Our Team

Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. (GMG) exists to intentionally develop the regional center

This is achieved 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.
John Kind
Interim President & CEO, Greater Mankato Growth, Inc.

John was just recently selected to serve in his role as Interim President and CEO of Greater Mankato Growth. Previously, he served for fifteen years as the Executive Director of the Mankato Family YMCA. Before that, for twenty-three years at Taylor Corporation he filled several roles, including Controller, Division President and Business Group Vice President. John graduated from Minnesota State, Mankato with a degree in accounting. He has served as a volunteer for many organizations and currently serves on the Kiwanis Camp Patterson and the Mankato Symphony Orchestra boards. He is an ambassador for the Minnesota State University Mankato Foundation and sits on his church’s finance committee.  He is married to Wendy, and they have two grown children who reside in the Mankato area. He enjoys golf and singing in his church choir.

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Andy Wilke
Executive Vice President, Greater Mankato Growth

Andy joined Greater Mankato Growth in 2021. He oversees the chamber of commerce and all advocacy efforts across the entire GMG, Inc. organization. He previously worked with Brookfield Properties for nearly ten years managing shopping centers in Iowa, Georgia, and Minnesota. Andy is also a former small business owner and he previously worked for the Minnesota House of Representatives. He is a graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato.

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Ashlee White
Visit Mankato Director

Ashlee White joined the organization as the Visit Mankato Director in February 2023. She has more than a decade of public relations and marketing experience, which includes work on travel and tourism campaigns for domestic and international destinations such as Visit Tucson, Israel Ministry of Tourism, Visit Wales, Visit South Walton and Los Cabos Tourism. She has also led comprehensive communications efforts for countless hotels, restaurants, events, and attractions around the globe. She holds a bachelor's degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato in mass communications with a minor in marketing. After graduating, she spent close to a decade working in New York City, before moving back to Mankato in 2019.

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Sam Ziegler
Director of GreenSeam

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.

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Joelle Baumann
Special Events Manager, Visit Mankato

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.

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Brittany Bowman
Program & Events Coordinator, Greater Mankato Growth

Brittany joined the Greater Mankato Growth Inc., team in January 2024 as the Program & Events Coordinator, primarily working with the Young Professionals program. She grew up in Amery, Wisconsin and graduated from Bethany Lutheran College in 2006 with a degree in Sociology and Health Communiation. She then went to Alexandria Technical College and received her Law Enforcement Degree and Skills Completion Certificate in 2008. Brittany and her family enjoy attending community events and MSU sporting events when they are not busy with children's activities (soccer, football, and baseball). Brittany and her family also like traveling, hiking, boating, kayaking, paddleboarding and having bonfires.

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Holly Callaghan
Economic Development Coordinator, GreenSeam

Holly is a Minnesota native, born and raised in the suburbs of St. Paul. She grew up around the University of Minnesota Extension campus where she grew to love our lush, productive Minnesota soil. She moved to Mankato in 2020 after graduating from North Central University with a degree in Business. After working in local finance and developing a knowledge of the businesses that proudly call our region home, Holly became passionate about the Greater Mankato economy—particularly agriculture. In her free time, she enjoys trail running, playing in her band, and spending time with her husband & black lab.

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Darcy Enter
Finance & Benefits Manager, Greater Mankato Growth, Inc.

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.

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Shannon Gullickson
Leadership Programs Director, Greater Mankato Growth

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.

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Rachel Hermanson
Design & Marketing Coordinator, Visit Mankato

Rachel joined Visit Mankato in June of 2023 as Design and Marketing Coordinator. She is a graduate of Bethany Lutheran College and Rasmussen University with degrees in Liberal Arts and Graphic Design. Originally hailing from Albert Lea, Rachel considers Mankato her “second hometown.” In her role with Visit Mankato, she enjoys promoting all of the wonderful amenities that the Greater Mankato area has to offer both visitors and residents. Prior to joining the Visit Mankato team, Rachel worked as a Graphic Designer for Navitor and Corporate Graphics Commercial, and as a Pre-media Specialist at Capstone Publishing. Rachel also has past experience working as a Promotional Products Assistant for Thysse in Oregon, Wisconsin, and as a Member and Communications Manager for the Oregon, Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys hiking, horseback riding, reading, listening to music, and spending time with her family.

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Tyler Kuch
Membership Director

Tyler is a born-and-raised Mankatoan who joined the Greater Mankato Growth team in May of 2024 as the Membership Director, after seven years with the Mankato MoonDogs baseball team.  Tyler graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2013 with a degree in Sport Management and spent time in Massachusetts and Colorado before coming home to Minnesota. Even though he no longer works in sports, Tyler remains passionate about his Minnesota teams (please don’t ask him anything important during a Vikings game). Tyler lives in Mankato with his wife, Jessica, and their two children, Dora and Mickey.

Joy Leafblad
Sports & Special Events Director, Visit Mankato

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.

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Tanner Meredith
Marketing Assistant, Greater Mankato Growth, Inc.

Tanner joined the Greater Mankato Growth team in May of 2023 as a Marketing Assistant. He is a recent graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato with a degree in Marketing. In his role with the chamber, he enjoys getting to meet all of our member businesses and helping promote the economic growth and vitality of our region. Prior to joining the team, Tanner worked as a Communications & Marketing Assistant at Minnesota State University, Mankato in eSports. He also has experience in the IBE Program at the university helping promote his own business. Outside of work, Tanner loves to play pickleball, video games, and trying new places in the area to eat.

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Benjamin Muehlenhardt
Marketing Coordinator, GreenSeam

Ben’s hometown is Little Falls, Minnesota, but for the last 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 within this position. 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.


Annabelle Raske
Marketing Assistant, Greater Mankato Growth, Inc.

Annabelle joined the Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. team in May of 2023 as a Marketing Assistant supporting Visit Mankato, City Center Partnership, and GreenSeam. She grew up just 30 minutes south of Mankato, and graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2021 with a degree in Business Management. You can find her in outside of work on the lake, baking, gardening, or hosting friends and family gatherings.

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Jake Rinehart
Economic Development Specialist, Greater Mankato Growth, REDA

Jake joined Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. in January 2024 as an Economic Development Specialist. He previously spent 3.5 years at KEYC News Now as a Digital Content Producer before moving to Corporate Graphics International (a division of Taylor Corporation) in October 2023. Jake is originally from St. Peter and graduated from St. Peter High School in 2015. He is a graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato where he studied marketing and mass media. Outside of work, Jake enjoys fishing, golfing, live music, and soccer.

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Liz Sharp
Director of Business Event & Sales; Director of Office Operations, Greater Mankato Growth, Inc.

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.

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Beth Smith
Administrative Coordinator, Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. ​

Beth joined Greater Mankato Growth in February 2023 as Administrative Coordinator. Before that she worked for over 30 years at various divisions of Taylor Corporation, primarily in Accounts Payable and Purchasing. She graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris with a degree in English. Beth has lived in Mankato most of her life and is happy to be part of an organization that has such a positive impact on our region. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children, indulging in her life-long love of reading, and enjoying the beauty of Minnesota’s State Parks.

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Ryan Vesey
Business Development Director, Greater Mankato Growth, REDA​

Ryan joined the Greater Mankato Growth team in February 2020 as an Economic Development Specialist and has now moved to Business Development Director. 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.

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Ines Wingert
Marketing & Communications Manager, Greater Mankato Growth

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. She is a graduate of the YMCA Mankato's Elizabeth Kearney's Women's Leadership Ines, and an active volunteer through various organizations, including the COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic and La Leche League International. Ines also serves on multiple committees at Mankato Area Public Schools. 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.

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