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Visit MankatoCity Center PartnershipGreenSeam
 

Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. (GMG) 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. is comprised of four business units;

  • Greater Mankato Growth, the regional chamber of commerce and economic development organization serving the regional marketplace
  • Visit Mankato, the local convention and visitor's bureau
  • City Center Partnership, a downtown development organization
  • GreenSeam, which utilizes agriculture to build on the region's extensive agribusiness assets to develop the ag economy

Click here for career opportunities with Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. (GMG)

Please contact us at info@greatermankato.com or 507.385.6640.

 

EXECUTIVE TEAM

 


Bob Hoffman
Interim President & CEO
Greater Mankato Growth, Inc.

 

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Bob has an extensive list of business, community and collaborative experiences, as well as serving from 2013 – 2014 on the GMG Board. He is currently a member of the Minnesota State (formerly known as MnSCU) Board and has served as its Chair. He has also been the Chair of the Ecumen Board of Directors and was previously the Chair of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation Board. His career includes having served as Vice President of Strategic Business Education and Regional Partnerships at Minnesota State University, Mankato, Vice President with Taylor Corporation, Senior Vice President of Brown Printing Company and as the Superintendent of Schools in Waseca.

 


Patrick Baker
Vice President and
Director of Government & Institutional Affairs
Greater Mankato Growth, Inc.

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Patrick has been with Greater Mankato Growth since 2012 when he began as the Director of Government and Institutional Affairs. He was promoted to Vice President of Greater Mankato Growth in 2018. In his role, he works to support the overall performance of Greater Mankato Growth and its four business units (Greater Mankato Growth, Visit Mankato, City Center Partnership and GreenSeam) and serves as lead support to Jonathan Zierdt, president & CEO. Additionally, Patrick serves as a relationship manager working with local business and community leaders, legislators and other influential leaders across the state to advance community policy priorities and raise awareness of the importance of our regional center. Prior to joining Greater Mankato Growth, Patrick worked for the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C. Patrick is a proud Mankato native. He graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN with a B.A. in Political Science and holds a Graduate Certificate in Public Management from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. Outside of work, Patrick enjoys road tripping with his wife Claire and spending time with friends and family, especially if it's at a brewery, winery or around a bonfire.

 

Anna Thill
President
Visit Mankato, LLC

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Anna has been President of Visit Mankato since 2007. Previous to Anna’s role as President with the CVB, she was employed by the Greater Mankato Area United Way as their Director of Community Impact for six years where she worked with volunteers, community leaders and nonprofit leaders to look at community issues and make funding decisions for local programs. Anna earned her B.S. in Local and Urban Affairs from St. Cloud State and then attended graduate school at Minnesota State University, Mankato where she received her Master’s in Urban Planning. In the summer of 2016, Anna received professional recognition as a Certified Destination Management Executive through Destination Marketing Association International. Anna enjoys spending time with her family, especially more so now that her two sons are older and can partake in more activities with her and her husband. Many who know Anna might be surprised to learn she actually has musical talent, initially going to Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD as a music major.

 

 

Sam Ziegler
Director
GreenSeam, LLC

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Sam Ziegler has a passion for all things related to agriculture. Being a part of providing food, feed, fuel and fiber to families in our area to families abroad is such an amazing profession to be a part of. In this position, Ziegler works with key ag stakeholders building coalitions along with developing and executing key strategic initiatives that are essential components to realize the aspirations of GreenSeam. Sam spent nearly ten years with the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council and Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and is a fourth generation partner and operator of Ziegler Farms, located near Good Thunder. Sam enjoys being a father and husband, and for fun he likes playing baseball, hanging at the lake or hunting. 

 

 

ADMINISTRATION

 


Rebecca Rosier, ABA
Finance & Benefits Manager
Greater Mankato Growth

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Rebecca has been working at Greater Mankato Growth since April 2011 as the Finance & Benefits Manager. This position entails the management of human resource functions within the organization such as payroll and employee benefits, as well as responsibility for the finances and assets of the company. All the previous positions Rebecca has held pertain to some aspect of customer service. She was previously employed by the accounting department at the St. Peter Food Co-op for more than three years. In May of 2011, Rebecca graduated from South Central College with an A.A.S. in Accounting. Outside of work, Rebecca enjoys spending as much time as possible with her husband and daughter.


Kaitlyn Henderson
Business & Community Relations Coordinator
Greater Mankato Growth

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Kaitlyn joined the Greater Mankato Growth team in February of 2016 and serves as the Business & Community Relations Coordinator. Kaitlyn’s main responsibilities are to provide efficient administrative support to the Director of Business & Community Relations, Greater Mankato Growth members, and the entire staff at Greater Mankato Growth in order to maintain accurate member information and to assist with member-related activities. Kaitlyn graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato in May of 2015 with a degree in History and a minor in Geography. She enjoys playing volleyball, reading and spending time with her family and friends.


