• Engage Leaders: SCSU’s Dr. Robbyn Wacker is dedicated to Stewards in Place, even when that place is 14,000 feet high
  • Grow Business: DEED Economic Development Programs
  • Expand Talent: Child Care is the business that allows business to BE IN business
  • Shape Tomorrow: Around Cloud Tutors prepares students for coming year
  • Insights and Inspirations: TED Talk: Why you think you’re right – even if you’re wrong

Engage Leaders: SCSU’s Dr. Robbyn Wacker is dedicated to Stewards in Place, even if that place is 14,000 feet high

Had Robbyn R. Wacker moved to St. Cloud State University in 2018 as a student rather than as the organization’s president, she might have majored in Health and Physical Education. What better way to focus on her interests in mountain climbing and surfing?

Or she might have chosen a major in Operations Management. After all, when paying her way through the University of Northern Colorado a few years earlier, she was a manager at the Upper Crust pizza restaurant.

But Dr. Wacker did indeed come here as SCSU President, and shortly thereafter began sharing her talents as a GSDC Board member, which she describes as an honor.

“I appreciate being a part of the GSDC, which is actively working to support this region through creative and innovative ways especially as leaders  as we help our organizations and community to be inclusive and equitable for all,” she says. “GSDC’s strategic imperatives of advancing economic development and innovation opportunities, engaging community leaders, and expanding our region’s talent base align nicely with St Cloud State’s role and mission of being ‘Stewards of Place’.”

Robbyn herself is an engaged leader who enjoys countless interactions with students, faculty and staff as well as the broader community through her role as university president. Her zest for leadership translates to her adventurous spirit as well.

“I’ve climbed many of the 14ers in Colorado – the mountain peaks with an elevation of at least 14,000 feet.  I continue to be active in the outdoors any way I can – from hiking, to skiing, to playing pickleball and trying new outdoor activities.  This spring while in Hawaii I learned how to surf,” she says, before adding she’s found a new “mountain” to climb. “Perhaps learning how to ice fish in Minnesota is in my future!”

Grow Business

DEED Economic Development Programs

The jobs bill passed this legislative session is the largest jobs bill in Minnesota’s history providing over $275M for economic development programs aimed at assisting Minnesota recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic development programs will provide direct funding to businesses and communities as well as funding for workforce development programs for individuals.

Minnesota DEED is currently working on program development and timelines for the following grant programs Click HERE for a brief overview of each program.

  • Main Street Economic Revitalization Program
  • Main Street COVID-19 Relief Grant Program
  • Business Development Competitive Grants
  • Local Community Child Care Grant Program
  • Emerging Entrepreneur Loan Program
  • Targeted Community Capital Project Grant Program

Expand Talent

Childcare is the business that allows business to BE IN business

Access to quality affordable childcare is a fundamental need for most working families and is vital to the economic recovery and growth of our region.

In June 2020, GSDC facilitated eight roundtable discussions with experts and thought leaders to identify future industry trends. Childcare was identified as an elevated priority for our region. It was recognized that engagement with our community leaders and legislative partners was needed to identify and create solutions for this multifaceted challenge.

We thank Representative Lisa Demuth and her central MN legislative colleagues for leading the way in moving this critical work forward. Read more about the funding coming forward to support childcare.

To learn more about or engage in the work of our local Central MN Child Care Fund contact Gail Cruikshank at GSDC or Alexis Lutgen from United Way of Central MN. Read more about the MN Child Care Fund here:  https://www.unitedwayhelps.org/childcare-crisis

Shape Tomorrow

Around Cloud Tutors prepares students for coming school year


As the school year begins to come around the corner, it’s crucial we set our students up for success. Around Cloud Tutors will continue to provide free virtual tutoring services to all K-12 students in the greater St. Cloud region. Learn about the ins and outs of Around Cloud Tutors through Literacy Minnesota’s interview with Program Manager, Amelia Barkley.



Insights & Inspirations

TED Talk: Why you think you’re right – even if you’re wrong

“Perspective is everything, especially when it comes to examining your beliefs. Are you a soldier, prone to defending your viewpoint at all costs — or a scout, spurred by curiosity? Julia Galef examines the motivations behind these two mindsets and how they shape the way we interpret information…. What do you most yearn for? Do you yearn to defend your own beliefs or do you yearn to see the world as clearly as you possibly can?” https://www.ted.com/talks/julia_galef_why_you_think_you_re_right_even_if_you_re_wrong

Save the date for St. Cloud’s TEDx Event on Thursday, October 14!




Contact Our Staff Team

Patti Gartland, President
pgartland@greaterstcloud.com | 320-260-2442

Leslie Dingmann, Business Development Director
ldingmann@greaterstcloud.com | 320-493-9003

Gail Cruikshank, Talent Director 
gcruikshank@greaterstcloud.com | 320-260-6775

Amelia Barkley, Communications & Program Specialist 
abarkley@greaterstcloud.com | 320-292-9296