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Professional Staff

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 destination management organization
  • 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.




Jessica Beyer
President & CEO
Greater Mankato Growth, Inc.

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Jessica has been with Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. since November 2019 when she was appointed as President & Chief Executive Officer. She has a master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in organizational leadership, and a bachelor’s degree in business management and mass communications from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Jessica has 15 years of leadership, government, community development, sales and communications experience. Most recently, she served as Waseca County administrator overseeing county operations and organizational development across 14 departments. Prior to her work at Waseca County, she served as a Communications Manager, Business Analyst and Public Information Director for a combined 11 years at Blue Earth County. Additionally, she has business experience within the publishing industry. Jessica has called Mankato home since 1991. She has been active in the community volunteering and serving on the Boards of the Mankato Area Foundation, Blue Earth County Historical Society and the Greater Mankato Area United Way. In addition to her community involvement, Beyer has completed the Blandin Community Leadership Program, the Greater Mankato Leadership Institute and the Elizabeth Kearney Women’s Leadership Program.

Sam Ziegler
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. 









Darcy Enter
Finance & Benefits Manager
Greater Mankato Growth

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Darcy joined Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. in January 2022 as Finance and Benefits Manager. Darcy worked for Taylor Corporation for 23 years, beginning her career in the accounting department and served in a variety of leadership roles for the organization, most recently as purchasing manager.  Darcy is a graduate of University of Minnesota, Morris, with a degree in Business Management and Economics. Outside of work, Darcy has 1 daughter. She enjoys traveling, and spending times with friends and family.








Ryan Vesey
Economic Development & Research Manager
Greater Mankato Growth

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Ryan joined the Greater Mankato Growth team in February 2020 as an Economic Development Specialist and has now moved to the Economic Development & Research Manager. His role entails working with existing businesses to help resolve challenges they are facing, engaging new and prospective businesses to establish locations in the Greater Mankato area, and liaising with education and workforce development partners. Ryan graduated from Windom Area High School prior to attending the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated with a BA in European History in 2015.


Andy Wilke
Business Development & Public Affairs Director
Greater Mankato Growth

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Andy joined Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. in August of 2021 as Director of Business Development and Public Affairs. Andy worked for Brookfield Properties for nearly 10 years at shopping centers in Iowa and Georgia, before returning to his hometown for 5 years as General Manager at River Hills Mall. Before Brookfield, Andy worked for the Minnesota House of Representatives, the city of Mankato, and his family were the franchise owners of Toppers Pizza in Mankato before selling the business in 2012. He is a graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato with degrees in Urban Planning, Public Administration, Political Science, and Business Administration. Outside of work, Andy is married with 2 children. He enjoys running, reading, cooking, and live music. Andy is a former chair of Visit Mankato and the GMG Public Affairs Task Force. Andy is currently serving on the city of Mankato Planning Commission.






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

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Liz 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
Leadership Programs Director
Greater Mankato Growth

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Shannon is responsible for overseeing Greater Mankato Leadership Institute, Greater Mankato Executive Sounding Board and Greater Mankato Diversity and Equity Collaborative. Shannon has had more than 30 years of leadership experience in nonprofit and for-profit organizations and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Kiwanis Holiday Lights and is president of Camp Patterson, Inc. . In addition, she is a past Chair of the Greater Mankato United Way. Shannon graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a B.S. in Mass Communications and a minor in Speech Communications. Outside of the workplace, Shannon enjoys 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 three children, Raegan, Gordy, and Cora, especially enjoying the lake activities in our community.


Skyler Carlson
Business Engagement Manager
Greater Mankato Growth

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Skyler joined Greater Mankato Growth as a Business & Community Relations Coordinator in August 2019 and has since grown into her Business Engagement Manager position. Skyler has over five years customer service experience and  graduated from Minnesota State University, Moorhead with a bachelor’s degree in Project Management and certifications earned in CRM Software and Lean Management. Outside of work and study, she loves to go skiing, kayaking, and travel to new exciting places. 

Crystal Olson
Program & Events Manager
Greater Mankato Growth

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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 coordinato, and was hired full-time that summer. Currently, she serves as the Programs & Events Manager, managing talent development and downtown development programs. Crystal graduated from Bethany Lutheran College in May of 2017 with a degree in English and minors in Business Administration and Sociology and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Organizational Development. As a fourth generation Mankato resident, Crystal is excited to share everything this beautiful community has to offer. Outside of work, she enjoys being outdoors, walking her dog, attending community events, and reading.

Joy Leafblad
Sports and Special Events Director
Visit Mankato

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Joy 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 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. 



Michalia Cyphers
Program Manager
GreenSeam, LLC

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Michalia Cyphers was born and raised in Fairmont, MN and now resides in Truman, MN with her significant other and three pets, but that doesn’t mean she is new to the area as she is a South Central College and Minnesota State University alumna ready to start working at GreenSeam to pour into a region that has given so much to her.  





Ines Wingert
Business Development Marketing Manager
Greater Mankato Growth  |  Greater Mankato Growth, Inc.

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Ines has a Master of Arts in Technical Communication from Minnesota State University, Mankato and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, Public Relations, and Mass Communications from the University of Zagreb, Croatia. Ines has over a decade of experience developing and executing marketing strategies, managing external and internal communication, brand development, and more. Prior to her joining Greater Mankato Growth, Inc., Ines was a Marketing & Communications Manager at the Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota, where she worked from its infancy to the established organization it is today. Ines is an active volunteer through various organizations, including the COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic and La Leche League International. As a native of Croatia, Ines brings a unique perspective to our organization and is excited to apply her international life experiences to the work of Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. and the community as a whole.

Brittany Junck
Destination Development Marketing Manager
Visit Mankato | City Center Partnership

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Brittany 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 Destination Development Marketing Manager. 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.


Courtney Malone
Economic Development Marketing Manager
GreenSeam | REDA

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Courtney received a marketing degree from MSU, Mankato and comes to us with a great deal of experience with past positions at Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery, The Occasions Group and Mankato Free Press. She is also a volleyball coach for Maple River Schools. She has proven skills with many marketing and communications responsibilities including photography, videography, social media, website management, creative design and much more. Her ease in front of and behind a camera, relationship development, ideation and versatility makes her a great fit for this position. Courtney will be tasked with managing several special marketing and communications projects that will support the promotion of our community, organization and business. In her spare time, Courtney loves to cook, play volleyball, and enjoy a quality glass of wine with family and friends. 


Ben Muehlenhardt
Marketing Assistant

Greater Mankato Growth, Inc.

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Ben’s hometown is Little Falls, Minnesota, but for the last the five years, he has come to love and call the Mankato area home. In a few short months, he will complete his Marketing Management degree at South Central College. He has a passion for graphic design as he is self-taught in Adobe Illustrator and is incredibly excited to refine his skills with this position at Greater Mankato Growth. Ben likes to cook and bake in his spare time, which comes from spending weekends with his grandmother as a child. He also likes to play the guitar, spend time with his girlfriend of four years and their dog, and watch the Minnesota Vikings. 






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

August 18, 1966 - March 27, 2019

Trudie Gustafson
Former Executive Vice President


Thomas G. Riley,
Honorary Emeritus
Former Business Development Director

July 18, 1953 - March 5, 2017

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