• Engage Leaders: Lee Morgan, Business Risk and Climate Change
  • Grow Business: West Central Virtual Cohort 2021 Founder Showcase (Virtual Event)
  • Expand Talent: Engaging Employers to Recruit St. Cloud State University Talent
  • Shape Tomorrow: St. Cloud Parking Pilot – June 1
  • Insights and Inspirations: Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month – Action Items


Engage Leaders: Lee Morgan – Business Risk and Climate Change

Climate change is sometimes described as the “mother of all risks.” What are the financial risks for Central Minnesota businesses?

There are two categories of financial risk associated with climate change: physical risks and transition risks (including liability).

We are generally familiar with the physical risks: water availability, flooding, drought, sea level rise, energy needs, hurricanes, and fires. Location is an important factor in the physical risks and, fortunately, Central Minnesota will be less impacted in the short term. We will get stung by higher insurance rates, higher health care costs, and some mitigation expenses (depending on your business).

Transition risks are more complex.

A messy race to decarbonize has begun. The goal is to grow the economy but scrub out carbon. As our climate changes so do our markets and this will determine winners and losers. Experience tells us that transitions go slow, until they go very fast. There are several specific financial challenges.

  • We can’t use historical data to anticipate what will happen, we are entering unchartered territory.
  • Standards for reporting on corporate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices have not yet been set. There is a Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures which is supported by 1,800 companies, the 10 largest asset managers in the world and 8 of the 10 largest banks in the world. The demand for ESG reporting is rising.
  • Huge amounts of capital are going to be needed to make the transitions. Janet Yellen has proposed $50 billion in green bonds. This is opportunity.

A subset of financial risk is litigation risks. At present there are about 1,500 active legal cases worldwide mostly against states. Legal cases are expected to explode driven by three factors: 1) legislation has been unable to tackle the problem, 2) the horizon for change is too short and 3) remedies need to be more immediate. The U.S. is an outlier in litigation, but Minnesota is not. Keep a close eye on the Minnesota case against ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Institute and Koch Brothers. This is like the tobacco suit; it involves billions of dollars and changes in advertising and education in Minnesota.

The corporate veil protecting CEO’s is lifting, Rex Tillerson, former CEO of ExxonMobil is being sued personally. Your OD&D insurance rates are going to keep rising. You need to take climate change into consideration in your decisions. For example, in Texas, architects are being sued for putting backup generators in the basements where they got flooded.

Here are what organizations must do.

We must decarbonize as much as we can. Carbon pricing and border carbon adjustments are coming. We need to track the carbon in our supply chains. We will be required to disclose climate risks to lenders and investors. To quote one of the largest fund managers in the world: “what the CEO thinks is irrelevant, climate is shifting, sustainability is the key going forward.”

Lee Morgan

Retired CEO of the Antioch Company, President of the Morgan Family Foundation and Convener of the St. Cloud Chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby





Grow Business

West Central Virtual Cohort 2021 Founder Showcase (Virtual Event)

This is not your standard pitch event, but a time for us to come together as a community and celebrate with the next generation of great West Central Founders who just successfully completed ILT Academy’s first Lean Startup Certificate Program.

On May 27, from 6:00-9:00 PM, these early stage founders will be given the opportunity to share their startup story and connect with investors, community members and other startup entrepreneurs.

This event will allow communities from across the state to meet and connect with some talented new entrepreneurs that are joining our Minnesota community of startup entrepreneurs. Click HERE to register.


Expand Talent

Engaging Employers to Recruit St. Cloud State University Talent

Everyone has heard the old adage, “it’s more about who you know than what you know.” When it comes to job searching for recent graduates, it could more accurately be expressed as, “It’s more about who you know that you can tell about what you know.” St. Cloud State University just celebrated with their Spring 2021 graduates and sent a cohort of talented new degree holders into the world. This year’s graduating class has proven their persistence and adaptability in ways students have never had to before and will no doubt be valuable assets to the organizations they join as they secure their first post-graduation positions.  For these students the road to future success will begin with the application process, connecting with employers and articulating their value. For this reason, the Career Center at SCSU prides itself on facilitating connections between students and employers early and often.

The Career Center is committed to serving SCSU students and the surrounding community by creating opportunities for students and employers to interact in a variety of formats throughout the year. The Career Center team recognizes that these opportunities provide great value to both students and employers. Students greatly appreciate opportunities to network with employers to receive feedback for improvement and establish professional connections. Employers are grateful for an opportunity to help to enhance the skillset of future graduates and begin to evaluate those that could be potential candidates.

According to a recent Career Center survey of alumni 5 and 10 years after graduation, 93% of students worked in Minnesota for at least one year after graduating and 52% were still in Minnesota 4 to 6 years after graduating. In addition, the annual Post Graduate Outcomes survey further shows that in 2019, 95% of graduates accepted jobs within their field of study and 35% of those graduates reported employment within the four-county area (Benton, Sherburne, Stearns and Wright).

Partnering with the Career Center allows local employers to capitalize on a great source of qualified and well-educated candidates. By engaging with students prior to graduation, employers can highlight available opportunities, and build awareness of their organization and why students should consider working there, as well as begin to build relationships with students that stand out as potential candidates.

There are several options for employers to engage with SCSU students!


  1. Register with Handshake for access to Post internships, part time or full time opportunities visible to every SCSU student and alumnus.
  2. Attend one of their job fairs throughout the academic year. Employer feedback has indicated that a hybrid model is desired so fairs for the coming year will offer opportunities for both in person and virtual involvement.
  3. Learn about additional opportunities to engage with our office and our students like participating in career coaching events, helping to review resumes and LinkedIn accounts, conduct mock interviews, tabling on campus, or setting up virtual or in person presentations.
  4. The Career Center is also a great conduit for connections between employers and faculty. The annual Employer/Faculty Meet and Greet affords a fantastic forum for faculty to learn more about the industries and positions they are preparing students for and for employers to explore a new avenue of outreach to students most likely to fit their hiring needs.
  5. Finally, employers can reach alumni through the LinkedIn St. Cloud State Alumni page or by connecting with John Brown in the Alumni Relations Office


Have questions or want to learn more?  Contact Jackie Bauer, Assistant Director of the Career Center.

Shape Tomorrow

St. Cloud Parking Pilot – June 1

Tuesday, June 1 begins the parking pilot in Downtown St. Cloud. Click HERE to access the graphic below. Are you interested in setting up parking for your employees? You can find more information about the parking validation process HERE.

Please contact stcloudparking@ci.stcloud.mn.us with any comments, concerns or ideas.

Insights and Inspirations

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month – Action Items

During this last week of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, here are a few action steps that can outlast this recognized month.

The below items are from “On Anti-Asian Hate Crimes: Who is our real enemy?” by Michelle Kim

  • Acknowledge, amplify, and denounce the ongoing anti-Asian hate crimes.
  • Interrupt generalizations
  • Invest in community-based interventions

Interested in being locally involved? The Coalition of Asian American Leaders is a great place to start for action items, education, and engagement


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