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Projects bring $3.3M in value to Great River Energy member systems in 2018

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

By: Great River Energy staff Day in and day out, Great River Energy’s economic development services staff provides a variety of opportunities to the communities it serves. Team members aid in business financing assistance, which can spur job growth for a startup company or an established enterprise looking to expand, ultimately leading to a more prosperous area. And when one cooperative community thrives, the entire system benefits. The staff – made up of manager Tom Lambrecht, economic developer Erin Sparks and economic development lead Jeff Borling – works to promote areas of Minnesota that Great River Energy’s 28 member-owner cooperatives serve as...
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Working to expand the state’s advanced manufacturing sector

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

By: Great River Energy staff As an agricultural powerhouse, Minnesota is a state that understands food processing. Yet how many Minnesotans know how food products make their way into the unique and functional packages we find on our grocery store shelves?  Between the farmer’s field and the breakfast table, a simple bowl of cereal will travel through a series of complex machines that measure and fill the bags, print and fold the boxes then pack and palletize the product for shipment. The same is true for every packaged food product in your pantry. Thanks to its skilled and highly-educated workforce, Minnesota excels in...
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Sparks receives designation of Certified Economic Developer

Monday, December 10, 2018

Erin Sparks, economic developer at Great River Energy, recently earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), a national recognition that denotes a mastery of skills in economic development, professional attainment and a commitment to personal and professional growth. This designation recognizes qualified and dedicated practitioners in the economic development field and sets the standard of excellence within the profession. Candidates must pass a comprehensive examination, which has three parts and spans two days. The exam tests a practitioner’s knowledge, proficiency and judgement in the following key areas of economic development: Business retention and expansion Finance and credit analysis Marketing and attraction Strategic planning Entrepreneurial and small...
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Faribault is a global businesses hotspot. Can other Minnesota cities learn from its success?

Friday, November 30, 2018

When some people think of Faribault, they may think of Shattuck St. Mary’s boarding school (and its elite hockey program), or the processing plant for Jennie-O meat, or the fancy-blanket purveyors at Faribault Woolen Mill Co. Others may think of the cultural and racial tensions in the town as its Somali population has grown in the last decade. But when some state officials think of Faribault, they think of it as a success story. That’s because despite a population of fewer than 25,000 people, Faribault has four major employers owned by companies outside of the U.S., an abundance of foreign investment that experts...
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Illume to move its headquarters to Maple Grove Business Park

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Maple Grove's new 50-acre business park has found an anchor tenant. Illume Holding Co., which produces candles and other personal fragrance products, recently announced plans to consolidate its operations into a 288,000-square-foot facility in the Arbor Lakes Business Park being developed by Duke Realty. Bob Sandberg, vice president of power supply and business development for Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association (WH), said “the addition of Illume will help diversify the economy in the Arbor Lakes area, adding a new segment of development from the retail and apartments complexes which have driven development to date.” In addition, Sandberg noted, “the addition of Illume candles and...
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Women collaborating, making strides in their industries together

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Women are playing an increasingly important role in the worlds of commercial real estate and economic development – and they are bringing with them a wealth of knowledge from previous jobs on their career path, as well as the strength of relationships built among each other along the way. Erin Sparks, economic developer with Great River Energy – a not-for-profit wholesale power cooperative based out of Maple Grove, Minn. – and Kylle Jordan, regional business development manager at Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), are examples of women making strides in their fields while working collaboratively to achieve both...