDC Talent Director

Project CoNNECT: Community Collaborators Networking and Navigating Employment Connections and Talent

At GSDC we were proud to partner with ISD 742 and WACOSA to host a candid conversation around gaining a competitive advantage by employing people with disabilities/different abilities. The event was made possible through the generous support of an Initiative Foundation grant.

As Talent Director for GSDC, I feel it is critical that we are doing whatever it takes to connect all job seekers to our employers in our region.  Job seekers with disabilities represent a critical pocket of untapped talent.  We are working on making employers aware of the skills and abilities of these members of our community.   

At the event, attendees heard from five area employers who currently employ people with different abilities.  All were able to exchange questions, hesitations, and challenges in a safe and welcoming space.  WACOSA is using this information to inform and enhance the alignment of WACOSA participants and employers.

We encourage all employers to discover how this eager workforce segment can add value to your organization.  For more information about how WACOSA can help you do this, contact WACOSA Executive Director, Steven Howard, 320-251-0087 (ext. 506) or showard@wacosa.org.

See More: https://youtu.be/WW6E8FVQw9Y

Project Connect 2.jpg
Project Connect 1.jpg
Posted on September 24, 2019 .