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After 14 years at the helm, Zierdt will pass the torch


MANKATO (Jan. 8, 2019) – Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. (GMG) President and CEO Jonathan Zierdt today announced that he will step down on March 15 to focus on his health and the pursuit of personal interests.  Zierdt has led the organization he helped develop since its inception in 2007. The GMG board of directors will immediately begin a national search for Zierdt’s successor. While the search is underway, GMG Vice President Patrick Baker will continue to run day-to-day operations.  All other GMG entities will continue to be led by their respective executives.

“I have always said that I am merely a violin player in an orchestra of those committed to Greater Mankato’s vibrancy, livability and growth,” said Zierdt. “Due to the great work of the community, its leaders, and our dedicated professional staff, GMG is well-positioned for the future. After a career of 30 years, I, along with my wife Ginger, believe the time is right to focus on my health while also pursuing other interests, such as photography, the work of the Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund, and in particular, the growth of the Fund’s Caring Box program, which provides items of support, comfort and access to information and resources of benefit to cancer patients, their families and caregivers.”

Zierdt has been battling cancer since being diagnosed in 2013. His kidney cancer has remained in remission since the fall of 2014; however, he remains in active and palliative treatment for aggressive metastatic and treatment-resistant prostate cancer.

Before assuming his current position, Zierdt, 52, served as the executive director of the Greater Mankato Economic Development Corporation. GMG was formed in 2007 after a merger of the Mankato Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Mankato Economic Development Corporation. Today GMG serves as the region’s comprehensive and integrated business development organization with a membership of approximately 1,000. GMG consists of four business units: Greater Mankato Growth, Visit Mankato, L.L.C., the City Center Partnership, L.L.C. and GreenSeam, L.L.C.

“Jonathan has created an admired and financially-sound organization,” said Ron Vetter, GMG board chair. “His roll-up-your-sleeves leadership style is visible to all who have worked with him, a style that is inextricably linked to the economic and community vitality Greater Mankato has experienced for more than a decade. Although we will miss his leadership and inspiration, we whole-heartedly support his decision to make his health and quality of life top priorities.”

Zierdt’s professional accomplishments are numerous. He has been recognized as a visionary and innovative leader in regional economic development and business investment. The merger in 2007 was the catalyst for integrating what are typically siloed approaches to business development. It has resulted in impactful community collaborations and private-public partnerships, leading to countless current programs as well as emerging new initiatives benefitting the region. Additionally, Zierdt’s community involvement and openness in sharing his cancer journey for the benefit of others experiencing cancer has garnered broad-reaching praise and admiration.

“Jonathan has worked tirelessly to set the vision and forge beneficial relationships for Greater Mankato. As a result, Mankato is in the admired position of being one of the fastest-growing economies in the state,” said Vetter. “On behalf of the board of directors, we extend our sincerest appreciation and warmest regards to Jonathan and wish he and Ginger well as they begin the next phase of their lives.”

Editor’s Note:  Contact Susan Jameson, executive assistant, at Greater Mankato Growth for follow-up with Jonathan Zierdt.


About Greater Mankato Growth, Inc.

Greater Mankato Growth, Inc.  is committed to advancing business for a stronger community. It exists to intentionally develop the regional center by promoting, supporting and serving as a catalyst for economic development through business growth, retention and attraction; talent growth, retention and attraction; regional livability and advocacy of the marketplace. Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. consists of four business units: Greater Mankato Growth serves as the regional Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development organization; Visit Mankato focuses on visitor attraction and servicing; the City Center Partnership, focuses on development in the City Center; and GreenSeam develops the region’s agribusiness economy by utilizing agriculture to build on the region’s extensive agribusiness assets. For more information visit www.greatermankato.com




Contact:  Jeanne Votca Carpenter, 612.803.1282
For Greater Mankato Growth, Inc.



The Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. Family: Visit Mankato City Center Partnership