We celebrated our 5th anniversary on April 28 at the River's Edge Convention Center. Nearly 200 people joined us for a program and keynote speaker, Lester Bagley, Minnesota Vikings Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Stadium Development.
Two awards were presented, as well. The Community Catalyst award recognizes a company or organization that is, in partnership with GSDC, a leader in initiating and supporting economic and community development in the Greater St. Cloud Region. The Leadership Award recognizes an individual who is actively engaged in the work of GSDC and has made exceptional personal contributions to advancing its mission and the growth of the regional economy.
Kathy Gaalswyk, president of the Initiative Foundation, accepted the GSDC Community Catalyst Award on behalf of the foundation. She has been a highly effective and respected leader in the Central Minnesota region for many years. Gaalswyk was a founder and continues on as a leader of the Greater St. Cloud Community Priorities/Pillars Initiative, out of which GSDC was formed. She has served on the GSDC Board of Directors since its inception, was the first chair of the GSDC Talent Corps and serves on the Governance Committee. In terms of financial support GSDC has received multiple grants from the Initiative Foundation since 2011.
Dave Gruenes, chief executive officer of Stearns Electric Association, has been a central leader in the GSDC during and since its inception. He has devoted extensive time to the formation of the Business Development initiative and has led the Business Corps since its founding. Gruenes brings extensive legislative and commerce experience, as well as knowledge of economic development, to his leadership role in GSDC. In addition to leading the GSDC Business Corps, Gruenes was a founding GSDC director and continues to serve in that capacity, as well as on the Governance Committee.
The GSDC 2015-2016 Annual Report was distributed at the meeting.