Crystal Olson
Visitor & City Center Experience Coordinator
Visit Mankato

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Crystal joined the Visit Mankato team in 2017 first as a marketing and convention sales intern, then as the interim special events coordinator and finally found a permanent home in the organization as the visitor services specialist in June. As a fourth generation Mankato resident, Crystal is excited to share everything this beautiful community has to offer. Crystal graduated from Bethany Lutheran College in May of 2017 with a degree in English and minors in Business Administration and Sociology. While in college, she had the opportunity to escort 23 Chinese exchange students and their chaperone to popular Minnesota/Mankato attractions which kickstarted her interest in hospitality and tourism. Outside of work she enjoys being outdoors, traveling, walking her dog and reading with a cup of coffee.

 

 

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT SERVICES


Jim Santori
Business Development Director
Greater Mankato Growth


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Jim has been Greater Mankato Growth's Business Development Director since May 2015, charged with attracting new businesses and helping existing businesses expand and thrive in Greater Mankato. In addition, he assists communities in the region with economic development efforts. Jim served on Greater Mankato Growth's board of directors and executive board since 2007 and is the recipient of the first Greater Mankato Growth Distinguished Service Award. Jim comes from a long career in publishing, serving as an award-winning newsman for 15 years and 22 years as a publisher in Lee Enterprises and Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. including eight years as publisher of The Free Press in Mankato where he retired in 2015. Jim has experience in innovation and adaptation as well as strategic planning serving as a corporate representative to media think tanks. Jim was graduated from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with both bachelors and masters in journalism. He also had newspaper management training at Northwestern University, multicultural management training at the University of Missouri-Columbia and received a certificate in Economic Development from SIU-Edwardsville. He continues to be involved in community building serving on the executive board of the Mankato Area Foundation as grants chairman. His hobbies include hiking in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter with his wife Colleen, cooking, international traveling and visiting his children and grandchildren in four different states.


John F. Considine III
Director of Regional Business Intelligence
Greater Mankato Growth

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John joined the Greater Mankato Growth team in early 2013 as Business Development Resources Manager. His position entails gathering information and leveraging resources that are useful to existing business in Greater Mankato, as well as those outside the marketplace interested in locating or expanding here. He also helps coordinate the visits to area businesses through the Grow Minnesota! program. Previous to John's employment with Greater Mankato Growth, he provided information to cities and businesses for six years as Community and Economic Development Coordinator for Region 9 Development Corp. John also served as the economic development representative on the south-central Minnesota Workforce Council. John attended Minnesota State University, Mankato acquiring his B.S. in Urban and Regional Studies/Geography and Masters in Urban Planning. John, who played right tackle on the 1999 West State Champion Football team, is a big-time NFL fan. He also enjoys playing basketball, racquetball, chess and camping (even in the winter). 

Danielle Duffey
Danielle Duffey
Group Sales Director
Visit Mankato


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Danielle joined Visit Mankato in July 2015 and serves as the Convention Sales Director. Through her experience serving in the United States Army Reserve, she has a desire to have an impact on people. She discovered her passion for the community and truly loves the area and is well acquainted with the community's tourism amenities. She strives to showcase the unique and affordable destination options of the Mankato area to meeting planners and potential visitors. On the weekends, she enjoys spending time with her family at Sibley Park. Some of their favorite things to do walk, run or bike alongside the Minnesota River on the Red Jacket Trail.

 

 

PROGRAMS AND SERVICES


Liz Sharp
Director of Business Events & Sales and Director of Office Operations, GMG™
Greater Mankato Growth

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Liz has been working for Greater Mankato Growth since the organizations' inception in 2007 as the Business Events & Sales Director. Prior to that, she has held multiple positions with the organization's predecessors, the Greater Mankato Chamber of Commerce from 1994 - 2007. She is responsible for overseeing the implementation and success of all special events for the organization (Business Before & After Hours; Annual Meeting; Business Showcase; Songs on the Lawn; Greater Mankato on the Green; Business Reception at Vikings Training Camp; Tour of Manufacturing; and the Business Awards & Hall of Fame...to name a few). Liz attended the University of Maryland in Munich, Germany. Liz is also a graduate of the Greater Mankato Leadership Institute and the YWCA's Elizabeth Kearney Women's Leadership. Outside of work, Liz loves spending time with family and friends, gardening and traveling. 


Shannon Gullickson
Talent Programs Director
Greater Mankato Growth


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Shannon joined Greater Mankato Growth in October 2012 as the Talent Programs Director. She is primarily responsible for overseeing the Greater Mankato Leadership Institute and The Greater Mankato Young Professionals programs. Shannon has had more than 20 years of leadership experience in nonprofit and for-profit organizations and currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Mankato Area Foundation, Kiwanis Holiday Lights, Camp Patterson, Inc. and the Mankato Kiwanis Education Foundation. In addition, she is a past Chair of the Greater Mankato United Way.  Prior to joining Greater Mankato Growth, she was the Director of Business Development for Coldwell Banker Commercial Fisher Group of Mankato. She also worked for the Greater Mankato Chamber of Commerce for 13 years, serving in a number of capacities, including Vice President. Shannon graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a B.S. in Mass Communications with a minor in Speech Communications. Outside of the workplace, Shannon enjoys skiing, golfing, cooking, baking, entertaining, traveling, and volunteering. 

