By Patti Gartland, GSDC President
As the holiday season approaches I find myself reflecting on all that has transpired throughout the year. At GSDC we are dedicated to supporting our investors – and our greater St. Cloud region - with services and resources that strengthen business growth and economic prosperity for all.
While our founding strategic plan has served us well for the past seven years, our board of directors spent much of 2018 refreshing that plan to reflect our aspirations through 2024. The process included research, analysis, focus groups and your input. We appreciate the time you took to reflect and comment on our work. The final, approved version of our 2019 – 2024 Strategic Plan can be found here: Strategic Plan. We are in the process of aligning our resources with the new plan for 2019 – exciting, indeed! More on this to come in 2019.
Several new investors and advocates joined us in 2018, including corporate investors Arvig, Blattner Energy, Great River Energy, and St. Cloud ISD 742. Advocates include Boys & Girls Club of Central MN, Blue Moon Design, Central MN Mental Health Center, Custom Catering, Great North Labs, Hire and Inspire, iiW, ProStaff, Prudential Advisors, RBC Wealth Management, and Spectrum Reach. And, Granite City Real Estate, Greenfield Communications, REM Central Lakes affirmed our work by increasing their annual investments. Similarly, founding investor Stearns Bank rejoined at a higher level of investment, as well. This level of engagement reflects the exceptional commitment of our business community to a vibrant quality of life for our region – and we are grateful. (click for a complete list of our investors)
Similarly, our Board of Directors has some new faces, including Presidents Robbyn Wacker and Annesa Cheek of St. Cloud State University and St. Cloud Technical and Community College, respectively. Joining them is Willie Jett, superintendent of the St. Cloud Area School District and Caryl Turnow, executive director of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation. In order for our collective impact approach to economic development to be successful, we need thought-leaders from all sectors around the table. The willingness of these leaders to engage in our work demonstrates their understanding of and commitment to our region’s vitality – for the benefit of all.
In terms of projects, services and partnerships that benefit our investors and the greater community, 2018 has been a productive and satisfying year. The highlights are many, including the SCSU Winter Institute, our GSDC Well-Being and Talent Summits and webinars, Quarterly Business Report, advancements in and increased utilization of www.GreaterStCloud.com (our regional portal), Select USA Foreign Direct Investment, business retention and expansion visits and assistance, responses to business attraction inquiries, downtown St. Cloud improvement initiative, St. Cloud Regional Airport economic impact and optimization study, our Innovation Awards, Tour of Manufacturing, skilled workers initiative, and TEDxStCloud – to name a few, but certainly not all. Granted – we’ve got a top-notch GSDC team, but none of this would be possible without the support and engagement of you – our investors and partners.
We’re not a team that rests on our laurels, though – and plans are underway for many great things to come in 2019. On that note, be sure to save the date of April 11 – our annual meeting. It will be an evening Octennial celebration. Watch for invitations to come. In the meantime, on behalf of our GSDC Team, we wish you a safe and festive holiday season!