 

 

 
Jaci Sprague
Director of Business & Community Relations
Greater Mankato Growth


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Jaci joined Greater Mankato Growth in February 2019. Previous to her role as the Director of Business and Community Relationships, she was employed by Junior Achievement of Greater Mankato as the Senior District Manager. There she worked with donors, educators and volunteers to support preparing the future workforce to succeed through relevant hands-on programming supporting entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and workforce readiness. Greater Mankato Growth has proven to be a natural fit with her passion for community and making connections. Jaci was born and raised on a family hobby farm in Hastings Minnesota. She attended Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2005 and has been establishing her roots in the Greater Mankato community ever since. Jaci was recently named the 2019 Greater Mankato Growth Young Professional of the year.

Jaci enjoys spending time with her husband, Dan and two children Raegan and Gordy, especially enjoying the lake activities in our community.

 


Joy Leafblad
Sports Commission Director
Visit Mankato

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Joy is the Sports Commission Director for Visit Mankato. She graduated with a bachelors degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato in Physical Education and from Baylor University with a Masters in Physical Education & Wellness Promotions. She has lived and worked in Mankato since 2007. Joy worked with the Mankato Family YMCA and the Regional Fitness Center in Morris, Minnesota, focusing on community involvement and event and program development. Joy enjoys working in the community as a volunteer and spending time with her daughter and family.

 


Joelle Baumann
Special Events Manager
Visit Mankato

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Joelle has been with Greater Mankato Growth since 2010 and currently serves as the Special Events Manager for Visit Mankato. She is a graduate of the Greater Mankato Leadership Institute. Joelle attended Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, where she played on the volleyball team, graduating with a degree in Biology in 2008. Then she attended Minnesota State University, Mankato and graduated in 2012 with a degree in Foods and Nutrition and a minor in Corporate & Community Fitness. Outside of work you can find her enjoying time with her daughter, son and husband, being with family and friends, playing volleyball and being outdoors. 

 

 

 

MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS

 


Bridget Norland
Director of Marketing & Communications
Greater Mankato Growth

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Bridget joined Greater Mankato Growth in January of 2016 and was promoted to Director of Marketing and Communications in August the same year. She specializes in brand management, strategic planning, media relations and is the marketing lead on livability, talent, public affairs, GreenSeam and the Regional Economic Development Alliance (REDA). Bridget is a 2018 graduate of the Greater Mankato Leadership Institute and is also a member of the City Center Partnership Marketing & Promotions Committee. She serves on the South Central College Marketing Management and Business Management Advisory Committee, the 2020 Census Complete Count Committee and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Board and Promotions Committee. She has a diverse background with 20+ years of experience in marketing and project management as well as a strong foundation in graphic design. Bridget attended Drake University with a focus on graphic design before transferring to South Central College in North Mankato and earning a degree in Commercial Art. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, playing volleyball and painting.

 
Lucy Sanford
Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Greater Mankato Growth

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Lucy joined Greater Mankato Growth in August 2019. She recently graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a bachelor's degree in Mass Media and two minors in Art and Marketing. During her time there, she was the Marketing and Communications Intern at the nonprofit, Feeding Our Communities Partners, in North Mankato. It is there where she discovered a passion for engaging with the community. Her skills include social media, graphic design, writing, project management and event marketing. 

Lucy usually spends her free time going to concerts, reading or looking at cute puppy videos. She's originally from Anoka, Minnesota.


Brittany Junck
Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Visit Mankato

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Brittany is the Marketing & Communications Coordinator with Visit Mankato. She initially joined Greater Mankato Growth in February of 2015 where she served as the Marketing Assistant for Greater Mankato Growth for just under two years. In January of 2019, Brittany rejoined the organization as the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for Visit Mankato. Brittany grew up just over three hours southwest of Mankato in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa before obtaining her Bachelor's Degree from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time on the lake with her family and friends, playing softball and photography.

 
Carrie Kijenski
Marketing & Communications Director
Visit Mankato

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Carrie is the Marketing and Communications Director with Visit Mankato. She grew up around the Mankato area and graduated from Maple River High School, then from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a degree in Business Administration and Marketing. Carrie spent many years working for various Taylor Corporation companies, which led her to the Twin Cities for a handful of years as well. Even though she has moved around a few times she is proud to call Mankato home! Carrie has a passion for volunteering and working with the community on various fundraising events. She has been involved with Wired to the Heart and was the co-chair for the 2015 MACS Nite event for Loyola Catholic School. She is very excited to be part of the Visit Mankato team and to utilize her experience and talents to help spread the word about Mankato as a tourism destination. In her spare time, she can be found on the soccer field, at the swimming pool, in the hockey rink or at variety of other locations with her two young boys, Logan and Chase. She also enjoys keeping active and healthy.

 

 

 


EMERITI


Jonathan Zierdt
Former President & CEO
Greater Mankato Growth, Inc.

*Deceased:
August 18, 1966 - March 27, 2019


Trudie Gustafson
Former Executive Vice President

 

Thomas G. Riley,
Honorary Emeritus
Former Business Development Director

*Deceased:
July 18, 1953 - March 5, 2017

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